Why Slowing Down is Necessary

Recently I was sick for about four weeks and was convinced I had the plague.  My doctor said it was an upper respiratory something but I’m still not completely sure I believe him.  The thing that baffled me about my illness was how long it lasted. Nearly a month.

I couldn’t go to hot vinyasa class twice per week (or church, as I call it), couldn’t meet my soul sisters for dinner, couldn’t run 3 miles at 6am with my ADHD puppy, could barely keep my eyes open past 9pm.  The thing is, as I lamented over all of the things my body wasn’t strong enough to handle, I realized that I still had a full time job, two part time jobs as well, an 8 year old who is getting his junior black belt in karate and has to attend class an obscene amount of times per week, a very needy puppy (did I mention the ADHD?) and a home to fill my time.  I’m slightly overwhelmed just writing about it.

Was getting sick my wake up call to slow down?  Probably. But how?

This idea of slowing down scares me.   It’s hard for a type-A personality to slow down her life.  Since birth, I have been an over-achiever.  It got me A’s in high school, pushed me to run many half marathons, and helped to keep me focused on my goals.  But when I ask myself what is the one thing that I seek most at this point in my life, the answer is always peace.

Lately, before I go for that early morning run or attempt to fit in that last errand before going home, I have been asking myself is it necessary and will it bring me peace?  Just this act of stopping and thinking about what I need to feel my best is a step toward slowing down.  I don’t feel like I’m on autopilot.  I know that my choices are conscious and are serving my greatest good.  What I have realized is that most of the things I try to squeeze into my already busy schedule are unnecessary and don’t need to be done right away.  Again, a very difficult concept for Miss Type-A to grasp.  But I’m working on it.  In fact, I am writing this post from my backyard, with view of the lake, and a hot cup of coffee.  Because this brings me peace.   I even guiltlessly skipped hot vinyasa this morning.

Another epiphany I’ve had, is that being busy doesn’t always equal being productive. In fact, when I’m busy I’m usually distracted from what I need most, which is always self-care.  Sure, there are responsibilities that must be taken care of and jobs that must be worked, but when I become too busy to focus on my own health and well-being, I only suffer. Making my self-care my first priority is necessary for me.  And the best part is it makes me a better counselor, a better professor, a better yogi, a better mother.  A conscious self-care ritual brings me the peace I seek.

My need to slow down will be an ongoing effort.  I will have to constantly think about what is necessary to complete and what can wait.  I will have to continue to make self-care my priority despite what is happening around me.  None of this will be easy but I’m sure that it will be worth it.

What can you do today to slow down? What can you do today that will bring you peace? Please comment and let me know your thoughts.

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