We usually know when it’s time to shift gears. Maybe we’ve been in a period of hustle, focused on our goals and dreams, and deep in our process of getting things done. Or maybe we’ve been in a period of rest and restoration, regrouping and taking time off from the grind. These periods may be externally motivated, such as a deadline, major life change or starting a new project. Perhaps they’re motivated from within, such as needing to sort through a particular issue or recognizing that we’re in a place of burn-out. However these shifts come up for us, there’s a way to be intentional about the way we respond to them.
A lot of the work I do with clients is around identifying their seasons and cycles, and making the necessary changes to their process and lifestyle to support them through periods of transition. Part of this work is becoming aware of what their seasons and cycles are. Seasons are a period of time that reflect a theme in your life. Cycles are the seasons we go through in our process. It’s helpful to look at both things in order to get some understanding about where we are, where we’ve been, and where we want to go.
I have found my own way of being intentional around honoring and respecting my seasons and cycles. Every year, I schedule time off in August and December. I may or may not be traveling during this time, and the time off is less about vacationing (though I do slip in a beach-side vacay at some point during the year!) and more about resting and reflecting after periods of hustle, as well as getting some insight into how I want to enter the next phase. I’ve stuck with August and December because those are very transitional months for me – August is about easing out of summer and into fall when things usually get busier, and December is about taking stock of the calendar year and stepping into the new one. Also, for me, September and January can bring an urgency in my hopefulness and need to be productive. These times may or may not resonate with your cycles – do what works for you.
Different seasons can offer answers to our questions about work and life. Over time, I’ve realized something about my process, which is that after periods of a lot of output, I need time for rest and receptivity – it’s necessary for me to make space for new experiences and ideas in order to move forward with energy and focus. I’ve learned that I’m way more effective when I’m not tapped out and overextended. I’ve also learned that inspiration is what creates motivation for me, and just how I need periods of productivity, I also need the space to be replenished.
Our needs and process are unique. They are also dynamic and shift over time. We all have our cycles in work and life, and we must respect them. The period of rest is just as important as the productive period. As we enter new seasons, we can make space for ourselves to cultivate awareness around the previous ones and integrate what we’ve learned.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you reflect on your seasons and cycles:
What cycles have I experienced this year? Think back over the past months and explore what themes or areas of focus have come up for you. Think about how you moved through those periods and what that looked like. Look for ways you can be more intentional in your process of transition.
When was the last time I took a break? Do I need one now? We’ve been inundated with messages driving home the need to hustle, grind and “make it happen”. While seasons of productivity can be important and necessary, sustaining that level of output is exhausting and doesn’t work for everyone. Think about whether it’s time to slow down and take a minute (or a month).
Do I allow space for all seasons in my cycle? It’s helpful to be aware of how we allow ourselves to experience seasons. Take a look at how you adjust your lifestyle and routines according to what you need during a certain time. Pay attention to what you tell yourself about your seasons and where you might get stuck or be resistant.
Am I prioritizing one season over the others? Why? Consider which seasons you make more space for. Explore your beliefs and why particular seasons may be more or less important or acceptable to you. Sometimes we judge ourselves or experience judgment from others about slowing down or taking on more.
What season am I in now? Be aware of your needs and priorities, and whether your daily routines are in alignment with them. Think about what’s motivating you, and what you may be avoiding. Find ways to be more intentional around being in your current season or navigating changes if you’re in transition.
Need support and tools for getting clear about your seasons & cycles, or moving through a transition? Let’s connect over a session!