You know you are authentic when . . . you keep your body flexible, toned, strong and well-rested!
Do you ever feel like you do not have enough energy to last throughout the day or to complete all the tasks you have on your “To Do” list?
In this busy world, where multi-tasking is a way of life, we are often stretched to the max. We cram 24 hours of activity into a 12-hour stint that leaves us beyond exhausted. Add the stress of innumerable obligations to family, church and community, and we are flat-lined.
Maybe you have never felt depleted before, but I have. On more than one occasion I landed in bed without an ounce of energy left to care for myself or enjoy life. In fact, in the past this was my standard MO. I typically worked like a maniac for a few months, than crashed until I recuperated enough to pick up where I left off. Then, I repeated this all-or-none pattern. Not a very efficient or effective way to operate!
How to Achieve Balance
With guidance from my inner teacher, the Blueprint for the Human Spirit®, I discovered how to find greater balance. Instead of riding the extreme energy waves, I learned to take it down a notch, and in the process accomplish even more. However, balance is an elusive state. It requires insight and self-awareness so we can bring our actions into alignment with our thoughts, feelings and knowings. Only then can we truly be authentic in this physical realm.
Since we are energy beings, we need to refuel in more ways than one. We need a balance between active and inactive times. Exercise is the best way to increase stamina. A workout regimen that includes strength training, muscle toning, stretches and cardiovascular endurance, will greatly increase energy and keep the body fit for many decades.
While one form of activity like walking is an excellent start, a variety is important. Without adequate exercise and rest, we are at risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, addictions and many other chronic disorders.
I was extremely active as a child. We did not sit in front of the TV or computer, but entertained ourselves with baseball, basketball, football, soccer, bike riding, ice hockey, skiing, ice skating, running the hills and swimming in the creek. However, when I went to the University of Pittsburgh-School of Nursing, most of my activity came to a screeching halt. I spent most of my waking hours sitting in a classroom or studying with my nose in a book.
After graduation, when I was on my feet for over eight hours a day caring for patients, I did not need to worry about exercise. Nine months later, a desk job eliminated most movement from my workday. This is when I realized the importance of exercise. While I lost weight running the halls as a staff nurse, I gained it back—and then some—with a sedentary job.
Daily Exercise Routine
As a writer and someone who is committed to a healthy lifestyle, exercise is an important part of my daily routine. After a time of quiet meditation early each morning, I take a brisk half hour walk with a dear friend. I can’t tell you how helpful it is to have an exercise buddy. When we are accountable to a trusted companion, it is easier to remain true to our commitments.
My morning continues with either a bike ride, time on an exercise ball with hand weights, or a routine on equipment at the fitness center. If possible, I also jump in the pool for some vigorous exercises with a noodle and water weights. I need a great deal of exercise to maintain an ideal weight and stay healthy!
Balance Exercise with Rest
Activity is only half of the vitality spectrum. To be authentic and honor the physical nature of our being, we also need adequate rest. Sleep disorders are common and lead to accidents, chronic diseases and diminished productivity. Insomnia and sleep insufficiency may be attributed to depression, stress, psychological problems, medications (antidepressants, alcohol, pain relievers, diuretics, blood pressure meds, etc.) and medical disorders (asthma, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism, acid reflux, kidney disease, cancer and chronic pain.)
I would add one more item to this list. Menopause. Before reaching this life change I could sleep anywhere, anytime. A friend warned me, but I denied I would ever have difficulty getting to sleep. Unfortunately, I became one of the many women in their fifties who are up all hours of the night.
Now that my hormones are in better balance, I sleep well again. Adequate exercise and a few other techniques also helped—eliminating ambient light, relaxation and meditation, herbs, melatonin and bio-identical hormones.
To be authentic, enjoy vitality and have the strength and stamina to function optimally, we need to monitor ourselves and be very aware of what our bodies are telling us. If we feel our energy waning, we can always drink a glass of water, take a brisk walk or enjoy a power nap! The key is to tune into the body’s inner intelligence and honor it.