Our country is a society of independence, individualism, and capitalism. Being an entrepreneur, creative, and innovative. The work-life balance of the 80’s trend has left us all striving for something that doesn’t exist.
We work hard, get married, have a family, socialize with friends, and have good morals, but it’s never enough. We have been conditioned through political campaigns such as the “just say no” campaign, setting our standards in the judgment of right and wrong, good and bad. We label people by the choices they make and the paths they take.
We work so hard to keep up with the Joneses.
We need to have a nice car, a perfect house, well-mannered kids, and good moral standings. Eventually, as women’s rights movements began to increase, mother’s joined the workplace and still had to maintain household duties and family-rearing responsibilities. So it became a question whether mother’s in the workplace could have it all.
In the 1980s, businesses began to push the concept of work-life balance as something to gain. I’m not sure about you, but it sounds exhausting when I think of balance. I think of standing on a ball with one leg, holding a stick with three spinning plates in one hand, juggling five balls in the other, balancing a teacup on my nose, and maybe a hat on my head for style.
Why strive for the balancing act?
What I want is to do all the things with ease and comfort. I want to be happy and healthy. I want time to laugh, love, and live my best life. I began asking myself how I can have it all. How do I enjoy the time with my kids, work a job I find pleasure doing, socialize with friends, find time for myself, exercise, eat right, be a member of a fellowship and give back.
Let’s not mention doing all the things as a full-time single mom. When I would ask people, they would say, “you can’t,” or “give up all the things you love. The kids will be out of the house soon.” I couldn’t allow myself to believe this was the way.
But guess what, I found a way. So what is the way?
We start with our language. I sit with a wise man, and he often says, “Our words are living things. They live long after we speak to them.”
Let’s stop calling it something that exhausts us at the mere word. So, rather than “balancing,” let’s call it something that empowers us, like “Whole Life Wellness.”
We gain deeper self-awareness as we take this further by noticing the other words we speak. What other words are we using that could be a detriment to our wellness?
I often hear people say, “thank God it’s Friday!” Does that mean all the other days suck? If that is the mindset, I would hate to live in a world with only one day a week to celebrate.
Mondays are fabulous!
How about “It’s another Monday.” Maybe we can begin to appreciate the greatness of Mondays. Monday’s are fabulous. It’s the start of possibilities. We create our reality, so if we are telling ourselves it sucks, it’s going to suck.
Some other ways our words can control our reality. Time, our relationship with time. Are we chasing time? Do we feel we are always rushing the clock? Do we feel as if we are a victim of time? It is not in your control.
What words are you in a relationship with where you give time your power? “I don’t have time,” “I’m late.” What are the words you use around time, and how does it add to your mess?
Are you exhausted, completely sleep-deprived? “I don’t sleep.” “I can’t sleep.” I have rituals I do to assist in my sleep patterns and habits. When I struggle to fall asleep, I become aware of what is happening.
Generally my mind will continue to play stories over and over. More times that not I have added stress I have not attended to during the day. So to settle the stories, I have a few things I do.
First, I drink a glass of water, I will grab a journal which I keep next to my bed and write out the story. I will then turn on a guided sound meditation, place something light over my eyes, If possible smell some lavender, lay with my back flat and arms folded over my stomach and take ten deep breaths.
I acknowledge the stories and repeat in a non judgmental tone, “I now is the time for my body and mind to rest.” Often my brain runs stories of situations in which I wish things had gone differently. In this case I do the same thing and repeat, “I am here and now in the present moment. May I release and let go.”
What are you doing to assist in your sleeping habits as a foundation to whole life wellness?
What are your daily routines?
To have whole-life wellness, we get to establish daily rituals in our life.
When I began my journey of self-development, rituals were where I started. Thinking of all the things I wanted to create in my life seemed overwhelming, so starting with a few small daily intentions supported me in developing rituals. A teacher said, “The word ritual is in the word spiritual, and if you wish to journey a life of spirituality, you need to set up daily rituals in your life.”
Something I’ve recently learned about rituals is that they are considered protective factors. Protective factors are things we do to protect our mental health and problematic behaviors such as substance abuse, shopping, gambling, and social media numbing.
How do rituals protect you?
Let’s look at the daily rituals you do right now? Do you wake up at the same time every day? Drink coffee before anything else. Take a shower in the morning or the evening? Brush your teeth, eat breakfast, and get dressed?
These are daily rituals we were taught in elementary school. So what happens if you don’t do them?
DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC LOCKDOWN, WE SAW THE REPERCUSSIONS OF NOT HAVING DAILY ROUTINES.
During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, we saw the repercussions of not have daily routines.
Our mental health as a collective went down the drain, and we began self-medicating by binge-watching every show on Netflix or consuming more alcohol and drugs than ever before.
There are basic daily rituals (protective factors) we do every day without even considering them to be a ritual. Adding other rituals such as reading a book, journaling, gratitude list, exercise, going on a walk, and meditating can be added for additional personal growth.
If you feel stuck, start with a slight adjustment to your routine.
There are foundational needs we cannot go without, and when we do, we begin to see a tremendous hit to our self-esteem and loss of human dignity.
Fulfilling Our Basic Needs
There are 8 dimensions to whole life wellness which falls in line with Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Our foundational human needs are food, shelter, sleep, clothes, and reproduction.
When all else feels out of control check in to see if your human basic needs are being met. I use an acronym H.A.L.T. – hungry, angry, lonely, tired. When things are going sideways I asked myself, is all my needs being met at the moment.
Since we were talking about sleep earlier let’s look at your sleeping rituals. Sleep is a foundational human need because during our rest state of sleep the brain uses that time to rid itself of toxins. Just like our other organs, the brain needs to do the same and guess what, it happens during our sleep cycle.
A new study conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that, “brain activity during deep, non-REM sleep is ideal for the brain’s glymphatic system to clean itself of toxins. These studies have linked poor sleep to the onset of Alzheimer’s.”
Setting myself up on daily rituals like sleep schedule, eating, journaling, and meditation has naturally added to the quality of my sleep. Being consistent in a nighttime routine, establishing rituals in preparing for bed and what I do first thing in the morning allows me to have a deeper sleep because I am becoming more aware and living a life with purpose.
It all starts with awareness.
As we become aware of the changes we wish to make in our life, we can start to apply small changes. Stick to the change for three months. Make a plan and set yourself up for success. If you find you have resistance, reach out for support. Often resistance is expected because there are reasons why we have the behaviors we have. I
t might be subconscious beliefs that are holding us back. These beliefs are not something you did to yourself. They are survival techniques we’ve learned to protect ourselves over the years from a young age. Breaking these habitual patterns could be challenging. You will succeed if you commit to yourself and reach out for support.
Strive for whole life wellness by setting up daily habits to get you closer to your goals. You are worthy of the life you desire and it is possible.