Yesterday was the first day in a while that I gave myself permission to rest a bit. I spent the morning catching up on cheesy tv shows and it was truly, deliciously peaceful. It can be easy to get whipped up into a frenzy with all of the things that can/should be done in a day, but as we've probably all learned once or twice (or 10 times), that GO GO GO attitude can really wear you down. And the ironic part of it all, is that once you reach that point, you need far more time to recover than if you'd just chilled out a little more along the way.
In the name of slowing down a little, I've put together a list of what works for me. Hopefully it helps you out too!
1. Learn how to give yourself a break and just be. I say 'learn' because I think for lots of us, this really is something we need to be taught. Speaking from experience, I can get attached to the busyness and get used to moving quickly and producing a lot each day. Slowing down can be strangely anxiety inducing. When you're first trying to learn the skill of rest, it can help to carve out chunks of time that are dedicated to something you enjoy and that decompresses you. Whether it's an hour after work, or all of Saturday morning, find a time that you can set aside and not worry about your to-do list or other people's expectations. Those things will all be waiting for you in a couple of hours.
2. Find an outlet for the stress. Lots of us fill our schedules pretty full, and while we are (hopefully) excited about most of it, life can still feel overwhelming. Exercise is a miracle worker in this area. Find an activity that moves your body and makes you feel alive. For me, when the worries start to get overwhelming, life can feel like a dress rehearsal and you become a bit of a zombie, putting one foot in front of the other until you've pretty much checked out of your whole day. Taking yourself to a yoga class or out for a run can help you wake up from that feeling, and focus on the reasons why you're doing these awesome things in the first place.
3. Change the internal conversation. My brain can be a pretty busy place some days, and if I'm feeling anxious, those thoughts can be loud, chattery, and very fearful. Walking to work can be a big time for this while I try to anticipate the day. What I've find really helps is to instead run through a catalogue of what I'm grateful for at that moment. It's amazing how this can turn all of your thoughts (and the rest of your day) on its head. Rather than wondering how that big meeting will go, you focus on how grateful you are to have a job that challenges you and allows you to try new things. I've found that when you feel grateful for the different pieces of your life, you no longer feel so harried or overwhelmed, and instead feel blessed to have such a full life. It also gives you permission to chill out and rest, so that you have the energy to give to those things you love so much.
How do you slow down? Do you meditate? Cook a nice dinner?
I'd love to hear your stories and experience!
Pretty picture from Paper & Stitch.