My husband just walked past me, read the title of this post “Slowing down is hard to do…” and then murmured, “you seem to have managed ok!”
Considering I’ve just spent the last 14 days lazing around the pool and reading books on the beach during our family holiday, he’s probably right.
There’s something about camping that forces you to slow down. Without TV or electric lights, I’ve been going to bed a lot earlier than usual.
And away from my desk, the pressures of work seem to have melted away… giving way to a new rhythm of breakfast, swimming at the beach, lunch, swimming in the pool, chatting with family over a BBQ dinner and then reading a novel in our cozy tent.
Yet, every now and then my tendency to overdo things slips through the cracks. Looking forward to making another mosaic as part of the campsite’s art program, I eagerly set to work on a picture of a rosella – working on it each morning alongside my mother-in-law.
Racing to finish it, I took it back to our campsite to work on it at night. And then because I’d finished it early, I quickly started another picture – pushing myself to finish it before the deadline, when the art teacher was going to help us to grout them.
Proudly holding up both mosaics for the obligatory picture (see below), the teacher commented that I was a “typical overachiever”.
At first, her comment struck me as a bit mean-spirited. But then I realised: she’s right.
Rather than be happy with the first mosaic I’d done – I had pushed myself to do another one. The activity went from something I’d enjoyed – something that helped me slow down – to something that became a burden. Rather than read my novel, I “had” to work on my mosaic each night in the camp kitchen to get it finished in time. By the end of the second mosaic, my hand had blisters on it from cutting tiles.
Looking back, I realise that this compulsion to push myself to do more and achieve more has always been part of my personality.
But I can also see that it’s not always a healthy thing. It can turn enjoyable activities into a burden and it can take me away from the joy of just “being” with my family and friends.
And this tendency to go overboard – whether its with craft, work or another hobby, is something that becomes even more obvious when I’m hypomanic or manic.
Each time I look at my two new mosaics, I hope that I’ll remember this and make more of an effort to slow down and just “be”.
Do you have a tendency to become overly “busy” or do you push yourself too hard in some areas? Do you find this gets worse when you’re hypo-manic or manic? We’d all love to hear from you!