My To-Do List
As I plunged into attempting to touch on everything that I knew I had to get done, I felt an anxious feeling creep over me. However, because I was trying to keep my cool, I decided to do one thing at a time and continued going through my list.
I started with sending out my ARC (advanced reading copy) and letters to Oprah, The O Magazine’s Editor-In-Chief and Ellen. Yes! Whew! That was something that had to get done! Unfortunately, I was so focused on the letter writing that I totally forgot to include my email and phone contact information. Ugh! Yes, I have never before made this mistake. This should have made me realize I was overwhelmed and not clear-headed. But, I still did not yet realize. Instead, I chose to look on the bright side, it gave me a second chance to reach out. Hence, I sent a direct message to each of their Instagram accounts giving them the pertinent information. We’ll see what happens. I’ll be honest, that’s frustrating and embarrassing!
I began to concentrate on my social media accounts, updating my personal information on each page, posting on each page and doing some Facebook ads. A feeling of accomplishment was beginning to take over me.
Continuing without breaks
I acquired a few more book reviewers and received some more five-star reviews. I was feeling really good and the anxiety I had been feeling before was now diminishing. Therefore, I decided to continue working hard to get through my list of to-do’s. Still, not taking any breaks, not even for a proper lunch, I forged on.
However, as I looked over my ever-growing list that overwhelming feeling came over me once again – heavy breathing, butterflies at the back of my throat. I knew what I needed to accomplish, but my head was feeling like mush, very foggy and I could not clear my thoughts. I had scattered thoughts.
Taking a break!
Because I was not getting anywhere and I had been working from morning straight through to the evening, my husband suggested I take a break. I did not want to but I decided to take his advice and took an entire week off! We decided we’d explore the surrounding area of our new home state, Florida. I was hesitant yet excited!
Visiting other towns
The first day, we jumped in our car and drove to nearby Plant City! Not much to do there this time of year but we walked around and chatted. It was enjoyable! I relished in the quiet and calm I was beginning to feel. After about an hour, we decided to move on to the Tampa area. What a surprise! It was beautiful and relatively quiet for a city. We walked along the Riverwalk, visited The University of Tampa, had lunch in a quaint Sushi joint and, decided we wanted to ride on the TECO Line Streetcar. Unfortunately, it started to rain, so we decided we’d head back to our car and return to Tampa another time. We loved what we saw of Tampa!
Exercise, Nature, Friends
The following day, we played golf in our community and then wound down over dinner and wine with friends. Thankfully, I was beginning to feel like myself again. The next day, we visited Bok Tower Gardens. OMG! What a beautiful four hours that was! The pictures don’t even translate the true beauty and serenity of this place. People, if you are ever in Central Florida, please do yourself a favor and visit Bok Tower Gardens. You won’t regret it! I promise you. I slept the entire night, not waking up until morning!
Because I was well-rested, I decided to get physical exercise the next day. So, my husband and I played pickle ball. What a treat! We had not played in months. Although it was exhausting, it was also exhilarating! Needless to say, but I will, I slept straight through the night again!
When we awoke, my husband suggested we go for a hike around the lakes near where we live. On our way there, we remembered some friends suggesting that we visit a place called Circle B Bar Reserve. Gregg put the name in his phone and we were off. As we pulled in, we knew we were going to love this place.
Taking in the view
We parked and started our trek along a dirt path with dragonflies and butterflies skirting across our path. We walked through a lush surrounding area, which eventually opened up to a few ponds with a variety of birds, more butterflies and dragonflies and, when we turned onto another path, guess what else we spotted ahead of us – a bobcat! Well, at that point, we turned around and headed in the opposite direction. No need to draw attention to ourselves.
We walked past an open area of grasses and pine trees with eagles soaring above and, again, butterflies, dragonflies, blue herons and, ducks swimming in the nearby ponds. At the junction to the parking lot was another path leading to the lake. Since we were not ready to head home yet, we decided to journey toward the lake. Another OMG moment!
The lake and its inhabitants
The lake to the left was huge and open and had a multitude of humungous alligators, blue herons, egrets and other birds flying above it. Beautiful and, yes, scary too! I quickly got over my fright though. The beauty took over my fright! On the right of the path was another bed of water. However, this one had algae covering the top of it, huge oak trees with Spanish moss hanging over the branches and a multitude of grasses growing throughout. It was gorgeous and made us feel like we were walking among the setting of a fairy tale.
Because we had already been gone a few hours and it was quite humid, we decided we should head back to the car and get some lunch. Once at home, we had lunch and cleaned up. We played nine holes of golf to end the day. My husband asked what I thought I’d want to do in the morn and I decided, “I’m ready to do a little work.”
Back to writing
Taking time off, spending time with my husband and visiting with nature were the best things I could have done for myself. It cleared my head and, I was inspired to get back to work. I was also inspired to begin another novel! That’s right! The most important thing though was I remembered that balance is key to a sound and clear mind and healthy body.
Balance is key
I say all this to say, when you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, get away from what is giving you that feeling. Take a break! Have fun and clear your head. Getting out in nature, being around others and exercising tend to do it for me. I realized I was not living a balanced, well-rounded life. I was working too hard and not taking any time off. Now, I’m back on track and feel great!
Remember, be balanced and don’t try to do everything at once. You’ll only end up making silly mistakes. It’s a marathon, not a hundred-yard dash! So, do what makes you happy and helps you feel at peace, because when you get back to work you’ll be refreshed and better able to handle the job at hand.