There are things we all do to take a breather from the to-do’s and stresses of work, caregiving, and responsibilities.
They’re the things that interrupt our pattern of busy-ness, doing, responsibilities and stress that help us maintain our sanity. For a lot of people it’s a glass of wine (or whatever your style) at the end of the day. It may be vegging-out in front of the TV, going for a run, meditating, rummaging through the kitchen… and all have varying levels of helping us return to our productive activities feeling refreshed.
Are yours truly serving you or are they taking you off track? Watch the video below to discern where your activities land.
There are two categories these activities fall under – Checking-in and Checking-out. Checking-in activities increase our level of presence in our lives, with others, and in our work, and checking-out activities feel more like escaping the present moment.
It’s an important distinction to make. If every break or breather you give yourself is an escape – zoning or checking out for a while – your overall level of joy and accomplishment will suffer.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was pretty big on the “escape” pattern interrupt. What I noticed over time is that, while I so desperately felt I deserved my escape, I ONLY felt good while I was actively participating in the “escape” activity – whatever it was. When I returned to my busy life, I felt at least the same level of overwhelm and stress – sometimes more because I’d taken time to unwind that set me back in other things I’d wanted to get done.
It’s a bit like the vacation you’ve been counting on to destress and reset your batteries. You’re stressed leading up to the trip (finishing up projects, packing, finalizing the itinerary, getting the house ready, dropping off the dogs), and you come home exhausted to a suitcase full of laundry, an over-full inbox, and projects that need catching up. Somehow the zen of your exotic spa day and beach bum session get lost. The escape was enjoyable, created fun memories, and is something you’re glad you did – but it’s not the sole thing you want to rely on to destress and recharge your batteries.
Here’s a sample of pattern interrupt activities that qualify as Checking-In and Checking-Out. Depending on how you do your activities, yours may be different.
Meditation (Feminine Presence or others)
Hydrating and eating clean, healthy foods
Running with awareness of form and breath
Savoring a healthy treat that leaves you satisfied, focused, and clear.
Laying on hammock, listening to birds
Zoning out in front of TV
Mindlessly doing treadmill/elliptical while catching up on shows
Rummaging through fridge and kitchen cabinets
Laying on hammock scrolling through Facebook
Feel the difference? Some bring you more into your body and the present moment, and some make you decidedly less present.
Work in “check-in” activities that you enjoy, and that you’ll actually follow through with. You’re much more likely to do meditations if you’re taking a class or listening to a recording at the same time every day. You’re more likely to do Pilates if you’ve got an appointment scheduled and paid for than hoping you’ll have the energy and motivation when you come home from work.
What activities will you commit to working into your routine, and how will you be accountable to yourself or someone else to follow through? Leave a comment below and let me know what your pattern interrupts are, and if they’re serving you or if you’ve realized they need some work.
And if you want to add one of the best Checking-In activities I’ve found into your routine, join us for our next Art of Feminine Presence class starting September 22. Details and registration can be found by clicking here.
Much love until next time,