Knowing when to stop

by Brenda Dothe joy of stopping

I was having lunch with a friend, telling him I’m playing tennis after work that day. He asked, “So what body part hurts now?”
He wasn’t being sarcastic, just taking inventory.

In previous conversations, it was my shoulder, then my left knee, then my right wrist, then my lower back… Yeah, I play kinda hard sometimes. The irony is, I just play for fun. To relax.

What I realized is, I may enjoy tennis, but I take some of the joy out
of it when I don’t know when to stop. Sometimes, I keep pushing through the pain, ignoring that my body’s screaming, “Hey, stop torturing me and take a break already!”

This made me think about how many of us don’t know when to stop in all the different things we do throughout the day.

We spend so much time chasing, achieving, and striving that we get too attached to the outcome. As a result, we make the journey tougher.

For instance:

• Do you eat so much that you feel uncomfortable after meals?

• Do you work so hard, you don’t have time or energy to spend with your friends and family?

• Do you squeeze so much in your day, you often run late or feel perpetually stressed?

When we know when to stop, we make ourselves the priority again. Then life shifts back into perspective, and we regain balance in our lives.

But I understand that’s not always easy.

Because as a culture, we’re taught to believe our value lies in our achievements. That could be the trophy we earn, the size of our paychecks, or the love of our family.

But the truth is, the only “achievement” we need to focus on is our relationship
with ourselves.

Because when you take care of yourself first, you’ll be able to take care of everything else in the proper time and balance.

In other words, you prioritize better. So you end up spending less time stressing, worrying
and effort-ing.

This isn’t an excuse to be a couch potato. You still go for your goals. The difference is, you enjoy the process more. This also makes it a lot easier to be grateful and happy for what you have
right now.

Just think…you can reach your goals while being more happy and relaxed. Sounds good, right?

So let’s practice less striving and more stopping. Then we’ll see how easily we still achieve –without the problems and stress that comes from needing, wanting and possessing all of
the time.

Here are some examples of how you can practice the joy of stopping:

• When you’re full, stop eating. Even if there are just a few bites left.

• When it’s time to head out to an appointment, get up and leave. Don’t try to send another email or squeeze in a quick phone call.

• When your business is doing well, take a few days off.

• When you’re getting tired, shut off the TV and go to bed.

• When you’re in a dead-end argument, stop talking.

• (This one’s for me) When your body’s hurting, let it rest and recuperate. Even when you’re having fun.

Remember: YOU ARE YOUR PRIORITY. When you get that down, everything else will always fall into place.