So many of the women (and men) I talk to regularly confess to feeling depleted, overwhelmed, and just flat exhausted. Like they’re living in the spin cycle of the washing machine or a good old hamster wheel. When we dig into how they’re living their daily life, one of the most common challenges experienced is the way their actions don’t line up with their bigger dreams and goals. Especially when I observe how much sheer energy folks are expending due to rushing from one point to the next.
Their descriptions of all the daily rushing to and fro reminds me of traveling overseas. At first it’s kind of fun, all this busyness. Like when you begin a trip and land in another country. Sure, at times the process can be long and akin to feeling like cattle, the good thing is that once you get through Passport Control and claim your luggage, you head off to your destination. Hooray! Some time to relax and play!
When you come back home, though, especially if you have a connecting flight, it feels as if you’re a rat in a maze rushing against a clock. It doesn’t matter if your connecting in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, or JFK, rarely is it anything but hurry up and wait. On repeat.
Definitely not fun, relaxing, or enjoyable.
The worst airport experience ever was when I came home from Australia through Los Angeles. After landing, we walked en masse towards customs. And walked and walked and walked. The plane I was on was full and held 532 people. So, in addition to worrying about making the next flight on time, I got to experience the anxious energy of 531 other people rushing, too. Dragging your carry-on luggage, of course. (In this case, a rolling bag with my laptop along with my purse.)
Note: pay attention the next time you’re rushing through anything like grocery shopping, traffic, or to grab coffee at Starbucks before work. A lot of the folks you come in contact with during those experiences are in a hurry, too. You can’t help but feel their anxious energy.
After arriving at passport control, we filtered into various lines with passengers from other flights, each of us awaiting our turn. After clearing passport control, we hurried to baggage claim, claimed bags only to then drag all our luggage to an airline representative to recheck it for the next flight. Finally, you make it through the gauntlet and into arrivals.
You hit a milestone, but you aren’t there yet. FYI, there is no “there” in life.
On this particular flight, I had to literally leave the international terminal on foot and walk outside with my carry bags on to the domestic terminal. Then, it’s another rat maze of rushing as you go through the entire domestic security process again. Hurry up and wait. Take off your shoes, take out your liquids, walk through another scanner. Most folks then have to rush to their gates. After seventeen hours on a plane, I spent ninety minutes in constant motion while I processed and walked and rushed from here to there.
I was this worn out, overwhelmed, and exhausted sweaty mess.
With thirty-minutes to spare before my next flight boarded, I stopped in a restroom to change clothes into something more weather appropriate. It was August, still winter in Melbourne, but summer in the US and I needed to feel comfortable. Plus, I was the aforementioned sweaty mess.
(Side note: never underestimate the power of clean underwear and fresh deodorant after all that! It’s a trick I use on ordinary days: a fresh change of clothes and a spritz of perfume can be a powerful thing.)
In all honesty, I could have had a little breakdown about this point. Giving into the exhaustion and the feelings of overwhelm sometimes is necessary. A good cry is sometimes the best medicine. On this day, though, not only did I need to get to this next flight at LAX, I had yet another connecting flight in Dallas to get home. Not a good time for a little cry. In life, one “flight” often leads to another, right?
Instead, I stopped, looked in the mirror, and told myself to SLOW Down, Damnit. I took a deep breath, gargled with some mouthwash, put on some fresh lipstick and slowly walked to my gate.
Just thinking about that whole experience still makes my heart race! Yet, I share this story because often, we rush through our life like it’s a race to catch a connecting flight. We rush from the moment we wake up until we go to bed.
We treat our beautiful existence as if the number one goal is rushing as fast as we can from point A to B to Z. And like my slog through LAX, we get weighed down with the baggage we all carry through life. You know, baggage like stress, worries, anxiety, extra weight, etc. That baggage just weighs us done and drains us even more.
Actually, that baggage adds to the issue, doesn’t it? We want to run away from all that worry and anxiety and stress, so we rush around even more. FYI, that’s called numbing. We buy into the unhealthy belief that if we keep rushing around, we can accomplish more or distance ourselves from the parts of our lives we’re dissatisfied with.We overbook our schedules. We get our meals through a drive-thru. We stay up too late, sacrificing precious sleep.
If this sounds familiar, then darling, you will find yourself like me in the bathroom at LAX: A sweaty, hot, overwhelmed, exhausted mess. And trust me, darling, you deserve more than that.
You cannot live a life that feels loving and nourishing if you’re always rushing around.
I know that you have big goals you want to accomplish. You may call it hustling or accept that pushing yourself and rushing through life is going to help you reach those goals more quickly. And yes, you sometimes need a sense of urgency to get there.
But there’s a huge difference between pushing yourself to exhaustion compared to a sense of urgency on achieving your goals.
Reaching goals is important, and truly a goal is an arrival of sorts, just like boarding that next flight. One of the secrets to goal achievement, though? It’s to allow yourself to revel in your success and celebrate it rather than rushing to the next thing. In truth, in order to catch your breath and enjoy your life and your successes, you may need to coast a bit and revel in a slower pace of life rather than pushing yourself to achieve another big goal right away.
Allow yourself to experience the sweetness of your life and journey through it.
Even if you are feeling worn out from all your rushing around, know that my suggestion to slow down may feel scary. You won’t have that adrenaline rush of constant busyness. I promise you, though, if you will just make the choice to slow down a little, you’ll reap big benefits in the long run.
That’s my challenge to you today. Commit to slowing down – just a little. Commit to not rushing from point A to Z. Get up ten minutes earlier to linger over a cup of coffee. Wind down over a book or magazine before bed. Analyze your calendar and that to do list to see what you can stop doing (or delegate) so that you can feel less rushed.
Anytime you find yourself in constant motion, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, remember me standing in front of the bathroom mirror at LAX. Stop and take a deep breath. Notice what slowing down does for your energy levels. Notice how the choice to stop rushing allows you to feel more focused.
Soon, you’ll realize how doing less allows you to not just do more, but enjoy this precious journey through life.
Do you need some help deciding what you can ditch in your busy day? Baby step your way from mental clutter to clarity.
From the 30 Days to Clarity Series: Clearing Brain Clutter: Discovering Your Heart’s Desire
Now Available in Paperback
With a collection of 30 intriguing exercises, Clearing Brain Clutter: Discovering Your Heart’s Desire helps you to peel away everything that gets in the way of your truest, deepest desires. You’ll learn to create a life that’s more resonant with “the real you” than anything you’ve previously experienced. In short, you’ll forever change your life for the better.