Out of Shape, Out of Balance, Out of My Mind!

August 12, 2017

Wake up.

Make coffee.

Wake up kids.

Make breakfast.

Wake up kids again.

Remember to write the check for one kid’s lunch.

Sign the other kid’s permission slip.

Finish writing the grocery list.

Fight morning rush hour.

Drop kids off at school.

Go to the grocery store.

Call the plumber because the toilet won’t stop running.

Do the laundry.

Pay the bills.

Prep dinner.

Pick up kids from practice.

Eat dinner.

Help kids with homework.

Do the dishes. Fall into bed.

Repeat.

 

Sound familiar? Or what about this?

 

Wake up.

Make some tea.

Get to work.

Meetings with coworkers.

Meetings with bosses.

Meetings with clients.

Paperwork.

Deadlines.

Office disaster.

Stay late.

Pick up kids from sports.

Grab something for dinner.

Do that volunteer thing you committed to.

Come home and do the dishes.

Forget the laundry. Fall into bed.

Repeat.

 

Whether or not your life looks exactly like the examples above, I bet you can relate to the sentiment.

 

We bear the weight of responsibilities—jobs to do, whether at home or at work, and people to take care of.

 

We don’t get enough sleep and we rush through the day trying to juggle the many tasks required of us. Day in and day out, we hurry, hurry, hurry, and sometimes, in the midst of it all, we find ourselves breaking down a bit.

 

Our bodies aren’t the reliable machines we expect them to be and can’t sustain the demands we put on them. We don’t feel good. Our minds never rest, constantly jumping to the next twelve things on our to-do lists. We find ourselves exhausted and drained.

 

When we face circumstances such as these, it comes time to consider an important truth. Yes, we have many things to take care of, but one of those things—the thing we so often forget—is ourselves.

 

When we feel out of shape, out of balance, and out of our minds, many times it’s because we haven’t had a moment to spare for personal stewardship.

 

What is Personal Stewardship?

 

Well, personal stewardship is not a matter of selfishly shirking our responsibilities to do things we enjoy. Rather, it’s carving out time to invest in the critically important work of taking care of our bodies and minds.

 

Stewardship of oneself is taking the time to engage in activities that recharge us physically, mentally, and emotionally. To use a popular analogy, it is the act of putting the oxygen mask on ourselves first before assisting those who need our help.

 

Personal stewardship calls on us to pause the hurried busyness of life and spend time doing things that help us bring our best selves to the table. So that we can return to our day to day responsibilities with vitality, clarity, and peace of mind.

 

When was the last time you read a book for fun? Went on a walk? Attended a yoga class? Spent some time on the beach? Went blueberry picking? Watched a funny movie?

 

We are not machines. And even if we were, machines need regular maintenance. We humans are complex beings and it takes regular upkeep to ensure that our bodies, minds, and emotions are working for us instead of against us.

 

Identifying Opportunities

 

We are all unique. Our personal stewardship practices and routines will vary from person to person and developing them takes some trial and error. And even then, different strategies make sense for different seasons of life.

 

A great starting point could be taking a few moments to reflect on the following questions:

 

  • When was the last time you experienced your body as contributing to your quality of life? Have you ever felt that way? Does your body feel like an asset?

  • Do you remember the last time your schedule, your commitments, and responsibilities felt manageable?

  • Can you name the last time you experienced a calm, uncluttered mind?

 

Consider rating your current experience on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being full agreement with the following statements:

 

  • “I physically feel good. My body adds to my quality of life.”

  • “I feel I have enough time and energy to keep my commitments and take care of my responsibilities with relative ease.”

  • “I’m internally calm and at peace most of the time.”

 

If you gave yourself low ratings in one, two, or all three areas, don’t worry! Identifying opportunities for growth allows you to explore ways to take action toward developing personal stewardship practices.

 

There are many ways to become a healthy steward of your physical and mental wellbeing. Yes, there are many things that are out of our hands: chronic disease, physical limitations, poor environment, busy seasons, responsibilities and so on.

 

But the amazing truth is that decades of lifestyle medicine research has scientifically proven that there is much more within our control than we previously thought. And a large portion of it is related to how we eat, how we sleep, how we move, and how we cope with stress.

 

There are behaviors, habits, and practices that can greatly increase our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing—things we can control.

 

Through consistent personal stewardship, we can learn how to flourish through the ups and downs of life.

 

Check out the next article where we touch on several personal stewardship practices...

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