Today a little inspiration about how to be happier and healthier by re connecting with what really matters in your life. I know I am permanently connected to technology and often running at a fast pace and this can make me feel disconnected from everything else in my life. Do you feel the same?
Here are some tips to help you reconnect with what matters:
1. Technology disconnect: Technology is everywhere. I adore it but I have to remember to switch of for a time each week. Everyone is expected to be accessible at at all times. It can be hard to do something without getting out your smart phone to share it. On my Sunday last weekend I vowed to experience the whole day without Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Try it this weekend. See how it feels. Don’t look through a lens or screen, eat it all up with your eyes, heart and mind.
2. Get into nature: it is proven that we feel better when we get outside into the fresh air and what better time of year to do it than Spring. Go for a walk, take the kids to the park, jog, walk, wander. Pick flowers. Dig in the sand at the beach. Visit the local Botanic Gardens or potter in your own garden. Breathe deeply and take it all in.
3. Organise: I prefer this word to “declutter” as despite not liking to much clutter on surfaces around my house (I hate a dining room table drowning in crap), I also like to collect and to display treasured things, which could kinda be seen as clutter by some people. But organising stuff is really important to me and makes me feel a lot calmer and more connected. I like to take an hour or so on a Saturday to organise and sort most of the main rooms in the house, or at least the living areas and my own bedroom, so I feel more organised and energised.
3. If you live in the city, get out of it for a bit: This is not always possible but even a drive to a suburb you don’t usually visit can be like going away. We took a drive to a beachside suburb we had never been to a few weekends ago, visited the beach, a couple of open inspections and drove through the back streets. We finished with afternoon tea in a gorgeous strip of funky coffee shops we did not even know existed. If you can get out of the city for a drive somewhere slower and more relaxed, then do it as often as possible. In Adelaide we can do this so easily with a drive to the hills, the sea or the Barossa Valley.
4. Take some time out from people who suck you dry: There are often people in our lives who take all of our energy and give nothing back. It is important to take time out from these kinds of people in your life. Perhaps even cut ties with them altogether if you need to. This includes “friends” on social media. How many people on your Facebook or Instagram feed do you actually know in real life? Or at least feel a real connection to? I love meeting new people online and getting to see inside their lives, but social media is all about being social – which means give and take. People who constantly blow their own trumpet but never comment on your special moments, or awful ones, may not be helpful to your own wellbeing.
5. Talk to your loved ones face to face: It may sound silly but we often rush around and don’t sit down and really talk to each other, or really look into each others eyes. Try to make at least 3 times a week a sit down family dinner. Sit with your partner and really look into each others eyes for a few minutes – try it, it can be really hard to do! If you live alone, make sure you have a dinner or two each week where you don’t have the television or other distraction on and sit to enjoy a special meal. Make it special, put candles on, play some music. Call or skype a close friend or family member, or invite them over to share the meal with you.
6. Look outside of yourself: Research shows that people who spend time doing something for others are much happier and more connected. Volunteer time for a charity, at your children’s school,or the local hospital or nursing home. Running a charity I know that we are always looking for people happy to donate their time and there is nothing like the feeling of knowing you have done good for someone else. I believe we are given life to make a difference.
7. Do something for the environment: There is no doubt at all that climate change is well and truly upon us. There are always ways you can play a part in reducing the impact. Join a local national park landcare group, get out and help in the school working bee to plant trees, add more native and local plants indigenous to your area in your own garden, grow some vegies, set up a compost heap. Find out about how you can personally make a difference.
8. Change your thinking: thinking that you “should” do things all the time just leads to stress. Stress gets in the way of enjoyment of the here and now. Worrying takes us away from our current experience and into the worry zone. Learn about mindfulness and how to be more present, less stressed and stop beating yourself up all the time.
9. Don’t give in to pointless anger: You know the scenario, stuck in traffic, your heart rate is rising, you get angry, tense, strung out. Instead of feeling like this when you are stuck in traffic or the line at the check out, use this time as an opportunity to be present. Notice 5 things that you can see around you. Do some deep breathing cycles and imagine you are sitting on a tropical beach, or by a mountain stream. Make the most of these small moments of down time that you can not change or control.
10. And finally, find things in life that matter to YOU:What are your passions? What floats your boat? It may be knitting, cooking, going for bushwalks, painting, or upcycling. It may be reading a book, writing poetry or playing scrabble. Maybe it is blogging! Op shopping, building things with your hands, flower arranging, singing, playing the guitar or going to bands. Whatever it is, the things that give you pleasure, that remind you life is short, not all that complicated and really about living in the here and now, being a decent human being and caring for yourself, each other and the planet – that is what life is all about.
Helen is the founder and director of Diabetes Counselling Online, a social worker, diabetes educator, type 1 diabetic since 1979, blogger at www.recycledinteriors.org PhD Candidate and mother of 3 sons