When you were young, did you ever feel really excited when you were allowed to stay up late? For me, it felt a bit thrilling, a change from the norm. And still, as an adult, this thrill exists, despite knowing that I will wake up at normal time the next morning and I will feel dreadful, perhaps for more than a few hours. I can get really gloomy with too little sleep, feeling like everything is going to pot, nothing is right, that I must re-evaluate my whole life... and so on.
Which is why this quote from The Book of Life resonated so much with me.
"It can feel like an insult to our rational, adult dignity to think that our sense of gloom might in the end stem, centrally, from exhaustion. We’d sooner identify ourselves as up against an existential or socio-cultural crisis than see ourselves as sleep-deprived."
Who knew that sleep was so vital?! Having just had a week's holiday with at least 10 hours of sleep each night, I feel so much better and can now chortle at my pre-holiday 'woes'. The trick is now to go to bed early every night or suffer the inevitable consequences!
It's Mental Health Awareness Week and this year the focus is on stress, so I’m sharing a few ideas of things you can do to reduce stress and feel better. Feel free to add to my list of seven simple things:
1. Stop trying to be happy. Just be.
2. Get really, really, really good at something. The feeling of excellence is cool.
3. Notice the stuff that makes you unhappy. Day by day, minimise it.
4. Write daily about what is working so that you observe, notice and appreciate it.
5. It's difficult to be happy when you are tired, unwell and/or distracted: get sleep, get well, ditch the craziness and drama in your life.
6. Decide you do not need stuff to make you happy. Otherwise you will need more stuff to make you ‘more happy’. See 1.
7. Make sure, every day, plenty of time is seen considering the big picture. The horizon, the moon, the great writers, your own fine self...
It's all about numbers at the moment - last week it was three, this week it's seven. And next week, I'm away so there's no blog about numbers or anything else!
I have a very wise friend, Julia, who has lots of lovely nuggets of advice. Recently, she told me about the power of three little things and I wanted to share them with you.
Putting my spin on it, I thought it might be handy to give you an idea of the opposite of these to make the point.
1. Negative thought: “Everything is going wrong; the world is against me.”
2. Negative action: “I’m going to fester in a pit of self-despair that helps me feel even worse.”
3. Negative interaction: “I’m going to go on social media and compare my awful life to everyone else’s perfect lives.”
No doubt you can see how destructive this can be, despite how alluring a bit of sulking can feel in that moment. It takes a bit of strength to haul yourself out of the negative funk and back towards the positive. How can you turn things around to the positive? When you are feeling out of sorts, try thinking about these three things:
1. Positive thought: “Today might feel uncomfortable, and tomorrow will be different. It’s not always this bad. I know things will feel better soon.”
2. Positive action: “I know that getting out for a short walk has helped in the past, so I will try that right now.”
3. Positive interaction: “I will phone one of my friends for a short chat, or I will smile at the next person I see.”
Just a few small, positive steps start the ball rolling to long-term, sustainable positive change. That, and a good night's sleep... but I'm in danger of repeating myself so will stop there!
Do you ever experience FOMO – fear of missing out? It’s something that I think about lots and it means that I try to pack in as much as possible to each day, so as not to miss anything. And you can tell where that’s going! Although I do a lot, I’m not sure I really take the time to experience it all. I spent some time with small children last weekend and noticed how, for them, everything is about ‘now’, not planning for the next thing, racing ahead in thought and action.
It struck me that, if I feel that I am missing out on something, then I probably am. But it’s not a vital work function, an exciting event, or being with another person that I’m missing: it’s that I’m missing out on the pleasure of each of the small moments. I can be only in one place at any moment in time.
As long as I am thinking of where I could be and what I could be doing, I am effectively absent from where I am right now. Which means I am nowhere. Hmmm…
(P.S. Turns out there is a counter-movement to FOMO, called JOMO – the joy of missing out!)
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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