Give yourself permission to work and play, to create and have self care

By Charlotte Brammer – Initially posted on Inside Toronto


Sometimes in life we get stuck, and often we don’t know exactly why this is. We might resist our forward movement hunkering down in the ‘norm’ revelling in our comfort zones. Other times we might self-sabotage either due to fear or a belief that we won’t succeed.

Still other times we can find ourselves exhausted and in need of decompressing from our lives after they ran away from us leaving us adrift and drained.

Sometimes we simply lack a vision of what we want to create in life and so have nowhere to turn or go. Each of these situations and each moment we find ourselves stuck and yearning for more will call for a different remedy, a different perspective on ourselves, on our lives and the world.

We need to challenge our outdated beliefs on what we are capable of and what the world can do for us.
We need to feel our fears and do them any way, especially when it comes to fulfilling our dreams.
We need to take time to play and rest and take care of ourselves, especially in times when things are going well. We need to sit in silence and take a good long hard look at our hearts, to connect with and discover what we are calling ourselves to do and become.

All of these things take courage, they take faith and they take self-trust, something that can be hard to come by when things look especially bleak. Learning to set healthy boundaries so we aren’t leaking energy in all the wrong places will go a long way to helping us cope in bleak, and joyful times.

Ultimately, however, there is a duality in play within that we are constantly walking and trying to balance.

Ultimately, however, there is a duality in play within that we are constantly walking and trying to balance. The opposing flow of wanting more out of life and wanting to regress to a state of childlike bliss, free of responsibility. It is sometimes hard to know when to give into each of these forces as they pull us in different directions.
Let’s take a moment now and explore the pull of each.

Two sides of the spectrum, where do you fall?

The pull of wanting more out of life, out of our careers and out of our relationships is a healthy drive. When this drive becomes overactive and unbalanced, it can lead to burn out. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in this forward movement and never relent then we become overextended; some may recognize this as workaholism.

We never slow down and seem to be burning full speed ahead or burning the candle at both ends. We start hemorrhaging energy and are tired all the time. These are the times when things are going so fast we feel like if we can just hold on until it is over, then we can finally breathe.

You can probably recognize times when you were operating only in this mode; and when you finally got downtime found yourself suddenly sick with the flu or a cold as if your body is finally telling you that you have been too busy, too frantic and didn’t take care of yourself.

Even though we seem to be getting a lot done when we are focusing, this momentum and speed can never last as we cannot maintain it. Sustainability is a big part of creating a joyful life that has both forward enrichment and playful rest.


After a time of the hectic pace, of trying to continually create, we find ourselves falling into the previous category of needing downtime.

After a time of the hectic pace, of trying to continually create, we find ourselves falling into the previous category of needing downtime. We desperately need a vacation or at least just some alone time to catch up on sleep, maybe to do some yoga and eat some vegetables. At this point, if this particular dynamic is one of yours, you probably recognize that by the end of the non-stop momentum, you were no longer eating healthy or exercising because you just didn’t have the energy for either. For those who fall into the extremes of the regressing dynamic, our lives can fall apart.

We can isolate ourselves and hunker down. Our stressors never fully go away, we realize that we need to get out of our comfy pants and try to create again if even for the simple fact that we need money to eat, but we just don’t want the responsibilities any more.
In the extreme, we can lose touch with our dreams, question if anything in life is actually worth it or makes a difference. We question every dream or choice we contemplate and keep ourselves totally stuck in indecision. Even when our true desires surface and peak through, we stomp them away with over thinking and giving into fear mentalities.

The longer we stay stuck in this place of wanting no responsibilitiesm, the more our lives fall apart around us, and the more our lives fall apart around us, the more we dig into this mentality because now it is so much harder and so much farther to climb out again.

Again we can find ourselves exhausted, dejected, depressed and anxious, the same as when we are too far on the other side of the spectrum. Both sides are a type of stagnation, a type of resistance. We are in a way trying to resist what is, whether that is external circumstances, internal feelings states or dreams we are calling ourselves to create.


Paving a new way of being
So how do we stop this pattern? First is learning your particular pattern, how things contribute and what things trigger the swing from one side to the other.

The other is looking over the beliefs that are keeping this pendulum swing in your life. Once you can clearly see your own process, you can begin to hold yourself accountable and you can pursue balance.

This may seem like a daunting task, but there really isn’t anything easier. It is so easy in the moment to ignore the voice inside that tells us that we really need to shut off the computer and go home on time tonight so we can relax with a good meal and a good book.

Instead we just stay once again until 10 p.m. finishing those final few emails. The catch is that choosing the initially easier option isn’t easier in the long run.
Staying present in what we need and desire in the moment doesn’t have to be a battle. Even when our work responsibilities, for example, get in the way of say needing to take a day off, we can still take small breaks and little moments for some mental and emotional sanity.

A question you can ask yourself is on which side of the spectrum do you spend the most time and why? Neither is truly helpful in the long term if they lack the other. Energy to remain in motion has to go out and come back again, it has to continually move and flow back and forth and when we can honour this process in ourselves then we truly create magic.

Perhaps now is a time where you can make a promise to give yourself permission to work and play, to create and self care.

Charlotte Brammer is a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and equine assisted therapist at Helix Healthcare Group. Charlotte’s main areas of expertise are in overcoming chronic debilitating emotions such as anxiety, unhealthy behavioural patterns and connecting with and owning our ability to dream and create chemistry with our lives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *