Don’t Wait For Retirement to Relax

Because stress and anxiety directly relate to cravings, overating and binge eating, I often write about stress/relaxation.

It’s a familiar story to everyone. The boss keeps heaping more and more work on your desk, giving you tighter deadlines, more responsibilities and longer hours. You’re fearful to say anything, despite a rising stress level, increasing exhaustion and less time with your family because there is always someone else waiting in line to replace you.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you worry about a steady stream of customers who will buy your products or clients who are interested to purchase your services. You must constantly juggle marketing, networking, customer service and accounting. You may end up working more hours each day than when you worked for someone else.

What is your main goal in working so hard? Did you say money? Many do work just to pay bills, but what motivates some people to work such long hours and so hard that they are losing precious moments right here and now with the people they love the most? Is fear motivating you to regularly clock in more than 40 hours a week… fear of losing your job, fear of not being the best, fear of__________? You fill in the blank because our fears are as plentiful as the number of people.

I’d like you to think about a few things if you are waiting for retirement to slow down and relax:

  • Research has shown that regularly working longer than a 40-hour workweek makes us less productive and just very tired.
  • So often we hear about friends or acquaintances that recently retired, only to have a heart attack, stroke or other fatal or debilitating disease. So much for enjoying retirement. Now that I’m 59, I see so many of my peers dying just at a time they should be enjoying life the most.
  • While we are so busy working, our children grow up. We not only miss some important events, but we miss the opportunity to really connect when it’s the most important and we never get that time back.
  • According to WebMD, 75-90% of all physician office visits are stress-related. Chronic illnesses and multiple disease processes are directly correlated to stress; that in turn is increased when working so many hours. Better health depends on less stress.
  • Working so many hours is future living. It assumes that if you work hard now and make money, you’ll reap the rewards in the future. The problem with this thinking is that you are missing all of the fun, beauty, peace and relaxation right here and now.

If you are in a job that expects this amount of work, start looking for one that will not ruin your health, or at least have a discussion with your boss. Any boss that is demanding this kind of workload is either also unhealthy or not doing the same thing. If you are doing it to yourself, stop now. It’s not worth it, my friend. I’ve been in salaried positions that the expectation was to stay until the work was done or take it home to complete it and I left, realizing it was “becoming my life”. No salary, no matter how big, is worth your health.

Take time to enjoy those you love. If you don’t have a hobby because you’ve never had the time, choose one and have fun. Live life to its fullest each and every day. We do not know how long we are here on this earthly plane.Young business man under stress with headache

© Rostislav Sedlacek – Fotolia.com

Friendship and Health

Social contact and friendship are good for your health, physically, mentally and emotionally. Those who have strong social ties tend to be the happiest people.

We all want to share our joy, excitement, pain and sorrow with a supportive friend. There may be some loners who prefer being without friends, but they are a true minority. A report from the University of Chicago illuminated some startling facts about loneliness:

  1.  Associated with progression of Alzheimer’s Disease
  2.  Obesity
  3.  Elevated blood pressure
  4.  Diminished immunity
  5.  Increased vascular resistance
  6.  Depression
  7.  Poor quality of sleep

Who is your best friend? Some people find themselves with virtually no real friends, only acquaintances through work, their children’s school or church. Life gets in the way and friendship takes time and effort to nurture. Children, work and family take up the bulk of our energy and time unless we consciously weave friendship into our priorities.

Once you’ve made the decision to have more friends, make it a priority. Let go of the preconceived idea about who your friend should be; maybe they will be older or younger than you or richer or poorer. Invite someone to coffee or lunch and take the time to get to know the person before making a judgment. If you want to be healthy, hang out where the fit and healthy people do and if you want to tap into your creative side, take an art class.

If you are an introvert like me, you can still make friendship a priority, but make it on your schedule. Typically, introverts enjoy friends, but don’t like to be overwhelmed with large crowds. Know what your boundaries are and stick to them.

Smile, make eye contact and say hello. People will know if that you are genuine. And have fun!Two female friends meeting for a coffee

© Kaspars Grinvalds – Fotolia.com

The Disappointment of Slow Changes

If you have ever started a new plan, diet, idea or behavior, you know the disappointment of slow changes. You start off with great enthusiasm and energy, only to be discouraged and disillusioned after a few weeks and sometimes a few days.

Why do you give up so easily? Part of it is from the instant gratification mentality you have been indoctrinated to believe by society and maybe even your family. You want what you want and you want it now. You are not alone.

I see this every day with my clients. I very carefully explain during the free consultation that my Mindful Eating program is a behavioral change in eating patterns and thought processes about food. If weight loss is your goal, it will happen, but not until you embrace the Mindful Eating practices and truly understand your food thoughts that got you to where you are at the present moment. I don’t think I have ever had a client who hasn’t gotten frustrated early on because they are not losing weight right away.

It is human nature. I expect it and reinforce the consultation conversation. Our eating patterns are habituated over many years and are not undone in a couple of weeks.

How can you manage through the process? As Leo Babauta of Zen Habits so clearly explains, don’t be focused on quick results (which never last anyway) but instead find happiness in the learning. You will find out interesting things about yourself as you slow down and make the changes slowly. Savor them. Learn from them.

The joy is in the journey…everyday is journey

© Yury Zap – Fotolia.com