Today, I had a tight schedule and very little sleep. So ninja self-care was still very necessary. I followed religiously yesterday’s 3 rules. Here are a few more that helped me today and yesterday, I’ll write this as a reminder for myself, hoping it might encourage a soul or two to find their way of doing it :
Rule No. 4 - Don’t wait until you have time, steal it.
We have two actual resources : our time and our energy/attention.
A lot of the time, when we feel we don’t have enough time to do the things that matter to us, it’s actually because we give it to others. We also often feel tired, not because we do too many things like we tell ourselves, but rather because we don’t do enough of the things that nourish and energise us. Time is oh so precious. And our culture (specifically the white, patriarcal and capitalist part of it) pressures us into prioritizing things that are not what matter the most.
We tend to hold our busyness as a status symbol, and it’s so easy to let ourselves trap into the busy chaotic swirl. We all need to breathe. We all need to relax. No lifestyle that doesn’t let us any of those can be sustainable, it will have inevitably a big impact on our mental health. Burn-out is not a bursting event, not an explosion it’s something that builds up very slowly while we ignore it and postpone rest and recharging time. We are not machines. That’s why part of our liberation and any type of recovery always needs to be about reclaiming free and alone time. This brings me to the last rule that goes hand in hand, always… Because not all ways to spend time are equal.
Rule No. 5 - The more chaos around us, the more grounding we need.
There’s an old zen saying that makes me laugh but pisses off many people : “You should sit in meditation 20 minutes every day. If you are too busy, you should make it an hour”. The only way to un-busy ourselves is to force ourselves to stop and sit. Calm only exists in the present moment. The more we wait for it while running around, the less it will come. It needs to be intentional.
That’s also a slow process to implement. Here’s my favorite way to start, dear overscheduled, overwarrioring helper : start by stealing little pockets of time. This will challenge your perfectionism and people pleasing tendencies. This will make you feel inefficient and unproductive at times. Great, those are awesome signs you’re recovering from your addiction to busyness. If you believe you just have to deal with busyness but it’s against your will, remind yourself this Addiction 101 rule : whatever it is, if it’s in our life and taking so much of our time, it’s never random and out of our control.
Steal time minute by minute if necessary. Take time to breathe deploys, from your belly, just 3 breathes. Just one if 3 feels like too much. Stop yourself and watch the sky or nature, that connection, even of a few seconds, will ground you. Take 30 seconds to text a loved one how much you love them. Take 5mn to play any game you fancy on your phone. I am a word lover, so Scrabble and Word Blitz are my go to. The games are super quick, and help me use my brain in a relaxing way. All those things we overlook are in fact some of the most recharging things. At work, go for a walk with some music instead of smoking or chitchatting with people, we often don’t spend our breaks at work in recharging ways. And we all need time alone, especially if we are introverted.