Life is hard. It’s just really hard sometimes.
It’s also short. I know 80 years seems like a long time, but ask 80-year-old people about it and they’ll almost invariably tell you that it’s not. They will also almost invariably tell you to stop sweating the small shit, make amends, and hug the people you love.
I learned this from working in hospice. And it’s true, because people who are dying have no motivation to lie.
I’ve tried a lot of things to make my life easier, better, something-er. Most of them don’t really make a big difference, but here are five that do.
1. Make lists
For everything. On the lists, put the things that you need to do, i.e., grocery shop, fold laundry, take crying kids to dentist. Also on the lists, put things you should do and are bad at, i.e., take care of yourself. Also on the lists, put things that you already do, i.e., cook dinner, brush your teeth, read a book to your kids, watch TV.
You obviously don’t need a checklist to remind you to brush your teeth (well, probably not, but if you do then this is doubly useful), but being able to automatically check, like, five things off the list will set you up to feel like you’ve got everything under control.
With people. Reach out and personally connect with someone every day. Pick a friend. An online friend works great, and an IRL friend is also great. Call them. Message them. Ask them how they are doing. Mean it. Listen to what they say.
Thinking about the shit other people are going through makes you feel less alone in your shit, and also has the added benefit of changing your focus long enough to stop you from wallowing in said shit.
Drink it. Did you know that like 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated? Seventy-five percent. So 25% of people are drinking enough water. Are you one of them?
If you’re not, become one. I used to hate water. And I’ve heard a lot of other people say they hate water.
You don’t hate water.
You think you hate water because you’ve been drinking everything but water for your entire life.
Water is a feedback loop. Once your body isn’t withering away, it will start to remind you that you’re thirsty. Because you actually love water. You just forgot.
Pro-tip: Have a hard time drinking enough water? Put a cup in your bathroom. Every time you pee, drink. Problem solved. Repeatedly.
Meditation isn’t just for the woo. ANYONE can meditate. If the word meditation is too much for you, call it mindfulness. If you can set aside 20 minutes a day, that’s great. If you can’t, just take FIVE. Even five minutes of silent awareness of your breath will reboot your brain and body.
But you have to do it. Put it on your list.
If one more person tells me to keep a gratitude journal, I’m going to punch them in the face. I don’t need someone telling me to be grateful in a book. I don’t even have time to drink enough water; when am I going to find time to sit down and write obvious shit in a book?
But the act of even naming the things you have is useful. You have a lot. Just say it out loud.
You don’t hate exercise. You may hate certain kinds of exercise, but you don’t hate exercise. You may hate sweating, but you don’t hate moving your body.
It’s not physiologically sensible to say you hate exercise. Our bodies were not created to be sedentary. They just weren’t.
You’re going to be pissed at me for saying this, but all the stuff they say about exercise making you feel better? It’s true.
If you hate it, you just haven’t found something you like. Keep looking.
Want to change your life? Those are your six life-changing practices. GO FORTH in hydration.
Want to follow my journey? Join in? Cheer me on? Cry with me?
Join our Facebook group.
And drink your water.