Work-Life Balance

Thanks to technology we’re almost unlimited as to what we can do when it comes to work. By that I mean that we can work at any point in time during the day because we’ve got electric lighting and because we’ve got the mobile devices and personal computers that allow us to do so from almost anywhere. We don’t have to wait for the sun to come up, we’re not limited to only working with/selling to those near our physical location, and for so many things we don’t have to work the same hours as others.

It also means we’re more on-demand and have more expectations placed on us. People expect to be able to get help at any point in time, bosses expect to be able to reach you if something changes or happens, and it’s easier than ever to bring work home because so much of work is done over email and apps.

So if we’re being asked to work longer hours or be more available, doesn’t that mean we should be getting something in return beyond our normal paycheck? Shouldn’t there be a level of flexibility or some other benefit for being willing to blur the lines between work and home (or eliminate them almost completely)?

What got me thinking about this today was a headache. I get them occasionally and sometimes they’re bad enough that I end up needing a nap on top of a pill to make it go away. But today I was not working from home and it wasn’t really acceptable to just put everything to the side and take a nap, and I know many can identify with the desire to have just 30 minutes to themselves for either picking up kids or eating something or taking a walk or a nap. I’m fortunate enough that I do work from home a lot and can take a break in the middle of the day, or work very late or very early or whatever hours I need or prefer, but that’s not the case for everyone.

If we’re really going to do this working-almost-all-of-the-time thing, isn’t it time that we remember that our bodies and minds need a break? That while much of our world has evolved to support us in doing this our bodies still need food and rest? When was the last time you took a break at work and didn’t work straight through the day? Yes, there are a couple of more progressive companies that do have workout rooms and nap rooms and it’s not frowned upon to use them, but that’s not the case for most.

So today I’m inviting businesses to step up and make sure their workers are cared for, and encouraging you to make sure you’re caring for yourself (whether you work a traditional job or you’re working as a parent): eat the foods that properly fuel your body, get rest when your body asks for it, and spend time with people who rejuvenate your heart.  Are you caring for your body and mind’s needs?

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Healing with Love

One topic that has developed and changed a lot over the centuries is that of healing. People have tried everything from human sacrifice to bloodletting to blessings and exorcisms, not to mention today’s pills and surgeries, to try to help with the healing process. We should be proud for how far we’ve come, how much we’ve learned about healing and our bodies over the years. So where does God fit into all of this?

Yes, there still are divine healings, God still does work today and make miracles happen. Even some of the things we’re able to do with modern medicine we’re only truly successful with because of what some people would call luck but we know is God. One of the more public illness/healing stories we’ve heard recently is that of Alex Trebek who is fighting pancreatic cancer and cautiously optimistic about how well he is responding to treatment and the positive thoughts and prayers of the many who have watched him on TV over the years. His journey isn’t over yet, so there’s no definitive answer on his healing, but good news is always good news.

Br. David Vryhof said “God’s work is healing work: bringing health and wholeness to human lives – physically, emotionally, spiritually. We ourselves have been healed by Love, and we are to be agents of that same healing and love to others.”

Brother Vryhof speaks to a big part of what God’s healing is all about and that’s love. God doesn’t like us broken and ill any more than we do, but it’s part of the human condition. As part of our relationship with God we can ask Him for healing and He’ll respond in whatever way He sees fit with some type of healing. But that’s a lot of room for interpretation, which is why you should always hope for complete physical healing, but if all that you get is the healing and calming influence of love, that’s something to be thankful for.

This week I encourage you to be a force of healing love for the rest of the world. There are so many people who need love in the world, and even just a little love can help them begin their healing journey. How will you share love with the world?

A Celebration of Produce

The other day I commented to my partner how much I miss the summer. I love the summer for many reasons but one of the biggest reasons is because of all of the readily available produce. I love fruits and vegetables, and while I’m not a vegetarian, I definitely have more interest in produce than some. It’s something I regularly incorporate into my diet and into my partner’s as well, fortunately we both enjoy fruits and vegetables. Today I stopped in at one of my favorite food stores, a grocery store that is kind of like an indoor farmer’s market. It’s open all year and not only do they have great prices on produce, their produce is often better than what I see at many other grocery stores. It always makes me feel good to go there and I find it exciting and satisfying to fill up my refrigerator with lots of different fruits and vegetables.

Even though there are many baked/cooked dishes you can make with vegetables, and lots you can do with fruits, you still have to have a good source for them and you have to buy them. There’s definitely such a thing as seasonal produce, and living in a place that can have freezing temperatures throughout as many as 6 months per year means that if it were up to the location I live in I’d be eating canned (from a can at the store or homemade in mason jars) fruits and vegetables, or I’d have to have a greenhouse. But thanks to all of the sharing we do as a country and world, I’m able to have fresh (and tasty) strawberries, zucchini and peppers in February almost as conveniently as I do in the warm months.

As I was washing off some strawberries tonight I was reminded how thankful and blessed I am and we are. We’re able to tap into resources and people around the world to make our lives better and the future better for the next generation. I’m also thankful that God created the variety of produce that He did and as a result we’re able to have a choice in what we eat. It also feels good to eat foods that are good for the body that God has entrusted me with.

I know it may sound simple or silly to be thankful for strawberries in February, but why would God have taken the time to create each thing He did in the Garden of Eden if He didn’t want us to appreciate, enjoy or have a healthy respect for it? This week I would encourage you to open eyes to all that God has created, and appreciate the abundance He has given you.

Rebuilding or Repairing?

Today’s inspiration comes from a quote I read earlier this week from Richard Whately: “…that it is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.”

