Day 27: Gluten Hangover

Wow, I woke up with a bit of a heavy head today as I broke my eating late at night rule after a few beers in the evening. In my mind, it was not extreme and the whole idea behind Balance is that I am also allowed to break away from my focused diet. One of the food groups that I have had very little of in the past few weeks has been gluten as I have not really eaten bread and drank beer. Throughout the years I have done elimination diets and sometimes question if I have a slight intolerance. I am not jumping on the Gluten-free bandwagon, as I am not sure I could ever live without bread on occasion. However, I did feel a bit sluggish this morning and it made me think more carefully about my diet. One is everything in moderation and two, is all about timing. Victoria our Balance Nutritionist did discuss this with me and how the body needs to break this down and hence it impacts on ones ability to sleep properly. So that even though that late night pizza with extra pepperoni and cheese tasted great at the time – my body had to work hard at it while my mind just wanted to relax and ZZZ. Linking this to employee engagement and organisational change is the importance of timing and when is the best opportunity to introduce new layers to the transformation strategy. People need time to adjust to change and if thrust upon them at the wrong time or it too great a quantity they too can suffer their own version of my gluten hangover. We all have a slight intolerance to change but when delivered well and with clear rationale and participation then it can be made less extreme and without the heavy side effects. Back to my late night pizza for a minute as the other factor that needs to be considered was that I had not eaten since lunch so I was extremely hungry and consumed more that I should have. The Mind said more whilst the Body said enough is enough and I cannot take any more. This is the balance between senior leadership’s drive for change and the front line’s ability to manage it in real-time. They both often work on different priorities and timelines and when senior managers delay delay delay and then push push push it can overwhelm and unbalance the team that will be impacted most by the changes.

Mantra: Be kind to my body.

Day 14: Bad Habits Die Hard

Today was a little bit of a slow day and something that I needed to own. Of course, we need to have some downtime time however what I have started to recognise in myself is just how destructive I have been to all three of my zones of mind, body and spirit. When left unmanaged I was not nourishing them appropriately and then one would have a knock on effect to the other, the balance between them lost. Falling back into my poor diet habits of just not to eating clearly sent my body into shock as it was enjoying its new diet. This is surprising as I have been feeling great after eating breakfast and a healthy lunch and a balanced dinner and today I did not eat until early evening(if that is what you’d call it), as I consumed two pieces of toast with cheese just before bed. Having explored my diet with Victoria this was one bad habit that I fell back on and the result was clearly not great for my motivation or my sleep. However, this time was slightly different as I chose to consciously feel the effects on my body and mind and I could see a negative correlation. This has been a pattern that I have been doing over the last couple of years blind to the real impact that it was causing. In my first consultation with Victoria, we discussed the importance of nourishment and what the right food brings to the bodies and the impact it has on our wellness. From my perspective, I often fall into bad habits just at the brink of introducing a new one that would benefit me. The question I have been challenged with is – why? I have worked on several organisational transformation programmes and found the answer in the people and businesses that I have worked with over the years and those of which have been challenged by change. Even though the current environment is not benefiting us, it offers comfort in the fact that we know what we know and we know what we get. So often we will either stay in or return to this behaviour as we draw comfort from it. In many cases, we will extend our reach just far enough to get to the edge of our comfort zone and then return home. As a species, I guess this is something we have been doing since our hunter and gatherer days and the early formation of cultures and communities. This cycle just repeats itself whether it be a single individual or a company – reinforcing my point that businesses behave like humans because they are driven by humans. My advice to organisations that want to embark on any transformation is to ensure that you choose the leaders to manage the change carefully as it takes an inspirational leader that is not challenged by risk and has the resilience and open mind to drive it through to the end and beyond.

Mantra: Feed my spirit with the foods I eat.

