As I scanned my email inbox last week, a familiar reflective tone overlapped message to message.
Check-in with your heart.
Does your creative work please you?
Don’t be afraid to evolve.
With the shift from a cold dormant winter, to the warmer growth vibes of spring, my writing colleagues are checking in with themselves to be sure they’re happy with their path.
And, they’re asking their readers to do the same. (Um, that’s you and me!)
Of course, as a cheerleader for self-care, reflection and meditation my interest perked up. When it comes to how you spend your day earning a paycheck, when was the last time you truly slowed down and evaluated how it affects your daily life?
Sure, there are bills to pay and responsibilities on the table. Peel back that layer and focus on how you’re spending your hours each day.
- Do you feel appreciated? Fulfilled?
- Do you feel challenged? Growth? Evolution?
- Do you get to use skill(s) that you enjoy?
- What are the perks of your job beyond the obvious financial benefits?
- Are you being fully present for your family, children and others when you’re off the clock?
- Are you feeling energized or exhausted by mid-day and evening?
As you reflect on these questions, notice what you feel. Do you have aches and pains in your body? Are you managing a physical illness that tends to flare up when you’re stressed about work?
Mental Health Influences Physical Health
As I do more research, have conversations with my therapist and write about wellness and self-care, I’m learning there’s an overwhelming correlation between physical health (and the presence of illness) and mental wellbeing.
“Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. In other words, our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are! On the other hand, what we do with our physical body (what we eat, how much we exercise, even our posture) can impact our mental state (again positively or negatively). This results in a complex interrelationship between our minds and bodies.”
~ University of Minnesota, Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing
When we find more than the monetary value in the way we spend hours each day, our stress response decreases which allows our bodies to function as intended.
When the opposite is true, and we feed off of a fast-paced, stress-inducing hectic day, our body tenses up and may malfunction.
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Practicing Doing Less Overall
A few weekends ago I canceled everything. It wasn’t planned, but rather a necessity to distance me from a few people who were sick, and with my compromised immune system, it’s an easy choice for me. Instead, I focused on my personal wellness.
No errands. No hanging out. And… no catching up on work.
I asked myself what I needed every few hours. Sometimes the answer was a nap or Netflix. Other times it was to tidy up a room to create a sense of mental calm. I also prepared yummy meals, caught up on social media and went to bed early.
The next day, I paused as I was getting dressed. The eczema on my legs was no longer raw and itchy. Instead, healing scabs were in place. My lingering headache was gone. My energy levels — boosted.
Slowing down was exactly what I needed.
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Working Less Means Healing More
As I mentioned in this post from November 2021 about my annual business audit, I’m intentionally working less and focusing on being more present each day to better manage my physical and mental health.
No more autopilot.
No more racing through task lists.
No more mindless, uninteresting writing projects.
I’m being intentional about enjoying what each day has to offer while being mindful of my work responsibilities. This requires slowing down, shifting my mindset several times each day and sinking into my favorite self-care activities.
How are you taking care of yourself this week?
Until next time,
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Note: This blog post was last updated on May 23, 2022.