Slowing down and kicking back

by Crystal on January 27, 2009

Slow Down .......You Clown!!
Image by fatboyke via Flickr

It’s funny how holidays change things.

Christmas was a slice out of life that bore absolutely no resemblance to the time before it, and I’m only just now getting back into the ‘normal’ routine I had going back in early December.  Now we’ve just had another holiday – the Australia Day long weekend, and again I’m finding that somehow my pace slowed to the point of stopping and I have to kick myself slightly to get going again…

I keep coming back to the importance of keeping up momentum.  The best intentions in the world just don’t seem to make a tiniest bit of difference if you let that fall off.

Allowing for R&R

Letting yourself have time off, though, is important in the scheme of things.  I’ve been feeling pretty run down and ragged lately, after some hectic times at work while others were on leave, so I think I needed to kick back a bit.  I need to “Slow Down to the Speed of Life” (gotta get that book, love the title).  What I didn’t expect was the extent I needed it.  My next holiday is a way off yet, but I think I need to start planning ahead for these things, and have some stuff in place so I can drop down to a minimal baseline level instead of having to choose between ‘full speed’ and ‘off’.

I do feel better for the rest.  I even let myself get crabby yesterday at the thought of going back!  It was kinda fun, in a weird way.

Managing energy levels

A good friend of mine, John Allen Mollenhauer of http://www.MyTrainer.com, told me a few years back of the importance of managing energy.  He compared top level athletes with the rest of us, and explained how they manage their energy levels so they have it there when they need to draw on it for peak performance – which is during a competition, only every so often.  The majority of the rest of us, though, are in jobs where we’re expected to maintain that top level of performance day in, day out.  Eventually that burns us out.

Lately, after a couple of months of on/off having to go above even my peak productivity levels, I’ve started really appreciating that.  Down time is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.  The fact that it’s recovery time from the day-job that’s impacting on my ability to chase my dreams is the worst, because I know that it’s a catch-22 situation.  I need to keep up my time online if I ever want to get out of the day-job, but it’s the day-job that’s keeping me from doing it.

Finding the things that recharge you

Most of us have things we do that leave us feeling alive and buzzed.  It doesn’t have to involve jumping off cliffs or screaming around racetracks either.  For me, the simple act of helping someone else, especially someone feeling down, gives me the greatest boost of energy I could ask for.  In down times, try to find ways to slot those activities in to your day.  If you’re not sure what your buzz activities are, allow some time to explore things you’ve always wanted to do, so you can discover them.

Be kind to yourself

Sometimes you just need to allow time to pass, and let a few things slide.  It’s important not to beat yourself up over all the things you could/should/would have been doing.  Especially if you’re a bit of an overcommitment freak like me.  Give yourself the space to heal, mentally and emotionally, that you would if you were injured physically.  Time will pass, you’ll get better, and your productivity will get back up there.  It won’t happen so quickly if you spend your recovery time telling yourself you need to force yourself to get up and do x or y or keep thinking ‘oh no the world will fall apart without me’.  Forget about your ego for a minute.  It’s not actually likely to.  There may be a backlog of work waiting for you, but nobody is indispensable, and you should take full advantage of that fact.

Further reading:

How to Relax – wikiHow

Caregivers: Learn How to Relax – NetofCare

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bruce Tretter January 27, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Good advice. Sounds a lot like what I hear from my dear ol’ Mom. Just have a hard time abiding by it myself, though I’m glad you’ve found a way to make it work when you can.

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