365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy

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Taking off on too much coffee

DAy 151The mystery of indulgence

For those of you who have followed me for a while; you know that I took a sabbatical from any stimulants such as coffee, tea with caffeine and alcohol for two weeks.

It was – surprisingly – not hard to take this break and it did me really well. I noticed a shift in my sense of inner calmness, and I enjoyed my own company feeling wholesome. My energy level was good, despite not having any stimulants.

I reintroduced the stimulants again a week ago and have chosen to consume smaller doses of tea and alcohol to maintain the calm sensation. I normally do not drink much coffee as it often makes me a bit too wired.

I woke up feeling very tired from lack of sleep and since I had an unusually hectic program today with several meetings among them one long four-hour meeting as well as close to five-hours of driving, plus some important and pressing decisions to make, I felt inclined to have a cup of coffee to get me started. It did me well, so I went for another cup very shortly thereafter. When that cup also felt ok, I even went for a third cup after lunch and I can tell you, that this was not a very good idea. To drink that much coffee – for someone like me who only drink coffee from time to time, it meant going into a spin that felt horrible.

What was I thinking? Well, that’s it. I wasn’t really thinking. Was I avoiding something? Perhaps… It is known that pain lies at the bottom of any addiction, and that self-indulgence goes hand in hand with addiction. Was I hoping for a different outcome than what I was used to having in the past…? Isn’t that the sign of insanity, to make the same mistake all over again expecting a different outcome, according to Einstein? As I took the third cup I knew I was playing with fire, but I decided to go for it and deal with the consequences later.

Looking back at it now, I cannot understand what came over me. Why did I let myself loose connection with my body and mind and allow myself to indulge this way? What happened to my usual strong willpower?

When we do not get off to a good start in the morning or something challenging happens during the day, it can be easy to get off balance. If we don’t stop and connect with ourselves, but instead keep making wobbly steps, we will keep on going further off balance – instead of what we really need, which is to be gentle and kind to ourselves by bringing us back to balance and a state of wellbeing.

What effect does coffee and other stimulants have on you? Do you sometimes indulge instead of looking at your fear or pain?


In control…or being controlled?

Day 117

My name is Anine Ekelund, and I am a tech addict…

Well that is perhaps an exaggeration … because I do have the ability to turn my gadgets off, and I am not on them non-stop. But still – I think that I do spend too much time on my phone and laptop. If I was to count how many times I look at my phone throughout the day, it would be many. Too many!

How about you? Are people complaining about you being on your gadgets? How efficient are you with your time? How about counting the number of times that you look at your phone or Ipad, and how many hours you spend on the computer daily! Then compare that time with how much undivided attention and time you give your family members and friends. Try guessing your ratio today and then write down the actual figure after you count tomorrow. I think that you will most likely be surprised – if you are anything like me, or perhaps most people in today’s tech dominated world.

I want to change my behavior to be more efficient with my time, and even more importantly – to be completely present with the people I meet – without checking my phone, texting or reading anything (unless I am with my father – who also loves to socialize and is as bad as me when it comes to being on his phone :)).

The only way to get a healthy relationship with tech gadgets, I think, is to have certain rules; in the same way, as it is good to set some guidelines for how often and how much we drink alcohol. And as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, when we get lost to our gadgets and they take over the control of our lives we will suffer consequences, which sometimes can be quite severe.

Children carry their teddy bear just as adults walk around with their phones, Ipads and other gadgets. Is there any difference to a teddy bear and our gadgets? They both give a sense of satisfaction and security. A teddy bear is soft and cuddly and quite innocent, but our gadgets – when used in excess – create a false sense of security.

Our ability to let go of our gadgets says a lot about our personality. If we cannot let go and be fully present with people or with tasks – without checking our tech gadgets often , we have a problem that can have dire impact – to ourself. It can also impact our relationships – who most likely suffers from lack of attention, attentiveness and courtesy..

To those of us who argue we have to be available and check our phones or answer them, despite being with other people, or when working, ought to rethink! WE DO NOT HAVE TO BE AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO CONTACT US. We decide when we have time and would like to be available to answer.

One rule in our family is that we do not use our phones during meals. We do not answer a phone ringing or send an sms while we are enjoying each other’s company and conversations. It is very hard to have a meaningful exchange with someone who is half there with their attention.

Some rules that I want to live by – from now on…:

  1. My phone should never be at table when I eat with others.
  2. While having a conversation with someone, I will not check an sms or answer the phone if it is ringing. ( or I will have my phone on silent  and in my handbag).
  3. In the evenings, I will not be on my phone or on the laptop – except for max 30 minutes to attend to urgent matters. I will remind myself, that there is always a tomorrow when I can answer people.
  4. In the evening, I make sure to spend time with my family or friends, read a book, watch a film or the news – in order to invest in my relationships and in myself.

Do you have ideas on rules which you would like to commit to?