Lately, I’ve been trying to learn how to improve my picture-taking skills (if you follow my Instagram account, you probably can’t tell it yet, but hopefully in time it’ll show!).  One of the concepts I’ve been learning about is “white space.”

My understanding of white space is it’s the “empty” space in the photo.  It doesn’t have to actually be white, though it can be.  It’s the subtle background that gives the eyes a place to rest, keeping the photo from becoming too crowded so that the most important part of the photo — the subject — stands out and doesn’t get lost.  

One day after about three weeks that were just non-stop hectic, I had one of those epiphany moments where I realized I don’t just need more white space in my photos — I need it in my life!

My life for that three weeks was becoming so “crowded” with my job, my business, wedding planning, social outings, travel, obligations to friends and family, and random tasks that had to be completed, that I literally felt like I didn’t have room to breathe . . . or as my friend Carmen used to say, to “catch up with myself.”

Granted, these were all positive things in and of themselves (for the most part), but when there are too many of them all together in the same frame (to keep going with my photography theme here) competing for attention, it starts to crowd out the subject of the photo — YOU!  

And then what happens?  You feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted so that even the fun things in your life, like hanging out with friends and planning your wedding, lose some of their joy because your energy and spirit are so depleted.

So, what does this white space look like and how do you create it for yourself?

 

For me, white space means having down time when I have NO obligations whatsoever . . . I don’t have to be anywhere, no one is expecting anything from me, and I can just truly relax in that space and let my mind and body rest.  And because I’m an introvert (albeit an outgoing one), this also means a certain amount of alone time.

This gives me a chance to recharge so that I can actually enjoy all the great things in my life, and more gracefully handle the not-so-good things that pop up.

One of my favorite ways to create white space in my life is to get up really early in the morning (my favorite time of day) and enjoy that quiet solitude doing whatever I feel like doing.  I call this my “sacred morning time.”  

What I learned from a photography lesson that helped me have less stress and more joy in my life

Some other ways I create white space are:

  • snuggling up with Hershel (my cat) and binge-watching Netflix (because sometimes you just need some mindless distraction)
  • having what my mom and I call a “pajama day,” where we literally stay in our pajamas the entire day and don’t leave the house
  • ordering takeout for dinner to free up the hour or more that I would have spent cooking (I’m really slow in the kitchen)
  • journaling (especially helpful when I’m really stressed about something or trying to sort out a problem)
  • going for a walk
  • getting out in nature
  • meditating

 

Another one of my favorite things to do when I’m feeling super overwhelmed is a “brain cleanse” (most people call it a “brain dump,” but that just sounds yucky). If you’ve ever felt like you have so much to do and so much going on that you don’t even know where to start, do a brain cleanse.

Get a pen and paper or a journal, sit down somewhere by yourself where you’re comfortable and not distracted, and just start making a list of everything swirling around in your head . . . every to-do item, every decision you need to make, every problem you’re experiencing, anything that’s bothering you, anything that’s making you feel anxious, every idea you have,  ALL of it.

Just getting it out of your head and onto paper is amazingly cathartic — it’s hard to describe how much better you’ll feel after doing this.  It’s like creating white space for your brain.  Once it’s all down on paper, you can take the extra step, if you want, of organizing it.  Decide what’s important and what’s not, divide it into categories, do whatever you need to do to make it feel manageable to you.  If you’ve never done one of these, I promise you’ll feel like a new person afterward!  

Creating white space in your life means recognizing when you’re in need of it, and then setting boundaries for yourself so that you can carve out that time you need to recharge.  

 

The boundaries part can be hard, because sometimes it means saying no to someone you care about, or turning down an invitation to something you really want to do, because you know you need to stop and catch up with yourself.  That last one can be particularly challenging when your fiance is a social butterfly who doesn’t understand this concept of white space (not that I would have any experience with that or anything ;).

The amount of white space you need in your life, and the ways you experience that white space, are different for everyone.  But the consequences of not having enough of it tend to be the same for everyone — exhaustion, feelings of overwhelm, irritability, tension and anxiety, lack of energy, inability to truly enjoy things that normally make you happy, and it can even lead to adrenal fatigue, which brings along with it a whole host of symptoms that you do NOT want to be dealing with leading up to your wedding day (or any time for that matter).

So I encourage you to think about whether your life is feeling crowded and in need of some white space, and how you’ll create that white space for yourself.  Set boundaries as needed, and actually put the time on your calendar to protect it.  You’ll be a happier and healthier bride for it!

How are you going to create white space for yourself?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!