2 days ago, I chatted with my friend about topics including liking the smell of petrol, to our wellbeing and thoughts during isolation…
And a certain topic came up.
It was her dissatisfaction between craving freedom in the past, and now routine. Specifically, its apparent hypocrisy.
However, to me this wasn’t hypocritical.
Our environment is constantly changing, and so are we. Our needs and wants shift, and that’s COMPLETELY normal.
In the past, I’ve excessively indulged in both routine, and a lack of it (at separate times). From this I’ve realised that without one to balance the other, it’s hard for me to feel satisfied.
For example, I spent half of last year travelling + studying in Europe, with 2 months dedicated to solo, unplanned travel.
Initially its novelty kept me energised and curious. With so many new things to take in, I was on a pleasant high. But over time the constant hostel hopping and “I don’t know what I’m going to do today” wore me down.
I’ve written more about the issue here, which also includes whether you should travel or study abroad!
…And on the other hand, too much routine can feel suffocating. Or boring.
With no spontaneity long term, life can almost feel robotic or mindless.
So an excess of anything doesn’t serve us (ie buffets – I regret every time), and prioritising only one may be to our detriment.
Importantly, it’s likely that my friend and I crave this balance, with it being one of our core values.
For others, a prolonged imbalance between routine and freedom doesn’t cause nearly as much dissatisfaction or unfulfilment.
And I know I always mention core values…but there’s a reason.
It’s so so important because it’ll explain why you might feel stuck (ie values conflict), and will reveal things actually fulfilling to you. See the post here to find your own.
How I achieve balance in my day
Have routine tasks each day.
With more time and freedom with isolation, I’ve resorted to listing tasks which act as my daily pillars.
For example, in the mornings my routine’s quite set. It’ll USUALLY consist of:
– Meditating for 10 minutes (meaning 9 mins of mind wandering before drifting back to focus when the Headspace man says “ok now let your mind do whatever it wants”
– Doing a 10 min youtube workout (usually blogilates)
– Writing a short passage, whether for the blog or to live in my notebook.
Then for later in the day, I’ll have some other tasks like:
– Going for a run
– Doing my singing exercises
– Walk Fizzle
And the rest of my time is my ‘freedom’ time. I’ll often accumulate a list of things I could do, and then pick and choose depending on what I’m feeling like then.
The reason why I emphasise ‘USUALLY’, is because we’re not perfect.
As my own best critic, I’m first to tell myself off when I get distracted and don’t follow my plans.
Such negative thoughts include:
“god jo, how can you not even stick to one thing?”, “I thought you could do better…” among other heppi words.
So these activities are guidelines. If you forget to do it, or don’t have time that day…
Paramount side notes:
Balance is how YOU define it.
Someone else’s definition may be more hours of work, and less of exercise or hobby time. That doesn’t make it more or less valid than yours.
It only depends on what fulfils you!
If you find that having 1 routine task is enough to provide that clarity in your day, then FANTASTICO.
Also, balance does NOT need to be confined within a day.
You may have an upcoming project deadline, so naturally you’ll spend more time in your day working, rather than exercising or seeing friends.
Balance can be achieved in any timeframe, within 3 days, 1 week, 2 months etc. (Though those who value balance probably function best within a fortnight)
For me, I used to define ‘balance’, as completing ALL my routine activities in that day.
But all that was doing, was putting unnecessary pressure on myself each day to get these things done. And worse of all, limiting and restricting how often I could experience my core value.
So I changed my definition, and now my belief is this:
‘When I get a mixture of movement, learning and connection in a day/week, I feel balanced.’
Make your belief flexible enough to achieve that feeling of balance!
Hope these tips helped to create some clarity! (And A BIG HURRAH for reaching the end of the post!)
See you next time x