Lots of people took some down time over the recent holidays, and now they feel like they have to shift into overdrive. We tend to live our lives in clumps: load up on rest, work an 80-hour week, do all our exercise on the weekend, overindulge in a spectacular night out, starve for the rest of the week. That yo-yo existence isn’t good for us. The frenetic pace actually makes it harder to get things done on our to-do list – whether it’s work, fun or just kicking back.
I was meeting a friend for dinner, and on the way I was browsing the books at J. Michael’s. I picked up Thrive by Arianna Huffington. It’s subtitled, The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom and Wonder. I was hooked from the first page of the preface: “Wherever I go I see the same hunger to live our lives with more meaning and purpose, more happiness and joy, and less unnecessary stress and burnout.” Wow, that sounds great!
Once I started reading the book, I realized Arianna learned the hard way about living a hectic, crazy life. She collapsed from exhaustion and lack of sleep, falling and hitting her head on the corner of a desk. She woke up in a pool of blood, and after being sure there were no underlying medical problems, she decided to change how she lived her life. Now, she’s an evangelist for disconnecting from our stressful, connected lives and focusing on ourselves.
Of course, we all know we do better when we eat right, get exercise, sleep and do things that nourish us. But, our everyday lives and commitments get in the way of doing those things. At least that’s what we think, when we decide to work an extra hour rather than go for a walk, or pick up fast food rather than take time to fix a salad. We’re more focused on what we have to do rather than on what will inspire and nourish us.
So, I’ve started meditating and walking more often (not every day, but I’m doing better). Not huge changes, but ones that I’m sticking with. And interestingly, I feel like I’m getting more things done. I feel focused. I just feel better.
So slowing down and making some time to energize myself actually lets me do more. Why don’t you give it a try? Arianna’s book is a great read, if you need a little push. And, if you prefer science to back up your behavior change, you’ll find plenty there.