What's Your Daily Recovery Plan?
What's your daily recovery plan? You know, that fun little thing you do for yourself after a long day, or maybe in the middle of the day when it's only noon and you've already reached your LIMIT? One of my lecture slides is a picture of a frayed rope, held together by a single strand. I ask participants, "What do you see?" and get a mix of glass-half-full, glass-half-empty responses. I then echo my Credo colleague, Bob Stice, equating this image with something that's breaking around the house, like a dripping faucet. One morning you notice the drip and you think, I should do something about that. But you get distracted, days go by, and the drip becomes stronger, more frequent...until one day you walk through the door to a leak in the ceiling. And you curse yourself, wishing you had done something about it when you first noticed the problem.
It's like that with our stress levels, or our degree of "agitance", referring to my last post. Little emotional stressors pile up, or we catch ourselves paddling for our dear lives in the rat race, not paying attention to how it's affecting our sleep, making it more difficult to eat healthily, or get to the gym. If you're anything like me, you may notice that stress is starting to wear you down and, just like that leaky faucet, you think, I need to do something about that one of these days. But too often we wait until we are totally fried before we allow ourselves a real break. Or if you're like some people I know, you never get that full break - even on vacation, you meet the expectation of checking email, responding to messages. Quite the recipe for burnout, isn't it? And quite the set-up for experiencing a let-down illness.
There is a better way.
I once met a nun, Sister Helen Cole, who for 20 years as walked alongside families of homicide victims in Camden, NJ. She would hear of a murder and go knock on the family's door, asking if she could pray for them and offering her services as they navigated the legal system. Talk about stressful! I asked her what got her through, and she said, "I surround myself with goodness. Good people, good music, good books, and good wine!" Now that's an everyday recovery plan.
If you want to be in "it" for the long haul, it makes so much sense to bring intention to daily recovery, rather than waiting until you're exhausted. We only have so much energy to give...what gives you energy back? My daughter Aubrey has illustrated some of the suggestions I got when I asked this on my FaceBook page. For me, sometimes it's baking, sometimes it's music, and all the time it's my dog, Nell. I'd love to hear what it is for you!