We all tend to live in the hamster wheels of our comfort zones; maintaining that baseline level of contentment or happiness that we have become accustomed to. And at some point in our lives we might find ourselves feeling trapped by our cyclic responsibilities, and frustrated with our same-old, go-nowhere routines. This is a sign that we are unwell.
Just as the body requires work and attention to be kept healthy and fit, so too does the mind, the psyche, the soul, or whatever other label you put on the self. Self-Care is beyond important, it is critical.
Break Free of the Cycle
No, don’t quit your job, or run away from home to join the circus. More often than not the trick to re-calibrating our happiness baseline, is adjusting how we care for ourselves in our down time, and don’t give me that “what down time? ” response.
All that time used staring at social media apps on our phones, watching shows on TV, streaming videos, escaping, unwinding, and healing from our days; but not really. This is the time we need to tweak in order to feel satiated by our days.
Our habitual ‘zone-out’ time needs to be spent doing things that leave us recharged and healed, because it is often our only chance to do so.
1. Learn Something New
Spend some time reading how-to blogs, watching YouTube tutorials, or reading informative books or magazines. Learn to do something you’ve always wanted to know, and then apply that new-found knowledge; fix that thing in your life that you’ve learned to live with: the broken lamp, the door that doesn’t shut right, the old table that needs to be refinished, or the loose power outlet. Subscribe to a magazine in your field of work and improve your career while learning something new. Start an herb garden. Take up magic.
It doesn’t matter what you’re learning, just so long as it interests you, and keeps you feeling productive and fulfilled.
2. Be Active
Yea, you knew that exercise was going to find its way into here; which means that deep down you know why. You need to be active to feel good. And having a daily routine that makes you healthier physically, will also make you healthier mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
So set some time aside every day, even if it’s just the last half hour before bed, just make sure to give yourself that time to be active and stay healthy.
Be it walking every day, jogging or running, weight lifting, or at home areobic or cardio workouts. Just do you. Break a sweat, build muscles, be better.
3. Organize your Environment
Decluttering your space is a great way to make you feel more in control and centered. Take control of your desk space, your night stand, your closet, or your car.
This will also provide you with ease of access to your things when you need them, relieving any stress of not ever finding what your looking for.
But the biggest benefit of organizing your space is that you practice thinking about how things should be organized: An organized space leads to an organized kind.
4. Give to Others
Contributing to helping others provides so much to the betterment of the self that it could be an article topic all is own.
If you don’t have money to share with those in need, then share your time. Find somewhere in your community where your time can be of value to others and just be there to lend what you can towards the betterment of others in your community.
This type of contentedness heals.
5. Budget your Money
Spend some of your time each week, if not everyday, tracking your expenses. Learn how much of your income you are investing in different aspects of your life.
I don’t mean to state that standard of living equates to quality of life, but financial peace of mind is a huge factor in bringing that happiness baseline a little higher.
So get to know yourself a little better, and then focus on how you can improve your spending habits in order to improve your quality of life.
Yup, just spend less time staring at your phone or that book. Put it down and go to sleep.
If you struggle with this, it helps to set alarms to remind yourself that it’s time to put everything else away, and give yourself the time you need for sleep.
Without a full night’s sleep (that’s at least 7 hours but 8 ideally) then nothing else is going to go right. You can’t improve your quality of life if you’re not rested enough to enjoy it.
7. Hygiene and Grooming
Much like keeping your environment organized, keeping yourself groomed, helps to keep you focused and centered.
And, although it might seem arbitrary, oral hygiene is at the top of the list. Brushing and flossing daily, as the minimum, is a must.
Poor oral health care effects your whole body, from feeling sluggish, to gut problems, arthritis, heart disease, and even dementia.
That’s the front line to everything that enters your bloodstream, keep it free of bad bacteria.
This has been a PSA from your friendly blogging microbiologist.
8. Routines for Morning and Evening
Your parents may have tried to help you with this one. Always make your bed, clean up your room, put your laundry away, brush your teeth, say your prayers. Yea, yea, yea, we get it, mom.
But seriously, keeping little routines like these might seem like they would add to those hamster wheel feels, but they keep you grounded, and help keep you on track to maintaining your other healthy habits. Getting to sleep on time, waking up on time, brushing your teeth, grooming, etc.
10. Prep Meals
Oh crap, there goes quick and easy junk food. This list is clearly all lies. Okay, you can have your occasional simple snack, but your meals really should be prepared at home.
For one, it’s cheaper. Second, it is usually healthier, what with lacking all the preservatives and added sugars. And also, it gets you to try new things, learn new recipes, and explore new foods and new ways of cooking.
11. Connect with People
People- I don’t much care for them myself, but that’s neither here nor there. It is important that we reach out to the people in our lives.
Spend some time catching up with old friends, talk to someone new, maintain those lasting friendships. And don’t forget to talk to your family, they’re people too.
12. Spend Time Outside
The outdoors are where we connect to it all, the only place we can truly plug in and recharge. Not to mention the list of health benefits that come from spending some time outdoors is beyond impressive.
And this is a habit you can combine with others on this list, such as being active; you could go for a walk on the trails at you local lake, go to a botanical gardens or a large park. Just enjoy the natural world and be active!
13. Journal (Inspiration & Gratitude)
Keep a journal. Journaling is not only great for organizing your thoughts, and improving your intellectual skills, but it is also a great place to review the things for which you are grateful, and find some internal inspiration.
Spending some time on a regular basis thinking of all the things for which you are grateful, as well as looking internally for inspiration and encouragement are two of the best habits to form to boost confidence and increase your quality of life.
So be sure to structure your journal entries assigned these two facets of life, and you’ll get the most out of your journaling experience.
Don’t wing it. At least not all the time. Having some structure to your day’s, weeks, and months will relieve so much stress that you likely aren’t even aware of.
Planning in advance also removes everyone’s favorite fail safe to doing things, procrastination. Make plans, and stick to them.
15. Treat Yourself
That’s right, you need to have a least a little zone-out time; time to wind down and relax, but don’t over do it, or it won’t be as sweet.
I recommend doing something with this time that still leaves you feeling productive. Knitting, gardening, playing an instrument, or writing a novel. But if you need your netflix time to hold onto your sanity, then you do you, and enjoy.