I’ve noticed when I work with people on boundaries the relatively simple concept can make people feel really uncomfortable. It seems there is fear around setting boundaries, usually because people are scared if they set boundaries they’ll upset others, push them away or be seen as stroppy.
I’m not normally too bothered by winter, it comes, it goes. However, this year I’ve found myself getting really – let’s just say “irritated” by it. All my friends and colleagues will probably have heard me mutter “I’m over winter this year”. That’s a bit unfortunate as we’re only half way through the season. Now I don’t think I have seasonal affective disorder, a form of seasonal depression triggered by low daylight hours that effects melatonin production), I just think I’m in a bit of a winter funk and I don’t think I’m alone in that!
All human beings have needs. They are neither healthy or unhealthy, good or bad, functional or dysfunctional. They are, simply, part of what drives us as humans. Needs must be met in order for us to be our best. To help understand them we can broadly divide needs into two main categories – physical and psychological (including emotional and spiritual). So that includes things such as ensuring we are fed, kept warm, kept safe, feel loved, valued, accepted, and see where we fit into the wider world around us. As we grow, it means forming friendships, intimate relationships and finding value in what we do.
It’s nice to know we’re past the shortest day of the year, yay. Roll on spring! Unfortunately we lack any long weekends to help ease us through winter. Our next long weekend is in October, Labour day. That’s the day we celebrate the enshrinement of an 8 hour working day. We, in New Zealand, were among the first in the world to gain an 8 hour working day and celebrated with a public holiday in 1890. Gaining the 8 hour working day and subsequently the 40 hour working week were regarded as forward thinking methods to help New Zealanders achieve a good mix of work and leisure and enhance their general wellbeing. Having time to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family, or maybe get into the great outdoors, go for walks, visit the beach, have a holiday, just relax and revive! You see once upon a time having leisure time was seen as a status symbol? However, long gone are the days when a life of material comfort and endless leisure time signify prestige. It seems that everywhere we turn people are busy. Is busyness the new status symbol? Are we becoming caught up in the cult of busy? I was challenged by my own Coach to think about “busyness” some weeks ago and I admit I too had got caught up in being “busy”, of rushing from one thing to the next. Time to re-evaluate.
I was spending some down time the other day reading bits and pieces on the internet when I was drawn to a blog by Meg Selig. Meg is the author of Changepower, a blog that explores deliberate and conscious self-change, willpower, motivation and habits. I was really taken with this particular blog about the importance of knowing and understanding ourselves. She spoke about the importance of knowing our own VITALS. Maybe it appealed to the nurse in me as much as it appealed to the coach in me! As a nurse we are always interested in our patient’s vitals (vital signs) so looking at personal growth from the point of VITALS really struck a chord.
I have to be honest about this, 14 years ago when I attended the CoachU coaching school I struggled with the concept of perfecting the present. I just didn’t get it. If I wasn’t where I wanted to be or didn’t have what I wanted to have then how on earth could the present possibly be perfect, I mean, honestly what a stupid idea! But I did get it eventually and I think the concept was a little before its time. Now the idea of being in the present, of not being caught up in the past or so focussed on the future we forget to live now, is well understood. The concept of Mindfulness has certainly helped me understand this life lesson more easily.
By now I hope that you’re getting into the rhythm of taking some time out to think about, and incorporate, the things we’ve covered so far in our Personal Foundation series. If not, don’t worry there’s no time like the present to start. Building a good solid base on which to build your life will pay dividends….. for the rest of your life! Not a bad return on investment.
This week we’re looking at incorporating some “daily habits” into our lives. I really like daily habits, they give me things to look forward to and a shot of energy. That’s exactly what they are designed to do, so let me explain.
I did a lot of aqua-jogging many years ago when I damaged several discs in my back. It was the only form of exercise I could partake in and initially it bored me rigid. I was extremely resentful of not being able to run or have a weights session and do the things I loved doing. However, over time that changed and I came to love the pool and the wonderful “zen” place my mind went to when I was there. I had forgotten all about that until a couple of months ago I returned for a regular aqua-jogging session every week, just to vary my exercise routine. As I was “jogging” my way around the pool I would try to plan my day and sort out any problems that were on my mind. One morning I had an absolute light bulb moment. It didn’t come while I was in full on “sort out the world” mode but in one of the moments when my mind slipped its lead and gambolled off by itself! That’s when it hit me – why don’t I just let my mind wander? Why am I trying so hard to keep it focussed and working? Why can’t my mind just do its own thing and relax a bit? If I “mindlessly” pottered around the pool I wasn’t in danger of getting lost, I was supported by a big foam belt so I wasn’t about to drown either. Why not just let it go, let it wander and explore – the brain equivalent of taking your pooch to the dog park to play! It suddenly seemed so obvious to me that in a world where we are so connected, so tuned in and so damn busy that some down time might just be fun and useful. Let’s get back to some good old fashioned daydreaming!
I recently read an article about 50 ways to be happier, healthier and more successful.
Looks interesting, I thought, nothing wrong with being more successful. Also being happy and healthy is a state I think every human has a right to experience. I was interested to see what the writer had to say on the subject. I started reading with eager anticipation only to find myself becoming more disgruntled (has anyone ever been “gruntled”?!) and increasingly unhappy the further on I read. I know that “writing style” can influence how we feel and what we think about an article. I know there will be people who find my style intensely irritating, but was it the style that was irritating me? No, not particularly. It wasn’t written as I would write, however there were some interesting points made. I put the article down and thought about it for a while. Then I understood. It was incredibly prescriptive, a bit like a checklist. It came across as being “do these and everything will be fine”. Whilst some points were interesting, some were incredibly difficult to set up, never mind making a start and maintaining momentum. It would probably take more time than I have left on this earth to wade my way through the list. One premise was we could live life on our own terms. However, in my experience life involves interacting with others and they don’t always see things our way! We don’t live in isolation. I found myself muttering things like “it’s not necessarily the same for everyone”, “does it really take 50 things to make us happy, healthy and successful”, “life isn’t a tick list”……… and on I railed.
We’re all fairly well versed in first aid for dealing with physical wounds, knocks and bumps, cuts and scratches. We know when to reach for the antiseptic and band aids and apply a liberal dose of sympathy and compassion. I’m guessing we’d probably never find ourselves telling someone with a broken leg or gash in their arm to “just get over it’, “snap out of it” or “go for a walk, get some fresh air, you’ll feel better”!