Are You Too Busy To Slow Down Lately?
Last spring, a friend of mine was feeling frustrated and exhausted because she felt she couldn’t take even one evening away from the mundaine obligations of her routine. She had gone to her kids’ soccer match, enjoying the beautiful evening and socializing with the parents. Then, when she got home, it was late and all of her daily responsibilities were still waiting for her. She still had to do dishes and prepare lunches, and get everyone up early the next day, and then head off for a day at her demanding career. This is a frustration that many people share. We want to slow down and savour the moment, we long to pursue personal areas of interest, but we are too busy. There are realities that keep us from doing it.
Finding a Balance.
Over the last few years, I have gotten to a place where I have more time and energy to focus on personal areas of interest, like creative work. It has been a process, and I am still learning how to balance all of the things I love to do and have to do. Living life fully is a beautiful pursuit, but an imperfect art, and last week I had an experience that was, to a some degree, similar to my friend’s story.
Choose Activities that Won’t Set You Back… Most of The Time.
You might recall that last Wednesday I wrote a post describing the wonderful evening I’d had – idyllic hours spent relaxing by the fire place , breaking the usual weekly routine. At the end of the post, I declared that I was off to do the dishes. Sadly, I did not follow through on my good intentions. Long story short, the next couple of days were very busy, and it wound up taking me days to get through the whole pile of dishes because we are constantly dirtying more! When pausing from a busy schedule, it is advantageous to choose activities that don’t set us back. I loved my Wednesday evening and do not regret it, but it’s all about balance. Most often, I would leave that kind of an evening for the weekend.
How to Take Time To Relax… Even When You are Very Busy.
When we are going through a period in life when we are busy with a tight schedule, we benefit most from activities that rejuvenate us quickly, and don’t disrupt our obligations too much. Pausing need not be complicated or excessively time consuming. Remember simple activities that can be done in or around the home, and vary the length and time of the activity to suit your daily schedule:
~ Go for a walk. Don’t overthink it and talk yourself out of it! Just put on a pair of comfortable shoes, and go enjoy some fresh air and natural light.
~ Sit comfortably and focus on your breathing. If you start to think about something else, just gently bring your thoughts back to your breath. Set your cell phone timer, on a gentle tone. Start with two minutes… or longer, if you want. Then, just sit and relax for a few minutes.
~ Put your feet up and just enjoy a bit of stillness. No music, no cell phone, no tv. Just a few minutes of stillness are very restful for the mind.
~ Drink a cup of coffee or tea and really savour it. Smell the fragrance of the beverage, think about the taste , and the temperature. Feel the cup in your hands.
~ Sit or dance while listening to a great song.
~ Set your timer and take a nap. It is amazing how a bit of sleep revitalizes you, and there is a lot of research backing it up. Even a quick nap is great for your physical and mental well-being.
The key is to choose one activity, and do it mindfully. Don’t underestimate the benefits of spending even 5 minutes doing any one of these activities! (You might need 15 for the nap. ) It can change how you feel almost instantly. On your days off, block bigger chunks of time to rest, relax, and enjoy the activities that rejuvenate you. By the way, the friend who I described earlier took up walking on a regular basis. Sometimes, it might just be a very quick walk during lunch break, but she seems much more relaxed and happy.
In the end, life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. Embrace exceptions, get to know yourself, and find ways to pause that will maximize the benefits of health and the joy of living.
Home, Life, and Living.
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Posting Soon – How do we make time for the things that matter most, the things we really long to do? Learning how to fill our lives with the activities and responsibilities that are truly meaningful to us.
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