A guest article from one of our Coaching Partners.
If you’ve been feeling a bit deflated recently, now could be the perfect time to think about the things you love to do, and work out how you can boost your energy by building more moments of joy into your daily life.
Are your batteries fully charged, or in need of a boost?
The lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as everything that’s currently happening in Eastern Europe, are continuing to have a profound impact on all of our lives. Whatever our age or occupation, many of us are now spending more time sitting in front of electronic screens for long periods each day. And it’s not just our computers and phones whose batteries are running low.
In my work as a coach, I’m used to being home-based; often connecting with clients remotely via Skype, Zoom, or any one of the many online tools now available to us. But what’s new is spending so much of my time in this way. Many activities like seeing clients, but also keeping in touch with friends, connecting with my book club, doing a yoga class, ordering shopping, watching plays, competing in “pub” quizzes, reading books, and a myriad of other things have moved online.
This new, largely online world can be exhausting, and it’s often hard to maintain a barrier between work and leisure. Changing working practices may provide greater flexibility, but they also blur boundaries and can result in us never truly switching off.
In my experience of talking to clients and friends, many of us are searching for some productive and meaningful ways to spend our time outside of work. You may be looking for ways to add new routines to your daily life or create a better work-life balance for yourself. You may have been rethinking your career choices or considering how you’d fill your time in retirement.
In any of these scenarios, I’d encourage you to invest some time in reflecting on the things you like to do and what brings you joy, as well as how you can introduce more of this into your current circumstances – however challenging they may be.
What gives you a sense of satisfaction, purpose, or fulfilment?
This is an exercise I often use with my coaching clients. It helps them to consider what’s important to them, what their values are, and what gives them a sense of satisfaction, purpose, or fulfilment. You can complete it on your own, or maybe discuss it with a friend. Once you’re finished, reflect on your answers, and decide what to do next.
To begin the exercise, start by creating a list of 15-20 things you like to do with your time. Then, looking at each activity in turn, consider these questions:
- How long has it been since I last did this?
- Does it cost money or is it free?
- Is this something I do on my own or with someone else?
- Is it fast-paced or slow-paced?
- Is it mind or body related?
- Is it job related?
Now, as you sit and look at your list and your answers to these questions, consider what they’re telling you about your current situation. Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with this? And, what changes could you make – no matter how small – that would move you towards a more (or even more) satisfied frame of mind?
Time to get creative and increase those feelings of satisfaction and sense of purpose...
Maybe you’d like to visit a health spa and treat yourself to a facial or body massage. Or, if you can’t get yourself to a spa, perhaps you could allocate an hour or two to hide away in the bathroom, light candles, play some soothing music, and put on a home face pack while soaking in a hot bubble bath. You could also give yourself a pedicure with a new nail polish to recreate some of that spa feeling.
If you like to travel and discover new places, then why not get excited by planning your next trip abroad? Or, if you’d prefer to stay closer to home, you’ll be amazed at what you didn’t know was on your doorstep. Put the same effort into researching what to do in your hometown as you would if you were visiting for the first time, and you could be surprised at what’s available to you that you’ve never had the time to explore before.
Looking at your list, if most of your activities are job-related, and you’re not currently working or are planning not to work, then ask yourself – how can you recreate the fun experiences or the joyful feelings you get after doing those work activities, in ways that are not to do with your job?
If most of your chosen activities are done with other people or are fast-paced and physical, what does this tell you about possible future career or life choices? Or, if you like to do activities alone, that are slow-paced or mind related, what in turn does that say? What hobbies might you consider? What volunteering or new work could you do that’ll provide similar experiences to those you listed and create the same feelings of satisfaction and enjoyment?
Looking after and being kind to ourselves is an essential part of self-care. It’s sometimes tempting to focus on all the things you can’t do. But I’d love you to get creative and think – what can I do that I enjoy to get those endorphins flowing, even just a little?