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Under Pressure

This morning, I travelled to Dublin for a seminar which was cancelled. I arrived home with a free day to spare. It occurred to me that I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t set aside much time for fun and relaxation. I’ve been occupied with work, courses and going to the gym. And even when I have a couple of hours in the evening, I haven’t been able to sit still long enough to watch a movie or even a television programme.

It’s good for our ego when we’re busy. Society is so obsessed with doing doing doing. Laziness is frowned upon. One must constantly be striving, improving, achieving and accomplishing. People love to tell us about their hectic schedules and full timetables. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of nonaction once in a while. In fact, the Chinese insist upon it as part of their medicine. Resting, relaxing and doing things we enjoy is all part of boosting our Yin. In everyday language, it’s called having a work-play-rest balance.

We all know how it is when we have too much on. We become cranky and overwhelmed. Little things get to us. We’re irritable and exhausted. Everything takes more of an effort. And when we do take a break, it’s extremely difficult to switch off and unwind. That’s why holidays are vital as it can take a while before the body and mind fully relax. It’s also important to set aside some time to be quiet and alone on a regular basis. Perhaps in the countryside or by the sea. And away from your phone and internet.

This week, the importance of self-care has become very apparent to me. If we don’t look after ourselves, how can we hope to be of any use to anybody else? It’s like when the air hostess advises us, in case of emergency, to apply our own oxygen masks before attending to young children. Otherwise, nobody would survive. This is not being selfish. This is being smart.

Being nice to yourself comes with extraordinary health benefits. So this afternoon, I’m going to light my stove and curl up in a big blanket with a mug of tea and a couple of episodes of Modern Family.

For more on boosting Yin energy, read here.

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