When reflecting on this past year of immense change & growth I've realized that I have stepped forward and owned a lot of things that I truly struggled with for years.
I've let a lot of things go over the past year, and embraced a lot of new opportunities as well.
I can't be all things to all people.
For years I have been trying to keep up with everything I was capable of offering in my Spirit Work instead of focusing on the aspects of my business that truly brought feelings of joy and satisfaction to my heart.
The truth is that being a Psychic Medium can be a very trying thing at times. Possessing inexplicable gifts alone can be draining (especially when constantly in a state of "picking things up" on the periphery). Add to that a heavy helping of being a Full-Time, Professional, Psychic Medium & sometimes you wind up with a recipe of disaster.
Ok I admit - the word "disaster" may be a tad over-dramatic but I'm sure you get where I'm trying to say here.
Earlier this year when I took some much-needed time for myself, my household, my spouse, my mental + emotional + physical well-being; I was reminded of how shameful a choice like this can be for a lot of people. The choice to take a step back is not an easy one. The choice to use the word "Hiatus" is even more terrifying for any small business owner... Let alone a Full-Time / Professional Spirit Worker.
It can be especially hard to admit that a "Hiatus" is needed in a field of work where preaching tools of Self-Care in line with Spiritual wellness is part of the regular 9 to 5. But believe me when I say that practicing what you preach can be a hard pill to swallow.
I mean, there are just so many reasons why that can be difficult... but mostly I think our overly-packaged-perfection-culture born of our Social Feeds is a huge contributor to that disparity in practicing what you preach. That hard balancing act of "Let's get real about the shit we all face - but by the way I can't really show you that I'm a mess too sometimes" while seeking an aesthetic of perfection is difficult to face for many New Age Industry Professionals. Especially when there are times that your personal spiritual practice is laid bare for all to see online (which is totally a truly raw, vulnerable and humbling experience, in my opinion).
The reality is that sometimes when you do bite the bullet to take a step back - some of your clients & following may need you to then further explain on a one-to-one basis what "Hiatus" means for your regular business. Having to even engage on that level can become more trying & exhausting.
All of that being said though, I can now fully appreciate the need to be transparent about having to go on "Hiatus" through my own personal experience with facing that harsh reality this year.
♥ ♥ ♥
Spirit Work is like no other job with the most comparable fields (as ridiculous as this may sound) stacking up to be: counselling & social work.
I know how that may sound to someone that is unfamiliar with the field of Spirit Work. Or even to those that are still skeptical about what I do and also the whole "I'm a Psychic that also sees Dead People" kind of thing.
The reality is that a large part of my "job" when seeing clients is not necessarily staring into a crystal ball to tell you a fortune-cookie, cryptic future. Or even divining the zodiac sign & initials of your soul mate + one true love. I'm just not that kind of Psychic or Spirit Worker. I never have been. And let's face it, I likely never will be either.
A lot of the clients I see are in desperate need of empathy and compassion while in the throes of grief, counselling for issues pertaining to anxiety or depression, or even reassurance that someone they know & love (who is struggling mentally or emotionally in life) will be okay.
Those in regulated fields of counselling and social work receive educational or even on-the-job training in methods of basically "how to deal with others' trauma". That's not even my own personal opinion, but something I was told directly by a counsellor I sought out well over a year ago to deal with this backlog of second-hand trauma I was facing. Second-hand trauma that I've left alone to accumulate over the past 5 years.
So yes, earlier this year I became burnt out from being a Psychic. In January of 2019 alone I performed over 150 one-to-one sessions with clients. In any other field that would be considered ridiculous. In the New Age Industry, and in the field of Spirit Work, this is just considered "working full time" and doing "just enough" to make a living wage.
When you own your own business you don't end up working a regular 9 to 5, 40 hour per week schedule. In fact most small business owners (especially those not tied to a bricks-and-mortar shop or location) will be working upwards of 60+ hours per week, and will also be constantly tuned into every alert or message going off on their phone (from various social media accounts, work e-mails, client phone calls, etc.).
Vacation days, stat holidays, and sick time are seriously foreign concepts to the small business owner. They may ensure that these things exist for their employees (if they have them), but generally when you are an owner of this kind of business you are wearing many hats and pulled into a million different directions.
My e-mail inbox doesn't care if I'm sick. My business phone line isn't considerate of my need for a vacation day (even for mental health). My social feeds won't just bounce back from being away for extended periods of time (I'm sure you noticed that I happened to take a few significant "social detoxes" this year).
In the New Age Industry specifically, a lot of the time spent "working" is not even engaging on a one-to-one basis with our clientele. We are doing our bookkeeping, coming up with growth strategies, engaging in social media & marketing, pouring our hearts into writing free unique content that further serves our clientele, coming up with business policies to make our jobs easier, and more.
