I think the most influential phrase I heard in my 20’s was “Sometimes you have to go slower to go faster”. I was 22 give or take, and I was sitting in the classroom portion of a 2-day racing school to learn how to autocross. What I didn’t know then was that I would carry that piece of advice with me not just through every race I ever entered, but through the rest of my life.
In racing, you have to slow down in spots so that you can maneuver quickly with control, and then you speed up again. Our lives are similar to a race- there’s a start, a finish, and obstacles along the way for us to slow down and maneuver without crashing.
In the last few weeks, the majority of us have been forced to physically slow down and take time away from our jobs and our social lives and remain home. For some people, this may be the first time in years they’ve had extended time off. Now that the majority of us have physically slowed down, we have the time to focus on ourselves, our home, and life in general.
If you are connected via Facebook you may have noticed content shift toward motivational and inspiring messages along the lines of “what are you accomplishing” and “now is the time to make big changes in your life” from diet, to personal goals, to organization… Like there has been a call to action to “fix” things in your life. Don’t get me wrong- I am capitalizing on this time at home diving deeper into yoga teacher training, tweaking my diet and getting a killer daily routine down. But what if you don’t know where to start now that you have this free time? What if this is making you feel more pressure and stress about your situation? If you feel like you are coming off of autopilot for the first time in a while, you are not alone.
Where to start? Here’s where mindfulness comes into play. Start observing your thoughts, without judgment. This would be a great journaling entry or start of a goal list if you wanted it to be. Take some time, check in with yourself. This could also help with any uncertain thoughts or anxiety you are experiencing as well, but in no way diagnosis/treats any condition. Assess your situation, is there something you have been putting off or haven’t had the time for? Is now a time to work on it? Instead of thoughts racing through our mind getting little attention, we are slowing down, acknowledging them, and then making a decision. Maybe this is the time to focus on the side business you’ve been dreaming about or start the online training program you’ve wanted time for. Maybe it is just time to slowdown and relax after years of hard work and little or no vacations. That’s ok too!
What about the pressure and stress associated with change? What if you are generally happy with your life and feel confused about these messages to improve? That’s ok too- celebrate the fact that you are content right now. Not everything needs to be changed or “fixed” all the time.
To give you an idea of how life looks for us right now, my household is: a bartender (Tom) and a yoga instructor/bartender (me). The day before my biggest bartending day of the year, St. Patrick’s Day, was the last day we could work and earn any income. As the days rolled forward and we learned it will be May something before we can work again, we each had choices to make. We both decided right away, this has to be our vacation for the year for money reasons. I also decided this is the time for me to accomplish some personal goals with my routine and schedule, but also to start figuring out my plan for Fall/Winter. My fitness routine is finally where I want it, I think. For Tom though, he is just going forward business at usual. Except instead of leaving for work at 4:30 p.m. everyday, he is on the couch. The point I am trying to make is, it’s your time now. You’ve had the chance to slow down, what are you going to do now so that you can go faster later? Is it a time to relax and recharge or are you going to put together an action plan?
I’ll leave you with this- YOU are the creator of your thoughts. They don’t appear out of thin air or for no reason. You have complete control over what you think. When you slow down and take control, you are setting yourself up to go faster later.
Do what you do and do it well 🙏 Namaste