Though there are self-care practitioners, influencers and life coach who practice and encourage people to practice self-care, we don’t practice it ourselves until there is a severe push or introspection. The precursor to start a habit is always our own willingness to practice it. We should fully be consumed with the idea to be able to produce it in full force. You must have heard buy first, pay later. Here also you need to buy the idea of the habit first but the difference is once the habit is formed and sustains in your routine, you are getting paid by its multi-fold benefits.
My cousin and I had a conversation just recently when he was in India. A chance question sent me on the lane of introspection. I was absently gazing at nothingness when he asked me mainly because I was not able to produce a suitable reply. Firstly, I stared in disbelief for the question was unusual and secondly that made me go inward to seek answer and put forth as a justified reply.
A simple question it was - “How do you chill?” Since often times we dwell on our busy rigmarole, we hardly pay attention to the joy element that is so crucial part of our day. We do not plan on investing few minutes for it but whine about not getting enough time for it. Our lamentations reverbrate on every meetup we do with our friends over happy hours.
As much as we love to talk about our busy schedules and unending deadlines and also pay heed to other’s tremors of everyday routine, we despise people taking time away from their hectic schedules to tend to the invisible wounds and scars that this hectic life casts. We smirk on seeing people hanging out with their friends on weekdays, walking or exercising on a park, catching up on a music concert on a Monday or just sitting with a book on their balcony. We belittle their lives and take pride on the workhorse that we have become. Do not be surprised. We all have that person in us who constantly sends reminders to complete deadlines, contributes a little extra in office meetings, and drowns in work environment even on weekends. As charged, I am guilty. I, too, have that person within me who has recently become a significant part of me. So when that question was posed to me, I did some introspection.
And coincidentally, I chanced upon a newsletter of an influencer and a noted chef and nutrition expert. Her newsletter always gave me reasons to smile and she kept the tone so lighthearted and easy that 45 seconds into it, she had your full attention.
Schedule joy was her headline and she had listed the activities that gave her joy. We all like to fill our calendars with office meeting, presentation time, school ptm schedules, and other million crucial aspects of our life. Have we scheduled joy anytime? Sounds too vain, isn’t it? There are no plausible reasons one could gather that could justify to fill calendar with such trifling thing. The joy that we do not place in our calendar yet that is the important thing we chase. We have prioritised it throughout our lives, but only to be experienced in the future. Do we make time for happiness? We do, indeed. However, in the future.
Instead of putting it out there as a phenomenon or an enigma, or a force to be reckoned only tomorrow, why not insert it in our daily routine. And that exactly I exercised which became my answer to my cousin’s question. I scheduled one fun activity in my everyday calendar. I took time consciously for it and dipped myself to heart’s content. Sometime it was 10 minutes-walk with my daughter. Sometimes just reading few pages from the book or sometimes listening to the music in loop.
And, for the past month, I've felt sane amidst the daily rigmarole thanks to this rejuvenating microbreak in my daily routine.
Some days make you cow down to their demands, while others shrink under your steely gaze, and that's okay; that's exactly how life will be. What you can do is schedule little fun elements in your calendar and sprinkle them throughout your hectic schedule to keep the flow and your mental health in check.