I started to put air into my schedule. Well, not specifically air, but rather, the action of inhaling and exhaling air and deliberately breathing. It’s amazing what a few cleansing breaths can do for your life. So I got to thinking (always a dangerous thing for me), what if I actually put breathing as a line item on my schedule, and added a place for it on my to-do list. It would no longer be a distraction or an annoyance, but rather a goal. Always the overachiever, I want to accomplish everything on my schedule for the day. Plus, it allows me to strike through another item on my to-do list. Win-win.
I quickly found when I add this period of breathing time in my schedule these last few weeks, I relax more, not take the day with quite the same hectic pace anymore, and I seem to be more in tune with my body. Then I did something totally uncharacteristic for me, I took breathing to a whole new level. I starting taking breathing outside with me on walks. Inhaling. Exhaling. I even added yoga to my schedule. I am a guy who likes variety, and there is something very therapeutic about a cleansing breath or two while doing downward dog.
In the U.S., we run at a pace that is unrivaled by any other country and ironically, we wear this as a badge of honor. In other countries, they work hard too, but then they turn off, shut down, disconnect and stroll home after hours. We simply move our workload from the office to our cell phone during the commute home. And when we get home, we spend only a few minutes with our family, maybe take a moment to shove our prepared, processed, shelf stable, sodium pumped foods into our system. Then we flip open the laptop and get a few more hours of work done. The American Dream.
We are doing more harm to ourselves than we realize. The pace is chipping away at our physical and mental health as we try to reach toward the always elusive success quota. We can’t figure out why we are always tired, bloated, achy and allergic. What we really need is right in front of us, all around us and completely free. Air. If we could all learn to be as passionate about our health as we are about chasing the almighty dollar, things might start to get better.
Our bodies are chained to our desk chairs, we can never get it all done and we constantly feel like we are in a hurry, under the gun and running late. At that pace, we simply don’t allow ourselves a mental break. I am guilty of this as well, but this post is therapy for me too as I make my transition from an entrepreneur, writer, speaker, entertainer to a guy that is learning how to breathe more and appreciate what I have in my life.
It’s time to stop, in our go world. Schedule some “you” time. Literally, get “you” on the schedule. Worried about the loss in productivity? Think again, studies conclude you are actually more productive when you put a break or two (or even three) in your day. You will be amazed at how amazing that time slot will make you feel. Research also proves that scheduling a break in your day for yourself allows you an opportunity to control negativity, allows you to mentally recharge your batteries and gives you a chance to really appreciate all you have been able to accomplish.
At first, you may not know what to do with yourself. So here are a few suggestions:
- Take a nap (I suggest a great app called pzizz).
- Go for a power walk (No app needed, just your legs).
- Try some beginner yoga (The Yoga Studio app is great for 10 to 60 minute lessons).
- Read a book (My rule is the book should be just for fun).
- Meditate, it’s not just for hippies anymore.
- Write yourself into a story. Keeping a journal is a great way to chronicle your feelings while taking a break.
Working too much is a gateway activity with bad results like eating poorly (fast food, no food or processed food), laziness (inactivity outside of working) and loneliness (look around you when you are sitting and staring at your computer 14 hours a day, you are missing out on life). When in doubt of what to do or how to get some calmness into your life, just take a moment, be still wherever you are, and breathe once. Do it again. Repeat. I promise you will soon get the hang of it, and it will lead you to amazing places.
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