The other day I was talking with my brother, Tod. He described to me the 25th anniversary event he is planning for MIT’s Media Lab. For the celebration, they are creating a 25-hour day full of programs. Aside from this being a clever concept to build an event around, it made me smile at the thought of us actually being able to randomly add hours to the 24-hour day all of us have.
I began thinking about why we wish we could add more hours to our day. Two ideas came to mind. We either feel like we have too little time (as in 24 hours just isn’t enough to accomplish what we want) or we have too much to do. Either way you view it, on most days, many of us feel like we could have or should have done more in the time we had to manage. Thoughts like, “If only I hadn’t wasted so much time surfing the internet,” or “If only I had one more hour to finish this project,” or “If only I didn’t feel so completely overwhelmed with everything I’ve said ‘yes’ to.”
So being that we don’t have the ability to add more hours to our day, what can we do? Even though our commitments vary, it’s essential that we discover our personal balance between work, fun and rest. The mix will vary based on what is on your plate and feels most comfortable for you. But if you only work without any time to relax or have fun, you will quickly become overwhelmed.
The word “overwhelm” is one I hear most often from clients, friends and family. Frankly, while I write and think a lot about life balance, there are times when I too feel overloaded with all the things I want to accomplish or have committed to doing. I know that when I’m feeling this way, it becomes essential to return to one of my basics, which is reconnecting with nature. With spring in full bloom, lately I’ve spent more time by the rivers- walking, sitting, eating, and just being. There is something restorative about water. My mind quiets enough to simply focus on the scenery before me. The “must dos” and “should dos” take a back seat while nature works it magic, bringing me to a calmer, clearer place.
There’s nothing wrong with expecting a lot of yourself. But especially if you do expect a lot, it’s crucial that you also figure out how to rejuvenate yourself. So, whether it’s taking a walk somewhere green, slowly sipping a large iced tea, or doing nothing at all, it’s well worth your time to make time for you to stop, relax and restore.