All of us go through ups and downs. Some days we work hard, other days we do not. Some days we feel great and other days we are exhausted. It's important to recognize these ebbs and flows and to try and find a balance. When we are out of balance it's tough to get through a normal day, let alone pursue do-good tasks like sustainability.
Knowing that you are out of balance and taking action to find it again is what I call 'hitting the reset button'. Call it what you want. The point is we have to learn to recognize when we are out of balance, and we have to take some action to correct it.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but there are some easily attainable actions you can take to get you moving in the right direction. In the hope that I can help others find some balance, I will tell you about how I have been feeling in the last year and what I am doing to bring balance back to my life.
When Laura and I started Live to Sustain I was loaded with motivation. Live to Sustain was intended to be an outlet where I could focus all of the pent up energy that has been brewing inside me for years. I have always felt this intense urge to be doing something positive in the world - to fight the good fight, as the saying goes. Even if the impact is small, the effort makes me happy.
For awhile now though I have been feeling drained and discouraged. For many people, the last 5 or so months have been absolutely crazy! For me the last 12-18 months have been pretty crazy.
For starters, babies have been at the top of my mind. Laura and I spent the last couple of years focused on bringing our first child into the world. If you have children, you know it's not always as easy as saying, "Lets have a child", and then suddenly you are pregnant. For us it was a long time from the time we decided to have a baby to actually finding out we would be parents. And even once we knew, the 9 (or is it 10?) months leading to Hawthorn's birth were, at times, very stressful.
Second, back in early 2019 I started working for a large company after years of working for myself. Working for a company again was a relief in that I did not have to constantly worry about finding and maintaining clients. However, committing myself to working hard for someone else after so many years is a challenge. I am good at what I do, and I have been doing it for a long time, but its draining to work in a fast paced industry. By the end of the week, I am completely brain-drained.
Third, right around the time of Hawthorn's birth, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Not knowing how that would affect him or my family made me about as anxious as one could be. I was peak stressed. On top of that, the pandemic crushed the economy and in turn my livelihood. Between my full-time gig and my moonlighting income I am probably losing about 20-30% of my income in 2020.
Fourth, Laura and I have had to keep pushing our wedding date around. Initially, we decided to focus on having Hawthorn before getting married. Then the pandemic hit so naturally we had to postpone our wedding date again. To help explain how tough these wedding delays have been, I will tell you that I have been ready to marry Laura for a long time now. She is, after all, the most amazing woman in the world! It was not long after meeting Laura that I knew I would marry her. All this to say, I have been patiently waiting for the day when I could finally call Laura my wife.
And finally, while all this has been going on, we have had the idiot-in-chief in the White House tearing this country apart. If you are not angry about it, you should be. (If you still think he is in this to help you, I am happy to listen and learn why.) For me it has been overwhelming. I have been glued to the news and felt that I could not just sit by and ignore what Chump has been doing to our country. Instead, I decided to vent on social media. Turns out this does not help.
Again, I tell you this story because I hope that some of you can relate and find it helpful to hear other's stories about how they manage.
Here are some suggestions for bringing balance back to your life. These suggestions might sound simple, but they are powerful. You have probably heard them all before, BUT have you tried them?
- Find someone to talk to. Someone who is a good listener. Sometimes it can be as simple as getting everything off your chest and you suddenly feel better. Talking out loud about how you feel can be a cathartic experience that makes you feel better. Other times you need more engagement or prodding. Consider speaking with a professional therapist.
- Meditation. For those who practice, you already understand the benefits of meditation. Question is, are you doing it regularly? For those who do not practice, please start. Spend the next month devoted to meditating everyday. Trust me! It is a powerful tool.
- Eat better! We are what we eat. If you eat a bunch of food with empty calories you are going to feel empty and lethargic.
- Sleep more. When I am sleep deprived I am useless. I need at least 6 solid hours. 8 fills my tank completely. Stop scrolling and go to bed.
- Exercise regularly. Without a doubt every time I exercise I feel much better. Walking counts. Laura and I love to walk. I find that 1-2 miles is a good minimum.
I know you have heard all these suggestions before, but as I already asked, are you actually doing them? I find that being reminded of the things I should be doing does help me actually do them. So here is your reminder. Get to it!
Remember, sustainability is about more than recycling and eco-friendly products. It's also about how well you are sustaining. A happy healthy you has the energy and clarity to be more sustainable.