I admit that while I am writing this article, I have come to an almost full stop. I am sitting in a hotel suite overlooking Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown at the bottom of the South Island, New Zealand. The mountain on the other side of the lake and the ranges nearby are snow covered and remarkable (in fact that’s their name – The Remarkables) and they are definitely that.
In finding our way here, Rowena and I have been through an intensive period of working over several months and, while really enjoyable, there is definitely a time where the fatigue bought about by such conscious focus on delivering our best takes its toll and it becomes time to rest, reflect and reset.
In reflecting, I realise how wired I’ve become to being full on and only really allowing myself to relax when I get home – which, with all of the travel we’ve done, has been less than a quarter of the year. So I am currently doing what I advise my clients to do – turning off, getting out into the amazing environment, in this case the mountains and letting go of any expectation other than the one that this a great day and that I can be in the moment and enjoy it.
Given that we are all bombarded with so much information, so many distractions, so many decisions and influences it is no wonder that we get caught up in being on the move constantly – even if we’re not travelling away. The many demands being made on all of us and that we tend to accept as ‘normal’ means we can forget that we have a choice to slow the world down by putting in place some fairly straight-forward steps to simplify, slow down and control how and what we give our energy to.
I’m not kidding. One simple thing you can do is to just breathe – long breath in and longer breath out. If you breathe in for 5 breathe out for 7 and do that 3 or 4 times consciously controlling the breath and focusing just on the air going in and out of your nose (or mouth if you can’t nose breathe comfortably).
When we get tense or stressed we forget to breathe deeply and as we shorten up our breath, the brain responds as if under threat by scanning the environment or situation we’re in constantly (up to 5 times a second) for danger which distracts us from using our energy to effectively focus on what needs doing.
Another technique is to picture yourself in the future a few months from where you are now and ask you self how will you feel about the situation you’re in now, then.
Because our brain is negatively biased and – in simple terms doesn’t know the difference between fantasy or reality – we’ll tell ourselves what we think the truth of a situation is (and that’s usually going to be negative) rather than challenge our self to see the situation as it is – just a situation. Remember, emotion does not exist outside us so it’s a choice we bring. Choose wisely.
So that’s what I’m doing with Rowena. Making a choice to relax, reflect and recharge. The fact that it’s also my birthday while we’re here may have something to do with it too.
Have a great week.