You know those days when you barely have time to breathe? You get up, slurp a quick cuppa, run out of the door and find yourself in perpetual motion for the rest of the day. You don’t remember if you’ve had lunch or not and you travel home on autopilot. You could go out in the evening but, even if you could palm the kids off on their nan, you wonder if it’s worth it. You’re too worn out to be the life and soul of the party – or even to prop the bar up. You’ll just be lousy company. In any case, the thought of the return journey makes you cringe. By that time you’ll be too tired to even see where you’re going…
We all know it’s not the ideal way to live, but somehow we all get caught up in it. It’s a treadmill and a rollercoaster combined. You feel as though you have to keep moving or you’ll fall off. And it makes you clench everything as you launch yourself at the top of the morning ready for the next high speed descent through the daily chaos.
What’s happening as you spin through your day? Where does your energy go? Usually to other people. You carry out your care and duty, to your kids, boss, customers, colleagues, other family, clients, and your obligations to the school, church, gas company, tax man etc. (Is your partner even getting a look-in here?)
It’s all output.
Where does it stop?
When and where do you get any input? I don’t mean momentary input, like scoffing a Galaxy bar while you zoom round Tescos. I mean proper You-time. Where you stop, breathe and actually relax. (Can you remember what relaxed feels like?) Where you do something that you want to do, not something you feel you have to, or should do.
When did you last decide to drop everything and take a day out for yourself? You will find all the stuff that needs to be done will still be there when you get back. It’s not going anywhere. That can be both a comfort and a curse. Don’t let yourself worry about the Stuff To Do while you’re out fly-fishing, getting your nails done, abseiling or browsing bookshops. The point is, the world will not fall apart if you get off the treadmill-rollercoaster. It won’t. But too often we convince ourselves that we are holding the Universe together and that there is a real danger of the sky falling in if we so much as go for a fag break.
Actually, in these circumstances, the only thing that’s liable to collapse is you.
The signs of overload are always pretty clear: near misses in the car, breakages in the kitchen, forgetfulness and confusion; “Did I pay that bill or not?”, “OMG I’ve left my bag on the bus!”. More often than not, the errors that occur when we’re rushed or tired cost us time, energy and possibly money, taking us further into the downward spiral.
What are you missing?
Energy? Definitely! Fun? Probably. Good health? More than likely.
And what is this craziness doing for your work, family life, love life? My guess is that none of them are going the way you want them to.
So, considering all that, do you think it’s selfish to take time out for yourself? Do you think you ought to feel guilty for awarding yourself a little pampering?
Absolutely not! If you want to be your best self for the people in your life who matter, you need to get your mojo back!!!
The person responsible for your own energy input is you. You can’t run your life with a flat battery. Plug yourself in to whatever takes your fancy.
Snooze and socialise
Make an appointment with yourself. Go to the hairdressers, or the zoo, try out a Zumba class, take in a bit of culture or see a film. If you feel the need, get a bit of healing (you know where to find me). If you only have a fiver to spare, grab a magazine, find a coffee shop and do some people-watching. If you don’t have a fiver, go for a wander and feed the ducks. Sleep. There is always something more refreshing to do than the next wash-load, commute or trolley-dash.
It’s amazing how much difference it makes when you stop what you’re doing and walk away, just for a little while.
You can see the wood for the trees again. You don’t feel on the verge of panic. You feel more sociable. You get more done. You’ve got it in you to enjoy a night out and still be able to remember your own door number when you get home.
When you find yourself stuck on the treadmill-rollercoaster, you need to step off, trust that the world will continue to turn without you, and do whatever it takes to make you feel good (that’s not going to burn through your bank account or your liver).
Recover your energy. Rest and absorb, if only for a couple of hours.
Your mind and body will thank you. Your patience and sparkle will return. Your loved ones will be pleased to see you. You will be safer behind the wheel, happier while driving a desk, and better balanced while dancing on tables.
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