This morning I sat outside savouring my coffee and writing notes on what I wanted to work on today.
It felt delicious, sitting there listening to bees go about their day, hearing birds in the trees. So peaceful. So grounding.
What really came through for me is we don’t think it’s ok to work this way.
If we’re not stressed, we’re not doing it right.
We wear long hours and sleep deprivation like badges of honour. We complain but we’re secretly proud we can hack it.
Until we can’t.
It’s not just the short term impact of working suboptimally – mistakes and rework and feeling awful and snapping at a colleague and feeling more awful. It’s the long term damage that occurs when you ask your body to sustain elevated levels of stress hormones.
Did you know that your body can get addicted to stress hormones? That it normalises that chemical balance so it freaks out when you’re not stressed and works to bring you back to that stressed, “normal” state?*
Does that scare you? It sure scares me!
I don’t want stress to be my default state.
I want to be sitting in the morning sunshine, sipping my coffee, enjoying the simplicity of the moment.
I want to work hard without it being hard work.
I want to succeed without compromising my long term health. What will it all be for if I end up sick and unable to enjoy my success?
This is why I love approaching my productivity through the lense of my energy cycle (which for those of you that don’t know, follows your menstrual cycle).
There’s a time for doing deep, thoughtful, creative work.
There’s a time for being super output focused and getting all the things done.
There’s a time to reflect and see where to adjust so you’re getting better all the time.
There’s a time to rest, regenerate, receive inspiration ready to go again.
Our cycles are designed perfectly for us to get loads done in a sustainable and stress free way.
*Concept outlined in Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself by Dr Joe Dispensa. He’s a doctor, I’m clearly not one.