Recently I’ve been thinking more about the ‘science’ (for lack of a better word) behind a bad day. Is purely it psychological, triggered by a series of external events or a perhaps mixture of both? Perhaps it works sometimes more like a self-fulfilling prophecy where if you think ‘oh boy, this day is gonna be bad’, it ends up being one?
My thinking down this ‘good day’ rabbit hole got me thinking about my previous post about being a morning person. Update from that post – I’m still not one so the struggle continues (I know, very sad.) However, I have started to realise the role mornings play in really helping set the tone for the day. The time to meditate, pray and do the occasional stretch (if I’m lucky) can really be a game-changer.
Of course, it may be possible to still start your morning right and have unfortunate series of events still warp your day into an unenjoyable one but there’s not much you can do about that.
When you’re lost in the heavy fogginess of a bad day it’s easy to mentally checkout and feel like you might as well as strap yourself for a day that is going downhill. At your lowest, you develop the opposite of rose-coloured glasses and start to feel mentally that your energy and patience levels are draining away. I would say planning little pockets of joy throughout a bad day is vital. These are just small things to look forward to and keep you going. Maybe it’s ensuring you listen to your favourite podcast or playlist as you work, saying a little prayer or texting a friend you know you can rely on for a dose of humour. Often when I’m stressed or feeling quite overwhelmed when I work, I’ll blast on some guilty pleasure tunes and let them fill the room. I know I can also always rely on a few close people to fill me with encouragement if I confide in them about the struggles I’m having that day. Sometimes it’s tough love but ultimately it’s good to get a different perspective since maybe the solution to turning your day around is easier than we think.
And for those reading this struggling with this week, wondering if good days are coming/ever returning, I promise you, they are. I can’t predict when but they’re coming so hold tight!
*Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash
Not every moment you experience will be IG perfect and that’s okay. You’ll be surprised how averse people are to experiencing moments in their raw unfiltered beauty these days. Instead, because of social media, many think of every moment they experience as a potential social media post. Is this Instagram-worthy? And if not, what can I do to ensure that it is? What should the caption be? And so on. It’s fairly common for people to go a location (supposedly for leisure) and then when it comes to taking photos instead of few natural snaps to memorialise the moment it becomes this eventually stressful endeavor to capture the perfect like-worthy shot.
I knew things were very much going downhill when people a year or two ago criticised an influencer who got engaged. She showed an obligatory photo of the engagement ring on her hand and instead of sharing her joy – as she probably assumed would be the response – many people focused on the fact her nails weren’t manicured in the photo. Since then, it’s been a running joke for many people that their partners should give them a heads-up before a proposal so they can get their nails done. What should be a romantic, intimate moment is now, for the most part transformed by this overwhelming desire to ensure the moment is approved by the numerous unknown eyes viewing it on their timeline. A bit of a shame if you ask me.
This is why, a friend and I concluded over brunch recently, not everything needs to be posted on your socials. It’s very tempting, and I can admit I do fall into this trap more often than none. I’ll be bopping to music playing at a gig and think to myself, ‘I should probably post something on my story’. As if people actually care. Regardless of if they do or don’t, the moral of this story is sometimes you just need to put your phone down and enjoy the moment.
*Photo by Omkar Patyane: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-using-smartphone-238480/
Don’t you miss the days when things were built sturdy, to stand through tough times? To be fair, I’m quite young so maybe I don’t recall much of ‘those days’ but I do remember things like the solid old-school Nokia phones which could survive through any roughs and tumbles thrown their way. Back in school as a teenager, I recall one of my friends telling the story of how she washed her clothes only to eventually look through the washing machine door with dread and helplessness as she realised her phone was in one of the pockets. Long story short – the phone (a Nokia or Sony Erikson I believe) survived.
Of course, they don’t build phones – or literally any product – like that anymore. I mean even the new houses being built across London look a bit suspect compared to their older, Victorian counterparts.
