The Bends (Decompression)

The past few weeks have just been nuts for me, dear readers. On top of it all, I got sick not once, but twice. I’ve already written about this experience in my post about community, but today I wanted to focus on the practical side of dealing with a seemingly never-ending illness, jam-packed days filled with meetings, hundreds of emails to wade through, and all of events that happen over the holidays, plus the holiday aftermath.

Normally I pride myself on being calm no matter what the circumstance, working through the pressure, deadlines, and workload. But sometimes our bodies just shut down, and we get sick.

You see friends, stress suppresses the immune system, and as a consequence it becomes easier for you to get sick. So while stress cannot “make” you sick, it definitely contributes to the environment.

You have to make time to care for yourself when in stressful situations.

Decompression

What that really means is that you have to teach yourself some decompression techniques. No, I’m not writing about decompression sickness (also known as the bends or divers’ disease) but that is another type of illness that requires treatment early on.

What I’m referring to creative cuties is decompression from stress. I may have written about this in a different capacity once before, focusing on things like self-care, taking breaks, reviewing previous successes, enlisting support and seeking inspiration, but today I want to focus on things you can do immediately to help with the decompression process.

Most of these actions are physical which is good when you’re sick or stressed. We hold a lot of tension in our bodies from stress.

Here are some of the best options:

  1. Deep breathing. Take a breath in, slowly exhale, and start over again. If you do this for about ten seconds each time and keep at it for ten minutes, you’ll feel it quick.
  2. Self-massage. Tense and then relax each muscle, from your toes to your head.
  3. Take a walk. A five minute walk in the midst of a stressful day does wonders.
  4. Exercise. This can be great for quiet thinking AND all of the chemicals your body releases while exercising are great stress relievers.
  5. Get outdoors. Just connecting with the outdoors can be helpful, but the fresh air helps too.
  6. Sex. An obvious choice. Just ask my girlfriend.
  7. Vacation day. Take the time to focus and recenter.
  8. Meditate. Be somewhere quiet, close your eyes, relax, and focus on your breathing. Your mind will be very active during this process, so embrace the thoughts and allow them to leave.
  9. Read. Whether you read fiction or something more practicaI like a biography. Taking some time with a good book is great exercise for your mind.
  10. Love. Get in some hugs and cuddles with your loved ones. It’s a win-win-win scenario and helps strengthen intimacy for all involved.
  11. Disconnect. Technology can be both a godsend and water torture. Do yourself a favour, and turn off the phones, computer, and ignore the outside world for as long as you can.
  12. Take a nap. A shot nap does wonders for refreshing the mind and the body. Thirty minutes should do the trick.

Now with that said, finding and using different ways to reduce tension is important but it should never add to your stress. You need to pick the techniques that best suit your lifestyle, but I have this theory that as you add different habits, you’ll be hungry for even more.

Another thing to consider folks.

On a really busy day it might feel like you are faced with an impossible task and that none of those techniques will do the trick. Just stick with it though. I can assure you that taking the time to unwind will be huge for your health and I have this theory that you’ll be more productive in the long run.

Tim!

Sand Castles In The Sand (10 Lists To Success)

Do you ever just want to say f**k it, I’m out?

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I’ve talked about motivations before dear readers, and I’ve hinted at how I stay on top of goals, but I don’t believe I have really and truly detailed for you the significance of keeping a variety of functional lists available at your fingertips at all times and the incredible satisfaction you will get from this habit – whether you are highly motivated, stressed out, feeling aimless or a combination thereof.

In fact, 2 of my oldest and first posts specifically addressed the areas of my own motivations and some of the ways I intend to achieve them, one was The Watch List and other was titled Motivation and Movies.

Motivation and Movies is about more than just my love of movies and their incredible ability to connect an introverted type like myself with the world around me. The heart of that post demonstrates that we all love to tell stories, be involved with the storytelling process, and that ultimately our various types and niches of society break down and are usually broken because of communication issues.

Sure I may be simplifying it, but don’t tell me that you believe we all keep this information top of mind!

That’s why today’s Wisdom Wednesday post is all about list making and how it connects with motivation. That’s right my friends, I got to the point of the post through a direct correlation of thoughts, without me using a story, meme or analogy to build it up for 500+ words worth of exposition. WHOA.

It can be done.

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Granted, I threw in some fun memes, but they didn’t drive the plot forward, they were fun visual aids.

Having worked in marketing as my day job for almost a decade (and barely scratched the surface, might I add), I’ve read quite a few books and articles about the subject, and I’ve also learned some things along the way.

You see, I have this theory that the future of what’s cool and engaging is not going to be furthering technology and scientific achievement, though those things will continue to permeate our globalized village. Instead, because of the advent of the internet and the information age, those two achievements are going to lead us to the next logical step, refining our communication and storytelling ability.

This branding article kind of takes the roundabout to explain what I’m stating rather plainly, but to be fair the author IS referring to the future of business, which is full of plot holes.

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So let’s get down to brass tacks, talk turkey, and strike while the iron is hot.

