Expand Your Bumpers

April 13th, 2013 | Posted in Change Management, Personal Development, Stress Management by

images-5Most of the time I end up writing about what I need to hear most and this month is no exception. After a few grueling months without enough down time – I came crashing down last week. I woke up last Monday exhausted and cranky. I was loaded for bear – irritable, tired and ready to pick a fight. I warned my family that I was feeling very ‘prickly’ and that it may be in their best interest to keep their distance. I didn’t want to be crabby – I just couldn’t seem to shake it. I felt off. I was tired and had nothing left to give. I had given too much for too many weeks. I had failed to recharge.

I should have trusted my instincts and just stayed in bed all day. Yet that felt way too ‘lazy’. So instead I got up and went out in the world. That was a bad idea. I am sorry if I ran into you last Monday. I was yelling at slow drivers, complaining about my day and scowling as I encountered people on the street. I was on empty and I knew it.

I had given too much without recharging. Over the last month, I spoke, mentored, volunteered, worked and studied. I did and did and did. I got a lot accomplished but I didn’t take time to refuel. I had let exercise, healthy eating and my morning quiet time slip. I was too ‘busy’ to take the time I needed to take each day to refuel and recharge. And I know that is a HUGE mistake – it never turns out well. So it was no surprise when I crashed let week. The worst part was I knew it was coming but didn’t take the time to stop it til I had to.

I need bumpers in my life. Cars have bumpers to protect the driver and the cars. Babies have bumpers in their cribs to keep them from hurting themselves. And many sharp objects also have a bumper of some sort or another to protect the object and/or the user. A bumper is really a buffer. It keeps the thing and the outside world safe from one another. I believe we need bumpers as human beings – emotional, physical and spiritual reserves that keep us from hurting ourselves and/or others.

I had run myself too hard for too many day in a row and in doing so I burned right through my bumpers. Thus I was no longer protected and the outside world was in trouble.

To expand my bumpers I need to slow down, take time to refuel, practice self care and rest. When I practice self care on a regular basis – I build up my bumpers. That way when I have a day or two of busyness – I have enough buffer to make it through. I get in trouble when I begin burning through my bumper and then I keep going. That’s a danger zone. With no bumpers I’m edgy, cranky, not creative and ineffective. I make mistakes, stuff falls through the cracks and I just do not perform at the level I know I am capable of.


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