8 ways to beat a culture of excess

by | Mar 12, 2020

How can we overcome our culture of excess

We have all been sucked into a culture of excess, but it's not working. Try our eight tips to simplify your life and beat this culture of excess.

When did we start making a culture of excess aspirational? Overwork has become a badge of honour. Busy is our current normal, and pushing ourselves to the limit is the new urban chic. Why did we start to make the ability to eat “on the run,” drink coffee “on the go” and survive on minimal sleep, must-have super skills?

"You can never be too rich or too thin,"  Wallis Simpson famously quipped. So we work out at 5.00 a.m, look at size zero in our shops and live off egg-white omelettes, if we eat at all. We know we can't have it all at once, but we can certainly give it our best shot (...right?...) as we head for the breakfast meeting, sending What's App messages to the nanny or taking our kids to day care. On the train we wonder if investment in a labia mask (yes seriously) will finally help us achieve goddess status in the bedroom and that elusive multiple orgasm.

Our definitions of success are becoming warped and we need to redefine what success means.

Culture of excess not working

Yet despite the wider cultural shift towards excess, at the same time we are seeing reduced productivity, falling employee engagement, increases in burnout and an uptick in mental health issues. Obesity levels are on the increase, opioid and other addictions are widespread. Workplace loneliness is at an all-time high as we place a higher value on cyber personae and back away from actually interacting with each other. Being a social media influencer is more important than being a person. Public discourse has become crude and polarised, often fuelled by narcissistic and self-serving leaders. You know who they are. Media pundits fire-up division with click bait posts, tweets and articles, driving targets of abuse who slip from the pedestal to self-harm, or worse. Our culture of excess isn’t working.

Do you work too hard? Find your balance with our Career Reflection Worksheets.

Half-a century ago, burnout was associated with the side effects experienced by heavy drug users, which included a general diminishing of faculties. German-American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger hijacked the term. He was the first to attribute the problem of burnout to the work place in New York in 1974, at a clinic for addicts and homeless people. The volunteers at this clinic for drug users were feeling unmotivated and emotionally drained. Although they had been committed to their jobs, they had become more cynical and depressed. Depression and pre-burnout have very similar symptoms, and are modern workplace phenomena. For those who do take a wider, more caring approach to others and our environment, they are derided and branded as being “woke” by an increasingly virulent opposition.

culture of excess

It seems that all we can do is implement change in our own sphere of influence.

How can we simplify our lives in a culture of excess:

1. Understand our own values and what our life goals are

When you don't know where you are going, every direction will get you there. It's important to know what you stand for and what you stand against. Going through the self-reflection process is important to dig deep and do your inner work. It may be necessary to work with a coach.

2. Set good boundaries

If you know what your values and vision are, it's easier to set and maintain healthy boundaries. Learning to say "no," stopping over-scheduling and prioritising commitments are great steps in the right direction. If you struggle with this get support.

Contact 3Plus today to find out more about our specialist Coaching Services.

3. Resist popular consumer trends

There is a growing mood towards reducing consumption for environmental and mental health issues. Women make 85% of spending decisions. Now is the time to reflect and commit to buying and consuming less, even if it means foregoing that labia serum (£99 for 30 ml). Ask yourself if your kids really need the latest device upgrade, branded trainers or gizmo.

4. Let go of toxic people

There is a great line that says "some people are like clouds, and when they disappear the day becomes brighter". We all know who they are. They are the ragers, nay sayers, the problem fixaters, the complainers, the manipulators, the rude, the interrupters and the just plain bad-tempered. Sometimes they are even abusive. Toxic people bring us down, pollute our lives and head space, and take up emotional and physical energy. These can be social media connections, friends, work colleagues and even family. If they are people you can't avoid altogether, keep the interaction to a minimum and try to manage it.

Toxic people are unlikely to change. However they should react to the changes that you make with regard to your responses and attitudes towards them. When these types of people shift into negative behaviour, remember it's because they can't get what they want, in the way that they want. This is about them, not you. It is an inability to communicate their needs effectively and constructively that suggests some inner, possibly long-standing, unresolved issue. Understand well that it is not your problem. Communicate clearly, assertively and constructively to self-advocate.

Improve your self-advocacy skills with our Returner Roll-Up Session on Building your Confidence.

5. Block toxic publications

There are newspapers, TV shows, Twitter and Facebook accounts and posts, plus so many other ways of getting information. If they contravene your values, silence their feeds. You are in the control seat, so don't just turn on your TV or radio, or click that uppercase click bait HEADLINE, no matter how salacious.

6. Practise self-care

There is a lot of guff out there about self-care. It has essentially replaced common sense when it comes to taking care of our physical and mental well-being, or making time for ourselves to relax. Understanding what you need is important not just to be your best self (what ever that is), but you also need to be able make the most of every day things. Just as we see with cabin crew who show us inflight safety routines, we can’t take care of anyone else, until we take care of ourselves first. It's about more than meditation, essential oils, scented candles and bubble baths, although they are certainly nice to have and do. There are also a lot of phony coaches and experts who have no qualifications and offer to help you find your inner whatever. Before you part with cash - check out their qualifications.

7. Make time for others

We live in a device addicted world and even though we are with other people, we are not always present. We check our mobile phones 150 times a day. Research from SureCall in 2018 indicated to us that 10% of people check their phones during sex. Don't let that person be you. When you are with your kids - be there for them. Check in on your neighbours, especially if they are elderly, and stay in touch with friends and family. Make a call rather than sending a text, especially if you think someone might have died.

8. De-clutter

Taking time to sort through your clutter is indeed popular, spearheaded by the Marie Kondo trend, but one that is worth doing. In terms of simplifying your life it can help enormously. Give surplus items to charity shops, sell stuff on eBay and recycle anything else. Feeling space and air in your home or office can be rejuvenating. It can inspire confidence and sometimes you can find lost treasures and reminisce. More importantly, you are taking decisions that are empowering and can boost your mood and confidence. You can even use the moments sorting out your living space to see if it's time to KonMarie your career. The same principles apply.

As you re-order your life, make sure to find a time for networking with our Daily LinkedIn route for today's super busy women.

3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Leadership and Competence Building or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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