Life intervenes, schedules are busy, and we find ourselves in December—how did that happen? Anyone else feel like they have whiplash? Between Thanksgiving travel, a biochemistry midterm that kicked my butt, children, the dog, and the barrage of autumnal leaves from my old red oak tree, life has been coming at me pretty fast of late!
Anyone who knows me, knows I attend a pretty tough outdoor boot camp workout 3 mornings a week (rain, snow or shine), and it takes a lot for me to miss out on that. I always leave feeling rejuvenated and with a better outlook on the day, and on life in general. The woman who leads my boot camp is a super-smart, energetic 50 something, with years of experience in nutrition and exercise. Every couple of months she throws a new fitness and nutrition challenge at us to help us stay engaged and focused.
Her recent challenge, in addition to attending three classes a week, and eating only lean protein and veggies for lunch and dinner, involved what she called a lifestyle challenge…getting enough rest, giving others in our lives small gifts through our generous actions, and taking 10 minutes a day to ourselves to just sit and slow down.
For the most part, I embrace her challenges and I do my best to adhere to them. The thing that has surprised me the most about this challenge is how difficult I am finding it to take 10 minutes a day to myself to try to do nothing and think about nothing.
I start off resolved to just “be” for 10 minutes, then before I know it I am thinking about the budget for the farmers market; the blog I want to write; studying for my biochemistry final; Christmas shopping; what to feed the boys for dinner; scheduling the dog’s haircut (yes, I have a high maintenance hypo-allergenic dog). And the list seems to go on, and on, and on. None of it is life shattering—it’s just life! If we are lucky, we have this messy, busy, engaging life that we love, but we also need to have a moment of silence now and then, to slow down and disengage from the frenzy.
This afternoon, I fixed myself a cup of tea and turned on the Christmas tree lights. I dimmed the lights in my living room, held my poorly groomed dog on my lap, and sipped my tea. Whenever a thought about what I needed to do or accomplish popped into my head I pushed it out. What I will say is that I was a surprised as to how quickly the 10 minutes passed (yes, I set a timer). I felt a bit calmer, and a little more focused, and found that as the evening progressed, I felt more productive. Maybe taking a few minutes to slow down and decompress allowed my brain enough time to catch up. I’m taking on the challenge of being still, if only for a few moments each day—care to join me?