In the design realm, there are a lot of ‘how-to’ articles written all the time about blogging tips, social networking, Photoshop techniques and the like, but not a lot on keeping a little balance in your life. It’s great to keep up with the ever increasing pace of our industry, but what about you?
With all the Twittering, Digging and bookmarking, where is there time left for you and your well-being? I can speak from experience that all the tutorials in the world can’t help you get better ideas and inspiration than a little physical exercise. Releasing a few endorphins into the old bloodstream and chipping away at the effects of all those daily triple lattés couldn’t hurt, either.
One of my passions in this world, aside from design—is cycling. The simple act of getting out on your bike and pedaling in the fresh air does wonders for your mind, body and spirit. I myself, try to get out for at least an hour-long ride on the trails about three to four times a week. It helps me reduce stress, sharpens my concentration and on occasion lets my mind sort out various design projects. I could be in a generally bad mood when I start, but getting the blood pumping and working hard gets me the attitude adjustment I need to get back to the studio and tackle the challenges that await me.
With the financial and emotional roller coaster we’ve had with the world economy these days, we’ve all had our shake ups to our regular routine with some more devastating than others. In my own business, I’ve had to make some pretty significant sacrifices to keep things going. Less income means fewer software updates, more creative promotions and stretching the operation dollars.
Focusing so much on staying afloat, I started to let my workout routine suffer with skipping ride days, eating more than I should and taking less and less care of myself. Pretty much all of it, due to anxiety and stress. The sad thing is, the one thing I had to help me reduce stress (exercise) was among the first to slip in the priority list. Three ride days get pushed to two, then one and so on. Pretty soon, the days I do go riding I am taking short cuts on climbs, enjoying it less and slowly my fitness level begins to erode. Then, like everyone, I’m feeling the waistline getting snugger and snugger. Of course, then you get bummed out that all the work you put into staying in shape is now an even bigger task than it was before.
But, I’m not going to let that get to me. I may be down, but I am definitely not out! I’ve turned the corner on my comeback and am most certainly back in the saddle again–and it feels great.
So, if you want to improve your outlook on things, go dig up that trusty steed in the garage and dust it off. Chances are, even if your bike’s been sitting for awhile there won’t be much time or money invested to get you back rolling. It doesn’t matter if you use it as cheap transportation, a stroll in the park or your hour-long workout, the bicycle gives back in big dividends. And you can take that to the bank (or not).