Today’s High-speed Chase
So far, this century appears to be marked by a phenomenal shift in gear. Where we used to have the information highway, we now have an interstellar autobahn. In terms of productivity, speed of turnover and the pace of communication, we’re always on the go, and this becomes exhausting. It also leaves us with very little time to mindfully centre ourselves. Without this essential Breathing Room, it’s all too easy to spiral out of control as we try to keep up with the relentless pace of life.
Make no mistake, our parents and grandparents worked hard. However, they didn’t suffer from the tyranny of urgency that we encounter every day. Nowadays, our work time is not limited to an eight-hour day. In fact, we’re often expected to be reachable (and productive) at any time of the day or night.
This unquestioned and assumed capacity is doubly true for anyone who runs her own business, and triply so for working moms. For those affected, this haste has a negative impact on multiple areas of their lives.
For starters, relationships take major strain when we don’t nurture them. It’s easy to take your partner for granted when you get busy, but it’s not so easy for them. When your work stress spills out into your private life, things can become very tough indeed. What’s more, your social life also suffers, and while this may seem like a frivolous consideration, it’s actually vitally important to maintain a balance that allows you to unwind with friends.
The question is, with so many things to focus on, when and how do we make time to enjoy simply being alive?
Time for Time
The key is in the question. We simply have to make time, and it’s actually not as hard as it sounds. You’re probably already used to squeezing tasks into your already overflowing day. So, just to start off with, think of your Breathing Room as another thing to fit in before bedtime. Once you’ve done that, then try the following:
- Prioritise – Once you’ve put “Breathing Room – Time for Myself” on your mental radar, your next step is to make it a priority. Take a good look at your To Do list and see what can be moved to the bottom. The chances are that you can demote an item or two if you try. You may initially resist this, but persevere and you’ll be surprised at what can wait.
- Schedule – Decide on the length and frequency of your Breathing Room, and ink it on your calendar. Even if you only take half an hour, twice a week, you’ll be giving yourself a very welcome clearing in the chaos. Soon you’ll find that the balancing benefits of Breathing Room are so rewarding that you’ll make time for more.
- Be selfish – It’s hard to put yourself first when so many other things seem to depend on your attention, but it is necessary. The misconception that motivated, busy, successful folks can always take on more is damaging, so sometimes you just need to acknowledge your limits and say: “No. This is my time.” Once you’ve made your stand, declare it and guard it fiercely.
- Unplug – You’re not going to enjoy any Breathing Room if you’re glancing at your phone every 20 seconds. We often forget that if we don’t reply to that email right away, or answer that call immediately, nothing will explode. This can be the hardest habit to break, but doing so will unlock a welcome sense of unfettered freedom.
- Get creative – While you might be unsure of what to do the first few times you take your Breathing Room, you’ll soon find your groove. Whether you grab a pen and write down a few unedited thoughts, or simply colour in a decorative page, setting your mind to creative tasks often unlocks massive inspiration and unblocks clogged channels of thought.
Well Rested Well Balanced
Breathing Room is a space you create and claim in order to give yourself rest that restores the balance in your life. When you give yourself adequate time to unwind, you benefit in a number of ways.
- De-stress – The most immediate advantage is that you’ll be actively relaxing. By dedicating time to peaceful, calming thoughts and activities you give yourself a break from thinking about the endless list of things you need to get done. It’s an exercise in mindfulness that takes time and discipline to get right, but it’s worth the effort.
- Become more effective – Paradoxically, when you take time for Breathing Room, you generally find that other areas of your life become more effective. It’s the similar to the Pareto Principle, in that by carefully investing your time in one small area, you can benefit from exponentially effective results. Simply put, you need time to breathe in order to do everything else as well as you want to.
Hitting the Sweet Spot
Breathing Room is one of the ‘Bs’ discussed in Sarah Scholtz’ highly acclaimed workshops. For more information about how you can incorporate this essential practice into your life, visit http://www.sarahscholtz.com/workshops/