Sometimes I find myself thinking what the hell happened to 2020, is this all a big joke and is it yet to actually begin, but properly?
The world changed as we found ourselves in difficult times. Suffering from limitations, devastation, pain, anger and confusion. To after all that, find out that this might just be the new normal.
This disruption made me hungry for constancy. I needed to feel more grounded, to reconnect with normality, and not the new normal.
This began with a real hard look at my work-life balance, it was way off kilter. I’ll hold my hands up, the initial pat on the back of checking emails in the evening to get ahead for the next day, fast became a regular occurrence and my personal life started fading into the background.
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”
I don’t know about you, but how hard is it to switch off? To not worry about health, responding to an email or whether Boris Johnson will announce another full lockdown, did I even have enough toilet roll or more importantly, wine?
I won’t lie, it took considerable practice and stamina to consciously make the decision to not feel guilty watching Netflix and to literally relish working out at the gym. Not rushing, having the time to hang and chat to my little fitness family without feeling I was on a timer was weirdly divine (don’t judge me).
It wasn’t easy and being utterly honest still isn’t, but some of the things which help me switch off are:
- Turning all work devices off in the evening and putting them out of sight.
- Enjoying morning and evening podcast walks, I love Chloe Madeley’s, Bodcast.
- Rediscovering my passion for blogging.
- Reminding myself of the things I enjoy. Reading, working out, watching movies, online shopping, seeing friends (even if it is by Zoom) and taking bubble baths. But more importantly, actually making time to do these things.
Don’t underestimate the power of switching off. Happiness is allowing yourself to just be you, no matter where you are or who you are with.
Okay so this one was kinda easy, I had an incentive. I was on a mission to lose weight, two stone to be exact. And I knew that if I succumbed to endless takeouts during lockdown I was going to be putting two more stone on! So MyFitnessPal became my best friend, I discovered an awesome butcher and signed up for Riverford to arm me with weekly fresh fruit and vegetables to inspire those healthier and more substantial meals.
Not only is home cooking more nutritional and helps control calorie intake but also what a money saver! Not only did I find it slightly therapeutic, I felt a sense of pride as they tasted pretty good. Move aside Nigella.
If you haven’t heard of Jay Shetty, he is a British author and former monk who has dedicated his life to helping people find their purpose and lead a less anxious, more meaningful life.
His name had popped up on my Insta feed many times. Oprah and Ellen were raving about his strategies and he had released Think Like a Monk. It was time to satisfy the curiosity and understand whether I could apply any of this to my own life.
I wrestled with myself a few times, you see I was carving out the time to actually read but finding I was reading the page five times over. I needed to be in the right headspace with the right surroundings. Once I had that nailed I was captivated and inspired. I think what I appreciated the most was that it’s not a preachy book, you know the type that makes you feel stupid for not thinking this in the first place? It is written in a way that explains how normal it is to have certain thoughts, and how to individually understand why we think them. It’s relatable.
“Living intentionally means stepping back from external goals, letting go of outward definitions of success, and looking within”
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a case of reading and as if by magic, all was transformed. It took (and still is taking) a few reminder post-its around the apartment with a gentle self-nudge every now and then. And with everything change-related it needs to become a habit, something repeatable until it becomes the norm. I’ll let you know how I get on!
The things which I believe in this week are dedicated to self-care which is about giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you.
How do you practice self-care?