As you may have noticed already (or maybe not), I like to use quite a lot of strange analogies when sharing the philosophy of Nourishing Routes and helping to grasp it.
This week, I have thinking a lot about kettles. Yep, you heard me correctly, that essential piece of kitchenware that allows you to make your comforting cup of tea or coffee...
The reason a kettle springs to mind is because I have been thinking a lot about boiling points. In human terms, I think of our boiling point as the time where we have reached our energy potential. We have placed so much energy into a certain task at hand and now, before we go any further, we must switch off.
For a kettle, unlike most human beings, it knows exactly the point to switch off (usually when the water reaches 100 degrees Celcius - unless you have one of those really cool kettles where you can adjust the temperature to your desired type of tea).
Going over 100 degrees Celsius isn’t really going to help the kettle, or any hot beverage the hot water is used for. Water that is too hot will likely spoil whatever you are making, as well as probably leading to overheating and eventually breaking your much loved kettle!
Humans on the other hand, as you might have experience of too, sometimes don’t know when to switch off. We have probably all experienced times when we have gone out full force, placing all of our energies into something, or not making time to wind down and switch ourselves off. Whether that be at work, helping another person or browsing through social media, we live in a culture that is awake 24/7, with all sorts of opportunities that prompt us to stay alert and keep on working - sometime obsessively.
Many of us also experience pressure of others or wanting to please others to the extent that we are willing to exhaust ourselves in order to meet certain deadlines or expectations.
For myself, I remember nights staying up till 3am, trying to finish off an assignment, skipping meals to ensure I could complete another task, or flit from one event to another without giving myself a break. It didn’t last forever though, as it wasn’t too long before I began to crumble physically and mentally under the pressure.
While we may meet such deadlines and expectations in the short term, we really aren’t doing our happiness or wellbeing any good in the long run of our precious lives.
Eventually, there will come a time where we start to experience physical and psychological exhaustion. We weren’t cerated to be on the go all of the time, and in a world where it feels strange to flick our own human kettle switch off, many of us continue to enter exhaustion and stress mode.
I’m not going to go into very much detail about the detrimental impacts that feeling drained and stressed has on both our psychological and physical wellbeing, but what I will say is that entering exhaustion mode has negative impacts on ourselves and others around us. Our negative energies spread far and wide, and we can’t function as well as we would otherwise do if we had given ourselves a much needed and well deserved rest...
Rest is vital to our wellness, no matter how important you think ploughing through yours or someone else’s agenda might be. We need to learn when to take off the boil, otherwise we will over heat and spoil the precious moments of our lives that we should be cherishing and experiencing to the full.
Resting doesn’t have to mean jumping into bed and going to sleep (although it totally can be if you like!). It could mean taking a break away from your computer, having a set time in the day or evening when you won’t allow yourself to work, taking yourself away from your desk for a lunch break, eating your meals with others instead of in front of a computer, and having a curfew when you switch off social media.
It could also mean taking yourself to your favourite cafe, sitting down to your favourite chocolate or sweet treat in the evening, or putting on a nostalgic film while you cosy up without any distractions - not even Facebook or Instagram posts!
When we can find a harmonious balance between investing our energies into the tasks we need to accomplish, while being aware of when to take ourselves off the boil, we can start to find time to enjoy the unique moments in our lives.
We can replenish our energies and ensure that we can be in the very best mindset we can before beginning again. Ultimately, we can learn how to be self-compassionate in a way that involves investing in ourselves, while ensuring that we can reach our goals, avoid exhaustion and living life full to the brim.