Why don't you feel better right now? You can. The key? Slow down and listen to your own guidance.
A friend wrote to me this week, she's miserable. " I am in a very fragile state, clearly not able to address my own self care." Her relationship with her partner has been struggling--his expectations of her are tangled up with his own directional issues. They've tumbled into therapy, but they're both already depleted and stressed. She lists her symptoms-- fatigue tops the list --and then goes on to talk about a project we're co-producing, "I've been doing a lot of contemplation about our relationship and what I feel is a blurriness between business and friendship and that's the part that's making me uncomfortable. I just want a friend. Forcing a program at this moment feels like forcing a kidney stone."
I hadn't asked her any work questions. Why even think about that stuff? The only real 'work' for her right now is to rest and heal her body. She's not in the space to give thoughtful consideration to creative projects.
We often step forward on the path we've established without regard for circumstantial or environmental changes that mean that we need to change course. If a sailor set out to travel around the world and set his heading only once would he achieve his goal? He would not.
My sister is sick. She completely lost her voice the day before she was to leave on a business trip 'from hell' that involved long days of meetings rolling into corporate dinners. Of late she's been unevenly balancing a demanding job that no longer nourishes her, a start up that is calling for increasing attention, marriage and two school-aged children.
My sister lost her voice because her body wants her to stop using it until what it has to say is coming from a replenished place. Our bodies know what they need, but we override them by listening to our minds. We think we can Energizer Bunny our way through challenges so we keep pushing, and the quality of our work product diminishes, as of course does the quality of the return. You want to bring your best to all you do. In order to bring your best, you have to top your own list, 100% of the time.
If you're a little bit stressed close your office door and spend twenty minutes on the phone with a friend. Take yourself across the street to the bakery and buy a cookie and then sit still and eat it without doing anything else except reading the posters on the coffee shop wall. If you're more stressed wrap up your day early and take a walk, or go out to dinner alone with a book. Definitely have a cocktail. Buy some tulips. Watch 'Devil Wears Prada'. Resist the urge to do what you think you should do. Do what you want to do.