As I reflect on the past year (and years) a theme emerges to the forefront. Options and choices that were once managed for us have landed on our lap. Without proper planning and self care we will continue to see a rise in stress levels and burnout.
The following represent some areas where the shift to individual responsibility has or is taking place:
- Retirement – As pension plans disappear its up to us to manage and make the appropriate choices to fund our retirement
- Health Care – The growth of high deductible plans means you have to manage your own health including your health savings account.
- Vacation – “Discretionary time off” a growing trend) means you have to manage/ensure your own time off.
- Technology – It is ubiquitous. We have to force ourselves to obtain solitude. You can read emails in bed. Soon, smartphones will be fully waterproof and you will be able to read emails and text in the shower.
The lines have blurred dramatically over the last few years. There was a time when companies took care of your retirement, health care was just a small copay, vacation was “owed” to us (making it easy to figure out how much time to take off and when) and if you wanted to read email you had get to your computer. It is more difficult now to assess when your work day starts and ends, how to best manage your money and how much time to take off work.
If you want more joy in your life it means you have to find calm from the chaos of technology. Social media and smartphones have monopolized our minds. This is why we are seeing more and more books with titles like “How to do Nothing” or “Lead Yourself First, Aspiring Leadership Through Solitude”.
You have to CHOOSE to keep your phones and screens out of your bedroom. You have to CHOOSE to be grateful. You have to CHOSE to meditate and find solitude. You have to CHOSE to put money aside for your retirement. You have to CHOSE to manage your own health.
Creating a “not to-do or stop doing” list, journaling your gratefuls every day, setting quiet hours away from your phone or reading every day; these are all small habits that have tremendous power to ensure you avoid burnout and experience happiness in the moment and for your future.
We all know most resolutions don’t last so start with really small positive habits such as: a daily grateful alarm, setting quiet hours on your smartphone, setting your phone on silent as much as possible (each “buzz” releases a stress hormone) and finally achieving boredom 1x per day.
All the best for a 2020 with small positive habits!
“By making our microsteps too small to fail, we can make those first, small changes on which we can begin to build a new and healthier way of living and working. There’s nothing wrong with aiming big — but we can help ourselves by starting small.” - Arriana Huffington
“Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice” - Ayn Rand