HOW TO STAY SANE IN AN OVER-WORKING WORLD
Since my life was turned upside down last December, a lot as hit me. These waves of realisation have, whilst, been eye-opening and life changing, have also left me floored by their integrity; one of which being the fact that at 19 years old, I had experienced what is commonly known as a ‘burn out.’ The burn out most commonly experienced by business men and women over their 50’s, where they suddenly have a mid-life crisis and quit their jobs; where people are known have heart attacks, emotional breakdowns; where their bodies and minds just stop functioning. I know. At 19, I should be out partying and enjoying being young, not cracking from all the stress and pressure I’ve put on myself.
I realised, that I had learnt to convince myself and others around me that I was functioning, when the reality was far, far from that. Though it wasn’t like it was a complete lie - I knew how to function within the tightly regimented and scheduled framework I had created for myself, but anything out with that? I couldn’t cope. And that, I was in denial of.
I had no idea how to just ‘be.’ How to live in the present moment, without constantly thinking about the future, about improving myself, about being productive, about my next step, about how I was going to be successful in life.
We are inundated with messages that we’re not doing enough. That others are doing more. That if we want to give ourselves any chance of having a happy life when we’re older, we need to constantly be a step ahead of the game, constantly in overdrive.
This false illusion isn’t going to go away. It’s how all big companies make their money, it’s how our society is built, and how more and more of us live. Live, but thrive? That’s another question. Everything in our world is constantly under development to become more instant, more intelligent, more complex; it’s no wonder we have this fear of being left behind. It only makes sense that we are scared of taking any pause, any break from the rat race; any step away from the future into the present moment.
But I’ve learnt that finding that sense of calm or peace, staying sane and not burning yourself out doesn’t mean you have to completely disengage from the western world. It doesn’t mean you have to live barefoot in a continuous meditation, or buy a one-way ticket to Hawaii and live on an island (though, I mean, I wouldn’t necessarily turn that opportunity down.)
By incorporating a few new things into your day, (or more-so, dis-incorporating others,) you can really make a huge difference to your mental state - and by taking this ‘precious’ time, time that you will feel the angst and the antsy feeling that you should really be doing something more productive, I promise you, you’ll end up being more efficient, more productive, and simply; happier. Over time, you’ll begin to notice the sense of mental clarity you have now that you never had before, that you’re sleeping better, laughing more, and really just feel a lot more chill.
So what can you do to stay sane in our over-working world?
FIND YOUR CALM.
Finding your calm, whatever it may be, is arguably the most important out of all of these points. Practicing meditation or mindfulness has been life-changing for me, but finding daily calm and peace can take so many forms; whether that be working on breathing/grounding techniques, sitting outside in nature, doing yoga, or even just zoning out on the train on the way to work or uni, rather than scrolling on your phone or reading notes.
DO SOMETHING FOR YOU.
Every day try to do something just for you, not to be productive. And don’t try to convince yourself that getting ahead on your lectures or that gym class or letting yourself go to bed slightly earlier is really ‘for you.’ Do something that maybe feels a little uncomfortable, like taking time to watch TV or a movie, read a (fiction!!!) book or pick up a hobby of yours, like drawing or playing an instrument.
RE-EVALUATE YOUR MOVEMENT.
Is smashing out the gym every day before/in-between/after work or uni really what you need in your life right now? Is doing high intensity cardioreally de-stressing or inflicting more cortisol into your body that you probably don’t need? Consider switching up your movement to something a little more mindful; like walking in the fresh air, yoga, or trying a new fun sport with friends as a social activity. And if you find yourself unable to do that with fear or weight-gain, not ‘burning’ or doing enough, maybe you need to be honest with yourself about where your intentions lie, and whether your exercise is really ‘healthy’ for you at all.
Those times you find yourself stuck in a cycle of worrying about the future or planning? the nights you lie in bed thinking about everything? Stop. Take a breath, Look around you. Let yourself relax. Enjoy the moment!! See no.1 for more guidance on how you can work on your staying-present-skills.
WORK ON SELF-ACCEPTANCE.
Because despite what you think, you don’t need to change or constantly improve yourself to be successful and happy in life. The way you are, right now, in this moment, is enough.
What do you do to keep yourself sane? Would love to hear in the comments below, or feel free to drop me a message!
oceans of love,