The Turtle and the Hare

Most of us move through our day at a hare’s pace trying to get as much done as we can.  Our to-do lists are long and our days are short.  And what happens when the day is over?  We try to fit in 6-8 hours of sleep, and then we get right back up with our new to-do list for the day.  And I bet you that we’re not listening to our bodies while we do all of this.  We’re buzzing around in our numb bodies, because that’s really the only way we can overwork ourselves.  If we WEREN’T numb to feeling and we were connected to our bodies, our bodies would definitely let us know that they need a break every now and then…

Are you unsure whether you are going about your day at a hare’s pace?  Ask yourself these questions to get a better idea.  Do you ever…

  • Find your feet tapping the pee dance as you work away on your computer because you JUST DON’T HAVE TIME TO PEE!!!
  • Notice your body vibrating or feel frantic while doing a daily task because you’re thinking of all the things you HAVE TO get done today
  • Wake up in the morning and immediately log on to your computer to check your e-mails, facebook, twitter, (insert any other social networking service you use here), etc. before you even notice what day it is
  • Not have time to eat a proper sit-down meal because you have too much on your plate.  Instead, you eat snacks in your car in-between errands, you “eat as you grab” (grabbing and eating random food from the cupboards while standing in your kitchen), or not eat at all because you just don’t have time or you don’t want to waste time

If these scenarios sound familiar to you then you probably are spending most of your day scurrying around at a hare’s pace.  (If it makes you feel any better, I’ve done it all and still do it, many, many times!)  If you have said a loud and proud “YES MA’AM” then you are in dire need for some slowing down in your life!  Yes, I know it feels good to get a lot accomplished in the day, and you might not want to or be ready to slow down to a turtle’s pace, and that is just fine.  Even slowing down for a couple of minutes a day can greatly benefit you.  The amazing Life Coach Abigail Steidley likes to describe this slowing down process as flipping your toggle switch.  When you slow down, you are flipping your toggle switch from the sympathetic “fight or flight” response to the parasympathetic “rest and digest” response.  When you consciously flip that switch to this restful state by giving your body and mind a rest, healing in your body can occur.  Your digestion improves so it’s easier to maintain a healthy body weight, inflammation reduces so oxygen can circulate and your body can heal faster and you get sick less often, your heart rate and blood pressure decreases, your brain chemistry is affected so you’re more creative, and much, much more.  It’s very unhealthy to be running around with the toggle switch on the “fight or flight” response all day.  Our bodies are not designed to live this way.  Making sure you take the time to flip the switch to the “rest and digest” or healing response and enjoy the life of a turtle every now and then will be vital to your health and well-being.  And guess what!!?  When you do this, you actually feel like you get more done and have more time in the day to do the things you want to do, and I bet you’ll have more fun, too!

So how can you add a couple of minutes of turtle life into your hectic life?  Can you take one minute out of your entire day to just stop everything and focus on your breath?  Can you slow down as you fold the laundry and stay present and out of your thoughts as you do this?  Can you take a couple of minutes to enjoy a good stretch in the morning before you check your emails?  Can you spend one extra minute sitting on the loo to just rest, breathe, and enjoy the silence (only if it’s your own beautifully clean and sensually smelling bathroom, of course)?  Embrace those moments that you can fully give to yourself.  Notice what it feels like to give your body a little rest.  Notice if you feel a bit less antsy, less irritated, and just a little bit more relaxed and content.

So what will you do today to promote your own healing?

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