I once read a book that was called
“Every time I find the meaning of life, they change it”
“Every time I figure out how to balance everything, life-throws-a-big-fat-ball-at-my-face-making-me-trip-over-so-damn-hard-my-“balanced”-life-goes-flying-everywhere- and-i-am-left-on-my-ass-thinking-w-t-f-mate.”
It probably wouldn’t be accepted as a book title. But if it was, SHOTTY.
Life is hard and I don’t think it’s meant to be easy. And with reference to my wishful thinking book title, I believe that whenever think you’ve got it all figured out, Life throws a curve ball so direct that it knocks you completely off your feet and leaves you feeling as though you never had it figured out in the first place. Which is not true. You DID have it all figured out. But like climbing a ladder – just because you’ve gone up one rung, doesn’t mean you’ve made it all the way up to the top.
Most recently I had a big old curve ball hit me super hard in the “I got this all sorted” section of my face. And it came in the form of a breakfast meet up with my boyfriends dad.
Anyone who knows me personally would know that I live life at 100 miles per hour and reside mostly (almost completely) in the fast lane. Most people love that I am so “quick and efficient” and yes, it is a blessing! but it’s also a curse.
Here’s my harsh truth…
I don’t know how to switch off, I don’t know how to SLOW the hell DOWN.
When I get stressed and overwhelmed my first thought is “I can’t keep up with the world, I’m not moving quick enough!” And this thought pattern repeats over and over again. So off I go with my text book brain and I try to calm myself by saying “It’s okay Cat, just be faster, enjoy the feeling, be grateful for all you have etc etc etc” and it works for maybe a day, maybe a week, and then it all starts again – the panic, the “can’t keep up” thought.
The other day we had breakfast with Dave’s dad who is a total guru and so knowledgeable that sometimes it gets me real good. He said to me (and forgive me for the gross reference here) “trying to stay positive with life when you’re feeling overwhelmed, is like willing yourself to stop diarrhoea”
The concept threw me so hard (“What do you MEAN I can’t control everything in my life!!!!” – Cat’s ego) He then asked me (and I will paraphrase because he is so ridiculously intelligent that I could never quote him directly without writing a whole new blog)
“Stop seeing everything as separate, and see it all as one. If life feels like it’s moving too fast, then what do you need to do?”
The answer was so freaking simple that I almost didn’t want to say it.
Ahhhh… the old SLOW DOWN.
But I can’t slow down! If I slow down I can’t keep up and if I can’t keep up then everything won’t be balanced! But he’s is so right…
I spend so much of my time seeing everything separate. My work life, my love life, my family life, my friend life, my hobby life, my me time life. And I spend so much time trying to fit it all in and make time for it all that of course it doesn’t work. I can’t squeeze everything in without getting overwhelmed! But if I stopped separating everything and started seeing everything as one, life would become so much simpler.
I need to stop trying to make the world around me slow down and instead focus on making ME slow down. And once I slow down, everything else will too. My reality is my own making, my own thoughts, my own conciseness. YOUR reality is your own making , your own thoughts, your own conciseness.
So, if you feel like everything is too much and you can’t balance it all. What do you need to do?
Don’t want to answer it cause you almost hate it right?
… slow down.
And you know what I have realised? Most of the time we refuse to slow down and we offer up thousands of excuses as to why we don’t have the time to make the time because the underlying emotion that makes us resist is the horrible and gut-residing emotion, our not-so-friendly friend… Guilt.
EXAMPLES OF GUILT
Parent Guilt – “My kids and husband/wife need me and the house can’t run without me so I should be making more time for them than I should for myself!”
Work Guilt – “If my boss or fellow co workers see me relaxing on social media they are going to think I am lazy!”
Friend Guilt – “If I cancel going out for dinner so that I can just have a night at home my friends are going to think that I am a bad friend!”
Partner Guilt – “If I don’t cook them a really nice meal or do the washing while it’s a really sunny day and instead go and do my nails they are going to think I am selfish!”
Stuff the guilt!!! Let the guilt go!!!! If you’re not making time for yourself and 100% happy with how you are feeling then what kind of Parent, Employee, Friend etc are you really going to be? Will you really be the best version of yourself? And also remember this works in reverse too. Stop putting guilt on others! Your friend cancels on you cause they just need a night on their own? GOOD ON THEM FOR LOOKING AFTER THEMSELVES! Your boss takes a vacation even though you would desperately love to go on one too? GO GET EM BOSS! Your partner goes out for beers with the boys leaving you at home to cook and clean? GIRL YOU GIVE HIM THE SILENT TREATMENT TILL HE BEGS… kidding 😉 Let him do his thing and then kindly remind him the following day that it’s his turn to cook, and clean, and do the washing, and…
Here’s what I do to slow down & what you can do to.
1. Take yourself out to a coffee shop
Even if it’s for like 5 minutes. Don’t get take away. SIT! And enjoy the time to stop. If you say you don’t have time, well that’s exactly when you know that you need to MAKE the time. Waking up 10 minutes earlier to get to work a little earlier will leave you feeling like you have had an extra hour in your day and then in consequence, your work day will feel all the better. Meaning – you are happier!
2. Get in the kitchen and bake!
Seriously, get in the kitchen and bake something. Compared to other methods of cooking, baking is one where time and patience are needed the most, meaning – you slow down! Also baking usually means you’re working with something sweet so if that smell doesn’t make your serotonin levels go off the chain then I don’t know what will. There are loads of healthy options and recipes these days so get into it (you could make my Banana Bread! Hint hint)
3. Read a book/magazine/blog/poems
4. Go to the beach
It’s a fact that being near water can calm you almost instantly. If you live near the beach like I do then you’re super lucky to have such easy access, if you don’t, then this one is a little hard to practice during the week, unless you drive past a beach on the way home from work or make the time on the weekend. But honestly, the smell of salt, the sounds of the waves. It’s enough.
5. Make yourself a little DVD date night at home
Seriously, go grab your favourite DVD or that new release that you “didn’t have time to go and watch in the cinema” and get some Popcorn, Organic chocolate (Loving earth & Pana yo!) Nuts or your freshly baked Banana bread loaf that you just whipped up (see what I did there?) and make yourself a tea or pour yourself a glass of wine and relax.
The idea of putting yourself first & slowing down takes a lot of practice. It may come easier to some than others and that’s okay! Life is all about learning and growing. So if it’s all going too fast and you feel like you can’t keep up, simply…