Busy seasons. I don't know where I first heard this term, but I understood what it meant. Those periods of life you find yourself in where you're really busy at work...at home...and everywhere in between.
Although at times it began to feel unmanageable, you knew that it was temporary. It was just a busy season.
Fast forward and it seems that most people I talk to are living busy lives perpetually, not just for a season.
Constant busyness has become the norm and is often worn as a badge of honor. At other times it feels like this is just the way it is and we have absolutely no control over it.
But in the midst of all that life has to offer, there are times when it is necessary to step out of the chaos and busyness and take a break. I call this the power of pressing pause. I want to share 3 signs with you that may mean it's time to press the pause button.
1. When you're in overwhelm
I always think of Alice in Wonderland falling down the rabbit hole. That's what it feels when I'm in overwhelm. That I somehow landed there without really knowing what happened.
It may show up as missed deadlines, a sense that there's too much on your plate or an avoidance of people or messages. Essentially it feels like there is way too much to handle and you don't know where (or how) to start.
The first step is recognizing where you are. The next step is hitting the pause button to take the time to download all of the thoughts swirling around in your head and get them down onto paper. You can then decide what you choose to get done now, what can wait and what can be permanently deleted.
2. When you're faced with an important decision
Struggling with a big decision can be anxiety-provoking. You put so much pressure on yourself to make the right decision. So much so that you may put off making the decision for days, weeks, months or indefinitely. The problem is when you avoid making a decision, it will sometimes be made for you (in essence you're deciding to allow someone else to make it for you).
And on the flip side, if you rush to make a decision, you may be dissatisfied with not just the outcome, but your reasons for making it in the first place.
Pressing pause when you are faced with a big decision can create the space needed to reflect and get clearer on the options available. Making a decision from a place of clarity and confidence is always better than making one out of confusion and desperation.
3. When you're grieving
Change, no matter how welcome or unwelcome, can bring stress along for the ride. It can signal loss...of the way things were...of opportunities that never come to be...and of expectations that are not met.
Whether it's the unexpected news of the health challenges of a loved one, the injustices in the world reported by the media or a sense of loss of work that was once fulfilling, dealing with loss feels hard.
The grieving process brings with it many emotions that shift and change from moment to moment. In these situations it is valuable to press pause to make room for the emotions to ebb and flow.
To open up to them rather than resist them, fight with them or ignore them.
To breathe into them and be with them for as long as they need to be here.
To ask for help when you're struggling.
To find that small still place of refuge that lies within you and to hear the soft inner voice of wisdom.
In each of the situations above, pressing pause also allows for discernment. Time and space to figure out what you have control over and what you don't. Breathing room to ask yourself what you need most in this moment and to listen for the answers. A reprieve to choose how you can honor and meet your own needs (prioritizing self-care, asking for help).
The length of your pause is not as important as the courageous act of acknowledging that you need one and taking action to press the button. There is so much power in the pause. And when used strategically, it can serve to support you on your journey.
So what is your sign that tells you it's time to press pause? Share it with me in the comments below.
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