Episode 17: I’m Back! What I Learned During My Unplanned Podcast Hiatus
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Hi. I'm Victoria Hefty, and welcome to Activate Purpose, where I talk about finding purpose through action while balancing motherhood and career. In today's episode, I'm going to share how a four-week break from podcasting led to a four-month break, and what I learned about myself during that time. I'll also share how my tendency to take action and quickly execute in ideas ironically left my paralyzed when it came to slow down. So, let's get started.
First, let's get the big news out of the way. Why did I take what was originally intended to be a short break from podcasting? Well, it's because my husband and I are actually expecting the arrival of our second child soon. We're super excited. We just, you know, after many of you know, after our first miscarriage last year, this was welcome news. It's been both a blessing and a little bit of a curse, as I'll share about in a little bit.
The pregnancy itself doesn't explain the break, but the first trimester pregnancy symptoms do. I know they say every pregnancy is different, but I was completely unprepared for the terrible nausea. I mean, my first pregnancy was like occasionally I would get a little bit nauseous. This was just like a much more debilitating sense every day that was really exhausting. I also had a lot of dizziness and lightheadedness. So you know, if I was standing up for more than 5, 10 minutes, I would just need to sit down or feel like I was passing out. This was just in the first trimester, so I was ... It was just exhausting. Let's just put it that way. Not to mention, I was still working and running around with my three-year-old. You just don't get the down time that you do with your first pregnancy.
Getting through the day was difficult. Like I said, chasing my three-year around took it to a whole nother level. Then, really, if you ... If I'm being honest, my level of paranoia about the viability of the pregnancy, given that I did have a miscarriage, that was pretty devastating. You could see why combined with all the symptoms and everything, I just really didn't want to push myself. So, I decided, "You know what? Let me just take a break from podcasting, take a break from actually a lot of other things, and focus on sort of what's the minimal amount that I can do to just sort of get by during the day."
What I didn't know was that after the four weeks were up ... So, I sort of had in my head, like give myself four weeks. that will sort of get me to the second trimester. Everyone says it's the second. It's called, for those who haven't been pregnant, it's called the honeymoon period or supposed to sort of be when the symptoms sort of slow down a little bit. But for me, they actually didn't. The symptoms were there, but they were actually worse, number one. Then two, I started feeling like I was slacking and not living up to my own expectation about taking action and doing the things I love. Because like I said, I was just trying to do the minimal stuff to get me through the day. I started feeling like I was making excuses rather than listening to my body, which leads me to one of the many epiphanies I had this summer.
I realized about two months into this sort of self-imposed break that I have a problem. I mean, everyone has a problem, but I feel like I have a problem. That problem is that sometimes I just need to sit down and quit acting on things so dang much. So, what do I mean by that? Well, I'm sure you've heard that your biggest strength is also your biggest weakness. For me, that is the ability to have an idea and quickly turn it into action. For example, when I thought about creating my website Philly Baby Bump and had zero knowledge or expertise in that area, I did my research, and launched a landing page that weekend, had a proper website two weeks later with tons of content. Similarly, when I decided to host this podcast, I went from zero knowledge, again, you could see the trend, to researching and finding a recording studio, meeting the owner, recording my first trailer and episode all within literally like five or six days.
The point is, I know how to execute. I thrive in those moments. The problem is that type of action takes a lot of focus, energy, and enthusiasm. Those are three things among many that I just did not have during the first few months of my pregnancy. So in my mind, I wasn't, quote, unquote, doing anything productive outside of working part-time and taking care of my daughter. So when I compared this to my first pregnancy when I was working full-time and in demanding job, I was going to prenatal fitness classes three to four times a week. I was waking up early, like super early and going to bed late to work on my podcast or my blog. So, when I started to compare my second pregnancy to my first, I don't know. I know it's irrational, but I really felt ashamed. I felt inadequate, and I was kind of even anxious about what I considered to be, again, slacking off. It seems a bit ridiculous, right? But you know, in that moment, it was very real for me.
