Are you doing too much? Is it time to take your foot off the accelerator?
When all the routines in the land might be the cause of your burnout ...
Yoga, meditation, mindfulness, journaling, morning pages, evening pages, going for a run, eating healthy, taking care of your body, warm baths, time to self etc: Are they just another addition to your already overloaded list? Another task that gets thrown onto the treadmill of overwhelm, that is getting bigger and bigger.
How many of us are burning out because we are unable to stop doing? Regardless of how good yoga is for you, or meditation, it is still a doing activity. Don’t get me wrong I love both of these activities, however there are times when I just don’t get round to making time for them.
If you are on a self improvement plan you might have come across the good ‘ole advice with regard to morning and evening routines, or even just routines in general. In self development, self care, and love sometimes there are expectations to find times in the day to re-configure yourself by practicing activities which help to re-align yourself.
My inner voice often says, ‘if these things are important to you will make time for them!’ The truth is that sometimes I just don’t make the time for them. When I am feeling drained, overwhelmed, and I want the world to stop I know that these activities would pep me up. However my general sadness and pain just wants me to sit with a movie on and eat.
There’s also the question of how much time do I really want to give to these activities. I was listening to a audio with Deepak Chopra and he was saying that he meditates for two hours a day. I am very happy that Mr Chopra gets the time to do this, however, realistically how many of us have this much spare time to give to wellbeing?
All of this thinking has moved me to the question of how much time is enough and when can I create this time?
Firstly and most importantly getting off the bandwagon can sometimes be as therapeutic as being on it. From a spiritual perspective, did you know that the routines and the things that you are doing is in tune with healing work and healing work takes time and needs time. In our go, go, go society we seem to think that more of something = better. No, it does not, it just = more.
To me less is more. We can get so bogged down by all the tasks that we are doing that the self care and love becomes another thing on the list that adds to our stress. Meditate on those words, even the practice of mindful activities can add to our stress.
Of course this does depend on the type of personality we have, whether the benefits will be positive or erring on the stressful side. So let me paint a picture.
If you have never taken time for yourself and your life is filled with hard working success stories, you know you’re the kind of person that really grabs at something and immerses yourself in it and when you learn it, you need to know the whole of it to partake. Now this isn’t a bad thing in itself. Yet, when you add say meditation to your list, you want to know the whole of it, you want to do it well you want to immerse yourself in it. It just becomes another doctorate!
The problem with using healing activities this way is that sometimes in our eagerness we dull the effectiveness of the past time because we are so busy using our thinking minds.
So all activities that are on the spiritual spectrum require us to drop the thinking mind in order to appreciate, benefit and heal through the use of these activities. If we are in the thinking mind the routine the new addition becomes just another thing on our list.
The healing impact is diminished and the outcome is not as good.
So for me it has been to drop a few of my self care routines and to incorporate new ways that are more enriching. I used to wake up and write each day – I used to call it my brain dump time, we do tend to wake up with whirring minds and ideas a plenty. The action of writing it all down, had the effect of freeing me from the pull of the thoughts. However, as time went by I started to realise that the practice was just eating into my day and making me unproductive in other areas of my life.
I am not saying don’t have self care and love routines, in fact you know I am an advocate of caring for the core of self. However, what I am saying is that less is more, when we are less hung up on these routines we allow the body to feel more loved, nurtured and protected.
Some of us take easily to routines and others find them stifling to our spontaneity. It is for each one of us to recognise what is best for us.
In this I think I find my answer, the truth is that we need to be honest with ourselves, is the practice really benefiting us? Do we feel better because we have actioned the routine? Is it giving us enough time to create other things in our life? If not is there something else that we can do? The truth is that until we answer these questions and work through what it means to us, we may find that we are trapped under all the doing that we have in our lives.
Take for example being the soul carer of someone child, adult etc. This is a job in itself. Why should you create tonnes of time around this activity for additional work such as self improvement? If you’re being hard on yourself then maybe you might want to, however inner love won’t ask this of you. It will ask you to take stock.
With all this in mind, my new mindset and my new thought process is that to truly function in this world each one of us needs to find the simplest methods of space that we can give ourselves. Choose activities that nurture and support us that do not add to our over burdened lives.
Healing work takes time, allow yourself the time to integrate a new activity if you want to. E.g. Meditation: It does not have to take all day, you can do ten minutes in the morning to just give pause and space for the rest of the day.
Also beware of mindfulness, mindfulness is just you being you, and being aware of you. So being mindful is to hear the call of your body, it is to be in the moment. Err on the side of just being this as opposed to making it another activity that you need to incorporate into your time.
A little light on this
I have come to the conclusion that 30 minutes in a day is enough for me. I will break up this time into smaller chunks. It does not matter what I do, I could read my book, learn a language, eat something different, meditate, create, draw, do my breathing exercises. For me these are the things that will help me to re-configure and to fire on all cylinders – my self care and love stuff.
When we appreciate and recognise that there will be trials in life and that all the routines in the land will not really stop us having to go through the experience, we can approach our world and our lives in a different way. It is to remember that practices such as meditation, yoga, mindfulness are to help us. However that is all that they can do, they won’t take away the pain of life. They can help to dull it though, so with this knowledge firmly in place comes the understanding that less is more.
Find your ideas, whatever they are and make tiny chunks of time for them. Remember that they are 'I might do activities', not 'I have to activities.' There is no reason that you have to do them. Making space for them is up to you.
The understanding is that you lovingly incorporate them when you want to incorporate them.
Many a time I have heard friends say but I have to do my yoga and feel bad if I don’t, then beat themselves up etc when they could not make it… This is not productive and will bring up the bodies stress response.
This is all about taking your foot of the accelerator and knowing that life will go on in spite of what you do. It is to be contented with the choices that you make for your day and for these choices to feel joyful, as opposed to stress inducing.
Remember every time you add something to your life, be sure that it is a benefit to you, that you love it and that it does not feel like a chore. The minute an activity that is meant to be nurturing you starts to feel like a chore, re-define it or replace it.
Also remember that any practice that we use to help us with the stressors in life are just tools – when we no longer need these tools in our life we can remove them and move onto something else. In essence the more aware and developed we are within ourselves, the less we will require tools to help us through stress and pain.
The reason being: That we will no longer be bothered by these experiences. It does of course take time to get to an inner state such as this, therefore until then, stay with your practices and enjoy them working for you in your daily life.
Love to you all and all the best with alleviating the stressors in your life …