These days it appears price does not always mean longevity so it can be hard to tell what would be a wise investment and what would last longest. Product warranties are getting shorter and shorter – for one, it really doesn’t make sense that you can spend over a grand on a phone – quite a hefty investment for some of us! – that only has a one-year warranty (Yes, Apple I’m looking at you). On top of that, the business models of brands like Apple mean that they start to phase out phones really quickly and at an increasingly fast pace. Your phone may have come out 2-4 years ago and suddenly it’s out of date and barely being sold in shops anymore. So even if you tried to be rebellious, and hold onto your phone as long as you can, you’ll end up being forced to get a new one sooner or later because Apple will stop providing security software support and updates general updates to your phone. This makes your phone vulnerable to attacks or the work of hackers (which I’m sure noooo-one wants.) Such is the capitalist system we live in!
I say that but then again there are brands out there known for their quality products which often then to be very endurant – i.e. Dr. Martins and Birkenstocks. I invested in both this past year and think I’ll be trying to continue to try and intentionally invest more in such brands because, let’s be honest, the hassle of replacing things that break unexpectedly or/and very inconveniently can be stress we really don’t need more of in this life.
If you’re interested in doing the same you may be interested in this Youtube channel which covers this topic. The couple also has a new related channel you can check out here.
I also have a previous blog post on sustainability here which you may fancy reading too 🙂 .
*Photo by Eirik Solheim on Unsplash
Every day I prepare to leave the house I look at the weather forecast and use the unfolding climate for that day to decide how I’ll dress for that day. If it rains or is raining (a common occurrence during UK winters!), I’ll ensure I’m wearing my winter coat or have alternative protection in the form of my umbrella. If only life was like that – we could scroll through what circumstances would come next and prepare ourselves – and our hearts – accordingly. For many people, more often than we would like, circumstances turn for the worst and thus, an uphill battle begins. A cancer diagnosis, a sudden redundancy, a loss in the family, a theft at home or even on the street. Life is mad and maddening, it loves to throw us curveballs that do NOT discriminate and are probably more frequent than we tell ourselves. When these things happen they can do so out of the blue and unfold at a flash of light. Your landlord raises your rent and suddenly you’re in arrears and out wandering the streets with all your belongings in one suitcase.
Reading the above just now, I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. Yet, despite knowing all this, it’s interesting that we often do not prepare as if those things may even happen to us. We read stories and often go ‘that’s horrible for them’ but suffer some sort of dissonance and never imagine we could be wearing those shoes ourselves. I recall roughly a scene from the book My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult where the protagonist’s dad, who is a firefighter, is at the scene of a house where a fire happened. He asks the house owners if they had insurance and they admit they don’t because they never thought something like that would happen to them. As someone who is going through a bad situation, one of those situations he thought would never happen to him (one of his daughters has cancer) he thinks to himself about the homeowner – what a privilege it is to think like that.
There’s a prominent fallacy that if we prepare for the worst – i.e. taking out life insurance, maybe even telling our family our wishes for funeral arrangements, then we’re somehow tempting fate or bringing bad ‘voodoo’ our way. This belief is prevalent in some communities more than others (I’ve even come across is many a time myself) but I believe it can be harmful. As adults, if it can be afforded, we need to be taking out life insurance and taking other necessary steps to shield ourselves and our loved ones from worst-case scenarios. It’s what I can only describe as being wise, people can be cruel and so can life in general. However, we don’t have control over other people or life in general so we need to do what we can with what we can control.
*Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash
More and more this year I’ve found myself longing to become more of a ‘morning person’. You know, the kind of person who happily and easily rises at 6am to go about their day. You see this all the time in magazines like Stylist where they interview businesswomen and men and without a doubt all of them awake daily at 6am, if not earlier, with yoga stretches (or a jog) and a green smoothie. They make a to-do list, listen to a motivational podcast and then feel ready to conquer the world – and make more money, of course.
