Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Double Agent

When your mind tells you one thing and your body tells you something different, which one do you listen to? When is it okay to take a break? And when should you just suck it up? There is a fine line between these decisions, and it's hard to determine which will serve you best. It's the double agent inside of you, and sometimes it's hard to tell who it's working for.

There are some common examples of this dilemma existing in us all. Sometimes these feelings can cause emotional stress which can eventually lead to physical stress. This makes it all the more important to have a strong strategy.

Social invitations: You get a call from a close friend who wants to get together mid week for dinner and drinks. But your work schedule has been increasingly demanding lately, and you could use a night in. Should you say no and risk going another week without seeing your dear friend, or should you say yes and risk feeling tired and run down? This is a tough call, and one which I struggle with on a weekly basis. What I've learned is that your friends will understand if you need some "me time," but your body will not forgive you for stretching it thin. My advice for this type of situation is to compromise! One week, maybe you decide to lay low while the following week you agree to go out, but you take it easy on the drinks and head home in time for 7 or 8 hours of sound sleep.

Extra work or Commitments: It's Friday and your boss asks if you're available to volunteer at an event the next morning. Typically, you're all for participating and being a team player. But this week, you are really looking forward to your Saturday plans to catch up on some reading and go to a much needed yoga class. Or maybe you don't have plans, but you've been feeling a little crunched lately and could use a day for yourself. In my opinion, it's okay to say no sometimes (especially in these types of circumstances). Saying something like, "I'm open to doing this at a later date, but unfortunately, I'm booked this weekend," is perfectly acceptable. And then next time you're asked to take on an extra task, you can go for it!

Rest vs. Working out: If you're anything like me, this is a daily struggle. But we have to face the facts: There are some days when exercise will leave you feeling energized and invigorated, and there are others when it will make you feel, well, exhausted. It's extremely difficult to determine what kind of day it is, and sometimes you'll skip the gym and wish you didn't or you'll go to the gym, get on the treadmill and think to yourself, "I need my bed." The best thing to do in this scenario is to quiet your mind for a moment and listen to your body. With a little practice, you'll start hearing it louder and clearer each time, and eventually, you're body awareness will kick in and this decision will be easier to make.

These are only three examples of daily conundrums. Additional issues include the procrastination of all other daily tasks which take precious time. The most important thing to remember is you're not alone. With a little mindfulness, you'll have no question about whether that double agent is working for you or against you.

What mindful strategies do you practice to avoid self espionage?

Be well, and enjoy the day!

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