Daily Life

Slowing down is hard to do


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!



8 thoughts on “Slowing down is hard to do”

  1. I, too, have a history of hypomanic overachieving, but have managed to learn to take it easy for the most part. Though I wonder at times if I now underachieve to avoid hypomania. Sounds like you did enjoy your camping trip. The mosaics are lovely. Hope you had a Merry Christmas. Happy New Year!

    1. It’s a fine line between the two isn’t it Kitt? Do we allow ourselves to be “busy” at the risk of becoming manic… or do we protect ourselves from lots of activity to the point where we’re not doing the things we love? Sometimes I’ll be happily engrossed in something, only to think to myself, “is it normal to be this busy, or am I heading towards manic behaviour?” I’ll often ask my husband what he thinks, as he’s a good judge of what is normal for me and what is a bit over the top. I hope you have a great New Year too! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs during the past year – thanks for all the effort you put into writing them. You encourage so many people!

  2. What an insightful and humble post!

    I LOVE the pic of you with the surfboard. I’ve always wanted to be a surfer, and I live minutes away from Santa Cruz, which is a world-famous surfing town. I tried surfing once 20 +yrs. ago, but I failed miserably and paddled so hard, incorrectly, & frantically that my shoulder joint actually popped out and back in in the freezing cold water. OUCH! Luckily it healed pretty fast. My youngest girl Marilla has been watching a show filmed in Australia called “Lightening Point” that stars teenage girl surfers/aliens. I watch it with her, but it’s not educational, that’s for sure. :0 We’ve only seen a few episodes, and I wonder if you’ve heard of it!

    I digress hugely, ha ha! Forgive me!

    I’m so glad that you got away and enjoyed camping’s more easygoing rhythm. We were away for two weeks in the snowy mountains of Lake Tahoe without cable television or internet. While I did like being forced to slow down, it was hard to go without my blogs for that long.

    I’ve been an overachiever at certain times in my life, and I could relate to what you wrote about doing the two mosaics. I would have been very hurt by the teacher’s comment as I’m a walking exposed nerve ending. 😉 I was relieved & inspired that you ultimately took her comment for what it was, and you recognized the truth & the value in it. How symbolic and wonderful that you have visual reminders of your lesson in slowing down and just being! I love that, and I love your two new creations!

    Happy belated New Year! It’s good to be back and to be reading one of my fave blogs.
    Wishing you my very best, Mariska
    cheers! Dy

  3. The comment “typical overachiever” was rude. We seem to get a lot of judgement, at least I feel that way. I never seem to “fit in” to what is normal and often people become offended. People seem to either find me very compassionate and great team worker, at work…or they find me weird, outside the normal status quo and threatening to their “status quo” world.
    It only takes one person to cause you problems at work, even if 20 other people have no problem with your being a little bit “different”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s