“A human being needs rest and recovery for optimal psychological and physiological functioning.”
~ Tal Ben-Shahar in The Certificate in Positive Psychology Course
There are times in life when our routines are disrupted, change is in process, unexpected events appear, and deadlines are fast approaching. And, in spite of or in addition to, the routines of our lives continue — work is a must, picking up children and taking them where they need to be, preparing meals, and all the chores of running a household do not pause to make room for the extras that are sure to come along.
How do you handle additional stress and disruptions? What goes to the back burner first? Most of us (me included) tend to skimp on our routines and practices that are essential for our self-care. We put off going to the gym, do not go for that walk in the woods, or go for that early morning run. We reschedule our yoga classes or walk past our meditation cushion to make room for doing the ‘more’ that has presented itself.
I know this because I am guilty of letting my self-care practices go until… the project is finished. I know this because I hear it every day from clients who say, “I’m too busy to take care of myself this week. Once I’m finished with ________, I’ll return to my routine.”
I am currently in the middle of such an unexpected change requiring my time, effort, and energy above and beyond my daily routine. My deadline is fast approaching with, still, much to do.
I’ve decided to approach this deadline differently. I have consciously insisted on rest and recovery when I need it over pushing it to the back burner for later. I am continuing my morning practice, my walks in the woods, and time to simply be or do that which provides for restoration time — like taking a walk around my yard with my granddaughter on FaceTime yesterday.
At first, my mind tried to rebel by chattering on endlessly about the long list of necessary ‘to do’s’ and the limited time I have before my deadline arrives. My mind wants me to let go of time to meditate, write, or hike in the woods by saying, “There isn’t enough time for everything, especially a walk in the woods!”
I, on the other hand, am insisting on continuing all those self-care activities! What I am learning is that allowing myself the time to rest, restore, and recover through my self-care routines and practices is that I am actually getting more accomplished. Yes! Having my self-care needs met means I am more focused on the tasks with fresh eyes and refreshed energy. And, yes, the deadline is fast approaching. I know there is plenty of time to get everything done and take care of myself.
By ignoring my self-care or plowing forward (which I am so good at) I was creating imbalance —ok, for several days I tried to plow through. The imbalance left me arguing with myself or fighting my physical need for restoration and being fully unfocused in whatever task I was trying to do. I was spending a lot of time resentful, frustrated, and scattered which meant valuable time was, indeed, being wasted!
Once I paused to honor my need for balance, everything began to flow with more ease. I am getting more done in less time because I am consistent with my need for rest and restoration through the consistency of my self-care practices.
How do you provide balance in your busy schedule? Do you honor your need for rest and restoration? If you are someone who puts your self-care on the back burner in order to plow through, what can you consider doing, today, to restore balance?