“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
Do you ever feel like you’re living for the weekend? The problem with this model is that you over-rely on these small pockets of time. Whether you’re feeling jealous about someone else’s Instagram feed or resisting the pull of a TV advert for a luxury minibreak, it can be easy to feel dissatisfied with the daily grind.
And it goes even deeper than this. On a subconscious level, when you constantly pin all of your hopes on tomorrow or next week, you start to internalise the message that there’s nothing inspiring or fulfilling about your day-to-day life.
The mundane reality is that our days mostly consist of mealtimes, work, interactions with family, household chores and sleep. So as the designer of your daily routine, you’ve got to start thinking about how you can bring joy to these activities. Here are seven tips to help you fall in love with your life again and appreciate the simple moments.
1. Identify your core values
Do this, and you’re already leaps and bounds ahead of most people. Your core values are the foundations upon which you build your life, so think about them carefully. What do you want to prioritise that makes you tick as an individual? Creativity? Freedom? Calm? Connection? When you’ve narrowed down your list to your top 3, ask yourself:
- Why is this important to me?
- How can I make more room for this in my daily routine?
- What am I willing to sacrifice to fit it in?
For instance, if your family is the most important thing to you, yet you find your work-life balance is off, then you may need to adjust your schedule. Try to make time for one sit-down family meal each day, where you can meaningfully connect with your loved ones.
Living by your values brings you into alignment with yourself. This means that you are less likely to feel the pull of short-term distractions like social media, mindless shopping or other bad habits, that only encourage you to temporarily escape your reality.
2. Create a morning routine
If you can make the effort to get up even just an hour earlier, it’s amazing how this time to yourself can help you to start the day with clarity and intention. This then has a ripple effect on the rest of your decision-making.
In his book The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod discusses the benefits of dedicating an hour when you arise to six simple habits:
- Sit in quiet meditation – purposeful silence helps you to feel less stressed and anxious throughout your day.
- Recite your affirmations – revamp your self-talk with positive affirmations, which reprogram your subconscious mind and make you more mindful of the constant stream of thoughts running through your head.
- Use visualisation techniques – a proven method of professional athletes, you can use visualisation to enter into the emotional state of your dream life.
- Do some form of physical exercise – if you consistently find that you’re just too busy to exercise, make time for it first thing. You’ll find it has mental as well as physical benefits.
- Read a few pages of a book – even if you’ve never finished a book in your life, it’s amazing how small but steady progress soon adds up. If you make a habit of reading for just 10 minutes a day, you could rack up 10 finished books in a year!
- Write in your journal – writing for 5-10 minutes a day can accelerate your personal growth, with insights into your deepest thoughts and feelings.
Try the Miracle Morning 30-day challenge for yourself, and see if it has a positive impact on how you’re feeling more generally.
3. Understand your pain points
What is it about your daily routine that you really don’t look forward to? If you’re feeling overworked, stressed or like you don’t have any meaningful time, then it’s time to pause to think about any changes you could make.
For example, if you’re a busy mum and feel like you’re always in the kitchen, it might be worth considering how you can simplify mealtimes with batch cooking or a minimalist meal plan. Alternatively, you could speak to your partner about sharing the meal prep or cooking on alternative days.
When you’re the kind of person who is used to doing it all, then you may find it uncomfortable to ask for help. But you will be a better partner and parent when you can learn to let go, be vulnerable, and ask for support where you need it.
4. Be present
I think we’re all guilty of assuming the only way to be productive is to multitask. And if we’re not multitasking, we’re failing! But I encourage you to do the opposite and take the more mindful route.
Savour the moment when you’re eating a delicious meal, having a conversation with your partner, or even just basking in the warmth of sunlight on your skin. By living in your head, your thoughts often take you down rabbit holes where you dwell on the past or fret about the future. Mindfulness teaches you to slow down, focus on the task at hand, and truly appreciate the little things.
5. Improve your living space
To feel more satisfied day-to-day, learn to love your home. You’ve probably heard it said that your mind is an extension of your physical surroundings, so give your space some TLC, consider the feng shui and make it your sanctuary.
Why not give your bedroom that luxury hotel feel with some new furniture and a lick of paint? Or keep it simple with minimalist aesthetics and natural materials for a calming vibe. Whatever your style, your home is the one place in the world that you can design exactly to your own tastes! So make it the place you want to be.
6. Make time for more of the things you love
Try to make room for the things you’re passionate about. This also means learning to set healthy boundaries and saying ‘no’ to things you feel obliged to do. Whether you want to practice yoga, get green-fingered in the garden, or explore a nearby place you’ve never been to before, you don’t have to wait for a holiday to carve out ‘me’-time.
When you are engrossed in your own intrinsic interests and hobbies, you experience deep fulfilment and can cope better with the slings and arrows daily life throws your way. So find ways to intentionally build fun and creativity into your daily routine.
7. Keep a gratitude journal
There are many things you can’t control in life, but the one thing you can control is your attitude. Keep a journal where you consistently write down three specific things you’re grateful for from your day. Not only does this help you to focus on what really matters, but it also starts to reframe your perspective more generally, so that you start to see the good (and opportunity!) in all situations.
Stop Escaping and Start Living
Novelty and new experiences are a necessary part of life. They help us to grow, appreciate new points of view and inspire us to see the world in different ways. It’s not to say that holidays can’t be a part of a healthy and varied lifestyle.
But recognize when you’re living for the weekend. If the definition of escapism is: “The tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy,” then we can see that while escapism is lucrative, it isn’t the path to lasting fulfilment.
The human brain loves habits, consistency and routine, so work with it to make your daily life the star of the show, with holidays in the supporting role.
Sophie is the creator of Intentional View, a personal development blog that encourages you to start your own individual revolution. With weekly articles on mindfulness, productivity, minimalism and veganism, you can learn to take back control of your habitual thoughts, beliefs and actions. Join the Intentional Movement today to build a life of true meaning and fulfillment.