Get Off The Treadmill

I don’t know about you, but most days it feels like life is one giant, swiftly moving treadmill. It feels like life just keeps moving at its own hectic pace and if I don’t keep up with that pace I will go flying off. So, as I am sure many of you can relate, I have learned over the years to keep up with that pace.  I have learned how to “successfully” go through my days moving at the rapid speed of life.  And I get a lot done…I am checking things off of my To Do List and accomplishing my goals like a boss, there’s no doubt.  But there is a cost in moving at this pace all day, every day.  There’s no time to relax and enjoy when you are keeping up with that hectic pace of life.  Our health suffers, we are in a constant state of stress and distress, we don’t eat healthy, we don’t get enough sleep, and we can become irritable quite easily.  There is no time to enjoy the beauty of all that surrounds you…in fact you are most likely not going to even have time to notice it, let alone enjoy it.  There’s no time for reflection, proper self-care, or appreciation of life when you are moving that fast all the time.  And yet that is what we do…day in and day out.  Some days it can seem like you’re losing your mind (at least it does to me).  Some days it feels like I will never reach my destination despite moving so fast every day.  (Let’s be honest, some days I am not even sure what the destination is but I keep moving at this crazy pace nonetheless.)  And some days I find myself asking a few very important questions:  Why does it have to be this way?  Am I really accomplishing anything moving at this rapid pace?  Am I happy with how I am living my life?  The answer to these questions is always a resounding NO!

I am sure most of us have felt this way at some point or another in our lives. And it is a difficult place to be because life doesn’t really give you the time and space to sit back and contemplate these questions – we often find these thoughts passing through our minds ever so briefly as we are moving from one thing in our day to the next. But the truth is, we can choose to take a time out from the treadmill known as life.  There’s no hard and fast rule that says we can’t.  We have been taught to believe it’s wrong or bad to do so, but that is not true.  In fact, there is much research out there to support the fact that you will accomplish more by taking some time for yourself…time to reflect, recharge, and relax.  Personally,  I find that when I allow myself (or even sometimes make myself) slow down and soak up the things around me – meditate, observe, appreciate, express gratitude, etc. – that the answers to the questions in my life come more quickly and clearly.  I get a sense of what is the “right” next step for me and my life.  While I have worked hard over the past year or so to incorporate more of this “down time” into my life, I still don’t quite take that time as often as I’d like – usually I settle for small bursts of time (mostly on the weekends or through my morning routine which includes some meditation and journaling).  And I can definitely tell a difference on the days I don’t give myself permission to have that time.

We all could benefit from slowing down, enjoying the people and things around us, saying thank you a little more often…anything that allows us to step away from the fast moving treadmill of life from time to time so that we can recharge, refocus, and reflect. Despite what our society may tell us about how we shouldn’t relax and enjoy life until we have reached some lofty goal (like a promotion at work, having a certain amount of money in the bank, owning a home, etc.) or a certain point in our life (like when the kids go off to college or retirement), life is meant to be enjoyed, truly enjoyed, EVERYDAY…not just “when we get there”. Give yourself permission to get off the treadmill of life and truly enjoy your life today…and tomorrow…and the next day…