Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What Happened to the Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer?

Ahh, summer is just around the corner. It's June and the warmer weather is finally here. The flowers are in bloom, the kids are either out of school or counting the days, and you are ready to enjoy your vacation. Summer is the time to relax, let go, and enjoy the fruits of our labor. Or is it?

With every electronic device imaginable, we are in constant communication 24/7. According to recent studies, we check our messages no less than every 6 minutes. Are you that important, are you on call, or is it that you have this NEED to be needed?  We are on information overload!

We have lost our ability to just shut down. I had a conversation with someone who was telling me how stressed she was and that she needed to decompress. I suggested a warm bath, some candles, maybe a glass of wine, and some relaxing music. She called me to tell me that she had everything in place and was ready to go. Realistically speaking ,we shouldn't have to prepare days ahead to take a relaxing bath. Most of us have at least one bathtub, some candles laying around, and of course our music. But the one thing that she insisted on bringing into the bath with her was her phone. She couldn't be unplugged from the outside world for 30 minutes without feeling serious anxiety. She said " What if something happens and I miss  the call?" I asked her if she had Voice Mail  and she laughed. The idea of being 'unplugged' from the world for only 30 minutes was a scary thought for her. She did it, and after a few minutes and a couple of sips of wine, she was able to just enjoy or live In-Joy for the moment. The realization that she could actually turn off her phone and survive, which sounds silly, but very real for her, was a victory. Now she schedules weekly decompression sessions with herself, without the phone. Even when we are supposedly not working, we are still available.
Cells phones have become the new accessory and all you have to do is look at a restaurant. More people are having a relationship with their phone, than the person sitting beside them.

Our bosses now how the ability to contact us via text messages, phone calls and emails anytime they want. How is that a break from the workplace? It isn't like you can just say " I wasn't home to get the call". We carry our phones with us everywhere. I even have heard women having a conversation in the bathroom at an airport the other day.

There was a study done in 1987 by the Dept. of Labor collecting statistics on the number of deaths by overworking. There is term for it. It is called -karoshi. In Japan the average work day is about 12 hours, and you are considered a good corporate soldier if you don't take vacations, sick days, and work over time. Some employees capped out at over 95 hours of work each week. This is the norm, and tens of thousands of Japanese citizens are dying each years from overwork and it was going unnoticed.  But why should we be concerned about that, after all, it's in Japan. Well, it's not only the Japanese who are dying from overworked conditions. Oxford Health Plan found that one in five Americans come to work sick, injured, or on medication prescribed that day. As far as vacation is concerned, over a third of U.S.  employees don't take their paid vacations which averages 14 days, compared to 26 days for the British, 37 for the French. In addition to that, the U.S. is the only country  that doesn't mandate vacation. Why are we so afraid to leave our desks? Do you think someone else will do a better job? Will your position be gone when you get back? Even on the beaches of California, I saw a good number of people with their laptops, working diligently instead of joining their family for some fun in the sun.

In fact, there is a 12 step program called Workaholics Anonymous, to help with all the stressors. Our body is bombarded with stress hormones all day long and eventually it's going to break down. It may start out as a minor inconvenience like a stress headache, or tight shoulders, but if we don't pay attention, the whisper will eventually become a scream for help. The inconveniences become illnesses like cancer, strokes, or heart attacks because we aren't LISTENING to our body. By ignoring our inner intelligence, we are dis-empowering ourselves, and not honoring our spirit.

Instead of going to the doctors office for a prescription, wouldn't it be great if they prescribed doing the work that you love as treatment for your illness. Finding a career that fulfills you , could possibly prevent or reverse the issues going on within your body. And this applies to the people that you surround yourself with as well. Are you being sucked dry by Energy Vampires?

Here's a secret. You teach people how to treat you, so you need to re-train them. Stand in your power,
not from an egotistical perspective, but out of love for yourself and your spirit.

I'm not talking about just walking away from your job if you can't financially do it right now, but start researching what you would love to do. If you could wake up every morning excited about work, what would that look like? Find an outlet for your creativity, and release it. Its all about you and making your soul happy. I love to dance around my family room, with the music blaring and singing at the top of my lungs. If you saw me you would double over in laughter ( and that is healing as well) but for me, its therapeutic. I am a pretty good dancer, and a terrible singer, but here's the thing, WHO CARES?

Honor who you are, you are loved, and when you are able to love yourself, you can give love to others without expectations. After all, love is the only imprint we leave when we depart this world. Nothing more.

So dance, sing, ask you spirit what it needs, and most of all LISTEN to the whispers.

Until next time~