Feeling Not Right? Check These 6 Things
I learned an important lesson this weekend.
Being a Canadian long weekend, I’ve had some extra time to slow down and think. I realized some things.
You may think you’re doing everything right but still be missing a base. Have you ever felt like you’re running in water? Like you’re trying so hard to get things done — and by george, you’re working your ass off — but getting absolutely nowhere? You’re exhausted, on the brink of defeat, and thinking that success is meant for everyone but you. The world just has it out for you, and the cards are stacked the wrong way this time.
You’re not alone.
There are foundational pillars I always check when I start to feel like things aren’t lining up right. Make it a regular habit to check in with yourself to see how you’re doing. No, how you’re actually doing. This means slowing down, letting that inner voice speak, and giving yourself the space to listen.
Ask yourself how you’re doing in the following areas. If you’re not feeling right, I bet you dollars to donuts that one of these is out of alignment with your values and what your mind and body need.
Are you eating enough high quality foods? Are you eating as frequently as you should? Are you calm and focussed on your meals while you’re eating?
Nutrition is such a cornerstone to our overall functionality that I liken it to trying to run a car with no fuel. You wouldn’t put diesel in a gasoline powered car and expect it to run. A car won’t carry you out of town with 1 km to go in the tank. Lamborghinis don’t run on low grade, so don’t expect your body to.
Giving your body the food — the informational input — that it needs is paramount to your success. Low quality food, eaten fast and with disregard, and in the wrong amounts will do about as much damage if not more to your high powered machine as, well, diesel in a Lambo. Don’t do it.
I coach people how to avoid putting diesel in their Lambos every single day because, quite frankly, we aren’t typically taught how.
If you’re feeling sluggish, try getting more micronutrients, or colourful veggies and fruits, in your diet. Try to identify food sensitivities and stay clear of them. Inadequate nutrition can cause brain fog, sickness, and a multitude of other negative things to manifest into your life, making it more difficult than it needs to be.
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Are you drinking enough water?
Especially during the summer, it’s so easy to pour yourself a fruit juice, grab a Coke, or enjoy a midday Gin & Tonic. Trust me, I get it.
And I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever.
However, these don’t always work as well in your favour as a simple glass of water. If there’s anything that causes brain fog and your body to slow down super fast, its not getting enough of it. We are made of water. It gives us life, and if it’s taken away we have a matter of days to live, and they wouldn’t be very pleasant ones.
Enough of that serious talk.
Take a look at how much pure water you’re drinking. If it’s not enough, drink more.
It can be tough to get enough of it.
Staying up late, watching one more episode of Dexter on a weeknight (guilty!), overthinking things until they become mountains of stress, eating too much too late… these can all leave you exhausted come morning.
Alternatively, having a great sleep but not realizing that the hours each night were too few, can lead to another form of chronic stress and exhaustion. This is where I went wrong.
I can say I am proud of what I’ve accomplished over the last two years. Super proud.
But, I am no longer being chased by a proverbial fire, and no longer up against big deadlines. I can chill. Did I chill? No!
I didn’t realize until this weekend just how sleep deprived i’ve been. It’s made me moody, unwilling to do work that up until now I’ve enjoyed, and made me feel like there’s no point in trying because it’s never going to work for me anyway. Welcome, defeatist attitude.
Well, there’s no point in doing one thing: forgoing the rest my body needs because my mind thinks it has to do everything the hard way.
Give yourself a little time before bed to wind down. Don’t indulge in invigorating food or media. Read a calming book. Pick a time to go to sleep, then turn out the lights. Shoot for 8 hours, not 4.
Don’t try to be a hero unless you truly, absolutely need to be.
Stress is not a bad thing.
Our job isn’t to eliminate all the stress from our experience; it makes us grow, pushes us out of our comfort zone, and teaches us mental fortitude. It’s a good thing if you handle it well.
There’s stress at work, financial stress, interpersonal stress, and other big stressors we can’t necessarily control. This is bad stress.
But did you know that even exercise is considered stress?
Exercise is an amazing stress management tool, but even too much of that good thing can turn against you. Stress can be something you enjoy, such as a great workout, and in healthy doses it doesn’t do any damage. In the end, all stress needs countermeasures put in place to manage it well.
How are you managing your stress?
I have several tools I use that I talked about in a previous post. Meditation, journaling, and exercise are huge de-stressors for me — as long as I keep the fitness activities in check. I do have a tendency to go overboard in the exercise realm, but I know this about myself and can work with it.
What tools do you have in place to help manage your daily stress?
Everyone needs a plan.
Do you get enough exercise?
This will be different for everyone. If you’re a walk around the block type of person, that’s amazing. Do it every day, or several times a day, as needed. If you prefer to get on your bike for a 10 km or 100 km steam burner, then do that.
Only you (or your trainer or doctor) will know your appropriate activity level. Get moving if you’re even remotely capable. Your mind will thank you, and so will your body.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the cusp of losing my cool, thinking that my world has become an irreparable disaster. Throw on some music and running shoes, go for a run, and half an hour later I’m wondering what I was ever worried about.
Nothing clears your head like fitness, and a workout can work wonders in returning clarity to your situation, giving your body some much needed oxygen and a chance to shift from fight or flight to a calm, unagitated state.
Just a little movement can sometimes shift your entire experience just enough to give you a handle on things.
Life is meant to be lived.
It’s also meant to be loved, in all its turbulent ups and downs, and so is your mind and body. Through these tools, we are meant to have fun. Are you getting enough of it?
I mean, are you letting go, acting and feeling like a kid again, creating with reckless abandon? If not, you need a little more fun in your life.
Wake up, go to work, come home, sleep.
it is so easy to get hooked into this pattern without realizing that it has suddenly become so routine you can’t see that it isn’t normal.
Break out of your normal every day. Do everything you can to add freshness to your routine by “gamifying” everything. Just let your wild and crazy out sometimes.
Long story short, we are meant to enjoy this life; to have fun with it, play in the sand, and not get stuck in the inescapable grip of seriousness. If you’re starting to feel like something is out of alignment, check your 6 pillars. You’re bound to find one that needs a little more attention.
Take care of it, and keep moving towards your best life.