Slow Down: It’s For More Than Just Peace of Mind

April 6, 2022

Have you ever driven home and realized you don’t know how you got there? Or had a day where it just felt like everything was going wrong and the energy was off and stuff just kept happening to you? Have you stopped to take a moment to think about why it might be happening? 

The last two days I’ve had two experiences that felt exactly like that. 

Lately, I’ve been really busy. I have been feeling like I’ve lost control of my ability to stop and take care of myself. I just keep going and going, like the little energizer bunny banging away at its drum. My mind is constantly running and so is my body, but it doesn’t feel like they’re running in the same direction or same place at the same time. I haven’t felt connected, grounded, or in the present moment in weeks.

Yesterday, I was walking Moe. I was listening to an audiobook and also thinking about work at the same time, not paying any attention to where I was walking when I noticed that Moe got spooked by something. I looked up just in time to see an off-leash dog running towards us, his teeth bared. As I tried to put myself between Moe and this dog I tripped up the curb and fell catching myself on my hands and knees. I was pretty much unscathed, the owner got her dog back before it got to Moe, and Moe was mostly concerned with whether or not I was okay. But it all just seemed to be happening to me. I walked home feeling flustered and confused and not connected at all to my body or what was happening at the moment. 

Then today I was driving to work thinking about my plans. Drafting emails in my mind. Wondering what I was going to eat for lunch. Again, listening to an audiobook…but not really hearing anything. I pulled into the parking lot. The same lot I’ve been driving into almost every day for the last seven years in the same car that I’ve been driving for the last twelve years. I know how to park this car and I know the size of the spots in the lot, but today I was somewhere else in my mind as I did the parking job I do every day my autopilot took over. But my autopilot is not nearly as effective as I am when I’m in the present moment, and I hit someone’s car. Everyone was fine. There wasn’t even someone in the other parked car and of course, we immediately offered to pay for any damage I’d done. However, my ego was deeply shaken. Now, I want to be clear, I wasn’t texting, my phone was not in my hand, I wasn’t calling someone, I was just not present. 

I called Domi, who works in the same building, and he came running out. I was sobbing. I felt stupid and confused. I didn’t even understand how it could happen. It didn’t make sense to me. Because he’s the best he held me and told me not to blame myself, that it was fixable, and reminded me of what my family always says in these situations, “It’s called an accident for a reason otherwise it would be called an on-purpose.” I slowly started to calm down and we went on with our days, but something still felt off. I wanted an answer to understand where my mind had been at that moment. The only thing I could think of is that I truly was so distracted that I let my autopilot take over without realizing it. 

I took a minute when I got up to my office and took a few deep breaths. I cried and let out my frustration, embarrassment, confusion, overwhelm, and everything came up and out as it had wanted to for weeks. Then I did an evaluation of what I needed to shift to get out of this weird space I’m in. 

Here’s what I came up with:

  1. New self-care routines are needed as my life shifts and changes. 
  2. To get back on track and/or create a new habit I need touchpoints.

I’ve had a pretty amazing self-care routine for the last six months or so and for a long time it was working. I stayed centered, felt inspired, and was very deliberate about how I went about my day. However, the way I work has shifted recently so my routine has to also shift to fit my needs now. What worked a month ago isn’t keeping me in the same headspace today, so it’s time to spice it up a bit and find a new way to connect my head, my heart, and my body, and bring myself more consistently to the present moment.

And I know whenever I create a new routine I need to be reminded of what I’m supposed to be creating so that I don’t slip into old habits. Reminders on my phone to breathe, putting post-its on my computer that say, “Be here now,” setting aside time for a cup of tea in my day, and/or finding other small ways to remind myself of what I’m trying to do are imperative in creating this new routine. 

Even when life is exciting, sometimes the excitement has us more in our heads than our bodies. Especially in these times, it’s important to bring our bodies to meet our minds and vice versa, it’s imperative to ground ourselves. 

You don’t need something dramatic to happen to you like hitting someone’s car to realize you might need a self-care routine change or recognize that you’ve been out of the present moment. You can use this post as a way to remind yourself that maybe it’s time to bring yourself back to the now for you, your safety, and to find more joy, peace, and awareness in life and for our relationships. 

You’ve got this, my friend. Be safe out there. I love you so much. XOXO, CAMDW.

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