Last week youth sports started back up in Connecticut, so we went back to our regular swim practice schedule.
All five of the kids are on the swim team, and they are in five different practice groups. Luckily two of the kids have practice at the same time which means I only have to make four round trips to the pool instead of five.
Number 3 also started the boys’ high school season, and their practices are later at night, so things are pretty busy from 3pm to 9:00 pm every night.
On a typical night I drop off a kid at the pool at 3 pm, 5 pm, 6 pm and 7:30 pm. When I drop one off, I usually pick one or two up, and the last pick up is around 8:45.
In between those drop offs and pick ups, I often have anywhere between ten and twenty minutes to wait for someone to finish up practice and get out to the car.
Normally I’ll sit in the car and do stuff on my phone.
Sometimes I’m responding to posts from members of the Empowerment Experience or E-School. Sometimes I’m replying to texts and pm’s.
Other times I’m just screwing around on Facebook.
But whatever I’m doing, I’ve got something to occupy my brain.
My brain is always going.
It never really slows down. Sometimes it’s thinking about things I can do to improve my business, sometimes it’s thinking about the kids, sometimes it’s worrying about shit that may never happen, sometimes it’s thinking about what to make for dinner.
I’m always looking for ways to improve and become better.
I want to be a better mom, a better leader, a better businesswoman.
I read a lot of books on self-improvement and leadership and communication, I listen to entrepreneurial podcasts while I run, I watch Zyia training videos on you Tube when I have a few extra minutes, and I go to therapy every Tuesday morning (virtually now).
I’m not on a mission to achieve greatness in all areas of my life. There are some things I suck at that I’m okay with sucking at forever and where I have no desire to improve.
But one of my fears is reaching the end of my life and not having reached my potential.
This is both good and bad.
It motivates me to continuously improve myself.
But I have created a habit where my brain doesn’t every really shut down.
And I give myself constant stimulation.
Last week I left for the pool with one kid and was going to have to wait about fifteen minutes for the other kid to come out of the pool.
I had let Number 7 use the flashlight on my phone to look for something before we left the house, and I forgot to get it and left it on the dining room table.
When I got to the pool and dropped her off and grabbed my purse to get my phone out of it while I waited for Number 5 to come out of practice and realized it wasn’t there, I panicked.
WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO WITHOUT MY PHONE???
The most worrisome thing for me is that I actually thought about driving home to get it (we live about 6 minutes from the pool).
The thought of sitting in that pick up line without a distraction was extremely uncomfortable.
I don’t like to be left alone with only my brain.
This is not a good thing, and it’s why I became dependent on watching the iPad in bed to go to sleep.
Because I don’t like sitting undistracted with my own thoughts.
There are too many of them and I am really not good at quieting my brain.
And in this phone-less moment I realized this is an area of myself that I definitely HAVE to work on.
It’s an unhealthy way to function. It’s an unhealthy way to live.
I didn’t go home to get my phone.
I did go directly to my Apple watch.
I got it about eight months ago and I never use most of the functions on it.
In fact, I wasn’t even aware that all the apps I have on my phone are on my watch until a kid I was teaching swim lessons to this past summer told me and then explained to me how to find them.
Every once in a while my watch reminds me to breathe. It probably happens on the hour or something but I’ve never really paid attention.
In E-School I make a weekly bingo card for all the members. It’s a little motivation for them to do things to take care of themselves and they enjoy them.
At first I made the cards all by myself.
Then a month or so ago I started asking my members to contribute one thing they’d like to see on the bingo card.
And one of the things requested was 5 minutes of deep breathing.
This is something I rarely, if ever, do.
So as I was looking at my Apple watch, I noticed the Breathe app.
I opened it and set it for 8 minutes.
I reclined my seat, closed my eyes, and followed the rhythm of the app. It vibrates to prompt you to inhale and exhale on regular intervals.
Every time my mind started wandering and racing, I went back to focusing only on inhaling and exhaling.
I used to do yoga fairly regularly, but it’s a practice I’ve fallen out of.
Paying attention to my breathing is not a foreign concept to me.
I know meditation is good for you.
I just am always go, go, go.
But I need to learn how to breathe, breathe, breathe.
And how to calm my thoughts without the use of external distractions.
So maybe leaving the phone at home won’t be something I do accidentally when I bring the kids to swim practice anymore.
Maybe it will be something I start doing on purpose.
Because the phone distracts me from my racing brain.
But it doesn’t calm it down.
I think it actually makes it worse.
But after focusing only on my breathing for eight minutes I felt calm.
And that felt good.
This is one of those areas that’s a weakness that I do want to work on.
Because I believe it’s absolutely preventing me from truly realizing my potential.
And my brain will never be okay with that.