Day 12: Pushing Buttons

It’s really hard to believe that we have now come to the end of week two and as I am looking back I must say that I believe that I am starting to make some small changes on various aspects of my own wellbeing and in that look forward to seeing how these connect to some of the bigger changes that I am looking to make in the world around me. Today I did my first body session with Martin and without question, it was not what I was expecting. I guess I had not appreciated just how much stress and various traumas I’ve been storing throughout my body and the impact this can have not only on its strength but on the way that I present myself. During the session, he worked with and on these stress points and muscle triggers and I can be clear, it was painful. However, it was also strange as the pain was greater in some areas than others and was more held by me than him applying excessive pressure. I did feel lighter and more open in both mind and body after the session and can start to see how all three of these areas (Mind, Body, Spirit) are so interwoven. That is not to say I am any closer to figuring this stuff out yet. At 51 I feel that I have to relearn so much after the last few years when I really stopped paying attention to my own wellbeing. The old analogy no pain no gain has some purpose here however I do appreciate that pain is not the point of this challenge. As I write this and continue to reflect back on the session with Martin as it has left me with a sense of calm. Also with a sense of confusion as it has seemingly released some deeper unconscious energies that I am unsure of. I am really not sure how it all connects together but I can definitely feel that something is happening and areas of my body are finally feeling a little more relaxed and maybe some of the confusion is due to the fact that I’ve just got used to not feeling this way – relaxed.

Mantrakeep an open mind 

The Nature of Change

It is a reality most of us aren’t very good at handling significant change in our lives. We do a fine job with minor changes and usually handling them easily. It’s the big changes, like redundancy, ill health and divorce, which are often thrust upon us and have a greater impact on our lives that we struggle with. These demand incredible energy, determination and time to manage, get used to and accept and can even need the help of others to cope with.

‘A change is as good as a rest’ describes our ability to manage and even enjoy most changes for a short time simply because we know it’s limited. Make the change permanent and we can perceive life as being hard going, even overwhelming, mentally, emotionally and physically.

There is also a misguided belief that change is somehow an ‘optional extra’ in life. We can keep things ‘the same’, ignoring change if we want to, whilst at some level knowing life moves on and change is guaranteed. This internal conflict creates a tension within us that makes the idea of change in our lives something we are fearful, even terrified, of and try to avoid. We project into the future and live in a world of fearful outcomes. As Mark Twain said, “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened!” It’s no wonder many of us use lots of energy trying to keep things, everything, the same.

Change is an inevitability of life – like the sun rising, tides turning, death and taxes. It’s the scale of change, how it happens and your perception of change that is crucial to your overall wellbeing! Trying to ignore change is a fool’s errand.

Although it can be hard to cut old ties and leave behind the habits, places, and people you’ve become used and accustomed to, it’s always useful to remind yourself whilst familiarity is comforting it also breeds contempt and often for good reasons! Look at the life you are living now. Do you really want absolutely everything to stay the same? Are you certain all the things you are going to leave behind really that amazing and great?

We do like keeping things the same. Maybe we even love it. Stability is necessary for our survival. After all, part of the role of our ego is to protect us by keeping our patterns the same so we have the same results. The ‘what happened yesterday worked so let’s repeat it today’ approach. Too much of anything though is never good for us. We also need stimulation and challenge to thrive and grow otherwise we wither, become scared of new experiences and our world grows smaller and ever more fearful. Our comfort zone shrinks.

Isn’t it great news the ego can be fooled though and will quickly adopt new habits when you make the changes so that those new habits become the new safe zone to live your life from?

Despite some changes in your life being beyond your control and others within it, it’s how you see change and are able to respond to change that makes the difference to your life.

Along with change sometimes feeling overwhelming and taking time and effort to assimilate, it is also exciting, life-affirming and rewarding. It is an essential part of your life and how your comfort zone expands. By recognising the inevitability of change and embracing it you create the opportunities to experience life on your terms.

Like all new ways of seeing and experiencing the world, accepting and accommodating change as a natural part of the process of life takes time and effort. Getting used to enjoying the small changes of walking along a different street to work, buying your coffee from that new cafe that’s just opened or getting up ten minutes earlier than usual are places to start from. Your comfort zone grows and it’s at the edge of your comfort zone where the magic happens.

Time to change?

Martin Feaver, Contributor & Balance Team Expert
Martin is a Life-Coach and Therapist with over 30 years of experience, specialising in treating professionals through his unique philosophy of the Mind-Body Activation.

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