Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feelin’ groovy
59th Street Bridge Song (“Feelin’ Groovy)
~Simon and Garfunkel
“and here I am
alone at 2 am
drowning in love to give
knowing that the people
I want to swim with
Refuse to get in.”
~ Bridgett Devoue
If we have learned anything from this ebbing pandemic, I pray that we have learned to slow down, give up our “hustle culture”, and not equate our self-worth with the number of overtime hours worked and the hours of sleep we never got.
In case you are new to the concept, the Finery Report defines “Hustle Culture” as:
“A fast-paced environment that feeds off long working hours and a restless sense of striving for some type of goal.”
Hustle Culture repeatedly tells us that no one cares what we have done up until this point—that we just need to keep going.
Hustle Culture tells us that if only we work just a little bit harder, accomplish a little bit more, make even more of a difference, then we can finally be worthy.
Worthy of what, you ask?
Worthy of finally loving ourselves because we have done “enough.” Worthy of “proving our unforgiving inner voice wrong” with all of the things we have achieved.
Those of us who have linked self-worth to the hustle culture know that nothing we do is ever enough…
…no goal is ever big enough
…no quantity of money makes us feel secure
…no amount of “proving our inner-voice wrong” makes us feel like we made it in life
Thus, the never-ending hamster wheel of more, more, more is real. So is the constant story in our heads that we are simply not enough. Add a pandemic, and the hamster wheel we are on is out of control. That is precisely why the World Health Organization has named our mental health the number one health issue in the world. As the world starts looking familiar again, WE MUST SLOW DOWN…or risk cracking up.
Here’s to slowing down!
These days, our roles are asking more from us while delivering less. And… we should feel grateful or guilty (or both).
The voice that says, “We should be grateful”
While we are giving more and more of ourselves, we are still supposed be:
- Grateful we didn’t grow up in the Great Depression or during the time of the Spanish Flu.
- Grateful that we have jobs to begin with.
- Grateful for our ability to fly the airplane while we are building it, and bear it all with a smile.
The voice that says, “We should feel guilty”
And then add guilt and a voice that shames us by saying:
- “It’s not that you don’t have the time; you just aren’t willing to make it.”
- “If you really cared about it, you would be doing it.”
- “Building your dreams takes a 25/8 type of work ethic.”
- No wonder so many people are depressed, exhausted, and too depleted to do anything but get through the day.
Hope is Coming
There is hope for all of us and our mental health.
- Hope in choosing to slow down and live more simply.
- Hope in analyzing our lives and asking ourselves over and over again, “What feels valuable to me today?”
- Hope in recognizing that we don’t have to prove ourselves and our worth to anyone—that we are inherently worthy just as we are.
Mental Health Matters
There is nothing more important than staying in good mental health. You can call in sick to protect your mental health. You can choose to do less, and slow down. You can go outside and feel the breeze on your skin. You can cook a meal while listening to your favorite playlist—or in complete silence. You can sit and stare at the ceiling if that helps calm your mind.
What you do is not who you are.
Here is your permission to no longer define yourself by your work or “Pandemic Progress”. We got out of bed. Hurray for us.
It ‘s summer. Lie on a hammock. Read a book. Learn to kayak, bike, hike, play tennis…or sit and do absolutely nothing because you want to. You are enough, and you have more than earned this break.
5 Favorite Reminders to Slow Down Once the School Year Starts:
- Put a ping-pong table in the hall. Before you pass, play four volleys.
- Create a “Deep Listening” corner. Talk to “Lucy” who will listen. (That’s a Charlie Brown reference.) Share your thoughts with no judgment, interrogation or someone’s need to fix you.
- Bring in “Sigmund’s sofa” in the teacher’s lounge…lie down for a friendly five of nothing.
- Schedule weekly registration for school sponsored yoga, meditation, or lunch time laps around the track.
- Find a Secret Self-Care buddy and create a plan together to be accountable to take care of yourself.
5 Favorite Rest and Recuperation Quotes:
- Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials. – Lin Yutang
- It’s not only the scenery you miss by going fast, you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. – Eddie Cantor
- The most important gifts you can give are your love, time, and attention. Slow down, take time to smile and enjoy loved ones. Life goes by way too fast. – Carla White
- Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. – Robert Brault
- Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list. – Patti Digh