The Converge Coaching team talks with our clients a lot about rhythms. Spiritual rhythms—prayer, study of the word, journaling etc. Work/rest rhythms—daily, weekly, quarterly, annually. Friendship rhythms.
It’s possible to be out of rhythm in our personal life or work life, and not know it. I’ve experienced this myself. Today’s post is intended to help us become more aware of what’s happening in the rhythms space of our lives. What dashboard lights can we pay attention to that that might signal arrhythmia in our journey? Let’s me share four early warning signs with you:
1. Sunday Evening Dread
If you feel a knot in your gut on Sunday night as Monday approaches, one reason might be that you’re out of rhythm. (Yes, it could mean other things . . . such as you dislike your job, or have an ornery boss, etc.) But if you love what you do, and the looming week feels like a gauntlet you need to just get through, you may have a rhythm problem. Pay attention to those feelings of dread. They are informational. Those emotions may be revealing your work flow and ebb are out of rhythm.
2. Increased Irritability
I used to think irritability was always a sign of immaturity. And while it often is, sometimes irritability can be linked to a lack of rhythm. If your work life is all flow with no ebb, no matter how much you love what you do, irritability won’t be far behind.
If you’ve been skimping on friendship, or de-prioritizing emotional tank-filling activities, irritability stands poised to knock on your door. Those feelings can be a God-given signal that your life is out of kilter. Maybe your heightened irritability is the result of encountering a string of emotionally-draining events with little-to-no-time-in-between for recuperation. Consider it a possible indicator you’re overcommitting time and emotional resources.
3. Chronic Physical Ailments
If you’re encountering a string of illnesses—respiratory problems, flu, sinus infections, migraine headaches—of course these could be due solely to physical sources. But I wonder how often their source is elongated stress due to schedule-arrhythmia?
I recall on numerous occasions, when my work life was out of rhythm, I would get sick during vacation. It happened like clockwork. My boys would complain, “Dad you always get sick on vacation.” It was disappointing to them, because I wasn’t my usual fun self when ill. Does sickness visit you more often than not? If so, it’s possible you’re out of rhythm.
4. Discomfort with Downtime
If you get fidgety when you’re not working, uncomfortable with taking a breather, and don’t know what to do with yourself during downtime, I can almost guarantee you’re out of rhythm. God didn’t create you to be the Energizer Bunny during all your waking hours.
Work should include bursts of productive effort, followed by moments of retreat. Watch the ocean waves for an hour, and you’ll soon discover God’s rhythm to help you get aligned. If downtime makes you crazy, you may be running on adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and boosts your energy supply. It is a hormone released from the adrenal glands and its major purpose, together with noradrenaline, is to prepare the body for “fight or flight.”
Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, helps regulate blood pressure and cardiovascular function. The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all of your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including anxiety and depression.
If one or more of these four lights are blinking on the dashboard of your life, it’s time to pause and reflect: When is the last time I took a real day off? Am I stopping at a reasonable time most days? Am I in tune with activity that fills my mental, emotional, and spiritual health? Am I scheduling that activity into my calendar? When is the last time I hung out with replenishing friends?
You, and you alone, are responsible for the rhythms in your life. Pay attention . . . and get help if you find your rhythms are so far out of sync you can’t find your way back to health.
Rooting and praying for you,