Does Your Life Need An Overhaul?
Find out why so many of us are stressed, tired & run-down; five steps to overhaul your life; and key habits that will make a difference!
STOP. Right now. We need to talk about something super important. We need to talk about YOU. Try this.
Take a big breath in.
Exhale some more.
Have you got anything left?
Really PUSH yourself to hold your breath until you can’t hold it anymore.
Notice how you FEEL.
NOW BREATHE IN. (notice how good that feels?)
Have you noticed something? SO MANY OF US operate our lives like this. Always busy, busy, busy! Always on the run. Rushing here, rushing there. Tired, stressed & working hard. Running on empty or half-full most of the time. Exhaling too much and inhaling too little. COULD REALLY USE A BREAK! And then we break (maybe only once a year for a holiday) and we finally breathe in.
Have you ever felt like that? I sure have.
EARLIER THIS YEAR...
If I had to describe my life 6 months ago, I was treading water. I was trying to balance everything in life, and thought I was doing an OK job. My health was OK; I had time with my family & friends; I was working as a trainer and also spending time on 1GNITION; I was exercising; I was spending time on preparation and planning, and of course had some down time for myself.
But was I truly happy. NO.
Was I stressed? YES
Was I sleeping well? NO
Was I busy? YES
Was I tired? YES
Was I often distracted? YES
Was I making any real progress with my life? NO
Was I spending time on things that truly mattered in my life? NO
Truth be told, I was spending so much time breathing out (metaphorically speaking), and not enough quality time breathing in. So I spent some time doing a little self-discovery, and decided to change. Keeping in true form of doing things differently, I chose to implement a set of behaviours, (which I would aim to do daily), rather than setting myself a specific goal. Furthermore, I chose to remove/change some of my current behaviours (for a specified time period!) that didn't positively serve me. My desired outcome? A much happier, healthier and more productive version of me, with a clearer mindset.
"To find the direction you're moving in right now, look at your schedule! The activities & tasks you complete on a daily or weekly basis will be the ultimate guide to where you'll end up."
BEHAVIOURS & HABITS
There's several behaviours that are now part of my (almost) daily life. I mean, let's face it. We ALL have days where we just don't get everything done that we'd like... or are there people out there who complete everything on their agenda, every single day? Anyway, the behaviours that make the biggest positive impact on my life are:
- Gratitude Journal
- Personal Development
- Exercise/Daily Movement
- Whole Foods (a diet consisting largely of these anyway).
These behaviours, when done regularly, yield amazing positive results. I've been tracking my behaviours each day for the last 5 months, and I can comfortably say that my best days are almost always when I've completed each of these. My not so good to downright shit days? Zero to 1 completed. Tried and tested, my friends.
There are of course, many other important aspects of our lives which largely contribute to how we feel on a daily basis, but I’m not here to talk about them. I’m here to talk about...
When was the last time you took a deep, belly breath? Other than the one that you did earlier. When was the last time you actually stopped and did nothing? When was the last time you sat down in a park or by the ocean, by yourself, observing the world. No music. No books. No conversation with others. Just you? When was the last time you sat down to figure out exactly what you want in your life and how you’re going to get there. Most of us don’t have time, right?
I call bullsh*t on your excuse. Yeah, I said it. Did that make you uncomfortable? Are you a little angry, mad maybe? You don’t like hearing that, do you? But it’s probably true. Your responsibility at work - choice. Your responsibility to your partner or kids - choice. How you feel right now - choice.
"You have just as many hours in the day as anybody else, and what you do, and everything in your life right exists purely because of The choices You've Made."
But of course you have time to feel lazy, stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, tired, angry, run down don’t you? Most likely you’ve a few hours per week on social media, catching up with friends, watching TV or eating food that gives instant gratification, but ultimately doesn’t make you feel good long-term.
These are just some of the choices we make, but it is interesting to note that how we spend our time will either improve the way we feel, or further add to the stress of our lives.
And chances are if you’re feeling stressed, tired and run down, you’re also not doing the list of things mentioned above. Or you’re doing them, but not regularly. You are prioritising everything else but yourself, aren’t you? You are often prioritising others ahead of your own needs, aren’t you. Yes, there are times where you need to do this, but what about time for you?
