at least for the next few weeks…
Coasting through life is not something I do easily. In fact, I’m forever having a plan, goals and a calendar to abide by. This year? I found out I’m pregnant, planned a wedding, got married, learned to drive and passed my test. Right now? We’re renovating our home (moving our kitchen to an entirely different room, creating a baby room and some repairs) which can be stressful. “Are you sure the gas will be blocked off correctly?” I find myself worryingly asking my builder. We’re also preparing for our first child alongside blogging on here and LittleInTheCity.com. But whilst one could say it’s the most important time to be preparing and planning, is it wrong that all I want to do is chill out and cruise for a bit?
What Is Cruising?
The only way to describe how I feel right now is to imagine pedalling up a really steep hill for a whole morning. You’re tired and irritable but slowly getting to your destination. Then all of a sudden you get to the top, you absorb the amazing view and you see your downhill cycle. After all that pedalling, you can sit on the bike and just let gravity take you down with little effort from you just relief. That’s what I want. And that’s what’s crucial to anyone’s wellbeing after life changing events and sleepless nights stressing out over small details.
Cruising through life can have many interpretations.
I’m not saying I want to give up work and I definitely don’t want to take my foot off the gas. What I do want are a few days of rest, a chance to forget the struggles and focus on a enjoyable life.
How To Cruise
It’s not about holidaying and escaping reality. It’s taking a succession of small steps to detach yourself mentally from the intensity of the past few weeks. Open any mental health book and they’ll explain the importance of taking time out for mindfulness to improve your state of wellbeing which essentially helps you to look after yourself once more.
In doing so, you’re freeing your mind of stale thoughts and seeing things with more visibility. You’re fresh and ready for more creative thinking and rejuvenated for what’s to come next. For me, letting go doesn’t come naturally so it really is all about training my mind to change it’s behavioural pattern.
Know What You Want To Achieve
When I go on holiday, it’s usually an adventure type with lots to do and things to experience. My husband prefers an all inclusive resort where you can kick back and chill poolside or on the beach the entire time. So we compromise. I enjoy resorts – if we can access a yacht club or harbour side. Taking time out to ‘cruise’ in life almost comes with a similar proposal. What do I want to get out of it (reduced stress levels)? What am I going to do (let things slide, focus on being mellow)? When will I know to knuckle down again (am I relaxed)?
#1 Focus On The Small Things First
As humans, we’re so used to letting the small things build up until they eventually become huge.
I for one am constantly putting off the easy wins. Big things like a work project, a friend’s birthday, buying equipment for the baby – they always take precedence. Yes they’re important but it’s the small things like going to the post office, doing the washing up, making that boring phone call to the bank that end up building up because I’ve put them off. So when coasting for a few months, I’ll be putting the important things on the back burner and focusing on the small easy wins. A way of getting back on top of my life admin.
#2 Reverse The Norm
When it comes to work, I’m usually always full of blog post ideas. Each post takes a while to research and as they’re often text heavy, they take some time to edit and format. The photos come next. When cruising, I’ll use it as time to trial and test some new practices. I’ll take a selection of photographs then work a topic from it.
In terms of cooking, I’ll make new (and easier) things rather than our usual weekday meals which often take a while to prepare and clear up. I’ll also do things on my time too – rather than a set schedule of stressful time keeping to suit other people.
#3 Indulge In A New Book Or TV
If it’s not one of my guilty pleasures (Real Housewives of New York or The Kardashians) then I’m usually watching something my husband enjoys. If I’m not interested, I’ll subconsciously be thinking about blogging and social media. We all know the joy a good box set can bring so during my few months of cruising, I’ll be indulging in a new series – Girl Boss (Netflix). Even a new good book like Shantaram can offer a much needed intervention from life.
#4 A Change Of Scenery
Not to be confused with going on holiday!
Your change of scenery should be somewhere to disrupt normal behaviour. For me this is an easy one because I freelance and work from home. I’m able to bounce from home to coffee shops – even to rented work spaces like WeWork in London. On a recent trip into the West End I spent a morning in The Hoxton Holborn. Surrounded by other people with the same mindset, laptops open, made such a difference. A difference of surroundings enhances creativity and gets you out of that rut.
#5 Do Something Completely Different
Menial tasks can become a chore. Day to day life can also become a bit drab. So when I’m going through my next few months of coasting, I’m going to be making a special effort to get up and move when I’m feeling bored. Spending too long on emails? I’ll go for a walk. Shopping and not finding what I want? I’ll go another time instead. Going to the same supermarket? I’ll try another. The beauty of having some time to coast means you’re not chained to your normal routine.
I’ve lived in London for so long now and too frequently I take for granted the beauty of the city. Over the next few months in my bid to feel less stressed I’ll be sure to walk slower, look up and take in my surroundings. In turn I’ll end up appreciating nature, the town and the people a heck of a lot more.
Savouring these good parts of life can stop us from stressing and offer a much needed break from the hum drum of day to day life. In London, we’re so used to jumping on a tube, getting off, dodging people head down on the street and diving into a meeting room. Essentially what we’re doing is fast forwarding life – we’re all too busy trying to get somewhere.
#7 Be In The Now
So many books tell us how important it is to be present, to be available for the now. It’s something not to overlook, something so important. As many say, life won’t get much better than the last five years and how many of us really remember every last detail of the last five years? I don’t. For me it’s a blur of work, pressure and always trying to reach a goal (buy a home, furnish said home, get a car…). Take time today to notice the things that people are overlooking.
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Military Jacket – Monsoon
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