When you need to stop, your body insists. When you need quiet, you get it (sometimes between coughs).

I had been feeling over-hyped and overwhelmed. I’d been calculating, trying to see how it would all work, as though I could control life with my mind, as though God wouldn’t laugh at my plans. As though ceaseless mental activity (or physical) was going to make a difference.

I was worrying the details like a personal trainer hyping the fitness game. I had a whip in hand and a hoop through which an angry lion simply must leap. And I was about that nervous. Why?

I had just got so hyped into action that worry and doing were running my life (and not very effectively, I might add). I was thinking frantically as though logic could smooth the wrinkles and the frustrations in life instead of adding to them.

And then, I got sick. Just a chesty cold. Nothing serious but enough to stop me. I attempted work but went home again. Coughing fits made me disgusting to be around.

I needed to slow down. My body made me. It would have been better to just calm down but I didn’t.

A day at home in bed can seem like an endless day but when you really need it, you almost enjoy the nothingness. It can put you in touch with yourself again.

Slow down before you get sick

  • Recognise the need – when you’re over-hyped, spot it early
  • Remember that worry isn’t useful
  • Spend 10 minutes doing nothing – stare at the wall
  • Stretch and breathe
  • Walk around the block (slowly)
  • Cancel something optional

Back-burner the worries

List what’s on your mind and put some of it on the back-burner. You can’t solve everything at once.

  • Is this worry the one thing I choose to work on right now?
  • Am I prepared to solve this?
  • Is it really a problem?
  • Why can I drop it?
  • How can I drop it?

If that doesn’t work, go ahead, get the flu. It will give you time out to think and slow down, and breathe (between coughs). It will give you time to stare at the wall and sleep.  It will give you a very good reason to drop everything, stop and rest.

Balance isn’t optional, it finds you eventually.