• charlottemheald

Learning to slow down before it all catches up on you

Six weeks ago the alarm bells were going off in my head, my body sending me the message loud and clear "you need to slow down". I consider myself someone who is 'in-tune' with my body, someone who knows her body well and recognises little messages and changes readily. So hearing these warning signals loud and clear I made a plan to 'slow down' during the children's school holidays when I had less commitments in my schedule.

Week to week I am very mindful of planning my time to 'balance life' the best I can and ensure I don't overcommit or burn out. I am an advocate for a 'weekly meeting with yourself' to get your ducks in a row and start the week on a positive note with a plan. However despite my efficient planning I had still created a few weeks that were more 'full' than normal and kept on keeping on, as we do!

A week out from the school holidays I was on the hunt for a good novel to read, I felt that allowing myself to get stuck in to a good book would help me slow down and relax. I asked around and eventually found a book in mums library by an author I had read before - I was set!

The school holidays arrived and it was nice to have a break from the daily school routine, lunches and meeting the bus. The kids enjoyed winding down after a busy term at school and we made some plans to do a few fun activities together, a day out for my son's birthday, a few days at the beach and some other family plans. It was a fun few weeks and we packed a lot in, however I didn't slow down and I didn't even manage to pick up my carefully chosen book!

As other parents may appreciate the return to school and routine was welcome after a few weeks at home together. With the return to school came the 'catch up'. Catching up on work that had been set aside while I spent time with the kids, catching up on washing, housework and addressing the 'to do list'. As I have mentioned before I am a planner from way back and with this comes my love for 'me time' and my routine. So I just love getting back into it again after a few weeks out - It's rather satisfying!

So I was back into it, full steam ahead and still hadn't taken the time to slow down and have some down time. A few late nights, reduced sleep and what do you know? It all caught up on me! At first I put it down to my seasonal hay-fever, the bout I get the same time every year. Yes I certainly did have hay-fever and nope I was not feeling flash. I boxed on with my usual 'go to' remedies for Hay-fever and tried to keep up with my plans for the week. By this time my body was really trying to get the message through - still I didn't listen.

One week of hay-fever and where I would normally be feeling perkier and past the worst I was still feeling rather rotten. It had developed into something a bit more with the body aches, low energy and general malaise to drag me down a little more. Reality hit me with a sudden jolt, it was time to listen to my body, hear it's messages and honour my intuition. I was unwell - that was hard to stomach for someone who 'doesn't get sick'. After I accepted that I was actually unwell and my body needed rest I had to get my head in the self care space. I had to stop and consider 'what do you do when you're sick?'. It's all very obvious when you are the nurse on the other foot supporting someone who's unwell but when you are 'it' and you are the patient, the deal is a little different - for me it was. I guess for me every other time I have ever been unwell I had small, dependent preschoolers so 'sick days' weren't really an option.

So feeling rather awkward about his whole 'sick day' thing I got the kids off to school, did some dishes and picked up my novel - the one that I had carefully chosen to read in my planned 'down time' several weeks earlier. I sat in a comfortable chair in the window with the sun streaming in. I read, drunk loads of water, sipped lemon, honey and ginger tea and blew my way through half a box of tissues. This was me for a couple of days. It almost felt like a luxury to sit and read and allow myself time to slow things right down and rest. I took myself to bed earlier than normal - admittedly the novel was a lure and I caught up on some much needed sleep.

Self Care can be as simple as picking up a good book and settling in to read with a cup of tea!

Another week passed by and things were on the improve though I certainly felt this illness had 'taken it out of me'.

So following this spell I reflected on the whole situation. While I know in myself that seasonal hay-fever is a part of springtime for me and my body, I couldn't help but wonder if this episode would've taken hold the same if I had stopped and listened when I first 'knew' I needed to slow down. If I'd taken the time in the holidays as planned to rest and relax as I had thought I would, would the outcome have been different? Would I still have had to reschedule meetings and miss out on much anticipated social events?

The answers to these questions I won't ever know.

What I do know is this: I need to honour my body, it's funny little messages and my intuition. I knew some time before this that I needed to slow things down and take some time out, so why didn't I?

My learning from this episode:

  • Listen to your body - it does not lie to you!

  • Stop when your body says you need to stop, if you don't it catches up on you and 'costs' you more time in the long run

  • Make time to slow things down every week - preferably everyday, when you slow things down your intuition is sharper and you are more aware of your bodies needs

  • Self Care isn't something we do 'once in a while' it's something we need to be mindful of prioritising daily

  • Taking a 'sick day' doesn't come naturally (not for everyone) however when it is truly needed it is the best thing you can do for yourself in that time

  • Health is Wealth

Lemon, Ginger and Honey Tea Recipe: I make my ginger tea in my favourite tea pot by slicing some raw ginger and steeping it in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. I then stir in some honey and a good squeeze of lemon for vitamin C. This is a great way to take your daily Apple Cider Vinegar as well - simply add to your pot or cup before drinking!

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