Brain Fizz

My responsibilities this year has had me traveling almost monthly.  Fortunately it’s regional travel and despite its frequency, it’s mainly short trips.   During these trips you find yourself spending most of your time in the hotel stressed out in the meeting room, however, I try whenever I can, to escape for a morning walk or an evening escapade.   I look for somewhere to refresh one’s mind.  Somewhere to get a little rest and reinvigorate.  Somewhere my brain can just fizzle down and hear itself.

Sometimes just sitting quietly for breakfast with the morning newspaper and a nice view is all that is needed to give the brain a little boost.    Sometimes it’s just a little walk outside early mornings, to feel the wind in my face or to hear the birds chirp.  These things for me are what remind us what life is all about.

I tend to forget about taking care of my brain, but it’s important to let the brain have a little quiet time.  After all, the brain is an organ (a most important one that is!) and one must look after its health and its well-being.  If the brain malfunctions or gets overloaded, not surprisingly, we’ll find ourselves unhappy, impatient, moody and overall not a nice person to be around.  The “evil” black side of us comes out in full steam.

So if you can, take care of your brain.  Allow it some time to rest.  Allow it to refresh and you will find yourself invigorated and overall happier (hopefully). Some people meditate, some people listen to music.  In the end, just do what you find to relax yourself.  Just don’t forget your brain.

A Balancing Act

Sitting in my study looking out the window, I am still thinking about “The Descendants” I wrote about yesterday.  That movie was about a man, a successful lawyer and a land baron who had devoted all his time to his career, to making money only to later realize he had “lost” his family.  Although his wife was now seriously ill from a boating incident, he had lost her years ago.  They had ceased to talk, to spend time together, to go out and enjoy each other’s company.   They had grown apart.  His daughters, he had hardly seen and could hardly remember the last time he was alone with them.  They too had grown.  So that was Matt King who spent his life focusing on himself.  Then there are opposites:   those who spend their time completely devoted to other’s lives until they forget to have a life of their own.

It happens sometimes.    It happens more often than I would like to acknowledge.

It happens in relationships and in families.   They believe that family is number one and that nothing else is more important.  They find themselves unconsciously assimilated into the other person or persons.  They forget everything about themselves and focus entirely on the person or persons.   They must spend their time taking care of the family, taking care of their needs and anticipating their needs.   They serve each and every need in the belief that this is right.  This is the “right” thing to do.  This is what is “expected” of them.  They devote their entire time, their entire life to others.   Guilt prevails if they want to do something of their own.  Guilt, self-inflicted.   So the cycle continues, on and on.

Now do not get me wrong, I am not saying that it is a bad thing to care of others, it is good to take care of loved ones and people around us.  What is most important though is that there needs to be a balance.

There needs to be a balance between taking care of others and taking care of your own needs.

Your own needs are equally important, and your life is equally important.  You have dreams, you have desires and there are things you want to do, places you want to go.  Don’t push all your own needs out of sight and hide them somewhere deep inside your soul.  One day you might just erupt like Mount Vesuvius.

And when your erupt, or if you just stay dormant.  One day you may find yourself on your deathbed looking back on your life and thinking about all the things you could have done, all the things you wanted to do, and all the places you wanted to go.    You might feel a resentment at others, why they had done the things they wanted to do and did all they wanted to do.  Yet all these emotions come too late and your life has passed you by.  You will just have to wait for your next life to do the things you want to do.

Find a balance in your life.   Have some time of your own, have some time for others, have some time for your dreams.

Decision Fatigue

The other day I read a New York Times article on “Decision Fatigue” and it has been intriguing me ever since.  It is fascinating for it helps us understand a little more the things that affect the mind and how it works.   We all know that when we are tired, the brain functions a little less, we make human errors, we make mistakes, we start becoming unintelligible, and if we are really tired, we start to resemble a zombie.  However, what we don’t realize is that in the course of day to day life we may make a lot of decisions without realizing we are actually tired and that this “tiredness” is affecting how we decide.

The article cites a research that was done on parole hearings.  Those heard early in the morning, or after coffee breaks and lunch were more likely to get parole than those who were heard later in the day.  This is even if they had the same profile.  I feel sorry for those being heard later in the day.  The reason being is that being “tired” the judges make the easiest and safest decision.  That is, not make a decision. Parole not granted.

The phenomenon’s discoverer is the social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister and he calls this “ego
depletion.”

Thinking about it, I think it makes good sense.  I mean, after an entire day of deciding what to do, what not to do, would A be better than C?, what should one eat for breakfast, lunch dinner? how should one’s tailored suit be? should one go exercise? should one call D? how should one approach a certain situation etc.. the list is endless.

Yes, it’s related to everything. Even shopping and I think also eating.  The article mentions how having to decide on materials for a bespoke suit, the shopper grows tired and eventually settles for whatever the shop recommends.  The hungry and exhausted person will grab and eat whatever is in front of them.

I find myself giving the same response when I am hungry.   I look at the list of menus, and being “fatigue” I sometimes just ask the restaurant what is good, what is recommended.  That is what I’ll end up eating on those especially tiring days.  My mind is too tired to “decide.”

This applies to everything. If you have a difficult decision to make that you don’t want to make.  Sometimes the easiest route for the tired mind is to just avoid the problem and not make a decision.  Too much information needs to be processed.  The mind is tired, but little does it know that this “fatigue” can have long term consequences.

Reading this, I think one has to be aware of one’s body and be aware if it’s tired or not.  A best way would be to schedule in breaks and rest time during the day.  A ten minute break might do wonders for the mind and you’d find that it will help you make decisions faster, rather than opting for the easiest response which is to do nothing.

