“The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter, and the spirit heals with joy”. American Indian Proverb
It’s Monday morning and some of us are already counting down the minutes until Friday evening. How do we create a more balanced life with so many obligations and responsibilities? Are we truly taking time to disengage from life’s increasing demands, both personally and professionally? The question we ask ourselves repeatedly is how do we create a productive professional life while caring for our personal lives? Left unchecked, the balance shifts in the wrong direction and we start to experience mental and physical exhaustion. Left untreated, burnout sets in.
Through several modifications in our day, those overwhelming feelings can be reduced. The goal is to increase productivity, improve focus, decrease stress, and bring joy back to everyday living. This can be accomplished through adjustments to how we rest, what we use to fuel, relevant exercise regimens, thoughtful planning, and taking time out for optimum living.
The average person requires 7-8 hours of sleep per night. This sounds like an ideal or luxury for those juggling a demanding lifestyle. Sleep allows our bodies to rest and repair. Without the proper sleep, we start our morning without the energy we need to conquer the day. It takes 48 – 72 hours to makeup one night of disrupted sleep. Over a period of months or years, poor sleep habits wear us down. There are techniques that can help us when we just haven’t slept or rested enough.
Breathing techniques throughout the day allow us to slow down, take a moment for ourselves, and give us a chance to stop and focus.
Professional coach and motivational speaker, Brendon Bourchard, suggests setting a timer on your phone 3-4 times a day to stop everything and take 10 deep breaths. This may sound silly, but these small breaks of controlled breathing increases oxygen to the body and allows us to calm our mind with renewed energy to focus.
Another great practice is evening meditation prior to bed. For beginners, listening to a guided meditation will help those that are unfamiliar with this incredibly peaceful practice.
Nutritious food provides the fuel for the brain and body to function properly. You would not expect your car to drive if you don’t refill your gas tank. Don’t expect your body to perform without it’s required fluids, protein and other essential nutrients. Keeping healthy snacks and bottled water available whether in the car, at your desk, and especially at home, will help avoid the quick stops for fast food and vending machine binges.
Exercise programs should be tapered to individual needs. For general wellness, a consistent cardiovascular exercise program should include 20 minutes, 5 times a week of your favorite activity. This can be running, walking, cycling, or playing in the park as if a child. The mind will appreciate the endorphin release and the body will be stronger and less vulnerable to injury.
Disengage from electronics. This is a difficult challenge in a highly demanding, customer service-based industry. We are constantly checking our phones, emails, and voicemails to make sure we are responsive to client’s needs. This comes at a cost to you and your wellness. Set boundaries in your day to protect your top priorities. Create a work schedule with time blocks throughout the day to return and respond to messages. In the evening, plug your phone in and leave it. Utilize the phone’s “do not disturb” function to alert only in case of emergencies from chosen contacts.
Ask for help! This is one of the biggest stress and time savers. We simply can’t do it all alone. If you can assign works tasks or utilize an assistant, delegate time consuming tasks. If you are able, hire a cleaning service. This way, your off time is not spent cleaning up messes from the week. An uncluttered home creates a sense of peace and a reduced sense of chaos. This allows time for more enjoyment.
We cannot care for others if we don’t care for ourselves. Take time to rest, eat, plan, and exercise. The results are a more productive and fulfilled life. Be well!
By Adrian Blakeney
Adrian is a business development executive with Chapel Valley Landscape Company serving Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland. She has worked in residential real estate for 8 years, with a prior history of commercial real estate investment. For Keller Williams, she was the Wellness Chair serving on the agent leadership council as well as a Wellness Ambassador launching a wellness program to help agents and staff create a healthier work life balance.