"Sometimes the most productive thing is to relax."
After another week of fulfilment, growth, inspirations, connections, and joy, I felt how my body got exhausted and tired. My shoulders and neck hurt - I knew that I was working too much and too hard on my business. It wasn`t until yesterday evening when my day was over, feeling both exhausted and happy, that I realized, if I really care for my body and wellbeing, I need to change something. This was even more obvious when I did a special neck and shoulders yoga class with Adriene and tried to relax by reading a new book ("Super Attractor" by Gabrielle Bernstein), and I could still feel the pain.
Talking to my friends, I know that lockdown hasn`t made our living conditions better, often sitting in our room or home, mostly in front of a laptop, and moving our body less than usually. While I have my fitness routine, I am sure I could do a lot more. I also enjoy working hard, esp. if this is something I really enjoy, believe in, and want to share with others for their benefit. You can easily forget what is going on around you. It is your body that then can and wants to signal to you "Wait a moment, you need to pay attention, otherwise, something in our operating system may blow up". Despite these signals, often what we do, is wait until the weekend, when tasks and expectations can be put to rest, until we allow ourselves to really relax. But what I realize is that the longer we wait, the more time we need to recharge, leaving less time for us to actually do what we really enjoy or what is important for us.
Here are, therefore, my three learnings from this nourishing, but also intense week:
1. Move and stretch your body - your body will get stiff if it`s frozen in one position
Your body wants to live and express itself, to serve and support you as best as it can. This means for the body to move, be trained and challenged, feel pleasure and joy, and also relax and slow down. Similar to your range of emotions and experiences you can have, your body wants to feel itself across this broad range, too. So treat your body as a friend or cheerleader - if you want to feel supported, you need to give your body what it needs. (Otherwise, your cheerleader will get sick and stay at home.)
In our world that over-emphasizes the mind, we tend to separate ourselves from our body, even judging it for how it looks, treating it in an unkind and unmindful way, and/or neglect our body overall. We have come to treat our body as an object, separate from us, rather than connected to our mind and soul. Remember when you worry so much and then soon feel some stomachache / headache? Or when you eat something super delicious and nourishing, you feel happy and loved? Or after you took the much-needed nap, you feel better and stronger to tackle your to-do`s? Be aware of your responsibility as well as opportunity to nourish your body how you need it.
2. Even if you love working - don`t neglect and judge your own needs (even if your mind revolts)
While I love what I do, I now realize that I am also a human, with 24 hours a day and a tank that is not endless. Even Jeff Bezos, the world`s richest man on the world today, claims to always have 8 hours of sleep. So it was also important for me to assess what other factors might have played a role - since with awareness, things can then start to change. It is fact that I am truly passionate and enthusiastic about my work. It may also be that after the Christmas holidays, I was eager to be "productive" again. It may also be that after reading a book about freelancers ("This Year Will Be Different"), I thought I need to hustle even more to be a successful entrepreneur. It may also be that since I embarked on my journey of true fulfilment, opportunities and connections seem to suddenly find their way to me all at once, making my day busier than planned. It may be that, of course, I may have ambitious plans and dreams, and am aware to start sooner than later. It may also be that I feel responsible taking care of my family, which adds to my tasks and things to think about.
All these factors may have come together and may have their validity. Be honest and kind with yourself - it may be that we realize we like to feel needed and be productive, too, and that`s ok. It is more about the next step to see how this situation where we are in now is affecting our overall wellbeing. As a result of my reflections, I have decided to read more even if my mind thinks I could use this time differently (I calm my mind by feeling my pain in my upper back) and give myself permission to rest on my weekend, knowing work will pick up as soon as the new week starts.
3. Practice your mindfulness muscle to calm down your mind and body - in the here and now
I know that being an entrepreneur, different rules of working and living apply. While you were used to be "productive" by working from 9 to 5 (or longer), being an entrepeneur especially, you learn that your time is precious and you want to get things done as effectively and efficiently as possible. While I am assessing what small tasks have creeped in to make me feel productive, I am also aware that I haven`t been living my days that mindfully as I could. In every down time, even for only 5min, I would soon check my phone for random emails, messages, articles (i.e. giving room for others to dictate my life). I thought these 5min I can use effectively in doing something else. I caught myself how I was walking through my home always looking at my phone, rather than just absorb my loving environment and give my eyes a break from the screen. It is these short moments, that we think it doesn`t matter because they are so brief, that can make a difference how we experience a day - agitated and always on alert, or focused and yet calm. I also tried applying this today, leaving my phone aside when brushing my teeth, doing my breakfast, or waiting for food to be ready. It is crazy, but it does feel like you start to breathe again and see your world with curious eyes, while a comfortable feeling of centeredness expands in your body.
Are you giving yourself enough time to relax? 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 to stay in touch for upcoming posts, free offers, and news :)
This week`s ...
Inspiration: John Strelecky - The Big Five for Life
Reflection: How can I commit to time for myself?
Intention: I give myself permission to slow down, recharge, and relax by making time for myself every day.