All of us have been there before where our days seemingly resemble an endless cycle of work-sleep-work-commute-work-sleep-work. Well that’s how my life’s been lately and I’ve allowed myself to fall into a rabbit hole of unhealthy routines that have rendered my house passably neat, my lawn a mess of overgrowth and my hamper overflowing.
Unhealthy routines often come in the guise of sleeping in and putting off small chores because “Dammit, I’m so tired I’m taking the Saturday off,” and that means staying in bed for most, if not all day, watching How I Met Your Mother reruns. Before you know it, you’re faced with a mountain of housework because well, being lazy seemed like the only luxury you could afford. And time you enjoyed wasting is not a waste of time, right?
If you live alone like me, taking care of yourself and keeping a tidy home seem like gargantuan tasks after a grueling day at work. And carving some time for your self and home seem counterproductive when all you want to do is fall asleep. The dishes can wait, you tell yourself. I can just recycle my jeans, you add as you fall asleep. This is well and good but waking up to having literally nothing to wear and a stack of smelly dishes is not ideal either. Personally, I find that it makes my stress levels go up a notch, affecting my mood for the rest of the day, weeks even – yes, I can be a sourpuss.
No bueno. Not at all.
So in the attempt to take back my life by putting my health and sanity well ahead of stress, I’ve vowed to find joy in doing tiny things to make the space I call my own feel meaningful and peaceful, an adequate reflection of myself.
A few scented candles. Nothing beats a cozy, sweet-smelling home. Picture this: You, a good book, coffee, candles flickering in the background. What stress? I find that creating a restful mood uplifts my spirits.
Do the laundry. I hate any chore remotely involving water and the laundry is no exception. But boy oh boy, opening a closet full of clean clothes is the closest thing to heaven as I can get.
Coffee and a good book. I believe in carving pockets of time for myself to recharge and refill my happy tank. Being on the go and on my A-game all the time is tiresome. Studies show that slowing down in some aspects of your life greatly reduces the risk of burnout. So what do you say? Swap your email for a book and actually finish your coffee.
Do the dishes. Again, chores involving water. But doing a little goes a long way, at least where dishes are concerned. Keep your dishes from piling up by washing that cup of coffee AS SOON AS YOU’RE DONE.
With schedules always feeling full, finding time to do nothing else other than sleep can be difficult. We can’t all be perfect all the time but I find that an hour or so in a day to create healthy routines can work wonders for the soul.
Annie Dillard once wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” I’d like to think that my days aren’t always a race toward high performance and career success, that sometimes, life is a turtle-paced walk toward peace and being present.