We’re all known to juggle a couple of balls at the same time. These balls are conveniently named school, work, our household, our social life or our hobbies. Unfortunately, external factors can cause us to let these slip from our hands just as easily. Extreme examples of these external factors are death in the family, an unforeseen break-up or losing your job. But also simple things like the common flu or feeling down can derail our lives for a brief period of time. Luckily there’s an old saying that easily helps you get your life back on track. All you need is a little reminder!
You might wonder what made me write this post. As you might have read in my Weekly Wellness reports or on my Twitter, I have been sick for the last couple of weeks (a not-so-gentle reminder that even fancy looking restaurants can get you food poisoning), and getting better required all my energy. I was too occupied with eating well – and keeping things down – to focus on what makes me happy in my daily life. Needless to say, this is what postponed my own “juggling” to a later date. Luckily the time of feeling better has come, and my plan to get my life back on track is what inspired me to write this article!
This little piece of wisdom might not be new to you. In fact, here in the Netherlands it’s known as the “three R’s”, called “Rust”, “Reinheid” and “Regelmaat”. It seems to have it’s descent from various religions and the saying is a pillar in raising and taking care of young children. Consider this a little reminder that he gentleness we reserve for our kids, could just as well be stocked to our personal benefit!
When we’re looking to get our lives back on track, our first response is to rush back into everything we used to do before we felt we got derailed. Our inboxes are stacked with unanswered e-mails, the laundry is piling up, and you might be itching to schedule the appointments you have postponed.
Stop, drop, and roll! Rather than diving back into your many obligations head-first, remember why you were required to take a step back in the first place. Allow yourself some rest instead. You might feel like you had “plenty of that” while you were occupied with whatever factor which caused your withdrawal, but remember that mourning or dealing with mental or physical setbacks simply costs a lot of energy.
Allow yourself some peace and quiet by prioritizing what needs to be done. Secure your basic needs by making sure you have food to eat, and that your rent and (primary) bills are payed. You can pick up your other tasks surely but slowly over a couple of days, weeks, or even months. Make sure to give yourself plenty of rest in between. Not over-exerting yourself will significantly shorten the period of your recovery.
When you feel you got the first point figured out, it’s time to bring some order in the chaos that might have built up during “your time away”. It’s time to become the ruler of your own life again. A good way to do this is by (re)introducing a couple of good habits.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that negative occurrences in your life has made your eating pattern make a turn for the worse*. Other people develop an unhealthy sleeping pattern, or try to soothe their problems with substance abuse.
* Due to my nauseousness I was only able to eat salty popcorn, potato chips and chicken broth for over a week!
Take the time to determine which newly formed habits could be changed or replaced. Did you stop cleaning your house all together? Consider giving yourself a daily task which will help you keep the place tidy. Have you learned to rely on frozen pizza as your number one dinner option? Kick those boxes to the curb and make sure you’re stacked on vegetables instead. This great article that describes the scientific way to develop better habits will give you more insights about how habits actually work (and how you can grow them).
As you’re in the progress of forming good habits, you’ll find it’s easier to keep them up if you work them into a daily routine. This might sound boring to some, but routine is one of the easiest ways to give us people a sense of confidence and self-esteem.
A daily routine provides us structure and familiarity. When something becomes a routine it gets things done without even having to make the choice whether you were going to do it. So in other words, a daily routine gives us a way to organize our lives in a way it makes sense to us. Just the thing you need when external factors have been making you feel like life barely makes sense at all!
Have you ever been in a position where you felt you had to get your life back on track?