Just Stop Already
Hustle! Hustle! Hustle! Go! Go! GO! There is so much pressure to be constantly on the move, highly productive and always busy that we ignore our bodies telling us we need rest and recovery time. If we aren't productive, we are lazy and no one wants to be called that. We think we need to be always doing something or we will never thrive and never be extraordinary.
I took time off from the gym over the recent Thanksgiving Holiday as I had planned, but started feeling guilty halfway into the week. I had this gnawing feeling that I should have at least gone in a couple days or done more at home. I didn't however. I slept in. I did a lot more sitting than normal in spite of the guilt. I ignored most of the mess around me throughout the break and went back to work on Monday with piles of laundry all over the place.
I remember a time when I would take vacation before Thanksgiving and work like a maniac all day cleaning the house from top to bottom. I thought that if it wasn't perfect for Thanksgiving, I was obviously a failure. I thought that I would never be able to relax and enjoy my company if it wasn't immaculate. I would follow your favorite Food Network master chefs on their Thanksgiving feast preparation protocol and serve up the most delicious meal. Then I would fight with the fridge to fit it all in and clean dishes for an eternity until it was all done put away. I would go back to work on Monday simply exhausted, but everything was perfect, or so I thought.
This year, was different. I ordered food from a restaurant. There was no mountain of dishes to do. I didn't worry about cleaning the house. I watched a bunch of Christmas movies while snacking on Chex Mix and caramel popcorn. I took naps. And when my alarm went off at 4:15 a.m. on Monday morning, I woke up feeling well rested and full of energy. I hit a couple of personal milestones with my weight lifting and had a highly productive and satisfying day. The rest time, which I worried derailed my progress, made me stronger. The time away, made me better. It didn't mean I was lazy. It helped me be more productive. The rest time was not wasted time.
But how did I do it? How did I manage to tame the guilt and actually make rest time a reality? How did I redefine "perfect" to something that I could accept and still find joy in the season? Very simply, I set a goal to be present in the moment. I set my intentions in my Holiday Planner and reflected on what mattered. That's it. Writing things down has impact. I wrote down how I wanted to feel about my Holiday, what really mattered and what didn't. Most importantly, I made a "To Don't" List. On that "To Don't" list I made it clear that I was not going to exhaust myself to make everything perfect. Perfect is subjective. I wasn't going to worry about judgment from others when they asked my Thanksgiving plans.
I also took the time to breathe and relax. I made mindfulness meditation a priority and something I would do before jumping into the schedule for the day. I learned how to find extraordinary in the ordinary aspects of life. Sitting on the coach watching the Christmas tree sparkle or the snow falling down. Listening to the dogs snore while watching football. We need to redefine Extraordinary. It doesn't mean huge. It doesn't mean perfect. It means impactful. And it brings you joy.
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