My last appointment with my Naturopath, Dr. Rachel Corradetti was going really well. I was super proud of my latest blood work results. I still have more action items to improve my health but I know and understand that it’s an ongoing process.
We discussed reducing my iron levels by decreasing my red meat consumption to only 3 times a week, healing my body after having a few UTIs this year (side effects of MS) and reducing my cortisol levels. The cortisol levels are high probably due to two things. First I’ve been training and racing a lot. Physical stress on the body can increase cortisol levels. In addition, even positive eustress of being busy can contribute to high cortisol levels. I am guilty of being addicted to my to-do lists. I even say out loud that I’m in a constant rush to do things off my to-do list so that I can build my personal brand and business as an author, freelance writer, blogger and brand ambassador. Even listing out everything I do can spike my stress levels. So finally she asked me at the end of our appointment “Why do you need to be Superwoman?” I paused. That was a good question. I turned to her and asked, “Are you, my therapist or my naturopath?” I laughed nervously. What I love about naturopathic medicine is that they do truly want to find the root of the problem. I don’t necessarily glorify busy (I’ve taught myself to not rush through life) but I do glorify the achievement of to-do list checking off which is a similar problem. I know I’ve been able to focus on not being busy for the sake of being busy but I am creating a lot of pressure on my shoulders with this need to do everything on my list.
So I started journaling that night. Why did I have a need for achievement? Did accomplishment (and a lot of it) = success for me? Is the success equation in my life: I did this + this + this + this = look at me I’m awesome. It can be seen in my Facebook status updates where I list all the things I did in one day to be epicly productive. I announce loudly on rooftops just how productive I can be. Ok habit pinpointed, now let’s go about fixing it.
Hello, my name is Robyn Baldwin and I’m a recovering overachiever. If I do things and cross them off my to-do list then I’ve achieved “something”. Achievement is the new Ph.D., it’s the new big house on a hill with a white picket fence. If I achieve a ton of things then my brain has told me that I’ve made it. I matter.
I want a legacy. I want to leave a mark on this world that is positive. I want to inspire others to lead their best lives filled with fun, adventure, happiness, smiles and love. I want my life to be an example of that. In the process of building my personal brand, I started piling on good stress but good stress doesn’t live in the body in a way that supports leading a healthy life and I know this.
Here are my 3 simple action steps to leading a smarter productive healthy life.
- Hire a Health Coach to keep me accountable for my goals. I booked a 30 min consultation with health coach Emily Kwong on the new App League and we talked & set goals for myself on Tuesday of this week. I am going to check in with her at the end of the week to discuss this. She is going to work with me for 30 days so I’m excited about having someone to hold me to my goals.
- Reduce red meat consumption to 3 meals a week which means increasing fish to 2 times and chicken/turkey to the other meals.
- Prioritize my alpha female to-do list. Reduce daily tasks per category. I’m personally setting a max goal of 4 things in each category a day and I will attempt to tackle only 2-3 categories a day as well. This includes personal errands, blog to-do lists and writing to-do lists. Yesterday I was able to look at a list of 6 things. I crossed 4 off by the end of the day and then moved the least 2 important tasks to another day. I’m really loving the deadline function in Wunderlist to be able to organize my priorities by deadlines.
- Reduce my need to multitask. After listening to Chalene Johnson’s Laser Focus 4 Part Podcast Series on working smarter I am going to start implementing one task at a time. Based on prioritizing the to-do list that also helps me focus on what I need to do first, complete that project and then move on to the next. I’m definitely a person who likes to open all my computer projects at once and I’m going to challenge myself to try one thing at a time.
- Implement productivity tools. I have started turning on airplane mode right at bedtime after I’ve said goodnight to important people in my life. And then I don’t turn it on until I’m ready to leave the house in the morning. This means I have a power hour of writing first thing in the morning or I pack my food bag, and gym bag and get ready for the day in a more efficient manner without checking all my social media notifications. It’s been working like a charm and I love my new routine. The 2nd tool I’m going to try out is StayFocusd. It’s an extension on my Chrome browser that should limit my time on “time-wasting” sites. I may have a Facebook withdrawal on my first day using it but we’ll see how it goes.
So to answer your question Rachel! I need to be Superwoman because I want to leave a positive mark on the world. I want to lead my healthiest and happiest life and truly have a work/life balance. To do that I am on a journey with no destination and I’m ok with that because I am constantly learning how to lead a better, happier and healthier life. Thank you for challenging me to reduce my stress in a positive, productive way.