Pause.

Today, we are so caught up in media, technology, gossip, global news, economic in/stability, and essentially, way more things than I can list.  The advancement of having entertainment at our fingertips has increasingly distracted and distanced us from our need to self-reflect.  And yes, it is a need.  

When we turn our attention inward, it increases creativity and intimacy.  Focusing on our thoughts, identifying our feelings, and pondering our purpose and value activates the part of our brains that bring meaning to our lives and strengthens our identity – both of which contribute to a positive well-being.

Some people can find moments of pause throughout their day to reflect, show gratitude, pray, and/or appreciate; others have to make the time for it.  I’m both.  I need a lot of solitude.  I can appreciate in the small moments of the day-to-day grind, but, at least, probably once a month, I need a full day.  

During this day, I read, write, think, reflect, dream, and feel.  If there’s a lot of shit going on like there has been lately, I need more time alone.  I don’t function well when I can’t fully process the things that are happening around me.  I don’t need to understand everything, but I do need the time to fully digest it and let it settle.

[Side story: My Toastmasters mentor was encouraging me to practice my speeches during my drive time. I said, “Absa-F’ing-lutley. Not.” (Except a lot more eloquently.) Really what I said was, “I can’t do that. My drive time is sacred.” And truly it is. Drive time is my day-to-day pause time.]

As you know, I’m pretty fascinated by how our brains and our bodies work individually and collectively.  To continue on my current obsession of our heart, it actually acts as a great symbol ❤️ for our need to pause and reflect.  

The heart operates in two phases: systole and diastole.  Most people think that the systole phase is where all the action lies, because it’s pumping blood out to all of our other vital organs.  But it’s actually the diastole phase, where the heart relaxes that is the most important.  In this phase, the coronary blood vessels fill and supply oxygen to the heart muscle itself.  Without this pause, our heart would not receive the oxygen required to keep our heart pumping to supply blood to all of our other organs.  It’s the pause that keeps us alive.   

I’m going to repeat that for effect: It’s the pause that keeps us alive.

But truly think about this for a second: The heart receives oxygen when it relaxes. (Oxygen gives us life, people!) And it’s in the relaxation phase, the pause, that we receive the vital nutrients needed. to. live. 🤯‼️

Self-care is critical to our function. As I mentioned in my post about grief, our ability to indulge in external self-care has been limited in the age of COVID. So take the time to pause! It costs nothing, yet can have profound impacts.

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