Has it always been true that humans will kill themselves to make a buck, provide for their families, or get to the next level of success, or is this a new idea? Phrases like “this job/business/pace is killing me” are common and nothing new. On one hand, people are simply repeating a cliché mindlessly in response to the feeling of “enough is enough,” but without the belief that death is imminent. And death may not be imminent, but we can bring it on sooner than necessary by thinking and living in the possibility of something is killing me. It’s subtle, but has impact on the habits you choose each day.
Since your thoughts have energy and what we focus on expands, there is a very real connection between thinking and your daily habits. One of the fastest paths to depression and unhealthy habits is to feel you have no control over your days or your life in general. Second, it’s a fact that work related stress — whether you work in an office for The Man or at home for yourself — causes many of the ills we suffer. Lack of restful sleep, weight gain, mood swings, lethargy, and self medicating with food and booze all contribute to the diseases so common today.
Depending on how you view this, here’s the bad news or good news: it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself, whether you are the boss or you have one. Self-care is especially hard to commit to with so many time thieves and real demands on us, I know.
Here’s something you may not have considered. If you don’t take time for self-care, take time to eat well, move, love, laugh, sleep, sex, detach; you will get sick. It’s not a matter of “If I keep going at this pace I might get sick” it’s a matter of what will take you down. I’m not talking tragedy — though this too is possible — I’m talking lowered resistance to colds, flus, and infections that float around. It could mean fatigue that won’t respond to the coffee, the extra vitamin B, or bee pollen supplements. From shingles to the sniffles, we are more vulnerable when we are not in optimal health. And when we suffer, everything suffers. Truth is most of us will heal no matter what comes our way, but the healthier you are when it hits, the faster you get well. In the meantime, the people you are here to help go hungry. When you are not intentional about giving your machine all it needs to allow you to do your best work, you can’t.
If you can develop the mindset of the healthy human you were born to be, it will lead to the kinds of self-care and habits that preserve that. Doing what it takes will be the norm, not another thing on the to-do list. How to do that is the rub, but mindset like anything is a muscle we develop. Read on for an exercise to help you.
I’m asking you to shift your thinking and the rest will follow. You don’t need half the care that an infant needs, yet you are in need of attention and daily routines in order to thrive.
How to begin to shift the mindset? Here’s a question I want you to post on the wall near where you sit, or make it the screen saver on your device: Is this action, (or inaction, in the case of binge-watching Melissa McCarthy movies,) supporting the energy, the mind, the limbs, and the presence that allows me to reach the people that need me? Will this action move me toward the kind of health and life I want 5 and 10 years from now?
I’ll point out the obvious to those of you who are in business for yourself. If the answer is “No” too often, you are not making the money you could be.
Self-care sounds indulgent, doesn’t it? And it takes time away from making money — or trying to — caring for others, and the rest of the to-do list of today’s frantic culture. It is not indulgent; it is non-negotiable if you want the life of your dreams.
Here’s another question. When you imagine your future, do you see yourself vital, full of life, enjoying you’re the rewards of your hard work through travel or spas or shopping? Then create a plan to get there just like you work on a financial plan. No one I know envisions a future unable to work or travel due to poor health or lack of mobility. But it’s all too possible if you can’t embrace the idea that doing what it takes is a “get to,” not an annoyance. Yes, there are days it’s annoying to move when I’m deep into a project, or to eat veggies when I want fries, but when I envision the next couple of decades I see all the people I will have helped because I chose to indulge myself with caring for me. Not to mention the fun I can have, the people I can love, and the chicken wings I can eat. I will get to do what I love because I understood that I get to do what it takes.