Do well. Eat well. Live well.

If you’re anything like me, well, you’re slightly overweight, though you’re trying to change that. You like a little chocolate now and then. You are also the kind of person who likes getting things done. But you seem to go in cycles and it drives you mad – waves of productivity followed by waves of exhaustion and guilt because you’re giving into the desire to sleep and stare at the ceiling because you just have no drive anymore.

You know what you are? A yo-yo dieter. That’s what. Both nutritionally and occupationally.

When you diet, you may think to just cut everything. Or not everything, but all sweets, all those little glasses of the port your dad got you because he knows you just adore good South African port. You might consider cutting breakfast, cutting carbs, cutting fats and oils. You lose a few pounds, all the while starting to feel a little bit crazy and craving a KitKat. You will inevitably crack and give into that KitKat… and five more. When you want to lose some weight, or even just maintain your current weight, you want a little bit of balance, and you don’t want to deprive yourself too much, otherwise that urge to eat chocolate will just grow and grow and you’ll dive into a guilty binge. You’ll end up hating yourself a little bit for losing control. But I’ve personally learned that if I eat just a block of chocolate every now and then, I’m much less likely to compulsively buy something at the shops. This applies to other cuts – you need to balance out your diet and make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need, which includes some fats and oils, as these contribute to the creation of new cells, and other things.

The same applies to your life, your occupations. I subscribe to GLAMOUR magazine – it’s my guilty pleasure. It’s fun and doesn’t require too much thought. I can honestly just let go and read the colourful pages and just relax. And yet I haven’t read the last two issues. To be fair, last month’s issue came out just as I was finishing up my presentation and starting to study for my exam. But since then, I still haven’t read it, and yesterday I received this month’s issue as well. So why haven’t I read it? Because I repeatedly choose to be ‘productive’ over relaxing. I tell myself all the things I should be doing instead of reading a magazine. The same also goes for painting or knitting, as I do really enjoy these things, but I just need to be checking things off my list! Just like Flan and I say we shouldn’t buy the frozen pizzas for when we are just too tired to cook anything, that we should be healthy and cook our own food. (We then tend to end up just ordering pizza instead, and consequently eat far more than we would have if we’d kept a pizza in the oven.)

And what happens when you keep pushing yourself to be better, eat better, do more? You crash and burn. Occupationally, I personally end up, like I mentioned earlier, too tired to do anything, productive or relaxing. This makes me feel just as guilty as a binge on ice cream.

So what am I trying to say here? Balancing your occupations is like balancing your nutrition. You need a little bit of the ‘bad’ things (they’re not bad in moderation!) just as much as you need a little bit of the ‘lazy’ things. You need your fruits and vegetables (productivity), your protein (self-care), your fats and oils (leisure). It’s just as important to your physical and mental wellbeing as eating well.

Do well, eat well, live well.