For over a decade now I’ve valued the importance of good nutrition, enjoying my relationships with family, friends & those I come into contact with (yep…even a 5 minute encounter with someone is a relationship…make it a pleasant one!), exercise, inner calm (that means keeping stress at arm’s length), fresh air & the feeling of gratitude towards life. I doubt that many people would argue with those important features of living well. Wouldn’t life be amazing if every one of our days embraced these?
Last night, on my way home from a busy day lecturing at college & a busy evening teaching at an education centre, I was pooped! Both mentally & physically I felt exhausted. Before I knew it I’d pulled in at the service station on my way home…not for petrol…but for a small carton of chips…oh – my – lord; CHIPS! Anyone who knows me will probably gasp because for over a year now I’ve embraced a ketogenic approach to the food I eat…potato, in any form, is definitely not on the menu! Not only that, but I can count on one hand how many times I’d eaten chips in the past 10 years! As I continued my journey home enjoying the ‘comfort’ of chips coated in salt & vinegar I placated the irritated part of me with;
“Well, I could have bought the large carton but I didn’t…I bought the small one!”
It was time to look long & hard at how busy I had allowed my life to become; it was compromising the many aspects that contribute to healing & wellness that I valued so much. For many of us work, leisure & time to incorporate a healthy lifestyle often vie for dominance in our lives – we HAVE to work but we need down time to regenerate & do the things we love doing. Our healthy lifestyles provide us with the clarity of thought, energy & realisation that feeling good in our bodies & selves enables us to work & enjoy life.
Balancing work & other commitments with what is needed to be done to stay well warrants serious consideration:
* Re-evaluate priorities; time is important both in terms of earning & resting
* Don’t give ALL of yourself to ensure that a good job is done. As a close friend often says in despair sometimes to me, “Karen, you don’t have to give 100% in EVERY thing you do; 85% will still get the job done well!”
* Go to bed at a reasonable time so that 7/8 hours sleep can be enjoyed. Waking up tired because those ‘spare’ hours in the evening become filled with household chores or tweaking work projects mean the balance of ‘input’ & ‘output’ become skewed…that’s a recipe, eventually, for a crash.
* Give importance to incorporating time for you; pick the fresh spinach & herbs for that smoothie before work; allow time for meditation, gardening, listening to music or a 30 minute walk at some point in the day. Enjoy the opportunity a beautiful sunny day offers & eat lunch out of doors. Allow 10 minutes for you to reflect on the positives your day has brought you.
* Change the thoughts & words that often accompany the things that benefit you by replacing phrases such as “I ought to meditate,” “I should do some exercise,” “I have to walk the dog” with more positive choices. When we approach things with negativity the experience adds to our burden. Using positive phrases reinforces the importance of those activities & you are more likely to find time for them in your day without having to ‘squeeze’ them in.
* When you recognise that struggle has become part of your day because you’ve become overloaded with the realities, expectations & commitments that you’ve made…tell
someone! It’s such a blessing when a friend offers to pick the kids up from school or your partner brings in the washing, puts it away & then brings you a cuppa. Or a colleague points out that it’s time to stop work & take time for lunch because you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing that you’ve overlooked your need to take a break. If you can’t do this, set an alarm to remind yourself you need limits.
Tomorrows a new day; an opportunity to embrace life. The next time I buy chips I hope to do so as a treat, not because they fulfil a craving in me for the energy I needed because my day had become compromised with the demands I’d created in my reality.