“Are we there yet?” is the familiar backseat refrain of many a family car trip. Whether it is a quick trip to the store or long summer road trip, it is hard for kids to occupy their busy minds and bodies within the confines of a car while they wait for the next adventure to begin.

The last few months have been intense. The continuing pandemic, work and school from home, and the election have us running in high gear, constantly checking the news, doom scrolling on social media and letting frayed nerves decide that cereal for dinner again is just fine. It is a car ride that none of us want to be on. As we downshift toward longer nights and cooler days, intimate holidays and the long winter season ahead we might feel a sense of impatience and frustration with the way things are. We might panic as we sense the slowing and then try to return to a familiar sense of busy-ness by adding obligations and responsibilities in other ways.


When work and life are ramping up, at first we might feel energized and excited. We learn to manage this faster and more demanding pace. It lets us skip over details and forces us into time constraints that focus our attention so we don’t have to choose what to do next or envision goals. These things are decided for us by the urgency of time and the priorities of others. We may feel effective but we are at the mercy of the conditions we have created or allowed to flourish. We may tire as time goes on and we recognize signs of stress setting in. But if we are not in control of our conditions, it is hard to make it stop.


When work and life slow down, it can feel unsettling and disorienting, like an elevator descending too quickly. It is stressful in its own way. Often the slowing down comes with an unwelcome visitor like an illness, job loss or pandemic. We are impatient and look forward to getting off at the next floor, asking “Are we there yet?”


Downshifting creates “pent up” energy that may fuel feelings of impatience and frustration as we adjust to a “new normal.” Just knowing this can help ease anxiety that accompanies downshifting. We can notice these feelings and take them as a cue to increase our self-care, let time pass and relax into a slower pace of life. Resist the impulse to add or do more. Instead, lean into the downshift and let it make more room to experience the immediacy of life and take more of it in.


With time and space comes clarity. With clarity we can see and understand our desires and needs. It becomes easier to envision the work and life we want. Downshifting may lead us to new and better ways of living and working. Maybe that is what this season has in store for us. We just need to buckle our seatbelts, look out the window and enjoy the ride. We will arrive soon enough.


It has been a busy season for coaching. Clients are finding this to be a good time to examine their goals and dreams, implement new habits and skills, and plan for the future. Take advantage of this opportunity to downshift and see if coaching is a good fit for you. Contact me for a free consultation: 503-734-7232 or heather@tcbcoaching.com