Recharging During the Off Season
A friend recently told me to enjoy the off season. My first reaction was "What off season?!" I've been shooting, editing, organizing and working behind the scenes all winter and at times it really hasn't felt like an "off" season. But as I prepare for this new year of weddings I've realized that I really need to slow down and enjoy this time right now. I'm still working hard but I do have more flexibility now than any other time of year and I have to force myself to enjoy each moment of it.
A lot of my time is spent with my son Jonathan. We go on "adventures" (code word for errands;)), we play, he takes napes, I catch up on Fixer Upper. It's been a really sweet pace of life and while I constantly want to keep going and going and going with my business, I've really tried to allow myself time to just breath!
One of the ways that I wanted to just "breath" this year was by focusing on my health during the off season. It started small with giving up soda. I was never a huge soda drinker before but the thought of putting chemicals and sugar into my body for a drink that let's be real, wasn't really that satisifying, was enough for me to say no. It started at just January, spread into February, then March and then April.
I really thought that it was just going to be soda, I didn't make a New Years resolution to loose weight, go to the gym or any of the typical resolutions one makes. But in January I noticed a Groupon for a gym just down the road from our home. I started attending, and I was hooked! I have a trainer who I work out with once a week. I have cheerleaders pushing me on and it's been one of the best decisions I have made with regard to my health in a long time. I tell my husband every day how thankful I am that we have made room in the budget for a gym membership. And even though most days I have to wake up at 5:00am to get to class, I count my blessings as I move my legs, raise my heart rate and sweat my tushy off. I'm so grateful for the supportive environment and the ability to MOVE my body.
Your probably wondering where I'm going with this... I promise I'm getting there!
At the end of February I was talking with a friend about this unplanned health journey I was finding myself on. Dave and I had started to make almost all of our meals at home and from scratch but yet I knew that we could tweak things to be healthier. She recommended that I look into Whole30, an elimination "diet" of sorts. I was VERY hesitant at first as it requires you to cut out sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, preservatives, and processed foods for an entire 30 days. No lattes for 30 days? But let me tell you, it was life changing. Our diet (and our waistlines) have been revolutionized and I look at food in a completely different way now. (If you have questions about Whole30, feel free to share them in the comments below!)
So what does going to the gym and changing our diet have anything to do with recharging in the off season? For me, none of this would have been possible during the middle of wedding season. It's to busy, too overwhelming, to consuming. These past few months have allowed me to truly regroup, refocus and recharge before the busy time of year comes. This time has laid a foundation for my health that will carry me through the end of the year, which would never have happened if I had not taken the time to do so. I've had precious moments to share with my husband and my son. I've taken a nap on the couch (I NEVER NAP) and I've been able to cook almost every dinner for our family (I DON'T COOK!). This "off season" has been a gift and one I'm enitrely grateful for.
If you're a photographer and you find that you're in the middle or end of your down season, take a day (or maybe two or three) to recharge. Step away from the computer, the email, social media and take a moment for yourself. Grab a cup of coffee with your friend that you've been putting off, head to the gym for a class, learn a new recipe, organize your closet. Do something that energizes you and lifts your spirits.
While it is good and necessary to BUILD our businesses during this off season it is as equally important to make time for ourselves. Because when we invest in oursevles, our family and the people that we love, it in turn makes us better photographers, better artists, better creatives. When we are filled, we can then pour into others. And that makes me inrecibly excited about the year ahead! What do you like to do during the off season? How do you recharge and refocus? Any tips on how to make the most of this slower time of year?!