‘Things that matter the most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least’. – Wolfgang vonGoethe
I’m hoping that by the time you read this you’ll have had a holiday. How was yours? Did you rest? Did you manage to not get ill as soon as you stopped? Are you now feeling restored and rearing to go again?
I travelled out to Guyana, South America to visit my elderly mother whose Alzheimer’s is advancing. It wasn’t a holiday and it wasn’t meant to be either and I left feeling tired and a little worn out. I stopped in Barbados for a few days to wash off the carer fatigue and just rest. Here, on this picture postcard island, I just slept, ate and played . One night I danced on my own on the beach and under the stars, dodging the waves and piles of seaweed that had washed in during the day. I read books and managed to stay awake while doing so. I sat and did nothing while knowing that doing nothing is actually doing something. By the time I landed at Gatwick airport I was feeling restored. I had pressed the reset button. I had remembered what’s really important. I’d remembered that I’m a human being and not a human doing.
A good holiday should do that, shouldn’t it? It should rebalance you, restoring the energy batteries and reminding you what it feels like to sleep deeply and wake up feeling peaceful. It should bring you back to yourself and remind you what has meaning for you, what you care about… But how do you hold on to that ‘holiday feeling’ before, all too soon, it starts to slip away and then you’re counting the days until your next break.
A couple of days back from holiday and with my energy battery fully charged, I started to feel those familiar pulls. I felt the pull of my phone, inbox, people who wanted to meet up, meetings landing in the calendar, things to do, must do’s, should do’s, have to do’s…energy draining away, losing myself again.
So I simplified. And tried to feel those deep roots again.
I remembered to breathe, to drop my shoulders, relax my jaw and feel my feet. I left my phone on silent and stopped jumping to respond to every email. I leaned back and relaxed my belly. I cancelled going out on my bike to do 30 miles up and down punishing hills and found child’s pose on my yoga mat. I cooked nourishing food and ate it slowly and appreciatively with my daughter. I took time to stroke the cat who was still feeling aggrieved from the abandonment. I video called my mum and really listened and told her I missed her. And I allowed the tears…
I remembered that most of it really can wait.
And this week I’ve given four presentations around the country, remembered how much I love doing the work I do and felt the joy of working with a full tank of energy. But I’m trying to remember to keep topping up…
What can you do to hold on to that holiday feeling? To stop your batteries running right down so that you’re desperate for your next break and then ill as soon as you stop?
What small strategies can you adopt to keep your tank topped up? Making time to eat breakfast before you leave home for work? Remembering to breathe deeply while standing on a packed commuter train? Taking tech free breaks during the day especially when you feel the overwhelm of the inbox? Remembering to move and drink a tall glass of water instead of reaching for coffee and a biscuit?
Remembering to do the small things throughout the day that give you a fighting chance of having energy at the end of the day for yourself and the people you love. Remembering to remember what’s really important.