So, I don't know how I stumbled onto this concept of seasons, and how nature has seasons for a reason. I've heard people say, "It's the season for this." Usually it's like in a Christian sense, but this was a very different way of thinking about seasons. So as I was preparing for this podcast, I found an article that summed up exactly how I was feeling. So in the article, it's titled Life, Like Nature, Has Seasons. So, the author ... and I'll have, obviously, an excerpt of this article in the show notes. The author describes a point in his life when he is struggling. He writes, and I quote, "This is a period of grieving what was but is no more, all while facing the anxiety of not knowing what's next or on what time frame it will come to fruition. There's a sense of stillness, or perhaps hibernation. After experiencing not long ago a season characterized by business and bounty, I have deep misgivings right now about not doing enough, as though I should be taking more aggressive steps to move my life forward."
That is exactly what I was feeling. This place of stillness brought on by a difficult pregnancy was making me feel like I was just not doing enough. I realized that in a small way I have an OCD-like obsession to be constantly busy. I have let this action, or as many people know, this activator side of my personality drive my sense of worth and often use business to calm my anxiety about the future instead of just embracing the feeling of now knowing what is next. Recognizing this problem forced me to embrace this period of not doing, as I called it.
At this point, it was the middle of the summer. I decided to just finish out my project. I'd purposely taken an even longer break from podcasting. At this point, we're like three months in. Even though this, luckily ... I should say fortunately. I was actually starting to physically feel better, so the honeymoon period was sort of sliding in there, and I decided, "You know what? I'm just going to enjoy not working on the next idea, or creative outlet, or consulting project. I'm just not going to do it. Not going to do anything other than really take care of my daughter and kind of just enjoy the summer."
It took a while to adjust, but I learned a lot about the beauty of not waking up with a to-do list and just letting the summer days and weeks pass by. I mean, I just don't think that I really allowed myself the, quote, unquote, luxury of doing that. Because I feel at times when my daughter was in school, or camp, or some sort of program in the mornings, I felt like I needed to be doing something because that time was so valuable. It's like, do, do, do, do, do, because like I said, calming that anxiety. But really, once, like a couple week into this doing nothing, you know, waking up, eating breakfast, kind of just maybe writing in my journal, reading a book or maybe not, just sitting on the couch, I have to say, it was pretty amazing once I got used to it.
For some people, that might not be a breakthrough, right? It's like, "Okay, Victoria. You're sitting on the couch. Great." But for me, taking an unintended step backward allowed me to reset and savor all that I had done up to that point. The break really also allowed for a nice buildup as the summer ended. I was excited to start the podcast again and share ideas that I'd been thinking about on the couch when I was, quote, unquote, doing nothing. Most importantly, I wasn't acting on things for once, you know? I was just letting ideas, and thoughts, and feelings marinate in my head and allowing them to really giving them the space to evolve.
So, I'm excited to share some more of my experiences this summer with you over the next couple of episodes. And I'm thrilled to be back on air, talking about the up and down rollercoaster that is activating my purpose. So, thank you all for being patient with me. You know, this is real life. This is what happens, you know? I wish I could say that I had a more, like I said, a more huge breakthrough reason for why I took four-month break. But really, I listened to my body and it kind of forced me to slow down. Then, I really began to enjoy that, and I feel that I ended the summer, one, more excited, refreshed, and just eager to see what this next chapter, or I should say the fall and winter, has in store for me. So overall, I think it was a wonderful, wonderful idea, and I encourage everyone to do that at one point in time.
My challenge for you is to think about what season of life are you in. As the author mentioned, are you in a season full of busyness and bounty, or are you in a season of stillness and hibernation? For some of you, the answer may be neither, right? And there's no shame in that. But, I would challenge you to think of ways to either perhaps amp things up, not to just give yourself busywork, but are you, have you been in this sort of stillness and hibernation period for like months on end, or even years? And if so, maybe it's time to, like I said, ante up things. Or, is it a time, like I needed, to dial it down depending on what your body and spirit is telling you? So if you are a busybody that is constantly trying to fill up your time with stuff, or activities, or projects, be honest with yourself. And when the time makes sense, see what you can learn by slowing things down. The answer just may surprise you.
If you have any questions or want to learn more about my experience, or have any questions, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love getting emails. I'm always pretty quick to respond. You can also find the transcript and show notes of everything I've talked about today at activatepurpose.com/episode17. Lastly, if you enjoyed today's episode, make sure to leave a review and subscribe to receive next week's. Until next time.