Life Balance: It’s Good for Your Body and MindMonday, March 2, 2009 8:05
By Ellen H. Brown
Last week, I discussed the importance of listening to your body when it talks to you, because it’s like a good friend. It tells you what you need to hear even when you hate the message and wish the messenger would keep its opinion to itself. Well, as it turns out, I, too, could stand to listen to my body a little bit more.
The other day, my body was telling me to take it easy, because I’d been bitten by whatever bug was traveling around town. At first, I ignored what it had to say, because while I was feeling weak and achy, I was “much too busy to be sick.”
The good news is that I did, finally, take it easy. I even tucked myself into bed and slept a few hours and slurped down the chicken noodle soup that my husband so sweetly fetched for me.
But then, that next day, my monkey mind wouldn’t stop nagging me about how I needed to write this story or that blog post. Or how I needed to prepare for my coaching sessions, and didn’t have time to rest. So I listened to my monkey mind and got up out of bed. But the funny thing is that a foggy mind isn’t all that useful. So I sat there staring at the computer screen. Brain dead. Lethargic. A bundle of aches. Finally, I thanked my monkey mind for “sharing,” but returned to bed, again, to rest.
As I was lying there, I kept wondering what my body was trying to tell me. After all, I “never” get sick. I can’t think of the last time I had a cold, let alone the flu. As I floated through the afternoon, woozy with fever, a certain irony came to me. Years ago, I used to get angry with my husband when he literally worked himself sick. It would happen every couple months, and he always wondered why he got sick with what he called “the sleeping sickness.” as though it were such a mystery. To me, it seemed blatantly obvious. He worked seven days a week. And never gave himself permission to rest. So his body forced him to rest by becoming sick. The whole cycle drove me a little crazy, to tell you the truth. It was as though he was living in a state of denial.
But now I was the one who was living in the state of denial.
While I usually practice what I preach and balance my work with other activities, I’d been slipping up over the past couple months. Without even noticing it, my entire life has begun to revolve almost entirely around work. Meeting with clients. Writing articles and blog posts. Marketing. Strategizing. Networking. Learning new technology. I’d slipped into the pattern of working seven days a week – something I did years ago, but vowed I’d never do again.
While it’s true that building a business takes time and energy. I know how important it is to take time for our lives (outside the office), because when we do we have more energy and enthusiasm to channel into every aspect of our lives. And when we don’t, we can become stressed out, burnt out, and yes, sick. I’d fallen into the same trap that many of my clients fall into: forgetting that there’s more to life than work, work, work.
The other day, when I got sick, I’m convinced that my body was talking to me, taunting me, saying, “I’ll show you. If you don’t give me a break I’ll MAKE you take a break.” And so it had.
Now that I’ve heard the message loud and clear, I have a choice. I can either continue working seven days a week and risk the consequences, or listen to my body and take time off to refuel my body, mind and spirit.
I choose the latter. Beginning this week, I’m going to make it a priority to weave some “me time” into each day, so I can better balance my life. And at least one day a week, I’m going to close my office door and take some time off to have fun and play.
If you find it difficult to balance your life, how does that affect you, in general?
In what way would your life be more fulfilling, if you could better balance your work with other activities?
Please join in the conversation by leaving a comment, here, on Stepping Stones.
Would you like some help re-balancing your life so you can be more energetic and productive? If so, I’d love to help out! Visit my website at http://www.wellnessjourneys.com to sign up for a coaching package that’s right for you or to schedule a complimentary session. Since coaching sessions are conducted by phone, I can work with clients anywhere in the world!
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Wellness Journeys: A Holistic Approach to Coaching
Ellen H. Brown is a certified life coach based in Cleveland, Ohio.