Last week I left work in a great mood. My day had gone well – it had been productive and enjoyable. My bus ride home was good – I got a seat, so I was able to spend the hour working on my blog and my future business. I looked forward to seeing my children as I walked to their school to pick them up from after school care.
So why, within five minutes of walking into the after school care centre, was I irritable and raising my voice in frustration at my children?
My children are really good kids. They are beautiful-natured children who are easy and enjoyable to be around. They usually do what I ask (however, increasingly with the mandatory child procrastination) and they don’t give me too much angst.
So why was my tolerance so low, and why were they driving me so crazy, so quickly?
When I look back on that afternoon, I realise that I ran from one ‘role’ to the other. I went from employee to author to business developer to mum – without any breathing space in between. This is something I do quite often without even thinking about it. I run from one thing to another without a pause between roles.
Like most people, I am busy. I often feel that I am never getting to everything I need to do, and that I am not doing anything particularly well. Juggling parenting, household duties, work and extra-curricular activities doesn’t leave me with a lot of time in my day. And I am sure that there are many people out there who are much busier than me – people trying to squeeze even more into their days than I am.
However, just because we can jam-pack our day and run from one thing to the next, should we? At what cost do we do this?
I know that when I run from one thing to another, I am not truly mindful of anything that I’m doing that day. I am less focused and not the best mother, wife, employee, student or person that I can be. I am more tired, irritable and frustrated. And my life feels like I’m running towards an unattainable destination at a speed so fast that everything around me is blurry.
This is not the way that I want to live my life. And I doubt that I’m alone in feeling this way.
So I am now trying to build some space in between the roles that I have.
- I now use the walk from work to the bus stop to look around me and notice my surroundings instead of mindlessly running to the bus thinking about what I need to do next.
- I still use my bus ride to work on my blog and future business, but I now stop working on these things a few bus stops before mine so I can consciously pack up my things and switch off from these activities.
- And I’ve started using the walk to after school care to slow down by doing some deep breathing so I am more relaxed when I see my children.
If you are sprinting through life and this is impacting you adversely, try remembering to pause between roles or activities. Allow yourself a few moments between roles to collect your thoughts. Use this time to look up, become aware of your surroundings and to consciously shift your focus to your new role.