My clients often say to me how busy they are, sharing their stories about a backlog of emails, piles of paperwork with a To-do list a mile long. I have experienced this stress and I recall the trap of an endless work load. It began with skipping breaks, less time for me and healthy habits such as exercise, often eating poorly whilst reading emails, I’m sure you get the picture. Over this period of time I gained weight, I felt stressed and exhausted, experienced low motivation and ill-health. I could see what was happening, all of it; the overload, the stress and personal neglect. In accepting a management role, it meant my days were focused on looking after a beautiful team of people, I just forgot to look after myself. Training for the role may have assisted but I did my best in the situation.
I am certainly not special or different in this case as there are so many people who sadly do the same. As previously mentioned once aware of what was happening, I made a conscious decision to do at least 10 minutes of exercise each day. Sometimes it would be broken into 2 short 5 minute walks outside and then straight back in again. Like most people I know, you are probably thinking what a waste of time, 10 mins isn’t a lot but it got me away from the desk, it was an achievable goal and it was for me. When taking this time out, the aim was to leave the work load behind and focus on breathing and enjoying my walk, stairs, squats, lunges or what ever it may be.
Some days I got a little more time, but that never transferred to the next day, it was counted as a bonus. Gradually the daily exercise increased, so after a month I increased it to a daily minimum of 15 minutes and I stuck to that too. The benefits I saw were, I felt better in myself with more energy and clarity. These small steps helped me improve my health, lower stress and get control of the work load. Gradually I built up my exercise intervals to 30-40 minutes each day.
Anytime I feel that I’m time poor, I remember to go back to 10 minutes, it’s better than nothing and I start the process again from there.
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