My Most Important New Year’s Resolution: Balance
1/8/2013 11:19:00 AM
The last blog I posted was back in July when I was nose deep in work and completely out of balance. I was involved in an aggressively-paced project that demanded my full attention and left me running on empty but going a mile a minute. Exercise took a back seat, as did all the other activities I have come to enjoy that keep me active and healthy throughout the year.
Ironically but on purpose, that last blog was about managing stress in our lives. While it was certainly a stressful time for me, I also knew it was necessary in order to achieve a couple of professional goals I had laid out for myself. And most importantly, I knew it was temporary—I just needed to get through it. I did get through it and accomplished the goals I had wanted, and have no regrets. However, I’d make some different choices next time—specifically, I’d take my own suggestions that I posted in that July blog.
So I’m back and ready for this new year ahead. Personally, I love making resolutions — to me they’re just the glass-half-empty word for “goals.” And while plenty of my 2012 resolutions stayed on my list for 2013, I was sure to put on my most valuable resolution for this coming year: to get back in balance — mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
The problem for many of us is that the more we do, the more we accomplish, so the more we have to do in order to feel productive. It’s a bit of an addiction with plenty of benefits, but the downside for me is that I can’t stop once I get going. Productivity is overrated anyway, so my 2013 focus will be on integrating some nonproductivity into my day, in whatever form that takes: watching a movie, listening to music, hanging out with my dog, having a day of no computer or phone.
So call me a cheat, but I’m going to plagiarize my own suggestions from that July post as the focus from now until my next post in February. They might be helpful for you too, coming out of the busy holiday season:
- Avoid overscheduling and set realistic goals. Practice doing “enough” without doing too much. And be sure to schedule downtime into your busy schedule for fun or relaxation.
- Exercise! Even a little exercise is a terrific way to deal with stress because it relieves pent-up energy and tension. Exercise also releases chemicals in the brain that make us feel good.
- Eat regular, well-balanced meals and get enough sleep. Even though sugar and caffeine are what we crave when we feel stressed or tired, they actually make matters worse. Instead of reaching for a candy bar, grab an apple and try to reduce opportunities for a sugar or caffeine crash, which will make us feel more stressed and run down.
- Make room for fun! Participate in something you don't find stressful, such as sports, social events or hobbies. Go to the movies, take a long walk, read a book you’ve been meaning to get to. Do something nice for yourself!
- Turn down the noise and constant stimulation. Facebook, email, phone calls, texting, appointments, due dates, ugh! It’s all too much and leaves little room for some quiet and space between everything we have to do. Reduce your time being hooked in electronically and enjoy the silence, if only for a few minutes. Find your happy place.
See you next month when I’ll fill you in on the 5 foods you must eat every day. You might just be surprised!