When in doubt, do less (and experience more)
After facilitating a retreat at the beautiful 1440 Multiversity in the Santa Cruz mountains last week, I had a rare 24-hours in Carmel to relax and play with my dear friend and teaching assistant, Val. We considered visiting a local thermal bath spa, driving down to Big Sur to hike, picnicking at Point Lobos, or visiting the Missions. Ultimately we decided to plant ourselves on the beach near a national bird sanctuary, just a stone’s throw from our hotel room. We lay on the warm sand basking in the sun like two happy turtles and let the lull of the waves relax our bodies, minds and spirits. We stayed there for hours. It could not have been more perfect.
With all the chaos and uncertainty we’re navigating, I believe it’s more important than ever to put self-care front and center and to do less.
Overdoing taxes our adrenals and keeps us from experiencing life in the moment. The hyper-stimulation and constant busy-ness we’ve become accustomed to, comes at a cost to our well-being. When we do too much, we find:
• We are more distracted. Even when we’re together, we aren’t present and focused on each other, and we don’t feel fed by our time together.
• We are overly focused on activities, goals and outcomes, which sends the powerful, subconscious message to our kids — and ourselves— that we are only worthy if we’re “doing.”
• Since we live in constant motion and rarely rest, we are perpetually overextended, and so we become resentful and even angry, at both ourselves and others.
• Physically, we feel chronically tired and exhausted. Our poor bodies, overworked and overstimulated, rarely have time to truly rejuvenate (and this chronic stress can lead to depression and acute anxiety).
• Over time, the ongoing stress from our relentless pace affects our bodies’ immune, endocrine and hormone systems, which are frequently out of balance. Living in “fight or flight” around the clock has become the norm, and this stress is the root cause of 90% of all disease.
We’re living in the era of the unknown — a whole new frontier — that I believe requires us to have more space to breathe, think, dream and digest. We’re craving more time to just be — so we can actually integrate what’s happening moment to moment.
This week I’m asking, “Is this the best use of my energy and talents?” and moving more slowly. I’m making the conscious choice to bring my expectations down a notch and to give myself full permission to “do less,” so I can properly care for my emotional well-being and my family’s, too.
HOW CAN I SUPPORT YOU? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES:
Schedule me to plan/facilitate a custom workshop or retreat for your company, team or organization on work-life balance, resiliency or self-renewal. Learn more and email me at email@example.com to discuss your next event.
Renew, replenish and recharge with like-minded women at a fall self-renewal retreat. In transition and seeking clarity/support and a weekend of deep to-the-bones renewal? Join me Jan. 24-26 at Kripalu in the MA Berkshire Mountains (highly recommended!). View all upcoming fall retreats here.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teacher author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. She is the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 17-year-old son. More on Renee here.