There is precious little hope to be got out of whatever keeps us industrious, but there is a chance for us whenever we cease work and become stargazers.H.M. Tomlinson
I received a message in my inbox last night, of which I now share part, with permission:
Dear Nicole, I have a major problem. I just can’t rest without feeling guilty. No matter how hard I try to take a nap, or just sit quietly, the moment I do I have feelings of insecurity, guilt and even dread. I only feel okay when I am busy. I need to be productive but I am also exhausted. Help! Love Nancy
It can be hard to slow down. We are so indoctrinated to push, to hustle, to hurry up, to soldier on, and to not waste time.
If you relate to the urge to be constantly busy, try these simple tips for slowing down that will give you some much needed rest, and still give your monkey-mind the sense that you have indeed been working.
- Walk somewhere. Walking is doing something, but it can also be deeply relaxing, and it gives you time to hit the reset button on your day.
- Hose the garden. When you hose the garden you stand still, mostly. You are out in nature but you’re resting and being supported by the energy of the garden. It can be a deeply relaxing experience.
- Colour in. There are some fabulous colouring books and for adults, and lots of free downloadables. Try listening to music or a favourite podcast while you do this.
- Listen to an audiobook. Do this while sitting or lying down. Sip on a cold drink or a hot beverage. Relax.
- Make a non-alcoholic beverage with complete mindfulness and an attitude of gratitude. Then sit quietly and sip your beverage with that same mindfulness and gratitude until it is done. Now you have nourished your body and your soul, and given your mind some quiet time.
- Set up your ironing board or your craft project in front of TV and watch a movie or a favourite show while you iron or knit or craft.
- Make soup, or any kind of meal that takes a lot of chopping or kneading or mixing or stirring. Play some music. Pour yourself a drink. Slow down and enjoy the act of being in the kitchen, creating.
- Sit outside in the sun and brush your hair, or shape and paint your nails. Take your time. Enjoy giving this peaceful break to yourself.
- Take your washing to a laundromat. Read a book while it is washing and drying.
- Stop rushing. Rushing creates a sense of time urgency, heightens your stress and decreases your empathy for others. Give yourself more time to complete each task, or to be at a scheduled appointment. If you need to go grocery shopping, plan on taking a coffee break or time for a meal too at the beginning or end of your trip. Build breaks into your busy schedule so you can take a regular ten-minute time out (or longer!).
If you’re really brave, practice spending some unplugged time each week. Slowly extend that from an hour up to a day. It will feel awful at first, but as your anxiety subsides and you get used to the peace and space, you’ll crave more of it and become fiercely protective of that quiet time just for you.
Rest is something everyone needs. If this continues to be an issue please consider consulting a therapist.
Let me know how you go, and if you have any other tips for our community please share them in the comments.
Much love, Nicole xx