Make Time for Yourself – Every Day
Many of us are not good at being in our own company. There are multiple distractions to stop us from relating to ourselves. TV, online games, reading, work, eating, sports, family and friends can easily fill the day.
Like many of you I find being alone with myself difficult at times. While I have got better at sitting mindfully due to my meditation practice, I still often feel guilty that I am no actually doing something useful. I feel guilty for not being busy, for not applying myself to solving a problem and for not producing a tangible result from my time. This guilt however doesn’t stop me from watching too much TV or spending too much time playing on-line games which makes me feel remorseful about all the time I ‘waste’.
Give yourself permission to ‘do nothing’ every day. This allows me get to know myself better. For me, if I am more in tune with myself I am also a better parent, work colleague and friend.
Say What You Really Need
I live in a culture where being busy is a positive quality that equates to being successful. You can’t be doing well and not be busy. But this means I am regularly asked: “How’s your day? Busy?” Or “I assume things are busy for you?” The correct response is “Yes, I’m so busy. My life is so stressful.” (And therefore very important and successful.)
But for me I was getting to the point where I was not sure how to answer this question. As you know from my previous blog (Managing myself, it’s a full-time job!) I have been working to change my life so that I am not always in a hurry. So I felt the needed to change my response. Today if you asked me I might say “No, I’m not too busy. In fact, I try not to be too busy as it’s not good for my mental health.” Or simply “Thanks for asking but no, I am enjoying a leisurely day.”
At that point, I may even go on to explain that I have had to rearrange my life to better manage my depression and anxiety. There may result be a awkward silence but also opens the door to talk about mental health.
So give yourself permission to tell people how you really are and get better at looking after your own needs.
Stop Wanting It All Now!
Wanting everything and wanting it now, The pressures to ‘have it all’ are extreme and drummed into us via TV and other media. The media tells us we are not really living to our maximum if we don’t have the latest phone, go to the most expensive personal trainer or take luxury holidays. We live in a world where you can be a celebrity for just being rich! How extraordinary! And how many people are ‘stuck’ working at jobs they don’t enjoy so that they can pay for their expensive homes and toys?
This causes stress overload and we all know that living with too much stress can cause deterioration in both our mental and physical health. The answer is in allowing ourselves to be less influenced by the media and our social circles; knowing more about who we really are and what makes up truly happy.
It is only with hindsight can I offer this simple advice. What I have learned in the past few years is that success is about being more at peace with myself, helping others and living a more authentic life.
I’d love to hear from others who have achieved balance in their lives.