If you want to be successful in life, you have to be persistent, work hard, sacrifice, be prepared to deal with lots of failures, and keep up good habits. Ask anyone who YOU think is successful, and they will without question give you some variation of that short list.

That’s why I am going to let you in on something pretty straightforward. If you build these lists laid out in this article for yourself and maintain them, ie work at them and add to them, then you are on the track to success.

  1. list of goals
    A reason to get up in the morning, reasons to respect yourself
  2. list of tasks
    Milestones to goal completion, daily – personal and professional
  3. list of contacts
    Reliable, skillful people, who you maintain a healthy and natural relationship with
  4. list of expenses
    Monthly obligations, to create a clear overview and stick to your financial guns
  5. list of useful tools
    Apps for restaurants, maps, task management, learning, etc. AND physical resources too
  6. list of self improvements
    Things you would like to improve or change about yourself, one thing a year may be more viable
  7. list of creative ideas
    To hone your focus and keep your mind occupied. Needs to be new, make sense, and have a use
  8. list of future plans
    Events, changes in law, trends, software – keep you well-informed and prepared for life
  9. list of contingency plans
    Be prepared for the backlash of major projects
  10. bucket list
    Keep your regrets to a minimum – put the impossible down, then find the next best thing, use to restore will power and keep going

If you can maintain these lists, you will never lose sight of yourself and what you need to be doing in your life to achieve your purpose.

I’ve said it before, but creative types are just as prone to dreaming rather than doing as those deem themselves more pragmatic and functional.

Be vigilant and you’ll achieve your goals. And those are all of the theories I have for today dear readers.

Tim!

 

 

Living With Less (Becoming A Minimalist)

Remember that “2nd ever” timotheories interview I did with Andrew Wedman a while back?

Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about Andrew’s outlook on life and business. His attitude is pretty straightforward – do more with less. As we make our way through this stressful season, it occurs to me that a lot of my normal stress revolves around managing the stuff in my life VS the people in my life VS the pursuits of my life. Christmas just escalates it.

Each of these areas can be managed, thus today’s post is in dedication of the pursuit of purity!

We are all faced with the challenge of whether to pursue more material and social wealth than we currently have. The challenge isn’t openly shared, as this topic isn’t the right type of macabre for most and the simplest truths are often the most difficult to see. Simply put, if we made this widely known, retailers and publications would be bad at their jobs.

People only really learn when they are ready to. I can say this confidently from personal experience.

As Art Buchwald once said,

The best things in life are not things.

Or to put it more bluntly, Tyler Durden said,

We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.

Let me elaborate.

I was fortunate to grow up with the environment and opportunities I did. We all choose to either blame others or our situation for our stock in life OR we accept our beginnings and work to change what is possible, accepting responsibility for our own life.

For instance, I learned some interesting things when I was growing up. Because my parents determined that one of them should stay at home during the day while my sister, two brothers and I all made our way through primary education, I learned that there was a difference between material wants and basic needs of life. This was because while my parents owned their home outright, and we had enough to cover food, utilities and school costs, there wasn’t a lot of money in the bank for extras.

That didn’t mean I missed out on simple pleasures, but I simply had a stronger appreciation of them when I did have sweets and toys. Now what I didn’t immediately realize as a youth, but figured out years later was that it may well have hurt my pride and felt embarrassing when we couldn’t afford to go on trips or we didn’t have a collection of stuff to entertain ourselves with and had to interact with those who did (and judged), but there is an incredible burden that comes with having too many objects in your life.

I learned this by the process of moving away when I was 23. I first moved from home with my family of 6 to 1 bedroom apartment with my girlfriend at the time, then moving into a larger 3 bedroom a couple of years later with my girlfriend and sister, then having more room after my sister moved out.

Where the lesson came in was when I lost my job, and decided to move back home.

I had a lot of stuff at that point. A whole house of stuff. While my sister and one brother didn’t live there any more, moving home with enough stuff to fill a 15′ x 25′ room was tough. And that was after I got rid of a dining table, a living room suite, a bedroom suite, lots of old art, and countless trinkets.

Sharing space with people while having personal objects to watch out for is problematic. You’ve invested money into those possessions and you have to protect your investment, but who really has time to enjoy and manage 1000s of objects, no matter what they are?

It becomes a burden.

This is why it is important to define your space and dedicate your efforts to a specific area of life. As soon as you do this, you realize what is important to you, and having hot topic technology or whatever doesn’t pull at you as easily.

Heck, I collect movies, music, and books, and people sometimes question my collection. That’s a good thing. No one in their right mind should collect as much of that stuff as I do. I do it because I need to to accomplish my goals. The truth is this, of course I cannot possibly look at all of these things simultaneously or even regularly, but I’ve set up my space so that those objects serve as a directory of ideas and reference for my art. Because those objects fuel my life purpose they provide value for me. But if I started collecting trinkets, kitchenware, clothes and sports equipment (for example), then I would lose my focus.

Check out this article from the blog Becoming Minimalist for more information on the concept.

Thus end’s today’s post on managing objects. Do you think you too much stuff? Is your stuff preventing you from making your art? Leave some comments and let me know what you think of this theory.

Tim!