I’m a multitasker, I admit it. I make lists while reading the paper while listening to music while starting dinner. I have at least 10 screens open on my laptop at any given time. I always have a notepad or my phone handy to jot down notes pertaining to a project at home or work or an errand I need to run for my kids. I tell myself that I need to keep busy, not waste steps or time (why go up the stairs empty handed when you can grab some things that need to be put away?). Sometimes, it’s exhausting, other times gratifying as I think of all I’m getting done in a short amount of time. Many times it’s hard to sleep as my brain keeps churning away thinking of things that need to be done, ways to improve upon a project, searching for solutions for challenges.
As an admitted “Type A” who needs to be busy and challenged, it’s often difficult for me to shut down and relax. When given the opportunity recently for a week at the beach (one of my favorite places to relax and regroup) I jumped at the chance. Was it an ideal time to go away (is there ever?)? Where there schedules to rearrange & lists to make? Did I need to leave my son & husband at home because they couldn’t get away? Yes to all, but I was able to get some ‘girl time’ with my daughter (and so happy that a teenage girl still wants to spend time with mom!) and our neighbors. This beach week was in a location with no WiFi and limited cell service, so I knew I’d be basically disconnected for the duration. I brought a trusty pad and pencil with me expecting to have some time to think, reflect and plan out some upcoming projects. What happened instead was that I tried to multitask but I couldn’t. Sure, I played solitaire and listened to music, but sitting on the beach watching waves crash to the shore or strolling the beach looking for shells and sea glass seemed to take up all my brain capacity. I’d start thinking about a work-related issue and it would be gone in an instant. I was present in the now, able to enjoy my surroundings and the company. I slept, walked, ate, had some wine, played games, laughed – relaxed. The important decisions for the week were which bathing suit to wear, what time to go back to the beach and which board game to play in the evening. No schedules, no pressure, no deadlines, no driving – no stress.
Sometimes you go away and upon your return you need a vacation from your vacation as it is was fun but busy & overscheduled. This one was certainly the opposite. I was able to ease back into the ‘real world’ and have renewed energy but a less frenetic pace. Will the beach calm last? I certainly hope so. It reminded me of the importance of stepping back and “checking out” for a while. The world did not stop turning because I didn’t respond to emails immediately and the projects are still here. But, I’m more focused and calm and can look at things with renewed energy. I’m going to try and limit my multitasking (maybe only do two things at onceJ) or at least will take more breaks and schedule more time to recharge. Phones, computers and appliances need to be shut down and rebooted occasionally – seems people need to do that as well.