The recent period of lockdown and self-isolation wasn’t only beneficial to our physical health, it also forced us to take a mental timeout from our usual obligations.
If the prospect of going back to work or starting up your social life and obligations again is making you feel tired or anxious, it might be time to stop and re-evaluate.
Before you start living your old, pre-COVID-19, life, ask yourself: 'Am I busier than I really need to be?'
If the answer is yes, you have a unique opportunity to do something about it now.
Re-evaluate your relationship with social media
Social media is one of the leading causes of a relatively new phenomenon called Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).
FOMO - Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.
You’re planning a quiet Saturday night in, curled up on your couch with your favorite movie and a bowl of popcorn. You check Instagram or Facebook to see what your friends are up to. One is at a concert, another in a trendy new restaurant, another one visiting a special event at the escape room.
You were perfectly content with your plans a minute ago, but suddenly you feel like you’re missing out and that you should be doing something more or something other people will find more interesting.
If your activities make you happy, don’t feel obligated to do more just because of social pressure. This is your free time, so make yourself happy first and if you can share your passions with someone else, that’s just an added bonus.
You probably have at least 5 different obligations on any given day. There's family and friends, work, chores and if you have kids, your list inevitably includes their obligations too.
You’re stretching yourself thin, trying to do too much every single day. And you do this because it seems like everybody is doing all you do and even more.
Guess what. They can’t, at least not for more than a few days at a time.
So instead of trying to do everything and more, try doing less and be present in the activities you are doing.
Split your day into manageable chunks and plan some time in between to relax and recharge.
Minimize to maximize
Stop asking yourself: ‘How do I do it all?’
And start asking yourself: ‘Why am I doing this at all?’
Your time is precious so don’t waste it doing things you don’t want to do, just because you think they should be done.
Does this sound familiar – I wish I had time to …. Guess what - you do!
Be intentional with your time and don’t let your free time go to waste. Schedule things and follow them through, even when you’re feeling tired from work or the weather is bad.
Read a book, work out, meet friends for coffee, show your plants some love, or just take a leisurely walk around town. Or simply ask yourself what would make you happy right now and do that.
Simply put - Do less & live more.
Next, eliminate recurring little problems.
We all have that one thing that annoys us every day, but we just can’t seem to shake.
Accept the inevitable – this problem is part of your life and instead of trying to change it, find a solution that works for you.
Is your home constantly messy?
Instead of trying to train yourself to become tidier or putting everything in its place immediately after use, do a quick sweep through the apartment to straighten everything before you turn in for the night. You won’t have to constantly be vigilant about what you do, and you won’t wake up into a messy apartment the next day.
A quick sweep won’t take more than 5 minutes, so even if it’s the last thing you want to do before sleep, it will be over soon enough.
Are you always looking for your keys, wallet, phone, glasses, or TV remote?
The good news is this could mean you’re smarter than the average, the bad news is it’s extremely hard to train yourself to not forget things.
Own it and try to find a workaround.
Instead of thinking about how not to lose things, start thinking about how you could find them quicker.
They can be shared between multiple users (no more looking for car keys!)
They will trigger an alert on your phone if you ever leave home without your things
The same approach we presented in these two examples can also be applied to other everyday problems you have.
Instead of trying to solve the problem itself, accept that it’s here to stay and try to find a simple and easy workaround instead.
Learn to say NO
When someone asks you to do something, your first instinct is almost always to say YES.
We’re wired to want to please other people and unlearning this instinct is hard and sometimes uncomfortable, but it will make you a happier person in the long run.
Have you ever taken more than you could handle at work? Or meet up with friends when all you wanted to do was stay home and have a quiet evening?
Saying NO from time to time will make your life less stressful and it will give you the opportunity to separate the things you really want to do from the ones you only do because people expect you to do them.
Use the same approach to figure out who you really want to spend time with. Who did you miss during the lockdown and who did you call most?
Focus on these people in the future too!
Do a little JOMO
We mentioned FOMO (fear of missing out), but did you know there’s also its exact opposite called JOMO (joy of missing out)?
It doesn’t mean you have to cancel your social activities or stop spending time with your friends and family.
It just means you become picky when you decide what activities you want to be a part of.
JOMO - The gratifying feeling you get when you break away from the (real or virtual) activities of your social group and spend time doing exactly what you most want to do.
Enjoy the little things that make you happy and don’t worry if what other people are doing (or posting) is more interesting or if you might be missing out.
If you’re invited to dinner or a game night, but you’d rather spend a quiet night at home, say no and relax on your couch. No doubt, you’ll miss something interesting and you won’t be able to post about your activity, but if you didn’t miss it during lockdown, will you really miss it now?
Relish in your own downtime no matter what you’re doing and spend it with the people that lift you up.