I feel like we are told from such a young age, programmed even, that we get the best results by “moving forwards”. Onwards. Upwards.
But why are we in such a rush to be further “ahead” than where we are?
From my experience, this “hustle mentality” is a major cause of burnout.
Especially in competitive, volunteer-dependent fields like wildlife conservation.
Especially when your passion for nature blurs the line between work and life.
Especially when you know your colleagues are working overtime and you don’t want to be the “weak link” or “fall behind”.
Although it can be hard, it’s important to remember that your journey is yours. Your “longevity” in your role or career is your responsibility. Your health, your balance and life experience are up to you. The sooner you learn this, the sooner you will start making decisions that foster selfcare and self-worth.
How can we do this? Here are 6 ways to take life at your pace.
- Stop and acknowledge where you are.
- Goal setting
- Time management
- Reach out for support
1. Stop and acknowledge where you are.
And I mean intrinsically rather than “physically”, taking time to be mindful of where you are and acknowledge what is around you can increase your awareness and assist you in decision making. If moving forwards doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Instead, know that you always have options: make friends with sideways, backwards, and open your mind to new possibilities and opportunities.
Taking a deep breath or a moment to think can be all you need to evaluate where you are and get clear on where you want to be.
3. Goal setting
Goal setting is an important practice throughout life as it helps you to get clear on what YOU want out of an experience and the steps and the timeframe required to get you there. Setting goals can help you feel comfortable living and working at your own pace, and setting boundaries so that important aspects of your work, life and other values all receive time in your day.
We have a whole blog post on goal setting in ecology and getting specific so won’t steal the thunder over here.
4. Time management
“A failure to plan is a plan to fail” – have you heard that one before?
While many of us are deterred from planning because of the pressure it implies to know what you want and how to get there. However, the truth: you don’t need to know every step of your journey before you start, only the initial direction.
Time management and scheduling are powerful tools when it comes to increasing your productivity and efficiency whilst at work so that you can spend more time on nourishing other aspects of your life. Rather than allowing your mind to scatter between the 100 different tasks on your to do list, with a schedule of priorities and a rough plan for how long each will take, you can more easily dedicate your full attention to each task throughout your day, and switch off completely at the end of work so your mind doesn’t continue to run in circles in your “down time”.
With this being said, be gentle with yourself. Some days are going to be slower or faster than others and that’s ok. When you accept your pace and have faith in yourself and your schedule, you can feel confident that you will get enough done each day AND sustain yourself and your lifestyle in the longer term.
Notice we said “get enough done” rather than “everything”. That’s because, if you’re honest with yourself, when it comes to passion projects it will never be “done”. So don’t push yourself for impossible expectations.
Again, we have a blog post around time management in ecology so you can find more time for what you love – so check that out for more hot tips.
Selfcare is a word that is flung all over the place now as an “antidote” to all stress and difficulty. We speak more about selfcare in ecology in a different post but for today, just know that time spent on selfcare is never wasted – after all, your mind and body have facilitated everything you’ve done and everything you will do.
Take life at your own pace and enjoy the journey by ensuring you take time to destress and spend time nourishing your mind and body. No one else is going to look after you the way you can.
We also have blog posts on self care in ecology, and using mindfulness.
6. Reach out for support
Communication is key when it comes to receiving the support you need in life, both personally and professionally. It’s the best way to ensure people know how you feel and understand where you’re at.
If you feel swamped – reach out to your support network, delegate tasks, readjust priorities.
If you feel unsure, confused, stressed – reach out to a mentor or friend, reach inwards and connect with yourself.
Know you are loved. And there are so many people around to support you. All you have to do is reach out and accept it.
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