A lot of the blogs that I have written are all about what we can, should, must, try and attempt to do! It's a lot of information to take in and there's a lot of activity to consider and fit into the daily schedule. I know it's tough! And I often find that when we head into the latter months of the year, and the schedule gets hectic and the pressure begins to mount to tie up loose ends and get party plans in place before Dec 25th, we get frenzied up in social commitments and deadlines without realising the opportunity to 'celebrate' ourselves.
I always consider this time of year to be the time when you can relax off a little, kick back your gruelling regime and shake things up for the easy time frame. Maybe it has something to do with creating time to indulge in the glorious summer weather and beach lifestyle that we have here in this climate, but the end of the year also feels like the right time to indulge in a bit of 'reward'.
I've talked often about the beneficial powers of meditative time and rejuvenating exercise regimes and how we must balance these out in our daily or weekly schedules. I am not alone in this and many successful business writers, practitioners CEO's all maintain that this is the path to 'happiness' and longevity in your career and workplace. The balance!
One of the hardest things to balance with our mindset is often the ability to 'take a break'. I certainly was a victim of this for the first 2 years of buying my first business. I didn't take a full week off in 2 years. I ploughed on through, there was always something to get done, or complete. No-one can operate on such a schedule and expect to come out at the other end feeling anything less than exhausted. I started reading some business writers and came across Marc Allen who proposes 'taking a break from the daily details'. His stand of discovering the rejuvenating power of relaxation promotes the idea that by resting and coming to a quiet space in your mind, allows you to be more productive and to make better decisions when they need to be made. Valuing the notion of 'sleeping on something' and taking this actively into a weekly schedule, allowing oneself the chance to be restful and relax the mind so it is primed and ready when it needs to be active.
Finding this 'breath' in the middle of the day is also encouraged. Taking that one moment before you respond or react to a confronting situation often leads to a better, more prevalent solution. If you can harness that stillness in that one breath, then often a better solution presents itself in that singular moment and a problem is efficiently and easily resolved before it has become an issue. Like any habit, this takes practice and it's not easy. Monks spend lifetimes practising this art to remain still in the face of all situations. Daily meditations and work on removing the emotion and the self from the situation. So by working in some daily 'breaths' or moments where you really harness that stillness in your own unique way, is an excellent way of 'practising' that ability so when the moment arrives you are able to tap into that power when you DO need it.
There is also the effect of taking this restive moment into a longer period. Rest and Recreation are vital to ensuring a balance to the Type A personalities that afflicts many people in the business workplace and mentality of today. The loss of the 'Sunday as a day of rest' is perhaps more impactive than what we may have realised. This simple fact, far from giving us more time has sometimes created less time for us as the pressure to work beyond the dedicated hours of the week has become greater and greater. Who doesn't take work home from the office these days? In the face of this we need to be mindful that we still 'create' the space where we have a rest day or downtime. Scheduling this into our routine is important and far from being an 'indulgence' is vital to allowing us the value of restorative behaviour. It's the eternal balancing act of polarities at work. Active/Inactive, Dark/ Light, Yin/Yang - all of these concepts are founded on the principle that both must present to attain understanding and balance. Each polarity contains the seed of the other.
There has to be incentive to promote a willingness of participation and effort. There has to be a goal to promote a planned forward momentum, carrying you onward and keeping you focussed with intention and seeing the paring back of tasks that ultimately lead to the fulfilment of the goal. There is the time for being present, determined and task orientated. Otherwise you never get anywhere. But don't forge that the body also needs its down time. And without the ability to sit and relax and take some reflective moments to look back on all the tasks to date that have been achieved - well you're not giving yourself that reward that will help keep you moving forward to the next set of goals.
We all need to take the time to sit, breathe and take in what is around us. So as December hits us this year, make sure you plan that time in the week or two that you may have some spare space. Plan a day of blanket picnicking as well as the chance to actually sit and ponder what the ideas were, have become and what they will be. So whilst summer is a hurdy gurdy of parties, festivities, beach filled days and spending quality time with the kids - make sure you spend some quality time with yourself. You may be surprised what you unearth for yourself and what could well inform the next year of planning.