The Subtle Art of Slow

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I have always struggled with the idea of slowing down. I run at a very high energy most days, which often tiptoes on the border of anxiety. My teaching job requires I show up to class with a certain amount of attentiveness to encourage others and hold space. My doTERRA business gets me super excited to learn, and educate others, and working on podcasts literally has my heart bursting with excitement.

The thing with running on high energy, is that if you don’t work on adding gas to the tank, eventually it will burn out. And if you haven’t been paying attention to the warning signs, you could end up suddenly crashing. High highs can also mean low lows.

This is a pattern I see in myself often, and that I’m really working on trying to break. I am often so busy dashing from place to place, and crossing things off my ‘to do’ list (aside; I feel like I cross 1 thing off, and 5 more pop up..?!) that I forget to tune in and see what my body ACTUALLY needs. Not what I *think* it needs.

This time of year (cold, grey, snowy, slushy) usually stresses me out beyond the load I already put on myself. It feels like it takes extra amounts of energy to do the same amount of work, yet that energy is nowhere to be found.

On top of energy/anxiety levels, I also worry. ALOT.

I worry that I will be late, I worry that I will be hungry, I worry that I’m not doing enough. I worry that I am letting others down, I worry that I’m letting myself down. I worry that if I don’t workout my body will change (thats a whoooole other spiral), I worry that if I do workout all my chronic pain is going to flare up and keep me awake.

It’s exhausting.

I was incredibly privileged this past weekend to participate in part 1 of a two part training with Andrea Peloso, and holy moly was it ever a reminder about the importance of rest for the body.

The systems of our body work together on such a deep, intentional level, and it’s important to remember that our bodies are SMART. If we pay attention to the alarm bells, we can possibly catch something that has gone awry before another, more serious issue presents itself.

Anxiety and worry live in our sympathetic nervous system. They are systems of the body designed to keep us alive and safe. But if we don’t take the time to honour and soothe those systems, and regulate ourselves through parasympathetic (rest/digest/restore) experiences, we end up living high up in our fight/flight/flee/freeze mode (sympathetic).

It’s like this;

  • I wake up to an aggressive alarm
  • I pass by someone yelling angrily on the phone as I quickly walk to the subway
  • I get bumped/shoved on the TTC
  • Someone is on the TTC yelling/ feels dangerous
  • I get to work and teach with high energy for 1-3 hours
  • I get pulled aside to privately learn about some personal issues a client is having
  • I go back out to the TTC
  • It is delayed because of a fire/emergency
  • I’m stuck in a dark tunnel which I don’t like #claustrophobic
  • I come home from teaching, whip up some food and look at the 80 emails in my mailbox
  • I look at all the things I have to do that day, that also impact other people (have they been waiting for my reply? Am I seemingly unprofessional?)
  • I work on making my way through that list
  • Suddenly its pitch black out, even though it’s only 430pm, I’m pooped, and still need to do my own workout
  • At the gym, the news is on, sharing all the ways the world is ending today
  • I come home from the gym, and my partner had a bad day, so he wants to unwind alone for a bit

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s lots of really great things about that list;

  • Sometimes I get woken up by a cuddle, or a forehead kiss instead of an alarm
  • I LOVE my job, and being a part of my community
  • I have tools to support me in moments when I feel stressed (#doterra4lyfe)
  • My gym is 1 minute down the road from me, which is quite a nice easy walk
  • I really love that my partner recognizes when he needs alone downtime, and I’m so happy to respect that

BUT for the sake of my point, let’s look at that first list. That’s a lot of things in a day that can spike our nervous system, and I consider my day to be pretty low intensity compared to other people I know. I am not a surgeon, nurse, lawyer, social worker, police officer, or any other immediately high stress job. I can’t even imagine what their list would look like. AND on top of that, a lot of these stressors happen daily, so we begin to regulate at a place where we get USED to them! As if all of that stress is a normal, healthy load on our systems (hint hint; its totally not!)

So how do we regulate ourselves so that our immune/hormonal/nervous systems all have a fighting chance? We slow down, we take some rest. We slowly sip that coffee, we journal. We do something we love every day that makes us feel really, really good. We do restorative work, and say no to things that really don’t need to be done. We set our schedules up for success as much as we can. We prioritize.

Although the commitment to honouring this is new to me, it actually feels like such a sigh of relief. As if I finally have permission to not do it all, or grow quickly. But rather to take my time, and be intentional. To know that when we take the time to invest in ourselves, in ALL of ourselves, that investment has returns that will take us far.

So not that you needed it from me but here it is anyway;

Permission. Permission to slow down, to take rest when you need it. Just because you want to. To take time for yourself every single day. The other beautiful thing? When we slow down, we have time to enjoy the ride..

Love, love, love

D xo

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