Pacing is a common struggle for many retrainers. It is so easy to fall into the pattern of overdoing it when we feel energized and then paying for it afterward. On good energy days, our brain convinces us that there is so much to do and catch up on, so we use up every ounce of energy that is present. What many of us don't realize is that this pattern costs us more time in the long run (not to mention slowing down the return to wellbeing). By rushing to be productive and then having to take down time to recover, we get less done over time than if we go slowly and pace. It is like The Turtle and The Hare children's story - slow and steady wins the race.
When we overdo it, we often go on auto-pilot and our behaviour is driven by the old programs (often to do with over-achieving and perfectionism). This triggers a stress response, where the adrenalin and other stress hormones prompt us to feel like we need to do even more, and we keep going until there is nothing left. We justify our behaviour because there usually is a long to-do list, and sometimes we question when we will have the energy again to get things done. Of course, these are negative thought patterns and they contribute to keeping us stuck.
If you find yourself falling into this pattern, the first step is to be aware that it is happening. Often there is underlying anxiety or a feeling of pressure that keeps us overdoing it when we have energy. Be curious about those underlying drivers, because they are shaping your behaviour. You can either do some retraining around them, or do some parts works (depending on whether you are doing DNRS or the Gupta Program). Either way, it is important to acknowledge them, step back, and choose not to allow those messages to direct your behaviour.
I highly recommend building in breaks in the morning and afternoons, regardless of whether you feel you need them. If you are prone to these patterns a lot, I suggest taking breaks even more frequently than that (perhaps even one every 45 minutes). By taking breaks, you will interrupt the pattern of pushing through and going on auto-pilot (aka the old program). Breaks can be as short as 5 to 10 minutes, doing some deep breathing, a short meditation, or simply being still in the present moment. You will find over time that, by building breaks into your day, you will actually be more efficient and productive, and you will have changed an old pattern that can get in the way of optimal recovery.
Until next time!
If you have a question, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She has a background in nervous system regulation, trauma, grief & loss, mindfulness, somatic therapy, & positive psychology. She taught the DNRS in-person program for 5 years, has over a decade of experience coaching brain re-trainers & provides mentorship to other coaches. Candy works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. More information about Candy can be found at www.candywiddifield.com