We’re all products of our environment. Yes, we have different personalities and different experiences that inform how we act and react to the situations in our lives but, in turn, our environments shape us and our behaviour. This may not seem like good news, particularly if we feel we can’t change them.
Does this ring true with you?
On a global scale, the volatile world stage is baffling, frightening and feels like something we have limited power over individually. Our urban environments are filled with noise, speed, crowds and pollution. The advance of technology promises flexibility, but results in a reliance on it that can torpedo our day in the instant of a “glitch”.
And do you ever feel that, even if we have flexibility, it comes at a cost anyway? Do you feel that you end up having to be everything to all people, because you have the “flexibility” to juggle your commitments?
I’m not being ungrateful, because flexibility is a blessing and something I wouldn’t be without but, last time I checked, I wasn’t able to do everything I need to do by twitching my nose. New commitments fly in left and right, yet there are no more hours in the day to deal with them. And that’s before we even think about trying to do anything for ourselves.
I get that modern society (our environment) places multiple demands on us, whatever our personal circumstances, and, if we lack the time to maybe eat good food around the table with our family, exercise regularly or sleep the recommended number of hours, how on earth are we supposed to do anything else for ourselves on top of that?
It would be selfish and we’d feel guilty.
We’re the stick that keeps this plate-thing spinning, after all.
If we take time out, it would smash all over the floor.
And we’d be the ones who’d have to clear it up.
But the multiple demands on us, whatever they may be, are the reason I believe we’re thinking about this round the wrong way.
If we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of our other responsibilities. That’s just common sense. We may be able to fake it for a while, but it’s not a sustainable position. It’s not a long and happy life.
Let me ask you a couple of questions.
Do you get your car MOT’d?
Wash your clothes?
Or do you drive around with your engine hanging out, hoping you don’t have a gas leak at home whilst wearing the same thing you always wear no matter how bad you smell?
I’m being silly, obviously, but I think you see where I’m going with this.
Nothing can do what it’s supposed to do if you don’t take the time and care to treat it right. The same goes for you. And, one major benefit of taking care of yourself is that you’re in a better position to take care of everyone and everything else you need to take care of too. And, if I know you, that’s what matters to you most.
But maybe you’re thinking, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before.’
You probably have. You already know:
‘Put on your own oxygen mask first.’
‘You can’t drive on an empty tank.’
‘You can’t pour from an empty bottle.’
I knew this too, but my (considerable) flaws in this area showed up most starkly when I first became self-employed. I was convinced I’d take care of myself because it was, ‘All a bit obvious, really,’ but, needless to say now, I fell into every trap going.
I didn’t take proper breaks, I wasn’t getting much fresh air, I was being very sedentary and it was hit and miss whether or not I did my morning exercise routine. And as for journaling, well, I thought it'd served its purpose for the moment. I’d figured out what I wanted to do, I just needed to get on and do it. Journaling was something I’d be able to afford the time to do again one day…
Once again, hmm.
I didn’t have an epiphany and it wasn’t an overnight process, but over the last couple of years, I’ve definitely changed my way of thinking.
Despite everything I said above where it might’ve sounded like I was moaning, I believe the world is a fundamentally beautiful place. (And, remember, we’re a product of our environment…)
We’re all different (thank goodness) but I reckon we all have so much in common, not least our desire to do the best we can in our lives, for ourselves and for those around us too.
I’ve incorporated journaling back into my personal wellbeing activities (the term I use instead of self care) to help me make sure I don’t make the same mistakes again.
Writing is something I’ve done on and off since I was a child. Whether it involved writing stories, keeping a personal diary or any other activity to fill a blank page, I’ve never been very far from a notebook and pen.
Whenever I want to do something different, think something through or imagine another world, putting pen to paper is always my first step. And now I use journaling as a tool to make sure I don’t let the beauty of the world pass me by.
I journal to keep creativity, beauty and fun in my life. And I believe we ALL need more of that.
Journaling helps me to to feel lighter and brighter. It’s helped me get to know myself better, learn how I react to situations, clarify what I want and don’t want and make inroads into moving the balance of my life towards what matters to me most.
It’s helped me decide that I’m allowed to shift my focus from the hamster wheel onto what really matters to me, and it’s shown me that writing has enhanced my life.
I believe an intentional writing practice can infuse positive change in our lives, help us explore and express our creativity and, best of all, have more FUN.
If that sounds good to you, then let’s keep in touch. The best way is to sign up to join the email community. And, if you still feel you’ve not got time to even think about developing a journaling practice however much you’d like to, I’ve got your back there too! When you sign up I’ll send you a free PDF to help you carve out time in your day or week for you. Why not give it a go? And, even better, you’ll be added to Elle Turner Creative’s mailing list so that you receive updates, inspiration, some exclusive content and occasional offers. You can, of course, unsubscribe from updates at any time if you find the emails are not for you. (There’s a link to ETC’s privacy notice at the bottom of the page that lets you know how your personal info is used).
To share on Pinterest!