As a coach and counsellor, I so often hear good, honest, hardworking people despairing about feeling stressed, not being able to deliver to the standards they want, and generally feeling like they’re on a treadmill. We’ve probably all been there.
And we all know at least some of the answers to look after ourselves. We must eat well, take breaks, exercise daily (at least 150 minutes per week for adults ). But how are we supposed to fit it in. Makes you feel even more stressed just thinking about it.
Well the bad news is, if we don’t take responsibility for our own wellness and health, then no one else is going to do it for us. Once you commit to a healthier you, (there is always room for improvement), you will find a way to prioritise and make it happen.
There’s all kinds of things you can do both at work and at home to build your health and wellness, and cope better with those stress levels. But first you need to set a goal and tell someone, so that you commit. Then trust that you will find a way to make it happen. Don’t wait till you have more time, or feel better, or whatever other excuse you usually come up with.
I got sick of feeling stressed and out of control with no me-time, while running a business. A colleague said to me, out of the blue “Why don’t we train to run the NYC marathon next year”. I laughed. Then the next day, after not really being able to think of a good excuse why not, I signed up. That was three marathons ago.
Life changing stuff. There was me thinking all I had to do was go out and run, gradually increasing my distances. Over 12 months I learnt to fuel myself properly (I decided at 54 I needed all the help I could get!), had to get over my gym phobia to do lots of strength work and cross training, learnt about faulty movement patterns and how to manage those to improve my running and manage injury, took up pilates and indulged in the occasional massage. An incredible journey that built my confidence, cleared my head, and gave me work-life balance. Achieving the goal is almost secondary, having fun with the journey and soaking up the learning is infinitely rewarding in itself.
The work kept on happening, the only difference was setting better boundaries so that my training got prioritised. Mostly, I was able to give fewer hours to work with better results. It wasn’t always easy juggling, but then life is like that anyway. At least I finally learnt how to juggle some good stuff for me in there and work and home life didn’t fall apart because I did.
Now not everyone wants to run a marathon for sure, but find something that just might light your fires , set that goal, tell someone, and go get it. Even better if you can set a wellness goal with your workmates so you can support and motivate each other, and really have some fun at work.
Remember, enjoy the journey, and you will certainly achieve your Wellness goals; “No-one can give wellness to you. It’s you who has to take action.”
Pauline December 2016