Learning To Slow Down

Sunday, March 4, 2018

I am not good at slowing down. Not completely, at least, because whenever I take some time to slow down and take it easy, I end up feeling guilty because I think about all of the things I should be doing instead. It doesn't feel relaxing, it feels lazy. Even when I'm "slowing down," my mind is in high gear and I'm stressed.

But there are always going to be things to do.
If I waited until there was nothing to do to relax, I'd never relax.

I feel like I'm always going, going, going. On the weekdays I'm usually going from 5:30 in the morning to 10 at night, at least. I go straight from work to the gym, and when I get home, I'm cooking or cleaning or working on getting some other things done.

Once I finally do stop, I fall asleep almost immediately. Once I'm done for the day, if I sit down to watch an episode of something with Rahul, I'll usually fall asleep before the 23-minute episode is even over. Or when I lie down in bed, I'm asleep within literally two minutes.

Part of it is being an easy sleeper, I'm sure, but part of it is also probably pure exhaustion.

This past week has tested me. I've been sick since Monday night, feeling worse every day. On Monday, I had a bad cough so I went straight home after work, knowing that going to the gym would make it worse. But I didn't want to sit still, so I worked out anyway, telling myself it was fine because it wasn't at a gym, it was in my living room. The next day I felt even worse.

For two days, I came home from work and went straight to the couch, watched Netflix until I fell asleep, then eventually moved to bed. On Thursday and Friday I worked from home. Yesterday I went out for lunch to enjoy the sunny weather a bit and then went right back to lying on the couch rewatching "The Office."

I've done pretty much nothing for days. And even though I know that's what my body needs right now, I hate it. I don't like being sick and I don't like doing nothing.

But it's been a lesson in learning to slow down, to take a breath.

The going, going, going has often been the thing to get me sick in the first place.

I haven't gotten anything done this week. I haven't felt up to it. And that's the worst part of being sick for me. Not how bad I feel physically but that I can't do anything. It stops me in my tracks. I can't workout, I can't clean or run errands or hang out with people. It puts my whole to-do list on hold.

I've had to remind myself that that's perfectly okay, because my priority right now doesn't need to be working out or cleaning out my closet or running errands. It needs to be taking care of myself and letting myself heal.

And here's the backward thing about slowing down: We'll actually be more inclined to do things if we take some time to not do things for a while. Our ordinary to-do list won't seem as daunting and overwhelming if we're rested and ready for it.

Being busy isn't everything. Being busy isn't success.
Being busy can be productive but it can also be overdoing it.

This past week, I slowed down. I admitted to myself that I was sick. (I'm usually in denial.) It sucked but it was necessary.

Take a breather. Put your feet up. Let yourself rest.
And not just when you're sick.

I'm working on it.

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