Many of my work practices are based on how they affect my well-being. Considering well-being is my business, this is no surprise, and I’m in a position where I can test them out. Over the years, I have developed a few ways to manage workload and would like to share two of them with you.
Lacking time? Rather than feel wretched because you can't create more time, work on other dimensions instead, namely space and energy. Create more space for yourself: get rid of clutter, stuff, and distractions. This helps with clarity and is one of my favourite ways of feeling better in work. Then, create more energy for what you are doing. This will help you to focus, to say no when necessary and get to better return of investment on time you have used up.
How possible does this seem to you? I’d love to hear what you think.
On Sunday, I went to a fascinating lecture by Dr Paul Batman on non-exercising activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which describes the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, working in the garden, doing housework and DIY and fidgeting. In other words, getting benefits from moving more all through the day, rather than doing one exercise class/gym session and sitting idly for the rest of the day.
I love to potter around the house and garden and find that this really suits my body: constant up/down and side-to-side movements of gardening, putting things away, and cooking are all ‘activities’ that mean my body is not stuck in one position for too long, nor is it under too much strain or stress. It is how we are built to move. Therefore, this week I am advocating the Pottering Principle, a phrase I coined whilst listening to the lecture. I regularly talk about how many of the movements we do in my exercise classes can be incorporated into everyday life (while brushing teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, watching adverts, etc.) but the PP goes one step beyond that: making sure you move more and between positions, using multiple muscles, while reducing your sedentary time.
Movement is a privilege, not a chore. How will you potter more this week? I’d love to hear from you.
For more information about NEAT, click here.
Are you a procrastinator? I can be, and have found that it is not only the thief of time, it is also the creator of subtle inner tension. You know you are cheating yourself.
There are three secrets to overcoming procrastination.
And the options to those ideas? One - ask for help. Two - completely forget about it, you don't have to do anything! Three - if there is anything you can learn from the process then see it as action learning.
Six ways to overcome procrastination... Do you have other ideas? Let me know.
What is contentment? How about this: wherever I am is wherever I am meant to be, whatever I am doing is whatever I am meant to be doing and whatever everyone else is doing is exactly what they are meant to be doing.
If you do want to change where you are, or what you are doing, the first thing is to be content with wherever you are and whatever you are doing right now! Paradoxically, that's what usually attracts opportunities and invitations to be somewhere else. This is because you are a living magnet, and contentment is one of your most attractive qualities.
Your dominant thoughts will attract the right people and circumstances into your life. Being content right now attracts the best possible future.
(I'm taking a break next week so there will be no blog on 28th August 2019.)
Do you like to multi-task? For many people, the ability to multi-task is like a badge of honour, as if they are saying, “Look how many things I can juggle at once! Aren’t I impressive and capable?” But increasingly, they are finding that they don’t do any of these tasks particularly well. They can flit between several different things and think they’re doing something pretty special, when really, they are not doing anything very effectively. It all becomes a bit tiresome.
Then I came across the phrase ‘mono-tasking’, when only one thing is done at any time. By focusing on just the one job, it can be done efficiently; and increasingly, I’m finding that I enjoy it more too. I can relax out of the whirlwind of being ever-so-busy and lean into the singular task in hand. It’s a great feeling to corral my thoughts and actions into one task, staying focused and in the flow. It takes a bit of practice, but like all skills worth having, I need to put the time in. So, from now on, it’s one thing at a time.
Flexibility is often viewed as a sign of body fitness. But what about a flexible mind? When we consider that our minds can be flexible too, we can adjust to and accommodate most things, whilst maintaining a sense of well-being. True tolerance makes us flexible. The ability to bend without breaking is linked to the amount of tolerance we develop.
When we are fully flexible in our minds, we are then more able to adjust to unexpected, negative and difficult situations. Perhaps something to consider during these ‘interesting’ times… And whilst you’re at it, try to avoid sitting or slumping for too long and try to move around a bit more to maintain your body’s flexibility!
One of the greatest bits of life-guidance I have ever come across is this:
“Nothing others do is because of you.” (Ruiz)
It totally blew me away when I first came across it and it still makes me stop and think each time I ponder on it. No more thinking that we can make someone sad, upset, happy, or whatever. It has nothing to do with us.
What if we didn’t take anything personally? What if we are immune to what other people think of us or do around us? For many, this seems like an unreachable zenith, while for others it is a daily norm. Either way, when we become ‘untouchable’ (in an emotionally-healthy way, obviously) and are unconcerned by other people’s actions and words, we can truly live more freely.
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Isn’t it interesting how your thoughts have a huge impact on your life? If you always think the same, you will always get to the same place. If you think in a new way, you will find new solutions and ways of doing things. And to extrapolate a little further, if you create peace in your mind, you will create a world of peace around you. You are in charge of your thoughts and your life and you can adapt to make the changes you would like to see in your world.
I can’t be the only person who looks at their life and thinks, ‘What have I actually done that is any good?’ It’s usually when I’m tired and possibly overheated that I start to lose hope and wonder what my life purpose is! So, at these times, it’s really important to remember one small thing: that we need only to look back throughout our lives and remember all the good actions we have ever performed, from the smallest to the grandest. When we see how much happiness we have contributed to, and how much benefit we have brought, we can easily remember the purpose of our lives.
It is well known that exercise can have a positive effect on mood, but how long do you need to exercise for, how difficult does it need to be, and what type of exercise is best? My immediate answer would be: it’s different for everyone.
