Ever feel that you are a slave to your life? Never have time to simply BE? Do you ever wish that you were a house cat, so that you could sleep all day?
Contemporary society glorifies “busi-ness” (put together it's business...it's all making sense to me now) and the constant striving and doing more and more. When people asked me how I was doing, especially over the last month, and I replied, “busy,” people would respond with, “that’s good!” Moreover, motivational books will have us work harder, faster, better, and longer than others to reach this so-called top.
It’s wonderful to be able to sustain that kind of momentum….and I did for years. Lately, I have been finding that I am simply doing far too much.
Busy, Busy, Busy
Look around at your friends and colleagues, and find that many of us are doing the same thing. This past month of May, I encountered what some might call burnout. I was irritable, snappy, discouraged, so tired, and uninspired. On top of my busy schedule (which includes work in private practice and an organization as a counsellor, as well as my interests of sports, fitness, music and art), I started taking courses to become a clinical psychologist (PhD).
I was so excited for this and for the first while, I was juggling everything, yet I noticed that a lot of the joy had been zapped out of me. There was an internal struggle, where I knew things should change, yet I wasn’t willing to change- I wanted to operate at this super human level to be considered successful. I have done so much work on myself, that I knew I needed to act quickly and redirect. I finally accepted the fact that I was simply too busy, and decided that it was too much.
I gave notice to leave the organization that I was with, only to stay on very casually here and there. This opened up two more days! While it will affect my finances, and I did need to move in with my partner for it to work, I decided that it was important.
What Doing Less Does
Today, I can breathe again. I’m back to my regular routine, yet have more time to do it in. I can show up in the world and in my work the way that I want to: present, open, genuine, and kind.
I want to ask YOU, the reader, where could you carve out some space for yourself? Is there something that you could let go of so that you can focus on what is more important to you? How can you do less?
I don’t worry about how doing less will stunt my career, or appear lazy, or hurt me financially because I trust in the process. I know that by carving out the time and space for myself, I may be able to access more of my creative faculties, and actually improve my business and academic work, while nurturing my relationships and the things that really matter to me.
While letting things go may not work for you, I can tell you it is working for me.
Really, Though, Make Time for the Little Things
Be sure you have time for:
smiling at babies passing in strollers
petting a neighborhood cat
making at least one luscious meal each week for yourself/a friend/family/roommates
dressing with loving care
washing your sheets every few weeks
feeling the sunshine on your skin
sipping slowly a big glass of ice cold lemon water
calling a friend
writing someone some thoughtful words
a short afternoon nap once in a while
make a cup of tea (with care)
Express Yourself to Feel Human Again
Art making can help us to take pause, and step off the roller coaster that our lives can feel like, and to simply BE. Anything creative activity or craft works too. Lately I have taken to making cards for loved ones, and really spending the time to create elaborate designs and pictures (makes for beautiful Instagram shots), and add thoughtful words.
Playing with home décor also helps me to access my creativity and the joy of living. No need to spend money, see what you can alter with what you already have. My partner excels at this- he gets creative and rigs up interesting curtains, creates a lean-to shed with found wood, hangs art from the ceiling…watching him “play” with the house inspires me to do the same.
Again, I challenge you to do less…..and then see how you feel.
With gratitude for your readership,
1 Karen Lau on Unsplash
2 feliperizo.co | heart made on Unsplash
3 Freddy Castro on Unsplash
4 Ricardo Viana on Unsplash
5 rawkkim on Unsplash