How I’m Getting Back on Track After a Few Very Tough Weeks

Ridiculously cheap seasonal produce deals can help to perk me up sometimes. These apples are perfect for my green smoothies and they have a good shelf life, so yes, I bought a few bags!

Over the last few weeks, my day to day life has grown brutally demanding and I’ve been pushing myself very hard, including a few consecutive days of working nearly around the clock. As a result, I started getting pretty run down. Exhaustion set in and with it, some weak thinking that led me back down the path to my old nemesis, depression, which I had not experienced in quite a while. All my problems seemed to have grown to insurmountable sizes and new ones were popping up faster than I could deal with them. I was really letting things get to me until Saturday night, when I made a conscious decision to get the situation under control.

I determined that in my overloaded state, I had fallen into three main forms of self destruction. I chose to focus on attacking just those items. First, I had been getting very little sleep to the point where I wasn’t even physically able to get up at my usual time (lately between 5 and 5:30). As a result, I would be behind schedule before my day even started. I had even missed two workouts – something I try extremely hard to avoid. This was happening partially because of the very high demands on my time, but also due to something I was doing. When I get too stressed out, I tend to get stuck in a state of mental paralysis and waste a bunch of time browsing the internet on my phone, and I had fallen back into that habit. So that was the second thing. Third, I was making everything more difficult by indulging my sweet tooth too often – another habit I’m prone to when I’m overstressed. Each of these things was causing problems on its own, but each was also making the others worse in some way. I had trapped myself in a negative feedback loop.

So I resolved to get those three things under control. I would force myself to get to bed by 9:30 each night so I could be up by 5:30 and still get enough sleep. I would limit myself to only browsing the internet on my phone during my time on the cardio machines throughout the week. And finally, I would limit myself to a maximum of one “treat” per week. I didn’t go extreme on any of these items, but set goals I felt were both reasonable and adequate to improve things dramatically.

Getting up this morning was brutal, but I did it. I suspect it will be easier to fall asleep tonight (I’m writing this on Sunday). The phone item proved too difficult on fantasy football day, but I only had a few quick lapses, which didn’t waste more than fifteen minutes or so total. And I successfully got through the day without eating any treats. It helped that I made myself some delicious, but healthy meals to enjoy. And the results? I do feel much better. Things aren’t completely back under control yet, but I believe I’m well on my way to getting there. Of course, it remains to be seen how I fare with Monday morning, as I’m sure the stress level will be cranked right back up to eleven. But hopefully I will be able to keep myself mindful of the fact that the way I respond to things is extremely important. Plus, I only have to make it through three days this week and then I have four more to use for further recovery purposes.

Do you have any preferred methods for snapping yourself out of it when you lose sight of things? Please share them in the comments or email them to admin@healthwealthpower.com. And have a great Monday!

Sharpening the Saw – Possibly Covey’s Most Underrated Habit

Believe it or not, this tranquil scene of water and mist is on a little trail at a rest area only a hundred or so feet from a major highway between Houston and Dallas. Spots like this offer a great opportunity for travelers like me to “sharpen the saw,” if only for a few minutes.

Happy Monday! If you haven’t read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, I highly recommend it. Most likely, it will either help to explain some of the trends you’re seeing in your life or it will give you some ideas that will improve that life dramatically if you implement them. Simply put, it’s an absolute classic in the world of self help, success oriented books. I could easily write posts about every one of the habits and how they’ve helped me, but right now I feel compelled to write about the very last one: sharpening the saw.

The reason I want to write about this concept is that although last week was pretty rough, today, I feel better than I have in a while heading into a new one. What did I do this weekend that brought this about? Yes, I did some work on both of my side businesses (I’m working on a brand new second one; I’m sure I’ll talk more about that as it progresses), this blog, and my W2 job. But mostly, I sharpened the saw. What does that entail? Instead of focusing on production, you focus on doing the things that support it.

In my case, I got some fresh air while playing tennis, did my usual weekend cardio, cleaned up my apartment, read, drank delicious coffee, talked to some good friends, made and enjoyed some delicious food, watched some quality football (unfortunately the Packers won, but at least it was a good game), and just generally relaxed and recharged. None of this is revolutionary stuff, and none of it will directly result in anything measurable. But that’s not the point.

The point is that on a Monday morning, I feel energized and ready to attack my workout and get my week going. As always, there are plenty of challenges ahead. Plenty of things I would rather not do, or even think about. But take away that weekend I had, and rather than feeling ready to take all of it on, I’m feeling run down and nowhere near in the right frame of mind. So that’s about it for today. When you get a chance in your life, I encourage you to sharpen your own saw.

Here’s to an awesome start to the week for all of us!