As I mentioned in a previous post, I was quite taken by one of Tsh’s (from The Art of Simple) recent posts about ‘things that are saving my life right now’. Perhaps the title is overly dramatic, but I think the intention and meaning is probably correct. There are always a few things in life which help save our mental health, and it’s worth taking a look at what these are and why. There are definitely some which are making life substantially better for me at the moment, so I thought I’d take inspiration from Tsh and start another series of themed posts. These will probably be occasional rather than weekly or monthly, and nowhere near the ‘7 things’ she manages, but I hope you enjoy them.
So, for the first time, here are three things that are saving my mental bacon right now:
- Being at home. I realised recently that it is critically important to me at the moment to have intentional time at home, with my partner, in my house. Part of this is because maintaining a home takes time and intention; it takes effort to keep it clean, tidy, to prepare clean clothes and have food in the cupboards. I need to be at home to do those things for myself. But part of it is also because I find it very grounding to be in my home, pottering around, tidying things and generally making small things better. To be clear – I don’t mean those times when I come home exhausted, slump on the sofa and watch videos and generally do nothing. I mean times when I am present and active and engaged with my partner and my home. Time to do this was one of the things I longed for in a soulful way at the end of my PhD, and it is deeply satisfying to be able to have that.
- Decluttering. I’m not talking about a going-for-it throw-down style decluttering extravaganza. I’m talking about a little here and there, a slow paring down of things. Hell, not even a paring down yet – I’m still in the process of getting rid of so much junk from my life and home. I mean, I’m still dealing with boxes of old photographs, hoarded cinema tickets from the 2000s, clothes that I haven’t worn in ten years. But I am slowly, slowly thinning it out a little. I’m not doing it because I want the house to look nicer, although that is a nice side effect. I’m mostly doing it because I need the mental space. I need to push back the wash of things all around me. I also desperately need to be in a space which is not dirty as it does bad things to my mental health, therefore I need a space which is clear enough to be cleaned with reasonable ease. So decluttering, as and when I find time in my pottering at home, is totally saving my head.
- Reading on the bus. My journey to work is 30-40mins each way, every day. But recently I’ve managed, for the first time in my life, to teach myself to read on the bus without feeling ill (most days at least). That means I hop on the bus, open my book, and before I know it I’m pulling up outside work. I don’t get stressed, I don’t feel overwhelmed by the press of people, and I don’t think about my day ahead earlier than I need to. It makes the journey pass without distress or annoyance, and I’m really appreciative of it. And it helps me work through my hoard of books-to-be-read, which helps contribute (however slowly!) to the decluttering. If you can read on a moving vehicle, I thoroughly recommend you try it on your commute!
I hope these provide some food for thought. Everyone needs some things that help save their mental health, and I hope you have some too!