5 Habits I'm ditching in 2018 (for better mental health)
I’m not gonna lie, 2017 humbled me down! Never have the quality of my life been worse than last year and in order to make it better, I had to practice letting go, the hard way! .... letting go of everything I know in order to learn new lessons, letting go of my attempts to not depend on anything to be happy and instead learn that I indeed NEED a lot to achieve wellbeing and reach the quality of life I’m aiming for.
And by need, I don’t mean material things but rather inside shifts and giving my soul, mind, and body what they need before I expect anything of them. *deep monologue is over*
So below are some of the toxic habits I’m working on letting go of in order to allow myself to bloom into a better and healthier version.
1. Sleeping right after staring at blue light:
For the last couple of months, my sleeping has been RUBBISH, I had dreams so vivid and realistic that I didn’t feel like I had actual resting sleep as if my mind just wouldn't stop turning 24 hours and it became exhausted so I had to do something about it.
That’s when I decided to change my sleeping habits and boy am I never looking back!
- I decided to turn all my devices off at 10 p.m and not look at screens after that.
- I set a fixed sleeping time.
- I chose a couple of small acts to do every night to announce to my brain that it’s sleeping time (evening routine coming soon)
It took me time to get used to all of this and at first, my brain would stay up and stimulated HOURS after the fixed sleeping time, but one week in and I’m having the best sleep ever. My mind is no longer hyper-stimulated during the night because of what I saw on screens and I no longer wake up feeling exhausted!
2. Going days without socializing;
I know, this is weird, but I love my solitude so much that I often forget about this basic human need and I go days without consistent socializing until loneliness hits me after a couple of weeks.
And it can even trigger a bad slump that can go on for days.
So now I’m making it a goal to socialize to a minimum every single day, preferably through talking not just texting and I’m loving it! whether it's a phone call or cuddling with my sister, it seriously gives me a boost of energy, lifts my spirits up and inspires me!
No wonder why human connections is ranked at the top of what makes humans happy!
3. Setting unrealistic standards for myself & multitasking;
Ouh! this one killed me last year.
Being a multi-passionate and my own boss, I couldn’t stop expecting myself to become an expert in multiple disciplines at the same time and in record timings!
There is nothing wrong with being a multi-passionate and ambitious but raising the bar to an unrealistic standard will lead to drained energy and dead ends.
So what I’ve been doing lately is narrowing my focus and focusing solely on what I really want to do and letting go of learning things for the wrong reasons like:
For instance, last year I had wanted to release merch for my blog and I wanted to do it on my own so I dived in learning design although it was never something I wanted to get professional in but I got carried away until I burnt out and realised that it’ll take me one than one year to get to a professional level.
What I’m doing now is considering working with a proper designer who studied that and who does that as a job. MY job is writing and blogging and there’s nothing wrong with getting help from professional people.
However, I don’t fully regret diving into learning design because I learned the basics and there are some simple design tasks I can do on my own, but I will leave the professional to the professionals!
4. Praying late;
Ugh, I feel ashamed just thinking about this!
I believe that we miss the whole point of praying when we don’t do it in time because the sense of organization that praying brings is one of its main virtues. Plus the prayer times are distributed in such an intricate way that’s meant to be both a break from our worldly occupations and also a spiritual boost we need to keep us focused on what really matters.
This is something I’m still working on and struggling with because I never really put it as a priority but I wanna get to the point where I get up for prayer as soon as the Azan is done.
One way to help me with this is trying to engineer my day around the prayers instead of the other way around and also to know beforehand what will I be doing at each prayer time.
Plus if you prioritize the worship of God, He, too, will prioritize your wellbeing and make life more peaceful for you.
Prioritize God and He will prioritize you!
5. Neglecting my emotions:
This too was one of the triggers that lead my mental health to the edge. I recently learned that often times mental illnesses come after you’ve been strong for too long and they come as a red sign for you to take a step back and reconsider the course your life is taking. And one of the forms of being strong for too long is ignoring one’s emotions and even ridiculing them because they seem irrational or childish. I also learned that what ignored emotions lead to is a moment of breaking down because it keeps piling up inside til you can take no more… yup a grenade effect kind of thing.
So what I’ve been practicing lately, especially through therapy, is to make it a habit to:
- first notice what I’m feeling (whether that’s loneliness or frustration or excitement …)
- try to understand what triggered it without judging nor mocking
- then think of what can I do to take care of that emotion (whether that’s releasing it -like socialising if I’m lonely- or that’s bridging my way to a functional emotional state -like bridging from anxiousness about say productivity to excitement by taking the time to plan and prioritize or even learn about time management first, all of which will make me excited to actually start working)
One of the other dangers of neglected emotions is a lack of focus, so why not handle that emotion first and then get back to work without a background noise pulling you out.
And that’s it! I’ll keep updating you throughout the year about my progress 😛 and if you pick one of these for yourself let me know and we can become accountability buddies!
What are the habits that you are ditching this year?!