Day to day life is hard, and success is nothing short of miraculous. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to make the most of your day and eventually come out on top.
"One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself." - Shannon L. Alder
Take it from an expert, or maybe even me. I know that my life hasn't been all that long and sure, others have gone through much more than me but that by no means belittles my experiences. I have lived hating myself, detesting every piece of my mind and soul and in doing so, it turned against me. It isn't until you drown, even just a little, that you truly learn and appreciate the effort it takes to swim and keep your head above water.
I've learned through my trials and tribulations that it comes down to asking yourself a few simple questions. It doesn't magically change you overnight but it sure does remind you that you are ultimately in charge of your happiness and change must start by coming from within. I've narrowed it down to my top five questions I think everyone should be asking themselves at least once a day.
1. What do I need out of today?
Let's face it, waking up is hard and getting out of bed is much harder. At least for me and my partner, it can prove to be difficult for so many reasons. I've found that one of the easiest ways to consistently help myself get out of bed and not feel like complete crap doing so is thinking about what I need to make it worth it. Like the true caffeine addict that I, my first thought is always (seriously always) "coffee and all the coffee". Sure food soon follows but having those first few sips of my coffee clearly provided by the gods (which gods, not sure and honestly don't care), then I slowly start to feel like I can make it through the day.
In the mornings I'm feeling really ambitious, I think a little further than my cup of joe like maybe I'll read a book or twenty, or work on my writing course. Projects and goals, as daunting as they may appear, really help the day go by. Just do yourself a favor, make it realistic! Crazy and unattainable goals are the perfect way to mess with your day and overall life, the more you feel like you cannot achieve the wacky ideals you've set than the more demotivated you'll become and that's definitely a surefire way to send you crawling back into bed.
2. What is my routine today?
it sounds horribly mundane and boring but routine is everything. At this moment, the world is in a pandemic and quarantine is becoming the daily norm. So what do you do when you are stuck in close quarters for lengthy periods of time and still remain sain? Okay yes, sanity is objective and to remain sain you must first be sain but the question still remains. As much as I love reading and bingeing my life away with NetFlix or Amazon Prime, I can only do that for a few days in a row before my mind can no longer keep going with the lack of additional stimulation.
With mental health into consideration, I also have to limit my exposure to social media because there is just so much going on that is focusing on the pandemic and too much of that is definitely going to drive anyone bonkers. So that stimulation is limited and rarely used, with the exception of cute dog pictures on Instagram because let's face it, dogs are definitely a key to happiness.
Already being a few weeks into the mayhem, and with lord knows how many more weeks to go, my partner and I have discovered that forming some kind of routine for the day does really help us. Sure we still don't know what day of the week it is but at least we aren't 100% crazy yet. Still rocking it at a solid 95% as we were before quarantine came along.
So you're deciding to set a routine, don't go all crazy with it now. Be realistic! The goal is to keep a comfortable momentum throughout the day, not put you in a sullen mood because you couldn't achieve the stupid goals you set. Start small if you have to, and slowly work yourself up to more and more things to do every day but don't forget to relax. The challenge of this all is to make sure you're occupied but not running yourself into the ground at the same time. Take the time to breathe, sit down and chill. Put time limits on activities or times of the day that are specifically dedicated to relaxing. Find your groove, it's different for everyone.
3. Am I active enough?
As someone who has been, and still is, battling with self-esteem and body issues, it can be really hard to think about whether you are active enough. It can even be a sore subject because it hurts your mentality and runs off to cause more mental damage but you see, if you ignore the tough stuff, you'll never get better. Studies really do prove that everyone needs exercise, did you know that even just walking more is beneficial for you? Yeah, walking! It's basically as easy as breathing, free and doesn't require any equipment outside of shoes and you. I'm saying go and buy a whole home gym and workout till you collapse, just think about it and maybe work something into your routine.
I love being a couch potato, it is the perfect dream for me. But that doesn't mean that I don't have times where I am sore and need to stretch, so pause that episode (probably just watched a whole season straight) and take a lap. I don't run and I'm not saying you have to, but walk around your place, walk to the mailbox or around the block. Do something, anything! Your body will thank you and so will your mind, even though you may love the couch or your corner chair just as much as I do doesn't mean that you can't take a few minutes every hour to get the blood pumping.
4. What can I do today to make myself happy?
And if it just so happens to make those around me then wonderful. I'm not saying that you should hurt those around you but please, think for a few seconds when you agree to do things for others. It's much easier to say Yes rather than NO. especially when you aren't used to thinking about your well being in regards to others. I spent years doing whatever it took to make others happy because I wanted to feel wanted and thought that was the only way to make that happen. Guess what world? Being me is truly enough and maybe I had to suffer just a little before I truly understood that enough to actually act on it.
5. "Tell Me, What is it you plan to do with Your ONE WILD and PRECIOUS LIFE?"
Admittedly, I have borrowed this quote from the poem The Summer Day written by the one and only Mary Oliver but come on, how could I not? She has written beautiful and inquisitive pieces of poetry (if you haven't read anything of her's, I truly recommend a read) and her journey as a writer is magical as she found and saved herself in the art of poetry, much like I have in both the past and the present. Oliver's genius aside, this excerpt of her poem poses a thinker.
Much like myself, you are all trying to figure out what the heck you want to do with your lives. It doesn't matter if you are already 30 years into your dream, scrapping it for the 3rd time or entering retirement. The thought of what you want to do with your life is a never-ending question that doesn't just end when you pick your major or who to marry or whatnot. Not, it's all those decisions and so much more. This is quite frankly the biggest question of them all. It's not limited to your daily happiness and success, it's how you leave your mark on loved ones, friends and the world.
What's your take?
Honestly, do what you need to do in order to achieve your overall happiness and success in making it through the daily life hurdles. That being said, if its questionable, illegal or could possibly hurt someone else, that is clearly not the best answer.
It sometimes takes a while before you truly understand that your well-being, both physical and mental, really should come first. Like I said earlier, sometimes you need to drown before you remember why you need to swim.
If you feel up to it, tell me what you do to make it through each day. I'd love pointers and inspiration for my own life.