What is stopping us from really seeing what will enhance our health and happiness?

 

Sat on a sun-lounger in Portugal, Juicy Oasis Retreat, I read Donna Farhi’s ‘Bringing Yoga to Life’. A very inspirational read which left me thinking about why we do not invest more time into ourselves…

As a society, we pride ourselves on being busy, almost that sense of wearing busyness as a badge of honour…but why? A key question Donna asks in her book, “are my choices supporting what is deeply satisfying in my life?” and “to what purpose do we devote our time and energy?” Donna is right; she links these questions to how we might really be feeling, or the feelings “of meaninglessness and emptiness that we try to fill or cover up.” This brings me back to questioning whether we are really investing time in ourselves…

 

Have you ever wanted to start something, but you don’t have the time? Or you really want to be that person who wakes up early and practises yoga, but just cannot drag yourself out of bed? Or you want to eat healthier but fall at the first sight of a chip-shop? Donna’s chapter ‘The Freedom of Discipline’ highlights how we often let our emotions and feelings become our identity. If we are feeling sad, excited, happy, guilty…we let that stop us investing time in ourselves…yet time for ourselves is a discipline in itself. Committing to going to that class, even if you’re tired, getting up early, even if you had a late night, eating a few more veggies with dinner, even if the chip shop smells too good. Investing in yourself means doing things that will give you a long-term sense of health and happiness, not just a quick ‘fix’… Is what we are doing what we want to ‘devote our time and energy” to? Are we shutting the curtains and pouring a glass of wine, but still feeling guilty about it?

 

So what is investing time in yourself?

 

We are often told, go to Yoga or Pilates it will be good for you, do some more exercise, drink more water, go for a walk…but have we actually stepped back and thought about the long-term benefits of why we are told this? Do we understand why we feel like we ‘should’ be doing something? Stop…do some research…do these things and assess how you feel. Only then can we decide how it has an impact on our health and happiness. Often we overlook the effect the little things in life can have on our well-being. Then we may be left wondering why we feel so drained, so agitated, so stressed. And the cycle starts again…

 

It wasn’t until I became self-employed that I actually took the time to self-reflect on my day-to-day life and realise that I CAN fill my days with time for me, without feeling guilty that I should be doing something else. If someone asked me what I was doing that afternoon, I would happily say going for a long walk on the beach and stopping to have a coffee with my monthly issue of OM Magazine. I would get a few mocking faces and sometimes some derogatory comments… ‘Don’t you have something you need to be doing? How have you got time for that? You live a good life, don’t you?’ in which I would answer… yes, what I need to be doing is having some time for me, in which I have made time to do what is important, thus giving me this ‘good life’ you speak of, as I invest time to do things that make me feel healthy and happy.

 

Now, you may say, well you have more time to do all these things, which yes is true, I have more flexibility with my time, but I still commit to my daily time for me, even on my busiest days. I get up at 6, take my puppy, Celery, to the beach, have some time on my spinning bike and listen to a guided meditation, often on the Calm App. I recognise what gives me that sense of health and happiness and bring these into my everyday life, no matter what. Some days, maybe not for as long as others, but I still find the time. We must have some sense of discipline in order to find a sense of freedom.

 

Health and happiness come in many different forms; what feels right for you may not feel right for others. But that is for you to assess…but I leave you with the thought: are you investing in yourselves enough; we do not have to be rich to invest time.