I grew up (mostly) in Detroit. It’s a place that builds drivetrains: both the machines and the people. It’s a hard working, no BS, get-it-done kind of city and I’ve always been proud to call it my hometown. It was the perfect place to cultivate my ability to achieve, in part, through perseverance which was critical to success in my subsequent career journey to the high intensity markets of San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City. I rocked 80-100 hour weeks on the regular for decades, I have had to skip entire night sleeps at the agency in order to meet a pitch deadline, I have eaten cold, long-leftover, marginally-still-edible food at the office since there was no hope for a break, and I have had to use my breast-pump out in the open at an airport terminal hidden partially under a trench coat with my male coworkers not sure where to look for fear I’d miss my flight home from a whirlwind business trip but was going to explode mid-flight if I didn’t address my painfully gorged situation – sorry, guys…the struggle is real. I did it often because I loved it. And, I did it other times because I had no choice but I’ll be damned if I was going to quit. And, when those two became way out of balance, I had to ask myself “is this sustainable”? The answer was no.
If you can relate to any of this, it’s probably time to take an audit and optimization of your life. You may not need to take the complete (and temporary) year-long career pause that I did. In truth, that was a long-developed plan and achieved with incredible partnership from my husband to ensure we had the means to do so. It was a hard-earned, “to me, from me” gift that I was so thankful to unwrap. But, with less sacrifice, my husband has also reaped the incremental rewards in his wellness by proximity of my influence (read as: he was coming along for this ride whether he wanted to or not, but thankfully, he’s now totally on board). It’s been the only way he could sustain his CEO-position, greatest-Dad title, and upcoming 4th year of diamond frequent flyer status.
Let me share just 5 ways you can kick-off a commitment to better wellness in order to sustain your life, your career and your much-deserved joy:
- Reduce Tech: Put down your phone at meals – even if that’s alone at your desk. Unless you’re saving lives through that phone/computer/tablet, surely you can give yourself 15 minutes 3 times a day to chill. Get it out of reach after 8pm. Try to reduce your overall minutes-used. Reduce your social media browsing – most people are just complaining into the echo-chamber anyway. Reconnect with cool people face-to-face!
- Nourish Rather Than Eat: Clean up your diet one meal, one day, or one week at a time – see it as a necessity for your mind, not just for your scale or your clothing size. No need to build Rome in a day. Pick anything you think is achievable for your lifestyle on my clean eating post here.
- Move: If you’re not already happily treading to and at the gym, start with something small. There are so many virtual ways you can workout now without losing time getting to and from the gym (check out Peloton Digital as a suggestion) – make your home-workout something achievable. Read on from one of my past posts on the power of movement here.
- Me-time: Who isn’t excited that the “Self-Care” movement has arrived! When my functional, integrative doctor told me I needed to schedule at least 2 massages a month in order to reduce and manage my stress hormones better I was ready to hug her. That’s a prescription I can definitely fill! Obviously, 2 massages a month is a considerable indulgence for just about everyone, but a long, hot steamy shower before bed with some essential oil drops on the floor for aromatherapy, rolling your back on a foam roller before bed, or just taking time to pick up a book and read when you haven’t in years can make considerable impact on your mind, body and spirit. You deserve priority and will be better to others for it!
- Sleep: Well this is a chicken and an egg, isn’t it? You may be thinking, if I wasn’t a stressed-out zombie, I would sleep! But if you start with reducing tech, adjusting diet and adding some incremental exercise if you’re not already, this will come in time (and with maybe some magnesium). No one wants to work with or for your tired, crabby ass! (Sorry, you can take the girl out of Detroit, but you can’t take the Detroit out of the girl.) 😉
This year, CHOOSE YOU!
Even taking the time to read this is a first step in choosing me – so thank you for the “reminder” that we make choices every day to perpetuate the treadmill OR choose differently. Love all of these, and one thing I’ll add — a FitBit has been a great way to keep track and be reminded to get up and move during the day — whether it’s going out for a quick walk around the office or around the block — every little bit helps! I set a goal for the number of steps daily, and my competitive self actually works to do my best to hit that every day.