Its an interesting phenomenon that in today's society there are more complaints of illnesses reported to medical professionals that cannot be explained than there were say 100 years ago. Its also an interesting fact that we are more time poor and 'busy' in today's society than we were 100 years ago. Despite the fact we have the quickness and ease of technology at our fingers and the ability to get from A to B more quickly than we did 100 years ago. It all seems rather contradictory doesn't it?
I feel it comes down to deep connections, strong boundaries and self-care. These days people take less time to make friends with neighbours or the local community, they have less time for family gatherings or spontaneous catch ups. In fact they just have less time. Everything has to be planned and timed down to the minutest detail. And many people you meet will ultimately say in conversation "Oh i'm just SO busy" in fact its quite standard to hear that phrase nowadays in many conversations.
I myself have to put everything in a diary much to my horror. I run my own business, write for publications and do contract work as a therapist. I'm also a mum to a 3 year old boy. Do I consider myself 'busy' not really, I consider my life very full but I have put some strong boundaries in place for self-care and nourishment, and this took a long time to learn and truly honour, I still have days and weeks where I think "Whoops just slipped back into unhealthy habits" but hey I'm not putting a perfectionist frame around this as that would just be counter productive and daft:)
Many of us nowadays have a nourishment barrier, a lot of people I meet often don't know what their needs are. I think the best example of this are mums. They often put themselves last. Why? Many reasons I would say and of course it all comes down to the individual but for me it was because of guilt. I had to have everyone else functioning at their optimum level before I felt like it was okay to take time out. That is of course totally unrealistic and ultimately doomed to fail. I worked out that if I was going to have a healthy happy life I needed to start from within. I had to get serious and work out what my needs were to feel nourished.
I started by saying "No" or simply "I cannot make that" to things that didn't really thrill me. I gave no reason, no excuse....this was HARD. I started doing lots of nourishing things like lying in bed on a sunday morning surrounded by my little family. Hanging out with my extended family and allowing myself to just 'be'. I started walking in nature. Prioritising my health over my career. I started dancing with my son randomly to music we put on in the middle of the day, lying on the floor with my dog and cuddling her. Writing and reading because these things nourish me. This is how it began and like a trickle effect it took hold.
I realised the happier and more content I was the stronger my ability to prioritise and have firm boundaries became. I started choosing which social events I wanted to attend instead of feeling like I had to go. I usually prioritised family events first and rarely missed them because we all benefitted from being around our nearest and dearest. I started connecting with my local community i.e I set up a BookClub which really truly nourishes me because I LOVE books and I had sidelined reading because I was studying so much. I said no to work opportunities or commitments because I knew deep down it wasn't what I wanted to do and rather accept from a scarcity paradigm I opted to honour myself and say no. This led to deeply satisfying opportunities presenting themselves to me. I still have the habit of taking on too much but I am a lot better at regulating. I started LAUGHING more...
It starts with the little things. Find out what YOU love what truly nourishes you from the inside out and when was the last time you did that? Do you have healthy boundaries or are you always the designated driver or the person listening to everyones problems without sharing anything about who you are? Its so important for our health to look at these areas otherwise the unhappiness at not giving yourself the ability to have space and nourishment will manifest in your life in some way that doesn't serve you well, whether it be physical symptoms, emotional symptoms or mental symptoms.
You actually deserve to feel content a majority of the time, sure we all have our rough periods and at times other things take over that we just cannot avoid, just keeping an awareness around the whole concept of self-care, nourishment and boundaries is enough. And maybe one day you'll pick up that paintbrush again, plant that garden bed or take that photographer course you've had your eye on for years. You never know. Ps start with something small....like a coffee and a hot bath.