I am writing you from the arctic. I just got back from my morning walk out on the bay where the wind whipped my face red. It is sunny and beautiful but -22 degrees Celsius.
After the walk I went for breakfast in the Grind and Brew café. There were checkered table clothes on all the tables and music filled the space. The egg and bacon English muffin was fresh.
As I walked on the lake, I was alone with my thoughts. And that’s what I’ve been doing this whole trip – spending time alone and taking a bird’s eye view on my life. As I look at my life in Toronto from this vantage point far North all the decisions that I was going back and forth on become clear: yes – I do want to move into my own one bedroom apartment, yes – I do want to tell the person I like that I have a crush on them, and yes – I am grateful to have such an interesting job.
In my life in Toronto, I am rarely alone with my thoughts. I work in an office with co-workers, on the subway I often listen to podcasts, and I take dance classes with friends. But as I slow down to the pace of life in Nunavut, I am realizing how important it is to step back. And that it’s relatively easy to do.
How to slow down and step back:
- Take a Trip Alone The reason I have been able to have this birds eye view on my life is not only because I’m far away from my city and routines, it’s that I’m here alone. If I was travelling with a co-worker or a loved one, it would still be an amazing experience but I wouldn’t have as much time for reflection.
- Spend time in Nature Part of the reason I have so much mental space to reflect on my life is my walks by the ocean. I bundle up with all of the layers of clothes that I have and then often end up sitting in a snow back on the bay, watching the snow fall softly around me. These moments of sitting in silence outdoors are something that I realize I could create for myself in the sitting – making more of an effort to get out into the park on my own. Taking time to sit on a park bench.You don’t have to go all the way to the arctic to sit in silence.
- Write for the sake of Writing Writing is another favourite way to step back and look at my life. When I was on the plane out here I wrote in my journal, “I haven’t written for the sake of writing in weeks.” When you are always focused on the next blog post, article and chapter of your book, sometimes you miss stories and insights about your life that you come to when you are writing for no reason but to write and for no one’s eyes but your own. Just as sometimes you learn something deeper when you write a piece that is going to be shared, you can also learn something that you would have otherwise missed when you write for no one other than yourself.
So step back, make space and take a bird’s eye view on your life.
Do you want to:
- Feel calmer?
- Stop feeling so drained?
- Have more time for what you love?
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Career Burnout Coach
The Courage Compass