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  • Writer's pictureLola Sofi'

HOLD UP, NOW! The Importance of Stepping Back for Clarity and Self-Care

Take a step back. Take a long view. Take a deep breath. And take your time…~ Sissy Gavrilak

Hi! (peeping my head around the door)

I know. It’s been a long time.

And as I type these words, being as transparent as I can be, I’m fighting against a bad case of Imposter Syndrome and self-imposed guilt for not posting for so long. But since I also know that wallowing in such negative emotions does absolutely nothing for me, but keep me trapped, frozen, and stagnant, I therefore, press on.

When I started The Chronicles of a Mid-Century Woman, my energy level, on a scale of 1 to 10, was 1000. I was flying high like Super Woman, intoxicated by the fumes of “new blog smell.” Ideas for my new blog sprouted out of my head like Zeus birthed Athena, and I basked in the glory of having created something I truly believed in, something worthwhile.

But… in walks life, carrying the hustle and bustle of the daily grind wrapped up like a newspaper underneath its arm. It urged me—in my “life” voice, who kind of reminds me of my drill sergeant from basic training—to “get back to your whirlwind of responsibilities and your never ending to-do lists, Slacker.” And just like that, one missed writing deadline turned into two, and then twenty two, until my longing for blogging was replaced by the shame of not, leaving me to ponder if I would ever get back my blogging mojo.

Has anyone ever been here before?

My resolve to make a come back weakened with every month that passed without blog activity. The more I tried to “make time” for blogging, the more my time was consumed by competing priorities. I even battled with writer’s block, which left me exhausted and super frustrated. Staring at that blank screen became a huge burden to me and I began to question my motivations, my intentions, and even my ability to write anymore.

This is when I said, “hold up, now.”

I needed to step back, to take an official time out from my blog and some other things, in order to get a new perspective and gain clarity. I was starting to become so immersed in the details of life that I was actually losing sight of living my life.

Sometimes, being too close to a situation can cause a feeling of overwhelmingness, be it a work project, a personal relationship, or even a long-term goal, i.e. my blog. Being too close can cause blurred vision, making it difficult to see the forest for the trees. It's like trying to read fine print with your nose touching the page. It’s like having myopia (nearsightedness for the layperson), being too close is not always a good thing. But stepping back and creating a little distance can offer a broader view, one that helps in identifying opportunities and spotting pitfalls that might have otherwise been missed.

Let’s face it. Sometimes, life can be chaotic.

And when drowning in chaos, stepping back can be that lifeline, a welcome feeling of relief we may all need from time to time. I know I did. It was like finally taking off my 50 pound rucksac after an eight mile road march—another flash back to my basic training days. Stepping back afforded me the time for self-reflection and to create the mental space required to evaluate my priorities, to choose what to keep, and what I must let go.

Stepping back allowed me to gain clarity and a fresh perspective. It was like sitting on the roof of my house and taking in the aerial view of the landscape below. From this elevation, I had the advantage of seeing the terrain in its entirety—my beautiful rose bushes that were in need a trim, the unleveled areas in the yard that puddle when it rains—things I wouldn't have been able to see thoroughly from the ground level.

From an emotional standpoint, stepping back helped me to avoid those knee-jerk reactions that can occur from clouded judgments, and lead to impulsive decisions. For me, it would’ve been tossing away my keyboard after 5 minutes of looking at the blank screen. It would be a shame to pull the plug on something or someone because recovery isn’t immediate, but the life support is working. Okay, maybe that’s a little extreme… but still, stepping back allows for that “cool off” time to approach the situation with a more rational mindset.

Ultimately, stepping back is a form of self-care.

For me, it was that necessary component of self-care, which allowed my faculties time to recharge and restore balance back to my life. It allowed me to take a deep breath, and acknowledge that I’m not a machine, nor am I a human-doing, but a complex, evolving human being. Stepping back allowed me to give myself a break, remembering that it’s not only okay to relax, but it’s imperative to do so. It freed me to once again, embrace my creativity and flow with fresh ideas that excite me. Taking a step back allowed me to see my life, my goals, and challenges from a new vantage point, and realize that what I thought was insurmountable was, in fact, manageable.

So, the next time you find yourself overwhelmed or trapped in the minutiae of life, don't hesitate to tell yourself, “hold up now,” and take a step back. Be deliberate in making it an essential part of your self-care routine. You may just discover that the best way to move forward is to temporarily step back.

Always in love…

Lola Sofi’

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