I know you’ve felt at some point that everything is just a bit too much. We all have! But what I never considered within my own life, was that perhaps I was partly the cause of this cluttered too-much-ness. I believed that this fast-paced way of living was the only answer. I believed that if I needed a rest, it would have to be when other people were resting, etc. Had I realized that there were so many things in my own life that I could simply stop or do differently without having my life come crashing down, then I am almost certain that I would have found peace of mind a lot sooner than I did.
However, when I packed my bags to go traveling, I was forced to change my lifestyle completely. It led me to step out of my comfort zone in one of the most extreme ways I ever have! I dropped all of my routines and commitments from my home, downsized to a mere fraction of what I had previously owned, and began to live a lot more slowly. I wanted to share with you what happened when I did this. So here is what I did:
I cut down my social life: I know what you’re thinking. Socializing is a way to de-stress, silly! I always believed this and believed it true for everyone, regardless of all the other factors involved. I love socializing and my friends have helped me to have some of the best and most relaxing experiences. But it got to the point where people were asking me to do things all the time and I felt like I couldn’t say no. The more I agreed, the more people I would meet, and the more things I would be invited to, etc, etc. So I began to say no to things. I gave myself a number of times that I could agree to something in a week and stuck to it. Which meant I missed out on things, but I got it all back in a much clearer mind. I began to think deeply again and actually enjoyed going out a lot more when I did. Developing your personal identity before diving into social life has been shown to improve relationships and careers.
I began to meal-prep: Ever since I became interested in healthy eating and wellness a few years ago, I have become an avid believer in cooking your own food at home. I also love to experiment with flavors, ingredients, and cuisines, which led me to try multiple new and complex recipes each week. Each with its own expensive ingredients and each requiring more preparation time. When I decided to change, I allowed myself to try just one new recipe each week. I now reserve Sunday evening for making these new recipes along with old favorites, and I make enough each Sunday for meals for the rest of the week. It makes my Sunday evening a busy time… But, the rest of the week is smooth sailing.
Ditch the Complex Self-Care: Another one which goes against the trendy advice of extravagantly treating yourself. We are increasingly told to lavish ourselves with expensive spa days and strange, wonderful products. For a while I went along with this trend… and granted, I did enjoy it. But I also became increasingly aware of everything that wasn’t right about myself. By focusing so much time and energy into re-energizing myself, pampering my skin, and being still, I was making myself more aware that I was doing things that needed to be re-energized, corrected and stilled. I started to notice my tiredness more, my skin imperfections, my busy lifestyle. These became focal points for me and my thinking became negative. I changed by deciding to take my self-care back to the basics. Washing my face, coconut oil, quick shampoo, and some nice clean sheets and exercising when I felt like it, not to relieve stress when I was focused only on the stress. By taking it back to basics, I felt the need to do it less and became more at ease with myself. At the same time, I saved money and so the financial cost was much lower as well. Definitely a winning solution for me.
It’s not terribly complicated, expensive or time-consuming to turn your life from a stressful frenzy into the life you envisioned for yourself. But it takes a few sacrifices too. Maybe it’s your Sunday night, your beauty cream with seven names or a night out. But for what you give up, what you do have begins to matter that much more. Before long, you could be experiencing a less crowded mind, more time to yourself, fewer expenses and a clearer more loving vision of yourself.
Also by Aine: What I Learned About Wellness From Traveling In World’s Healthiest Countries
Why Taking A Hot Air Balloon Was The Best Lesson I’ve Had In Navigating Life
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Photo: Nathan Van Egmond on Unsplash