Easy Does It
Easy Does It
Easy does it is one of the many tools I use in daily life, and has become a vital part of my sobriety. I am a perfectionist, and I tend to get overwhelmed easily when I take too much on at once. So, to start, what does “Easy Does It” really mean?
When I get overwhelmed, I want to bury my head in the sand.
A great explanation can be found at silkworth.net:
“It means relax! For example, ‘Easy Does It’ means – Relax! Don’t fret and worry and stew and struggle! Take it easy! Relax!”
To me that means take a step back and re-assess the situation. Especially in early sobriety.
When I first got sober I had new things going on in my life. I did Outpatient treatment, started going to 12 Step meetings, and hanging out with my new friends. Life was great!
Suddenly I wasn’t this depressed little girl, hiding at home because the world was a horrible place to live in. I had energy because I wasn’t putting alcohol into my system, which is a nerve depressant. I was learning new ways to cope with feelings, rather than trying to shove them deeper inside. Life was worth living again.
But after a while the newness wore off. The excitement died down. I started to feel overwhelmed with trying to balance work, meetings, spending time at home with my kitties, and hanging with my new friends. I got burnt out.
That’s where “Easy Does It” came in handy. On the nights where I felt overwhelmed with everything going on in my life, I took a break. I took a night off from my meeting, and did nothing.
It was hard at first because I am a perfectionist, and I am a people pleaser. I thought skipping a meeting would be frowned upon. I thought people would think I wasn’t taking the Program seriously if I skipped a meeting. I went to meetings even when I didn’t want to.
Over time I learned that no one is going to think badly of me if I skip a meeting. Do you know why? Everyone has their own lives, with their own problems, and their own world to take care of. The world doesn’t revolve around Mindy. Much to my disappointment.
So, to start, I took a break when I felt like I needed it. Effectively putting into practice the beginning steps of “Easy Does It”.
When I got a little more sobriety under my belt, things slowed down. I learned the fine art of balance in my life. The secret to balance is – it exists, but there’s a very fine line, and you never have perfect balance in your life. Sorry.
On the days when I had balance in my life, things ran smooth. I had less stress in my life because I learned how to leave work at work. I learned how to handle my emotions, like anger or sadness, so they didn’t blow out of control. I learned how to use my time effectively at home to get projects done on my days off.
On the days when I didn’t have balance in my life, things were chaos. I would start taking work home with me. My emotions would get the best of me. And my days off? Just another day to sit around doing nothing productive. And on days like that, I would beat myself up for not getting anything accomplished.
But when I put “Easy Does It” into practice on those off days, I don’t beat myself up so bad.
For example, this past week, and today especially, I haven’t had much balance in my life. Work is chaos right now because I’m getting used to a new job position. My “To-Do” list is getting longer by the day. And by the end of the workday I want to crawl in a hole and hide from the world.
When today hit, which is my day off, I decided to practice “Easy Does It”. Does that mean I didn’t sit here at home for most of the day, not beating myself up for not having any motivation? No. Because I’m still a perfectionist and a people pleaser. Even if the only person I am trying to please is myself.
But, I did catch myself quicker this time, and stopped the beating I was giving myself. I made a mental list of what I would like to accomplish: clean, re-arrange furniture, etc. I then asked myself if any of those tasks had to happen today. For most of them, the answer was no.
I was also planning on going to a meeting tonight, to meet up with my sponsor. The thought of the meeting, on top of my to-do list, made me cringe. Suddenly I had absolutely no motivation to do anything other than take a nap.
But with “Easy Does It” I gave myself a break. I asked myself, “Is going to the meeting tonight important? Or, can I go tomorrow and meet up with my sponsor?” The answer to that is, I can go tomorrow.
What a relief that brought. Instead of worrying and fretting about how I was going to make my meeting, and get SOMETHING done, I could take a step back, prioritize, and give myself a break. I also allowed myself to go out and buy some doughnuts. Because sometimes a little sugar rush and some coffee go a long way.
The point of “Easy Does It” isn’t allowing yourself to be lazy and not do anything. The point of “Easy Does It” is to give yourself a break. Allow yourself some downtime. Allow yourself to relax and take it easy when you need to, instead of trying to force yourself to keep going. Because, if you force yourself to keep going, when your body or mind is screaming for a break, you get burnt out.
My challenge to you this week is, try practicing “Easy Does It” when you start to feel run down. It will feel funny at first. You may hear a little voice in your head saying “Quit being lazy and get up and do something already!” But if you ignore that little voice, it goes away, and “Easy Does It” gets easier and easier to practice with each day.
Originally published Oct 5, 2016 – medium.com