I’ve been focusing on medicine for the last few weeks. I’ve been blogging about it a lot, studying for the exam that has now been postponed and working two full days a week in a busy Acute Medical Ward. With all of this I’ve not really focused on the other two aspects of my life (and my blog) Minimalism and Personal Growth.
Whilst this way of living had reduced the stresses I had around medical school and I felt productive, I was focussing less on my wellbeing and I was heading down a downward spiral. It took my a lot longer than it normally would to realise this was happening and that if it went on much longer I would not be very okay. I had been struggling emotionally; looking back, the random episodes crying were probably a warning sign. Your personal wellbeing isn’t something you can focus on everyday and just pick up and work on when you are loosing control. It is something you need to maintain constantly. I forgot that and need to deal with the consequences now.
The initial plan was to get back to the point where I could say ‘i am okay’ and actually mean it. Thats where the first stages of evaluating what had and hadn’t been working in my wellbeing routine, especially with all the changes in life due to lockdown.
I was watching a friend do her outside workout routine and I couldn’t do it because my knees were being uncooperative. Sitting there I was just thinking about what I wanted from everyday life, to get that feeling when you go to bed of satisfaction. Thats when I came to the realisation;
Being Okay isn’t enough.
You shouldn’t want to say ‘i am okay’ and mean it. You should want to say ‘i am great’ or be able to talk about the things you are doing with an immense satisfaction. So now that’s what I will strive for.
Everything is going to be ok. Actually it’s going to turn out better than okay, you’ll see.Unknown Author
I came inside after that realisation and sat down two try and process the feelings I had. So I picked up my journal and the words started flowing. Journaling has been a really good wellbeing resource for me, I find it really hard to talk to people and prefer to stick to a close circle of friends. Even then I don’t really talk a lot about my feelings. So journalling has been a prefect solution, allowing me to talk through my thoughts and concerns; reading them back and ponder my thought processes.
Whilst journalling is useful sometimes I find myself struggling with motivation to write about something as it’s hard to get inspiration when you are surrounded in a grey fog. The solution seems to be finding a guided journal to use when I am struggling but need to write something down. So I treated myself to Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ guided journal. Not only is it completely in my colour scheme, but it has an amazing collection of prompts that allow me to both reflect on my childhood and remind myself of the successes I have had and the reasons why I got there.
I also wanted to write a list of small things I wanted to do everyday, so that even if I am having a bad day I can achieve just this list and make myself feel like I am being successful. It is not a long list and all together only takes about two and a half hours of my time. It’s only six simple things
- Drink two full glasses of water everyday
- Do 30 mins of exercise (at least yoga)
- Practise the piano for 30mins
- Do 1hr of ANKI flashcards
- Spend at least 30 minutes reading or doing a craft (30mins internet free)
- Spend 15mins writing in a journal
It’s really not a hard list, but it is designed to remind me to do the minimum to keep my wellbeing active. I can probably do half of these without thinking, but I am putting emphasis on them now to try to remind myself that they are important. I picked a tricky time to get started. I am about to start two twelve hour clinical shifts, which for me are notoriously tricky for maintaining good habits. If I can maintain these six small tasks over the next two days I am really confident that I can maintain them long and make them habit I won’t have to think about.
How do you all stay okay? What are the small things you do everyday to keep you in a positive mindset?