When my journalist sister had to take a day off because of a flu, we had to strap her to her bed. (Metaphorically, of course. We’re not monsters.) But then the next day? She’s back to work. Reasoning out that there are a lot of news that needs to be written that day. That she won’t be productive if she’s stuck in bed.
And you know what, I was SO mad.
Sure, productivity is important. I know this. You know this. Everyone and their mom and tita knows this. But this is not how productivity should go.
Despite our growing awareness on the importance of relaxing, there’s no denying the hustle culture is still ever-present. And I’m all for this yo! I am an avid supporter of hard work makes the dream work. I am pro- rolling up the sleeves and doing the job wholeheartedly and getting things done. Possibly even singing “Dig dig dig” like the Seven Dwarves.
My problem is that this can, and eventually will, go too far.
And usually when things go too far… No one’s happy.
Not you, not your friends and family, and definitely not the Seven Dwarves. Not even Happy. And I honestly don’t think self-improvement works that way.
See, here’s the thing: there will always be work waiting for you.
Work is almost as ever-present as humidity in the tropics, or ice in Antarctica. Work doesn’t give a single cent if it’s raining cats or dogs. It doesn’t care if the bees go extinct. And it certainly doesn’t care if you’re already hacking your lungs out. It’s still going to be there, regardless. So are you really going to compromise your health for that? Actually, are you really going to compromise your health for anything?
Which is why taking care of every aspect of your well-being is important in the long run. You cannot compromise your health for productivity, or anything else for that matter.
Your body is your long-term investment. And so you have to make every aspect of your well-being a priority. This is one of the few things in the universe that you absolutely cannot compromise.
Deliberately Choose to Live a Healthy Lifestyle
As early as first grade, we were all taught that greens are good and too much Coke isn’t. But let’s be honest here, that’s an easy concept to understand but very difficult to apply in your lifestyle.
It could start small like, say, making yourself eat veggies a meal a day. Or having yourself dropped off a block from where you should go so you could walk the rest of the way.
And I’m not saying you can’t eat pizza and cake or take afternoon naps anymore. You totally could! My comfort food is chocolate-coated marshmallow. I can devour a dozen of those in one sitting. But I try not to because I know my teeth won’t ever forgive me. Still, I indulge myself with two or three and move along.
Listen to Your Body
Our bodies are not shy beans. It’s either completely outspoken or passive-aggressive. But if it has some issues, it WILL tell you, one way or another. The key here is to listen to your own body.
Sometimes, it can be pretty easy to know what our body wants. But there are definitely times when we’re too caught up with our own thoughts to take notice of what our own body is screaming at us.
I find that mindfulness helps here. Pause for a moment and do a quick mental check up on your body. Feel where the tensions are and which part hurts or feels heavy. Notice things you feel regularly or frequently.
Get Adequate Sleep
Sleep, like eating veggies and exercise, greatly affects our physical and mental health. But when we’re extremely busy or stressed, most of us wouldn’t hesitate to give it up and trade it for more time.
Every individual has their own sleeping schedules that work for them. Find your own Goldilock zone. There’s much more meaningful tasks you can achieve in a day when you have enough sleep than when you don’t. So really, to be productive means to have enough sleep in a day. Now that’s how personal development works!
Nurture Healthy Relationships and Wonderful Connections
We’re social beings, us humans. We crave relationships and having a connection with other people. Even twelve-year-old Kate in her goth/emo phase.
You can build new connections by joining in a group or a local organization that piques your interest. This can create a sense of belonging and also boost our self-confidence.
And while having acquaintances are great, knowing that you also have a close set of friends who are your awesome support system greatly helps in our physical and mental well-being too.
That said, if a relationship is not building you up and makes you feel sad instead, you have to pluck it out. Take that toxic relationship out of your life like tooth decay.
Take Some Time to do Things You Enjoy
Every time I feel stressed and overwhelmed with college or life in general, I work on an art project or write a draft for a blog post. And I always feel recharged afterwards. Seriously, every-freakin-time.
Having hobbies is incredibly important. You’ll not only get your mind off school or work for a while, but once you go back, your mind and body will be well-rested and super ready to tackle whatever work you need to do.
How do you prioritize your physical, mental and emotional well-being? Share your awesome insights in the comments below!