FITTING LIFE IN

I have, over the years, tried various approaches to living and to creating the right lifestyle for me. I do not wish here, to make assumptions about what other people want, but during my travels and conversations over those same years, it seems that most of us want similar things. So that regarding what we get out of this thing called life, there are some distinctive similarities:

  • HEALTH – physical and emotional wellbeing regardless of age of situation
  • LOVE – opportunity to give and receive unconditional love
  • FUN – because it is simply brings joy to our existence
  • GROWTH – personally, professionally, physically, it’s in our genes to expand
  • PURPOSE – a sense that what we are doing matters in the bigger picture somehow
  • PEACE

But although I can sit down and articulate these aspects of what a fulfilling life may mean to me, it wasn’t always as easy and, more often than not, I would fail to even recognise let-a-lone give attention to, these goals which would allude to a sound and purposeful direction. No instead, until now that is, I have tried and tested two different approaches and though I did not test them deliberately perse’, I am able to expound upon them here and importantly, why they can never lead to that which is so passionately sought in the dot points above. Obviously, for part time workers, balance can come far more easily but full time (one third of living) has it’s own specific set of challenges. Perhaps some readers will recognise said methods in their own past or current behaviours and be able to relate to the outcomes with which I have personally experienced.

THE FIRST METHOD

Interestingly we are seeing this acted out en masse’ currently in our younger professional people, which once long ago, would only be evident in mature professional A type personalities. So that a person rises early tired but driven, shower dress, add packaged liquid breakfast on the drive to the work place, probably a couple of calls on the way, all day on the go for bosses or self til late, lunch was at the desk or a business lunch, leaving work exhausted, no energy at home to cook so take away food and TV will suffice. If children or partners are involved they too, get the raw end of the deal. Sleep isn’t great as the position is on call and responsible to large numbers of people plus the anxiety keeps you awake. On the weekend, when available, it takes until Sunday afternoon before true relaxation begins.

At the time I had no partner or children with me so the idea to work three jobs and as many shifts as possible in a seven day week wasn’t exactly met with resistance. I had no social life outside of the room in which I rented.

In this position you meet a lot of people and the “pump” keeps you going along with the money which is very good. Unfortunately this type of lifestyle isn’t actually sustainable irrespective of the TV shows or movie stars which sell us the opposite. In the end, you aren’t the high energy person you appear to be, you are simply running on adrenaline all the time. Eventually, the adrenal glands become fatigued (chronic fatigue possibly) and everything begins shutting down. Recovering from chronic fatigue syndrome doesn’t take a weekend off, it takes months and sometimes years!

It’s one thing to pull a long day every once in a while to finish a project or deal with a crisis, but it’s another to routinely stay late at the office or work into the night. That’s chronic overwork — and it can have extremely negative impacts on your health, happiness, and overall quality of life

Lydsay Kolowhich

THE SECOND METHOD

This way is more carefully thought out and at least, considerate of the desired outcomes. Because work is important, and so is life, you pick work which you live for. In my case this was music and writing and while my chosen work was not music based, I saw to it that music found its way in at every possible opportunity. So that I would wake, tired, walk to work without breakfast but get coffee on the way, drive myself to work a hard intellectual and physical day travelling, speaking, writing, and then drag myself home stumbling, hit the bottle, eat packet food, and focus on my music and writing before bed because apparently, my life was important. I would sleep poorly pondering various scenarios and plans for the future.

A wide body of research has shown that overwork can negatively impact your sleep — whether it’s the resulting stress, the staring at the computer screen, or just not having enough time to unwind before hitting the hay. This can cause us to build up what’s called “sleep debt,” which is kind of like being overdrawn at a bank. Chronic sleep debt raises the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In the short-term, lack of sleep can have significant effects on the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved in memory creation and consolidation

Lyndsay Kolowhich

THE THIRD METHOD

No I can’t honestly tell you how this has played out for me because it is still, a work in progress, but I can give you the basics and allow you to make your own judgments. Counter-intuitively, this method puts work second or even third – its a strength based approach. We are indoctrinated so that, work, employment, hierarchical management structures and militant rule should all be revered however, none of it is natural and one look at the state of us all in Australia (like America) shows a great misunderstanding toward living with, not against, the natural flow and within the context of the human experience – at least if its true happiness we seek.

This person sleeps well, they are switched off and calmed down entering into a down cycle for bed an hour at least before that time. They are switched off because their processing is done and they accomplish this by talking with confidante’s regularly, writing their thoughts regularly, and walking every single day bar none. In the morning they are rested and wake accepting that the day will provide opportunities and challenges. They stretch, shower, dress, eat a high quality breakfast and head out. But their trip is not to work perse’, they haven’t started yet, their drive is a scenic one and they take in the sights enjoying time to do so. Parking they enjoy a walk or a ride for thirty minutes or so not because they are travelling to work (although they are) but because they are exercising in their day. Finally arriving at work their work time has started (this is hours less already than most people dragging themselves out of bed because they have to go to work). Tea, fruit, salads throughout the day, plenty of water, an hour in the day with the door shut away from interruptions, regular breaks from the computer screen, a walk at lunch, and a home time which is regular and appropriate. Leaving work is life time again, straight away and embraced with options for? Yep you guessed it:

  • HEALTH – physical and emotional wellbing regardless of age of situation
  • LOVE – opportunity to give and receive unconditional love
  • FUN – because it is simply brings joy to our existence
  • GROWTH – personally, professionally, physically, it’s in our genes to expand
  • PURPOSE – a sense that what we are doing matters in the bigger picture somehow
  • PEACE

Their home time has space for their partner or children and study and rest all deliberately and easily (although television may have to be missed!)  Holidays are not a stressful planning nightmare must do to break from work, they are instead, something which is scheduled in something which work itself must fit around.  I reckon its gotta be worth thinking about, just focusing this way affirms yours and your life’s importance. If nothing else, it’s because the first two methods do not, cannot, ever work. If we allow space in our ALL important lives, to fit a little work in as it were, it may just balance up alright after all.

Pleasant musings

Johnny

REFERENCES. Lindsay Kolowich  Why Overworking Is Bad For Your Health (And Who’s to Blame), http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/overwork-bad-health, viewed 2016

 

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