19 Jan Listen to natural pause rhythms
Has this month been hard? Do you feel like you just want to crawl into bed and ignore life?
Me too! January always seems hard. The darkness and winter make me want to stay in bed all day but my brain makes me feel guilty and says I should be doing something – anything. Then the internal back-and-forth carries on.
How do you balance this physical desire for rest and the realities of life?
Recently, I have been playing with the idea of keeping promises to myself to ensure I am making progress in a good way. Some days it is as simple as just flossing my teeth or responding to an email I have been putting off. Committing to completing it so it no longer takes up space in my mind and body is a good feeling. However, I also notice that I need to be mindful of the time of day that I am trying to complete the task (or the promise). What I have realized is that I am pretty much useless by mid-afternoon which leads to me getting down on myself for having a lull, wanting a nap or not being productive. Do you relate to that feeling?
But, perhaps, it is actually my body telling me to pay attention to its energy cycles called Circadian rhythms. So I looked into how these cycles and rhythms work and here are some things I found:
- Everyone’s circadian rhythm is different. There are morning people and night owls.
- While circadian rhythm normally is about our sleep patterns, it affects our energy levels throughout the day.
- Don’t compare yours with others. You may have your burst of energy at 10 am but need a nap at 3 pm.
- There are internal and external factors that affect your rhythm and it can shift.
- One of the challenges of 9-5 work is that we feel that we need to be productive during those hours. But what happens if those hours don’t align with your energy cycle. It may be the opposite of what we naturally need to do.
- The idea that we need to be productive all the time stems from the idea that we are commodities or robots but we are human and we cannot function at the same rate all the time. Even the term “downtime” originally was about machines in the industrial world. Being productive constantly is just not feasible.
- Trying to push through it and hitting the metaphorical wall just adds to our anxiety and scarcity of time.
So instead of trying to fight the very real natural rhythms, take a pause. Take a breath. Take 20 winks. Take a walk. You will come back with a fresh perspective and potentially a fresh burst of energy. Tell that voice to listen to your body. The body knows what you need.
Here are some of the resources I looked at as I learned more about circadian rhythms in case you want to delve deeper into it for yourself:
- Circadian Rhythm: Why it is important
- Re-Sync your Circadian Rhythm
- It’s okay to be unproductive (video)
“To witness that calm rhythm of life revives our worn souls and recaptures a feeling of belonging to the natural world.”
– George Shaller
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