Slow Down, You're Movin' Too Fast
Happy, Healthy, Hump Day or whatever day you're reading this! Sometimes I wonder for awhile what I'll decide to write about and share with you, but this week it's a no-brainer for me.
After spending six months honoring a hospital contract and then, driving for 12 hours most days to get from the east to the west coast of the U.S. in record time to fulfill an agreement ... I am finally taking some downtime. And, I had no idea how much it was needed. I knew I was looking forward to cutting back a bit. I knew I had started to lose steam toward the end of my RN contract -- I was running on fumes, basically. I just didn't realize how much I needed to slow down ... until I did.
I know, you might say, "That's all well and good for you, Barbara. You've somehow created a life by design, not default, and you can slow down whenever you want.". My answer to that is, "Yes, you're right, however I still have bills to pay and certain commitments I need to fulfill and even if you feel a little trapped in parts of your life at the moment, I have some good advice for you.".
If you're feeling stressed and your life feels constantly urgent and pressured, be grateful ... yes, grateful that you have such a full life and grateful that you can be aware when it's time to take a step back. Ever since I arrived in S Oregon I have had hours that felt like I was doing nothing. I've watched whole series on Netflix (The Queen's Gambit was particularly enjoyable). One afternoon I read an entire book -- one of those "beach romances" that was light, fun, and not too sappy. I've wandered through the quaint downtown area, ten minutes from where I'm staying, with no particular direction for my meandering. I've slept for eight hours or more most nights and I've had my share of wine and conversation with friends.
Occasionally I've wondered if I shouldn't be more productive, but I know I did some good work last year and I'll do more in the very near future (I've been diligently cleaning up my emails -- how do they pile up like they do?!?). Right now, it's important to have connection with my daughter and others I've missed out here and to replenish myself in a gentle way. While you might not be able to simply take off and go hibernate somewhere, there are still things you can do:
Be easy about things. Take the intensity down a notch.
If work is a stressor, stop when you first get there (if you work outside your home) or before you start something (if you work from home), take at least three deep breaths, and step into the next moment feeling centered. Feel free to stop for a breathing session whenever you need it.
Don't rush -- savor the small things. When you eat a meal or a snack, enjoy it.
Make plans (especially for things outside of work) and be deliberate and specific. If you want to get together with a friend, set a special time and have a simple agenda.
Let your desire for pleasure and for feeling good be your guide. Let the good come to you and flow back out again.
Whenever you can, let yourself relax and if you feel a deep need to rest or "do nothing", honor it.
Sometimes, if we don't pay attention to the signs of burn-out, we can get sick. On some twisted level it feels like the only way we can justify slowing down and taking it easy. Let's make a pact not to do that and remember to be care-full. Here's a fun musical reminder from Simon & Garfunkle in the late 1960's ...
Happy Healthy Habit hump Day,