This year I decided that I needed to get my act together so I set out on January 1st with a series of self care objectives in mind.
I started in January with a sponsored, month long dryathlon to raise money for the Woodlands Trust. This seemed to extend right into the back end of February I got so carried away with it. I’ve shaped up my diet, I’m continually increasing my exercise levels and introducing new forms of exercise into my repertoire, I’ve reinstated my fortnightly visits to the massage therapist and am receiving reflexology once a month too, I have cut back on social media time, and I am prioritising down time. For the first time in what feels like at least a couple of years I feel fantastic, I have energy, I feel more productive when I am working, and I feel rested when I’ve had time off.
As I sat by the stream in the picture above the other day enjoying the sunshine filtering down through the trees and listening to the birds singing, I began to wonder what had taken me so long to get round to making these shifts in my lifestyle and I came back to one of my biggest bug bears as a holistic therapist – our society has glorified being busy! Technology has brought us so far in such a little time that we no longer have to expend as much energy on manual jobs such as doing the washing and the cleaning, and since the rise of the internet we have all sorts of things available to us at the touch of a button so even doing the shopping is an effortless task. You’d think with all these advancements in technology we’d be living healthier, more fulfilling, more leisure filled lives but that doesn’t seem to be the case. With advancements in technology seem to have come longer working hours, less leisure time, and more stress.
Mobile phones and emails make being in contact with people a piece of cake, in the dark pre-internet and smartphone ages we would have had to wait until someone was physically present in a building in order to call them, and if we wanted to convey our message in writing we would have written them a letter. This has made everything so much faster and so much more demanding. I find that if I don’t respond to an email within a few hours some people can get very upset, and if I don’t respond to a voicemail almost immediately I can lose business. A big eye opener for me was taking the mobile phone away from my teenage daughter and seeing her meltdown into a blubbering mess because if she didn’t respond to text messages within minutes people would think she had fallen out with them.
The use of social media has meant we can be in contact with people 24/7 if we want to, and we don’t even have to go anywhere (don’t get me started on the huge impact that not enough physical contact with other people is having our health and that of our society). This has in turn meant that our lives (should we choose it) are on display to countless others in the world which ramps up the pressure to be living the perfect life. No-body really wants the rest of the world to see them as a hopeless failure so we are seeing more and more people aspiring to be working long and hard, having the best house, the best things, the best holidays which have to be paid for by working even harder and longer. The stress that goes hand in hand with all of this is huge which is why there is no better time than now to start looking after yourself.
So the conclusion that I came to when I asked myself the question “why haven’t I done this before?” was that to some extent I had fallen prey to the insane way of being in the world that our society is currently putting out there as normal.
Do you feel like you have been caught up in the same insanity? It can be hard sometimes to feel like you can make time for self care but it can be done. What changes do you want to make?
Personally I have decided to take myself off that insane treadmill and to properly start living my life in balance. I don’t check emails, or answer my phone beyond 7pm at night, I work no more than 9 hours a day, I have two days off every week, and I turn my phone off when I am not working (this is a big one). I cook three from scratch meals for myself and my family every day, I start each day with a walk, I keep social media time to no more than half an hour a day, and I make sure that beyond 7pm at night it is down time for me. All of these things are making me feel like I am returning to sanity.
If you’re looking for new ways of including more self-care in your routine check out our new Lunchtime Refresh Sessions