Press “Pause”

In today’s workaholic culture, the success of our day is measured by what we accomplished and how much we got done. Being always hungry for more and planning what’s next is certainly a drive towards amazing achievements. However, this mindset can also be associated with high levels of stress and exhaustion. The sessions I have with my clients are filled with “I will take a break once I do this”, “I will celebrate after I am done with that”, “I will use my day off to catch up on X, Y, Z”, “I need to work really hard now so that one day I can finally relax”.

Those statements are the testimony of our tendency to postpone living until that “one day”. We can become so focused on the destination that we forget to notice and appreciate the journey. The risk of putting off living until tomorrow is to wake up one day and feel like we have never lived.

Your ability to entirely enjoy and savour every minute rather than just counting and filling them can be practised through adopting a “slow-life philosophy”. Self-care doesn’t have to take the appearance of another “to-do list” filled with “I should” activities that can add on to your already busy life and create feelings of guilt. What if it was not about doing more, but rather doing differently? For instance, by allowing yourself to pause, to take notice and be present.

To help you get grounded in any situation and catch your breath, you can focus on your five senses. Actively notice what is happening in your body and mentally describe it to yourself. It is then possible to be fully committed to what you are doing as well as connected with your surroundings. Practice by focusing on one activity at a time rather than multitasking, especially if you are doing something that matters to you. For example, turn off the screens whenever there are not necessary like at dinner with your family or while working out. Any notification can wait at least these 45 minutes. You can also start paying attention to the nature around you and finding beauty in the shape of a tree or the vibrant colour of a flower. You may listen attentively to the words and instruments that fill the music you like without using it only as background noise. You can even allow yourself to do absolutely nothing once in a while. The Italians call it “Dolce far niente”. It’s a special “me time” during which you don’t do anything in particular: no sleep, no massage, no reading… You pause, open your eyes and admire life in its simplicity.

By slowing down and being more aware of how you live your life, you are creating space to unwind, to reflect on your choices, to adopt a more balanced life and move forward in an empowered and more committed way.

Written by:
Lucie Ramet

Clinical Psychologist

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