Column: About Internal Priorities

©Collage / Oriane Baud

To achieve a work/life balance, you have to set priorities that do your body good – and before that “big bang” comes. On overcoming your weaker self

This topic isn’t new: the idea that you need the famed “big bang” to change something in your life. In order to fundamentally alter your behavior, often you need those so-called “external factors” to shake you awake. It always fascinates me how the subconscious wins out every day against what would actually be a better option. And even though in the moment of doing, in the moment of deciding, it’s completely clear that it’s wrong and you know how you should do it and how to do it better – you have to admit to yourself that you can’t do it differently. And how!

The problem actually lies, I think, with a lack of willpower – that willpower that is so necessary for change is something you apparently only find when you have the capacity to overcome our weakest self (and maybe in the end, it’s not there?) or other hurdles that keep you from making the right choice.

That’s all really abstract. For me, the bang rang out in real life – and it didn’t happen at all surprisingly. Rather, the whole thing had been looming for a while: The requests that we had hoped for since starting the company rolled in. We adapted our work strategy (aka, we increased our workload). Because at the time it was just making a little experiment: Take on more and more and then still a little more!

Another meeting and another appointment that you don’t want to turn down! And huh, is it already too late in the day to go running? Oh yeah, far too tired and rather catch up on what happened today at Fashion Week in Paris, London, Milan, and New York. Sit a little longer at the computer and see what exciting things have happened.

The direct line to your own body gets closed down – it stops reporting to you, in any case. Then, for me, one Tuesday around noon it basically made a “crack” and there it was, the first lumbago in my life. A few Ibuprofen and a strong will to get up anyway, sit down and work through the to-do list. Still, it doesn’t bring anything. Because a) the painkillers aren’t working anymore and b) it’s now become clear that a little break was necessary.

Despite a good approach, it’s just the way that it is that you step back from what’s really good for you. Because other things apparently seem so much more important. Putting yourself first, that’s something that smug writers like Maxim Biller (recently with the Zeitmagazin cover story) and the soon-to-be 90-year-old Martin Walser (wonderful article by Julia Encke in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Sunday the 12th of March, 2017) apparently have no problem with.

Not that we want to get into gender debates here – there may certainly be some of our male contemporaries who find it difficult to set the right priorities. Which takes us to my favorite topic, the risk of routine overload, ALWAYS knowing exactly what’s right, right now. Sometimes it’s child’s play, but other times it’s also a huge mystery.

First and foremost, when you want to do everything perfectly. Maybe that’s also the dilemma. Or, where’s the emergency button that lets you see that “short” is actually good, that the healing power of yoga evangelists isn’t a lie, and that sometimes it’s simply the best to stay at home.

Why do we always forget then that the best ideas come while jogging in the forest – those that you don’t get sitting hour after hour in the office (recently learned, not good at all for the sensitive cross of man). And you don’t get the necessary distance from unsolvable conflicts in the office. Where do we get this but from the things that calm us down: the patience to wait until possibly one or the other falls into place? Yes, how do we always actually forget that?

What I’m happiest about at the end of the day is that my body won. Against me and a restless mind that wasn’t in the position to get a grip on things. So it got what it wanted: my insight – together with daily sport and yoga practices, and lot of care, and daily gently prepared organic food, green smoothies, and self-made kombucha (more about that later). A happy end, so to say.

P.S.: We’ll see how long it lasts. Ooohm!

Julia co-founded one of the first fashion blogs in Germany in 2007 and became a freelance consultant for digital strategies after publishing her first book in 2010. After an eventful four years with Condé Nast working mainly in the digital department of Vogue Germany, she decided to launch her own online magazine with her dream partner, Veronika Heilbrunner. She is based in Berlin and loves to read books.