MY STORY OF SURVIVAL – How to avoid stress and have a balanced day?
How to have a balanced day?
All of us have twenty-four hours in a day. A busy Mum may not have as many choices with regards to how she divides up her day, compared to director of a large firm. But to some extent we all have choices.
The main thing to keep in mind is to balance the hours of work with sleep and the hours of chores with fun.
When I was younger I slept for nine hours every night without waking once.
At some stage in my thirties, everything had become hard work and even scheduling in for time out with the children had become a chore and hard work. All I ever wanted to do was catch up on sleep.
Looking back now, I can see that I did not sleep properly for years and years. I would only catch little naps here and there in between breast feeding and taking care of the household and later on the clinics also. Sleep was a luxury which I felt that i couldn’t afford.
I was so severely sleep deprived that i had rats crawling over me at night… or so I thought. The registrar at the hospital labelled these experiences ‘hallucinations due to severe sleep deprivation.”
Ariana Huffington from the Huffington Post would probably have some idea of what I’m talking about. One day, she fell asleep on her desk from exhaustion and broke one of her cheek bones. She is now an ardent advocate for people living balanced lives with enough sleep factored in as mentioned in her book ,”Thrive; The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Happier Life.”
To be able to thrive, it is a good idea to start off by figuring out how many hours sleep we need per night. Most people need between seven and nine hours sleep each night to function optimally throughout the day. All of my elderly friends in their eighties and nineties sleep nine or more hours a day.
Once you figure out how many hours sleep you need, you can add to this the amount of hours you work each day. When you subtract the sum total of work and sleep hours, from the 24, you’re left with the amount of hours available for chores and fun or leisure time.
How to divide up your day?
So how should you divide up your day? That’s up to you to decide. I am giving you a template that I try to live by and I am still convalescing. So what do the eight hours work a day mean for me? These are the hours where I do my exercises, thank you Geoff Dakin! and tell my body to unlearn bad habits and incorporate more beneficial habits from now on. I see local therapists who also help me get back on my feet. During my eight ‘work’ hours I work on creating a life that is more wholesome and BALANCED than the life I previously led and which got me into trouble. I read up on how to handle my stresses and closely monitor my diet to grow back strong muscles and bones and organs. It’s hard work but I’m loving every moment of it.
The purpose of dividing up your day
When I was in my twenties I worked really hard. See a pattern here? I worked so hard that when I came home from work I was so exhausted that after dinner I would fall straight asleep. I did this for a period of around seven years. I would leave for work at seven in the morning to beat the peak hour traffic and return at around 6 o’clock at night. By the time I had eaten dinner I often would be asleep before the washing of the dishes.
One day I came across an article that said, ‘We all have the same amount of hours in a day.’ I thought about that for a little while and wrote down on a serviette what I did with my days. It looked something like this.
Work and travel added up to 11 hours and sleep added up to 9.5 hours and eating and showering added up to around two hours per day.
I had been doing this for SEVEN years and then I decided that I wanted more out of life and carved out a two hour slot each day where I would practice writing. Every day I started to look forward to my writing exercises. I signed up to a course to study writing and straight after dinner I would sit for two hours studying my ‘Traveling Journalist’ course. Funny enough I managed to stay up for this and once I went to sleep I wouldn’t feel as exhausted as I used to, prior to studying Travel Journalism.
This episode in my life taught me an important lesson. Dividing up my day and figuring out where my time went was really useful to me. It showed me what was possible and where I could factor in some joy and fun.
It is REALLY important to factor some fun and joy and educational time into your day. Doing the course made me feel alive and everything else seemed easier because of it. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my day job and I loved my husband and overall this was a good period in my life. But much as I loved my job, it was very demanding with long hours due to the daily commute.
Years later, when I became pregnant with my eldest, I learned another important life lesson and that is, that sleep is REALLY important too.
It’s all about balance
Michael Hyatt, one of my mentors, has designed an ideal week template which I highly recommend. You can check it out here.
For me, leading a fulfilling life is all about getting the balance right. Keep everything in balance! Love to hear how you do that.
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