How are you doing, Gary?
Updated: Oct 23, 2021
I've had to take some time out from work and competitive sport. Let me explain why.
In his book, "Mental Fitness", Dr Paul Wood (my Son-In-Law) explains how to build your mind for strength and resilience. Stress is good for the Mind and Body, but it must be delivered in carefully measured dollops like a well-structured physical conditioning programme. Pressure is good for us, but there is always a point where it becomes too much of a good thing!
In my opinion, Paul's book is essential reading for everyone these days.
Physical and mental stress breaks us down a little. However, as Paul explains, when followed with the right amount of rest, supported with good nutrition, we respond by growing more resilient. On the other hand, if stress comes at us from all over the place and without time for rest and recovery, our physical and mental breakdown is inevitable.
On pages67-69 of his book, Paul has a chart of stressors and their scoring by severity: the more points you get, the more likely you will become ill. For example, the death of a spouse is highest at 100 points then, in descending order, divorce, marital separation, jail, death of a close family member, and even getting married. Retirement is worth 45 points, and that is what I've been aiming for - you get the idea! If you get more than 300 points, there is an 80% chance that you will break down within the next year or two. Most of these may not be too bad and may represent times of growth; however, not too many all at once; thank you very much.
When I go through Paul's list of stressors while thinking about the madness going on in this world since the beginning of 2020, I would not be surprised if everyone, including myself, scores 300 or more! Two years are up, and the illnesses are now showing. We can't cope with the volume of emails and calls for help. So much for retirement. The stress levels for everyone are high, including for us, and there is no place to hide.
If anyone understands about stress and how to handle it, it has to be Paul. If you have not read his first best-seller, you must do. It is a riveting read. I'll even get him to autograph your copy when you buy either or both of his books off us. How is that for a deal?
When you read these books you will realise that Paul and I share similar ideas and approaches. That might be the result of the long runs we have been doing together around the challenging Karori Sanctuary fence trail. Although Paul is a heavy-breather during these runs, we do have interesting conversations!
The mass rollout of a vaccine is not helping either. It is not helping because the people enthusiastically promoting this vaccine give promises of salvation while I receive calls for help from people who believe it has hurt them, some seriously. Some people are coming to us seeking help because they are not getting adequate assistance medically. Instead, medically, there appears to be a blanket denial of harm, with most cases that come my way (all of them, actually) dismissed as coincidental to the jab.
It does not help that there has been no meaningful health advice coming from the Government and its advisers. I can only do so much and I am not a doctor.
How do I know I have hit a wall? Well, for starters, my biometrics such as sleep quality, resting heart rate and heart rate variability have all declined. I've also noticed that I'm getting exhausted during the day, my voice weakens, my brain says it can't handle the onslaught, and I'm getting grumpy. Yep, I am fit and healthy but the signs of burnout are now apparent after 20 years of a dream run. The key to long term health is to be proactive which I'm doing.
So, what am I doing to relieve the pressure? How we reduce declutter to reduce the stress on myself and my partner, Alofa, is a headache in itself because we are in a state of national crisis, and so many people already rely on us for advice and guidance. Shutting up shop and going into hiding is not an option. So, here is what we are doing, still inadequate these may be:
We are taking more frequent short breaks, such as long weekends, to get away from it all.
I'll be participating in fewer sporting competitions and doing more recreational stuff with Alofa.
We are focussing on paying clients and will ignore casual inquiries or calls for unpaid help.
We are reducing taking on new business.
I'm saying "no!" more often.
I'm unsubscribing to most newsletters and deleting more things without reading them.
I'm still posting on social media but not commenting and limiting visits to a couple of times a week.
I'm writing more self-help articles.
I'm producing more packaged solutions for health issues, such as this one.
How can you declutter your life and do things better in terms of health?
Right now, we have a backlog of work that we are doing our best to clear. Please bear with us if you are one of the people affected by this. Adding to the backlog, our wholesalers have serious supply chain problems fulfilling our orders for products. We do not know what is in stock from one day to the next, and costs are skyrocketing. Few orders go smoothly these days since we must go back and forth, waiting for stuff to turn up or swapping and changing things to ensure we do the best for everyone. On top of this, courier firms are not coping with the increased volume caused by lockdowns and now prioritise perishable food bags. These disruptions are costly, time-consuming and sometimes confusing.
So, please bear with us; Alofa and I are here for the long game. We are not going anywhere.