Justifying rest

When you feel like you need to escape or getaway it often has nothing to do with your surroundings. Although you may find yourself wanting to book a trip or get a change of scenery in many cases it’s actually your mind that needs a rest.

You might think you need a holiday when in fact a couple of days dedicated to slowing down, quality sleep, nourishing food, soft music, a massage and a walk in nature will do you a world of good.

A major part of present day culture is working hard but it is often to our detriment. You trudge on even when you know you need a break and only stop when your body gives way.

You don’t need to reach breaking point to justify resting

As much as working hard and achieving goals is great, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your well-being.

Temporary things

The idea of things not lasting, of things being temporary is often seen as a bad thing.

It’s seen as a failure.

We get caught up in this idea that if something is good it should last and if it doesn’t last then something was wrong.

I think the problem is that we find it hard to let go of a good thing, perhaps because we don’t believe their is more good things out there for us.

This idea of temporary things can be applied to many situations but lets take the example of friendship.

If you grow apart from someone who was once a close friend you can accept the situation or you can try to get back to the way things were. We idolise the past and try to force things to become what they once were.

I guess it’s difficult to accept that not everything was meant to last.

But in learning to accept temporary things you also open yourself up to some of life’s most beautiful moments.

Creating a safe space

When it comes to opening up, do you know what you need in order to feel safe?

A starting point is to ask yourself ‘Will what I am about to say be handled with care?’

I’ve learnt that people often hold their challenges dear. Even if it’s not deeply affecting them now they still require a level of care when it’s being discussed.

For example, you probably want more than just ‘oh wow, glad you’re okay’ when opening up about a past period of depression.

Another question to ask is ‘What do I want from this situation?’

Many times when we open up to people, we want something particular from them in return. But often we don’t realise until it’s too late.

A common example is discussing an issue you’re having and getting annoyed when the other person tries to offer advice or tell you what to do. Turns out you just wanted someone to listen.

And so overall, creating a safe space is a combination of knowing what makes you feel safe, voicing what you need and (as always) picking the right people.

Understanding others

The easiest perspective to understand a situation from is your own. If you look back on past experiences you can get a good idea of why you respond the way you do, what gets you enraged and perhaps what helps you stay calm.

But a helpful perspective to try and understand is the perspective of others. For example, when you and Person A have a disagreement if you’re only willing to see things from your point of view you won’t get a full picture of the situation.

As much as you have past experiences that effect the way you are, challenges and even things stressing you out, you’re not alone in that. And so if you remember that Person A has all those same things too, it might make their perspective easier to understand.

Let’s say Person A lies to you. From your perspective you might be angry/hurt that they lied and wished that they could have been honest. But when you make the effort to understand things from Person As perspective you might realise that they have always been someone that struggles with opening up. Or you’ll remember that since you haven’t taken their honesty well in the past the lie probably wasn’t coming from a cruel or malicious place.

That doesn’t mean you need to excuse bad behaviour but it serves as a reminder that situations aren’t always as shallow as we like to pretend they are.

Understand others isn’t about psychoanalysing or thinking that you know everything about why a person is the way they are, it’s just about having compassion.

Even if we don’t say it, it’s what we’d like extended to us, so why not do the same for others.

Disappointment and desires

Expectations can be an interesting thing. They often span from our desires and wants or even our imagination.

But they will also leave you disappointed.

As much as it can be good to hold people to a standard, it’s also important to ensure that you aren’t creating this whole other person in your mind of who they should be.

For example, you might expect someone to make time for you because this is someone you enjoy hanging out with. But then you end up disappointed when they aren’t as keen to do what you want.

In a situation like that you need to assess where your expectations are coming from because you might find that what you’re expecting doesn’t even align with what this person was ever willing to offer.

You got so carried away with our own wants and desires that you were no longer willing to see things as they are.

As easy as possible

When it comes to the things we do in our day to day life, I think it’s important to make it as easy as possible.

If you want to read more, have a book on your bedside table instead of tighly slotted into your bookshelf.

If you want to spend more time with friends, make plans in advance instead of getting frustrated that they aren’t available with short notice.

If you want to drink more water, fill up a water bottle and keep it with you wherever you go instead of waiting until you’re thirsty.

A big part of changing your habits and the way you live your life comes from making a conscious effort not simply wishing you could be different.

Keeping up with strangers

Social media makes it really easy to keep up with everything going on in the world around us. From crises happening across the globe to personal details about people we’ve never met.

And on an average day for many, I don’t think I’d be wrong in assuming that little thought goes into it.

How often do you find yourself questioning whether you need to know all this information you’re consuming?

I’m guilty of clicking on trending topics out of curiosity but on reflection I know that this information isn’t something I need to know.

The goings on of celebrities (and even just people we’ve never met) has always been a popular form of entertainment which is why gossip magazines were so popular. I guess those magazines have now changed to social media, something that is free and consumed by even more people.

And as much as you control who you follow, you can’t control what they post, tweet, re-tweet, like or share on their stories.

But what you do have control over is your active consumption. As much as knowing certain things might tickle your fancy, upon reflection would you really choose knowing details about a strangers personal life over reading a book, working on your craft, writing, planning ahead etc.

Of course you can make time for both (if you so wish) but this is more about being intentional with what you consume rather than getting swept up in it all.

If you leave the twitter thread, video or post feeling fine that’s great but if you feel like you’ve wasted time then maybe you need to start making some changes.

Welcoming normal

I think what many are craving is a sense of ‘normal’, the way things once were.

If you’re lucky, normal might have been just fine but it’s worth acknowledging that that’s not the case for everyone.

Of course the easy thing to do would be nothing and just let things go back to what they were, after all you don’t have any issues.

I think that’s the mindset that limits us and stops progress.

We’re so afraid that better for them means worse for us that we’re willing to let them suffer.

It might not be so explicit in your mind but if you take some time you might realise that’s the reason behind your mindset.

Something to look forward to

This is one of the easiest ways to feel better about life.

Instead of gazing into the abyss of nothingness wondering what the future will hold, you can set yourself up with something to look forward to.

It could be a catch up with a friend in a few days time or a holiday a year from now. But it could also be you making time for a hobby you enjoy one evening after work.

I think the reason having something to look forward to can help us feel better is because it gives us some indication of how the future will be. Granted we can’t predict everything but if we can set one or even a few things in stone then suddenly the future isn’t so frightening.

It’s common to fear the unknown and so if you can in some way bring some sense of knowing or stability, it helps make things easier.

Making a change vs Doing nothing

When making a difficult decision a good place to start is weighing up the pros and cons.

Take some time and really think about it.

Let’s say for example you were deciding whether or not move to a new city. The pros might be things like getting a fresh start, more opportunities and challenging yourself. The cons could be a lack of familiarity, time lost having to start over and leaving family/friends behind.

You could also ask yourself questions like:

Will the short-term advantage benefit me in the long-run?

I think if you regularly find yourself caught between making a change and doing nothing, you might just be afraid of trying something new or making a mistake.

In those cases it might actually be better to throw yourself into doing the the thing you’re unsure of because at least you’re giving yourself the opportunity to grow, develop and explore.