what is the purpose of being here if we can’t enjoy the ride ?
as a highly sensitive person (HSP) + an empath, my life has been quite a turbulent ride. there always seem to be a challenge I have to conquer. as the conscientious person I am, this means it’s often been hard to make time to relax + just enjoy life.
it wasn’t until I experienced stress + burnout that I finally took the hint to do something about this. I realised I had to simplify my life + get to the core of what was important to me. in the process of simplifying, I let go of everything that no longer served me. I finally reached a point where I realised that enjoying life is all about appreciating the smaller things in life.
I realised that I don’t find happiness in earning a degree, scoring a new job or finding my dream home. these are just milestones. to me;
happiness is about enjoying the journey.
if the road toward earning my degree wasn’t much fun, my enthusiasm is quite chilled when arriving at the finish line. if I enjoyed myself along the way + absorbed everything in grateful wonder, the story would be something else.
being aware is what makes us appreciate the journey of life. when we are aware, we have learned to slow down; we are more present. we notice so much more than when we are just striving for the bigger things in life, the milestones. we want to make the most of what is here + now. we’re actually living rather than just drifting through life.
on my journey toward a simpler + happier life, I’ve found 3 ways to enjoy the simple things in life.
The first way was to learn to slow down my tempo. another is by taking time for self-care (listen to the needs of my body). both help me keep my energy level under control. rather than rushing through tasks, I take my time + enjoy the ride. and I make sure to spend more time on activities that GIVE me energy, rather than completely focusing on tasks that have to get done. the latter had been the norm for me in the past + probably the main reason I experienced stress + burnout in the first place.
as an HSP + empath, I also have to find ways to lift my mood. HSPs get overwhelmed by stimuli quicker than the average person; in addition, empaths sense other people’s energies, which is also a cause of exhaustion. if I don’t take precautions, it doesn’t take much for both my energy level + mood to drop. when I sense this is about to happen; I find quick ways to lift myself. this is the third way it’s possible for me to enjoy the simple things in life.
1. SLOW DOWN
experiencing stress, that is, hitting the exhaustion stage of stress (I usually call it “hitting the wall”), was what stopped me from rushing around. is it funny that it had to go this far, considering I saw it coming for many years ? honestly, I wasn’t capable of slowing down. I didn’t know how. I don’t even think I thought it was an option back then. wasn’t it more important to tick things off my super-duper important to-do list ? not only did I have tunnel vision, but I guess I also was meant to learn the hard way (this seems to be the story of my life !).
it wasn’t until I finally hit the wall one day in the middle of january that my body finally couldn’t take it anymore. my neck + shoulder were really stiff, and I found myself just sitting on my sofa staring out the window. I wasn’t capable of much more. since I lived alone, every now and then, I had to get up to cook a meal, do the laundry, go grocery shopping etc. but if I tried to do too much in one go, I noticed my body protesting, insisting I put my butt back on the sofa. if I did my grocery shopping one day, that’s the only chore I could do that day. quietly, my body taught me to slow down, forcing me to do as little as possible + instead focus on resting.
I don’t wish it upon anyone to take it this far before learning to slow down + enjoying life. it’s easy to say that we just need to lower our expectations + learn to listen to our bodies. but life is a learning curve + there are most likely some spiritual reasons why it’s hard for us to do this.
it’s easier to take time forself-care
once we learn to slow down – though it makes more sense to use self-care
to learn to slow down.
my type of self-care has always been a way of indulging in me-time. this might just be due to my sensitive nature or the fact that I’m an introvert. probably both. I’ve always found it hard to recharge when surrounded by other people.
on top of that, I’m also a renaissance soul, which means I have tons of different interests + hobbies. I truly enjoy jumping from one to the other, something I do rapidly throughout the day. since I can’t predict when I need a change, it’s hard to involve others every step of the way.
after learning to slow down, I also find that I’m better at acting on my intuition. compared to the old me, who would often just do things because I thought it had to be done, I’ve definitely become more mindful. now I’m living in the moment + following the “nudges” that I get. I believe this is the best way to value our bodies and bring more joy into our lives.
when I feel an urge to read, I read. when I feel like going for a walk, there’s no stopping me from getting out in the lush Scottish nature (not even the famous Scottish weather !). even when I feel a bit low on energy, I remind myself I will feel so much better once I’m outside.
I write when I get inspiration, which often happens while I read or out walking. I’ve realised how easily inspiration comes to me when I feel relaxed – not just inspiration about what to write, but epiphanies about what next steps to take in my life.
in addition to this, I also take time to meditate, do yoga, prepare + eat proper meals, be creative, organise things (yes, it’s relaxing !), watch tv shows to relax, recharge, and make myself feel good.
3. QUICK WAYS TO LIFT MYSELF
when I sense my mood + energy level dropping, I know I won’t enjoy much of anything if I don’t immediately do something about it. after learning to slow down, I’ve gotten better at recognising the signs + learning what works best for me in what situations.
regardless of whether we have a sensitive nature or easily get stressed, we can all benefit from creating a toolbox for ourselves
for when we need to pick ourselves up.
it might be tempting to comfort eat or yell at others when feeling a bit under the weather, but most often, a self-care routine is what we need.
even if I make an effort to be precautious regarding my sensitive nature, sometimes life gets the better of me. I guess that’s just life trying to teach me a lesson. in these cases, it’s a lot like feeling hangry when you haven’t eaten in a while + your blood sugar level drops too low. you feel hungry + angry at the same time. apparently, I’m capable of feeling this way, even on a filled stomach ! this is when I know I need a quick pick-me-upper.
if it is my blood sugar messing with me, snack bars usually do the trick, especially if I eat the entire 3- or 4-pack !
I try to get my 2 litres of water a day (I don’t include tea here). if it’s been too long since I had any, my mood also plummets. it’s incredible how much better I feel just having a mug of it (mine are 0.5 litres). I know we’re supposed to sip water throughout the day rather than having a large quantity in one go, but when I realise I’m thirsty, I just drink the entire 0.5-litre mug all at once. I probably waited too long for my sip.
again, going for walks, spending time outdoors in the fresh air, especially surrounded by nature, is an easy pick-me-upper. sometimes I just grab a book, find a bench somewhere and read there. it’s amazing how much easier it is to concentrate when you’re ingesting fresh air.
proper sleep (= sleeping without an alarm) is another obvious way to boost my mood. it could even just be a nap.
whenever I feel super-duper exhausted, my magical combo of pick-me-up is herbal tea, dark chocolate, and a mission: impossible-marathon ! many HSPs don’t like violent movies + tv-shows, but I love spy movies + I can’t get enough of the Mission: Impossible franchise. for me, it’s more about the tempo of the film or tv-show rather than the violence that puts me off. this is probably due to my restless nature from experiencing stress. the violence doesn’t get to me cause I know it’s all fiction, but I get bored + lose focus if the tempo is too slow. mission: impossible is just perfectly entertaining to soothe me when my instincts tell me to scream + cry at the same time !
how do you find ways to enjoy life when things get difficult ?
do you need any pick-me-uppers to help you cope ?
please let me know below.