Sometimes I feel like I’m always on the go. Whether I’m jetting all over the place for my day job or making moves to get my yoga career off the ground, my days are jammed from the minute my eyes flutter open to the moment I turn down the sheets at night. My commitments blur the line between work and personal time and weekends have been desecrated, no longer prioritizing socializing with friends and R&R.
Like a lot of 20-somethings, this go go lifestyle is self-inflicted. True, I’m a bit of a masochist when it comes to what I set out to accomplish in any given day, week or month, but I love being busy. At least that’s what I tell myself when I’m vibrating after my third cup of coffee and hustling from the yoga studio to meet up with a friend I almost never get to see and back home to get a unit of my nutrition studies done before catching a flight out of Dulles for five days of meetings. Inhale. Exhale. Yes, all the yoga I do helps lower my stress levels but that too takes time and my asana practice can be more (physically) draining some days than I’d like to admit.
The truth is, this pace is stressful and is taking its toll. Spread yourself too thin and you’ll inevitably hit a wall. I hit mini walls all the time. Usually it’s just a few hours of being utterly knackered, feeling overwhelmed, and involuntarily surrendering to tears of fatigue as they flow across my temples in reclining half pigeon. Yep, that happens on a somewhat regular basis. And, you know what, I embrace it as my release and my body’s way of sending self-kindness with the message slow it down.
Here’s the thing: it’s hard to slow down without feeling like I’ve dropped the ball. I don’t sleep in on weekends or go spend an afternoon at the museum because I feel like I am wasting precious time when I could be devising a new recipe for my blog or working on a new killer ab sequence for an upcoming yoga class. And I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. In fact, I’d say the majority of my peers share my fear of losing momentum or missing an opportunity to advance our careers or beings. We’re all driven, ambitious, and slightly insane.
While goals and dreams take hard work, long hours, and persistence in the face of adversity, I know I will not succeed if I don’t give myself a break from time to time. Burn out is no joke kids. And news flash, not one of us is invincible. The key is to know where your edge is and cut back before you’re tumbling ass backwards into a total breakdown. Been there, done that and it ain’t pretty. As it turns out I’m an ugly crier…
So before you end up a hot mess, here’s my prescription: take a bubble bath. Seriously, if you haven’t taken one in a while they’re mind-blowing. Or do whatever it is that will make you slow it down for at least one hour once a week. The key is to unplug and unwind. I like taking an Epsom salt bath because it forces me to put down my cell and computer (water & technology don’t mix), while simultaneously giving my weary muscles a rare chance to rest and recoup. For you it might mean slowly sipping a beer while sitting on your front stoop people watching. Or, maybe you go for a run or a long bike ride. Whatever it is, let me make a suggestion: no technology. Technology takes us out of the present moment, inhibits our awareness, and distracts us from listening to what our body and mind truly need.
We all need to recharge our batteries from time to time. Believe me, we’ll be better as a human race if we work to eliminate some of the stress and chaos that gets us all wound so tight. And I’m telling you, here and now, it’s okay to drop the ball. Because guess what? You will pick it right back up, just with renewed energy and resolve that only comes from sending yourself a little loving kindness.