Leaning into difficulty, Happiness Project week 2

This week has been difficult for my happiness project. I’m realising how hard it is to change my habits. To change your life you have to take action, and that can be tiring and challenging. It is oh so much easier to leave things as they are; easier, but not better. I’ve realised that as a society we aren’t too comfortable with leaning into the more challenging moments in our lives. But I’m also realising that if we want to really change, then this is totally what we need to do.

A lesson in leaning into difficulty from yoga

As you’re probably away Yoga With Adriene continually inspires me. In Day 17 of the 31 day Yoga Revolution the practice was about stillness. It was much less active than normal, and incredibly challenging. It is so hard to sit with a pose, to stay in it, when various muscles are screaming at you. Yoga is not easy. Neither is life.

At one point in the practice Adriene asked us to notice whether our tendency was to move away from difficulty, and if we could change that and see how it felt to lean in. So I tried, and it was really hard. The same is true of meditation, which asks us to sit with the often challenging emotions and feelings within ourselves.

So this week has been difficult, but I’m trying to lean into that. That being said, last night I had to zonk out in front of two episodes of First Dates. Like most things, it’s about balance.

If we really want to change, we need to learn to lean into the difficult moments.

 

The ups, downs and in-betweens of My Happiness Project week 2

 

Learn to rest

Most of the downs this week have been related to this resolution. Sleep issues being one of the main things, followed by my inability to relax. Although let me re-phrase that in a more positive way. I’m still learning to relax, and finding it hard.

So what positive things can I put in place moving forward to address this?

  • Have a switch off time each day when I absolutely stop working.
  • Do something to mark switch off time. The other day I stopped working and a really up beat song happened to be on. So I had a little dance and a shake out. Maybe this is what I should do everyday to mark switch off time? Might not work if I’m working in a coffee shop.
  • Gratitude journal. I’ve heard nothing but positive things about keeping a gratitude journal. Research links it to getting better night’s sleep and boosting our immune system.
  • Reframe how I think about rest. Sometimes I think I get anxious because I feel like I’m not relaxing/resting right. What I’m slowly realising, and need to remember, is what rest/relaxation our bodies need varies on a daily basis and that’s okay. 

Spend more time in nature

I’ve talked about how much I love being in nature and how good it is for my happiness and energy a lot. Yet this week I still managed to sort of forget this. I went running by the sea front which was nice. But I stopped my daily walks. What I’ve realised is if I have an appointment or meeting I’ll be walking to, I don’t feel the need to go on my daily walk. I really need to prioritise this though. After a recent meeting I walked home via a park and it was total bliss. This also confirmed for me that going to the park does count as spending more time in nature. I don’t need to try and go for a big country walk every week.

Spending time in nature boosts your energy,

The view on the walk to the park that got me back into my daily walks.

 

Exercise Right

If you read my post earlier this week you’ll know I’m re-thinking my exercise right resolution somewhat. Trying to focus on what exercise right means for me. Last week I went jogging once and it sort of destroyed me for the next day. Now I’m thinking about trying other exercises, to find one that makes me really happy. Swimming and dancing are next on the list. I’ve just got to get some courage to go for it. 

Prepare in advance

Last weekend I went away on a family trip to Bath, and a negative packing experience made me realise how important this resolution is to me. I had an evening event to go to and instead of taking time out my day’s schedule to pack I decided it’d be fine to do it when I got back from the event. It wasn’t a late finish, but I was not in a mood to pack when I got in. It resulted in boyfriend and I being grumpy at each other. If I’d packed earlier it would have taken less time because I’d have had more energy for it, and we could have had a nice relaxed evening. Lesson learned.

Meal planning and nutrition

Meal planning has been going well. I really have to force myself to do it, but the effects on boosting my energy are noticeable. I just love the mental space and time freed up by not having to panic about what’s for dinner. The nutrition side of things has slipped a bit. I’ve realised it’s a bit of a minefield and so sort of stopped trying. My current diet isn’t bad, but I really do think it can be better and know I can use food to help boost my energy. I’ve just started reading Be Your Own Nutritionist by George Cooper. So far it’s pretty interesting, and I particularly relate to this quote:

"There are so many different ideas of what healthy foods are, how and when to eat them...that those who do want to eat healthily are baffled from the outset" George Cooper, Be Your Own Nutritionist

SO feel this!

Energise my environment

This marks both a big up and down this week. I hadn’t put much thought into this resolution at the start of the month. This week I did think about it, and what I realised is I’d been putting off thinking about it. Why? Because I actually have quite a few negative feelings about the space I live in. It’s complex, because I do really like our flat. It’s too much to write about here, so I’m going to dedicate another post just to this soon. But, I’m happy because my work on this aspect is in progress.

And that’s week two of my happiness project. A lot of challenges, and realisations. But I think that’s something to be celebrated because it’s only through facing challenges that we can learn and grow. As always, if you have any advice, thoughts or general comments on any of the above I’d love to hear them in the comments below! 

 

 

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

2 comments on “Leaning into difficulty, Happiness Project week 2

    • Great, I think it’ll be the next one I write. Although there will probably be a few posts about it to be honest as I think it’s going to take some time to figure out.

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