For a long time, I felt totally adrift in my own life – from the moment I got up every morning, I was constantly rushing. The irony of it all was that no matter how much I rushed, the next day I’d get up and feel the need to do it all again!
Over the last few years I’ve been hit with an overwhelming sense of tiredness that seemed completely excessive and which I have come to believe was stress-induced and entirely avoidable. As soon as I started making an effort to bring a sense of calm to my day on a regular basis, life seemed less serious and became fun again.
Why not try some of the tips below to see if you can bring back a sense of peace and ease to your own life?
Take Responsibility for Your Life
What are the things that you are currently doing that are making your life harder than it needs to be? For me personally, this was over-indulging in alcohol as a “treat” whenever I felt stressed out. At the start of 2019, I committed to massively reducing my alcohol intake from drinking 3 or 4 times a week to less than once a month. Within a month or so, I was sleeping and eating better, had committed to a daily yoga practice and began reconnecting with hobbies I’d previously felt “too busy” to keep up with, as well as finding new ones! As a bonus, after a couple of months of not drinking, I found I didn’t really miss having a drink anyway or enjoy it when I did partake.
Take 20 Minutes a Day Just For You
When I stopped drinking alcohol, I wanted to fill up my time with a way to help me reduce the stress in my life that, up until then, I’d been using alcohol as a way of coping with. This coincided perfectly with the new 30 Days of Yoga programme being ran for free on You Tube by Yoga With Adriene. I made sure that the night before, I’d take a look at the calendar on the Yoga With Adriene website to see how long the session was for and work out whether it would be better for me to complete the session before work, on my lunch or afterwards. Some days the sessions were more than 20 minutes, sometimes they were less and sometimes I didn’t make it to the mat at all despite having the best intentions. I really did try to make yoga a priority however because I knew how good it made me feel afterwards and that it really was making me less stressed and more pleasant to be around generally. Soon I didn’t have to push myself to the mat at all, it became a pleasure. Yes it meant that sometimes tea was later than usual or that instead of flopping down in front of the TV when I came in from work, rolling the mat out instead and getting practice in before I felt too tired. Those, on average, 20 minutes a day of yoga became a way to re-energise and centre myself so that I was more relaxed around my family and friends instead of being in a bad mood, tired and grumpy from never taking any “me” time.
Start a Journal
This came about also at the start of 2019 because part of the 30 Days of Yoga this year recommended keeping a journal. I hadn’t kept a diary, other than for appointments, since I was a teenager so I was cynical to say the least. Despite this, I gave it a go and again found that it was actually enjoyable to get my whirring thoughts down on paper. In truth, I didn’t always manage to jot down an entry daily but for me that didn’t matter – part of feeling balanced was not putting myself under pressure to do any of these things if I really didn’t want to as then it would just become another job to add to the daily “to-do list” – the exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve! It also led to me re-discovering my love of writing and eventually to this blog.
Start, or Re-Start, a Hobby
Cutting out the time I was spending drinking each week left me with a lot more time and energy that up until then I’d been repeatedly wasting. I began by getting back into knitting along with my daily yoga practice which, by then, had also become a hobby. Shortly after this, as the weather improved, I got back into gardening and more recently I’ve started playing guitar again after a very long self-imposed hiatus. It amazes me sometimes how I fit it all in around having a family, a full-time job and now a blog too, especially as only a few months ago I was complaining of feeling too tired to do anything after work or at a weekend.
Who are the people, brands or organisations that resonate most with you? For me, I’ve never been much of a fan of TV but with the rise of YouTube, Instagram and the like, I find myself catching up regularly with some of my favourite contributors such as Yoga With Adriene, Victor Oddo, Manna and numerous tarot and astrology readers on such platforms. Much of the progress I’ve made just since the start of 2019 has been, at least in part, made easier by following influencers I admire and taking advice they’ve shared with their viewers and applying it to my own life in a way that works for me. On a related note, I’ve started cutting out things that I find depressing or uninspiring. A big example of this is that I no longer watch the news daily. Up until 2019, I would start my day by sitting down in front of the TV and catching up with world events – quite frankly it’s no wonder I felt depressed! I really felt that I would miss something important if I didn’t check in with the 24-hour news stations throughout the day. As it turns out, I now rarely watch the news and still seem to be relatively up to date with what’s going on in the world through updates to my phone that only take a few seconds of my time instead of 30 minutes minimum. I feel so much happier in myself without the news on that I now actively avoid watching it whenever possible.
Of course, these are just a few of what I’ve noticed are really simple yet effective hacks that have worked for me but what about you – in what ways have you managed to balance your life?