Have a break, give your brain a little pick up and make better decisions, whether it be on what dress to buy or what food to eat.  🙂

YOU are a Priority

Oftentimes we spend our lives taking care of others and forget the most important person:  ourself.  You find your days and hours devoted to taking care of family members, taking care of clients and customers and work non-stop to meet deadlines.  Work consumes us alive as well as the zillion other tasks we have to get done in our daily lives.

Now how much time you spend taking care of family members of course depends on how large your family is.  It can include parents, siblings, your spouse, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents, inlaws, etc.  If you have a large family, this of course will consume quite a bit of your time.  If you have children, you will most often be preoccupied taking care of them.  I don’t have any but from what I see, having children is a full time job.  From the moment you wake up, until the time you fall asleep there are things that need to get done.  Many times, parents forget to take care of themselves, their relationships and the household ends up running on clockwork.  The parents forget why they are together.

I remember reading an article in Shape Magazine one day about how a mother of several children  managed to stay in shape and remain healthy.   Parents who are capable of handling business, taking care of the kids, while staying healthy and happy inspire me. This lady said one of her tricks was to post on her fridge a reminder that her time was also a priority.  That her time too was just as important as those of the kids.

That I think is important to remember.  No matter how busy you are at work, no matter how many deadlines there are, or how busy you are taking care of your family, do not forget to take care of yourself.  Your health is a priority. YOU are a priority.  For if you don’t take care of yourself, who will?  Do not expect others to take care of you, they are not you.

Once you take care of your physical health, you will realize that this will spread to a better mental health.  You will be less stressed and emotionally stronger.  Interestingly you will also discover you “seemingly” have more time.  Being in good health allows you to take better care of everyone else.  Therefore spending a little more “me” time is actually beneficial to all those around you!

Here’s to good health everyone! And remember, without good health (both physical and mental), you have nothing 🙂

Having “Down Time”

If you were wondering about the title, “No my blog isn’t having any “down time” anytime soon but please do have some “me” time 🙂  Everyone sooner or later needs to have “downtime” for themselves.  I was reading two lovely articles today shared by a good friend about how to be happy and how to have work-life balance.  I think what they say is definitely something we should take into account a bit more consciously.  Not just as a passing thought, but as an action.  Afterall, it’s the action that counts.

One of things they mentioned was “downtime.”  It mentioned that we should schedule “downtime” for ourselves every week to ensure that we get the rest we need.  A little relaxation can go a long way and instead give you more focus, energy and a clearer mind.

Sometimes when we are stuck in the everyday rut of “work, work, and more work” we can’t seem to even find time for ourselves to take time for the bathroom or do something we like such as read a good book before bed, or spend time with our family.  You have only a certain amount of hours and you have more than enough on your hands.  You can’t do everything.  There’s no time for “down time!” Are you crazy?

However, if you think it is something that is really important for you, then I say “make time.” 

You may say it’s easier said than done, but take a few minutes and just find a one hour spot on your calendar where you can schedule time for yourself.  Start with just one hour a week.  Do not move it for any reason. No excuses. ……I’m sure you can find one hour from 168 hours.

This hour belongs to “YOU.”  Do whatever you want in this hour.  Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read or listen to your favorite music.  Take a hot bath.  Sing a song, or sing while bathing.  Play with the dogs or watch a good movie.  Have a quiet little “down” time.  Have a little “me” time.

You’ll discover how great it is.  You’ll feel rested, relaxed, and your mind will most likely be more focused and clear.  That work you were worried about not having enough time, might actually take less time to finish now that your mind has had some rest.  It’s no good to be living on a perpetual adrenaline high.  Brains get fuzzy and thoughts get fuzzled.  You forget what you are doing.  You go through the motions of “tasks” required but your mind isn’t fully registering everything.  You don’t know what you did. It’s a blur.

This summer, have a little “down” time, have a little “me” time.  I wish everyone a good “work-life” balance.  If you dare, schedule one hour a day for yourself.  You’ll see wonders.  🙂  Take care everyone!

Relaxing Sundays

It’s Sunday.  Sundays are times for relaxing and as I’ve written before in my post entitled “Lazy Sundays Wanted” its a day I want to just sit back, relax, and plan my week ahead.  Since my post exactly 9 months ago, I’ve been getting alot better at not running around on Sundays.  Still it’s a work in progress and I will have to keep working at it, most probably for the rest of my life.

I have recently realized that sometimes to stop myself from running around doing things on my “To Do List”, I have to make myself go to a coffee shop and relax.  The place of choice is most often Starbucks as its convenient to find on almost any street corner.  Once there, I am away from all the things that distract me from having a good rest.  There’s no messy room for me to keep feeling I have to clean it up.  No boxes left unopened that must be unpacked.  No old exams and bluebooks since college that are just gathering dust waiting for me to throw away.  Mostly importantly, I try not to have back to back appointments that have me running from place to place within only one hour.   I’m learning to “time” myself.  Perhaps certain things can wait until next week. Not everything has to be done today as Alex always reminds me.

Inside I still want it done today, but just because it’s done today doesn’t make it better than being done tomorrow or next week.  (Of course it depends on the task. Some are more important than others. Prioritize)  Sundays, therefore, I try to keep as my “task” free day.  I don’t want to keep doing my “To Do” list.   View it as a mini vacation.  On vacations, we are free from all the errands we have to normally do.

How do you pace and relax yourselves?  What do you do?