After over 14 years as a trainer, group fitness instructor and more recently as a coach, I’ve learned something.
"You Can Only Give Out What You Already Have"
If you have a glass of water and you drink it, you have nothing left in the glass (until you refill it, of course)!
If you allocate all of your time to being busy, running around doing as much as possible, you have nothing left for yourself.
And what happens if you have nothing left for yourself? You become tired, stressed, lazy, run down etc. You get the idea. And when this continues to build up without any release? Health issues. Weight (although important) is just but one of them. Just because you’re a size six or have a six pack means jack unless you have good health behind it. You can look physically amazing but be incredibly stressed or have a poor mindset because you’re so obsessed without how you look. Skin conditions, anxiety, depression (and SO many more!) do not just favour those who look physically fit - they favour people who look truly look after themselves.
True health starts from within. And how do you do that? Well, there’s so much to it, but you can start by learning to...
If you’ve got this far, you might as well try it now.
Read this next bit first, and then go for it. You’ll need 10 minutes.
Turn off your phone or put it on flight mode.
Write down all of the things currently on your mind right now, (I find this helps enormously with Step 5), and acknowledge how you feel
Sit down in a quiet place (or as quiet as possible). Alternatively, tune into this Spotify Playlist and plug in some headphones.
Close your eyes and take long, slow, deep breaths in and out through your nose, so that your belly rises and falls. A relaxed breath.
Try to clear your mind from all your thoughts. If a thought comes up, acknowledge it, and return back to clearing your mind.
Do this for 10 minutes and acknowledge how you feel.
If you feel less stressed after this activity - well done! You’ve made a positive difference to how you feel by stopping for a moment and giving some time to yourself. Schedule this in tomorrow, first thing in the morning is best! Try to schedule it every day.
If you feel more stressed after this activity: it’s a sign. You’ve got so much on that you struggle to sit still and take 10 minutes out for yourself. You might have it together now, but if you keep going at this pace you’re going to burn out.
If you skipped this activity, just stop breathing again for a while and help yourself get the message of just how important breathing is. And you can tell yourself you already breathe properly so there’s no need to do it, but chances are that if you skipped this activity too, you also love doing things properly. In which case, go back to the start of the page and start again and read it properly. Seriously. Deep down you know a burn out is probably around the corner if you’re in this position, and you just can’t wait for a release.
DOES YOUR LIFE NEED AN OVERHAUL?
If anything that you’ve read or done has spoken to you, (in that D&M kinda way!) then there’s probably something you want to change.
Below, you’ll find some simple steps to overhauling your life.
- Write down what’s important to you.
- List anything in your life right now that you dislike.
- Figure out how much time you spend on each part of your life.
- Change, remove or reduce the amount of time you spend on anything in your life that’s not helping you achieve what you want (hint: TV, social media, jobs or people that drain you, your energy or your time).
- With your new found free time, schedule in AT LEAST 1 hour a day for yourself to meditate, practise gratitude, train, or prepare food that supports your body. This might mean getting up an hour earlier, so you're not interrupted.
Give yourself 1 hour a day for the next 30 days and see how you feel. Granted, there will be some days you'll miss completely or only get half an hour in. That's ok. Do what you can. If you miss more than 2 or 3 days in a row, read over what you've written If you have trouble with any of the steps above or can’t stay consistent and you know that it’s time to change, seek some assistance for someone who can help.
So the secret to having more amazing days? Choices. Chose to spend a small amount of time on things that add value to your life, and help you advance towards what you want. The behaviours I mentioned above are just some of the things you could do on a regular basis to keep you feeling full of energy, motivated and alive. Everybody is different, so find what works for you! Although I do hand-on-heart believe that doing these will make a huge difference to your life!
The days I miss a few or most of these behaviours? I’m stressed, unhappy, anxious, filled with overwhelm & doubt and make little-no progress and drawn to eat food that comforts my immediate emotion rather than eating to support my body.
So what's it going to be? Are you ready to change?
You know what to do. Best you get started, now.