Hey guys! So it's almost the weekend (which I know doesn't really mean anything anymore) but the sun is shining and there are many things to be grateful for. How is everyone feeling? The majority of the time I'm very upbeat, however every so often I will have a down day, during which I feel anxious, stressed, a bit despondent and just generally a deflated version of myself. I'm going with the flow and obviously these days are just a normal part of the flow, but I was wondering if maybe having a bit more of a routine would help stop these emotions from being so staggered; maybe having a bit of variety each day in terms of what I focus on and the feelings I digest would be a healthy thing, like eating yoghurt. Yoghurt contains bacteria, which we classify as generally a negative thing, but we need it. I've become mindful of what I do each day - particularly each morning and night - and I wanted to share some of the 'actions' I've been taking to help instil some balance in my daily life. I'm very much aware that there is an existing pressure to be productive and to fill your days with meaningful activities, and of course this is not always achievable. A lot of people are talking about how we are forgetting the implications of a pandemic - staying at home doesn't mean we're on holiday or are being tested on our productivity. We're simply getting through the pandemic. However, this is just a list of actions that might help you focus on what you prioritise daily, what might help you to find some relief mentally or physically. And it's not limited to this time. There is a world beyond COVID-19. Maybe the things we do now we will take into the future in order to better ourselves and others. The six items on my list of actions are: - Labour - Leisure
- Physical exercise
- Mental exercise
- Spirituality They are ranked in no particular order. Let me dive into a bit more detail about each one... Labour Labour has a wide range of meanings but on the whole it refers to work of some kind, whether that's physical, mental, skilled or unskilled. Labour can refer to our line of work, our career, our volunteering, our domestic chores. It takes up a good amount of our time and requires effort - it should require effort, for the end result always needs to be some sort of fulfilment or relief. It kind of goes without saying that this action is probably the most significant, but again everyone's version of it looks different. Regardless, we need it.
I'm guilty of not factoring enough leisure time into my day-to-day life. I thought it was strange that I find relaxing difficult, but many other people struggle with it, too. We might brush it off but actually leisure time is so important because it helps us avoid getting over-stressed. Without leisure life is just all work and no play, and that's not how it should be! So leisure time actually needs to be slotted into your routine. Some people will have no issue doing this. For me, it's actually quite hard but something that I'm working on. It needs to be slotted into your routine because it is wholly deserving of its place there. Physical exercise
This is pretty self-explanatory. Physical exercise is so, so crucial and I don't really need to spell it out to you! I always feel like even if I don't go into my physical exercise with a positive attitude, I always come out feeling better than before. I've never regretted doing it, and that says a lot.
Mental exercise This is something that is often overlooked. Just as we need physical exercise to stay healthy, the brain is an organ that needs mental exercise to function and flourish. Too much of the time I spend scrolling through Instagram or reading useless bits of information, my mind completely numb. With that same time I could be using the apps on my phone to stimulate my brain in a better way. Mental exercise can look like lots of different things. Reading, writing, watching something interesting, learning a new skill...the possibilities are endless and the resources are, too. There are so many things you can sink your teeth into these days.
Relationships We're sociable creatures, and no matter how much we focus on bettering ourselves, it's futile if we aren't engaging in relationships or helping our communities. Obviously there are times when you don't feel so up for having a chat, but that's perfectly normal. I would say, though, that it's important to create interactions daily - even if that's going to the shop to buy something or smiling at someone in the street. Small interactions can also be powerful. They remind you that you're not alone.
This might not appeal to everyone, and I get that. For me, spirituality is very important as I believe in something bigger than what is happening now and our human lives. I think being spiritual reminds you that what is happening currently isn't the be all and end all. It reminds you that a lot of the things we concern ourselves with are insignificant, and as people we will never get things perfect. It humbles me, in a way. Even just spending five minutes meditating, five minutes doing nothing, is not a waste of your time because you are allowing yourself to simply be.
If I can nurture these different actions daily, I definitely feel a sense of purpose and fulfilment, and to be honest I think that's what a lot of us crave or need (wow, didn't realise this post was going to get so deep!) Hopefully you can take something from what I've written. I'm really interested in finding out if there will be a change in the pace of our lives in the future. If we simply revert back to being busy, constantly occupied and dissatisfied, I wonder if there will come a point when we are forced to stop and think back to the actions we could have adopted during the universal decelerating of 2020.