Eight weeks ago, when inspired by Dave Ursillo to write this post, I thought about sharing a couple of exercises you could do every day to get a better feeling for your money.
But then I had a total shut down of my body, my mind, even my soul. There was either “on” – staying in motion somehow – or “off” – fall asleep instantly. But there was no fun, no joy, no concentration, no inner peace. I always ask my clients: „Who is the most important person in your life.” And yet, over the last couple of months I somehow forgot the answer to this question: “Me.” You see, if you don’t take good care of yourself, you cannot take good care of anything else. And even the smallest exercise to strengthen your relationship with money (or other people, your work etc.) will drain you and make matters even worse.
That’s why today I say, the daily practice starts with something totally different than I thought. Not with little exercises for your money. But with little exercises for the balance in our life.
When I felt so low, I remembered the talk Dr. Carolyn Eddlestone, TCM practicioner from the UK, gave at the ALIVE conference in Berlin. About the principle of Yin and Yang in Traditional Chinese Medicin. About the opposites in life we need to keep the balance. Light and dark. Warm and cold. Work and rest. And I remembered the exercise her teacher gave her when she first started studying TCM:
For one week, write down in how many Yin and how many Yang activities you engage every day. How does the balance look at the end of the week?
Yin: all calm, reflecting, peaceful activities. A lunch break in the sun. Yoga. Long walks in nature. Sitting down for a nice dinner. Thai Chi. Massages. Sleep. Everything that relaxes body, mind and soul.
Yang: all activities that include lots of energy or mental processing. Thinking, talking, work out, meeting with friends, working, surfing the internet, e-mails/texts/chats. In short, everything that activates body, mind and spirit.
My balance was totally out of whack. 90% of my days consisted of Yang activities: working, thinking about my life and the people in my life, household chores, taking care of my two dogs, reshaping my garden, developing new programs, grocery shopping, cooking, trying to lose four pounds … I was much to agitated to sit down and read for an hour or watch a movie. And even at night I did not stop working, instead I had the wildest dreams and woke up in the morning feeling even more tired and drained than the night before.
How did I leave this viscious circle? (And what does it have to do with money???)
Since as a freelance I could not give me a sick note, I re-arranged my daily routine.
- I got up an hour later than usual.
- I reminded myself several times a day to breathe – not shallow and strained, but deep and relaxing.
- I changed my diet to three meals and two snacks a day and took my time for eating – sitting on the porch, reading a book or a magazine …
- I kept my mornings appointment free, since I realized that this is the time I work best; in the afternoon my concentration wanes way faster.
- Working at the weekends was taboo – which was very difficult for me, which proofs that it was necessary. The first Saturday I ran around like a headless chicken, because I was too restless to concentrate for longer than ten minutes or to even just sit somewhere doing nothing. But it got better from week to week.
- I reduced my tiny work out even more (when you don’t feel exhausted it is exactly enough).
- Most days the dogs got two small walks instead of one big one.
- I went to acupuncture twice a week and allowed myself to take a nap for half an hour while there.
- I took care of me – everyday a little more.
- And I postponed my plan to lose four pounds until later.
Now it gets interesting: Although the acupuncture alone cost more than a small vacation, it does not show on my bank account. Because even though I took more breaks and naps and spent less time working, I managed to finish all my projects in time – or even faster. We always thing the more we work the more we get done, but that is not true. Without little islands of rest and relaxation we soon won’t get done anything anymore.
Luckily it is not always as bad as it was for me this time. But even a less severe imbalance can hinder the energy in your life to flow freely. Which also affects the energy in form of money. So how does your life look like? How balanced are you?