Slow Down, Stay Calm

For the longest time my mantra was "hit the ground running". It captured very well how I wanted my life to be: fast-paced, on-the-go, and always-on. In my career, I realised it's far from what I want it to be but when it came to the things that I'm curious about, it hit the feeling right on its head. Wait a minute, wasn't being notoriously curious all about being passionate of the things that excite us? Passion being the keyword here where, oddly enough, also reminds me of running amok in the attempt to fan out the flames.

Truth be told, when I get excited over something I feel like my brain has jumped out of my skull, tap dancing across the pavement. In the past two weeks alone, I have thought of picking up sewing, starting a podcast, learning Korean, and reading another book to add to my ever-growing Currently Reading list. And this is just the stuff occupying my head that's not work-related. So yes, my head can feel like it's processing thoughts and ideas like how Niagara Falls pumps 6 million cubic feet of water per minute.

I did eventually decide to pick-up Korean (learnt a few phrases already and slowly working my way through present tense verb conjugations), got an audiobook, and finished a short course on beginner podcasting. Still, I think if I didn't stop myself multiple times, I would have gone way overboard, overcommitted, and overextended myself. As an introvert, it's exhausting just imagining how to juggle everything.

As the proverbial worry wart, I'm not the master of calm nor am I the master of taking it slow. However, I have picked up a few things these past few years that have helped, especially on those days where I feel my sanity slipping away. Below are the techniques I use to get back to my calm centre.

01 // Count to 10. If I'm flustered, I do some breathing exercises to help bring back the focus to my breath. I have this in my tool arsenal especially on days where I feel like I'm on the brink of a panic attack.

02 // Walk Away. Getting blood pumping throughout the body can do wonders. I sit around all day that a little walk around the block clears the head from clutter. Sometimes I think I want to do and start something completely new but once I do a roundabout on the street block I usually realise it was only a flight of fancy.

03 // Sleep On It. I cannot count how many times I have made a purchase at two in the morning. If only I had decided to sleep on it! Buyer-remorse aside, any major decision now requires at least a good night's rest. There's nothing like sleep to refresh me for the next day. This means a sound mind to make sound decisions.

04 // Meditate. Never thought I'd say this but meditation has been a game-changer for me. I always thought meditation are for monks and people who can tune out their thoughts. What I learnt was, meditation isn't about having a blank mind but letting the thoughts pass through without having it affect me. This is so useful especially when I have too many things running at the same time and the task list is driving me up the wall.

05 // File It. There's a reason why doing a brain dump on paper has been recommended numerous times. Because it works. Part of the reason I feel overwhelmed is because I'm holding too many thoughts in my head at one time. Once I realise that I can stop worrying about it when I put it down on paper, I am free to focus on what's at hand instead of worrying about the next item on my list.

Do you use any of these techniques? Have you got ways to take them up a notch? Let me know what you do to cope when you're feeling frazzled. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Photo credit: Death To The Stock Photo