Are you living in the Red Zone?

the red zoneI have seen at least half a dozen people this week alone, that are living on the edge.

They are running full tilt, working, volunteering, managing households, cooking, coaching and they are moving full speed ahead.

I see this and it scares me.

Work needs them, their kids need them, teams need them…and then what…

Is this what we’re made for?

Running at a sprinting speed over a marathon distance?

I don’t think so.

I’m not throwing stones from a glass house. Please hear me out – I have been there.

I didn’t even know I was there until I got sick.

I am one of those people that very rarely gets sick. I haven’t had a cold in 4 years. At the point I hit the wall I was homeschooling my kids, working half time, all the kids were in lots of activities and I cooked a nice meal every night and that’s all I knew. If someone had told me to slow down I wouldn’t have even known how, or why I would even consider it.

One day I woke up not feeling well and my heart was racing, I developed what appeared to be the flu and later that day and I was achy and wiped out. I had a fever that eventually lasted for over 2 weeks, I developed a heart condition, lost 30 lb and developed chronic pain that took over half a year to see any relief from. I was tested for leukemia 3 times, every autoimmune disease around and I homeschooled my kids from the floor some days.

The doctor was doing all she could, but medicine can’t fix worn out. Eventually I ended up at a therapist’s office, with severe anxiety, thinking that I was never going to get better. We eventually settled on three goals per day.

I was reduced to:

  • Smile at the kids one time each day
  • Connect genuinely with the kids one time per day
  • Try not to worry about dying and be more present

Ok there was a 4th I was told I had to stop making casseroles. I had 23 casseroles in the freezer so I would have food to feed the kids if things got worse or if the leukemia diagnosis came back positive, then my family would have home made meals – (I don’t think I’ve frozen a casserole since)

Want to know how I got there?

There was nothing left.

I caught a bug and my body disintegrated – I was flattened.
Not only will I probably never freeze another casserole – thank heavens and cooking for me is now making sloppy joes.

I will never live at that pace again – ever.

I am allergic to ‘too busy’. I don’t even use the B word and if I do, I know its time to reign things in.

When I see people doing that to themselves I want to shake them and then lovingly scoop them onto my lap and open their eyes to see what they’re doing.

Your kids, partners, teams, and workplace want you to be alive, not wrung out. They want you to say no so you can say yes to life.

I’m not saying we all don’t have busier seasons but when that pace is relentless – there will eventually be a problem; disintegration of your health, your relationships, your mental health…its all too expensive.

What will it take for people to see that energy, and immunity and health are limited and precious resources?

My heart breaks for the over extended who keep ‘doing’ because they can or someone needs them or they feel alive when they help others, or their kids will be disappointed if they don’t get to participate in a couple sports or my fave ‘if I don’t do it, who will?’.

Want to live a great life?

  • Scale back,
  • Don’t offer help,
  • Skip a kid’s game or practice,
  • Take a day off of work,
  • Be really brave and take one off without pay if you need to-
  • Please listen to your body,
  • Give it rest,
  • Be accountable to someone else for not taking anything else on.

Assess what’s on your plate and take off a few things. I don’t care if you have a plate full of what you’re good at and even brings you JOY, try living at 80%, ok even 95%, capacity so when life fills up a bit you still have room; you have the resources to make it.

Life is so precious and so are you, I want to skid across the finish line with you, happy and healthy, (and diaper free-to be clear) at the ripe old crinkly age of 101 and having experienced delicious spaciousness and grace that can only be found with the richness of free time and ease.

Ease up just a wee bit and see what goodness seeps in.

Leona deVinne