By Dr. Pete Sulack
Inside The Pew
Most of us at some point feel as though we’re caught in a never-ending circle of chaos, thus propelling poor nutrition choices and creating an overall lack of motivation to make healthy lifestyle changes. For some, it’s now harder than ever to find ways to clear the schedule, make healthier meals, and just slow down.
Being too busy and over-scheduled is a real challenge when it comes to making changes of any kind – especially changes that involve food. In our fast-paced society with an instant gratification mentality, we are not mindful of our food. We value efficiency, ease, and low cost more than the actual experience of enjoying what we put into our bodies.
In his book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown doesn’t specifically address food, but is on target about the groundswell popularity of mindfulness. From the nap pods and yoga classes to meditation rooms and organic food delivery popping up in offices, businesses are realizing that slowing down is good for both employee and the bottom line.
With the infiltration of technology designed to make our lives simpler, why did we end up busier than ever? According to McKeown, the smartphone, social media and extreme consumerism have fueled the ‘busy-ness bubble’. For the first time in the history of the world, we are aware of what everyone else is doing, eating, reading and buying – and believe we should be keeping up with it all.
For most, being busy equates to being important and successful. However, successful people manage their eating, exercise, and overall health. If we can’t seem to find the time to manage what God has called His temple, our bodies, then we cannot say we are truly successful. Changing any habit – especially lifelong habits of eating – requires mindfulness. We must pay attention, and that means slowing down.
Learn to say “no.” It’s OK to say no to your boss, kids, neighbors or church to ensure you are not over-extending yourself. As a starting point, give yourself permission to say “no” to committing your time at least once a month.
Set aside technology-free time at home. Ever notice how slowly things go when the power is out? We’ve become so dependent on the stimulation we receive from our technology and media sources that we never have the ability to truly wind down. Turn off phones, tablets and computers for an evening and connect with your spouse, children or a friend – or use the time to spend with God in a devotional.
Don’t take on a new activity without getting rid of an old activity. We only have 168 hours in each week, and 24 hours in each day. You can’t do everything. Get rid of existing activities before you sign up (or your kids sign up) for new activities.
Dr. Pete Sulack is a Stress expert, writer and speaker. He is the author of “Fellowshipping with God’s Voice” as well as the founder of Matthew 10 Ministries and Unhealthy Anonymous – a wellness support program that provides tools for healthier living.