I’m usually running in far too many directions. I work part time at the local uni, work probably more than part time on freelance web design, always have a book at some stage or another, and spend a terrifying amount of time with the animal rescue in the area.
So my usual reaction to the idea that I need to take some time for me, that I need to slow down, is to clutch my list and wave it about like a madwoman.
“Have you seen this? There are 47 things I need to do by 2pm today. How can I slow down??”
But I’ve learned a couple things about me in the last few years.
If I don’t take that time for me, if I don’t slow down, I crash. I’ll end up with some sort of lingering sickness. Nothing major, nothing that forces me to rest. Just an ongoing sense of achyness and coughing.
I’ll get more migraines. I’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding other triggers, so a series of migraines is usually an easy test right there to see if there’s too much going on.
I start resenting people. All these people wanting things from me. And they’re keeping me from writing, or thinking, or whatevering. Even if they’re people I like, doing work I believe in. When it starts to be something I’m grumbly about, that’s a clue right there.
If the house gets to a certain stage of being ignored, the disorder presses on me. I feel like there’s no place to work, to see all the pieces of whatever the day’s puzzle is.
And worst of all, things don’t really get done from my list. They sit there, and glare at me, and I feel worse and worse about the whole thing every day.
Really, we’re all much happier if I just stop and take some breaks. I’m pretty darn fond of my oil pastels that are shaped like crayons. And even though I’m terrible with my hula hoop, I can now at least get through one song without crashing it. (although the dogs and cats are still a little nervous when it comes out.) Take an extra five minutes in the kitchen while the water is getting to a boil.
I still don’t really think I have time for breaks. But I know that my hips hurt if I sit too long, and my arm aches if I type too long. So I can tell myself its for the best, it makes me more productive if I do a silly dance for a minute, or lay still for just 10 minutes on the little yoga ball things, or just my mind be quiet.
And it works. The list gets smaller. I don’t waste time or energy getting upset with stuff – I just get it done. I feel better, and I’d bet I’m more pleasant to be around.
And best of all, I’m in better shape to say yes to something fun. To be ready to jump in the car and visit some little town down the road that a co-worker says has the best tortillas. Or bake a new recipe. Or whatever the adventure might be.
Comments: I’m experimenting with how to bring more adventure into my everyday life. I’d love to hear what’s working, or not working, for you in your own quest.