I wake up at 4:00 am and spend 4 hours on self-care almost every single day. That’s right, my daily morning routine takes FOUR full hours.
It changes a bit every day depending on what I need or what I’m working on, but this includes everything from self-oil massage to bathing to meditation to yoga / light exercise to drinking tea to eating breakfast. This is me time – I make sure not to turn on electronics until 8:00 am at the earliest. If I have an urgent thought of something I can’t forget to do, I simply write it down in a paper journal and refer to it later when I’m in the working part of my day.
In addition to the morning time, I spend a bunch of time reading health books, getting health treatments as needed, and cooking for myself throughout the day.
If this sounds overwhelming – like a full-time job. Well, it’s because it is! Taking care of your health takes mindful effort and time.
In American society – when I tell my friends about some of the things I do – this is considered “unproductive”. After all, I could be getting “real” work done, working towards earning more money so I can spend it on more things that I don’t need.
Bad health in America is treated as a slight inconvenience that could be solved easily by a multitude of pills with side-effects (which could later be solved with more pills and medical procedures with additional side-effects, etc., etc), which will keep you on track and productive – so you can earn more money and buy more things. This keeps our economy going strong!
I still remembered that one manager – when I told him I had a cold and needed a day off to heal during flu season, he snapped at me telling me that he’s sick too, but he’s taking pills and coming into work. I still took the day off that I needed, but I lost all respect for him that day.
The funny thing is that seeing health as an unproductive use of time is a complete fallacy. Happy and healthy people are more productive than over-worked sick individuals that our society is plagued with.
In case of emergency, would you want to be seen by a doctor who is in his 29th / 36-hour shift? Or would you rather see a doctor who had a proper full 8 hours of sleep, eats healthy, and meditates?
It’s not hard to see how being healthy leads to a healthy mind that can solve problems more creatively, leading to more efficiency in the long-term. It’s a different definition of productivity. Unfortunately, Western society views productivity in numbers – specifically focusing on numbers of hours worked.
The clock tower from Oslo, Norway in the main picture for this post is a reminder of that.
“This copper clock tower that now graces the pier at Aker Brygge stood on top of the Verkstedhallen building from 1949 until 1982. It signaled employees at the Akers Mekaniske Verksted shipyard when they had three minutes left before the end of their break. If they reported back to work even one minute late, they were docked for fifteen minutes pay.”
The clock-based work schedule was invented during the industrial revolution to control people at factories, where doing the same task over and over again requires no creativity or soul and focuses solely on the production numbers. It’s a horrible way to treat human beings, but it’s a model that is still used in corporations worldwide today.
Successful entrepreneurs boast online about how they work non-stop and get no sleep.
You get money in return for your time. If you work your body past capacity, to the point where you’re sick either mentally or physically or both, then you’re not only trading your time but also your health for money. How much money is your health worth?
Corporations will keep you working the most hours they can squeeze out of you in your prime – they don’t care how sick you become in old age when you retire.
Will you be measuring your life’s productivity with hours worked or hours fully lived?