I crave white space and clear days, and I’ve been craving both even more lately. One of the most important things to me is to focus on the fact that I “work to live” not the other way around. But my Type-A-overachieving-self likes to flip into doing the opposite. When that happens, I become overly stressed. I realize I’m not sleeping correctly even though I know I’m exhausted. I do less of what I want to do, and I focus so much more on what needs to get done in order to stay afloat. I say yes to far too much because I want to do (and feel that I need to do) all.of.the.things. It’s a terrible cycle, and one that makes me feel relieved to just write here. I sincerely hope one of you can relate!
I love the feeling of accomplishment. I love reaching higher than I thought I could and meeting my goals. Being busy is great, but feeling as though you’re being swallowed whole by busyness is really terrible. When I find myself wanting to respond with “I’m super busy”, I know it’s time to reevaluate. It’s time to create more margin, or perhaps just create margin in the first place.
Creating margin to me means not going on social media (something I find really difficult). It means fighting the urge to check my email. It means not responding to messages really late at night and trying even harder to not feel as though I need to respond on the weekend. It means getting together with friends who will make me laugh. It means that I need to stop working and do something – anything – else that will allow me to clear my mind and stop thinking.
In the winter, that means that I ski. And I become super protective of the time that I know I have available to ski. I will shuffle my schedule, stay up late to finish work, and force myself to say no in order to ski (this is the hardest thing for me to do). Being active is the best way I’ve found to relieve whatever stress I’m feeling, and skiing is one of my favorite activities.
My ski days are as challenging as I make them. I can opt to attempt black diamonds, or I can stay on the beginner and intermediate slopes in order to stay relaxed. My time is completely my own, and most often I lose track of time while I’m there. I have to be focused to avoid getting hurt (something I learned the hard way). I have to look from one side of the slope to the other to stay on track and avoid patches of ice. I have to push through fear that I’m not ready to try a harder slope because I know that I can slowly make my way down. With each passing run, I realize I’ve become markedly better at this sport since I started a few years ago…on a whim…because I knew then I needed a winter outlet that I crave now.
I love everything about skiing. But the thing I love most is that I’m forced to be completely present. If I’m not, I’ll miss the fact that I’m smiling as I make my way down the mountain. I’ll miss the fact that I’m skiing on a completely clear day, and even though it’s colder than cold, the sun is out and the view at the top is beautiful. If I’m not present, I’ll miss the fact that I’m doing one of my very favorite things.
This sport is an expensive way to force myself to create margin, but it works because I can’t be at my desk and ski at the same time. But I want to work to cultivate that same margin in other areas of my life. I don’t want to feel as though the only way to refocus is to be active (though there’s obviously nothing wrong with exercise). So, how do you force yourself to stop and slow down? How do you avoid the urge to work? How do you create margin? I need help, people. :)
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Amanda Sandlin says
This is so beautiful, girl. I love everything you’re saying. Really inspiring. And even if it’s expensive, the ultimate cost in life is sacrificing peace of mind + spirit. You’re investing in yourself, and it’s paying off. :) Love you!!