But I may be wrong, as recent research findings from The Journal of Psychology, Interdisciplinary and Applied suggest otherwise. The researchers collated evidence from 38 relevant studies that examined the associations between exercise intensity, duration and modality and any effects on mood. They found lots of contradictory results so here is a run-down of the main bits:
- 10 minutes often appears sufficient to achieve gains in mood (although one study found that 30 minutes was required to achieve feelings of increased vigour).
- The optimum for improving mood is moderate intensity, perhaps because low intensity is too dull while high intensity is too unpleasant.
- The beneficial mood effects of aerobic exercise (walking, jogging, cycling) are less consistent than is found with anaerobic exercise, and anaerobic exercise (lifting weights, sprinting) appears especially to be more beneficial for beating stress and anxiety.
If you are thinking about the optimum type of exercise for your own mood, the common-sense message is to take into consideration your own fitness level and preferences, to find that sweet spot: the exercise that is enough of a challenge without being unpleasant. I would add that you would need to enjoy it too!
Read the whole article here.
Have you ever wanted to fix someone else’s life? Many of us are great fixers, and as we watch others we can hear ourselves attempting to 'sort them out'. We hear it in our conversations with others and with ourselves: "They shouldn't... Weren't they awful...? Did you hear about so and so...? In my opinion, they should…" and so on. It’s tantamount to gossip of the most destructive kind. And I find myself doing it quite frequently at the moment.
When we do this, we waste time trying to write the script of other people’s lives and thereby forget to write our own. We have no right: it is none of our business, and any attempt to do so is pointless, maddening and doomed to failure.
Let people be, and don't miss your life by trying to live or write someone else's.
It’s the end of June (how?!) so here’s the final instalment of my book recommendations series. I thought I would do something a bit different and recommend writing your own book. Not necessarily a best-selling tome or a hefty reference book, but something that is useful to you. Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m a big fan of bullet journals and, when I write in mine, I feel like I am recording that which helps me, whether that is important planning stuff about Clean Well-Being or my top five favourite films. It’s not going to be useful (or interesting!) to anyone else – just me. So, it’s my ‘book’ recommendation to write in a book that is about you and your life.
Keeping track of everything that is going on – past, present and future – is vital to me: I have so many streams of work and lots of different interests that keeping them all in one place helps manage it all. I find it really helpful to write things down: it’s a powerful way to clarify everything that’s in my head, swirling around. The act of writing encourages me to organise and make concrete all my ideas. Things that I was worrying about become structured and measured after writing them down. Re-reading everything that I have done reminds me that I am being productive, and it offers insights to my energetic mind! It also helps me realise that some of my ideas are rubbish and shouldn’t see the light of day…
Running bullet journal workshops is one of the things that I now do, and my next one is on 7th September 2019, near Reading. Here’s the link to find out more and book your place: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/bullet-journal-workshop-tickets-62636015007.
You know how, sometimes, you come across something in your life and it has such a profound effect that you don’t quite know how to contain yourself? This week’s book recommendation did just that for me. It’s by Brené Brown and it is called Daring Greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent and lead. Snappy title!
Brené Brown is an author and research professor from Texas. She has appeared in a TED talk that has over 41 million views (www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en). The title of her book came from words from a speech by Theodore Roosevelt in 1910 and was about showing up despite the risks and fear of failure – something that many people feel disinclined to do.
Brené expands on this and explains that vulnerability is not a weakness: “Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose.” Reading it feels like a call to arms, as she goes on to stress how we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen, by engaging with vulnerability rather than avoiding. She advocates a messy life, one without perfectionism and being ‘bulletproof’.
It’s an immensely powerful book, challenging and comforting in equal measure. I dare you to read it!
This month, all my blogs are about books – ones that I have found useful and wonder if you might too.
This week, I’m recommending an author’s collection of books, rather than just one. Todd Parr writes the most fabulous, colourful and affirming books, ostensibly for children, but (as with many things done ‘for children’) they are really good for adults too.
I came across them many years ago, when writing a PSHE scheme of work for primary schools (Jigsaw PSHE). We used The Family Book and It’s Okay To Be Different in our lesson plans, though could have chosen anything from the considerable list of Todd’s books, including It’s Okay To Make Mistakes, The Feelings Book and The Don’t Worry Book.
The titles are self-explanatory and the books are really short, with punchy messages that don’t hold back. And did I mention colourful?! I love them all!
This month, all my blogs will be about books – ones that I have found useful and wonder if you might too. Some are obvious, others less so.
I’m starting with a couple of classics, both of which have slightly confusing titles. The first is ‘Steering by Starlight’ by Martha Beck, who is a coach in America and is on the Oprah-train. It was recommended to me by my very wise friend Julia (@OxfordFamilyHy1), who I have written about before. It’s an intelligent, brain-focused coaching book with lots of stories and examples in it. It’s very pacy and so easy to read. I love how it challenges outdated ways of your own thinking and encourages another way of being. It’s not at all woo-woo and there isn’t actually anything about starlight in the book, which appeals to me. I urge you to try this book and see how you change as a result.
Book two is by Louise Hay and is called ‘You Can Heal Your Life’. It has helped me realise that not everything is as it might seem. Again, it really challenges ‘old’ ways of thinking and helped me see things from a different perspective, explaining how there’s often many ways to view a situation, particularly those about health and well-being. I realise when I read books like this how stuck I have got about some aspects of my life, and these books have guided me through to help me view things from another angle… and then another, and so on.
If you try these books, let me know how you get on. I’d really love to hear your thoughts!
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
|Fitness and well-being provider||
Clean Well-being ramblings