The easiest way to survive (or win) the Rat Race is to GET OUT, literally. Move away, find a new job and take up meditation. But in reality, the Rat Race can follow you wherever you live – be it midtown Manhattan, or Boise Idaho – (although I’ve never actually been to Boise Idaho…) but I can imagine that there is a form of Rat in every city in the country.
So aside from moving thousands of miles away, buying a teeny little cottage on an acre of land and picking apples all day – how can one remove themselves from the day to day Race of the Rat without uprooting the entire family?
To answer the question, I must preface it by saying that it is NOT easy to do so. Living in the middle of the hustle and bustle, it takes a lot of determination and hard work to create a sanctuary in the middle of craziness… but if you are willing to work at it – I bet it can be done. And feel free to let me know if you’ve been successful!
Here are my Top 10 Tips:
1. Cutting down on the TV and internet time.
You probably are wondering why this would help? Watching TV and all the commercials aka – advertising –creates the illusion of needing stuff you don’t really need! This perpetuates the cycle of wanting to buy MORE, thereby needing to work MORE for MORE money. (and voila! You’re stuck in the Rat Race….)
2. Family Night/ Game Night/ Girls (boys) Night:
Establishing evenings that revolve only around each other having a good time is sure to help you get out of the madness of your schedule, help you get out of your head and just enjoy.
3. Re-connect with Nature.
When you’re “one” with nature, there is no rush… there is no craziness, there is no “my life is so busy.” (unless you’re in the middle of a hurricane or tornado in Boise :)) Otherwise – the trees, the grass, the birds – everything is still. When we commune with all things nature, that stillness enters us – automatically removing us from our problem: The Rat Race. Suggestions for communing with nature: picnics in the park, gardening, taking walks, bike riding, apple picking in the fall, boating in the spring… (you get the idea)
4. Getting away from it all OFTEN.
Physically removing ourselves from the hecticness (not really a word) helps clear the mind, calm the body and help us reconnect with our loved ones and reconnect with ourselves as well. Make it a habit of getting out of your busy city every so often. It’s important!
5. Assess your friendships.
Ok this can be tough but is important. Take a hard look at your friendships and the people you find yourself hanging out with. Is there a sense of “competition” amongst you? Do you feel the need to be wearing the best, or talking about superficial things? If you feel a pressure to have the newest shoes, or the latest fashion, or gadget – its time to reevaluate that relationship – because these friendships may be a source of what’s keeping you in that Rat Race mentality. Sadly, I have some personal relationships that I found this to be the case and it really made me think twice about this relationship. I decided that I didn’t want to let go of the friendship, but I am aware and mindful of the silent pressure that exists.
6. Your job.
ooh this is a tough one – since for many of us – the job is what created the Rat Race in the first place!
a. Hours: you know you’re in the rat race when you’re constantly working late (like CONSTANTLY) – you’re never home for dinner, you never see daylight, never see your kids. Examine why you’re working late. Is it because you’re not managing your time? Do you have too many responsibilities that should be delegated to others? Is your boss nagging you for extra hours? Time to assess why it’s happening and then see what changes can be made.
b. Commute! I bet this is one the most difficult. While you might not be working late hours at work – leaving at 5 might not be good enough if you have one of those 1.5 hour commutes! (hello to all of us who live in NJ and work in NY!) It’s no wonder that all these kids never see their dads…. What to do? Well, I don’t have a total solution to this problem because I can’t exactly tell you to quit J (although I think I may suggest that at some point!)
Ideas for commuting:
1. Video chatting on the train (or carpool) – video chat with your kids and/or wife/hubby!
2. Catch up on reading or audio books on the commute. While you may not be spending time with your family during that time, reading (or listening) is an excellent tool. You can learn, study, or even meditate on the car ride home so that when you ARE home – you are fully present and calm leaving the craziness of your work behind you.
3. I love the new idea of working some days from home and some days going into the office. This is an excellent way to still be part of the ‘excitement’ of your job but still have one foot out of the rat race.
7. Be within but stay above.
Oooh Chassidic right? 🙂 Sure, you’re involved in all the meetings and the deadlines, but you can still stay above the office drama, the pressures from co-workers. Remembering what you’re goals are helps keep you grounded what kind of life you want to live.
8. Meditation, Yoga and More Meditation!
Nothing removes you more from the noise in your head (and stress in your stomach) than some good yoga stretches and meditative breathing. A while back I posted some information about meditation for beginners. If sitting quietly for a period of time makes you feel anxious (or too bored) – I highly recommend a guided meditation. It works wonders!
9. Drive, and walk slower!
When you make the conscious effort to walk (or drive) slower suddenly the world slows down as well. And by doing so you’re able to “smell the roses” as the cliché goes 🙂
10. GET THE HELL OUT!
Hehe.. sure there are many ways to live within the Rat Race and still survive, but I am finding more and more that the best way to survive the Rat Race without a coronary is to actually LEAVE ! And I can assure you, the race will survive with one less rat 🙂