Finding the balance…
Now’s the time to really spring forward… to shake off the vestiges of winter and stretch your mind and body and allow the life force within to flow and ignite into a thousand multi-coloured starbursts of feel-good, vibrant, expansive energy!
Not feeling it…? You’re not alone.
Cosmologically-speaking, this is a time of balance; the hours of light and dark are equal. But balance is something that’s sadly lacking in most people’s lives, and many don’t know even what day of the week it is, never mind what celestial celebration it may auger!
‘Overwhelm’ is the word that seems to be on everyone’s lips right now, and so it feels like a good time to look at the subject of balance in a little more detail.
Work-Life balance is the phrase that usually springs to mind, but what does that actually mean? Our relatively recent 24/7 lifestyle has radically shifted our cultural paradigm, and the dark side to this flexibility is that there is just too much. Too much to do, to know, to see, to learn, to have, to be…
According to the Mental Health Foundation, the cumulative effect of this new lifestyle is having a very detrimental effect upon the life and health of increasing numbers of people.
Symptoms of overwhelm include a lowered immune system, impaired digestion, exhaustion, low energy, headaches, dizziness, sweating, poor sleep, a change in appetite, depression, muscular tension and pain, breathlessness, palpitations, loss of libido, anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, anger, aggression…
There’s more, but you get the picture. From here, things get dangerous. And the really concerning thing is that many people have begun to accept such states as ‘normal’. This in itself is a dangerous mindset. They are NOT normal.
Who’s affected? Potentially, ALL of us.
We all know that anybody with a job is increasingly expected to take on ever more daunting workloads, and often decline to rock the boat by flagging up the fact that they are woefully over-stretched. And many have had to take on more than one job to make ends meet. Those without work are stretched in other ways. The entrepreneurs among us often burn an awful lot of midnight oil.
Add to that any of the three big life stressors – death, divorce and moving house – or the challenges of pivotal times such as early-days parenthood, puberty, menopause or dementia, and the result is total toxic overload. And it’s not limited to adults; the education system is also pushing our youngsters to breaking point.
The upshot is that our life force energy, our verve, our joy and enthusiasm is being stolen. We were sold the dream of liberation, but all that’s actually happened is that we’ve been duped into decorating our own prisons.
And it’s time for us to break free.
So, where do we begin?
I’m going to share with you here some very anarchic strategies. And firstly, I want to flag up one of the most dangerous phrases in the English language.
It’s : “I know that”.
You KNOW all the things I’m about to tell you. But do you actually do them? Do you practise them as if your life depended upon them? Because, truth to tell, it probably does.
Here we go. I’ll start with the things you already know. And then I’ll spill the beans about something that has probably never even entered your head.
Simple anarchy :
- Eat Well
Yup! That one. Food definitely affects our mood and energy levels, and so being mindful about food choices is paramount.
Here’s an oh-so-simple and very effective strategy : Avoid ‘beige’ foods and instead, eat the rainbow.
The more brightly coloured, natural foods you consume, the better. That means plants. Add oily fish such as wild salmon, Atlantic mackerel, herring and sardines a couple of times a week; ditch sugar and coffee, and instead drink herbal teas as well as at least 8 glasses of water a day. This will give you tons more energy and boost your brain power to boot.
- Jettison Cigarettes and Alcohol
They might seem like essential props to get you through the day, but the fact is that both rob you of vitality and energy. And having given up both myself, I can assure you that making the decision to quit is the hardest part. Doing it is definitely easier than resolving to do it. And, believe it or not, it’s actually easier to quit them both at the same time, because indulging in one usually leads to cravings for the other.
If you want help with this, click the ‘Free Consultation’ button on the Home Page, and we can chat things through.
- Move your Body!
Hit the gym, the mat or the pavement. Walk during your lunch-break. Go dancing. Get a dog that needs regular exercise. Take up a sport. Anything to increase the number of steps you take in a day and get you off the sofa!
Stop watching TV (a bit of Netflix now and then is okay though!) Instead : Read a good book. Nap. Stroke a cat. Hug a dog. Take a bath. Light candles. Cuddle. Meditate. Have a massage. Get laid. Go to the beach. Phone a friend. Go to bed…
- Sleep Tight
The old adage that every hour before midnight is worth two after still holds true. Aim for 7-8 hours’ sleep every night. If you suffer from insomnia, it is best to maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule, even at weekends.
Use eye masks and/or earplugs to block out light and noise.
Refrain from using computers or tablets for at least an hour before bedtime; the blue light is not conducive to restful sleep.
Listen to a guided visualisation designed to help you fall asleep. They work; I’ve yet to hear mine all the way through…!
Increase your magnesium intake if you have difficulty sleeping. Dark, leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, avocado, banana, raspberries, cashews, almonds, chickpeas, kidney beans, unprocessed whole grains and oily fish are some good, natural sources. Or, of course, supplements are available.
With some good quality sleep, decent nutrition and some nurturing energy behind you, you should begin to wake up and get up earlier, which will give you more time and an enhanced feeling of lightness and spaciousness. And the lighter mornings will, of course, help.
And here’s the bit you don’t know (or have forgotten)…
Okay, so this is radical. Here goes…
- Put your mobile phone on silent. Permanently. And check it no more than three times a day.
- Remove as many Apps as you possibly can (e.g. Facebook) Even stop receiving emails on it.
- And have a complete digital detox for at least 24 hours once a week.
What, I wonder, are you thinking right now…?
The usual response is : ‘How would my nearest and dearest get hold of me in an emergency?’
The answer – make a plan. [Maybe get yourself a cheap and cheerful basic mobile and keep it for emergencies and hope it’s never used]
The thing is that until around ten years ago, this was NORMAL! It is only in the last decade that we have become accustomed to being on call every second of the day (and night) It is only in the last ten years that we have been at the constant beck and call of emails demanding our attention, or WhatsApp messages pinging all over the place, of spending money at the press of a button, and a 24/7 newsreel at our fingertips.
Let It Be. The world will go on. You don’t have to be sucked into all this frenetic activity.
The world – and believe it or not, YOUR world – can survive perfectly happily without your constant interaction.
The gift will be a greater connection with your INNER world. Your own thoughts, feelings and sensations will begin to be heard. Things will start to become clear; you’ll come to see what you value and what your priorities actually are. And slowly but surely, YOU will become one of those priorities.
When you start to reconnect with your inner world more than your outer world, a LOT will change.
Trust me on this.
This information is dynamite.
And remember – you might think you know all this stuff. But knowing isn’t enough. The trick is DOING it.
And if you want a guiding light, a hand to hold or someone to hold you accountable, please get in touch. I’ve been coaching, counselling and educating people just like you for twenty-five years, and what I know is this : You may know this stuff but, on your own, you most likely won’t do it.
I’m sorry to be blunt, but this is the truth. Because if it were that easy, you’d have already done it.
The world is getting crazier by the minute, and you need this balance and the freedom it brings as never before.
“Extremes are easy. Balance is hard.”
~ Colin Wright
See his TEDx talk here