Last week, I had a discussion with an older, wiser colleague about 3 questions, and I've been thinking about them ever since.
I found these 3 little questions motivating and inspirational, and I hope you will too.
And yes, this is the sort of thing that psychologists and psychologists-in-training sit around and talk about during breaks ;)
Do you have an answer to each of these? Every day?
What did I do for my body?
Well, what does your body need to function optimally? That's easy:
1. Food and hydration.
That's it. Did you fill your body with healthy foods? Foods that actually improve your functioning? Berries, nuts, protein, greens, healthy fats, whole grains? Did you hydrate your body with plenty of water?
Did you give your body what it truly needs -- sleep? Getting your body on a consistent, decent sleep schedule will truly change your life. Simply sleeping enough -- 7 or 8 hours for most people -- and adjusting your body to a regular rhythm (going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day) will do wonders for your mind, body, and health. Of course, this is always easier said than done, but sleep should be a priority.
Last, whether it was a walk around the neighborhood, an exercise class, an on-demand workout, or a sweaty run, did you get moving?
What did I do for my mind?
I don't think I need to tell you that your brain is really, really important. And it will be for the rest of your life. It's your responsibility to keep your brain developing and functioning in positive ways. How do you do that?
Stimulation. Are you engaging in some sort of challenging thinking process every day? Whether at work or school or just on your own, are you exercising your brain?
What's the opposite of this? Sitting like a blob checking facebook or watching trashy TV. Not that there isn't room for some of that in your day, if you enjoy it, but ya gotta balance it out with some more thought-provoking activity :)
What did I do for my sense of self?
Honestly, this can be the trickiest question of the three. First, of course, you have to understand what your sense of self is. Who are you? What makes you who you are? What do you value? What are you passionate about? And what activities help bring you closer to this sense of self?
Everyone's answers to this question are different. It may be meditation, spending time with a partner or friends, writing, enjoying a glass of red wine and dark chocolate, reading, listening to music, doing yoga, going to a concert, walking around outside, praying, gardening, cooking.
What makes you happy? Do you make time for it? Do you take at least a few minutes out of every day to do something for you? Even if it's just sitting quietly outside for 15 minutes, taking in the present moment -- is there you time in your day?
If you aren't making time for these things, why not? Isn't this what is most important? Perhaps more important than finishing the dishes or browsing social media for 20 more minutes at the end of the day?
This all may sound cheesy or silly to you, and if it does, put it in your own words. Either way, I'd encourage you to at least think about how you're doing in each of these areas. I'm working on it too, and nobody is perfect. But as my colleague put it, you only have one life -- why wouldn't you strive to be your best self? If not today, then when? There will always be excuses. The one I find myself using is, I'll make time for this stuff (reading for pleasure, meditation, whatever) after I finish _____ (this research project, that class, whatever). No. After all of that there will be more work and there will be family and there will always be something. It will never be easy. You have to work around those things and make you a priority. It's worth it, right?