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So before we get right into it, let me put your mind at rest. I’m not going to tell you that wellness is little more than a far-away dream. If I believed that then I wouldn’t be in the wellness business!
But for many people it feels like a dream, or an unobtainable desire. And I get that. So let me tell you where the question in my title came from.
Last weeks I had the great pleasure of attending a Ladies in London event (www.ladiesinlondon.uk) . If you haven’t heard of them, they are lovely, friendly networking events for women to share ideas while skill swapping and supporting each other.
We heard from three guest speakers on a variety of wellness topics, which led to a group discussion on living well and working well.
Did you notice how those two things were separated; living and working?
It’s funny how we do that. We kind of draw a line under living to go to work, and vice versa. A strange thing to do when really it’s all living and should be treated as such – don’t you think?
But here lies our problem – there is not enough emphasis on living well.
So back to our group discussion. We talked about the psychological, physiological and emotional influences on us, from both the work and the life angle. The conversation moved onto the different stages of working life; from being brand new and super-keen to impress your boss, to the point of answering emails in your pyjamas late at night. And then onto the later stages of our working lives, where we are too burnt out to be emailing at 11pm.
Although sadly, we never lose that nagging sense that someone younger and keener is working later, impressing the boss, and perhaps showing us up. So if we try to establish boundaries and go to bed early, we end up laying there, our bodies crying out for sleep, but our minds running over work scenarios.
Have you been there? Me too!
I think this nagging feeling, at least in part, is rooted in habit. When we do something for years on end, even when we know it is bad for us, these old habits die-hard. Just look at smoking for a classic example. So we talked this out with the group, and then in a smaller group conversation we got onto the theory around it taking 21 days to break a habit.
This theory is based on neuroplasticity; in a nutshell, the idea that neurons can rewire themselves through constant repetition of the new habit that you want to form, while simultaneously ceasing the old habit. So with this in mind, you can see how there is some science in wellness.
However, we also know that humans are way more complicated than just our biochemical processes – we are more than the sum of our parts!
We don’t only have to repeat new, healthier habits to make them stick. We also have to get past the guilt, worry, and other negative feelings that undoubtedly come with saying no to late night emails and saying yes to healthier habits.
We have to get past that societal pressure to be a super-human who never gets tired and doesn’t need downtime. We try to be a super-human parent, nurse, boss or employee, all at once before we even consider being kind to ourselves.
So in order to break that habit of putting our wellness last on the list; it might take 21 days or 21 years, because it’s not just about the biochemical process. It will take you however long you need to consciously decide to prioritize your wellness AND to let go of the guilt.
And you will resist prioritizing yourself for as long as you can, because you have been taught to be a super-human. However, once you start to accept the idea of prioritizing yourself, then change can begin for you.
I don’t want to be a doom monger; I just want you to understand that the resistance you feel is natural and all part of the process. So go easy on yourself!
Are you experiencing this resistance right now? Leave me a comment and let me know what stops you from prioritizing your wellness.
Wishing you sweet dreams and good health!
She immediately put me at ease and gave me lifelong skills to help with my sleep patterns and helped me to overcome my insomnia.
How can I help you to sleep better at night and wake up rested and recharged?