Days back I heard someone say, “You are defined by your work”… To a limited mind, the old man was right. To himself, the old man was right for he has weathered his life in a constant defined by a job. But do you really think that your work defines you? I would like to disagree. You were, are and will be much more than any work defines. If this world had no culture of cut-throat, life-sucking, day & night jobs, you would still be doing fine. Happier, in fact! But, I am not asking you to stop working! I am only asking you to pause.
These days I see how lost people are. They would like to believe they are doing fine but how come there are dramatically increasing no. Of emotional breakdowns, lifelong illnesses, severe aggression, deep-rooted loneliness and frequent depression cases everywhere?
We are just running with the times, too paranoid to stop for a breather, in case we fall behind. Most of us work like a machine, pushing our bodies beyond their mechanisms by extending wake-up hours with smoking, substances, overdose of caffeine etc. So we can finish a project in hand. Have you ever wondered, how much damage you are adding up to your future for a month long project? And why are these deadlines so constraint? Because no one said stop! No one said this is inhuman! No one said this is emotionally, physically and psychologically damaging! Someone set a dangerous example and millions of people have followed. Now you ask me, what can you do? Next time you get a constraint deadline, ask for more time. If it’s against company policies, gather your colleagues and give a collective request because everyone is suffering!
And if none of this is feasible, instead of taking fake, sick leaves take a week off every six months and unwind. Go visit new places, meet new people, try new cuisines and soak up new cultures. You will never remember what exactly you did for each of your office project after 2 years, but you will always remember what made every trip worthwhile! If you have a family, do have solo trips once in a while. You will not only feel refreshed but also far more in control of yourself.
If you can’t afford these, plan your weekends, 1 weekend prior. Have an aimless drive, meet old friends, connect with family, finish all pensing home chores step-by-step with breaks in between, or just have the whole weekend to yourself and keep reminding yourself, this is a great weekend. If we don’t tell our brains something amazing, our brains will tell us something terrible! Withdraw from technology once a while like a detox, you will feel less guilty and sold.
Everyday take sometime out for yourself where you don’t allow yourself to think, plan or worry (it will come with practice)…take a walk in the park and walk slow, observe every little detail and revoke your childlike wonder. Or go to a plant nursery and buy some pots and plants. Throw away every hat you wear, and just be that sapling you are planting. Nothing heals like nature because we belong to it. We are not separate. An hour to self-relaxation may petrify some of you because your rhythm of living has been set to higher tempos. But when you do it and not think about it, you’ll know better.
And if you ever feel stuck up or at the verge of breaking down at work or at home… Push and surprise yourself! Sing a song, dance a jig, watch yourself in the mirror and force yourself to smile really wide because these sudden things will drop the amount of cortisol in your body and release happy hormones!
If you are stressed out about an important presentation or meeting, for instant relaxation do this :
Go to the washroom just before the big deal.
Stand straight, shoulder blades pulled in, open your arms and breathe out of your mouth forcefully 4-5 times.
Now, feel the magic! I can bet, you will feel confident and more prepared for any kind of feedback!
The point, my friend, is not to be a machine. The point is to be more than your job, be the person you are at your core. To define and understand the difference between making a living and living.
I would love to know if you liked this article, if you tried any of these and how you felt later!