How did you spend this long weekend? Running around to complete a long list of tasks? Did you do things with family and friends that still involved stress – even the good kind such as hosting a gathering or making sure everything was loaded for a short vacation?
Most of us are like hamsters on a wheel. Whether at school or at home, we don’t stop running.
Some of you have now completed the school year. The rest of you will be doing so within a month. What are your plans? Will you still be on the hamster wheel? And how and why should you get off?
Back in December, I wrote a blog entitled “Make Room for Joy.” In that piece, I urged you to make time for family and friends, doing things you loved. Today I want to take this thought in another direction.
We need to take time for solitude and reflecting.
We live in a very noisy world. It’s filled with people we like – and love – and along with those who annoy us. Much as we enjoy what we do most of the time, we are spending so much time doing and giving we are exhausted. If we are not careful are well of caring just might run dry.
What happens when your well starts to run dry? You become increasingly irritable. You snap at family and possibly a student. You wonder when will it be your turn to be taken care of. Most of the time we aren’t aware of this shift in attitude. We are so focused on getting the thing done, It’s not till we get a reaction such as our kid crying because of something we said or a “conversation” with a spouse turning hurtful that we realize we are in overload.
I can remember driving home from work one day and shouting in my car, “I don’t want to be a wife, a mother, or a librarian. I want an air-conditioned cave lined with books and my meals delivered.” My well was running dry. I loved being a wife, a mother, and a librarian. I just felt pulled in so many directions I wanted to tune out for a while. I was on to something but didn’t fully realize it.
What can you do to replenish your well? Anyone who has young children is familiar with giving them a “time out.” We remove them from the situation that has caused them to overreact and have them sit quietly until they can find the calm that allows them to return to being themselves.
We need to find the best way for each of us to have that “time out.” Some people are good at meditation and that restores their inner calm, replenishing them. Yoga can work for others.
Some school librarians are putting coloring books on tables – sometimes as part of Makerspaces. They have discovered that kids—and teachers—are loving them. They can sit quietly, concentrating only on what area to do next and what color to choose. It has become a national craze. I think it’s a form of meditating for some people.
You have to find what works for you. I can’t seem to meditate. My mind starts whirling. And yoga doesn’t seem to be my thing. Those coloring books don’t attract me, but I do love to walk. When I walk I can greet people walking their dogs and continue my way. They don‘t want me for anything, not even a conversation. I watch the seasons change, and it fills something inside me. I do think, but the thinking is so different from when I am home working on my computer. This thinking helps me put things in place. When walking, it doesn’t bother me when my thoughts are interrupted by a beautiful tree or a friendly dog. If I don’t get back to my original train of thought, no problem.
I decided on this topic because I was in danger of having my well drained. I had a super busy month and there were personal stresses as well. As a friend of mine used to say, I was a Human Doing, not a Human Being.
Memorial Day was created to be a time of quiet reflection, noting those who gave and gave the ultimate sacrifice. I hope you used it to replenish yourself. If not, look for times to do it now.
What is your chosen method for giving yourself a much needed time out?
Meanwhile, I am going for a walk.