Many of us have been forced to slow our lives down considerably because of coronavirus.
Just the other day, my family had a conversation about how staying home has started to feel like we are on a “staycation.” It's not that we're not staying busy — we are still getting things done — but we do seem to have more time in our days. We are able to move at a more comfortable pace, and we are not exhausted at the end of each day.
Have you noticed that when we're on vacation, we move at a different pace? We slow down and stop watching the clock. We purposely don’t over-schedule our days because we want to avoid the rigid schedule we're on when we are at home. We intentionally schedule down time because rest is a priority for us on vacation. We may even do nothing other than read a book or take a nap for an afternoon. Most importantly, we do it all guilt-free.
When our vacation comes to an end, we dread going back to our normal schedules. After all, one week a year of not having to hurry all the time just isn't enough. Our bodies also need rest when we are not on vacation, and we should not feel guilty about taking time for ourselves on a regular basis.
Think back to how life was before coronavirus. We, as a society, had become so progress-oriented that we were over-stressed and sleep-deprived. We hurried all the time and were so over-committed that, by the end of each day, we were not even sure what we did all day. I know there are many justifications for why we over-extend ourselves. We need to work those extra hours to pay for the new car. Or our kids are eager to participate in another new activity.
But that's where we get snagged, and it appears there is a lesson being taught here that we can take with us as things get back to normal.
Ask yourself: "What if I could continue to bring a fraction of this slower “vacation mode” into my normal, everyday life after coronavirus?" Imagine how different things would be if we all functioned somewhere between our normal crazy lives and vacation mode. We could still get things done but work at a reasonable pace — much like we are doing now that we are having to be at home more. A great place to start would be to plan some unscheduled personal and family time each day and don’t let other obligations get in the way.
Practicing moderation in what we commit ourselves to is key. Saying no to something is challenging when everyone else is saying yes. Scaling back has to be a conscious endeavor and it seems like now is a good time to start — given that many of us have gotten a taste of living at a slower pace over the past few months. As we get back to our regular routines, it will benefit us to consciously set reasonable limits for ourselves and our families.
It's possible to find a balance between crazy busy and vacation mode, and once we do, we have to fight to stay there regardless of how fast everyone else is spinning around us. It's well worth the effort. Regular life is so much more enjoyable and less exhausting when we learn to do less and mindfully move at a slower pace.