It has been three months since my last post.
A few years ago, my lack of “productivity” during the last few months would have sent me into a bout of depression and shame. Thankfully, today I can see more than just the things I didn’t do. I can acknowledge the difficult adjustments, the peaceful moments outdoors, the dinners with family, and the valuable processing time I’ve had during last few months.
Having enough time to unwind and digest the things that happen in our lives is way too underrated. That’s why today, I want to talk about something important I’ve observed during this transitional period of my life.
Identifying Our Own Needs
In times of change it’s really easy to lose our balance. When our everyday landscape changes (literally or figuratively) every action we take costs us a little more energy. The strangeness and unfamiliarity trips us up, makes us doubt each step, makes everything feel wrong. It then takes a little more effort to follow through with our plans and responsibilities, leaving us exhausted and frustrated.
When that happens, I find that the best thing to do is to pause and observe. By observing how we react to new and stressful situations can identify our most important needs.
There are habits and routines that we engage in for utility. They help us get done something that we need regularly without too much thought.
But there are also habits or routines that are cornerstones in our lives. Rather than simply help us handle a task, they enable us to do a lot of important things like care for our health, maintain or increase our energy, or get a variety of important work done.
Excess anxiety and restlessness can be a sign that a key routine or habit has been disrupted, especially ones related to our sleep/wake cycle. Sometimes we’re simply unable to do important work that we were doing recently.
For me, one key habit is getting up at the same time each day. It helps me regulate my energy which makes it possible to get work done, and lets me feel in control and steady even if other aspects of my life are still in flux. Another key habit for me is learning. As long as I’m regularly reading or listening to content relevant to my work or interests, other things that I want to do continue getting done. When that stream of knowledge is cut off because my reading habits have fallen to the wayside, I notice my writing and idea generation slow to a crawl.
Recent changes in my life have disrupted my key habits, leading to confusion and frustration. I’ve got one key habit back in place now, but I’m still working on building up the other. It’s a process but I’m sure I’ll figure something out soon enough.
Have you identified any of your key habits? What in your life makes the majority of your work possible? What routine, if disrupted, would make chunks of your life fall apart? What habit, if improved, would create a wave of positive changes in your life?