How many hours sleep do you need every night? Are you getting these hours? If we know that we need 8 hours and are only getting 7, we know we are not getting enough sleep and are sleep deprived. While coffee helps most of us get by despite being sleep deprived, coffee simply reduces the symptoms of sleep deprivation and is not sustainable.
The quality of sleep is important. Disconnecting from internet and social media, switching off screens a few hours before sleeping helps us get better sleep. Leaving our electronic devices off for some time after waking up gives us time for our day instead of signalling we are available for whatever notifications others, including advertisers, want to show us.
Starting your day by making your bed gives you a first accomplishment for the day. Furthermore it also means a nicely made bed is waiting for your, no matter how bad your day way. If it works for Navy Seals, it should work for everyone.
How often are you thirsty? Did you know that being thirsty is a sign you are already dehydrated? Dehydration makes it harder for the body to function and gives headaches. Beverages other than water may taste nice, the mostly dehydrate us (an important cause of hangovers). Try keeping a bottle of water with you all day and sip regularly. You can also add a tiny pinch of salt to your water, this makes it easier for the body to absorb the liquid and keep you hydrated.
Processing food removes the nutriments our bodies need to function well, as they are the elements that make food go bad. Furthermore, processed foods usually contain alarmingly high sugar levels.
Sugar is highly addictive, influences our weight and our energy levels. By removing processed food we ensure our body is getting the nutriments it requires. If we are not fuelling our bodies appropriately, getting through the day is more complicated.
While limiting sugar helps us lose weight and get to our ideal body shape, exercise is simply about maintaining a body that works well, as it should. Just like a car needs to be driven to avoid ageing badly, our bodies need to be maintained to avoid ageing badly. It is never to late to start, yet the later we start, the harder it is. The choice of not exercising is choosing to disrespect our bodies.
We have a limited quantity of time, 24 hours per day and 7 days per week. And we do not know how much time we have left. If we manage our time well, we are respecting the gift of having time and being alive.
By being on top of our tasks, we free up mental space for more important considerations and significantly reduce the stress linked with procrastination and the fear that is inherent to being behind our tasks.
With 24 hours per day and usually busy schedules, we should still be capable of finding a few minutes per day to do something meaningful for ourselves, whether this is reading, cooking, writing, meditating. Even taking 10 minutes per day to purposefully do something meaningful every day makes a difference. This amounts to over one hour per week or over 50 hours per year, in order words a full week of work worth. Imagine having an extra week of your life just to do something important to you. 10 minutes per day is a good start.
If you have $100,000 on your bank account, would you feel better than you do know? How about $10,000 more? Managing our ressources responsibly and growing our savings gives us more freedom and peace of mind if something happens or if there is a conflict with our employer. Having little to no savings is stressful, spending too much is stressful. And stress makes us spend money on things we do not need that do not make us happy beyond the thrill of the purchase.
It is said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend most time with. When we look at the people we spend most time with, we can assess whether these people usually give us energy or whether we are drained after spending time with them. If the draining is on-going and a pattern, we have a choice of continuing to see them or reducing the time we spend with them. This, incidentally, is an excellent way to spot narcissists, energy vampires and toxic relations. I had a friend who was charming in the first months people knew him and who rapidly took up a lot of space in peoples’ lives. Once we secured their friendship, we became negative, complaining, needy, demanding and bitter. Speaking with the mutual friends we had, we realised just how negatively he was impacting all our lives and decided to stop seeing him. Years later, we all feel relieved to no longer have in our lives someone who systematically was negatively impacting the lives of all those around him. Best of luck to him and his new friends, we were not respecting ourselves by giving him our time.
Are we being a good friend or family member to the people around us? By shifting the focus to “what we want from others” to “what can we give others”, we change our dynamics and interactions, we focus on keeping others’ energy levels high and becoming more deserving of their friendship and time. By feeding the relationships, we also elevate them and provide others with me energy.
This may seem strange but we know the difference between wearing clothes we are comfortable in that help us feel good about how we look and clothes that are the wrong size or uncomfortable. By wearing clothes that suit us and make us feel good throughout the day, we respect ourselves and increase our energy levels. How do you combine this with good management of finances? Figure out how many outfits you need to function, budget for good quality and view it as an investment. Having 20 pairs of shoes does not make you twice as happy as having 10. However having 5 high quality shoes will impact your back, your posture, your feet and will make you far happier every day than wearing low quality shoes, even if you have another 19 pairs at home.
Most of us spent over 40 hours per week at work and numerous more hours commuting to work. Do we look forward to going to work? If not, can we make changes at work? If not, can we find employment somewhere else that we would enjoy? What motivates us about work? If it is the compensation, we probably are not enjoying what we are doing. With frustration, we will spend more money to compensate our dissatisfaction and avoid addressing it. When you think of your job or imagine doing the same job in a year, what emotions do you feel? If you feel sadness, fear or anger, this is a powerful indicator that it is time to plan a change. Knowing how to do so while in the job and being stressed it difficult. This is a common reason people reach out to a coach.
We too often think in binary terms: do I like my life or not. This is unhelpful as it is not granular enough to paint an accurate picture. How would you rate your life on a scale between 0 and 10? Even if you are at 2, like one of my clients was, what are the things you are grateful for? If you realise this and practice gratitude, your approach to your life will improve, you will be more fun and positive to be around and improves the impact we have on others. Don’t be selfish, be grateful.
Gratitude also makes it easier to identify the elements you can improve and be grateful for these improvements when they occur. Gratitude is not complacency. Any small positive change is a change in the right direction. Making you bed makes your day a bit better. Sleeping more makes your day better. Improving any of the points on this list will make your day better. This are all easy to implement, especially when you realise that it is a matter of respecting yourself, not of making a superhuman effort to change the status quo.
Though this list may seem evident, chances are you do not (yet) score full points for all questions. Imagine someone who is sleep deprived, unrested, dehydrated, peaking of sugar highs and withdrawals, not getting enough vitamins, whose body is unexercised, wears clothes that make them uncomfortable, spends time with people who deplete whatever energy they have, doesn’t bring energy to their loved ones, dislikes their job and complains about their situation. Now imagine someone who respects themself enough to feel good. Which would you rather be?
If there is a gap and you would like help getting there, I can help you.