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Friday, June 23, 2017

Lifestyle Changes I've Learned through a Simple Life

I used to be one of the busy-bodies at work. The type of person that would grind out 60-80 hour weeks between my day job and moonlighting projects. This went on for the better part of a decade but quickly hit an abrupt end after a disastrous breakup.

During that period of “high productivity” I became unhealthy:

•  I had put on an additional 30 pounds in weight

•  I had regular panic and anxiety attacks (every day)

•  I had relied on booze to calm myself after a hard day’s work

•  I had burned through my finances due to lifestyle adjustment

Sound familiar?

Americans are overworked and overstressed.

We reach a point of burn-out where it’s hard to keep going, goals go to the wayside, and we place unnecessary standards on ourselves. We hit a wall and have trouble getting back on track.

Working toward an Early Grave

I decided I needed a change.

There were three parts to my new lifestyle plan:

•  Improve my gut health to lose weight and feel physically better

•  Learn to cope and deal with the triggers that caused my anxiety/panic attacks

•  Create a cut-off where I wasn’t punishing myself for relaxing

The first of these was to set achievable goals for my diet and exercise. The actions that worked best was to simplify my diet so that I wasn’t tempted to order out because I was too tired to cook a complicated meal. I found that meal prep and budget recipes to be the most effective. I combined this with using a 7-minute exercise app (in the beginning) and then scaling to 30-minute bike rides and weight routines.

My suggestion: The Couch-to-5K program.

The second was learning how to handle my attacks. These attacks were debilitating and put me “out of it” for many hours. The actions that mattered also happened to be a simplification of my lifestyle. I used a combination of anxiety forums to read personal accounts of attacks and a journal to track on my own to learn what brought them on. The ability to identify triggers and do a routine to calm myself eliminated 90% of the attacks.

My suggestion: 3 Effective Anxiety Breathing Exercises

The third was to find a work-life balance. I was a champion of working long hours and complaining about how little I slept. It was troublesome to “turn off” because I felt guilty that I wasn’t working… but then guilty that I wasn’t relaxing. The simple act of walking away and using a better to-do list helped the most; it was having a cut-off point at the job and computer where I shut it all down.

My suggestion: Work Harder, Not Smarter

The Importance of Simplicity

We tend to think that change is a complex set of actions – mainly because we look at the end-goal and find fear in how much work is required to reach these goals. The better way is to break these goals down into small, actionable chunks so they’re not overwhelming yet takes us one step closer to them.

It’s all about simplicity. It’s about taking the time to understand life and where we want to go.

The past is behind us and the future we can’t predict. If we live in the moment and make positive changes then we will gain control of our lives. We remove the convoluted, foggy thoughts that distill fear and doubt – we return to a simpler existence that brings wonders and change every day.

How do you approach simplicity in your lifestyle? 

This is a blog post by Nancy Evans.

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