Do you find yourself rushing through life without taking a break from your ever-growing to-do list? Life Coach Kate Tilston shows us the importance of pressing Pause.
Life seems to be getting even more hectic, doesn’t it? How many of us promised ourselves that as we came out of lockdown we’d do things differently? We decided that we had enjoyed elements of that first lockdown, an enforced slowing down, an opportunity to stop, take a breath, reassess. And how many of us have already fallen back into the old habits of rush, rush, rush? Kate Tilston gives us tips on how to, once again, find the power to pause.
It’s hardly surprising, is it? Life demands things from us and to feel successful we have decided that we need to be able to spin all the plates, all the time, and not only that but we need to be smiling whilst we do it!
Talking to a client recently about the particularly stressful week she had just had, we ascertained that following the very busy Christmas holidays, where she had felt the need to provide constant entertainment and enjoyable things for her children to do, she then returned to work feeling wrung out. Not only that, she was greeted with an inbox of several hundred emails, a presentation to put together and a plan to create for managing flexible working hours throughout the next school holidays. As she was describing this, she literally did not draw breath to the extent I had to remind her to breathe. Her anxiety was radiating off her.
As we know there are huge advantages to the developments in technology. In so many ways it makes life much easier but it has also created this perception that everything needs to be done/answered/acted on RIGHT NOW! We see the email come into our inbox – someone wants something from us, it’s right there, do we answer instantly or can it wait? Why would you wait? You know the answer right now and you react instantly so it doesn’t just sit in your inbox staring at you.
A friend messages you about an invitation for the weekend. Your phone pings, you can see they are online right now, have you really thought about what you’re doing this weekend or are you just responding because it feels like they’re sitting there waiting for you to answer?
The instant access people have to each other is creating considerable anxiety for lots of people and we don’t seem to have the tools to deal with it. At the push of a button we agree to something, we commit to something, we rush to get something done – what happened to the pause?
So, what do I mean when I talk about pausing? It’s a word we all know and understand but is it something we can use to allow us to take a break, to draw a breath?
Pausing has become an integral part of my own personal toolkit during busy weeks. You might find you have a different word for it: mindfulness is also a type of pause. When I wake up in the morning, before I reach for my phone or an electric gadget, I pause. I ask myself whether I really need to do that right here, right now and the answer is usually no. When I’m putting away the dishes from the night before whilst making a cup of tea and getting my breakfast ready, I make myself pause. Do I need to do this at such speed? What do I need to change to enable me to sit down with a cuppa and enjoy my breakfast?
When I’m coaching, I take time to pause between clients. It might be sitting looking out of the window for 10 minutes not doing anything but just taking some slow deep breaths. It might be propped up against the kitchen counter with a cuppa just having a daydream, stopping for a moment to just be.
Pausing can be beneficial in so many scenarios. It gives us time to take a breath, check in with ourselves that we are not acting in haste, and that we are mindful of our actions. It’s a small action with big results. Have a think about your day. Where could you press pause, where do you need to take a breath? Give it a go and see how it makes you feel.