Feeling a bit of stress in everyday life is common. Its standard it seems. I don’t want it to be. I’ve tasted what its like to live without it and I now crave it.
I think the first thing that made me notice how generally stressed I was about time was my now boyfriend. He is calm and dislikes stress to a degree that I never seen before. He rather prioritize away things he has to do so he can do whatever he does calmly and controlled instead of striving to be productive. It was so strange to me. At first it bugged me. I thought “oh my god, this guy is sooooo slow” It became a joke that I was quick and he was slow. We teased each other. And sometimes I would notice the feeling of annoyance toward his approach and he would point it out. Say things like, we don’t have to hurry, we´re not in a rush. It took a while until I got used to it and then it took some more until I started to like it. He has since we started dating completely shifted my idea about time and productivity (and this is without really trying to explain to me his philosophy) I realized at first how quickly I do things. I do them fast and I had pride in it. I was productive. I got things done. I stressed for example when I cook. I multitask, cutting vegetables and checking the rice while taking time etc. hurry to be done. I also do things quickly when I do chores or something I don’t enjoy. I noticed how quickly I did exercises at the gym. Just to get things over with so I could move on to the next. Its not really weird when you think about it that you get the feeling of emptiness if youre never there, always just ticking off boxes. Instead, doing things with intent and a different mindset; not to just get it over with. If I get back in the habit of hurrying he will point out to me that we´re not in a rush. This is still a bit annoying but behind the moody ego I am grateful (and he knows this❤️)
So the first thing that happened was that I noticed how much I actually hurry. I hadn’t questioned it before. It wasn’t a thing in my head that I thought that I did things quickly. I knew that I was productive and didn’t relax often but the idea of being generally stressed wasn’t planted in my head. So I started to realize that maybe I am always in a hurry, much more than I had understood (And maybe this is why Ive always been so drawn to the relaxation part of mindfulness and spirituality..) When I went back home to visit my family I would notice how my mother did exactly the same hurried things and more and i realize I got it from my upbringing. When I socialized with people I would realize most people around me dont question it either. It just wasn’t a thing I had thought about much or even questioned really. This wasn’t a one-time realization like I make it sound, this took some time as he and I dated, realizing more and more that being inpatient is a pattern I have. I always knew I was impatient as a child. Mom would often mention it when telling stories of me as a kid. I also got told I did things haphazardly. I made a half ass attempt at things. I didn’t understand nor had the concept that things take time and you need to do it carefully for good results. anyway! No use of looking at reasons why at this point. I just get stuck –
So then I started to question why I hurry so much. Like, not why do I act this way but on a deeper level, what am I trying to achieve? I think its two things: Habit of always looking ahead for something that will fulfill me. When I have done this and this I will be happy. Solution? Being present.
Other reason I think is that im not used to it – I can’t be still because boredom/emptiness scares me. I don’t know how to act or deal with it. Its uncomfortable and new.
Im getting used to this though, more and more. Little things; like I try to start the day off slow. Doing yoga or meditation or taking a walk. I do things slower. Remind myself to slow down. Remind myself why I do this or that thing (is it just to get it over with or why am I doing x?) Usually when I do the action slower the result is always better anyway so theres a lot of benefits of slowing down; not just enjoying the process. An example could be putting on make up everyday. Instead of doing it in a rush I try to do it slower and the result comes out, naturally, more precise because the hand movements are more controlled and then I feel better for that day. I know this and try to implement it more and more. I want it to come automatically but it’s a process.. I know thiiiis.
How do I make myself less stressed and hurried overall? Work on patience.
Living in the van for some months indirectly makes me practice my patience. Everything takes longer and everything is simpler. I don’t take things for granted which makes me also appreciate the thing more. Electricity for example. We have one outlet which is connected to a solar panel. We plan when to charge something and use up the battery fully before charging again. We have a laptop, two phones, two wireless headphones and a stereo that we rotate to charge. The battery is great and we can often charge most things that we need on a sunny day but the supply is limited, which makes us not take it for granted. Lovely thing. Even though it can be comfortable to have an apartment full of outlets, not giving it a second thought. The other benefits out way!
Patience is interesting. Interesting concept. When I look at different definitions of the word they often describe it as a quality that is despite this and that, for example; “Steadfast despite opposition, difficulty or adversity.” “Bearing pains or trails calmly under provocation or strain.” Maybe it can only be present when something is challenged. And after this it becomes second nature as it develops into a calmness, an unshaken serenity.. hmm..
So, patience is a must it seems. A must to tackle unwanted stress and impatience which often causes that stress. Patience for everyday activities and patience with my personal growth. Patience with people and patience with the future. Patieeeeence.
And how.. just remembering. Having someone point it out definitely helps. Making yourself do things that take longer time deliberately in order to practice patience is wonderful. Meditation is one thing. Taking a walk is one. Painting in one of those adult coloring books where you just color very detailed black and white drawings is also a great one. Ive done that a few times. Its good to be uncomfortable with time I think. Work on your relationship to time. Challenge it. Because when you break it down; look stress/impatience in the eye, and eventually become a master of your own stress instead of enslaved by it that’s when you can handle pressure.