Take a moment to chill the F*** out
5 tips for improving output, happiness, and well-being in life.
Can we just admit for a moment that we aren’t cyborgs? We work, a lot! I know we forget this every day, and when you stop to think about what our actions say about where we place our value in life, we should try to keep a few things in perspective; we need to maintain balance.
Working for any form of decent living is hard enough, but when you add playground tendencies (keeping up with the Jones’) on social media, comparing situations to friends who have better jobs and more money, still not hitting the gym, what can we really expect of ourselves?
Here are a few things I do to help me balance my time and life to maintain maximum effectiveness at work, my relationships, and overall health…
1. Take A Full Day Off
I grew up Seventh Day Adventist (a Christian denomination) which meant that every Saturday, my family checked out from the normal activities of most modern day households. We took Sabbath; a day of rest, dedicated to God, family, and re-charging our batteries from the week.
We went to church. Invited friends over to visit. My dad wasn’t mowing the lawn or working at all. The TV wasn’t on very often. We had family meals together. We read books, took naps, or went on nature drives / hikes, etc. Sounds pretty good right?
I can’t tell you enough how much of an impact this practice has had on my life. Now, 15 years later, I’ve started my own family. My wife and I, both followers of Jesus, still make Saturday Sabbaths a focal point of our weeks.
However, even if you’re not a Christian, if you take a day to just chill out and reflect on the truly important things in life (Family, Faith, and Friends), your life is going to feel drastically different when you hit Monday morning. You’ll be refreshed…
However you spend it, just taking a time-out from your normal day to day, to stop thinking about business, work, or money issues will do you wonders. Rest, recharge, reflect, and regain clarity. It’s amazing.
2. Ditch Your Phone
I think this one is pretty obvious.
We’re tethered to our “digital leashes” (as Tim Ferris calls them) all day, every day. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why?
I realize technology has made a huge impact in our lives in the last 10 years, but what do we actually spend most of our time doing while on our smart phones? You might be absorbing what everyone else is doing…rather than being present in your own life and relationships.
- Put your phone down, silence it, turn it off, leave it in the living room, or whatever after 8pm every night. You don’t need to be on it, and you’re probably only increasing your chances of insomnia-tendencies, and a lack of solid REM. No screen time after 8pm. Just trust me on this one.
- Read a book to help you get sleepy. You’d be surprised how well this works, and how much better you’ll sleep going analog vs digital within the few hours before ‘counting sheep’.
3. Exercise & Nutrition
Working your body physically may not sound like rest, but it places your body in a state of conditioning. Fitness experts call this active rest.
I’ve always been an athlete. I love the competition, challenge of getting better / bigger, and feeling good while doing so.
As we atrophy into adulthood…we tend to forget all about P.E. class and the benefits it actually provides our health, mood, and overall physical condition.
A couple years ago I started getting back into exercise. Now 30 years old, I no longer do team sports (however, I watch a ton). I’ve found bodybuilding / lifting weights to be my new favorite drug of choice, and it feels good to be sore, alive, and grounded.
You may enjoy yoga, running, or something else. The idea is that tuning up your body is going to allow it to rest best, and live longer.
We all have our excuses, and at the end of the day (without physical limitation) they all suck. Exercise and proper nutrition also directly correlate to your performance in many areas of your life; some of the biggest being your work and mood.
You don’t have time to go running? Get up earlier, you’ll actually have more energy for the day after a solid workout.
You don’t know what to do? Hire a personal trainer or watch the loads of solid YouTube content helping you for free.
At the end of the day, either your health (physical, mental, spiritual) is a top priority or not. I can’t say that I’m the best or most consistent within the gym or especially eating clean, but I know when I put forth a solid effort, I feel amazing!
P.S: Bodybuilding.com is an amazing resource for content too. I might be a little biased though, as I designed for them for 1.5 years. (shrugs)
4. Invest In Meaningful Relationships
You can’t please everyone, nor should it be your focus. It simply won’t happen regardless. Get off TweetFace-InstaTube, stop browsing the latest gossip on Donal Trump or political BS, and go meet people you admire who can help you grow.
This doesn’t just work one way though. Offer to help people who can learn from you as well.
Offer to buy someone a beer, take them to coffee, and simply get to know them better and how you can learn from their knowledge. Be authentic, and realize that without solid mentors and true friends / family relationships in our lives, we don’t last very long. Chase down real people who know you, not just know about you; listen to them.
5. Be Thankful & Give Back
If you’re reading this right now, chances are you’re in the top 1% of richest people in the world. Seriously…stop with the consumeristic attitude and be thankful for what you have right now! (note to self)
There is so much brokenness, suffering, and pain in the world that we really don’t have the right to complain. Give back to those in need without judgement. Buy someone a hot lunch, or give to a charity who helps fight global human trafficking / sex slavery (see International Justice Mission).
Realize that every breath you take……this one…..and that one…..is 100% a gift from God, and you’re here to make a difference.
Doing a few of these things above will focus you on what truly matters in your life. It’s sooo easy to be distracted by stupid crap these days that so much of the time we forget what we’re doing, where we’re headed, or how we believe we can be an agent of change in the world. But you can.
Simply rememer to love intently, respect others fiercely….as well as yourself. So be good to yourself, and just take a moment to chill the F*** out.
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I’m currently a User Experience Designer at eBay, where I work on the Native (iOS+Android) Selling team out of Portland, Oregon. I’ve previously rallied onsite with design teams at Nike, Bodybuilding.com, Intel, as well as freelanced with multiple businesses since 2010. I’m the co-founder of Northwest Beard Supply LLC with my beautiful wife Megan, an avid musician, and weight training junkie.