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Go slow

So much to do, so many people to see – Ali Roff knew she needed to decelerate, but who has the time? Then she started to view things differently…

Sometimes, it feels as though my life is a treadmill. I’m running along, spinning plates in the air as I go, just about keeping up. But am I the only one who feels that, lately, the speed gauge has been increasing? As life gets faster and faster, I’m losing control of my spinning plates. Books and papers pile up, life admin gets put off. Birthday cards are forgotten, a weekend bag is shoved in a corner until I have time to deal with it later. But this treadmill stops for no one and I feel like I’m about to fall off.

I wouldn’t be the first one. Friends and acquaintances seem to be dropping like flies; frazzled and exhausted, signed off work for stress, or quitting jobs completely as they burn out. More than half a million people in the UK are suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, the greatest cause of which is workload.* And that’s just work, before we get to life admin (new insurance quotes), social admin (thank-you cards) and, of course, firefighting (broken boilers).

Then, there’s our social lives. There’s more fun to be had than ever, but I’m literally running around trying to make it to yoga class, see my friend’s new baby and catch up with my sister for drinks, all in the same evening. I don’t want to miss any of it, but does life have to be this frantic?

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