Every month I'll do a post on a health and wellness related topic. This will give you a chance to explore other options, become informed, and make the best overall decision for your own well-being.
In the World of Wellness: How best do we model what Having It all means?
I recently read a couple of articles that resonated with me: this article on Daily Worth about these great women who have found happiness in their dream jobs, their family life, and their daily activities but at an obvious cost of sleep, and 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Work Too Hard, which talks about the lack of work/life balance in America.
Reading these made me think about one thing in particular that didn't get mentioned in either article; how these behaviors that we model have an impact on our families, our children, our coworkers, and our employees. How we show them, through our actions, how they should work to achieve this goal of Having It All.
On one hand we know that hard work is vital to success. It's an important step in learning about responsibility. Depending on your personal situation, having more than one job or working long hours day in and day out may be necessary. To those of you that fall in this category, I know that you are doing everything you have to do right now and I have nothing but respect and admiration for you. On the other hand, there are those of us who do too much just because we wrongly think we have to and we make sacrifices chasing after the American Dream. There is such as thing as trying to Have It All and risking your own health and time with loved ones when it's completely unnecessary.
The question is then this: At what cost do we work towards Having It All? The women in the article from Daily Worth (who are amazing, dedicated, and deserve the utmost respect for all they do) sacrifice sleep. From the countless studies done on sleep deprivation (you need at least 7 hours a night) we know that without adequate rest our bodies are negatively impacted. Everything from brain function to emotional stability to metabolic function. And these are important things that you need just to survive day after day.
We don't just sacrifice sleep, though. We sacrifice our home lives, our friendships, and our health. We think the company will fall apart if we don't do X, Y, and Z - but it won't.
We shouldn't sacrifice the important things in life. Time with our families, time to rest and recharge, time for ourselves. If Having It All means we're making sacrifices to these things, then we don't truly have anything.
We also have to consider how, by doing these things, we're teaching people to treat us as well as teaching our children or our employees how to act. In many cases, we are the models that they mirror. If we show our children the only way to accomplish everything is to deny ourselves adequate time to rest, we've simply taught them that they have to be exhausted to make it in this world.
If we show our peers or our employees that by only working a gazillion hours a week can anything be accomplished, we've taught them that the key to success is putting your family, your health, and your well-being last on the list of important things.
We've taught them how to fail at the some of the most important things they should be successful at in life.
If you are someone who does any of these things, I'm not trying to beat you up. I've been you. I know what it's like. I simply want you to realize the true value of your sacrifices and the behavior you model to others. Demonstrating the behaviors of a workaholic is no different than demonstrating the behaviors of someone who suffers from an eating disorder to achieve the all illusive perfect size. It's the same thing. You're establishing for others who may look up to you, through your actions and demonstrations, the cost of what one must have in life to Have It All.
So how do we change this? First, we need to ask ourselves some hard questions.
Am I someone who models these behaviors? What do I want the people around me to see and absorb? What is my healthiest vision for them? What is my healthiest vision for me?
Then, it's time to make changes toward a healthier balance in life.
It's time for you to decide when it's okay to say I'm going to do this and this and this, but I'm going to get realistic with the time I have in one day. I'm going to take care of myself first so I can take care of everyone and everything else appropriately without running myself into the ground. This means finding a balance between what you must do, what you love to do, and what you need to do for your own health.
At the end of all of it, when you look back, I want you to have no regrets about the truly important things in life.
Take care of yourself. It's the only way you can take care of everything else.
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