In the last Well-Rounded Special Edition: Anxiety and Burn Out, we discussed the root causes of 2020 burn out.
This edition offers mindset shifts that will help you recharge in a productive way. We can make COVID count if we use it to reassess our values.
When we are stuck in all-or-nothing thinking, which most often includes the life areas we are challenged by like food and slowing down, recharging is often thought of as the “nothing” reaction to our “all” efforts that cause burn-out.
Or it’s more positively thought of as “being gentle” with ourselves which lends itself to habits that are actually more depleting in the long run: eating whatever we want, skipping exercise, and binge watching Netflix.
To get out of all-or-nothing thinking around burn out, we have to start measuring what supports life, not the deranged form of Capitalism that has developed in the United States— while “normal” here in the U.S.A, this system is designed for only 1% of us to thrive and the rest of us to just get by.
Here are some of the metric shifts my clients and myself, non-US included, have experienced as they own their story and discover the metrics that get them results by breaking their all-or-nothing patterns to discover more options and freedom than they thought possible.
Exercise: Capacity, Not Calories. Making exercise a “thing” separate from regular movement like walking, gardening and taking the stairs was in part started by Big Soda companies detracting from the sugar danger and childhood obesity caused by their sodas, deflecting blame to “Kids aren’t exercising!”
This made us believe exercise “counts” if it’s hard, sweaty and meets calorie burn requirements. This “go hard or go home” mentality leads to weight gain through discouraging movement that’s not sufficiently intense “to count” while encouraging stress hormones that contribute to hunger, cravings, and viewing food as a “reward”.
For women in particular, going hard all the time directly leads to fat storage. Connecting exercise to capacity—aka our mood, energy, and stressors—not calories supports weight loss by encouraging a wider range of movement and allowing our bodies to cycle between the needs to be challenged and to recover.
Client Success Story:
A client learned that cleaning her house was enough movement that increased her capacity to be with her sadness during her period. This was a recharge BOGO because she felt energized from a clean, organized house and her impulse to order take-out “to be gentle” with herself subsided.
Discovery Exercise: Ask yourself, what movement will increase my capacity to be with a range of emotions, joy and power included?
Work: Impact, Not Busyness. Capitalism has trained us to value our worth on busyness. Busyness and its sister productivity— measured by hours logged in and crossed off to-do lists, make us feel successful and important. We are being good when we are “winning” or “ahead” and bad when we are “behind”.
But what is the goal of all this busyness?
If we start to measure impact, our choices expand to what and how we want to work. Impact requires first and foremost, a discernment of our values.
Desiree Adaway, one of my favorite anti-racism teachers says, “One of the tools of white supremacy is busy-ness. This sense of urgency makes it so we do not connect on a deeper level. It allows no time for discernment, reflection or real repair”. Like other racist structures, this is detrimental to everyone and hurts everybody’s individual health.
Client Success Story:
One client realized when she was measuring productivity, the days she was “winning” or “got ahead” were followed by exhaustion and turning to food for energy. When she focused on impact, she was less “busy” and exhausted while being more fulfilled and stopped turning to food for energy.
Discovery Exercise: Ask yourself, what do I care about so much that I want to see it live in the world? What would shift if I measured impact, not busyness? What items on my to-do list are recharging when I have enough time to do them?
And, to identify the values that make you feel most alive (and often most comfortable in our bodies), check out my free Truce with Food mini-course, Lesson 10.
Food: Ease versus Perfection. Building up elaborate diet and nutrition protocols is a way to avoid the reality of our body’s complexity. We hope that the Herculean effort of grocery shopping at three stores for specific ingredients and following recipes exactly guarantees results. Over-functioners are often attracted to intense food and healing protocols because that’s how they manage their lives. And yet this isn’t sustainable and tends to drive people to the other extreme of “Chuck It and F@#$ it.
A more sustainable, effective key metric shift is how to create more ease around food. This first starts with understanding how your blood sugar works so that you know what macronutrients work best for you. About 50% of what we think of as emotional eating is deregulated blood sugar. Then you can connect food choices to how good you feel, not preconceived ideas of being good (they are often different realities).
How you eat at one meal will largely influence how you feel for the next 1-4 hours. You want to look for ease: calm, clarity, focus and an absence of cravings, crashing and anxiety (which often presents as all-or-nothing thinking). The more you connect how eating the right foods for you makes life easier with an absence of cravings and anxiety, the more you will see how ease, not perfection, gets you results.
Once you know what fat, proteins and carbs you need, it’s a matter of assembling the range of choices within these categories with what is in the fridge, what’s on the restaurant menu or from what’s available in social situations.
Client Success Stories:
Several clients and people who have tried the below discovery exercise have learned that the elaborate food plans their trainer recommended that they were struggling to follow were actually sabotaging their efforts (most trainers don’t understand macro bio-individuality). When they began experimenting with their individualized macro nutrient needs and blood sugar, they felt more satisfied and lost more weight with much more ease and less stress.
Discovery Exercise: Try my free breakfast experiment to see where you land on the Vegetarian-Keto spectrum. Especially if you’ve had a trainer try to push certain macros on you.
Are you Swimming or Drowning in Ambition?
by Lianne Raymond
Waving. Drowning. Actualization. Ambition.
Actualization is an awkward word for the beautiful and somewhat mysterious essence in every human being and every living thing to grow into the fullest expression of itself.
You see it in a flower that bends to the sun.
You see it when a baby pushes herself up to take a tentative step, falls and does it all again, over and over until she is walking.
I see it in my artist friend Sharon who says, “I have drawn and painted all my life. I can’t not do it.”
When we are swimming in actualization we feel light, bouyant, the water is supporting us and we don’t worry if we swim so far out that we occasionally lose sight of the shore. The water is warm. We are in our element. We feel at one with the water.
Ambition is not inherent in us. It is something we learn from the world, from our parents, from school. It is possible for ambition to be in service of actualization, but more often it interferes with it and at the very worst it completely displaces it.
The root meaning of ambition says it all – “eager or inordinate desire of honor or preferment; a striving for favor, courting, flattery; thirst for popularity.”
How to Have a Healthy Relationship with your Body with Lianne Raymond
When you break free from black and white thinking you will increasingly find yourself bringing your body’s intelligence into the equation. This is radical in a world that wants us to push through and only “get by”.
In this episode, Lianne Raymond, one of the coaches I learn the most from, asks us to reconsider how we judge and measure ourselves to honor our bodies intelligence.
- What if we’re not wrong for eating all the chips or cookies we want for a month?
- How thinking about our “relationship with our body” can get in the way of being comfortable in our bodies
- How fat is related to intuition and power
P.S. A way that all-or-nothing shows up with our democracy is believing we either have to save the world or check out. Here in America, we have this cowboy, individualistic narrative that makes us believe we have to ride in, be the hero and do it all ourselves. The truth is collective action is the most effective.
Doing each of our parts right now is critical. Research shows when self-care enables you to help others in a way that feels meaningful to you, it regenerates you. You don’t have to do it all. Do what you can. Volunteer with Super Majority that makes activism fun. Become a poll worker (it’s a paid position). Phone or text bank (I did letter writing with VoteForward). Donate if you can to these key races that are competitive and need the most help(hint: google “act blue” + candidate’s name to go directly to their act blue page to donate). You can also make or divide a single donation here to these competitive senate races. We have two weeks left. All hands on deck. In a way that replenishes, not burns you out.
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