Everybody's on the Run
Health, Self-Care

Everybody’s on the Run: The Question is “To” or “From”?

You’ve been hearing it more than ever before.  “I feel run down.” “I need a change.” “I’m tapping out.”  “I need to get away.”  “I’m on a dead run, and I’m tired.”

Probably sounds familiar.  So we’ll take it as read that everybody is running – not in the physical jogging or power-walking sense, but mentally.  It’s important to understand though, that there is a tremendous distinction between running from something and running to something.

Sometimes, people even run back and forth between the two, but you can probably guess which direction is healthier. 

Embracing Change Can Be Hard

If you’re not sure which direction you’re headed, there are some signposts that help you along the way.  Typically, if you’re running “to” or “toward” something, you’ll feel like you’re embracing a change that is intrinsically good.  If you’re unsure, ask yourself if value is being created from the activity. Perhaps the easiest way to tell if you’re running “to,” is if it feels hard.  In some ways, it is supposed to. There’s a reason it’s called “Growing Pains,” after all.

From creating a new job for yourself, to writing a song, or building a relationship, these valuable pursuits can be tough sledding – but almost always worth the effort – because they are things and causes that are important to you.

Running Away is Easy – That’s Why Everyone Does It

By contrast, running away is much easier – it’s an avoidance maneuver – but ultimately, far less satisfying.

So much of running away is based on fear and a desire to retreat to familiar (if unhappy) surroundings.  The well-worn path of least resistance is backwards. Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt. So why am I doing it again? Because the “T-Shirt” is comfortable. Trying something new on for the first time can be daring.

That’s why, if you’re running “to” something, you will probably notice that you’re actually excited about it, instead of afraid of it.  This is significant, because excitement is a sure-fire foundational proof that you’re feeding the very health and happiness that leads to living a remarkable life vs. a tedious one.  Don’t ask yourself which is harder.  Just ask which sounds more appealing: Adventure or inactivity? Being Enterprising or unimaginative?

Running backwards sends you rewinding into the crowd of already-known experiences – some of which are unhealthy – watching your life from the sidelines (again!).

“New” Can Be Uncomfortable – At First

It’s worth the short-term discomfort to explore the new.  Because it’s better to run toward the things that are important to you even if you feel the frustration of failure once in a while.  There’s very little reward if you always play it safe and never push yourself.

If you’re running “to” something, you will probably notice that you’re actually excited about it.

Take it from the Sharks

We can learn a lesson from our seafaring friends, the sharks.  Some of them must swim forward constantly in order to keep oxygen-rich water flowing over their gills. It’s a literal matter of life and death for them to always move forward to the next thing. 

If you find yourself struggling with your latest project, don’t stand still or run way from it, just make like a shark and go forward to the next thing: even if it’s just meeting up with a trusted confidant for a “socially-distanced” lunch. Failing to get that new job off the ground? Go have a good workout. Keep moving onward (and upward).

Sprints & Marathons

If something isn’t going particularly well, find something that you can get excited about, and run toward it instead.

Success is when you look up to find that you’re spending far more time on things that pull you in vs. activity that just pushes your frustration(s) away.

It can be a subtle shift moving toward the next good exciting thing, instead of away from the last thing… but you’ll find it makes a big difference… in the long run.

By Mark Smith, contributing author

We are all working our way through a changed world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We may no longer be quarantined or under stay-at-home orders, but everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us in our communities. Life now demands caring, resilience and compassion like never before. This is a great opportunity to create the world we want for our future generations. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement!

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources and products? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association and our products, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way!

energy levels scale
Health, Self-Care

Maintaining Healthy Energy Levels

Part of choosing a healthy lifestyle is recognizing which behaviors and habits leave us feeling fatigued, or drained. Without even knowing it, many of us participate in actions that end up robbing us of more energy than it’s worth. We don’t maintain healthy energy levels. By noticing how we invest our time and mental resources, we can begin to set firmer boundaries that will ultimately feel supportive, and nourishing. Becoming selective in this way allows us to have more energy to spend on the people, and things we wholeheartedly care about. 

Feelings of depletion are easy to sneak up on us when we remain unaware of how we’re choosing to spend our energy in the most basic of interactions. Feelings of anxiousness, frustration, short-temperedness, panic, lethargy, fatigue, are just a few symptoms that would benefit from shifting our vitality expenditure. 

Saying “Yes” When We Mean “No”

One major source of exhaustion is commonly found in agreeing to do things that we don’t wish to do – saying yes when we really want to say no. There are countless reasons we do this. From cultivated habits of ‘people pleasing’, to matching our sense of self-worth to how much we ‘do’, to fearing conflict, or not exercising the word no. We end up draining our battery from perpetually bending towards the likes and needs of others, while suppressing our own. 

Not Keeping Our Word

We also lose energy from not keeping our word – from not doing what we say we’re going to do. Think about how good it feels the moment you complete an assignment, or follow through on a promise you made to yourself or someone else. This is because the moment we agree or speak something into existence it’s officially taking up space in our lives until it meets it’s finish. By being clear and intentional with when and how we plan on keeping our word, we will more likely not face depletion. 

Not Enough Personal Boundaries

Another source of fatigue is often found in the quality of conversations we choose to engage with. It’s all too common for people to speak to one another as if they are soundboards, dumping an excess of information or words onto someone else without any awareness if they are even available to receive them. This is especially true with close friends and family members who may feel comfortable enough to unload an entire stream of thoughts or concerns without hesitation. While this kind of trust and intimacy can be appreciated, it’s important to not become too entangled in the ‘problems’ or ‘complaints’ of others if to honor your own energy reserves. Without this kind of personal boundary, fatigue can set in from spending our time worrying about circumstances completely out of our circle of control.

feeling drained?

If you’ve ever ended a conversation feeling completely drained, this is partially why. It’s important to raise our own standards in terms of the conversations we’re choosing to have. By practicing healthy communication skills with one another we become energized from the mutual exchange happening, and we elevate the experience for all people involved. 

Pause to Choose

Lastly, we encourage you to take more pauses throughout the day to anchor and to get clear with how you wish to spend your inner resources from one moment to the next. This way we can prevent ourselves from feeling any unnecessary fatigue or exhaustion, living the day feeling energized. When deciding how to effectively move forward, consider asking yourself this question: Will this give me energy or will this leave me feeling depleted? Then you will be maintaining healthy energy levels.

We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before.  All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.

Would you like to read more about UCA caring resources and products? We have other blogs on Unified Caring Association and our products, caring in our communities, and caring the UCA way!

By Melissa Aparicio, contributing author