I recently read a really interesting snippet of a book in ‘Blinkist’ called ‘Wilful Blindness’ by Margaret Heffernan. This 10 minute roundup of the book used many business examples of how we can be ‘willfully blind’ to things that go on around us.
Being willfully blind basically means you know that something is happening, but you have just totally tuned it out to a point where you don’t even notice it any more. Whilst citing some big commercial examples she also used an example of overflowing dishes and a fridge full of out of date food in a shared kitchen space as times when we just don’t SEE.
I’ll leave you to read the book for yourself (and to be honest, I never read the whole book), but it did get me thinking about how we are willfully blind in our daily lives and in particular when it comes to our health.
Here’s 10 things we are commonly willfully blind about; and if you identify with any of them, perhaps it’s time to do something about it!
- Water – I know, I know, I go on about water in just about EVERY post . You know you should be drinking more water, you know you should have water between alcoholic drinks to reduce your hangover, you know it’s good for you and vital to so many bodily functions, but still – do you drink enough?!
- Caffeine – You know you drink too much tea or coffee. Perhaps you even know that it affects the depth of your sleep, especially if you drink it in the afternoon. You mean to cut down, but have you?
- Sugar – Oh yes, you knew this was coming! We consume waaaaaay too much sugar. Just about every processed food contains added sugar, just look at the label on your loaf of bread – or do you prefer to be blind to this?!
- Alcohol – I’m not saying you have to cut it all out and I really don’t mean to be the fun police, but raise your awareness. I’ll admit – alcohol is one of my biggest ‘blind spots’, but I’m working on that!
- Exercise – Do you move enough? Really? OK, you move, you get your 10,000 steps in, but do you put any weight through your body or get out of breath? We lose muscle mass as we age, so it’s VITAL to work those muscles and get your heart pumping if you want to age with dignity and choices.
- Vegetables – Have a look in your veg drawer, is it bursting with colour, or is there a limp cucumber and a handful of soft tomatoes? Eat veg with EVERY meal.
- Sleep – Are you getting enough? Is it deep enough? Do you wake up feeling ready to take on the day (that’s also got a lot to do with whether you are enjoying what you do with your day too – click here if you aren’t! ). You know you should be going to be earlier, but just don’t seem to manage it – bloody Netflix!!!!
- Social Media – This is one we are all ‘willfully blind to! Is it time to engage with live people a bit more or go outside for a walk, or take up a new hobby? I love SM, and I rely on it for work and it can be so hard to tear myself away, but I ALWAYS feel better for some time away from it.
- Rest – Do you ever actually stop and rest. Not sleep, but rest and relax. Whatever true relaxation is for you. It could be meditation, it could be reading, walking or even watching a great movie. Whatever it is, just do it. EVERY DAY. Absorb yourself in it, don’t do anything else at the same time. This is not a luxury, this is a necessity to your mental health and I bet you are willfully blind about its importance!
- The Environment – I had to put this one in here. So many of us look away from this. I know I often do. Especially as a busy mum, taking the plastic-free life can sometimes just be too time-consuming and difficult. But every step you take towards taking care of our planet, however you do that, is a step in the right direction. Don’t be blind to this.
Don’t try and change everything at once, that’s a one-stop-shop to failure. How about setting your alarm to ring every hour or 2, then having a glass of water? Try that for a month, then try another thing on the list, cut down your caffeine by 1 cup a day, swap a sugary snack for a piece of fruit or a handful of almonds. Only drink 3 nights a week (I’m working on this right now). Turn off your devices an hour before bedtime, go for a #giveit10 walk every day and reduce, reuse & recycle whenever you can!
STOP, be mindful and don’t let willful blindness stop you living the life you know you can.
If you know anyone who is willfully blind about their health, why not share this with them, or perhaps come and join my FB Group, where we talk about this stuff every day!