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EP4 // Self-Care & The Sacred Pause

2021 happiness hack Jun 21, 2021
Shannon Klenk Chronic Illness Coach Episode 4

Hey beautiful!  Sometimes you just need a sacred pause.  I sure did!

In this episode I share tips & tricks on how to listen to your body & spirit when you aren’t getting done all the things you want to get done.  When you aren’t moving as far or as fast as you’d like.  How to take a sacred pause.  (PS.  I just took a four week one!)

Takeaways from today’s episode:

  1. Don’t judge your insides by everyone else’s outsides.
  2. Keep moving.
  3. If there is a project you are disappointed isn’t moving forward as fast as you would like, pick one thing, just one, to do everyday toward your goal.  
  4. Give yourself permission to listen to your body.  
  5. Schedule your energy/bandwidth, not your time.  
  6. Prioritize what is most important to you and say no to the rest.


Hey Beautiful, and Welcome to Finally Effing Happy, a podcast and community for kick-ass, can-do women living with chronic illness. I am happiness coach and self care strategist Shannon Klenk and I will share with you some of my personal journey to joy with chronic illness while hosting some amazing guest speakers, sharing tons of happiness hacks and self care strategies so you too can live in joy and happiness despite whatever chronic illness you may be living with day to day.


I am absolutely thrilled that you are here for today's episode. Hello, my Finally Effing Happy sisters, I am so excited that you are here, and even selfishly, I am so excited that I am here, because as many of you know, Finally Effing Happy went dark there for about six weeks. I thought it had only been a month, but I went back to my calendar and the last time I posted was six weeks ago because I have been riding one of those waves of depression and self-pity.


It is so much better than it used to be. But I have been spending this time fueling my tank, reconnecting to my tools so that I can show up fully and in ways that are supportive to other people. Because when I say to you, you need to put your own oxygen mask on first, I take it personally, and I have needed to do that as well over the last six weeks. And I'm going to share a little bit about that with you today and then start bringing you more regular episodes moving forward.


And so this sacred pause, as I refer to it, a girlfriend of mine by the name of Andrea, she said, no, no, Shannon it sounds like you're just taking a sacred pause because I was feeling guilty about a handful of things that just weren't getting done. I was feeling guilty that I was feeling so heavy and depressive and really finding it hard to see joy or levity in things and sort of staying silent about it, you know. Have you ever judged your insides to other people's outsides?


And what I mean by that is I did such a good job this last winter, this coronavirus pandemic winter, staying super vigilant about my own self care strategies and happiness hacks. I live in the Northern Hemisphere where it's cold and I knew that particularly in the dark months of December and January and February, I was going to need to be really diligent about my self care and I was and I sort of anticipated that when spring arrived, I was going to spring right along with it.


And that is so not what happened. And the first couple of weeks, I sort of kept it secret. Right, because  I got this I'll just, you know, put in motion all the things I know how to do and it'll pass. And it didn't. It just seemed to get heavier and as I was sharing with my girlfriend, Andrea, my frustration about things like Finally Effing Happy, which I wanted it to, I wanted to be doing more, faster.


And she said, oh, no, Shannon, this just sounds like a sacred pause. And the sacred pause came from two sources. One of them was, I really did anticipate that when spring arrived, I was going to spring too. I don't know where I was springing to, but I was sort of expecting that as it got warmer and the sun came out and the days got longer, I was going to magically feel this levity.


And this is after this coronavirus political upheaval, social unrest, everything else that's been going on in our country and in our world, that I was just going to feel this levity with spring and I didn't feel that. And it took me by surprise. And I was doing that age old comparison-itis. And I study happiness. I know that one of the top three happiness killers is comparison-itis, and I just couldn't stop the comparison. I was watching people who are bubbling with joy at springtime in their vaccines and having some more freedoms and so on and so forth.


And I just didn't feel that. And it took me by surprise. And on came the heaviness. And then the second piece that I want to share, because this is really common for those of us who live with chronic conditions. And this is not a statement on coronavirus. It is not a statement on vaccines or masks or to mask or not to mask or vaccine or not to vaccine. Not at all. This is a statement about how those of us with chronic conditions process medical information and make decisions for ourselves.


And I was in a two or three week period of time where I was daily taking in new, very complex, complicated medical information to try and make the best decision for me and my condition and my family and our values. And I was exhausted by it, quite frankly. And as you know, in the current condition with coronavirus, no matter what information we get, just by nature of time, the information is incomplete. There are so many unknowns and how to make the best medical decision we can make in the face of so many unknowns.


And I think that might have been the camel, the straw that broke the camel's back, not the camel that broke the camel's back. But you know what I'm trying to say? I think that that was the straw that broke the camel's back. And I just was ready to crawl into bed for, like, maybe the next six months. I don't know.


And so throughout this whole pandemic period, I have tried to stay informed, but not obsessive. And that's a fine line, right?


We are responsible for our health care. I am responsible to advocate for me. I am responsible to be educated as best I can as a lay person about my condition. But I can also get super overwhelmed and obsessed with it. And so finding that delicate balance somewhere in between. So those two pieces not feeling spring with spring here and a barrage of medical information that was complex, intense and very weighty, I just I just had to cocoon in and take care of me.


And so what does it look like to cocoon and take care of you and I want to honor those times when you do need to pause and cocoon in and take care of you, because those are very sacred, special times. If I can hold them with that spirit of sacredness and not the spirit of should and guilt and shame. Because when I hold it with the shoulds and the guilt and the shame, it just seems to suck more energy out of me.


