This week during a coaching session a client asked me… what can I do to make sure that I don’t run myself ragged? How to stop in time? How can I make sure that I respect my boundaries?
Of course, there are multiple things you can do. But I am going to only share one thing with you. Why one? Well because in my experience this one thing is foundational and crucial for you to be able to stop in time, to respect your boundaries, to not run yourself ragged. This one powerful thing will help you to stay balanced, to know when it is time to slow down.
If you can do just one thing, do this!
GIFT YOURSELF A 5 MINUTE CHECK-IN EACH DAY.
Often we are so busy running from one thing to the next, hardly pausing and stopping. And if we have a few minutes, we now often don’t use those few minutes to unplug and pause, but we actually plug in, checking messages, email, social media.
You need to have a short moment each day, at the start of the day, or during the day, where you leave all this busyness for a couple of minutes. You need to check out of the outside world to check in with yourself. Because it is impossible to feel how you are doing if you keep running and going from one thing to the next. It is impossible to feel what you need if you don’t check in with yourself. It is impossible to feel your boundaries if you don’t check in with yourself at least once a day.
Let me share a personal story with you:
Many years ago, I worked as a consultant for KPMG. A very demanding job with lots of traveling and stress. At a certain moment I started to notice a pattern. Every time a got into my car at the end of a workday and started driving home, a severe headache hit me and I felt a sharp pain in my shoulders, arm and wrist. Pain I had not felt during the workday. It felt like once I started driving a switch was flipped and the pain hit me. So did the driving cause the pain? Or did these severe pains just start at that moment?
No of course not! During the workday I was only in my head and only focussed on the work that needed to be done, working very hard on the tasks at hand. Completely disconnected from my body, my emotions, disconnected from how I was doing. I checked out of my body and my feelings and only lived in my head during the workday, only focussed on all the things I needed to do. So I could not notice or feel the more subtle signals my body was giving me, I could not notice my own needs. Because I just did not check in with myself during the workday. And once I got into my car those subtle signals had grown into impossible-to- ignore- severe -signals. Signals I could only notice because I stopped working, stopped running around and was sitting in my car alone. This was the first slowing down of the day.
What I’ve learned since then is that I really need to check-in with myself, at least once a day. To make sure that I know how I am doing and what I need. To make sure I don’t miss the important signals my body gives me. To know how to stop in time.
A 5 minute check-in looks like this.
- Step out of the busyness around you, step away from your to do’s and find a spot where you can be alone and silent for 5 minutes.
- Close your eyes- this will literally help you to go within and shut out all that is going on around you.
- Start by just following your breaths for a couple of breaths, just notice how your breathing is and where you can feel the breathing the most.
- After following your breath for a while ask yourself : How am I? How do I feel? What do I need right now? See what comes up when you ask yourself these questions. (so you don’t have to actively think up the answers)
Gift yourself a 5 minute check-in each day. If you gift yourself five minutes of silence and checking in with yourself each day, it also will become easier to feel how you are doing and what you need during the rest of your day as well!
Set an alarm in your phone to help you do it. Maybe even start your day with it.
(You can later expand this. E.g. when you are waiting in line at the grocery store, consciously check in with yourself. If you have a few minutes in your day, instead of checking your email or phone, check in with yourself).
But first start with planning one check-in moment during your day.
To make it easy for you I recorded a guided 5 minute check-in exercise for you. Why not do it right now?
Wishing you a beautiful day!