Direction, Balance & Other Guiding Forces

Every time I’m silent on the blog for a few months, I often wonder what that time meant for me, whether I was going through a particularly difficult period, or just not being conscious enough to invest in myself and my creativity.

Being consistent is still one of the greatest challenges I face with this, but I re-read a post of mine, and it was like a comforting hug and lesson all-in-one from my past self, a reminder of how I loved the effect that a written note could leave with you, in addition to the content itself.

This time, though, upon some self-reflection, I know that I was going through quite a turning point, and whilst I’m not ‘out of’ this period yet, though I speak of it in the past tense, I feel I now have a sense of direction, and have grabbed the ‘vehicle’, as it were, with both hands. Today, I want to speak about a few things that helped me re-balance and re-centre myself, in case this could act as a catalyst to help someone else do the same.

The main thing that caused me to fall into this rut was that I lost a sense of direction. I had a few meager new years’ resolutions, but couldn’t remember what they were or where I’d saved them. I knew I wanted to work hard at my job but didn’t know what that looked like, or what I wanted the end result to be, and I knew I generally wanted to be fit and healthy but again, that was more of an ongoing note-to-self, rather than a purposeful direction.

What I was lacking was an invigorating sense of clarity, of growth, of feeling like I was working towards something, or going somewhere. The weird thing was, I had just been promoted, I had also just moved to a new part of town that I’ve fallen in love with, but I was deeply unhappy, exhausted, anxious and unsatisfied all rolled into one. It was the first time in my life I truly saw and learnt the lesson that money can’t buy you happiness.

It was the first time in my life I truly saw and learnt the lesson that money can’t buy you happiness.

What helped me snap out of this was realising that I hadn’t been investing in myself at all, since work was so busy. I hadn’t indulged in those simple pleasures that meant so much to me, small things like getting my nails painted, cooking a healthy, home-cooked meal, dressing up to go out for drinks…I realised I had this pre-conceived notion that when I was busy, I couldn’t have my hair done or nails painted, I almost had to deprive myself, and finishing the work meant I could then reward myself in these ways (assuming the work ever ends).

However, I soon realised I needed to fundamentally re-wire that logic. It works for larger things, like saving up to buy a car or a house, and working hard all year to then get that bonus, but I was creating these boundaries and rules for myself, for things that were part of my self-care routine, my maintenance rituals that helped me feel put-together, on track, and prepared.

The weird thing is, I would spend more time being stressed and making myself anxious, than it would take to do these simple rituals, even something like taking a nice bath. And in my previous post, I reminded myself of the lesson to not invest in tangible things, but rather the intangible feelings they give you; so where I speak of these tangible rituals, what I was really craving was this feeling of being put together, and if I made that my ‘treat’ for when the work was finished, I would feel more and more unraveled and disheveled, the more work there was to do.

What I was really craving was this feeling of being put together, and if I made that my ‘treat’ for when the work was finished, I would feel more and more unraveled and disheveled, the more work there was to do.

Putting it like that really struck a chord with me, and I knew something had to change. To reiterate, I stand by the philosophy that it is important to treat yourself, but it’s important to learn to separate between larger, long-term investments, semi-regular luxuries, and then regular self-maintenance and care, even if that’s taking the time to do your hobbies such as dance or drone flying.

Fast forward to today, and I’ve seen a big uptick in my mood as a direct result of this. I’ve made the time to go to the gym more often, see my boyfriend and go out for nice dates, and invest in my creativity by decorating my home and finding new jewelry, and listening to podcasts, as well as indulging myself a little (yes, my nails are indeed painted as I type this!).

However, there was another facet to this period of feeling low that I needed to realise and address. It was also feeling a lack of mentorship and guidance; a few key people in my life had moved on from our common ground, and it felt as though I was staying in the same place whilst they left. This is a difficult pill to swallow, particularly when you respect these people and their views, as it makes you re-evaluate your own perspective and whether you should be where you are. But, it was also a good reminder that this common ground enabled us to meet in the first place, and I’m humbled by how these relationships have since evolved to meeting outside of our original dynamics.

Hence the title of this post, and why I came on here today to share this message. The combination of self-care, creative stimulation, investing in my hobbies, spending time with loved ones and seeking mentorship/guidance has really helped re-balance and re-centre myself, and whilst the journey is only just beginning in a lot of ways, this was an important lesson to learn, and one I want to embed in this space. Who knows, maybe I myself will read this a few years down the line. If I do, just know you’re on the right track.

PC: Bekir Dönmez and Holger Link

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