What has school taught me thus far?

enlightenment

It has been almost 5 months since I last posted. With the craziness of school, work, volunteering and the natural stresses of life, my blog has unregrettably fallen to the wayside. Today I want to emphasize the importance of engaging in activities that brings you pleasure, a total sense of absorption, and something that distorts time completely. It is during these activities that we can experience an optimal level of flow and awareness without judgement. It does not matter what the activity is, as long as you are fully immersed in something that you are passionate about, you will reap the short-term and long-term benefits. We need to be able to escape from the stresses of life and invest energy and time into rebuilding, changing, learning, and growing. We need to be the ones in control of our mental health and well being, and not let external factors dictate when our minds and bodies need a break. Do the daily maintenance and routine checkups for your mental, emotional, and physical well being, so you can prevent the big mental breakdowns or physical ailments due to exhaustion.

Ironically, the most important thing I have taken away from my post-secondary education is the importance of making time for yourself. I learned how crucial self-development was once my weeks started running 70-80 hours long between school, work, and volunteering. In retrospect, I am astonished by how much time I wasted when I had free time. The things I used to engage in during my free time were mindless and did not promote engagement or self-realization, activities like aimlessly watching TV when I was bored or surfing the net.  Now that I have such little free time, I’ve learned the importance of maximizing the little time I do have and committing to 20-30 minutes a day for myself. Here are the things I find utterly absorbing and relaxing:

  • Meditation – I enjoy mindfulness, loving kindness, and transcendental meditation
  • Reading – the last few months I have been reading a lot of positive psychology books, I am currently taking a positive psychology class and this area of psychology has really intrigued me. One book that I would highly recommend to everyone is “The How of Happiness” by Sonja Lyubomirsky. She gives you the simple,short-handed findings in the field of positive psychology and evidence-based strategies that can help you cultivate happiness depending on the type of activities that best suit your style.
  • Cooking – intertwining creativity with something that could be considered a daily hassle allows you to enjoy even the mundane tasks. I appreciate the time I put aside each week for meal prepping, because I have the opportunity to make great, healthy food that will nourish my body.
  • Journalling – this could be writing about anything. A specific stressful event that you are experiencing, the day you had, or a memory that you wanted to relive. I have been doing a lot of gratitude lists/entries, it may be that somedays I am grateful for the most simplest things in my life, but regardless it always cultivates appreciation and recognition. I also have a journal that is dedicated solely to quotes. Every few days I try to find a quote that really resonates with me and how I’m feeling at that present moment, I will write it down with the date so when I look back at it I can remember that specific moment.
  • Physical exercise – as soon I get to the gym and start pumping my workout playlist I lose myself in my workout. Once I start my workout I turn my phone off immediately – it is me time. The world can wait while I work on myself. For that hour, no one can disturb me or distract me without my willingness.

Those are the main activities that I engage in to escape my crazy life! Please feel free to share those fully-absorbing activities you practice and would suggest to others!