If you, like me, spend most of your time overanalysing yourself, you might be familiar with the joyful feeling of finally realising that you are satisfied with where you’ve got in life. Mind you, this is not a frequent occurrence. I believe it happened to me twice – in fact, I still recall the journal entry I wrote in 2013, when I got my first job in London and I was earning my own money and riding my bike around and I felt like an accomplished, independent woman.
I love pushing my limits and learning what I can do to improve, and in the past few years I have been working really hard to become the best version of myself. However, since moving to New Zealand I had to face quite a few obstacles along the way. Especially towards the end of 2017, I felt like I really needed a change of scenery in order to take a break from my thoughts.
I found that break in the five weeks I spent back home.
Since I’ve returned, I’ve been so incredibly relaxed. It might be because of the AMAZING weather we’ve had this summer, but my mood has definitely taken a turn for the better. In the past couple of weeks, not once I’ve woken up in the morning wanting to bury my face in my pillow until I choke. In fact, I’ve been feeling really motivated – and I’ve been productive as fuck. Making sure I had a checklist of things to look forward to upon my return really worked.
But the biggest improvement for me was that I no longer feel compelled to do a bunch of things that I was only doing because I felt like I was supposed to. I don’t know how long I spent forcing myself to do yoga every morning (speed up your metabolism!), drink gallons of water (stay hydrated!), trying to develop a morning routine (get more things done early!), and just making list upon list of things I thought would make me feel better. But the truth is, I was stressing about them more than benefitting from them.
Once I was back in Welly after Christmas, however, I was no longer feeling the pressure to tick all these boxes. Every morning I would wake up, check in with myself, see what I’d feel like doing, and proceed doing it.
The surprising thing is that I didn’t have to plan this. How my brain normally works is, I have to decide to do things. I have to intentionally make the decision that I’m going to do something, write a post about it, and then force myself to do it, ending up feeling anxious and miserable most of the time, because it’s rarely something I actually want to do. But this time round, I simply found myself easing into a new approach to life.
For example, yesterday I quit the gym. I hadn’t plan to do it. Simply, instead of going to the gym as my daily to-do list reminded me to, I – well – didn’t go. I’d been running around all morning at work, it was a beautiful day and all I wanted to do was going to the beach and sit in the sun. And that’s just what I did. Then I went home and quit the gym. I sent an email asking to cancel my membership. Again, not something I’d planned, but I figured I didn’t want to spend money on something I was spending more time stressing about than actually doing. And that lifted a big weight off my shoulders.
Doing a lot of research on how to improve yourself has its downside: you feel like there are SO MANY things you should be doing, and you feel bad because all these bloggers and YouTubers around you are doing them are you’re not. Stretch, meditate, wake up early, don’t eat carbs, go outside, sit up straight, clean up your space, follow your dreams… No wonder we feel overwhelmed.
And I still feel this way. I still – always – want to grow and better myself. But I’m learning that maybe this means to also take it easy. It’s ok not to do something because you don’t feel like it – you don’t need to justify yourself or find excuses or feel bad about it.
I realise to most people this probably sounds silly. Why the heck would you make your life more complicated? I wish I was more spontaneous. I envy SO MUCH people who just feel like going for a run and they can get up and go, whereas I need days to prepare for it, plan my meals and poops around it, work out when to wash my hair and a billion other things. Unfortunately, that’s just how I am.
And for once in my life, I’m ok with it.