As staggering as this may sound - I would chalk about 70% of my "working hours" (at least) up to jobs performed "behind the scenes". The foundational building blocks of my business that pave the way for you to form that unique connection with me. A connection that's simply vital in order for you to even feel any sense of comfort in trusting me to channel Spirit on your behalf.
Because of this (and this is not something to be blamed on anyone) it is assumed that Spirit Workers in the New Age Industry are available to answer questions or address concerns for their clientele 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Weekends, stat holidays, vacation days, sick days be damned.
I came to a point of being so overly accessible to everyone for months at a time on the road for my regular "show season" (Psychic Expo circuit), that I finally had to admit to myself that lacking those regular days / times off for months at a time had taken a toll. I physically became very sick with multiple week-long colds over the course of 2 months earlier this year.
When you regularly don't take those days off, you then have to deal with the accumulative fall-out from missing out on each and every one of those days that you *should've* taken but didn't (which really is for the betterment of your business & ultimately the satisfaction of your clientele).
One thing I absolutely love about being in business for myself and being a part of a community that's just so open and loving (most of the time) - is that my right-brained idea-center is constantly firing & on the go. I have ideas & directions I would love to grow into with my business that could last me for years. The problem is that there is rarely enough hours in the day to get everything done (a common complaint for most small business owners that are super-duper creative).
For years I've been straddling & balancing my need to put time into one-to-one client sessions AND my desire to focus on content generation (like this #tooreal blog article that will hopefully be helpful to some of you).
For the past 5 years my one-to-one client sessions won that tug of war. I put clients first, always (and I will continue to do so within reason)... but that meant that my website content has suffered, I wasn't able to keep up with all of the various "best practices" for creating unique content on my Social Feeds + engage with my Followers, and there was just no further room to grow and express myself. Ya know... the *other* Allison, the side of me that's not always in Psychic Medium mode but loves creating original artwork, writing super-revealing + intimate content and wishes so desperately to foster more of an online community.
For me, the dreaded idea of the "Hiatus" actually breathed new life into my creative abilities and allowed me to finally take a dive into some new projects and opportunities.
When I finally did go on "Hiatus" and publicly advertised that I was no longer engaging in certain aspects of my business there was a wave of questions and comments that left me reeling.
It took me the better part of 2 months knowing that this was what I needed to do, but being paralyzed in indecision out of fear of letting anyone down. Chalk that one up to being freaking Psychic and *knowing* what would happen as a result.
I spent the first month of being on "Hiatus" explaining to the clients constantly contacting me that they could no longer connect with me in the long-expected ways they had become accustomed to. I also had to re-direct all of their questions to the excellent options that were still available to them for staying connected with me + Spirit.
I'm not going to lie, that was a tough month. I hate disappointing people and I do recognize how important the work is that I do. I also recognize that these gifts were sent to me for a reason and it is my duty to uphold the mantle of these gifts by honouring all those that seek my counsel.
I also had to deal with some brand-new issues and hurdles I've never faced in my business before (or at least, not all at once).
Like: (1) clients randomly showing up at my home trying to book sessions with me despite the "Hiatus", (2) clients asking if I was seriously, medically, ill as a result of not engaging in certain aspects of my work, & (3) clients bailing on me completely due to their frustration in my lack of accessibility.
In the beginning I took all of those situations to heart and really thought that I was the problem. As a result of that my initial need "for time off" (which I thought at the time was a temporary break & not necessarily a complete change in my business) just kept getting longer and longer. Mostly because I was also taking on the emotional & mental weight of letting down so many people.
Now I know that no one thing (or person) is to blame for what I went through. I learned in counselling sessions I attended to discuss my job, client care & work - that when people are in a state of desperation to seek answers they are incapable of seeing beyond their own needs. It's not even that they think or feel any less of you or your issues. They just aren't capable of being aware of anything outside of themselves due to what they are facing. And that in a lot of cases, is completely justified.
In hindsight I would not wish what I experienced in that first month of my "Hiatus" on anyone who engages in Spirit Work within the New Age Industry (or even any small business owner at all).
It can be really hard to face the evidence that your clients whom you have such strong love for and want the best for, can at times care less about your own needs and they *somehow* feel like you are making a mistake in asserting what you know is best for you & your business.
♥ ♥ ♥
I would even encourage others to consider doing the same when you find yourself at a crossroads, facing a burnout, needing time off, being aware that your business needs to grow & getting tired of justifying your decisions to others.
The biggest thing you should try to avoid is the fear associated with admitting that you need a time out. No one will think less of you for needing it... In fact the clients that truly see & appreciate you for who you are will likely think & feel more for you.
Those that don't get it may never fully understand (and you may lose clients because of it). Despite that you need to have faith that they will eventually find what they need to serve their highest good in the end... whether that's through reconnecting with you or not.
♥ ♥ ♥
And more importantly, what do you stand to gain from taking a much-needed "Hiatus" of your own?