I have had one of those weeks where I feel I am doing too much. I feel like an airplane that lands at the airport, goes to the gate, yet has trouble making contact with the actual gate opening (you have probably been in a plane that goes back and forth to make sure it is at the right opening of the gate), then gets ready to take off for the next trip without proper rest, full refueling, emptying the lavatory, and replenishing the snacks. Do you get the picture in your head of my life? Often I find that my life is all about being air traffic control.
I am sure a lot of individuals feel that way when they go between managing their personal and professional lives. There are a few things that make it hard for me to function. No run, too much sugar, and not enough good “fuel” food. You know veggies, thick, luscious, leafy greens. Too me without filling my body with “premium gas” I sputter, am slower, and cannot complete what I need to do in the way that I want. Just like a car or airplane that has a less smooth ride. We cannot skimp on what makes us function.
I have had quite a few conversations recently that have revolved around “doing too much.” Each conversation mentioned the effects on health, happiness, and emotions. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I sometimes feel like I am the hamster in the wheel, spinning and spinning wondering when this tilt-a-whirl of life will ever slow down. I know I am the only one that can truly jump out, jump off, and create the change in my world, but it is so much easier said then done. If I walk away at the end of the day, and there is so much left to do, it is hard for my brain to stop working and not think about it all.
So I wonder. How do you do it? How does your friend, your sister, or your husband compartmentalize their world to move between the very grey and blurred lines of work and home life? When you always feel like the water is deep and there are so many things happening around you, how do you keep up, when you are just tired of treading water? My gut says it is time for a massive mind shift, a new way of working, a new way of approaching the world. Better boundaries. Clearer parameters. And…maybe a little bit of “No.”
I sit a lot, I move a lot, and I stand a lot at work. I have days where I go from meeting to meeting, all back-to-back. I move constantly, and yet while in the meetings I am sitting from 30-60 minutes at a time. When I am at my desk, I am usually focused as I do not get that many minutes out of my day to focus on emails and projects. However, I often find that I want to stand both because I find I slump a bit at the computer and most of the time do not realize how bad my posture is altered while at my desk.
So, when I found these great yoga stretches for stress and to undo the damage of a desk, I was interested. I subscribe to a weekly 99U newsletter and I find it gives me different types of links about the office, managing, staying motivated, and much more. It is interesting how much your day and mood can shift even by the simplest of things: deep breathing is one way. We tend to hold our emotion, frustration, and stress in our body, and because we go all day long (and for me much of the night too) we never give our bodies time to chillax. I am the worst offender. I get 30-45 minutes to myself in the morning, and then I get ready, and am off to work, home by 6 usually, go for an hour run, shower, dinner, finish up work, then respond to personal emails + blog things, and by then it is 10 o’clock. Not much time to breathe deeply, stretch, and enjoy my hubby.
Rather than continue on this hamster wheel of constant and ongoing activity, I would like to stop and slow down a bit. I know I talk about that often, but gosh how I need to hear my own words. Yesterday I met a colleague for lunch, near the entrance of my work, we decided to take work bikes. The day was gorgeous and I loved being outside and riding off to lunch. Just the perfect get-off-your-butt adventure. I was even in a dress + flip flops. All fun, and all necessary. I think I might have to do that more often. Now I am plugging the idea of getting bikes (can you believe that we do not own bikes)?! with Chris.
My hunch is that we all could take more moments out of our days to stretch, relax, and breathe differently each day. I know I could use more downtime and allow myself time to stretch and work the kinks that my body has absorbed throughout my day. Bring it on!
Have you ever thought about starting your day by thinking about how you might make someone else’s day? We go through our day going from meeting to meeting, or down a checklist of the many items we need to accomplish. Often we do not have time to think about getting lunch, let alone think about someone else and the full day we have ahead of us.
What would it look like, feel like, be like if you thought about how you might make another individual you encounter have a better day? What would you do? Instead of jumping right into your computer, emails, and meetings, might you ask a co-worker about their weekend? I often think that we get to work and start out on a hamster wheel, only to get out at 5, get into our car and drive home. Other days we might actually get out of our hamster wheel and truly focus and interact with others. On the days we get out of the hamster wheel, break routine, and engage and connect with those we see everyday we might just find that we see a glimmer of how we can be present for others.
I wonder if we started our day thinking of others, if the mood and focus would be different. We might rush less, breathe more, and appreciate our surroundings that much more. We could find that by thinking of others more, they think of us more. Like a boomerang effect of good will.