Perfectionsim. It’s the antidote to happiness. It’s best friends with comparison. It’s all too common amongst both women & men. Most of my clients, but also many of my friends, spend their days striving for perfectionism.
I’m a recovering perfectionist. Just the other day I caught myself explaining that I’m not perfect at being imperfect – what a “perfect” oxymoron!! Old habits are hard to break & sometimes I find myself slumping back into modes where I’m striving for something that isn’t serving me, but for the most part I’m less concerned with this elusive thing we label “perfection”.
I’ve had countless people “admit” their perfectionist traits to me recently & I’ve noticed some common trends.
1. It seems to be something people are ashamed of but don’t know how to recover from.
2. It is deeply connected to comparison, particularly in a consumer society that spends so much time on social media.
3. It is closely intertwined with perception. Our perception of ourselves, our perception of others & even how we think others will perceive us! Read on…
Sleep. Is there anything more important? I’m quickly, well maybe slowly, discovering that I actually think sleep is the most important ingredient to overall wellbeing… or an equal first with breathing & meditation. Yes, more important that food & exercise.
During our sleep our bodies rest, repair & rejuvenate. Quality, restful sleep results in increased memory & cognitive function, improved immunity & digestive function, enhanced physical & emotional resilience, better mood & hormone function. Literally everything improves with restorative sleep.
When we don’t sleep well it impacts many aspects of life. From my own experience and working with clients some common side effects of not getting enough good quality sleep are – low tolerance levels, higher stress levels, poor food choices & longer recovery after workouts (particularly high intensity cardio or weights) or skipping workouts due to lack of energy all which also often leads to lower self-esteem. And hence, particularly in the early stages of a reset, sleep is of equal or greater importance to food & exercise because it has such a huge impact on the choices we make in these areas of our life.
Stress is another interesting one – it’s a chicken & egg situation. Stress increases our cortisol & other hormones which negatively impact our body’s ability to wind down & rest, therefore leading to lower quality sleep, which leads to irritability & low resilience causing greater stress, and so the cycle goes.
So how much do we really need? Research suggests a range of guidelines & everyone is different, but the recommendation is approximately 7-9 hours per night. Arianna Huffington has a new book on sleep – The Sleep Revolution – she suggests starting with 30 minutes extra per night. I think this is a great way to be realistic – if you’re getting 5 hours now it’s going to be a challenge to go straight to 8, but if you get an extra half an hour, the improvements will hopefully inspire you to keep adding slowly to your sleep bank. Creating a night time routine is a great way to increase the amount & improve the quality of sleep. A healthy night routine involves eating at least 2 hours before bed, limited technology & no technology 1 hour before bed, dimming the lights or just using lamps or candles & breathing or meditation.
I’m committing to 8 hours every single night this week even if that means skipping an early morning workout. Could you change just one thing this week to help improve your sleep & see how it impacts other areas of your life?
I’m a summer-kind-of-girl. The clocks turning back to end daylight saving is my reminder that the season of cold is coming. I know I’m not alone, and this is in Sydney where it barely gets in the single digits! So as days at the beach become rare & the long sleeves appear it’s easy to get a bit demotivated & nostalgic for sand & salt.
I don’t remember having the same hesitations as a child. Back then winter was a time to get the raincoat on & play in the puddles. Fun was had no matter what season. I think it’s time to update the mindset & embrace winter for what it is – cozy & an opportunity to enjoy some downtime without feeling like your missing out on the sunshine.
Recently I read a blog over at Darling which resonated with me & was on this very theme (link at bottom). Apparently there is a Danish word – Hygge – similar to cozy and according to the Danes it’s “a sense of warmth, of togetherness, of intimacy and wellbeing.” I love this! It puts a whole new spin on winter – almost makes it irresistible!
So this year instead of wishing winter be over, lets embrace it. I’m going to enjoy every moment of curling up by a fire with a hot cup of tea or glass of red wine, initiate dinner parties at home full of vibrant conversation with friends and bounce out of bed for a walk in the crisp winter air.
Are you ready to embrace winter too?