If you follow my blogs or have ever heard me present, you know I am committed to living life slowly (thus my “living S.L.O.W.” business) and encouraging others to do the same. Essentially, that means prioritizing your own wellness. That can be done in a myriad of ways. Setting boundaries, being more self-aware, having courage to know your needs and communicate them are just some of the tenets I tout. I also talk about pacing yourself. This is something that I’ve brought back into focus in light of a new year.
Over the winter break, I deliberately did not work. That is the first time in years that I didn’t work over break. Initially it was hard to not check email (& true confessions, I did log in a couple times until I realized no one else was, so I stopped). As I weaned myself away from that habitual self-imposed expectation, it got easier and easier to unplug. I spent time reading, exercising, streaming, writing, and yogaing, (I decided to keep with the “ing” theme). It was heavenly. I loved the slower pace and needed it! I think all of us did!! Because of all of that, as much as I love the work I do, I was crabby on the first day back. From that point, I determined I was going to avoid getting sucked into the rat race (as much as possible).
Even though we are only a few weeks in to 2022, I’m happy to report that overall, I’m doing pretty well pacing myself. Here are some things that are helping me.
- I’m being more self-aware. I am paying attention to what I’m feeling. If I start to feel stressed, rushed, panicked, irritated, impatient, etc. I stop what I’m doing and check in with myself. What am I feeling and why? What is my energy level? How much can/should I take on? Where do I set the boundary? (Notice I didn’t say “should I set a boundary”) I know that is a lot of questions. Which leads me to my second tip.
- I’m asking more questions. Is this task urgent? If so, why? How urgent? Is this meeting necessary? Do all these people need to be in the meeting? Is there a more efficient way to address the topic at hand? Is this something that I can handle for someone else? Is this something someone else can handle instead of me? Can we divide and conquer? Can we consolidate?
- I’m communicating the above two tips with others. I’m being more open and honest about where I am and what I’m doing. I’ve told colleagues that I’m intentionally working on pacing myself. Not only does this hold me accountable but hopefully it encourages others to do the same. It makes it easier if we are working towards the same goal (to not be frazzled).
I’ve often said I’m not sure WHY things HAVE to move so fast. Take a moment to consider that. Think about a task you are currently working on and the deadlines for that project. What happens if you don’t make the deadline? What are the repercussions? Keep playing it out. Then what? And then what? Would you or someone else get hurt? Are there negative implications? Is it something that can be resolved?
I know I’ve been guilty more often than not of making mountains out of molehills. Things become so urgent or daunting because I make them that way. There may be some exceptions, but I truly believe not everything has to be as harried as we make it. I’m going to keep trying to go slow. I hope you will too. Perhaps if we pay more attention, ask the questions, and work at this together we can collectively slow our pace. Wouldn’t that be heavenly?