I read an article recently about micro goals for mental health. From taking five minutes to meditate, to simply having an extra glass of water when you wake up first thing in the morning, I found myself nodding along to a lot of them.
A lot of the goals mentioned I already try to include in my ‘daily schedule’. I try to drink plenty of water (they say 2 litres a day, and I’m for sure including tea in that amount…), meditate at least a few times a week, and attempt a lunchtime walk when it’s moderately good weather outside. But, of course, there’s always more you can do. And that right there’s this little thing that’s nagging at me.
“There’s always more you can do.”
Isn’t that always the case? Don’t we always hear that in our heads, swamped by this world of social media, news reports, and the ongoing onslaught of self-help books? We do so much already, but between the lines we seem to hear “It’s not enough.”
Sometimes I get sick of it. There’s a huge part of me that gets a lot of thrill by seeing a new book on ‘how to deal with xyz’, like I get this instant ping in my head that goes “Fantastic! If I read this book, I’ll finally get a handle on all that’s going wrong in my head/body/situation”, when… honestly… all you’ll do is buy the book, read a few chapters, maybe make a few notes on what you could do to change things, and three months later you’re back where you started. Or perhaps that’s just me?
So what’s the answer? How do you change your life/situation? How do you handle the stress causing those annoying body and mind problems? How do you get out of the rut, out of the swamp of thoughts pushing you to ‘try this’, ‘do that’, ‘change this’?
I’ve no idea. Not yet anyway. I’m still on this journey, and maybe I always will be. And aren’t we all different? Each of us is a composite of nature and nurture, of our experiences and how we’ve handled them. That’s the point right there. We are all of us unique. One size does not fit all. One way of handling life won’t help everyone. We all have to find our own journey, our own ways of handling the cards we’ve been dealt with.
So, let me tell you this. The books are great. The articles, the information, the wealth of experience given by so many people. They’re all invaluable, sure, and they’ll show you all the things you could try to make things better.
But don’t forget that you are you. There will be plenty out there that will help, but don’t be disappointed if they don’t. And that doesn’t mean that your problems are unfixable, because they’re not. And don’t be disappointed too, if you feel overwhelmed by all the things you think you should be doing, just because you think they’ll help. What you’re doing right now is helping. Every little thing, every micro-goal as it were, is enough.
If you want to try some micro-goals yourself, here’s a few. One is enough, I promise, but feel free to add any others into your life (as long as you don’t feel bad when you miss one).
- Drink a glass of water when waking up
- Meditate for 5-10 minutes (try Headspace)
- Start a gratitude journal and write 3 things you’re grateful for every morning / evening.
- Light a candle or set-up a reed diffuser
- Close your eyes, inhale (hold three seconds) and exhale (hold three seconds). Feel free to repeat if needed.
- Add an extra fruit or vegetable to your day (fruit on your cereal/porridge in the morning, or an extra veg in a sandwich).
- Doodle for five minutes while watching the TV (want ideas? Check out #doodleaday on Instagram for ideas).
- Listen to your favourite music while driving (or a book if that works too).
- Why not, while you’re out visiting the shops (food or otherwise), you go somewhere different? Visit a town you’ve never been to, explore the latest museum exhibition/art exhibition if there is one in your town, or even explore some part of the town you haven’t before.
- Try something creative you’ve never done before (YouTube is great for this), even if you only do it for 5-10 minutes.
As I’m always trying to be ‘kandid’ here, I have done all of the above, but not consistently. I try every day to do some of them, and there are times I miss them completely and feel bad, so I implore you – don’t feel bad if you don’t do all of them. Just pick one, and if you don’t do it every day, that’s ok too.
Thanks for listening x
Kate @ Kandid Chronicles