Down days keep us sane, so let us have them…

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This picture is the perfect example of how I felt today… LEAVE ME THE F@*K ALONE. We all have days like this, where we just can’t do human interaction. We can’t go to work, we can’t get out of our pyjamas, we can’t cook a healthy meal so we order pizza and drink coffee in bed, snuggling the fur babies and pretending we don’t have responsibilities. Of course, we could actually do all of those things if we forced ourselves – but would we be any better for it? I’m convinced there’s a reason for down days, in that they give us a chance to rest, regroup and connect with ourselves. After all, we usually emerge the next day feeling fresh and ready to tackle the world again, so what’s the harm?

I was meant to be working for my 6th day in a row today, but was absolutely exhausted last night – both mentally and physically. Battling a constant runny nose and allergies, headaches and neck tension, it got to 2am and I thought ‘I can’t do this’. There’s nothing quite like the relief of calling into work sick… you actually feel a weight lift off your chest and suddenly the world is your oyster. What am I going to do today!? The world is so much more colourful when you’re actually meant to be at work, it’s like this guilty pleasure you’re indulging in. And you know what – everyone does it because we actually need it. Humans are not designed to sit in an office all day staring at a computer screen drumming away. It’s not natural, and it’s certainly not the reason we’re here (in my opinion anyway).

On down days I also tend to avoid all social interaction with friends, which is why I simply could not answer phone calls today (sorry to the friend who called – it’s not you, it’s me). The LAST thing I feel like doing on my day off is having small chat! I want to read my book, indulge in bad food and spend most of the day horizontal with socks on. If it’s an emergency – sure, I’ll be there. But other than that, please leave me alone and let me have some me time. It’s so precious! I will be such a better person tomorrow because of my ONE DAY OFF, so be gone with the judgement and take a leaf from my book 🙂

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Photo credits – maison.chloeyeur & paintandhaven

The importance of rituals.

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If you’ve moved house a couple of times like myself, you’ll understand the feeling of not being quite able to settle in until you’ve completed your ‘homely’ rituals. Even after the long days of packing, hiring utes (and friends) for the heavy items and the inevitable unpacking, nothing feels right until your favourite items are in place and a candle has been lit. I could be sitting in an absolute mess of books, clothes and bathroom products at the end of moving day, but as long as my family photographs and rose quartz crystal are on display, and the scent of a (preferably lavender or lemongrass) candle is delicately touching the room – all is well in my world.

So why are these rituals so important to our happiness? I think it comes down to a sense of grounding, of bringing us back to our perception of ‘home’ after engaging in activities that are perhaps unusual or exhausting. We all like to end our day with a familiar routine so we can feel calm, centred and peaceful. If I don’t get the time or chance to wind down after a stressful day at work, or a night out with friends, I feel uneasy and tense going to bed. I think it’s extremely important to ensure these little rituals don’t get pushed aside when life gets too busy, because it is precisely in those times that grounding ourselves and checking in is most needed.

In the last 9 months I’ve also become a huge believer in meditation. Before I got into it, the idea of taking 20-30 minutes to just focus on my breathing seemed ridiculous, and it did take quite a few weeks to feel comfortable with it. Before long though, I actually found myself craving those precious minutes, where all I had to do was focus on the in and out rhythm of air through my lungs – something so simple yet critical to overall well being. Learning the art of deep belly breathing can also help in times of tension when your body goes into fight or flight mode. Now that I’ve made meditation an almost daily ritual, I feel in tune with my body all the time. Even if I’m feeling a little agitated, I’ll enter that mind space of simply breathing to bring myself back to focus.

Whatever your little rituals are – keep at them, relentlessly. These are the small things in life that make us smile and keep us grounded, and sometimes that can make a world of difference.

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Photo credits – fleaandbear & theophelia_