24 June 2021
MAKING ROOM FOR HAPPINESS PART ONE
Busy Bee Struggle
Hi everyone, it has been a long time since I last wrote to you all.
For the past six months, I have been quite overwhelmed with another role entrusted upon me in my family business. It took me a long while to juggle all the roles and navigate back to my balanced lifestyle. What I learned during these past 6 months is what I want to share with you all today, and I hope it is helpful to you in some way or another. But of course, we are all different and we respond to situations differently, so I invite you to take what resonates with you and leave what does not.
In my very first blog, The Art of Finding Fulfillment, I was talking about how to find the optimal combination of different aspects in life that is unique to each of us. The combination that answers specifically to our unique set of needs and wants –what we choose to include in our lives –was my focus.
In this series of posts, I want to invite you to explore another side of the coin –emptying out the space in order to make room and incorporate more of what you want in life.
HOW WE ALL TRY TO ATTAIN HAPPINESS
It is ironic that a lot of us do more to get what we want, because we hope it will bring us more “happiness”, yet many of us find ourselves burned-out instead. On the other end of the spectrum, we hope that if we do not have to work and can just relax with an ample amount of free time, it will bring us happiness. But is that a valid claim? If so, why is depression quite prevalent among the retired, whether rich or poor?
So, it is quite safe to assume that there must be a middle ground between both extremes. In other words, a way of living that allows us to exercise both the productive–creative mode and the relaxing–resting mode.
“Balanced Lifestyle is where we can exercise both productive mode and relaxing mode in harmony, and not overwhelmed by one mode or another.”
– Mim Chawimon
In this series, we will explore it from both angles. Whether you are a busy bee, trying to do everything and finding yourself burned-out, or you are just simply bored, needing something to do to entertain yourself during your free time. We will explore how you can switch gears so that you can navigate back to your balanced state of well-being.
First, we will explore the busy bee’s route to iBalance, the route that I was personally trying to pave for the past 6 months. Let’s begin!
BUSY BEE STRUGGLE
I had my balance, I felt good about my life, everything fell into place, and I was at ease with my pace of life and day-to-day rhythm. But life hit me with a test, I became overwhelmedwith new roles and responsibilities. This was definitely not the first time I was thrown out of balance due to external circumstances.
Change is an inevitable part of life, just like the seasons. So, the more cycles of change I go through, the more I know that the best way to cope with change is to first accept it and then to handle it with mindfulness, instead of just going against it.
“The best way to cope change is to accept it and ride on it with mindfulness instead of resisting it.”
– Mim Chawimon
But no matter how many change cycles we have gone through, evolved out of, and become stronger because of, when we are thrown into a new wave of change, we are lost once again with different puzzles to solve. And it’s often the more complex ones, unfortunately.
Work became too big of a piece of pie to my overall energy consumption. The need to empty out and free myself up was increasingly imperative over the past six months, when I barely had time for myself, to carry out my usual self-care routine, or when winding down became increasingly difficult to put me into good night’s sleep.
Those worries and obligations still stuck inside my head even though I was in my bed trying to fall asleep. I have always been the type that falls asleep within 5 minutes after my head hits the pillow. So not being able to sleep was kind of new to me, and not in a very good way, of course. LOL
Long story short, my health started to suffer.
I knew I had to do something about it, but I didn’t know how to manage all of the obligations and responsibilities entrusted upon me, while also maintaining my own well-being.
At that point, I had to make a conscious choice to shift the weight among each aspect of my life. I had to come up with a new combination of iBalance that would serve my life at that very moment.
The iBalance I let go of is what served me back then. It no longer serves me under the new context I live in now. Sure, the unknown can make us feel uncomfortable, that is why our natural reaction is to try to hold on and resist change. But if the situations and circumstances make it impossible to do so, holding on and resisting change will only result in resentment and constant disappointment.
We want to ride with the wave in order to come up with the new set of iBalance that best serves where we are in life. My previous series, Navigating Uncertainties talks in detail about how to embrace change and uncertainties with mindfulness. If you find yourself struggling to embrace change, you might find this series helpful.
Back to finding a new set of iBalance, it was easier said than done. I cannot agree more. The previous iBalance was my safety blanket, it felt familiar and comfortable, and it was hard to let go of.
I had to make the hard choice to either eliminate or downplay other aspects of my life. For example, quality time with loved ones and friends, watching Netflix, maintaining hobbies, and practicing some of my self-care routines were things I had to let go of often. Basically, I had less of the good stuff in my life.
Yes, it sounds ironic I know, but please hang on with me here, and you will see why later.
By eliminating some “fun” activities in exchange for rest and essential self-care routines, my health started to return to normal. It was not something of an auto response.
The easy wind down activities after a long day were probably watching my favorite shows or scrolling on social media. But I had to make a conscious decision to do other self-care routines like journaling or meditating and going to bed early.
Yes, it felt “very dry” and boring. It was just work and rest, and not enough entertainment, but my health responded well to that ritual during that particular transition period.
“For my fellow busy bees, the first step into making room for happiness is to eliminate or downplay nice-to-haves and get down to only the must-dos in trade for self-care routine and rest.”
– Mim Chawimon
However, upon eliminating and downplaying those aspects, I also made a conscious mental note to myself that the aforementioned lifestyle was not meant to last forever. I told myself that I would not get stuck in it and that it was just a transition period.
I kept my hope up that I would slowly be rising back to my favorable iBalance.
Talking from where I am now, I can share with you that I am truly happy with my new iBalance, which I can assure you is not the gloomy transition period version, and it does not look like the one I let go of either. So, coming back to what I was saying. Instead of resisting change, accept it and ride with it mindfully. 😊
Wrapping up for all of my fellow busy bees out there before signing off, our first step is to accept the change, let go of the Nice-To-Haves and Get Down to the Must-Dos.
In my next post, we will be discussing how to slowly rise back up to the new favorable iBalance and make room to welcome the all of the “good stuff” back in!
Meanwhile, rest well and take care!