Slow it down

Photo courtesy of Bob MacCallum (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Bob MacCallum (Creative Commons)

That’s the advice that’s being given as far as driving in the extreme cold and icy conditions we’re having this week. No one is saying to stop, or not go at all, but just to slow it down and be careful.

That advice can be applied in other areas as well. As we start a new year with all the activities and obligations we have on our plates, the temptation is to go whirling into it until it gets out of control. That’s when you have a spinout and end up on the side of the road with illness, frustration and emotional meltdowns. I don’t know about you, but already, my head feels like it will explode any minute.

So slow it down and be careful.

First and foremost, learn the word “no”! Practice with me now, “NO.”

Say no to new activities until you have made sure you can incorporate them without overloading yourself. I used to think that I couldn’t say no – that people expected me to do things and would be disappointed when I didn’t. I ended up saying yes to so many things that I wasn’t doing any of them very well, and I started to dread the activities that used to give me such pleasure.

And then someone asked me to do one more thing, and I sucked up my courage and I said no. I explained that I had so much on my plate already that I just couldn’t take on one more thing right now and have any hope of doing it right.

You know what? It was ok. They understood and even told me that they respected my thoughtful no more than they would have a quick yes.

What a freeing experience that was. What we don’t always understand when we just blindly keep saying yes to more and more is that we have only so much energy and attention, and when we spread ourselves so thin, we don’t do any of our activities justice. Then we’re just going through the motions, and not getting anything out of the activity.

We do ourselves a disservice because we are so distracted that we aren’t putting our whole selves into any of the activities, and might even do them so fast just to get done and on to the next thing, that they are done incorrectly. Or dangerously. The last thing you want is burnout.

So play it smart and don’t race into so many new responsibilities. Take it slow. Let’s see those brake lights.