One thing you can always bank on, is that life isn't perfect. There will be good times, there will be times which try us but it will never be perfect. That's OK with me, because I don't believe in perfection as a concept. it's too hard to live up to, and almost impossible to sustain - so I prefer to set myself up for success and work towards a more realistic blueprint of life. Imperfect consistency. It's a mindset, and a pretty damn good one.
When life is good, it's really good! The bright yellow hues of a fantastic day shining brightly all around us. Smiling, laughing and feeling on top of the world! Oh that we could capture that essence and bottle it! Well, I believe that we can.
One thing which happens all too often, in my experience, is the sense of apathy when all is going well. We sink into a comfortable space, content and happy. We allow life to unfold as it will, day after day high on the happy vibe. What's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing - life is short and we should absolutely live it well, live it happy. BUT, we should live it mindfully. When things are good, be present - learn, absorb, grow. Don't become apathetic, comfortable and start taking things for granted. Working on our emotional resilience and insight into self is something we shouldn't just leave to times of trial - it's these times which need the most from that energy reserve.
So when life is good, embrace the high and harness the energy so that when we hit a bump, we can tap into our reserves. Create a pattern of behaviours which galvanise the good - gratitude, movement, journalling, meditation, and lastly - seeking out the joy. Embrace the discomfort of change or hardship, lean into it and learn to tolerate it - be OK with the feelings we normally would run from and hide behind self sabotaging behaviours- whatever those are for you: food, alcohol, isolation - they all work extremely well. Create a new response from understanding the discomfort, and watch as you grow, as you become stronger. Learn to accept there is good and there is bad - life is transient, but that whatever happens: we will be OK.
Of course, this takes time and as someone who suffers with PTSD related anxiety - it is a journey. BUT - I see the good, I know it's the right path and I know I deserve to feel light, happy and unburdened. So I do the work, I practice the behaviours and I reap the rewards.
I've recently suffered a personal loss, one which took its toll both mentally and physically - continues to, if I'm honest. So now is when I need to tap into my reserves. I choose happiness, I choose good days, I choose positivity. I want to share with you what that means for me - to show there's no magic button or formula, but will a little insight, self awareness and discipline, you CAN and you WILL be OK!
I established the pattern of behaviours I mentioned earlier a long time ago and they now form part of the fabric of my day, which makes this a lot easier. I've shared them with you before, but to remind you: these involve waking early, taking time for gratitude, getting outdoors and getting moving, working out and hydrating. These are my non negotiables and are the same for many of you now, I suspect. The power of Happy Healthy You continues to amaze me! This is my default mindset - my anchor day to day. Sometimes, these take a little more effort than others - especially when we are struggling. I've applied a formula over time to help with my 'reset' and as promised - I'd like to share it with you.
First is to commit to being OK - commit to thriving - commit to health - commit to happy. Choose LIFE! It's a complex thing and although sometimes can be cruel, is always forgiving and BEAUTIFUL. BELIEVE that with your whole heart. I do.
Second, is to make a plan - every evening I write down my 'must do' list for the morning. This includes my non negotiables, but by putting them in a list I'm taking the 'discipline' element away, and simply making them something I have to tick off a list. I know I'm much more likely to get them done if they form a part of a structure for the day rather than risk them being lost in the ambiguous fog in my mind when I'm feeling a little low.
Third, is seek out joy. Sounds weird, right? Bear with me. You see, I see the joy in most things daily - the sunrise, the smell of the dawn, the smell of my dogs ears (yep, gross - but like nectar to me!), the shape of a cloud, the laughter of a stranger, the sound of my washing machine. I have programmed myself to be positive on purpose - and it works! BUT, when I'm going through a challenging time I tend to lose my wag a little. Everything dulls slightly and I become less energised. I know that this is not a headspace I want to be in for long and I also know it's a headspace I can move on from - with some effort. So, I LOOK for the joy in everything I do. For example:
Breakfast becomes dippy egg and soldiers because it's quite simply a plate of childhood for me - filled with so much love and nostalgia.
I can't work out right now, so I have to find the joy in other forms of movement. So, on our morning walk, I play 'zoomies' with Jack and Buddy, absolutely captivated by the puppy like playfulness this brings out in our little boy. My giggles can be heard from space I'm sure!
My reflection is hard - I'm angry at my body, and that's not fair. So every day, I spend a good 10 minutes in front of my mirror, naked, telling my reflection how brave, strong and beautiful she is. I'm not all the way there with this one, but each day I manage to look my reflection in the eye for a little longer. I will persist, because I know I deserve it and I know that's the healthiest way to heal.
These are the more 'soft focus' things, which simply help you maintain some equilibrium. Once I'm physically intact, the focus gets dialled in a little more. Here's my list, which I'll elaborate on for you once I can start it!
5 workouts per week: HIIT, strength and mobility: I choose to be fit and healthy, I will work at it consistently.
3 litres of water per day: I am 70% water, I need to be hydrated to function at my best
Minimum 6 hours of sleep @ 80% quality: no social media after 7pm, bed by 9pm, meditate, magnesium, gratitude
Food: don't punish yourself with aggressive restriction - you know better than that, your body has gone through a LOT. Take time, stick to your deficit, enjoy the odd treat - LIVE. And do so without GUILT.
Time: it is OK to say no, you don't have to be everything to everyone. You are more effective rested and focused - take the time you need. Make time for 'me'.
Self care: you will practice at least 1 item of self care DAILY. Face mask, massage, reading, puzzles, cuddles - you choose but DO IT.
Narrative: you WILL speak to yourself with compassion. YOU ARE ENOUGH.
That's it! As I said, it's not a magic button but it DOES work. I'll share some little vlogs with you as the days go on - I think it's important for you to see it, warts and all! Not every day is perfect - but I am consistent every day and THAT is the important thing.
Thanks for taking the time to share in my focused fortnight - if you'd like to join me, by all means write yourself a list and share it with me! We can keep each other accountable and I'd LOVE the company.