Yesterday was one of those days where I was reminded of just how hard it can be to practice what you preach.
I was already stressed, behind my schedule, and having a difficult time focusing, when a fly decided to assault my workspace. After futilely trying to shoo, trap, and then kill the little stinker, I grabbed my diffuser in hope that my go to essential oil blend for concentration* would send it away and get me back to calm productivity. Nope. The fly became relentless and even had the gall to invite one of its buddies to join in on the fun!
At this point, work went out the window; it was me or the flies. And, that’s when I lost it. Amidst my frenzied and pathetic attempts to deal with the flies (oh, to have been a fly on the wall to see me!), I realized they had staked their claim. I was the sore loser who had to leave my plush workspace. Moreover, I needed a meditation break to calm myself the [expletive] down.
Even though I had an exhausting laundry list of things to do, it became clear there was no way I was going to get anything done without taking time to center my body and mind. How many times have you put off self-care because you didn’t have time for it? Yeah, me too. <deep sigh>
I used to think that powering through stress, piles of work, etc. was a sign of strength and fortitude, but it’s the exact opposite. Endurance requires temperance. The go, go, go mentality can only last so long before our work starts losing efficiency and effectiveness and our bodies start rebelling with the negative effects of stress and exhaustion. But there’s no reason for us to beat ourselves up for the past. What we can do is move forward with greater clarity and self awareness, which in turn, set the stage for greater self management.
I took a meditation break for ten minutes. It wasn’t enough. I had worked myself up so much that I needed more time before heading back to my computer (which, incidentally, I had moved to another room to accommodate the new occupants of my office! Pshht!). I proceeded to tackle some non-work related things and then head to my cozy bedroom (yup, I work from home) for another longer meditation session that finally recharged my batteries.
So next time your temper is flaring, you lose focus, and little things start bugging you (sorry, it works too perfectly here!), take a break. Get some coffee or tea. Take one or two deep breaths. Meditate for a few minutes. Walk around the block or office floor. Do anything that helps get your mind and body to a better state in which you can successfully tackle your to do list. And, if you find your not feeling better after a short break, give yourself permission for extra self care time. You may be surprised to learn that a longer mindfulness session will reap greater rewards. That’s the lesson I relearned yesterday.
* To support memory and focus during times of stress, I use a blend of eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils. Eucalyptus helps combat mental exhaustion; lavender is calming; peppermint is energizing; and rosemary is well known for promoting memory and concentration.