I’ve gone off big declarations and big challenges. Over the years I’ve done them all. I did my year (and a bit) of extreme self-help. I’ve signed up to intense gym programmes where I’ve lifted weights as heavy as a small car. I’ve tried out various no-carb/sugar/booze/solid food/stick a tube up your bum regimes. I’ve meditated 14 hours a day for ten days and even spent a month not looking in the mirror – which, for the record, is much more relaxing than a tube up the bum.
All these experiences were valuable (even the tube up the bum, which I’ve now mentioned three times) but not sustainable.
So these days I’m trying to find a middle road where I try gently to stay on track with what makes me feel like a kinder, healthier, more productive person while not demonising myself when I fall off track.
The last few weeks I’ve been falling off track in a few ways. I have been drinking alcohol most evenings and with that comes bad sleep, jangly nerves and the consumption of a lot of toast, pasta and Snickers bars.
I have also been worrying about money while not checking to see where I am with it. It got to the stage when anytime someone mentioned money either in real life or on telly I’d put my fingers in my ears and say ‘la, la, la’.
Yesterday morning I woke up and did some accounts. I felt better.
This morning I woke up and decided to take September away from booze. Not in a big dramatic ‘I’m never going to drink again’ way, just a lightly held intention to have a break from it because I know it will make me feel better.
Then I wrote a list of other things that I know make me feel better. I am not creating a big schedule to do all these things every day because inevitably I wouldn’t follow it, so this is just a gentle reminder that:
I feel better when I eat more vegetables and less bread/pasta/pastries.
I feel better when I don’t spend every waking hour by a screen.
I feel better when I don’t spend hours on social media, looking for validation.
I feel better when I turn off my phone.
I feel better when I remember that work is just one part of life.
I feel better when I see my friends.
I feel better when I swim in the sea and get outdoors.
I feel better when I get up early to write and then spend the afternoon doing something else.
I feel better when I dance.
I feel better when I listen to music and sing rather than watching hours of Netflix.
I feel better when I see old friends who make me laugh and take the p*ss out of me.
I feel better when I do something for someone else.
I feel better when I ask for help.
I feel better when I don’t fall asleep watching my laptop.
I feel better when I read books.
I feel better when I check my bank balance instead of avoiding it.
I feel better when I have regular hugs.
I feel better when I cook rather than ordering Deliveroo or spending money in cafes.
I feel better when I get properly dressed at the start of the day rather than working in pyjamas all day.
I feel better when I go out for a walk at lunchtime.
I feel better when I meditate.
I feel better when I clean my flat.
I feel better when I go to bed early and get up early.
I feel better when I exercise.
I feel better with routine and structure and deadlines.
I feel better when I take breaks and time off.
I feel better when I remember that I have everything I need already.
I feel better when I write this blog.
I’d love to know what would be on your list.
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