I have a confession to make. I have been running on empty lately—short on time, long on responsibility and shirking everything I know about taking care of myself. Every day has been a scramble, racing around, checking items off the “to do” list, with limited time for all the things that sustain me. I haven’t even been meditating! Now, with the summer half over, and the time left to enjoy it dwindling like the longer days, I have decided to take a bit of my own advice and just chill. After all, the first rule of coaching is “live it to give it.” With that in mind, I hope you’ll forgive me for “bagging” the column this month, and will take another look at the following oldie. It appeared at exactly this time last year, and is just as apt now as it was then. Enjoy!
With gratitude for your understanding,
The summer is half over, and I feel as if it is passing me by. I live in a beautiful part of the world where I am literally surrounded by flowers, but I can never seem to stop and smell them. Or at least, I don’t. Instead, I over-schedule myself with work and other commitments, lose hours to mundane, time consuming tasks and otherwise get lost in a swirl of constant doing. My To-Do List feels like a self-regenerating monster, threatening to take over my life, and no amount of effort seems to lighten the load. Meanwhile, the things that really matter to me—the family and friends I want to connect with, the books I want to read, the hobbies I fantasize about taking up, even just the walks I want to take—there just never seems to be time for those. Now that I think about it, it’s not just my summer, perhaps it’s my whole life that is passing me by. I feel ridiculous for complaining. I have a rich, full, happy life and so much to be grateful for, but mostly I just feel pulled in a million directions. I know that there are tons of articles and self-help books out there advising all of us about the dangers of stress, the benefits of mindfulness and the beauty of simplicity, but I don’t have time to read them! How can I possibly slow down, enjoy my summer (and my life) and just relax a little bit without shirking my responsibilities or disappointing everyone who depends on me?
Can you help?
As a former doing addict, my heart goes out to you. I used to be harried and in a hurry all the time, too, perpetually rushing from place to place, executing tasks like my life depended on it and fervently worshipping at the alter of efficiency and accomplishment.
Fortunately, I don’t live my life like that anymore and my strong suspicion is you don’t need to, either. I mean, what is the point of a “rich, full, happy life” if you feel as if you are missing the whole thing, constantly in motion and clearly spread way too thin?
What to do?
I have so much to say on this ubiquitous problem, I could write a few books of my own. Since you are short on time, however, I will get straight to the point. Besides, it’s August and I would rather ditch my laptop and head to the lake instead.
Here is my down and dirty, body-mind-soul list of small changes, practical tips and simple practices to help you defuse the frenzy and tame your To Do List so you can start doing all those “things that really matter” to you and generally live with more ease, purpose and joy: