'I'll do it tomorrow,' I said.
'Will you?' I replied.
'Of course. Anyway I should check my emails first, and unstack the dishwasher. Plus, I'm starting to feel hungry.' I walked to the kitchen.
'You just ate lunch?' I said, frowning.
'Okay, maybe I don't need to eat.' I closed the fridge. 'But, I do need to think about it some more. It's complicated, you know?'
'I know.' I said, nodding knowingly at myself. 'Maybe you should just get started? You know, take the first step.'
'You are right.' I walked back to my office. 'But I am having that cake after I finish.'
"What gets measured, gets managed."
I'm not sure this is universally true, but it has some validity. I'm currently using an app*on my phone to record how much of my life is being consumed by this palm-sized instrument of distraction. It breaks down usage by day, and application, and my plan is analyse the data at the end of the month. In the meantime, I've found the app has a handy feature which can be used to "create" a break.
*the irony of using an app on my phone to record how much I use apps on my phone is not lost on me.
📷Taking a "break" in Quality Time.
When something happens which we don't like - small or big - we often use the words should or shouldn't. For example, when someone cuts across our lane on the freeway, we might say "they shouldn't drive like that" (plus a few expletives). We might even throw in some hand-gesturing and honk the horn. If we are really agitated, we might tell the next friend we meet so they can join in and fuel our rage.
Or we could just say, "I'd prefer they didn't drive like that", and let it go.
Try swapping prefer for should and see how different it makes you feel.
Are you getting enough rest?
I recently discovered this excellent TED article and talk on the seven types of rest we need.
In wellness courses, they often talk about self-nurturing. I am regularly surprised when people respond to this idea. They say “this week, I will have coffee with my friend” or “go to the movies with my partner.” Great examples, only the frequency makes me curious. Each morning, I write down something I plan to read, write, or learn, and a self-care skill to use, then something I am going to do as self-nurture. Listen to a favourite song, edit a photograph, eat a mandarin outside. The important thing is not the what, it’s making the choice to do it. And, I do, every day, because I am worth it. And so are you.
We form habits without thinking, but we can also do so intentionally. Habits are formed by repetition of a cycle where we receive a cue, undertake a routine or perform an action, then receive a reward which reinforces the desire to do it again. Seven years ago, I intentionally used this to form a running habit. Each night, I'd lay my running gear out. When I awoke, they would cue me to wear them. I could not change until I'd exercised. My reward was a shower and wearing regular clothes. Later, the reward became the feeling of achievement and fitness.
Suggested reading: The Power of Habit, Charles Duhig
Technology can be used to help boost your mental well-being. There are many apps available. They cover everything from simpler things like calming music, mood monitoring and improvement, to more extensive tools teaching mindfulness or supporting cognitive behaviour management. I have a couple of go-to apps which I use regularly (daily and weekly) but I also like to try different ones from time-to-time as they always teach me something new.
📷sleeping cat is from Headspace.
Growing up in the 1980s, I was one of the original gamers. I understand the attaction of the screen. I spent countless hours destroying asteroids and avoiding ghosts in a blue maze full of yellow dots.
These days, I'm less inclined to sit and play Playstation for six hours straight, but I still spend a lot of my time in front of a screen.
Our family does play board games. Always has. But sometimes the screen is the easier option. So, next time everyone is sitting on the couch "chilling" on their phones, I think I'll suggest a game of Rummy or Scrabble.
A friend shares something online. It's their wedding anniversary, perhaps a birthday, or maybe they've got a new job. Your cursor hovers over the list of emojis....which one to choose, should I pick more than one, shall I write a comment.
Pick up the phone and call them. If they don't answer leave a message, "hey, I just wanted to say congratulations!"
And don't worry if they don't call back or acknowledge you with some form of reply. They got the message and I reckon you probably made their day!
© Mark J. Keenan