Recently while I was at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health leading a women’s retreat, I met an executive who was the dean at a large medical school. She said they had just added a class on work-life balance and resiliency to their medical school curriculum. But she wonders if her young doctors in training will see the value of this course for their patients–and themselves– as they navigate their intense pace.
Sustainability is often defined as the capacity to endure, the long-term maintenance of responsibility and, I would add, the long-term maintenance of self.
Most of us are living at a pace that is unsustainable–what I would call an inhumane pace. We throw our energy around like handfuls of rice grains at newlyweds. We’re overextended, over-scheduled, racing through our to-do lists and we rarely pause before we say “Yes,” to requests. (Read my 9 Ways to Say No here.)
Our energy is precious. It’s the currency that allows us to do things in the world. But we rarely honor it or see it as sacred (which it is!).
As you consider your next request, project or invitation ask yourself:
- Will this activity or relationship feed me or drain me?
- Is my intuition saying “Yes” to this request, or “No”? (Pay attention to the sensation in your gut–the body never lies.)
- Does being around this person, group or organization make me feel positive, negative or neutral? (Thank you, Claudia.)
- In this situation, what is uniquely mine to do? And know that more often than not, the answer is, “Nothing.”
During my twenties and thirties–perhaps like the medical students–I ran myself hard. I would push and push and then live for the weekends where I’d crawl to a yoga class, live for happy hour with friends or take in a massage– finally allowing myself to slow down and add a few cups of water to my dry-as-a-bone well.
But the chronic stress began to take a toll and in my late thirties, I became clear that I didn’t want to just “survive”– I wanted to thrive. I wanted to find a sustainable way of living that supported me in a)maintaining an unwavering allegiance to myself, b)making choices that left me feeling alive, whole and resilient and c)generating and building energy reserves for yet-to-be manifested dreams and desires.
While leading a support call for our RTA-Certified Facilitators on Harnessing & Leveraging Your Energy I shared that even when I’m working on something big that is energy intensive–like a career change, launching a book or a nonprofit or changing a learned behavior–I want to land on the other side of the experience replenished and nourished. I want to feel like I have not abandoned myself and I have paused frequently to remind myself that, “Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.”
I’D LOVE TO SUPPORT YOU!
Schedule me to plan/facilitate a custom workshop or retreat for your company, team or organization on life balance, resiliency or self-renewal in 2021. I’ve been speaking professionally for 25+ years on work-life balance and managing your energy. My clients include Fortune 500 companies, national conferences, nonprofits and organizations. Learn more and email me at workshops at reneetrudeau dot com with questions.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum. She is the author of three books on life balance and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 17-year-old son. More on her background here.
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