In my life I’ve done a lot of rebuilding-sometimes because I didn’t make the right decision, and sometimes because I made the right decision, but it was just the more difficult road. If you think about the number of marriages that end in divorce, those couples have gotten past the point of timely repair, to where they can’t even rebuild their lives, or they choose not to.

What can we each do that will help us spend more time enjoying life and less time rebuilding? Let’s start with families and significant others. The most important thing to do is communicate. Don’t worry so much how they will react to your honesty, just be honest. Second, make the effort to spend time together as a family, and have date night-just you and your partner- at least once a month.

In our jobs and careers there are things we can do as well. Start with admitting to yourself if you’ve outstayed your capabilities or passion. If you can’t do your job well anymore, it’s beyond time for a change. Maybe it’s a change within the company or in what you do, but still a change.

Personally there’s some daily work to be done as well. If you can’t remember the last time you ate something truly delicious, took a walk in nature, did or read something spiritual and wholesome, did something that only you like doing (a hobby perhaps), or went to bed early because you wanted to, you’ve got to quickly make some repairs-you’re heading for burnout.

This week I encourage you to look at your life. Are you heading down a steep hill towards rebuilding, or are there some repairs you can do starting today to put the brakes on your fall?

5 Tips for Having a Great Day

Today I thought I’d share 5 things you can do to have a great day, or at least give your day a better chance than usual at being great.

1-wear something you feel good in. Obviously, for some this has to be work appropriate, but work attire has changed dramatically over the past decade and even in the more conservative industries there are still lots of ways you can wear something you feel good, confident, comfortable and maybe even sexy in but still fit the company dress code.

2-pack snacks. I looked in my bag the other day and discovered I was out of snacks and was extremely disappointed. I make it a point to always have a granola bar of some kind or trail mix in my bag, in addition to whatever snacks I pack in a separate to take with me on my adventures that day. If you bring the snacks, you control what you eat and that’s not just about eating healthy, it’s about eating happy too.

3-have your favorite drink. Is there a type of tea or coffee or juice that you keep for special occasions? Starting your day with that is a great way to remind yourself how special you are and that your day ahead is worth enjoying.

4-watch a cute animal video. Yes, I totally went there. One of the first things I do is not check my email or the news when I get to my computer, but rather to stop in and see what’s new on my favorite Explore cameras or the latest pet videos on Care2 or the latest cute selections on YouTube. The emails and (bad) news will still be there after I’ve had a smile or two.

5-tell your partner you love them. Maybe it’s a text because they leave before you get up or a quick call while you’re both driving in to work (hands free of course) or maybe even a note on your pillow or by the coffee pot for them. Starting off the day expressing love is always better than starting with a fight.

What are your secrets for setting your day up for success?

Passion: Present and Future

As we finish out last month’s talk on health, I want to talk about something that is sometimes necessary: starting over.  I was thinking about finishing September and getting one step closer to the end of this year and the start of a new one and I was reminded that sometimes you have to keep trying things to see where you fit in throughout your life.  What worked for you as a younger person may not work for you as an adult at this stage of your life, and what works now may not work for you in a few years.

As I was thinking about this I heard more about the phenom that is Tim Tebow.  If you’re not familiar with him, he was a college football star. He won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore and continued his record setting career through the rest of his college years.  He spent a few years playing Pro football, having a few very successful (some would say lucky) plays and games, but ultimately retired in 2012.  He went on to do some broadcasting, but decided it wasn’t the right fit for him and moved to pro baseball in 2016 to quite a few heckles and jeers, but managed to hit a home run on his first at bat.

What interests me about the transitions he’s done in his life is that he keeps trying.  He was a fantastic college football player, but as it sometimes happens he wasn’t built for pro football.  Many people after they finish their pro career go to broadcasting or some related sports non-activity, which he tried.  But for some just being near something isn’t enough, they have to be truly immersed in it, as seems to be true for Tebow.

I would say the message here is two-fold.  First, that you should never give up on your passions.  Second, that you may have to keep trying and reinventing to get to your best.  Don’t give up because past success isn’t working in the present, instead, pick yourself up and try something else.

Reality Reflection: Your Great Ideas

When was the last time you had a great idea?  Maybe it wasn’t cure AIDS or world peace great but great in it’s own context.  It could be something as simple as a great idea for dinner, or a bigger breakthrough idea for a client or at work.  Great ideas don’t have to be complicated or multi-stepped, though sometimes they are, these little bursts of insight are your mind’s way of showing you that you’re smart and capable and brilliant.  Sometimes they come immediately while other times your brain has to work through things for a bit before it can spit out greatness.

Why do I bring this up? Because as we get to the end of this month and consider what’s next I wanted to make sure we talked about mental health, including confidence.  Our minds are amazing creations that keep us going, that grow if we feed them and are essential to living.  Think about the term ‘brain dead’: without brain activity there’s nothing we can do without the help of modern medicine, but if we were to lose an arm or leg or are scarred in some other way, we could still function and even have an amazing life should we choose.

So what choices have you made thus far in your life?  Have you chosen to believe that you are capable of having good ideas and that you’re an amazing and talented person or are you just focused on the voices of others who have told you you’re not good enough or that the ideas you’ve come up with are stupid?  Now I’m not saying we all only have amazing ideas and none of your ideas were ever bad or silly, just that you are fully capable of having great, life-changing ideas that can not only rock your world but others’ as well.  Some people choose to use their minds for bad things, and you may choose that as well, but I believe it’s better to use our minds for the good of ourselves and others, rather than for harm.

My encouragement today is that you believe great things about yourself and your future, because you are worth an amazing future that allows you to show off a little who you are and what you can do, is filled with great people who love you and you’re working on achieving your big dreams and goals by overcoming the challenges and obstacles you face and coming up with new great ideas every day.