Perception is Self-Care
Start feeling happier. If you perceive your feelings as good or natural, you’ll feel better than if you perceive the same feelings to be a sign of weakness, or that there is something wrong with you. Be honest with yourself and consider developing a new “Personal Pace” for yourself. It’s time to start thinking about you and how you’re feeling. Start being “true” to yourself about what’s most meaningful and valuable to you; take an honest look at your life and your career. You may have some difficult decisions to make, so find your pace and find self-care. You’ll be happier.
“Don’t we have to be competitive?” It’s easy to push ourselves, only to realize, at some future point, that we’re feeling miserable. If we’re professional athletes, pushing ourselves and experiencing camaraderie and a great deal of support from our team might be part of our daily routine. Mandatory recovery time and creating a “performance state“ would also be part of a competitive routine.
But professional athletes are also very fortunate to be playing a game for a living. Ask yourself, “can I take something from this knowledge about sports and games and utilize it to my advantage?” Can I get into a metaphorical “zone” like a competitive athlete?
Research shows very clearly that to get into a zone or a flow state requires a challenging situation, and you’ve got that, but even more valuable is enjoyment. To become seriously engrossed in your work and perform at a very high level, you must balance the “challenge” of the situation with your “skills,” plus you must find a way to enjoy everything you can about your situation.
The capacity of the familiar
Get in the zone, your zone, your lane. The very things in life that are most familiar to us are the very things that put us in our zone and make us feel calm, relaxed, happy, focused, confident, and thrilled. At least for some of us. For others, those daily familiarities put us in a terribly negative zone. The problem is that what is familiar is not always good for us. While we’re in our flow zone, we can accomplish whatever is most important to us. The problem is understandable. The very things and activities that put us in our zone are often misaligned with what we’re being asked to accomplish. The bottom line is that they’re not deeply valued, important, or not that important to you.
Flow & The Rhythms of Nature
I’m not recommending that you lose your career, ditch your ambitions, or drop all your luxurious possessions. At the same time, I wonder how we can – if it’s even a good idea – prioritize these motivations lower and simultaneously elevate our motivations to connect with nature. Nature in its the broadest sense, not merely trees and frogs. Consider emotions, beliefs, expectations, the mind, a sense of purpose, and spirit as aspects of nature.
On a more granular level, please spend some time figuring out a way to take breaks long before you think you need them. When we wait for our rational mind to trigger the need for a break, we’ve already pushed ourselves for too long. Try this as an experiment for yourself, if you can.
Who Am I? Who Are You?
I read recently that our identity likely began long before we were even born. For instance, our parents likely gave a great deal of consideration to our names. They thought about what it meant to them and what associations they had with potential names. They wondered whether other kids would find it easy to tease you about your name. Some people even allowed historical references to enter into the decision-making process. A name that we like helps to create a positively charged feeling. The opposite could also be true.
My message is that life can be seen and lived as a journey—an adventure. We really should, I think, see ourselves as the author of our own lives. At least see yourself as the chief editor. Expand things that you like and enjoy. Something you don’t like? Edit it out. Add in an experience that makes you happy. Find your pace and find self-care. You get the idea.