So what are some of the things in particular that I did during this time? I kept moving. I didn't move as far as I wanted or as fast as I wanted, but I kept moving and I in particular regarding Finally Effing Happy, because that's a place where I felt a lot of guilt. I did one thing every day, just one thing every day. Obviously, I didn't post any podcasts, but I learned new skills. I learned new emailing skills.


I learned new social media skills. I learned new audio editing skills every day. I just maybe watch a five minute YouTube video. And then I did one thing. Maybe I emailed one of my work colleagues. I did one thing right. I just did one thing every day to know that that momentum was continuing. I prioritized my bandwidth, not my time. I'm not a big fan of time management for those of us with chronic conditions. I am a big fan of bandwidth management.


The hardest part about bandwidth management for you and me is having the humility to accept the amount of bandwidth I want or excuse me, the amount of bandwidth I have. So on any given day, let's say I want. Right, I want a bandwidth of 100 percent bandwidth, but I know either physically or emotionally, I only got 60 percent. So I need to just schedule in 60 percent, and if I only have 60 percent, then I have to put the most important things in first.


And sometimes I have obligations like work obligations or deadlines or bills that absolutely have to get paid, or my son has a doctor's appointment or things that are time sensitive. And so those obviously go in first. And then right after that, I prioritize what's most important. And my self care has to come first and that includes my taking time to eat right. It includes taking time for some prayer and meditation. Sometimes it includes movement, sometimes it includes a nap.


It just depends because the second part of that prioritizing is giving yourself permission to listen to your body. And I literally and I would encourage you to do this, too, I literally would stand in front of my mirror and say, Shan today. Just this morning. I give you permission to listen to your body. And what that meant was some days listening to my body meant I would go on a short walk, some days that meant I would take a nap or sit on the couch for an hour, hour and a half in the afternoon.


And I don't know about you, but I still struggle with that.  I am an Olympic level sleeper.


Truly. I could probably out sleep just about any of you. I think we should have a sleep competition, but when it comes to guilt free afternoon napping, it's something I'm still working on. How about you? But listening to my body some days my legs just went done, done, you're not you're not going up and down the stairs doing laundry anymore. Done. And so I gave myself permission to listen to your body. Now, that also meant on one particular night when my husband and I were playing some gin rummy, just playing cards at the table for something to do.


Oh, man. There was a box, a bit of honey in my cupboard. I mean, what's your favorite candy bar? I don't need a lot of straight sugar like that, but that bit of honey was calling to me and I had a gigantic handful of it and it was like a little slice of heaven, quite literally, hot coffee and bit of honey who's like a little slice of heaven. And again, it was this place of giving myself permission to listen to my body.


Now, I don't do that every day. I don't do it all the time. But that place of  what am I craving? What is my spirit and soul asking for right now? So give yourself permission to listen to your body. And then, last but not least, and I'm sure this comes as no surprise, I shared about it. The first couple of weeks, I didn't share about it. Right, like "uh I can muscle through this," but then I have a small posse of women, and I hope you have a small posse of women, too.


And if you don't have a small posse of women, come join us in Finally Effing Happy, reach out to me. Those people I can be raw with and say, you know, I know I have no real reason to be down. I have this amazing life, so much goodness. And I'm feeling this heaviness and this weightiness that despite the fact that I'm doing quote unquote, all the right things, it's still here. And I just need to ride this wave.


And even as close as I am with some of my girlfriends, there are a couple of times where I just oh, I didn't want to get on the phone again and tell one of my girlfriends that Yeah. Nope. Still sort of in the same place. Haven't shaken it off yet. Right. But made sure to maintain some of those connections so that I wasn't all alone in my own head with it. So sisterhood, sisterhood, sisterhood. And with all that said, I hope that whatever you are feeling this spring, whether you are feeling that optimism and the levity from the light and the longer days and the joy that's coming ahead, yay!


Or if you're not feeling that and you're feeling the heaviness and the pressure and the fear and the concern about what might be next. I hold that in its sacredness as well. And if you are in a period of being productive and active yay! And if you're in a period where you need to be taking a sacred pause and prioritizing the most important things and just doing those to honor that time and moment. And so I am back. I have taken the time to refuel, retool, reconnect so that I can show up here at Finally Effing Happy, but also in all the other areas of my life that I do, just like you do so that you and I both can support, love on, care for all of those that we do.


And I can't wait to be sharing more with you in the days and weeks ahead.


Thank you so much for joining me today. I just appreciate you from the very bottom of my soul. And if there is anything that you heard in today's episode that you really identified with that has helped you in any way, please write a review on Apple podcast. Or if you have a girlfriend that could really use to hear this, that might be helpful to her. Maybe she needs to honor her sacred pause, forward it to her or post it, even better, on your social media and tag me at Finally Effing Happy and I will connect with you.


If you want to hang out some more, come join me. I hang out in my Facebook group. It's a free private group. You can join it at And if social media isn't your jam, you can join my email list so as not to miss out on any episodes and I have some amazing guests scheduled. I'm super excited to get that part of Finally Effing Happy rocking and rolling here.


And if you don't want to miss out on any of those, come join my email list and you can join the email list at or come join me on Instagram, facebook, you can find me anywhere Finally Effing Happy and until we connect next, be well and be kind to you today.

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