Here is some inspiration to help you move often, move well and honour your self-care
The urge to rush is one that has, at times, threatened to become my default way of being. It is SO easy to rush through things and to things, but have you ever stopped to notice how it actually makes you feel?
Rushing has a purpose. Of course, there are some things that require our urgent haste to attend to. The threat of missing an appointment might jolt us into rush, or the reality of a dog snapping at our heels. Or, we might have a deadline that’s really important and the adrenaline burst to meet it is welcomed and useful.
However, when we live in that mindset of rush day after day, over every single little thing, have you noticed how you have begun to feel?
I started working with a lady a few weeks ago. She’s a busy working professional, a wife and a mom. Before we started working together, she described herself as overwhelmed, with an “all-consuming” job that spilled all over into her personal life.
When we met, I noticed immediately that she lived “on the run”. All the time. Shooting from one thing to the next, yet she never felt like anything got her proper attention or got done to her best ability.
She was going way too fast, and it wasn’t working.
Why? Because our nervous system and body isn’t wired to work like that. Instead, it’s cleverly put together in a way that allows us to move between states as needed, to meet the demands we face from moment to moment.
When you operate out of this habitual pushing and rushing, you’re so focused on getting things done that you’re never fully present. You continually feel the stress. It’s exhausting. It’s also not very sustainable, either, though many people do it for years on end. Not surprisingly, burnout or other mental or physical health challenges will often emerge. These are our mind and body trying to get our attention, trying to slow us down and offer our-self self-kindness
What can we do? We can choose to intentionally slow down. We can choose to offer our-self self-care. Interestingly, slowing down might not have anything to do with pace, but everything to do with how we’re thinking and being.
Here are some strategies to try, if you’re tired of rushing and want to practice self-care and start living
1) Become aware of your habit of pushing or rushing. When you catch yourself doing it, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. Are the extra seconds or minutes that you might gain, really worth all the tension and stress? (Most likely not)
2) Whenever you catch yourself rushing or feeling keyed up, pause and consciously dial back your pace. Take a few deep breaths (you’ve probably been breathing very shallowly). Try to expand your exhale so it is longer than your inhale. This activates your parasympathetic nervous system, your rest and digest system. Relax your shoulders. Focus on what you need to do, but without that extra pressure. You’ll probably find that you can do most tasks more effectively, from an intentionally more relaxed state.
3) Stop. Take a break and move. Choose a simple, familiar movement. It might be walking, your favourite yoga movement or something like rolling your shoulders or maybe twisting from side to side. Try doing this and then slowing it down, notice how this feels in your body. Maybe change the pace again. What do you feel in your body? Can you recognise those feelings in the future again? This can help you to may a conscious choice when you need to slow the rush and give yourself some self-care.
4) Forget the multi-tasking and allow yourself the luxury of being present with whatever you’re doing. Studies show that multitasking doesn’t actually work. It just makes you feel more tired and scattered. Yes, sometimes you may need to take care of something while you’re engaged in something else, but don’t let that become a habit.
5) Building on #4, practice being present. When you’re in a meeting, be in the meeting. When you’re with your partner or child, put down the phone and be with them. Put down your busy distracted thoughts, too, and be with the people around you. If you’re out for a walk, notice the lovely or interesting things in your environment. See your world. Most of us spend way too much time in our heads, and not enough time in bodies or in our lives.
Most importantly, don’t let rushing and pushing become your default way of moving through your days.
Life’s too short. If you’re speeding through your life all the time, the odds are pretty good that you’ll rush right past the things that matter most.
Slow down. Breathe. One thing at a time. This is you giving yourself self-care, being kind to yourself. You’ll be surprised (and happy) by how much you still achieve, and how much better it all feels.