Just. Stop.

Photo credit: Ryan Holloway

I recently created a visual journal page where I added the words, ‘Sometimes we just need to stop’. When a friend asked me why exactly I chose those words, I honestly had no specific thoughts other than the fact that they were inspired by a drawing of a woman with an outstretched hand that reminded me of a stop signal.

My friend’s question made me ponder the phrase which came to mind so spontaneously.

Is it not all about life being busy – very busy?! We fulfil many different roles: mom, wife, friend, daughter, aunt, grandmother, colleague, employee, employer, business owner, encourager, confidante … and so many more.

At night we fall down on our beds, either thinking of everything we did not get to do, or we pass out straight away – just to the hear the (@#$%ing) alarm clock go off a few hours (which feels like minutes only) later, and do it all over again. Every day a rush, watching the clock, ticking the ‘to do’ list, adding to the ‘to do’ list, helping here, supporting there, trying to be everywhere and yet getting nowhere … nowhere near living a meaningful life, just being sucked up by the barrenness of a busy life!

And that is exactly why sometimes we need to ‘just stop’. Do a personal stock take. Ask ourselves whether we are fulfilling our personal calling while being so busy? Are we happy? Do we utilise and share our talents? Do we make time to fill our own ‘love cup’ so that we have enough to give to those who are in need of our care and support? Do we have any me time at all?

I recently heard a story about a lady who lost her husband to suicide while her 4 children were still very small. To get her kids through school and university she had 3 jobs and somehow managed to cope. Her answer to the question about what her secret was for surviving this tough time in her life was absolutely profound: ‘I had to look after myself first. If I wasn’t ok, my children were not ok.’

So maybe, we need to just stop. And then start looking after ourselves, make time for ourselves, do something for ourselves … or at least reflect on how we can make our lives more meaningful.

This does not necessarily need lots of time or major changes, perhaps small adjustments, a few minutes saved, minor changes … challenge yourself to find a way to ‘just stop’ … at least every now and then.

‘Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make life.’ – Unknown

Read next: ‘The Quiet Space Between’