The third metric to redefining success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder
by Arianna Huffington
image from Amazon.com
This was such a great book!
She is the Huffington from Huffington Posts. I looooove reading those, especially the mom one. She is the backbone of this great work. She's also a mother. She's a hard worker who fell down and was not well with herself after sleep deprivation and working way too hard for her own good.
This made her realize something. She had tons of money, smarts and resources. Yet she wasn't happy or fulfilled in many other important ways. She knew she had to change.
So she says it's utterly important to take care of our well-being, wisdom and wonder, and then we'll be successful. LOVE this spin on the age-old topic of success, where we typically think of money and fame and power. She thinks of other things.
This is a great book for colleagues and work places, but as a mother I found TONS of ideas in this book that make sense for parents as well. We, too, could be sleep deprived and working too hard for our own good. We need reminders of what's important also.
She quoted Iain Thomas,
"And every day the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, 'This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!' And each day, it's up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, 'No. This is what's important.'"
1. YOUR WELL-BEING...
GET YOUR ZZZZZS
Huffington wrote about how women oftentimes feel they have to push themselves harder, rarely sleep, work work work to get to the top like their male counterparts who seemingly get there easier. She said instead we NEED to be rested, taking care of ourselves in order to get our way to the top.
"By sleeping more we, in fact, become more competent and in control of our lives," she wrote, page 80. She said to "imagine what we can do when we're fully awake."
She said we need methods to tell our bodies to sleep, shut down, rest, put things away. Avoid TV, movies, technology, Facebook, etc. just before bed. I know I'm guilty of this. That seems to be my main time that I can zone out and scan things... it's relaxing to me. But she's saying - and studies prove - that it's something that keeps people awake, using technology before bed. We need to shut off the world in order to get full rest.
She suggested getting fancy silk comfy pajamas. Not just sweatpants and t-shirts like we work out in (something with high energy, not soothing and falling asleep clothing). That's a great start I think for those of you up all night with babies, get something comfy to sleep in that tells you it's time for sleep.
She also suggested making bed time like an appointment. Schedule it into your life. Make it happen. Figure out how many hours a night you need to function at your best. Is it 9? 8? 7? Whatever you find out, make it happen more nights than not in the week. As a new mom that could be rough... but as you get your child sleeping more, make your sleep priority. You focus better when well-rested.
Along with your well-being and sleep is moving your body. Exercise. Practice yoga. Stretch. Hike. Get outside. Do what you need to keep active. This also helps keep your mind sharp.
She also suggested doing 5 minutes daily of meditation. Sit quietly and breathe and think and be with yourself. I've never meditated but it sounds like just what we busy moms need... a time out so to speak. A minute to ourselves. I think even if you could manage a minute a day to be quiet with your breathing, that could go a long way to giving us patience and stamina for the day.
"It turns out, not surprisingly, mastering the art of slowing down doesn't happen quickly. Learning the wisdom of slowing down, of truly living, is itself a journey. But it is also a prescription for better health." (page 144)
Eat slower. Be intimate slower. Walk slower. Talk slower.
Slowing down is synonymous with being present, taking it all in.
What mother doesn't need this reminder?! We need to be reminded that our kids are growing up quickly and if we don't slow down, put aside other things that don't really matter to their or our well-being, we're going to miss it. I think this is a fantastic reminder for all moms.
"We fear that if we don't cram as much as possible into our day, we might miss out on something fabulous, important, special or career advancing. But there are no rollover minutes in life. We don't get to keep all that time we 'save.' It's actually a very costly way to live."
Moms are so this way. I know I am. Do, do, do, go, go, go. Keep it moving.
Yet kids have a great way of reminding us to slow down, don't they? They remind us to take a minute, stare at that ant on the ground or see that airplane in the sky for the 10th time this week and yet still be amazed by it and have to stop what we're doing to observe it.
We love this about our kids. And it drives us nuts when we're rushing. We need to slow down so they can grow. It's that simple.
The first thing we can try to do is to let go of things we don't need. Relationships that drag us down or stress us out. Technology or social media we don't really care about. Reading every little thing we see on a certain topic. Responding to criticism or complaints that don't matter. Reading into things that we aren't sure on.
"Listening to your inner wisdom, let go of something today that you no longer need - something that is draining your energy without benefiting you or anyone you love. It could be resentments, negative self-talk, or a project you know you are not really going to complete." (page 171)
She encourages starting a gratitude list. Something to share what you're thankful for. Write in it daily if you can. Just small things, the way your son helped his sister up when she fell. The way the person in line at the grocery store let you go first since the kids were melting down. How you found this awesome book you had been searching for at the library. Whatever it is, write it down some place, or even just think it in your mind at night before bed. Better yet, she encourages you share your list with two friends and have them share theirs with you.
Disconnect from the digital world. Set a time at night that you will say goodnight and shut down, then get yourself ready for bed.
"Wonder is not just a product of what we see - of how beautiful or mysterious or singular or incomprehensible something may be. It's just as much a product of our state of mind, our being, the perspective from which we are looking at the world." (page 174)
We need more silence. We need quiet and peace in order to see the wonder around us. It's very simple, really, but something that many moms struggle to find with kids around and partners and jobs and chores to do.
Focus on your breathing, Huffington suggested.
She wrote about forgiveness also, of your own faults and others.
Lastly, she said we need to GIVE. We need to be compassionate. We need to volunteer our time and give back to our world. She said at Huffington they give their employees 3 days off a year to specifically do volunteer work. I LOVE this concept. What a great thing. Volunteering our time, helping our community is such an awesome thing. We could do this as moms, too, even with small children. Clean up trash on Earth Day for instance, you don't have to join a group to do that. You can do it more than just in April also.
Some sites for giving back:
helpfromhome.org - helping in your pajamas at home, a UK site.
catchafire.org - helps connect professionals to nonprofits to do pro bono work
Let us all take a minute daily, or frequently, as much as you can, to sit back, enjoy, relax, take deep breaths, and realize that success is not that in monetary form or our names in the paper. It's about happy, smiling kids. A solid relationship or marriage. Strong self esteem and confidence in our own self and mothering skills.
We are enough. That's what all this reminds me of.
Excellent book. I highly recommend it!