Why Knowing Your Personal Rhythms Is Essential

Because they have such an impact on things like energy level, mental focus and creativity, I’ve studied how my personal rhythms intersect with seasonal rhythms over nearly a decade. One inescapable conclusion I’ve reached is this:

There are certain moments throughout the year that are difficult for me. Always. Every year. In every way.

The month of August is one of them. Insalubrious weather, family and household responsibilities, the sluggish energy of my ecosystem and a natural dip in personal energy all collide to flatten me physically while my creativity simply goes dormant.

Essentially, August puts me on pause.

It’s an interesting and unavoidable state of being that has a real impact on how I do my work and which parts of my business get my attention.

I will not – of course – ever shortchange clients. So, in August everything outside client sessions – blog, newsletter, creating new workshops or classes – follows my creativity into dormancy until I can feel the earth’s shift toward September and autumn’s gathering/winnowing energy.

I’m not the only one (or I wouldn’t be telling you this story).

Everyone has personal rhythms that intersect with seasonal rhythms and the rhythms of their local ecosystem and of their families and the industries they work in. That’s how nature works.

Where things can get self-defeating, though, is when we end up fighting our rhythms because we aren’t aware of them.

I fought my way through August for years until I figured out what was happening. Now, I adjust both my expectations and my energy output so I’m working as much with August’s influence as possible.

Am I always successful? Hell no. This year – knowing all that I know – I chose to commit to a class which asks me to attend regular sessions and to create and meet project deadlines and I’m struggling a bit. I made the choice because the class continues into late winter, so I know I’ll be able to consistently meet my commitment with greater ease beginning in a few weeks.

So, (I’ll bet you knew this was coming) are you aware of your rhythms?

If you look back over the past 12 months, can you identify times when the usual daily patterns just didn’t work? When you felt as if you were pushing boulders uphill – or being chased downhill by them? Think over the previous 12 months. Any repeat performances? Same pattern, same time-frame?

Looking back over journal entries, old calendars or planners can help identify your rhythms, too. And, if you don’t have those resources available, simply start observing now.

Seasonal rhythms – like my August aversion – take the most time to identify because you need to notice your rhythms for at least 12 – 24 months. Weekly, daily, monthly and lunar rhythms are much easier to track and identify and then work with to make your life – and your working life – more flow, less thud.

Who can’t use more flow, less thud?

Tracie Nichols writes poetry and facilitates group writing experiences from under the wide reach of two old Sycamore trees in southeastern Pennsylvania. She is the co-founder of the Embodied Writers writing group and a Transformative Language Artist helping women write themselves home. You can find Tracie on her website.

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