Are you feeling it too? Or is it just me? This feeling that life is just becoming more….
More people, more traffic, more Facebook posts, more price hikes, more political drama, more crime, more hunger, more unsolicited marketing, more information, more options, more things to do, more pressure, more school events, more food, more freneticism, more people in malls, more bricks & mortar, more technology, more software, more job demands, more vanity, more competition, more me, me, me, more controversy, more health fads, more fights, more uses for honey/coconut oil and apple cider vinegar, more scams, more fakeness, more aggression, more entitlement, more things to fit into your schedule… etc. etc. etc.
I can go on and on, and I’m sure you can add more of your own.
This is the hamster wheel effect… We’re all on it, and we’re feeling the effects of this fast-paced life of ours physically and mentally. I’m not going to go into the physics behind this, but conditions like adrenal burnout and chronic fatigue syndrome roll off people’s lips as if they’re just part of the new norm. But what we’re actually doing is just becoming a zombie-fied race. All moving in the same direction on auto pilot. Have you ever stopped and tried to view this issue as an outsider? Then ask yourself the question: What for?
I for one don’t want to continue in this rat-race… unfortunately, life goes on and bills have to be paid, but I do believe that we can manage it better.
Here are a couple of ideas of how to slow down and give your body the opportunity to recuperate and your mind time to defrag and reboot.
For me, the opposite to being on auto-pilot, is mindfulness… Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention and being present in the here and now. But like it says, it’s a practice. It will not happen overnight, and there is no way that I can teach you mindfulness in one blog post. Read up about it and start with being mindful for a few minutes every day, just focusing on your breathing and gently allowing any thoughts to pass through rather than becoming engaged in them. There are also many apps available for mindfulness practice.
Learn to say no! We cannot be everything to everybody all the time. Just ask yourself what is the price you’re paying by pleasing everybody all the time? It is completely okay to say no and to put your needs first. Obviously, you will choose when to say no, and not say that to the boss when he needs a report done! But when there are constant demands on you and your time, NO is a full sentence! And you don’t have to explain or feel guilty for standing up for yourself and your own needs.
Take some me-time! When you feel that you just need to put your feet up, or take a nap at home, let the family know that for the next hour, you are unavailable. They will survive without you. If you’re a mom with small children, make sure hubby can help out, or arrange a baby sitter or play date for them for an hour or two.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, speak up! Nobody will know what you’re going through unless you tell them. Tell those around you that you just need a 5-minute break to breathe, drink some water and compose yourself. It will make the world of difference to your stress levels.
Prioritise your to-do list. Cultivate a healthy morning routine, wake up a bit earlier to fit some mindfulness or gratitude in, and when you’re at your desk, take 30 minutes before the day explodes, and write your to-do list, and prioritise it into the following categories:
Switch off all electronic devices. Downtime with a cell phone or tablet in your hand is not downtime. Blue screens don’t promote any restfulness. The point here is to completely relax your mind, to stop the constant input and information overload, and just breathe.
Embrace your inner child. Yes, that’s correct. Embrace your inner child. Learn to play again with reckless abandon! Color in, play a friendly game of soccer or volley ball. Laugh, sing at the top of your voice, do twirly whirlies, go play in a park and swing as high as you can! Or spend some fun time with a toddler. Our inner child needs to be reminded that life is not all so serious. They’re sitting there, patiently waiting for some attention.
And finally, get close to nature. Don’t take your phone and earplugs with… just go and walk amongst some beautiful trees, sit next to a stream, cuddle your dogs, or go and play with them at the beach. Go horse riding, or climb a mountain! Nature = nurture. Enjoy her, hear, smell and feel her and most of all, respect her.
I know our days are jam-packed with so many things to do, and the last person who gets nurturing, is ourselves. But if we don’t make time and care for ourselves, who will?