Sunday, 25 February 2018

And relax...

Last week was half-term in Birmingham and we took advantage of the week off to leave the city centre behind and head to Ludlow. Notable in particular was the quietness: goodness knows what damage we are doing to our ears by living in the midst of a constant buzz of noise we have come to barely notice except by its absence.

One of the realities of our life here is that we live, to a certain extent, in our workplace: in a place which, for all the beauty and opportunity, carries within it a certain inherent level of stress as well. Being embedded at the very heart of the city is an important part of our life and has shaped what our community tries to be; but we have learned, too, that, perhaps because that is true; getting away, physically removing ourselves to a different reality is important too.

We spent a very lazy week doing not very much: long lies-in, good books to read, a bit of a colouring in, a few short walks spotting signs of the coming spring, plenty of tasty treats, lots of time curled up in front of an open fire... It was bliss.

I'll admit, I am not always very good at relaxation ... I guess it always feels like there is so much to do! But I am learning to find ways to stop and switch off. I am, also, very slowly, learning not to feel guilty about taking time out.

We have a culture which values and judges on "productivity". It seems the most socially acceptable place to be is 'too busy' or on the edge of burn out. A lot of the things which drive us to keep on giving, to keep on doing, are good things which have inherent value in themselves: but perhaps we also, myself included, have an unhealthy machismo about feeling we don't have the option to stop. Step by step I am trying to learn that I can't do it all, nor do I have to. The world will keep on turning.

I have a whole lot still to learn, but last weeks lesson went very well.


Tomorrow, I'll be back at work. I know it is a privilege that, even if I am not especially looking forward to the early morning alarm call, I am genuinely happy about getting back to things: to restarting the routine of prayer, and then to to catching up with colleagues and with my students, to getting my teeth back into projects old and new, to being part of something I really believe in.

But I am learning that it's ok to switch off sometimes and that relaxation has to be part of the rhythm too.

1 comment:

  1. I think the biggest problem we have in this space is confusing ‘productivity’ with ‘activity’. Recharging our own batteries is sometimes the most productive choice to make.