Becoming a part-time bear

14.1. 2020Ivana Běhounková874x

So last year was full of big changes in my life, and for that reason, it was challenging, amazing, crazy, intense, and super busy. I started tons of new things, finished a lot of them, and started more new things and did not finish most of them.

Not because I was lazy or anything. I often spent 12+ hours in front of my laptop. And I love to create, and I love what I do, and I just started too many things at once. Because it all seemed logical, and connected and I loved working on every single one of them. So it all kept growing, which is great

as the end of the year was approaching I was more and more tired, my stress level was pretty high already, but at that time it sky-rocketed. Because I do not like unfinished things.

It’s huge stress for me. So I gave myself a deadline. Finish everything that I’d already started before Christmas. And if not before Christmas, finish it by January 6th.

Well, guess what. It did not happen! It was totally doable but under different circumstances. The main cause of me not finishing what I had planned is that I was too tired. I was trying to manage my stress level, so I said to myself:

“OK, I will relax during the holidays and January 1st I start working and I will finish it all by 6th. I can totally do it because I’m gonna have a lot of energy after relaxing for 9 days.”

Well, guess again what happened! Or did not happen. I did not have a lot of energy. I was able to start working on the 3rd, and it was pretty slow, and I didn’t get much done. And I started to stress again because I felt like I HAD TO HAVE IT FINISHED.

But at that point, I knew it was not possible. And I also knew I couldn’t go on like this. I’d been stressed for the last 5 years non-stop. The years before were not stress-free, but there were longer periods (I think) of not stressing so much.

So I knew I had to change it. I always thought after I finish this and I finish that, lose this much weight, go there, see this, have this much money, the sun is up or the sun is down, get enough sleep, buy this, eat that or not eat that – well the list could go on and on – THEN I would stop stressing because then it would all be OK and I could stop freaking out.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. 

Albert Einstein

I don’t know how about you but I’ve read or heard this thing like a million times. I knew it was true. Obviously. But I thought it somehow didn’t apply to me. Or better, I was not so stupid to do the same thing over and over.

Except I was. There were changes, of course. I was not that stupid. But the changes I made were not helping. And believe me, some of them were pretty big. But they were not getting me away from the I’ll-change-it-after-I-get-somewhere mentality.

By the way, does it sound familiar? Do you see the pattern here? Do you know which one? Let me help you here:

Yeah, it’s this thing again. So think again and do it differently this time. If you need help with that, check this.

But now, back to the more important things. Specifically, ME.

So luckily for me, I finally realized my mistake. I realized I have to stop stressing, like RIGHT NOW. Not after I finish writing this blog post. Or finish eating that chocolate. But now.

Because if I do not do it now, I’m not gonna do it ever. I also realized, and here comes the big surprise, that stressing isn’t actually helping me or anything. So I decided to stop. And I DID stop.

So I was in this situation where I was super tired, I had a lot of things to do plus I decided not to stress. Deadly combo. And at that moment, I got an email from Markéta Strnadová, who I absolutely adore. And what she said in that email basically solved my situation.

She was talking about needing to slow down dramatically, about winter being the time for recharging, for getting ready for the Spring and the like. AND most importantly, she said she was taking a BREAK for two whole months.

And I decided to do exactly the same.

Well, not exactly. (Liar, liar!) Because I can’t stop all my activities altogether. So what I’m going to do is that I will limit them to the absolute minimum possible. I wanted to do this for quite a few winters but never did, but now is the time.

I’m going to sleep a lot, work less, read more, eat well, be outside more (but not too much) and enjoy all the little things. And that’s pretty much it.

Here’s what I’m not gonna do. I won’t be posting on Instagram every day or Facebook several times a week, as I planned. I will not start anything new in this period, and I will also not try to finish the unfinished.

I will allow myself to go through all the papers and notes that I accumulated over the past year and sort it. But that’s that.

Now you know why you won’t be seeing me here too much. But in the Spring, watch out for me, because I’m coming for you.

And in case you’re wondering, my stress level dropped 90% (but I’m not good at numbers, so it’s more like a feeling) and it’s been like this for the last 10 days. It’s a huge success for me. It’s not ideal, of course.

There are moments when I realize I got all tense, and I started to stress, but it’s so much easier and faster to notice it. And then it’s actually quite easy to stop and relax.

Seems that the meditation, even if it’s only six minutes a day, helps tons as well. I wrote about it last time. It’s here if you missed it.

And I have to say I am actually kinda looking forward to those short-time stressful situations when adrenaline gets you going and you are able to do amazing things at a speed you never thought possible and when you finish you feel exhausted but happy.

But for now,

Oh, and please make sure you don’t confuse BEAR and BEER. Because I do not want to become that.

Ivana Běhounková
Ivana je lektorka angličtiny, zakladatelka projektu English Stories, autorka desatera English Speaker's MANIFESTO, konverzačních kartiček Talk to me a online kurzu The Speaking Challenge.

Kromě angličtiny miluje příběhy, přírodu, hudbu a magické momenty obyčejných dní. A taky fakt, že je z ní opět naivní opitmistka, idealistka a snílek.

O tom jak se dostala k English Stories si můžete přečíst tady.
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