"Life has become too busy. I need to slow down." I heard myself silently repeat these words all too often throughout my week. Each time I said them, I acknowledged that something needed to change, yet nothing did.
As I sat down for the umpteenth time to create a plan to better manage my time, I had a revelation. I am the common denominator throughout the periods of busyness.
I realized I didn't need another time management system to learn. I needed to learn the art of self-management.
While I said my intention was to slow down and create more space in my life, I continued to take on new projects, volunteer for tasks and committees, etc.
The question I really needed to answer: "Why was I (sometimes unconsciously, sometimes not) keeping myself so busy?"
As I reflected on this question in my meditation, I started to notice how uncomfortable I was with "down time". Even when there were no deadlines to meet, I found myself on my laptop checking email, researching ideas, and surfing the net. It would be one thing if this activity led to greater productivity and results; unfortunately, that wasn't generally the case.
When I wasn't busy, there was a sense of dis-ease as difficult emotions emerged: sadness, loneliness, and disappointment just to name a few. Working had become a convenient excuse to avoid dealing with these feelings.
Once I recognized and accepted this truth, I had a choice: continue to do things the way I always had and get the same results; OR do something different. I decided to do the latter.
So, how do you both slow down AND manage the difficult emotions that arise?
It's important for you to open your heart and mind in this process. Be gentle with yourself. When you prioritize taking care of you, your life shifts in positive and unexpected ways. And you give others permission to do the same as you model being present for your life. This is the key to balancing your life.
Your loved ones will thank you.
Your future self will thank you.
Leave a comment below and let me know what helps you to slow down.
Uplifting Women in Medicine