Each new year starts with a lot of energy, hopes, aspirations and enthusiasm. We set goals, resolutions and priorities, and gear up to achieve what we could not last year and so much more.
Then life happens. All the zeal and determination go in the backdrop, and worry and stress take their place.
Wait! Did you take into account the other realities of your life? Did you schedule sickness, heartbreaks, family issues, and other tough or unfortunate things on your calendar? Did that one bad thing took you for a spin and threw you back to square one?
I know for myself that I stop following through a goal if something bad happens in my life or if I fall sick. I fail to keep track of my goals at the time and lose my momentum in the following days, making it much more difficult for me to get back on track just because I did not plan for the uncertainties and did not take care of the small things in my life.
To achieve something big, we need to work harder and smarter than we did before. Busy as we human beings are, in our quest of achieving bigger and better, we often forget to give importance to the small things in our lives. Whoever said “Ignorance is a bliss?”
Our health is the most affected in the course- physical, mental and spiritual.
Below is the checklist of habits I am planning to follow in 2018 to be more present, more peaceful and to have a more meaningful life. These are just five things for now and I plan to add more as the year progresses. Based on my performance, I will also keep updating the list and would write more if I succeed in any one of them.
1. Waking Up Early: This is one thing that I struggle with a lot. I have failed miserably in being a morning person as I would have liked myself to be, even after watching tons of videos about the advantages of being one. (I forget about implementing the tips I watch in those videos, duh me!)
Most of us have a tough time waking up early and if it were not for our jobs, we would all be night owls. On rare days that I manage to wake up early, I have a better rest of the day. I feel happier, calmer and get more things done that day.
I will write another post when I manage to succeed at this and would share all the tips that helped me in taming this habit. For now, we can all try going to bed at the same time and waking up around the same time.
How about 12:30 am (bedtime) and 8 am (wake up) for a start (except weekends of course)? I am going to follow this routine for the next two weeks and you can too. Don’t forget to share your progress in the comments below.
2. Getting Enough Sleep: With everything that goes on in our lives, we stop giving importance to our health and start behaving as if we don’t have control over our own lives.
Too much stress and overthinking, among other things, can lead to insomnia. And how I wish I would fall asleep within minutes of hitting my bed. Do wishes come true? Let me know in the comments section. I once wanted to have magical powers. Alas! That never happened.
A lot of factors can affect our sleep. It is necessary that we have a sufficient amount of sleep and quality sleep at that. The day I have a bad sleep, I am irritable, distracted, lack focus and don’t have a productive day.
Currently, I am running on patterns. For the first 15 days of the month, it takes me hours to fall asleep and for rest of the 15 days I cover up by sleeping more (9-10 hours on most days).
TIPS: A lot of things can help in getting a good night sleep, such as going to bed same time every night, not watching too much TV (I have followed this tip and it works), not using the phone at the time of bed and not eating heavy an hour or two before bed.
3. Meditation: I have tried meditating on my own and have failed almost all the times. So much so that I thought the days I meditated, I had a horrible mood. (I probably wasn’t doing it right.)
Most of us are zoned out and non-present, thanks to the rapid pace of technology in our lives that came without a manual and we don’t know how to cope with it. There were no warning signs before and there aren’t going to be any signs now, most people don’t know what is coming next (Artificial Intelligence), our lives are continuously moving and no one is pausing to breathe.
I can go on and on about it but the point is not that. The point is- PAUSING. Humans made pause-buttons in remote controls but forgot to pause themselves when needed.
Meditation is the new pause that we need in our lives. I feel that the people who have not experienced meditation will go crazy sooner or later.
In my search for Pause, I came across Guided Mediation last month and loved it. Not everything works for everyone and before reaching the conclusion that Mediation isn’t for me, I found Headspace (a Guided Meditation app).
I tried many Guided Meditation apps before finally taking a yearly subscription of Headspace. Currently, I meditate when I feel like it or when I am feeling low.
Challenge: Do it every day for the next two weeks.
4. Drinking Water: It is oversaid and underdone. We all have Google and we all know that an adult should drink a minimum of 3 litres of water a day (it is different for both male and female, but approximately around the same number).
I hardly drink 1 litre of water on a bad or a busy day. What helps me most is carrying a water bottle wherever I go.
There are apps that remind you to drink water after every interval. Alternatively, you can set alarm for every hour as a reminder to keep yourself hydrated.
5. Getting Enough Sunlight: I have been a hermit for the last 2.5 years. It takes a lot out of me to get up from the bed, get ready and go out, so much so that it takes me until sunset to actually do anything related to going out.
Vitamin D deficiency (which occurs due to lack of exposure to sunlight) can cause bone pain, muscle weakness and is also associated with depression among other things. So if you think your brain is not producing enough happy hormones, i.e., endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, you might want to get your Vitamin D3 levels checked.
Last year, I had low levels of Vitamin D3 and it affected my mood to such an extent that I had major mood swings, had low energy and felt unhappy most of the time. My doctor found the cause and prescribed Vitamin D3 supplements, which I took for about 4 months.
So if you also feel dull, lazy, inactive, irritable and tired most of the time, you should get your Vitamin D3 levels checked. And bask away in the sunshine, go for a walk in nature and don’t forget to take care of yourself.
All the habits mentioned above are connected because being successful at one would lead us to form other habits easily. For instance: If I am drinking enough water, eating healthier, meditating every day, I would have a better sleep. Better sleep means I would be able to wake up early and that would further motivate me to go for a walk or a run and to get that morning sunshine.
It is easier to forget small things in the course of this long life we all think we have. Let’s not kid ourselves, shall we? Let’s not treat the rest of the year as a hangover and focus on living a meaningful life.
Be kinder to one another. A small act of kindness can lead to a bigger change in everyone’s life.