I found myself on my vacation day in bed sick, stuffy nose, achy, and exhausted. Darn, I had so many plans! I wanted to catch up more on office work, get more forms organized for my Blog, write more Blog posts, finish some paintings for upcoming art shows, start some new paintings, needed to do laundry, had some research topics to tackle, clean and organize my room, post some new items in my Poshmark Closet…the list was forever long (geez I’m tired just typing some of my goals for my vacation day!). Well my day rounded up with me in bed watching Law & Order all day.
I needed to come to the realization that I had worn myself down. Maybe I picked up a virus somewhere too but I had worn myself out with late nights, early mornings, skipped meals, and a go-go-go attitude…and that was really why I was sick. I needed a down day and my body was telling me so, screaming it at me making it very obvious that my focus was to be to rest for the day.
We all do it, we get so excited, or so inundated with a super long to-do list that we fall into just go do it and don’t stop until it’s done mode, and then we crash. We find ourselves so drained that we end up out of commission for a bit…and then we are at a stall, a stall in working towards our goals, a delay in life. We want so much out of life and we want to have it all done now that we push ourselves so much that we end up not functioning at all. We keep saying to ourselves “I got this”, and “Just push through” to stay pumped but are we doing too much? So how do we get it all done and not crash? We learn to recognize when we are doing too much, and then we shift, we re-adjust. To name a few, ones that I had to teach myself to be aware of:
- If you are finding yourself making silly mistakes – forgetting to turn the coffee pot on or put the K-Cup in the Kuerig before hitting brew, or you are making little slips during the like bad simple math solving or forgetting words frequently – then you are doing too much. Our brain starts having hiccups when it’s over-worked.
- If you are waking up in the morning feeling drained then you are doing too much. When I’m super busy I hate getting up in the mornings but when I’m on key I pop out of bed early happy to take on the morning.
- If you’re finding yourself having frequent negative thoughts or starting to dislike your daily activities. When you are over-exhausted you start to lose your passion, your drive.
- When you’re feeling cranky a lot or catch yourself snapping about things.
- When you feel so overwhelmed or so worried about meeting deadlines or completing tasks it’s keeping you awake at night then there’s too much on your mind.
So now what? How do we slow down? Each of us will have our own things, our own habits to put in place, that will work best but here’s my tips:
- Schedule a lazy day at least once a month. A day with nothing on the schedule, let the day lead you. If it turns out you curl up on the couch and watch a tv marathon then so be it. It’s okay to have days like this, it’s good to have days like this, not every day but a day here and there is healthy. Whether it’s once a week or once a month is going to be up to what works for you. For me I need to have one at least once a month, preferably I like one once every couple of weeks, that’s my balance.
- Drink water. I know you probably hear this one all time but hydration is sooo important. Water is a healing element, and it happens to be a big part of our natural make-up.
- Make it a habit to eat regularly, choose healthy and revitalizing foods – good proteins, fruits and vegetables, energizing grains. Keeping your blood sugars level will help you process things better and help you make better decisions. It keeps your energy levels even so you’ll have less dips and spikes throughout the day too.
- Make sure you do at at least three tasks or activities that bring you joy every day. Keeping your mind happy keeps you motivated and lessens the opportunity of emotional burnout.
- Stay organized. This not only keeps you accountable and more productive (so you can get more done more efficiently!) but it also gives you awareness, it gives you an overall look of what all you have going on so you can assess the big picture. After being stuck in bed all day sick I was able to slow down enough to see how much I was doing day by day. I was able to put things into a better perspective and build a (more) reasonable timeline.
- Listen to your body. I’ve heard this so many times but I’ve finally started following that advice and it makes a difference. When my body is telling me I’m tired, I sleep. When I’m sore or achy, I need to rest my body. When I’m sick, I take time to recuperate. I fight the urge to ‘push through’ by reminding myself it’s better to rest now than crash and have to rest for days to bounce back.
I get wanting to accomplish everything, I really do. I am constantly telling myself not to fret that there is another day, “What doesn’t get done today will either get done another day or sometimes just won’t get done. It’s okay”. I have the kind of to-do list that is a rolling list, it just keeps going. This may sound like a very long list (which it usually is) but I’ve found it’s what works well for me. For me I’m creating an opportunity to keep working on this list, creating the expectation that this is a list that moves with me from day to day instead of having an end of day deadline (I put specific deadlines next to the actual task if need be).
Create a balance between a motivated, calm mindset and a well taken care of and rested body. With the Holiday chaos among us, we all know it can get even crazier but don’t set yourself out to have a burnt out January. Put together routines and set boundaries to protect yourself. Pace yourself to the finish line.
“Life is not a race, it is a marathon.”