Have you noticed how we are “programmed” to be always busy? Even when we are sick, we feel guilty for not doing what we are supposed to do.
A colleague was telling me how he was stressed because after having a root canal, he had to return to the office to work on important issues. It was obvious to me that he had never had this kind of intervention before because he would have known that going to the office after such a surgery was impossible.
I was often criticized for not being able to stop 2 minutes to breathe and enjoy doing nothing. For me, doing nothing meant: read, watch TV or go on the Internet. In my life, I always went the extra mile. When I was in College, I was working 30 hrs/week, when I started work full time, I was studying for my BAC in the evening. Then I did my Master’s Degree in the evening, again while working full time and then I went on to get certifications in my field.
In my various jobs, I worked always more than the normal 40 hours and I was always aiming at the next promotion. Never taking a “break”. I know I’m not the only one. Society pushes us at a very young age to be super active. Watch these young children who do hockey, soccer, ballet and competition on the weekends!
I agree with the desire to excel and be better. To achieve our goals, I know that it can take a constant effort for several years. However, the constant intensity often leads to a lack of balance in our lives.
A little over a year ago, I hit a wall. I was just completely fed-up. I left a career that had taken years to build, a vice-president position in an international company. I had a physical and psychological urgent need stop. My body and my mind were exhausted. After 2 weeks, I started to develop anxiety because I did not have my 50-60 hour workweek. Programmed you say? Totally!
It took me months to accept to slow down. I was starting up my business and I was going back to school to become a professional coach but I still felt not busy enough. I love action and I love being busy. So I had to work to find the right balance that works for me.
I also consulted a coach who told me that doing nothing is doing nothing. It is important to do from time to time in our society full of smart phone, texting, iPad, etc. So occasionally, I sit for a few minutes and I do nothing. I breathe. To insure a balance in my life, I made some resolutions. From time to time, I close my cell, I do not read my emails, I am simply not available for anyone outside of my home. I give myself the gift of taking care of myself, I exercise regularly, I eat better and I meditate. I take vacations more often. Once a year is not enough. I will not let anyone interfere with those moments that belong to me and to my husband.
It makes me more efficient and present when I’m at work. I no longer do 60hrs/week and this is my choice. Occasionally, I’ll have a big week but I make sure to readjust the balance as soon as possible.
Give yourself the gift of taking care of you. Now, every week. Do not wait until you retire, it will be too late.