5 Steps to finding balance in our chaotic world.
Why is it that our world continues to get more and more stressful and more and more unhealthy? Statistics show that obesity numbers are increasing, distracted driving is a thing now, ADD and ADHD are more prevalent than ever. What is going on and why is the sad state of our culture only getting worse? And by the way, I’m an optimist.
One reason is that we feel like we should be doing more and more with the same amount of time. It’s the old problem of not being able to put a square peg in a round hole. There is only so much time in the day. My solution: more time spent recovering. That’s right, it seems counter intuitive I know, but time spent reviving yourself will pay dividends.
Years ago I learned, it’s never what happens to us in life, it’s always how we deal with what happens to us. So, no matter what you’re going through I’m sure someone else has it even worse. It’s time to let go of ‘what’ it is and start working on how to learn from it and make things better.
A full proof healthy way to get your life back into balance and off the hamster wheel of stress is to give yourself a little old fashioned R & R: rest and relaxation!
It’s okay to work hard. It’s great to push yourself. I’m the first one to push the limits in search of amazing experiences, but I’m also fully aware that when I do extend myself I must recover. There is no other way to crash and burn then by burning the candle at both ends. It’s easy to get used to that kind of lifestyle, but it will catch up to you. So before it does, start adding these 5 steps back into your life!
5 steps to recovery and finding balance in your life:
I know, it’s so simple, but the first thing we need is rest. We have to spend time chilling out. I had a hunch this would happen once my daughter was born. While the first few months were hectic, figuring out sleep, nurturing, nutrition, etc. now our little one is sleeping 10-12 hours each night (knock on wood). I now try to shut down my work at a reasonable time so that I can spend quality time with my family. Time without paying attention to phones, tv, or any electronics. We go for a walk or a hike as a family. Most days we just hang out watching Madison kick, smile and play. I know things will change, but for the moment this has been a great way to relax at the end of the day.
Meditation is having it’s moment in the sun now, but it’s been around for millennia and it still continues to be one of the easiest ways to relax and restore. Oh, wait, did I just say easy? Sure did. I know a lot of you think meditation is hard and it definitely can be if you’re trying to live up to someone else’s idea of what meditation is or what it’s supposed to be. My recommendation is to do what works for you. If you get home and put on some chill music, lie on your bed, light some candles, whatever you need to calm your mind and let go of your day. You might just find that you’ll be drawn to the silence and the internal peace. And later you might find yourself meditating twice everyday. Then you might ask yourself, Who am I? And that will be fun!
Our bodies get tight. Whether we’re super active or not a big fitness person, you’re body is slowly but surely closing down. Look at anyone in their 80’s and beyond. They’re tight with all kinds of aches and pains. It’s unnecessary. B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the men who brought yoga to the US was doing backbends into his early 90’s. It’s about staying consistent with your program. Find a great stretching program, whether it be yoga or not and do it on a regular basis. Here is a link to my online classes that will help you.
It takes the body a lot of energy to digest food, good food. Now imagine what happens when you take in toxins, bad food, alcohol, sugar, yuk! I’m not saying you can’t have a drink once in a while or a dessert for that matter, but think about how much you’re taking in on a regular basis. If you had once glass of wine everyday for 7 years that 2,558 (we’re going to assume 2 leaps years in there for those of you keeping track). What do you think your liver would say if you had that much? I know if I were your liver, I wouldn’t stand for it! It’s the same for sugary drinks. When the body spends most of it’s time having to filter out toxins and crap, it spends less time getting us back to an optimum state of health. Eat right, eat clean, and eat light.
Just as meditation is having it’s moment, sleep is about to have it’s. There is study after study about how good sleep is and about how little people actually get. As an adult 7-9 hours a night is recommended. If you need an alarm clock to jolt you out of bed, you might not be sleeping enough. A few things to do according to the CDC, go to bed and wake up at the same time. Avoid caffeine later in the afternoon and evening. Avoid large meals before bedtime. And now with our gadgets, you want to limit the blue light from your electronics because it will stop the natural production of melatonin, which helps you sleep.
There you have it. 5 things you can work on to help you feel more rejuvenated. Start working on them now before it’s too late. Arianna Huffington’s latest book, The Sleep Revolution is a wonderful resource. If you’re stressed out and you feel like you’re unable to be in control of your life, your circumstances, etc. there is a way out of that suffering and back into your own joy and well being. I’m a firm believer that, barring any catastrophes of course, happiness, joy and contentment is our natural state of being. I’m always here to help you return to it: @teddymcdonald