We live in a fast-paced world. Efficiency, productivity, and exhaustion are our symbols of success, status, and worthiness. We are constantly bombarded with information. Sometimes to the point that our brains have trouble filtering out what is important and what isn’t. We are constantly moving from one task or obligation to the next, all while keeping a running “to do” list in our head.
It’s no wonder that we find ourselves feeling scattered, overwhelmed, and disconnected. This idea that we always have to be doing something permeates most areas of our lives.
Most of us find ourselves even carrying it into therapy. “Okay, tell me what I need to fix and how to fix it.” There’s always something to do, something to change, a goal to chase after. We are ready to jump into action before we’ve had the chance to learn much about who we are, why we struggle, or what we need. And while sometimes the healing process involves learning new skills, it’s really more about learning new ways of being with ourselves and the world around us.
This life of busyness can become a way of numbing out. For many of us, the space of being and feeling is scary. Unsure of what we might find in that place, we often find ourselves running from it. Maybe there’s pain there. Maybe it feels lonely and empty. Maybe there’s a load of anxious thoughts ready to race through our mind. Maybe there’s shame or insecurity. Making space for these things can feel scary and intimidating. This is true. It’s also true that as long as we run from this space of being, we keep ourselves trapped in patterns of avoidance, ultimately leading to more pain and disconnection from the things that bring richness and fulfillment to our lives.
The truth is that our lives often are busy. There are certain things we have to get done. But there is a way we can do this, while still staying connected and balanced in our lives. So, how can we allow ourselves to be human beings a little more in our day to day life?
Here are some ideas:
-Pause and check in with yourself on how you’re feeling throughout the day. What emotions are you experiencing? What sensations do you notice in your body? Are you carrying tension anywhere? Is there something that has been running in the back of your mind that might need your attention? Do you have a need that is being neglected? Try not to judge or change your feelings and thoughts. Just notice and connect with your internal experience.
-Validate and intentionally attend to your needs—the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional—taking special care of the ones you are prone to neglect.
-Bring awareness and compassion to all of the things that make you human (being imperfect, having times of struggle, feeling vulnerable, experiencing the full range of human emotions, etc.)
-Spend time in nature. Nature has a unique way of grounding us, bringing clarity, and connecting us to ourselves.
-Take breaks from technology and the constant consumption of information. Let your mind have time to rest and reflect. You might even journal what comes up for you during this reflection time.
-Spend time connecting with someone, intentionally putting aside any distractions. The ability to deeply connect with another person is one of the most beautiful parts of being human.
-Give yourself permission to rest when you need it.
-Incorporate more play and fun in your life. Engage in activities for the sake of enjoyment alone.
-Tap into your creative self with art, crafts, writing, etc. Art also has a way of opening up space for us to be and connect with our internal experience.
-Set aside time for spiritual connection and practices (if this applies to you).
-Go to therapy with a counselor who holds space for you to just be and come to a deeper knowing of yourself.