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You might not know you need to slow down until you actually slow down 😓
I have a family member who takes 2-3 weeks of holiday each year in one stretch. They know from the start that during the first week, they will get sick and, hopefully, recover after a few days to enjoy their free time starting the second week.
If you find this a bit bizarre — you are right. When we constantly move and function on autopilot, our body is vigilant — taking advantage of the resources and keeping us going under constant threat.
It’s when we stop and can regenerate that it hits us. It slows us down through sickness or indisposition. It’s also when reflection comes on different aspects we neglected for months (or years) regarding our needs and physical or mental health. From mild cold to panic attacks. From not having any energy to anxiety showing up.
It goes without saying that it’s better to learn how to regenerate regularly. Yet, if you are in a constant rush, you might not feel something is wrong or that you have hit battery-saving mode already. This can also be through being addicted to stress. That’s how sometimes people get strokes or suddenly pass out (does inemuri ring a bell?).
This is why it’s essential to ingrain regenerative periods into your daily life instead of doing it ad hoc when you feel tired. To do that, you must find a way to treat this on par with other essential things in your life. If not, it will keep on being neglected.
I used to suck at this skill big time, but through the years, I feel I’m building a series of habits to disconnect and regenerate. Some of the ideas I tested or plan to:
Asking myself: “what do I need to give myself right now?” when noticing a shift in how I feel. Being mindful of my behaviours and noticing anger which highlights I might be on the verge.
Weekly retrospectives - generating a set of questions that are important for me at this point of life and reflecting on them every week (best on Friday to close the work-week).
Days with reduced stimuli - when I deliberately slow down. I tend to do that on Fridays since months now. On this day I don’t plan anything and let things unfold.
Closing open threads - if it takes under 5 minutes, I do it right away. If not, I write the next thing I need to do to close the thread. Sometimes it’s about making a decision which way I want to go and taking the ownership that it might go the wrong way. Instead of endless analysis.
Doing regular retreats - spending time alone with myself without a goal. Oftentimes, I travel to another destination to escape the everyday context. What works best for me is when I have plenty of access to nature or can just wonder about.
I deliberately did not include meditation or other, rather well known, practices you can find plenty on the internet.
Let's put the spotlight on you. How do you ensure you don’t fall into the trap of not feeling that you need to rest?