I’ve experienced times in my life where my mental health is good, such as the present moment (For which I’m very grateful for). I’ve also been through many times where I had to battle depression, anxiety, stress, etc. and I’ve learned what my triggers and what seems to cause these struggles. I’ve also learned what truly makes me happy (And it’s been a journey where I’ve tried different things, lived in different places, met new people, etc.). Overall, living a happy life is amazingly simple. To an outside observer, it may even look boring.
If I were unknowingly on a reality TV show where a camera crew followed me around, some people might laugh at how boring and simple my life is (Though I do have my moments – drama is no stranger to me either no matter how hard I try to avoid it lol). Others might admire the simplicity of my day to life and enjoy watching those random moments of drama that arise.
Anecdotally, I’ve noticed a lot of people mocking those who have routines (Think: slow morning routines, healthy routines, fitness regimes, etc.) or they feel that their lives are too boring. If they see other people around them who seem happy leading simple lives, they almost get offended by it.
“They do nothing special! Why are they so excited for the weekend?”
“They do almost the same thing everyday.”
“Wow their life is already boring enough THEN they create a routine to make it even more boring.”
“She has literally NO furniture. Just a bed and a chair. I don’t get it …?”
What they may not know is that a lot of these people learned that simplifying their lives is what led them to keeping good mental health. Maintaining a healthy routine is so important to people who have battled things like depression or anxiety. It keeps us on track and helps us feel less out of control. So, if we want to de-stigmatize mental health, it’s important to allow people to do what they need to do in order to stay healthy and happy. What seems boring or silly to some can make another feel really happy and fulfilled.
Why is a simple life good for one’s mental health? The reason for this is, er, pretty simple: You learn how to enjoy small moments and take pleasure in ordinary things. Watching a sunrise and sipping tea before going on a walk – I can’t think of a nicer way to start my day. Over the last couple of years, I’ve reached the point where I’m happy with my day to day life. My goal has always been to have a life that I don’t need a vacation from – the idea of taking two weeks off to go somewhere feels so excessive to me (and almost like a daunting chore) because I already love my life the way it is. I’d want to take my laptop with me so I could still do work on my writing and blogging. LOL I’m not designed to do nothing day in and day out. I live in an area that feels like I’m on a working holiday all the time. I chose to live where my nervous system can be at ease.
I realize some people live to go on those special vacations once or twice per year. And hey, if that makes them happy and works well for them, more power to them. Life is about doing what you love – and maybe that’s the lifestyle they prefer. For me, I’d rather live my life as a working-holiday hybrid. I love being productive and going on a beautiful nature walk all in one day.
On being happy alone.
I think people who are comfortable with being alone are the most resilient people. They’re not bored easily, because they find ways to have fun without needing other people to entertain them. One needs to know how to be happy alone before they can be truly happy with someone else. Other people can walk with you on your journey, but in the end, you still need to learn how to be happy with yourself as an individual, too.
Back to the simple life – I think a lot of people associate healthy living with being boring. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you have to work hard to dodge blows, heal, get back on track, rebuild, etc. and once you set things straight, you might be in a routine that feels repetitive or “boring”. Some people think life is supposed to be exciting all the time or that we need to keep wanting more things (And that’s okay if you need more stimulation. If that’s the case, choose jobs and people who help you fulfill that need for excitement), but for many of us, it’s not that we need to do *more*, it’s that we need to enjoy more of what we already have.
People start to feel exhausted when they stop doing things that make them happy. It’s happened to me in the past so I know the feeling. Once I was living in the most beautiful area of Alberta and I was blind to the amazing views all around me because I was depressed and stressed out – I wanted to enjoy the area around me, but I wasn’t allowing myself to. I ended up traveling back there years after so I could enjoy the area for what it was after I’d healed.
I’ve given myself permission to be happy just as I am and I’ve allowed myself to live the way I need to. I do more of the things I enjoy – I keep my schedule clear unless it’s for things I really want to do, I work at a job with a predictable schedule, I work later in the day so I can enjoy my mornings (A 6AM job would suck my soul out because I love slow mornings), I have my own place with a minimalist setup, good food, spend time with people who make me feel good, distance myself from those who make me feel bad, go on nature walks, enjoy sunsets/sunrises, go to concerts/events, treat myself to day trips. It’s a nice mix of adventure, productivity, and quiet time. Every year that passes, I look back and realize I’m happy with how I’ve spent my time. These are the things that make me happy.
Of course, I’m spontaneous sometimes. It’s fun to inject an unexpected adventure into your life – I’m no stranger to picking up and leaving to go somewhere new if a current place isn’t working well for me. I’m referring moreso to my overall life. Once the adventure is over, it’s nice to return to that nice routine you’ve already set.
Give yourself permission to be happy.
If you look back on the last few years and they were boring or that you didn’t accomplish anything, maybe it’s time to give yourself permission to be happy with yourself as you are. Don’t think you’re “boring” just because you’re not going out every weekend or because you don’t have a thriving social life. The people you envy on social media often have their own problems and they could very well be stressed out by their need to always maintain that “successful” and “fun” image. You never know what others are going through, which is why you should focus on your own goals and not compare yourself to others.
You are doing better than you think. Some people don’t give themselves enough credit for what they have accomplished. I’ve seen people who have done great things, but they tell themselves they’ve done nothing with their life. Look back at those past few years you thought were boring and make a list of the things you actually did – you might be amazed with yourself. Also, if you’ve been battling with mental or physical health issues, just know that the fact you’re working on yourself to feel better is success in itself. Be gentle with yourself and try to enjoy the simpler things in life. Don’t compare yourself with people who seem to be doing a lot of things – sometimes social media is fake and not everything is what it seems to be. Photos are merely an update or a capture in time – they don’t represent a person’s entire life.
Self-care isn’t selfish – it’s essential.
Do more of the things you love and learn to say no to the things that don’t make you happy. Maintaining good mental health may require you to appear selfish or self-centered to others sometimes. A few people may even think you’re being boring. Just know that maintaining good mental health is not boring or selfish – it’s necessary.