Here is a really bold statement: one day I decided that hurry and stress were no longer going to be a part of my life. I knew that I function at a high energy level. But I am tired, like bone dead tired. I have people tell me that they don’t understand how I can get so much done in the regular 24 hour day. Yes I get a lot done but what was the sacrifice? If you looked at picture of me in the last year you can see the stress on my face and body. You could see the weight creep back on my body and the worry in my eyes. I worked hard four years ago sheading more than the weight. But over the last few years it has settled back on my body.
I allowed the stress to come in and take over my day to day operation. It caused me to not have family meal time. It allowed me to fall into bed exhausted every night. It had me awake at night filled with worry and dread. It didn’t allow me to go and exercise and sweat out the stress.
But my brain finally said enough. It told me to stop and to start paying attention to what was happening. And the beauty of being aware and waking up is the answer was right in front of me. I felt like Sleeping Beauty waking up after a long sleep.
I have had two friends tell me in the last week that they hope that my whirlwind life calms down. What? I thought that everyone worked at this pace and my life was calming down? I think this hit me in the face last week while I was sitting in an ER with my middle son a thousand miles from home with only hours remaining of putting him on a plane to Hong Kong where he would intern for 8 weeks. I really had to calm myself down. I kept exhaling loudly in the ER. He kept asking me what was wrong with me. I said I am trying to remind myself to breathe. No joke. I found myself holding my breathe involuntarily.
I have had to break the habit of no longer being in a hurry. I thought I only had one speed and it was fast forward. I remember telling a friend in the mental health field that I thought I had ADHD. She laughed at me and told me I was just a busy mom with too much going on.
Here are a few things that I have been doing to rewire my brain and to learn to no longer be in a hurry and to stop the stress.
Start your morning with intention. Take time to meditate, pray or start with gratitude. When I start this way my whole day seems to go better. I like to visualize how my day is going to go and then I go out and make it happen.
Pay attention to your breath. I don’t know when I learned to hold my breathe during times of stress, but it is a skill that I have mastered. At times I have had a note on the dash of my car reminding me to breathe. How bad can I be if I have to write a note to remind me?
Remove yourself from toxic situations. If you find yourself gathering around the proverbial water cooler and gathering gossip, stop. Just stop. If you are not supporting and lifting people up in all situations make sure that you take yourself out of the situation. For some it may be not logging onto Facebook for the daily hit of peeking into the private lives that people put on public display. For others it could be delaying replies to gossipy texts.
Find an activity to center you and help bring peace and calm back to your life. I love taking a bath to help relax me. There are some days that I would be in the tub twice. I kept waiting for that Calgon moment to take me away. But even when I was in the tub I wasn’t able to escape. I finally found a meditation Pandora station that I would play that would help me learn to relax. In order to bring peace during the work day, my husband takes a walk over his lunch hour, by himself. He is a quiet person and for him to just escape and be by himself relaxes him.
Pay attention to when you are stuck in traffic. When that red light hits and sit in my car and breathe. If I am stuck in road construction traffic I pause and think about what is going on in my life. There is a reason that I am stuck with the traffic of the light or the train, give pause and think about what it is. Don’t be frustrated, just sit in the moment and think and perhaps look at the post it note on your dash and remember to breathe.
If you are like me and find your life full of stress and you always seem to be in a hurry, take time to pause this week and simply start to breathe again.
To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,
Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things!