Something to Ponder: How to Know When You've Hit Your Energetic Limit
Have I gone too far?
This is a question we all struggle with, in trying to balance the challenges of work, family, health and all the obligations we find on our daily plates. It is humorous, that as a children, we can be so impatient to grow up. At a tender age, it's hard to envision that this may be the only time we do not have to ponder how the heck we're going to fit it all in.
Certainly, there are numerous advantages and freedoms that come with age. However, think back to how nice it was when someone dictated the flow of your day: you had breakfast, brushed your teeth, went to school, had a snack, did your homework, had a little down time, ate dinner, maybe watched TV and went to bed. What a wonderful day.
Now, skip ahead a couple decades -- you're fitting in a workout before making breakfast; doing your hair and makeup; commuting through traffic and bad weather; doing your job, and doing it well; picking up the dry cleaning; creating balanced nourishment for dinner; if you have a family, making arrangements for kids and after school activities; and all the while, figuring out how to fit in a date, or meet a friend and still be able to function with energy the next day...
Whew. How do we do it all? What do you do when you're exhausted? Do you abandon your workout and grab some "fast" food? Do you ignore all your most essential self-love needs to take care of others? If you do any of these, are you a failure, or are you just human?
As a culture, we've found it extremely difficult to function in the gray. If we do 30 minutes on the treadmill as opposed to 45, we assume it doesn't count (at least, not as much). But why isn't something better than nothing? Why can't we applaud our efforts in finding a way to take care of ourselves, and our loved ones / families? If you have an extra piece of bread at lunch is your day a wash? Absolutely not. It means you were hungry, and you gave your body what it needed at the time.
Somewhere in the past twenty years or so, since the technology boom, we have all been in over-drive, all of the time. We are either good or bad -- it is hard to exist between the two. But it IS possible, and living the Sakara Life is how. Maintaining the tall, confident, balanced pillars of your unique pyramid is how.
Our goals must be to do the best we can in every moment, and celebrate the choices we have made. We make them for reasons. If we continue to ignore the cues that our bodies and intuitions are telling us, we begin to suffer the laws of diminishing returns. Once upon a time, there was a day without cell phones. Hard to imagine, but I lived it, and I know you did too. And successfully. This time was beautiful -- in a way -- as getting out of bed in the morning didn't require immediately checking for a text, an email, a comment, or a tweet. Now, as soon as that stimuli is engaged, we begin the overwhelming tasks that the next 24 hours entail.
Don’t get me wrong, checking your phone is imperative, however, not very first thing in the morning. During the days of no cell phones, you couldn’t really begin work until you got to the office. You couldn’t make calls in the car, so maybe you just listened to music, read a newspaper, and let your body truly wake up in its natural rhythm. During those days, you couldn’t work at home unless you consciously brought home files and contact numbers. All meaning, eating a dinner as a family and staying engaged in conscious conversation was all done sans the distraction of a device.
Our heads knew how to shut down, and turn off the noise. This actually let the stresses of the day dissipate and by the time you were heading off to bed, your mind was quiet.
Don’t underestimate the value of moderation. For example: More is not always better. And if you don’t believe the scientific proof, then your body will tell you. How many times have you done a workout, given it your all, and then tried to repeat the same routine the next day with completely inferior outputs?
Mentally, you may shame yourself, but your Body Intelligence will remind you that recovery is an essential factor in balance. And this can be analogous to every pillar of your life.
When you deprive your body of food because you think this is the way to lose weight, your body goes into starvation mode and slows down your metabolism. There is a natural system of checks and balances that, if you try to ignore, kicks your higher power into gear. If you commit to too many obligations, and find that you are not doing any of them super well, it is time to step back and think about what is most important to you -- what makes you authentically proud of yourself?
Life is not about checking things off a list, but about being in the Now. When you have decided on where your priorities are, be present in them! Love yourself and the choices that you make. Celebrate the fact that you have the freedom to make them, change them and embrace them. Listen within.