Under Pressure

What are the rest of the words to that song?  Oh, never mind.  Those are the only two words that matter, and they seem to be popping into my head more often these days. Is it just me, or are we all feeling increased pressure?

If I read one more article, for example, that tells me how sitting too much is going to kill me, I’m going to scream. I’m a writer and a writer’s coach, for heaven’s sake. It’s my job to sit. And, yes, I’ve set up my desk as ergonomically as possible, and, yes, I take breaks and, yes, I get exercise every day, but according to the articles, that’s not enough. I’m headed for an early grave.

Likewise, they say if you don’t catch a good 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, you won’t perform at your best. But we creatives have this odd habit of getting great ideas in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back to sleep. Or we wake up at 3:00 a.m. thinking of all the things we have to get done the next day. Uninterrupted sleep for a creative is sometimes as impossible as it is for the parent of a newborn. So, now I lie awake at night cursing myself for still being awake.

This is where someone always pipes up and says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” but that’s the thing, nothing feels small anymore.  People expect us to be on the clock and at our best 24/7, and each year our tasks and responsibilities seem to multiply.

“Try meditation,” several people have told me. “It will help you let go of stress.” So I tried it, and then I stressed because I couldn’t quiet my mind.

Here’s what I think . . . there is no such thing as work/life balance, there is only life. And life is messy sometimes. So, what do we do with a mess? We clean it up. Figure out what that looks like for you. What helps you get through the trying times? A hot bath, a long walk, a good cry?  A good cry in a hot bath after a long walk?

In London, just before you board the subway, a voice warns “Mind the gap.”  The gap is that perilous few inches between the platform and the train where disaster awaits. Before you move from one crazy task to the next, ask yourself if you need to “mind the gap.”