Are you too tired to do everything? There is so much information out there on how to live a better life. Meditate, get acupuncture, do yoga, exercise, read a book every week, eat a plant-based diet or keto, journal every day about gratitude, drink this tea..etc. How do we have time to do everything?
Honestly, living well sounds exhausting and maybe it is easier to just veg out and watch Netflix. There can be an overwhelming feeling of all the things you know that you “should” be doing but do not. You end up not doing anything and get that nagging feeling that you are wasting time.
So what can we do about this? Ignore all the advice because you will not be able to get to it anyways? Or beat yourself up for not being an overachiever?
Most of the sound advice we hear from the internet or wellness providers are mostly given on their own. Each of them have their own great benefit but rarely do we hear about how they trade off against each other. In reality, there is a finite amount of hours in the day – you have your job, family, your kid’s activities to worry about before getting to your own wellness. I, myself, am guilty of trying to do everything but I have learned that there are trade-offs (and that’s totally okay too!) with how I want my lifestyle to be balanced.
If you choose to exercise for an hour in the morning, it may cut into how much meditation you can do during the day. If you spend time meal-prepping for the week, it may cut into how much reading time or gym time or social life..you get my point.
In actual practice, sticking to a few things means that there is less room for conflict. Once you start adding twenty other things on the list – is when things can get complicated. It is perfectly fine to prioritize different things every week (or month) and it is important to gauge your energy levels when you do them.
What I mean is there can be a good reason for you to take a break and a good reason to push yourself. The first kind of tiredness is usually when you are initiating an activity. For example, sometimes I would train boxing at 6a.m and I would curse trying to peel myself off of the bed. However, once I got to the gym and did my workout, I felt much better and energized for the rest of the day. This kind of feeling is something you can push yourself through since everything gets much easier and the energy levels match. The effort is all in the starting and not doing the specific activity.
The other kind of tiredness, typically persists even during the activity. Maybe you wanted to start this new book. However, it is literally slow torture for you to get through even one page of this book and your attention keeps darting away every thirty seconds. Then it may be wise to re-evaluate these habits that may not be sustainable (plus it is no fun at all). I also have felt this when I overworked myself in my physical activities. I got to the point that whenever I did too much boxing or martial arts in a week – I got sick during the weekend. At that point, I knew I needed to cut back and prioritize my recovery/rest.
But…I want to do everything! I know I know..but you must first realize that you actually cannot do everything you should. Sometimes, you cannot do everything you want to do..and that is okaya.
I suggest creating just one small micro-habit that is sustainable and something that you prioritize at the moment. Remember, you can change your mind! Life is meant to be adaptable so you can figure out what you want to prioritize first and go from there. Of course, in theory there is enough time but in practice there will be trade-offs. Pick what you want to focus on first – or maybe have some core goals but branch off into different avenues as you get more comfortable.
Remember, live well for you and not because anybody else told you that you should. This is your life and trying to follow someone else’ idea of perfection or even wellness can make yourself miserable. Go out there and live your best life!
Dr. Khanita Suvarnasuddhi