We aren’t designed to live the way we do. In fact, until the invention of the train, man lived at an average pace of three miles per hour. For all of our existence, man (woman) walked and for some, a horse could carry them faster and further. But even the horse had a limitation of speed and distance.
Today, we live far beyond our natural limitations of the pace of life and capacity. In our machine age, we pretend we too are machines capable of limitless output.
Last week I found this poster on 10 easy ways to take a break (at work).
1) Take deep breaths
5) Go for a walk
6) Eat away from your desk
They are brilliant tactics. They are tactics that help us attempt to manage the insanity of our lives. Instead of treating the symptoms, stress, and anxiety, we need to address the cause. We are trying to do live in a way that no one in the history of the planet has every attempted-live as we do.
We’re not made to sustain our pace of life, the pressure and demands, the always on-always available-always responding-always connected to culture and 51.2 weeks each year of ten-twelve hour workdays. The results aren’t great; the US is the most heavily medicated country for depression and anxiety in the world. We consumer more, earn more, do more, commit to more, run harder, produce more and throw away more than any society in humankind.
Maybe we need a different solution?
Here’s my proposal for 10 sustainable ways to live our lives
1) Take four to six weeks of vacation each year (unpaid if necessary).
2) Spend 30–60 minutes each day in self-care.
3) Sleep 7–8+ hours each night.
4) Reduce your consumption and quest for buying more stuff.
5) Go outside every day for 15 minutes.
6) Share a meal with a friend or family every week.
7) Pause to write one line in your journal daily about your life, insights, experiences, and gratitude.
8) Say No to obligations that suck the life from you.
9) Measure wealth by the quality of your interactions, experiences, and relationships.
10) Move your body and use it every day. Yoga, swim, run, hike, walk to the mailbox, to get the kids at a friends house, ride a bike, walk a path, visit a park, take the steps, and find the furthest away parking spot.