Since I graduated with my masters in 2010, I've continuously pushed myself to "fit" more and more into each day, work longer hours, be connected 100 percent of the time and become a multitasker. At the recommendation of a good friend, I started reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington and it has caused me to "look up" and realize I am completely exhausted and burning myself out. I have nothing worth mentioning for my eulogy from any of the stress I continuously cause myself, and I'm only 28 years old. Is this living or aging in place?
We live in a society where getting ahead is too often in direct proportion to the speed at which we operate. Yes, fast-paced is sometimes necessary. There will always be a deadline quickly approaching or an urgent matter that was completely unplanned for -- that's part of life. However, living this way on a constant basis? They have rooms with padded walls for this type of mentality. Yet somewhere along the line it became the definition of hard work. Who works the longest hours? Who's plate is full but will never say no to taking on more? Who best handles the balancing act of work on top of work without letting it all come crashing down? I have come to know all of these factors as a way to measure success and how to "rank" the best employees.
Just a few months ago, I had my routine physical that I squeezed in between appointments. At the end of the physical, as I was gathering my things to get ready for my conference call that I was to have in the car between my doctors office and my next meeting, my doctor handed me a prescription for a heart monitor and said "take this upstairs to cardiology." I stared at him with confusion on my face, completely caught off guard by this request. Looking back, I think i was more concerned about being late for my conference call than I cared to admit at the time. "Your heart rate when you arrived and your heart rate a moment ago were both over 130, and you've been sitting here quietly for at least a half hour." he said. "So my heart rate is a little high?" I replied. As it turns out, a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 100, with the more active person being on the lower end of that scale. Needless to say, I went upstairs to get my heart monitor and rescheduled my conference call. The results came back fine, as did the extensive blood work he had me do. "The structure of your heart is in perfect condition, but the report from the monitor shows that even as you slept, your heart rate did not once fall below 100 and you have no other glaring medical conditions that would cause this. What are you doing to relax?" All I heard was that the structure of my heart looked great and I politely explained I had an appointment to get to and left the office as if there was nothing to be concerned about.
I've since begun using the suggested changes outlined at the end of each chapter in Thrive. I have started to refocus my overworked brain back to a time when I had some sort of balance in life, and wasn't completely consumed by the next project plan. The greatest challenge I've found thus far has been to totally "switch off" at night. In the book, Arianna suggests "gently escorting" our phones out of our bedroom at night. While I may not be there just yet, I'm no longer falling asleep with my iPad or iPhone catching up on emails. When you're continuously amazed by your devices not cracking after being repeatedly dropped off the bed from falling asleep with them in-hand, you know it's time to make a change. If we always make sure our devices are charged up and ready for the day, shouldn't we be making sure we're recharging ourselves?
So now I'll turn it over to you. How do you maintain balance in your life or how do you plan on creating some? Leave your comments below.