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Are you taking out time for a mental cooldown?

A fall. A realisation. And finally a lesson that it's totally fine to have time for yourself, no matter the duration.

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mental cooldown is necessary - aditya shankar

Last week was crazy. I finished 5 article submissions, locked 2 clients, ticked off all items from my to-do list and even planned for the next week in advance. I also spent time drawing and felt deeply satisfied.

Last week was the most productive I’ve had in some time. And just when I thought I’d take the momentum to the next week, something terrible happened.

On my morning jog, I slipped on a skiddy path and fell on the loose gravel from a nearby construction site. Parts of my palm, elbow, and knee rub against the road. It felt painful as I saw blood dripping out. I quickly realised that I had also sprained my thighs during the fall and that running for a good week would take a pause. I limped my way home.

My day’s routine took a hit as well. I popped in some high power painkillers to keep going. The next day as I woke up and made my way to the wash basin I felt dizzy and before I realised I was down on the floor. A shooting pain through my entire body made its way up which felt like a sudden rush of blood. I hit my head on the tiled floors below and was helped to my bed. 

Got a lot on your table? Make some space for mental cooldown (self relaxation). Picture by Robert Bye on Unsplash.

Lying on my bed with an ice pack on the head I couldn’t help but think how a good week all of a sudden took a U-turn? My entire body was reeling through pain. My mind restless thinking about things I had to do in the week ahead. Things that would now need to be pushed to the next week or even later.

After some self defeating thoughts I remembered a thought which Seth Godin swears by. The thought: “You’re much more powerful than what you think you’re”

Reference to Seth’s blog: https://seths.blog/2017/06/you-are-more-powerful-than-you-think/

You bet I am. After all it was me who got all those things done last week. Yes it’s true I might fail deadlines for this week, but is that all that matters? If I’m more powerful than the situations I find myself in, shouldn’t I treat them like one? Shouldn’t I just cooldown, turn a page and accept the downturn of things?

Maybe I should just let myself go with the flow, rest for some extended time and give myself the much needed break and comfort of time.

I followed that thought with an email to clients informing them of the extended deadlines. I also took a stock of the things planned for the week and how they could be postponed for later. I was already feeling much better.

I informed my family & friends about the incident, and two of them came to meet me. They helped me with buying medicines, and cooking. I was glad I got help when I needed it the most.

I binge watched Friends and picked up on reading. In the evening when I felt a bit better I attended to my emails.

I took another two days to just laze around the home and feel confident about my well being.

When I did get back to my routine 3 days later I kept my spirits high. Sure enough I wasn’t so efficient at my work, but what mattered was I showed up, and I told myself to be satisfied with whatever bit I could achieve. These small wins would eventually lead to bigger achievements.

A cup of tea and a favourite book. What’s your idea of self-relaxation? Picture by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

What worked for me may not work for you. And although these learnings come totally from my experiences I realise one thing in all its definiteness, that no matter how much you plan things, they will fall out of the queue. And when that happens your own self realisation of where you stand needs to kick in. Realise you’re powerful and much more than your work. Take time to cooldown. 2 days, 2 weeks or even 2 years – you need that re-building time. Inform your family & friends about this period so that they can help make it easier for you.

And once you’re finally back on the road, running that morning jog look at the loose piece of gravel and spare a smile for the learnings it gave. 🙂

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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