My words for the next few weeks are: Slow down.
I had a seven-week period in which I was in a different country almost every week. All the events surrounding the book launch were happening, and I was happening with them. I went from Scotland to England to America back to Scotland, to Northern Ireland, back to Scotland again…and within those I was visiting different cities and states and islands and areas.
Amazingly, I felt really good. I found a swimming pool in all those places and was swimming three to five times a week. I continued my habit of walking every day. I was eating well and sleeping decently well and had energy and was thrilled about it!
I forgot that even when you have energy and feel amazing, it’s still right to slow down. Otherwise, your body will do it for you.
It’s hard for me to slow down when I feel good. When all these things were happening, I kept waiting for the shoe to drop or to get sick or to collapse a bit…and I didn’t. For the years I lived with M.E., this kind of activity would have felt impossible: so when I’m able to do this level of activity, I just keep going.
Keeping going is one of my strengths…but it’s also one of my shadow behaviours.
So, last week, very unsurprisingly, my body did collapse a bit and I needed to cancel a few days of meetings.
Then I got a speeding ticket in the post.
I also remembered I would have gotten a speeding ticket in America, too, but the very nice (very young) police officer let me off with a warning. (Probably because I was visiting the States and leaving the country the next day.)
Hmmm, I thought. Maybe all this energy feels good, but what am I rushing for?
A few weeks ago my word was “notice”. I wanted to, amongst all the events and travel, really look around and see the trees, the sky, the people, the places, the magic.
Now my words are “slow down”, and it’s been a daily reminder this week. I wanted to go for a swim every morning, but I chose not to go several mornings, on purpose. I’d go out to run an errand and instead of running four other errands at the same time, just did the one errand and came home.
I had my coaching session with my business coach yesterday and to some of his questions I just said, “I don’t really know right now”. We agreed that was okay, that was healthy.
There’s a natural sort of slump, or post-win exhaustion, which kicks in after something major has finished. The book launch and all the events surrounding it were exciting! And worth celebrating! And people are reading the book and finding it helpful and telling me about it!….And I’m tired.
I struggled writing this Note today. I skipped it last week when I wasn’t well, but I’m following the atomic-habit practice of “don’t skip twice”, so here we are. I wondered if I had anything worthwhile to say, or whether I’ve already said it many times over, or someone else has said it.
But autumn-leading-into-winter is when the world itself slows down. Leaves fall from trees. The sun gets up later and goes down earlier. It’s darker for longer. Animals hibernate.
Technology allows us to skip the seasons: we can turn on lights and turn up the heat and wear a headlamp and have the exact same life we had in the summer…
…but actually, it’s a good thing to mimic the season we’re in.