Stress. Anxiety. Pressure.
But it seems to be an integrated part of our modern, digitally connected life.
Trying to achieve a better work-life balance is as old as time. But now the cycle is faster, the messages come at you quicker, and the decision windows are shorter. And with access to so much more information, we are constantly challenged to do more to be fully engaged.
It’s not unusual to hit the couch after a long day, only to feel that spike of dread and the rush of adrenaline when you realize you forgot something. When this happens over and over, we integrate it as part of our reality, our routine. We take less time for ourselves and devote more time to this impossible search to do everything. It can lead to bad choices and bad habits in order to cope.
While it would be nice to unplug from everything, and move to a ranch in Montana, that’s not feasible for almost all of us. But that doesn’t mean we have to accept the avalanche of life pressure, which only serves to wear us out, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
It’s a common mantra from me, but we need to take time. To be self-aware of what is coming at us, do better to prioritize, and make time for ourselves. It doesn’t need to be a lot at any one time, but to be continually conscious of choices that we make.
Who doesn’t like a cheeseburger and fries? But I’m aware that my body feels differently when I’m not eating fresh and healthy food. It doesn’t take a life makeover. Just take a step. Put down the candy bar and eat an apple. Eat a salad (Tia Maria’s can be the base for a terrific dressing, btw!). Long journeys are not accomplished with leaps but with steps. Each incremental step helps.
Exercise. Doesn’t have to be the gym. Go for a walk. Or on these dog days of summer, hit the pool and swim. When you’re done for the day, put down the PDA and turn off the TV. Listen to music. Talk to your spouse. Do a date night or a parent child activity. Meditate. When you put your mind to it, there are so many options.
Gradually, you’ll feel the difference as you take ownership of your health and feel the tangible improvements.
I offer the advice with humility. I’m human and fallible. Temptation and old routines are easy to fall into at busy times. But we’re not looking for perfection, we’re seeking improvement. Each day we get to make those choices. If you make the time and start the change, healthy can make you happy.