… that matter most! I was definitely reminded of that these past few weeks. With COVID-19 making its rounds in The Netherlands now too, it definitely helps putting things into perspective. What exactly? That we should appreciate what we have, that life can be more simple if we choose too and that stressing out about trivial things such as work and things you cannot control is very counterproductive. So this is a bit of a random blog post for you, but I just thought I could share some thoughts.
#1 Slow down
If you want to appreciate the little things in life, it is important to take some time to slow down every once in a while. Everyone will do that in their own way, but I can tell you that my recent spring break came just in time. After weeks of being a bit overworked, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Coincidentally, I took out a trial subscription to a Dutch newspaper, bought myself the ELLE March fashion edit and had lots of cups of coffee during the week. It was just a lovely time to unwind, chill and get back into the swing of things.
And it works wonders for me. I have had more energy when I work out for the past few weeks, been able to fall asleep better, feel more rested when I wake up and I have just been feeling better overall. Of course not everyone will be able to take a week off, but when you have the ability to get some time off work, try to not fill it with more things to do. Know that it is okay to just sit around and read or potter about the house. I certainly love it even more than travelling sometimes.
#2 Take it easy
This is something I try to do every single day. No matter how busy I am. In fact, I think the busier I get the more I try to plan in at least one moment a day where I can just chill. Whether it is listening to my audiobook or a great album to fall asleep, I might also go outside for a walk around lunch time, or make a lovely cup of tea. Whatever it is, I try to make sure that I organize my life for me. This is something I learned after going through not one but two burnouts, which I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through. So I learned it the hard way, but I know that in order to stay sane, I just need a moment and that is okay. Now that the virus is becoming more and more serious every day, it is strange to see how quickly we can all adapt and try to create a system for ourselves to work around it. Yes, I am planning to teach my next class remotely for the first time ever. We can all make it work if we want to.
This tip sort of lines up with the previous tip. If you give yourself space to breathe, life becomes so much easier. That means you can say no to things and make decisions that put yourself first. Of course, there is something like taking one for the team, but it can never happen at your own expense. Whatever you do you need to ask yourself whether you will stay sane when you do it. Sure I love working out, but when I get home just an hour before my class starts and I haven’t had dinner yet, I will cancel the class as I just need a bit of a sit down before I move on to the next thing. Same when I clean my house. I used to have a tendency to power through all my chores in one go. By now I tend to do a few over 2 – 3 days and that’s what makes it doable.
#4 Take care of yourself
With the virus running its course, I feel it is even more important to insert a bit of selfcare. That is different for everyone, but this is where the little things most certainly come in. Besides taking a bit of time every day, I think that taking care of yourself is even more important when there is a health risk going on. To me that doesn’t mean hoarding toilet paper (seriously what is up with that?!), but it means I try to take a bit of extra care: wash my hands more, not rewearing any clothes and just keeping my house cleaner is definitely something I always do when I have have been ill. Right now I mainly want to prevent it from catching on so I have definitely been trying to do my bit. Just listen to how you feel and try to organize your life accordingly. That would be my tip year round, but now it seems to be even more important with our government advising anyone who feels under the weather to stay home.
#5 Do you
However, the ultimate tip to try and focus on the little things is to do you. Focus on what you need in life and organize your life accordingly. Whether that is chilling with a paper and a cup of coffee, or whether it is binging on your favorite Netflix series, especially now that social contact has dwindled down to next to nothing, it is a great way to catch up on series you want to watch or books you want to read. Try to teach yourself something new, pick up a new hobby or clear out that cupboard you’ve been ignoring for years. I think the options are endless and just know they don’t have to major things. By doing lots of small things, it can all together add up and still create a major effect.