Time to Stop or Let Go

By: Faith Pearce

(5 mins)

Starting anything new can be draining. Nothing is automatic. You have to be present and aware during every step. Most things feel unfamiliar and uncertain. Then slowly over time, new routines and habits are built, things start to fall into place and they become more familiar.

After moving from a desk job to being on my feet all day and interacting constantly with people, I have learned being present is a must. My day is also non stop. I am not moaning or complaining. I love the interaction and fast pace, but it has just been a big adjustment compared to my previous professional job.

I used to drive everywhere and the mere thought of walking to the local shops felt like a huge effort. What was the point? I hated walking anywhere. Each time I walked I felt uncomfortable and my body ached and complained. But now I walk to and from work each day. I love walking, my daily steps have doubled and I have more energy. I don’t even think about the journey as it is effortless. I am more aware of the bees buzzing around the flowers and feeling the wind on my face. I have to make sure I always carry an umbrella or I may get a bit damp but now I take the time to notice so many things I was previously blind to.

There have been so many changes for the better. It hasn’t always been an easy process. I have realized I tend to stick to the same routine just because it’s what I have always done. It is normal and familiar. We all do that. Many times I find myself doing things I do not even need to just because it is an old routine or habit. Almost like I am stuck on autopilot without questioning what I am doing. But now I am beginning to wonder if some of my routines serve me any longer. We forget that things can feel differently, and we can feel better.

I believe everything happens for a reason although that reason isn’t always clear at the time. During times of adjustment, it has reminded me how important self-care is. Making sure the basics are in place, eating three nutritious meals, drinking enough water and making sure I get enough sleep are the most vital to me.

When I get back to my self-care basics, focusing on these steps work best for me. What I find interesting is why I keep falling off track to begin with. Even though I do not fall off my routines as hard or as often as I used to.

Firstly, I focus on eating. I tend to shift to eating less when feeling stressed rather than eating more. I can be lax not only on my nutrition but my calories in general, favoring quick, convenient foods. When I eat regularly scheduled, nutritious meals, my sugar levels are maintained throughout the day, and more importantly, they do not drop at night time, causing me to have night sweats which wake me up.

I also focus on making sure I drink enough fluids. When I am dehydrated, my energy levels are affected. I feel tired and crave salt and sugar. I started drinking a rehydration solution to ensure my electrolytes were in balance.

Sleep hygiene is so important to me. It took me years to find a sleep routine that worked. My routine is off in general, but as in many other places in the world, here in the UK, we have had record-breaking temperatures and this directly affected my sleep. I have been more clumsy, emotional and things bubble up near the surface. I hate being exhausted and what I call “cry tired.” So I had to make changes.

The timing and sequence of actions prior to sleep are vital and get me on track quickly. It sounds simple, but here it is: brush my teeth, wash my face and go to the toilet. When repeated every night, those three steps send a signal to my brain that it is now time to wind down. When I am overwhelmed and trying to distract my brain, I also tend to increase my screen time. Getting my sleep back under control means either setting a limit on screen time before bed or completely eliminating it. I also use a face mask which also has white-noise-canceling earbuds . This blocks out all light and ensures my brain isn’t confused into staying awake or thinking it is time to wake at the wrong times.[1]

I notice more than the other self-care steps, I make major improvements when I get quality sleep. This past week, my mind became clearer, and my mood instantly lifted.

I’ve also restarted my daily breathing meditations and started doing yoga at least once a week. These two steps really help my mind decrease its spinning.

One of my biggest self-care steps which might sound silly to many of you is getting organized. If my space is disorganized, so is my brain. I began making a weekly plan again that includes my specific work shifts. I have not worked different shifts in a very long time. My previous job schedule was more predictable. This was probably one of the big causes that got me off track the last few months. I didn’t know if I was coming or going.

I created specific lists to include every appointment and action I need to take until I am back on track. This includes shopping for food or pet items and planning and prepping meals. It also included very specific chores such as when I needed to do my washing and cleaning. Knowing what and when I am doing things, allows my brain to switch off and enjoy my days off, as I know everything else is scheduled.

In my free time, I have been experimenting with paint and colors. My creative, right-brain has the space and freedom to just flow with different ideas without overthinking them. Being organized in this way has really helped me feel less anxious because instead of everything going around my head, what needs to be done is thought out and written down on paper which means I no longer have to hold everything in my head. Getting out of my head gives me the time and space to connect with my passions and have fun without worrying I have forgotten something.

I don’t know what the future holds, but for the first time in a long time I am more confident. By reintroducing some of these strategies I have used in the past, I am now embracing each day and being mindful of the present moment, and being in the now.

I would love it if you would share with me how you know when you are off track and what steps you take to get back on track.

I was drawn back to a poem I wrote over a year ago and wanted to share .

Flow in motion
Let go of the notion
Be present and here
And the fog will clear
Breathe and let go,
Let your head know
There is only so much
It will ever know
Breathe and feel
Connect inside
Listen to that voice
Of reason not of pride
What are your hopes
What are your dreams
What excites you
And makes your heart scream
For joy and laughter
And intrepidy
Of wonder and excitement
The endless possibilities
Here is the magic
 and where you must flow
Your mind only limits
Where you can go

Faith Pearce 
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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