I like to think of myself as a pretty good dancer. Which is fortunate, because no-one else does.
But when I have a couple of champagnes, or when I listen to Dance Apocalyptic while cooking dinner, none of that matters because I am convinced I look amazing.
What I actually look like is this:
But that’s OK. I feel like I have rhythm. The moves feel good. I feel comfortable. Yes, I look like a frog in a blender, but I feel great.
And that’s what rhythm is all about. Feeling comfortable. Knowing the tempo, knowing the moves, knowing (or not knowing, but feeling OK about that) what comes next.
Feeling good in my day is one of the main reasons I aspire to having rhythms (not routines) to my mornings, my days, my weeks. You can read more about my reasons for that here, but suffice to say rhythm is a much friendlier way to approach your days, and as far as I’m concerned, rhythm is where it’s at.
But what happens when you mis-step? When your flow is interrupted? When the tempo changes unexpectedly? When someone gets all up in your dancefloor space and throws you off your game? What happens when you fall out of rhythm?
How do you get that back? Or how do you find a new one when you’re reeling? When you’re struggling? When you’re stuck doing the Running Man and getting nowhere? (Sorry. I’ll stop the dancing analogy now.)
That’s where I’ve been for the past couple of weeks. I’ve lost touch with my rhythms, some of my circumstances have changed, we’ve been fighting virus after virus here at home and things felt really freaking hard all of a sudden.
It left me feeling anxious and overwhelmed and depressed. Everything that used to just happen as part of my rhythms suddenly stopped happening. Things that were easy got really difficult. I thought there was something wrong with me.
Turns out I just lost my rhythm.
So how do we get it back?
1. Check in with your discipline.
First I needed to figure out if my rhythm had to change or if I needed to sack up and re-engage my discipline. Turns out it was the latter.
I had gotten a little lazy in the approach to my days, and things had fallen by the wayside.
I had stopped writing my 3-item to-do list. I had stopped working through my Dailies and my Weeklies. I had been doing what I felt like doing, rather than what I had already established needed doing.
I got back to the things I know work for me, stopped being lazy and suddenly my rhythms felt a little closer to being right.
So check in and see that you’re still doing those things you know are necessary. Sure, you might not want to. But if you’ve worked through the process of establishing rhythms already, you know those tasks need doing for a reason.
So do them.
2. See what else has made its way in to your days.
Commitments, responsibilities, projects, shoulds, yeses and new interests all squeeze their way into our daily lives over time.
I’ve got two new projects underway that weren’t on the radar when I established my rhythms earlier in the year and I hadn’t made any room for them. But there I was, expecting those same rhythms to continue to help me get it all done.
I needed to shift things around, re-prioritise, decide on what remained important and what was no longer a high priority. Continuing to do that helps me see where I need to make more space and makes it easier to spot those time-sucks and energy vampires that sneak in to my days.
So re-evaluate the current flow of your days. What’s changed? What habits have slipped? What seemingly small shifts have happened? These could be the key to finding that rhythm again.
3. Finally, be kind to yourself.
Some seasons of life – be them a day, a week or a month – are tougher than others. Life has a way of squeezing meetings and phone calls and sick kids and deadlines in to the same week. Understand that there is going to be ebb and flow to your life, and accept that there will be seasons of busy-ness. This is not a failing on your part.
I can see that these few weeks would have been busy regardless of my rhythm, simply because a whole heap of stuff happened at the same time. While it’s helped a lot to take the first two steps and check in with myself, it’s also helped to show myself some kindness.
It takes the pressure off a little and stops me from making it seem worse than it really is.
So by all means, check in, re-evaluate, re-prioritise and re-invigorate your rhythms, but understand that this rhythm-less phase will pass soon enough. And in the meantime, be kind to yourself.
Losing your rhythm is not necessarily a bad thing. It can force us to re-evaluate and re-establish our priorities, and help us see what stuff should be removed or downgraded from our days. It doesn’t feel good at the time, but work through it and you’ll be ripping up the dancefloor again in no time.