At different points throughout the year life can feel out of control. When we hit summer, with schools out and trips planned, we hope to find ourselves catching our breath, slowing down and recalibrating.
But what happens when that season ends? When late nights on the patio, long walks, afternoon naps or sleeping late and vacations are gone, and you are back to the normal rhythms of life? How do you live when life feels crazy?
If we aren’t careful, we roll from one busy season right into another one and find ourselves constantly out of breath.
With that in mind, here’s how to bring the feeling of a slower pace, summer vacation and breaks into the normal rhythm of life.
1. Build in breaks. You should schedule daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly breaks. Every hour at work, get up and move around, walk around the office to move some blood around and clear your head. I find that when I get up from a sermon or a problem and walk around, when I get back to it, I have a lot more clarity.
Make sure that you have scheduled in breaks during your week, that you are turning off your email alerts at night, things you would do on vacation. (If you don’t turn email off on vacation, start.)
One of the things Katie and I do is look at our family, school and work calendar from a quarterly perspective so we are able to know if it will be a busy season. This helps to make sure you build in a break at some point. Look at it for three months. Is it faster than normal? What is your plan to slow down after that?
2. Look around. In the busyness of life we miss the little things. Smiles, laughs, sad looks, and our surroundings as we run from one thing to the next. We are so focused on our phones, head down, crossing things off our list and being productive that we miss the opportunity to be present.
This is hard for me because I like accomplishing things, and you probably do, too. Yet most of us can’t remember what we did last year or five years ago, what we accomplished. But we can remember relationships and experiences.
Which leads to number 3…
3. Laugh with friends. Let’s face it, if you are a leader, you are a serious person. You are a driven, accomplish things kind of person.
I realized something recently. I struggle to enjoy things. I get so focused on winning, accomplishing, and moving forward that I fail to enjoy life. To have fun.
When was the last time you laughed?
I mean, really laughed? So hard that it hurt?
If it has been awhile, if you can’t remember, that is a problem.
4. Savor a meal. Have you had this experience?
You had a great meal with some friends. Good food, great conversation, no kids. It was amazing. Inevitably, someone probably said, “We should do this again soon.”
Months go by where you don’t spend that time with friends, don’t linger over a great meal. We rush from one thing to the next, eating fast food, something thrown together. We sleep too late and stay up too late, so we hurry through a breakfast of cereal or pop-tarts.
Yet food and savoring good food is one of God’s great gifts to us.
There is something about an amazing meal. Something that slows us down and helps us to enjoy and calm down.
5. Take a nap. When life is crazy, one of the best things you can do is stop and take a nap.
I know, I know.
Life is crazy, so who has time for a nap.
You do, and you need one. Your body and your brain need one. I rarely hear someone say, “I’m so mad I took a nap.”