Being in Tune with What your Body is Trying to Tell you

I missed a week of writing last week. I also missed some signs from my body and an infection festered. I was not so much ignoring the signs trying to be brave and ‘push through,’ as I just was not listening all that well to what my body was trying to tell. The obvious signs of infection were present and a few weeks later that infection was a lot worse than it needed to be.

What I really learned during this time again is that completely shutting down to let your body heal is essential. So yes, I missed a week of writing but I was in no state last week to work. I was not sleeping, I was in a lot of discomfort, I could not focus to read or watch television. I just needed to find a state of relaxation to let the body, and the antibiotics, get to work to healing me.

I think we’ve been trained to wear working through sickness and injury as a badge of honour. To show the world ‘I’m so tough I can weather this storm.’ It takes far more courage in an armoured up world to say I need a break so I can heal.

It’s not just the benefits to your body during this recovery time, it also benefits your work. Not only will you not produce your best work when you are sick but you are far more likely to make mistakes, to have to go back to fix those mistakes, and work at a level of productivity that makes that project take so much longer.

Don’t get me wrong there are certain things we do not get a break from, whether that be parenting or caring for a dependent, especially if you are trying to do that task alone. When and if you can, reach out to ask for help. While it can be intimidating to admit we cannot do it all alone, that sense of community also brings healing.

What I listened To

TEDMonterey with Adam GrantHow to Stop Languishing and Start Finding Flow
Ok, I watched this too. True to learning from Adam Grant, I put down my other technology and focused solely on the presentation. In our multitasking world I felt guilty doing so, but how was I to listen and find ‘flow’ without dedicating my attention to what I was doing. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the godfather of ‘flow,’ “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). Grant goes on to say we need a few things in this time of languishing, that ‘meh’ feeling, to find flow – mastery, mindfulness, and mattering. To learn more about how Grant found mastery, mindfulness and mattering through Mario Cart head over to this TED talk, put down your other devices, and learn how to get the ‘meh’ out of your life.

What I read

The Practice of Groundedness – The Transformative Path to Success that Feeds (not crushes) your Soul by Brad Stulberg
From the Growth Equation Duo of Stulberg and Magness, Stulberg delivers a new book that blends Eastern Wisdom with academic rigour. Stulberg takes us on a journey to be more present in everything we do, which leads to greater joy in life. Groundedness is “a practice that values presence over rote productivity, accepts that progress is nonlinear, and prioritizes long-term values and fulfillment over short-term gain.” Don’t confuse that with apathy but a way to hold yourself accountable but giving yourself the freedom to break free from current conventions.

Tied below to the work of Cal Newport on deep work, we can think we’re being productive by answering emails, by immediately responding to notifications of instant messages that we think need our care in attention. In the end we’re stretching ourselves in ways that do not yield a product but worse they create misery in our lives. Stulberg first presents then the evidence and then provides tools to help minimize burnout to lead fulfilling, satisfying lives at both work and home.

Deep Work – Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
I haven’t quite finished Newports book, I’m in the middle of the rules for learning how to better practice Deep Work. My take away right now is the shut down routine, closing work for the day and actually stepping away. Meaning not to continue to check email or instant messages in the evening, but to set (and live by) boundaries so I can be better at my job. Newport says it takes a few weeks to make this a habit, which we know from both Duhigg and Clear’s work on habits, I’m also stating this goal publicly, meaning I have you to hold me accountable to fulfilling what I promise.

Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, NY: Harper and Row.