"Take a break and give your soul what it needs." - Audrey Kitching
How have you been, favorite people?
After a break of winter, I was looking forward to this week, but it started with a lot of busy-ness, appointments, to-do`s, that I am still decompressing today from this intense day. I was both surprised and not so surprised when I realized that, although I do what I love and believe in, your passion can still be work that can exhaust you, because you are still human and not a robot.
A friend once coined it "positive stress" and being mindful as I am, I quickly noticed the effects this positive stress had on me. I felt agitated, pressured, and, at the end of the day, tired. I also noticed that this led to a different energy that I brought into my projects - rather than utmost joy, gratitude, creativity, it was an energy of execution, stress, and exhaustion. So not only was it diadvantageous for me, physically and mentally, but also for my stakeholders.
The additional effect is that you need more time and energy to decompress, so being too much in stress is not beneficial. We somehow all know it and complain about the stress, and yet, we are still in stress - why?
I have reflected on this question after yesterday and came to the following observations for you (still work in progress :-)):
Define your own terms - not everyone who sends you a message or email deserves your attention or immediate response. Don`t you find it fascinating that somehow in our body or mind there seems to be a mechanism that makes us immediately react to incoming messages? All the social media and internet companies know it and build their services around our human interactions - is it because we like to feel important? Is it because we have been trained to respond to external effects? Whatever the reason is, responding constantly on external triggers is not healthy, esp. when you disconnect with your own needs to which you also and firstly need to react.
Give yourself a digital detox - with several projects ongoing and managing a team, I was constantly on my laptop, on my phone, with several tabs and apps open at the same time. The crazy thing was also that when I was "only" on WhatsApp to check my team`s messages, I also felt I could use the opportunity to also answer other messages, that were totally not urgent, but may have satisfied my need to check this off. So this reaction not only builds up a feeling of agitation and the need to react to everything, but also takes a lot of energy when switching from one topic to the next. That`s why new studies seem to say that multi-tasking, a formerly appreciated skill, is actually not so good and healthy, because you are somehow everywhere, but then also nowhere. Finally, our eyes are not made to look at screens 24/7 - your eyes are made to experience the beauty around you, to be in nature, to have a good rest when they were working hard for you.
Do one thing at a time - this may sound common and, to our Saboteur, like an unncessary slow-down, who also sees the many things you feel you have to do. But when I felt the exhaustion kicked in, I could tell that my body couldn`t additionally digest soothing music in the background. My body also couldn`t even read a book to do a relaxing activity - it just wanted to relax and do nothing after having operated at full stretch. Also when doing one thing at a time - you are not only preventing your senses to be overstrained, but also you are practicing mindfulness, in the here and now, the very present moment. The same goes e.g. for eating, when you really just immerse yourself in eating rather than reading a book on the side or watching a movie - of course, we can do it, I have been doing this, too, but then be mindful of the impact.
Final bonus and challenge: Give yourself a break during the day. Our community has discussed this on our last #magicmonday that it seems to be much easier to practice self-care, if at all, during the morning or evening. The thing is then that in between you have at least 9 hours when your body is working, your mind is working, and your soul is somewhere in between. Do you think it will be enough to recharge all three - body, mind, soul - only at the beginning and end of the day? Do you think we are only made to work, meet others` expectations`, and pretend we are robots than human? Do you think you can only allow yourself to take a break if you have a non-negotiable excuse, such as funeral, home repairs, doctor`s appointment? Then let`s educate our environment and the world that this is not the case - that any reason is legitimate if it is supporting your wellbeing and mental health (while naturally communicating and balancing this with urgent work priorities), and that you also don`t really owe an excuse if it is your responsible action for your wellbeing. If people cannot tolerate this, then they don`t understand mental health and/or also don`t allow themselves the much-needed self-care themselves, so they will react with resentments. But do you want to live their lives and do they have to live with your consequences? Be mindful of whose feedback you want to consider impacting your life.
I hope this comprehensive blog post has helped you to be more confident and relaxed to take precious breaks for your body, mind, and soul. Let me know what your best practice is - I would love to hear from you, after your break! :)
Lots of love x
Would you like to go deeper in a free Coaching session? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I very look forward to hearing from you! PS: Subscribe to my #mindfulmagic Newsletter and join our #magicmonday Community events :)
Inspiration: Marlo Morgan - Mutant Message Down Under
Reflection: How am I feeling?
Intention: I deserve to take my breaks.
Viet Linh Le is a female visionary, qualified coach with corporate experience, and multi-cultural founder of @vietnamwellbeing, with the mission to change our world by coaching the next-generation decision-makers. Find out more on www.vietlinhle.com