Walk Away- Just For A Minute
Whew, why are Mondays always so.... Monday?
I wanted to share this experience with you, as I make the effort to include healthier ways to manage stress into my life.
I began today with a little itch in the back of my brain- a voice that was asking, “ How will you cram this all in today?” I knew I had a lot to do and I couldn't seem to get myself to be able to make logical order of the things I had I front of me. I had stepped away from work on Friday and apparently, stepped away from the organization I had in my mind about how to balance my responsibilities. Now, here I am on Monday morning, unable to claim that sense of organization again. Within an hour of trying to work, I felt that little itch rising to a feeling of anxiety. Maybe even a little panic. How would I be able to complete all my tasks if I can't even concentrate? I began to feel my skin tingling, my face getting hot. Eventually, my hands started to sweat and my concentration declined even further.
It was at this point, I had to remember the skill of stepping away, despite the sense of urgency. Being a task oriented person, my first inclination is to “think more and try harder!” when trying to solve the problem at hand. But, the last few years, I have tried more of the opposite: relax, step away and (hope) the answers get clearer.
Stepping away from a long list of work on a Monday morning may sound crazy, even to me! Why waste time, when it is so limited? But, at these times when my brain gets overwhelmed, stressed and panicked, I tend to think less clearly. The stress response puts us humans into survival mode, not problem solving mode. So the answer is to step away, clear the mind and then maybe try again.
I am still skeptical every time I try this approach. I feel like I am abandoning my tasks and at worst, wasting precious time. But, I keep some faith it will help, and I walk away- just for a few moments. Today, I stepped out into the sun and walked for 10 minutes, focusing on each step- feeling how it touched the ground, how the edges of my shoes felt against my foot. I counted each step. This short mindfulness practice got me to my car, where I sat for 10 more minutes to concentrate on my breathing. Counting each one on the inhale. The little voice that tells me, “I am wasting time!” certainly popped up now and again but I could return to my breath and continue with the space.
I came back to my work more ready to settle in and make sense of the crazy list of tasks. I was clearer, calmer, more focused. Hmm, that mindfulness thing worked again.
Its not easy to use those skills, especially when they go against everything you know and have done in the past. But, I am reminded each time I choose a new way of doing things, I always have the option to go back to what I was doing before, if this new way doesn't work. But, if the old way was working, then why am I trying to change?
Wishing you an amazing week!