On Drive(ing).

Posted by on April 21, 2011

The other day I was driving along, maximizing my learning time by listening to a iTunesU podcast on Pathophysiology when I realized that my brain was just stuffed. Full-up. Literally jam-packed. It wasn’t going to take in even one more tiny scrap of information no matter how I tried to push and shove it down that convoluted funnel into my brain.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m studying for a second degree in health and nutrition and I absolutely love it. But, I’ve been focusing so hard for so long on learning, I’d forgotten that every system in our body needs time for rest and regeneration. Non-negotiable rest.

My drive to move forward had become blinding to all else and I was chugging interminably forward- consuming every spare moment with purposeless productivity at the expense of everything else. I couldn’t even carry on a conversation that didn’t have something to do with nutrition. I was driving my boyfriend crazy and some people had started crossing the street to avoid me (maybe a slight exaggeration, but only slight!)

With my blind drive, I had shoved aside the concept of balance, of regenerative relaxation and instead enshrined “being productive” as the all encompassing goal. I listened to podcasts on my latest obsession as I drove, trying to fit in as much time as possible in a panicky ‘sponge’ mode: ‘I must soak it all in- hurry! There’s not enough time to get it all! You must move on or you’ll never keep up! HurryHurryHurry!

Thinking about this while driving I came upon a sudden realization:

“Girl, that’s NOT healthy”

Yes, in order to get things done you do need to prioritize, but first you need to understand why and if these things are truly important to you. I’ve gotten so caught up in the motions of being the “best” and most productive that I forgot why I wanted to do these things in the first place:

“I want to be healthy and help those around me achieve a healthy ….balance…. in their lives”… hmmmm… maybe I should re-evaluate.

So I pulled over, parked the car and went for a walk- a loooong walk. Without my iPod, without my books, without all of my tools and all those busy thoughts. And you know, the world didn’t end. In fact, just that little break helped me clear my mind and reset my priorities and get back to actually enjoying what I was doing without that ever present element of panic.

I think that we all get caught up some times in trying to be productive- especially in an area we love. We feel a duty to ‘make the most of it’- and that can often get in the way of our best work.

Breathe. Step back and relax.

Put down your fabric, your shears, your paints, the tools of your trade, push away from your computers, stop listening to that podcast. Go, walk outside, take a deep breath, take one step and then another and let your mind just flow along without an agenda. Trust me, you need it- and you’ll enjoy your work again and be a whole lot more productive later.

Best,
Helene

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