14 hour days, 7 days a week, busiest quarter in 16 years… I definitely do not have time to go for a walk at lunchtime (do I)? Absolutely!

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Home » 14 hour days, 7 days a week, busiest quarter in 16 years… I definitely do not have time to go for a walk at lunchtime (do I)? Absolutely!

Published: 10th July 2019

This Article was Written by: Nik - Weight Loss Ninja

We are blessed with the busiest Summer so far at work since starting my company way back in 2003.

However the late nights at the office and the working at the weekends do, of course, come at a price. Pressure, strain and feeling overwhelmed. Leisure time goes down as time spent in the office goes up.

Whilst pressure, strain and feeling overwhelmed are easily recognisable for most people living in modern society, I was inspired last year by something that a client of mine said to me.

“There are times in life when you simple have to live ‘below-the-line’. Just do not stay there for too long.”

My industry, like many, has busier periods of the year than others. What do you therefore do when you find yourself having to live momentarily “below-the-line”?

Take control! (In order to help make sure you do not stay there for too long)

For many of us, we are on the constant look out for that one magical “switch” that will change our lives for the better.

Usually, sadly, such a simple “switch” doesn’t exist (but the good news is that sometimes it does. So let’s explore that first).

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The “big switch” does exist.

For instance, we can make massive changes in our life. We could:

  • Finish a toxic relationship
  • Change jobs
  • Move house
  • Give up alcohol or smoking

We call these changes “keystone” changes. You make one change and everything else, which is held up by that one thing, comes falling down. Imagine removing a keystone from a wall. The wall would tumble.

However, as you can imagine, it can be far harder to make such massive changes in life rather than making lots of little changes. So whilst this “big switch” does exist, sometimes it can be far easier to use lots of little “switches” instead. And this brings me to my walk.

Little changes are easier

For instance, my “big switch” might be to change jobs – but I do not wish to change my career. I love what I do and I love working with the team and the clients with whom I share my working day, so I choose not to do that.

I therefore accept that at times of the year I might be working late, plus working at weekends. The nature of the job can demand that from time to time. That’s my version of me having to temporarily live “below the line”

Instead I choose to make small changes which all add up. Take this example:

It was 14:16 on a warm Tuesday here in Southern England. I had a deadline for that day, one the next day. One on Thursday, and yet another on the Friday.

On a scale of 1 to 10, at about 13:00 on that day I was feeling 5 out of 10 in terms of the normal, daily pressure here in the office. That was quite high for me so I was becoming aware that I was starting to really feel it, both mentally and physically. I stood up to make a coffee and I felt a pain in my shoulders. That was a sure sign that the stress was entering my muscles.

As soon as I felt this I made a choice. Instead of staying at my desk and working through lunch, I left the office and walked down to the local lake.

I returned half an hour later, feeling 2 out of 10 in terms of my feelings of pressure. That is a whopping 60% reduction, going from 5 down to 2. That is huge.

The question therefore is “How much more productive do you think I felt for the rest of the day?”

There is a lot going on here in this example

It has been proven time and time again that removing yourself from the sources of your daily ‘mini-stressors’ has a beneficial effect. It helps to calm the hormones flowing inside your body and these in particular can often cloud your brain’s functions. When you remove these stressors, clarity of thought occurs, creativity has been shown to increase, even collaboration and happiness are often felt.

A walk in nature can have a surprisingly calming effect but it is often glossed over. Instead we can judge this behaviour as the behaviour of “those people” who have more time on their hands than they know what to do with.

It is simply not true. In our manic world we have been conditioned to think that we have to be powering ahead at full speed in our careers; to prove to our bosses and to our clients that we are somehow superhuman. We are not. We all need time out to relax, unwind, calm our hormones and step back from the daily grind. When we do this, we return to our work in a far better place mentally, emotionally and physically. This helps us perform better.

Nature vs. concrete

It will come as no great surprise that going to a park, a lake or a quiet area, even in a busy city, can have a deeper, more positive effect on you than just taking time away from your job to walk down a bustling high street. (Albeit, if that’s all you have in your vicinity, the high street is better than nothing)

The calmness and serenity of a natural, open space reconnects us at a primal level with feelings of peace and relaxation.

If you are reading this and saying to yourself that this all sounds a bit ‘peace-loving’ and ‘hippy’, I would challenge this by saying that this is just a ‘social script’. It has been written for us by the cultures of the massive corporations and of modern living; cultures that infect our corporate workplaces as well as our lives. Places where, still to this day, you will find plenty of businesses where you are encouraged to be ruthless and single-minded; driving the business forward and taking no prisoners.

Study after study has shown that allowing people to open up about their feelings and emotions at work, celebrating their individuality and bringing diversity to the workplace, all has an effect on the performance of individuals. It does this by creating a ‘safe space’ for people to be people. To be who they are as individuals. To re-connect with their purpose in life (in much the same way as the “safe space” that a quiet location gives you (e.g. a park or a lake) can also help you to get the same feelings)

In summary:

  • When you are up against a deadline or working under enormous pressure, now is the time to take time out, probably more than ever.
  • Do not get too influenced by the ‘social scripts’ that says that the best and hardest workers work through their lunch break. Courageous workers take time out by not accepting this script.
  • If you can find an open space, where there are plants, greenery, even water, this has a more intense calming effect on you.
  • And, finally, as we always recommend you do – reflect on how good it felt. When you get back to your desk, back to your factory or back in your lorry after your break, feel how it is now compared with before you went to your “calming location”.

…..What has this got to do with Weight Loss?

Let this article in The Sun prove our point.

All the best

Nik and the team

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