Originally posted on Facebook HERE
Looks like another beautiful day here in Wisconsin. I’ve been reflecting on a few things I might have learned from our recent vacation to Florida. Specifically how powerful the mind/body connection is, and how it affects our overall health and well being. During a normal work week at home I get between 5-6 hours of sleep every night. Around 4am is a common time for me to wake up and have to use the bathroom, but… getting back to sleep can be tough if I have a lot to handle that day, which I usually do. My waking mind gets going and I’m often out of bed before 5am because of it. On vacation I slept 6.5-8 hours a night every night. Because the only things I had to do where decide beach or pool and are we going out to eat? My waking mind left me alone to get a full nights rest. And, wow – especially on the first day of getting a good nights sleep – it felt amazing. By the end of the trip I really wanted to try to make sure I was getting more sleep when I got back – you wake up with a clearer head and way more energy, along with just an overall more positive feeling about life. First three days back?… under six hours sleep every night. My mind affecting my body, which then turns back and affects the mind by waking up sluggish and tense. Not getting enough sleep really has a terribly negative affect on us physically. Not taking care of ourselves physically can certainly affect our sleep as well. And before we left, I had gone 294 days in a row doing yoga 20 minutes a day and running 2+ miles a day every day without a break. Once you have a streak like that going, for me anyway – it’s very hard to break it. Like – I worked so hard to get here, I gotta keep it going. I know how my obsessions work. If I just say “I’m going to do yoga and run at least two times a week”, I probably won’t. It has to be every day. But that in itself creates problems once it starts to not be fun anymore. When it becomes a chore, time to back away. And after 294 days in a row, I knew it was time. So – no yoga, no running during the vacation. Or the week we got back, either – too much work to catch up on. Yesterday started a new streak… and with it being so nice out I was able to run outside. And being a Saturday meant an hour with my awesome yoga instructor… and I felt the love for both activities again. And I also felt how taking three weeks off can affect where I was physically because I’m a little sore today, and have a bit of work to do just to catch up to where I was at. Which makes me realize the importance of working to stay fit on a regular basis. We like to throw pills at things and treat the symptoms here in the US. I really try to look at what I’m doing physically and mentally and make sure I realize the importance of staying on track in both areas. I could take pills to sleep, or to stave off the anxiety that comes from working a stressful job… to me, that’s not the answer. Getting in touch with everything both mentally and physically as much as possible is where it all starts. Acupuncture, massage, chiropractic visits, oxygen therapy… running, yoga, meditation, writing, reading – it all takes time. Time I’m willing to invest in myself to make sure I’m mentally as sharp and close to God as possible, and feeling good enough physically to do whatever I want to do for as long as I want to do it. How’s your mind/body connection today? Is there something you can change to make it better? Does your mind immediately tell you why that won’t work the second you think about it? That would be mind/body disconnection. You control your actions. Change what you do, change who you are – and maybe even what you believe you can be.