On Output and How it Relates to Stress in Your Life
I’d like to talk a little bit about output. It has been a hot topic in my life lately,
and it dawned on me that it may be something others experience as well.
When talking about health and fitness (as I do quite often here), I often talk about workouts, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, etc.
Of course, those are very important.
But mental health is also important. And workouts + what you’re eating are only a small piece of how you feel each day.
We all have “stuff”. I actually had a great conversation with my coach, Erik, about this today. He said “Life-stressors are a constant from adulthood to grave. You either control stress or stress controls you.”
He’s absolutely right.
And for the last year or so, I’ve let stress control me.
it’s all stress. And I’ve let it control me.
It’s been the reason (read: excuse) for all of my personal and professional goals that have gone awry.
That isn’t because the stress did it. It’s because I LET the stress do it. And possibly that I allowed TOO MUCH stress into my life, without getting rid of some of it along the way.
From the exterior, I have a really awesome life. And from the interior, maybe I should be able to recognize that more.
Here’s what it looks like from the outside:
- I wear workout clothes all day every day (yep, even to work)
- I have a cute, hilarious puppy
- I’m in a solid relationship
- I have an apartment in LA just a few miles from the beach
- I work from home most of the time, and when I do “go to work” it’s usually on my own clock
- I work out every day
- I eat well
- I make good money
- I have a wonderful family that I get to see fairly often
Seems like a pretty badass life right?
But nobody sees what goes on in my head.
Here’s what it looks like from my point of view:
- I work 1 full time job, and 4 part time jobs (yup, 4)
- I’m constantly pulled in 5 different directions (see above)
- On top of that, I have a relationship and dog to spend time with (which I LOVE, but fitting it in can be tricky at times)
- I have my own personal goals in regards to workouts and my physical appearance
- I have professional goals in terms of this blog and other business ventures
- When I fail or don’t live up to what I set for any of the above, I feel pressure and guilt
- Pressure, pressure, guilt, pressure, guilt.
And where does that leave me? Well to sum it up, I feel like a boiled chicken breast. Bland, soft, empty of all flavor.
I only have so much output, and I continue tapping out the supply day in and day out. I can’t get through the line of people waiting outside my door, so to speak. So eventually, I shut the door. And the week ends.
By the weekend, I just want to relax. I just want to shut everything off. I still see the line (aka the constant problem solving and “work” that goes on in my head), but I’ve got permission to ignore it, because it is the weekend.
By Sunday? I start to meltdown. Because Sunday means Monday is tomorrow.
And that means the 23849023 responsibilities I have are going to be waiting in line again. They won’t go away, they just wait in line until I get to them. The longer they wait, the louder and more rambunctious they get. Some of this loudness is caused by me, and the self-pressure I put on myself. Some of it is actually from those around me asking when, when, when. Do this, do this, do this.
And then I wonder why I’m burned out.
Can you relate?
Starting the Solution
My doctor made a very good point to me as well. She said “you can’t steal energy”. I asked her what she meant, and she said “if you drink a coffee, take a supplement, or drink an energy drink, you’re only stealing that energy from later in the day. You’re not gaining energy”. She is right. And since I tend to think about things a lot, I related this to my daily life.
To my output.
I only have 24 hours in a day.
I should sleep for at least 8 of those
Workout for 1 of them
Be with family for at least 2 of them
This leaves me with 13 hours.
13 hours to:
- get work done from 4 part time jobs and 1 full time job.
- Drive to and from some of these part time jobs
- Smell the damn roses
- Feed Oscar, take him outside, take him to the park so he can run.
- work on my personal and professional goals
- do something for FUN
I’m essentially trying to “steal output” and I can see clearly now why it’s not working.
I can’t add 2 hours (or 6 or 8 for that matter) into my day. I will only be stealing them from another part of the day.
And so I must make choices.
Where is my output best used?
What type of output do I most enjoy?
How much of it should be spent on each of these activities?
And so I start to create my Venn diagram:
-what makes me happy
-what am I good at
-what makes me $$$
And over the next few weeks, I will start to fill in this Venn diagram.
Because life is too short to be exhausted and mentally stressed.
And while stress will only rule it if you let it, sometimes change is necessary to stop it in it’s tracks.
This is where I’m stepping in.
Question of the Day
- When life gets tough, what do you do? How do you handle your stress?
- Have you ever felt that your output level was higher than your body/brain could handle?