Depressed Office Professional to Living

Tired. Lethargic. Weak. Depressed. Pretty much living in the office. That was my life as an Engineer before I broke. These are the top 3 things I now do to make sure I don’t get to that place again.

I was living the dream. High paying job as an engineer. Working on great projects. Bought a house in a great city. But under the surface I wasn’t operating at the level I wanted to.

Being a ‘professional’ isn’t all its cracked up to be. The big company culture and lifestyle is one which can leave you incredibly overworked with a below average lifestyle and poor health.

You see, you don’t really have a perception of what is normal. It’s kind of like being in a casino you cant escape as you’re confined to your cubical.

Take out for lunch. 3-4 coffees a day. Raiding the biscuit jar. Beers after work.

This is the norm.

I sat in a meeting with a lot of senior employees, listening to them talk about their lives. The company had been laying off people. Funding was tight. Staff development was non-existent. Moral at an all time low.

Sitting there, taking it all in, I realised, THIS IS MY FUTURE.

It was in that moment I decided, I don’t want to be the middle aged overweight guy, stressed to the max, living for the weekend, not enjoying time with his family, just turning up to collect a pay-check, slowly dying, not contributing to anything worth-while besides making shareholders richer.

This is what has helped me find the balance.  

1.       Training & Community

I found a great community and place to train.

I played team sport all my life, and joining a gym with a great community was a huge piece of the puzzle. With limitless benefits, exercising and lifting weights in this environment gave me purpose and made me feel really good. It gave me a reason to not just go and sit at home and watch TV.

I got strong, I was fit, I had to BREATH and I made a bunch of friends.

2.       Nutrition

To be perfectly honest, the SAD (Standard Australian Diet) is a big part of the reason I was feeling how I was. Heavy, bloated, tired, fuzzy – pretty standard for majority of people these days. This is average but IS NOT NORMAL. They are different.

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. Jiddu Krishnamurti

I changed up my nutrition. I’ve tried a lot of different things over the journey (still trying), but I try to keep things pretty simple.

  • Low carb style diet with >90% wholefoods,
  • As many veggies and greens as possible,
  • Good protein,
  • Lots of good fats.
  • Intermittent fasting,
  • Avoid processed foods/liquids,
  • Minimal alcohol (just the occasional red wine, port or rum) and;
  • Occasionally spoil myself with a Buinning’s sanga or Ice cream.

I just try to make good choices and challenge my own willpower. You are what you eat has never been truer.

3.       Standing Still

I used to ride to work a bit. One afternoon on a ride home, I actually pulled over and just sat to watch the sunset for 15min. Now I’m pretty competitive, so I used to race home and try and beat my time.

Thinking metaphorically about it, I never looked back to see the beauty that was passing me by each day. With relationships, experiences, life. I was always looking far ahead, planning in advance, trying to WIN.

I now realise its part of my personality, but being more aware of always trying to live for tomorrow has helped me be more present, to appreciate what I have, maybe even grateful, because what we have now is all we have, and we are exactly where we need to be.

I still need to be constantly reminded of this by my amazing wife, who just about only lives in the present, but it has also helped me find more joy in life.

So if you’re an engineer, accountant, teacher, lawyer, whatever, you get these 3 things right, you will be on the right track to living the life you want.

  • Join a healthy community
  • Train & Breath
  • Eat well, not the SAD
  • Be still and find gratitude.