Take it slow

I’ve been in a little bit of a funk the last few weeks.  I’ve spent some time hibernating at home, watching Netflix and not accomplishing many items on my constant to-do list.  Mindless time in between the packed schedule I can’t seem to trim down.  I’ve done a lot of that this winter, actually.  The cold months can have their perks, but most of the time I just find myself dreaming of the sunshine and stuffing my face with fruits and vegetables bottomless carbs.

I’ve been trying to figure out what the funk is all about, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  Things are wonderful at school – I’m so happy to be back in the classroom – things are great in my personal life, the doggies bring me tons of joy (but they are destroyers of belongings as usual)…so what is the issue?  I hate feeling down in the dumps or sorry for myself, so this has been a long funk that also includes frustration at not being able to ‘fix’ it.

This past week was incredibly busy for me.  It was another one of those weeks where literally every day on my planner was full from 6:15 when I leave for school in the morning until bedtime.  A lot of it was stuff I wanted to do, with people I love, but by Friday  night I was completely drained and exhausted; I felt like I was 100 years old, and the weekend had even more commitments coming.  Someone very wise spoke to me about stretching myself too thin and needing to practice prioritizing and saying no…keeping some time in my life for just me.  That sounds so easy, right?  And some people are really good at doing that.  Trust me, this very wise person is not the first person to bring this up to me.  One of my problems has always been not taking enough time for myself.  I’m a social butterfly; I feel happy when I’m around others.  I feel most satisfied and productive when my hands are on a million projects and I’m working towards goals.  In fact, even with all of my plans and commitments, now that I’ve earned my yoga teaching certification, I still find myself thinking…what’s next?

My only resolution for 2016 was to take care of myself better – mind, body, soul.  This, to me, covered everything.  Sleep, exercise, nutrition, well-being, respecting myself, loving myself, improving myself…I haven’t done very well so far.  I end up trying to do too much and then I can’t do everything with 100% concentration or give things the full attention they deserve.  I’m not getting enough sleep, I haven’t been putting effort into feeding my body good foods, I haven’t been doing the things that usually bring me joy because I’ve been doing so much and trying so hard to get the next thing done that I’m not taking the time I need to enjoy my own time and just.  Slow.  Down.

After this wise person told me I needed to slow down, I tried to talk myself out of it a little bit and brush it off – “This is just who I’ve always been.”  I went to yoga class on Saturday morning with some girlfriends, and the theme was about this dilemma exactly – putting the needs of others before our own.  Doing things, or not doing things, because we are afraid to hurt someone’s feelings so much that we’d rather let ourselves suffer than just be honest.  That’s my work.  It’s something I have worked on my entire life.  I am a people pleaser by nature, and I love spending time with my friends, keeping busy, and making sure everything is running smoothly.  I am so quick to agree to doing things and feeling like I can do it all, but inevitably something falls short…and usually what falls short is taking care of myself.

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Newsflash to myself and to anyone out there with my same plight:  We are not designed to do it all.  We are not made to go a million miles per hour through  life, a tornado of do and go and keep pushing.  Another quote landed on me hard in yoga class tonight:  “And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”  This is the only moment we have.  Nothing stays – even our breath, our evidence of life, has to be exhaled.  We have to enjoy every single right now that we have.  We have to learn to take it slow, to stop and smell the roses.

We’re all so busy trying to figure out the meaning of life, the one thing that we have been put on this earth to do.  We want to make sure we are making the right choices, following the right path, creating the right opportunities and relationships for ourselves.  We need to have all of the answers right now, and we need to get to all of our goals yesterday so we can start living the life we’ve always dreamed of.  But the truth is that we are already living our lives in every single moment.  If we allow ourselves to keep focusing on the destination, we will miss the entire blissful, broken, agonizingly beautiful journey.  We feel torment over so many things that we can’t control instead of just trusting that there is a plan already in place.  A lot of my friends are experiencing this same search:  who am I, what do I want, what is my purpose?  I have done a lot of searching for these answers myself in the past year.  These questions are important, but at some point, you just have to live your life and let the rest fall into place.  Take a break from trying to do everything, or figure everything out.  Just be still, and appreciate wherever you are and whatever is going on in your life that brings you joy.

This morning, when I opened my Passion Planner, the quote for this week read:  “There is no greater harm than that of time wasted.”  I agree with this idea, but I had to remind myself that slowing down and taking it easy to make time for yourself is not time wasted.  It is necessary in order to recharge and keep living a life with purpose.  So for this week, I didn’t make any plans that weren’t for me.  I’m hibernating again, but this time it won’t be time wasted – I’ll be going to yoga classes, relaxing, reading, cooking good meals, maybe taking a bath or two, getting to sleep on time, and hanging with my corgis.  And yeah, fine…maybe a tiny bit of mindless Netflix and fruits & veggies Dove dark chocolate.  It’s called balance, people!

Enjoy your moments.  Stop racing to the finish line, and take some time for yourself if you’ve been letting yourself fall to the wayside.  You need it, you deserve it, and you should make yourself your first priority.  It’s like the flight attendants say – put your oxygen mask on first before helping someone else.  You have to take care of yourself first.

I think the funk has finally lifted.  🙂

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As always, photo credits go to J Parker Photography – my beautiful and talented best friend.  

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