There are times (very frequently) where life can get a bit hectic and I find myself feeling like I’m struggling to keep up. I’m sure there are plenty of people who can relate. We like to be busy and to take on a lot and to compare ourselves to what other people are doing, and, in doing so, we miss all the little moments and joys. I study full-time, work, put my spare time into this blog and try to juggle everything, but sometimes it’s important to take the back seat – pause and find space.
I’m not perfect, but here are some tips I’ve found that help me find space in my life when everything gets a bit overwhelming.
- Set a ‘switch off’ time. I’m not talking about tech, although it’s not such a bad idea to put your phone away and get off Instagram for a bit. Allow yourself a certain period of time each day where you can walk away from any urgent responsibilities or work and just be present. I’m a morning person and don’t work very well in the evenings so, rather than fighting it, I stop my study/photographing/writing etc. at dinner time and take the evening off to be with my boyfriend, read a book, watch a movie, or go for a walk.
- Make sure you get enough sleep, water and nutritional food. It’s an obvious one but we tend to neglect it. I was at the Canberra Centre for a masterclass with nutritionist Lola Berry on the weekend and she put it very well – ‘When I’m giving my body the best fuel, what it needs, then it will give its best back and I can live as fully as possible’. Having more energy, a clearer mind and a healthier body means you’ll be well equipped to face any challenges or stresses that come at you.
- Leave work at work. As a student, I know that’s no always possible, and it’s definitely more easily said than done. But as much as possible, give yourself permission to not be at 100% 24/7. It’s okay to not read your emails until the morning – in fact, if you reply, it trains others to expect you to reply. Set clear boundaries and you’ll go back into work or study feeling refreshed. If you can, also give yourself a weekend – whether that’s one or two days off – where you can just do whatever you want (I’m really bad at this, but I’m getting better…).
- Find your meditation. Find a space of half an hour, perhaps on a lunch break, where you can do something that really takes your mind off all the stress and gives you some inspiration and perspective. For me, it’s a 2-3km walk with my headphones on, listening to my favourite podcast. If you can squeeze in a 15 minute mindful meditation or yoga session, even better. For some people, a morning or evening gym session is also the perfect meditation, where they can just focus on the moment and nothing else.
- Write it all down. One of the best ways to keep a clear mind and give the illusion of space in your life is to keep a diary. Even if you just keep a small notebook in your handbag where you can jot down ideas or to-do lists as they come to you, having it all down on paper means less to remember and less to stress over. I’m a big fan of an uncomplicated version of the Bullet Journal (you can find my full review HERE), but find what works for you.
I hope some of you find these tips useful. If you’ve got a little ritual that you use to give yourself a bit of space and me-time, let me know in the comments or via my social media platforms – I’d love to know!