I can 100% percent say that is very much not me at the moment and that most mornings can be a heavy wrestle with the bed to get up. Each effort to arise seems to sink me deeper into the mattress and the rational part of my mind which is filled with urgency and the aspirational part of my mind which has none whatsoever battle each other. I set about four alarms (I know, don’t judge me) which all annoy me and surprise in equal measure when they go off even when I know I set them. In fact, I often feel like an imposter amongst a word of mainly morning people. Of course I have to adapt to survive (and have a job) but I actually find myself more productive in the evening and night. I’ll often have random ideas float to the surface of my mind at numerous points of the night and feel the need to urgently write them down. It’s actually the process of how a lot of my poetry and some earlier blog content has been written. But it is the dream though to be more of a morning person as opposed to someone who just rises early out of necessity. I often find on the days when I can wake up slightly earlier – I have more time to psyche myself up for the day, to pray and reflect before getting ready to go to the office and/or open my laptop.
Luckily at the moment I can rely on my body clock to wake me up consistently at a reasonable time to get things done but this is still something I struggle with so I’m very open to any tips. So far I’ve read about setting a to-do list for the day, meditation, brief morning exercise and making sure you read something in the morning.
What about you, are you a morning person or night owl? And do you have any tips on how to make the most of your morning?
*Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash
It’s been a little while so it’s nice to be back. Since I last posted I’ve moved jobs, so I’ve just been adjusting to a new work setting, getting to know new people and processing bucketloads of information.
We live in a world where everything is available on demand, so it doesn’t seem too surprising that patience is a very rare trait. Get-rich-quick schemes, schemes promising to help people lose weight or gain pleasure instantly are common scams as old as time, which evolve with the times but have mainly found their success by tapping into the lack of patience people have regarding such issues. Even I’m guilty of this, I often start a new role or project and expect to pick it up in a few days. I did this at a previous job, constantly comparing myself to people at the company who had spent years honing their craft (which really makes no sense, now that I reflect on it!)
The Bible in Galatians calls patience a Fruit of the Spirit – that is, a character trait which becomes evident in a Christian as they become spiritually transformed by Christ. Patience can be easier in some circumstances than others; I’m likely to find it easier to wait 10 minutes longer for a Deliveroo order than deal for an hour with difficult personalities in a social setting, for example. However, we can start being self-aware – what things cause and stem from our impatience? Are you, putting unrealistic expectations on yourself or a situation, for example? Reflection is key, prayer is key and hopefully, together we can work towards becoming more patient people!
*Image: Photo by Osama Saeed on Unsplash
Every time I scroll through Hinge I find it very interesting that ‘not political’ is an option people can choose when it comes to describing their political stance/affiliation to potential matches. In all honestly, for me it’s usually a turn-off because how could you be completely ‘not political’?
In theory, I could understand the attraction of this option. It’s likely a direct product of an apathy a lot of younger generations have toward modern-day politics due to feelings of helplessness and frustration. We vote, we protest, we tweet and yet it seems we’re rarely able to shift the needle on the topics that matter to us most. But when you think about it, literally everything from the price of milk, the state of education, our pensions and healthcare is dictated ultimately by politics. Since you can’t opt-out of that fact, it’s worth staying clued up and engaging where possible with the political system at hand (even if it’s just only local politics.) In other words – just because you can be apathetic, doesn’t mean you should.
I often wonder if perhaps this trend of being ‘non-political’ is more of a Western phenomenon or a symbol of privilege. Our ability to zone in and out of the news accordingly without it impeding too much on our day-to-day is something many people across the world cannot afford to do, especially for members of marginalised communities who are always having their rights chipped away at.
Podcasts are a great way to stay informed, especially on the go. Some of my usual go-to’s are below:
- Times news briefing (for short 3-minute daily summaries (morning and evening) of a day’s key events)
*Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
I’ve become a big fan over the recent years of picking your battles wisely. As I observe and live, I’m learning that not everything that happens to you or around you requires you to get worked up and respond all guns blazing. For some, this revelation of mine is perhaps common sense, but when you’re someone who’s sensitive and passionate/overly emotional (yes, I’m potentially describing myself) it’s easy to fall into this trap without realising.
However, making everything a personal battle quickly leads to fatigue; feelings of frustration build up and it feels like you’re banging a brick wall – not all of these ‘battles’ can be won, and in all honesty, some don’t need to be. I think it’s only insight and spiritual wisdom that will truly help us distinguish what causes we need to fight and which we need to just let pass by and pray on. So that’s my prayer for you today!
*Photo by Stillness InMotion on Unsplash