With less than 10 days of the New Year having passed, many Londoners have already forgotten the recent holiday season and find themselves thrown firmly back into the rat race of big City life. A hugely competitive environment means long working hours, daily stress and less time spent with those you love. It feels like there is simply no time to stop and consider the bigger picture. Is this really what you want?
Before (yet again) becoming the roboticised version of yourself, take a few moments at the beginning of this year to pause and reflect.
Living on autopilot during the working week is a common characteristic amongst Londoners. Busy schedules demand a constant on-the-go approach from the crack of dawn until finally slumping down in front of the television late in the evening. Even watching TV becomes part of a pre-set daily routine.
Autopilot is great for getting things done efficiently but unfortunately is also the key reason many of us end up feeling like we are stuck in a rut.
Progressing through your day without stopping to pause and reflect on what, and especially why, you are doing what you are doing, can lead to boredom, inefficiency and a general feeling of overwhelming unhappiness.
The good news is that breaking out of a rut is actually quite simple. Learn to notice the moment you move from one activity to the next and pause for a moment before continuing. Is what you are doing still relevant to your longer-term ambitions? Is there a better or more interesting way to achieve the same result?
Even something as simple as taking a different route to the train station in the morning can help improve your mood and awaken your senses for the day ahead.
Professor of psychology, Mo Amin Ph.D. says:
“How many times have you cringed at hearing your own voice played back to you or winced as you see yourself in a video?
We spend our lives watching and assessing the world all around us but often forget to evaluate the most important aspect of that world – ourselves.”
Self-reflection is a challenging but important life skill. Many of us don't take enough time out from our busy lifestyles to simply stop and think about ourselves. Why do we do what we do, where are we headed, and what is the end game?
Even if we do manage to pause from it all, it can be difficult to critically assess and challenge our own way of life. It usually feels much easier to just continue doing the same.
It can be easier to start by reflecting on your successes. Take some time out to consider all of what you are proud to have achieved and why it makes you feel good. Consider whether you are on the right path for realising further ambitions that will make you feel equally happy.
“Can you remember how you felt the first time a rode a bike without any help?
Could you recreate that feeling of delight by learning a new skill in your life now?
Learn from your successes, and mistakes, to improve your life."
Be sure to focus on the things that really matter. If you are single, is having a family important to you? If you are a family of four, do you really need to work towards obtaining a six-bedroom detached house?
It is a good idea to jot down any thoughts during your self-analysis. Identify what changes you might make to your life to better align what you do on a daily basis towards achieving your longer-term goals.
Living a busy life in London can mean it is hard to find the time to pause and reflect adequately. If you are able to book a relaxing home visit massage, this can provide the ideal ambience and opportunity to lie back for an hour or two and think about only yourself. Let your therapist know in advance exactly what style of treatment you would like and that you would prefer not to be disturbed during the massage.
Even if you do not currently have the time for a massage at home, there are plenty of chances to reflect during a typical working day in London. When you are on the train home, use headphones to block out the world around you but instead of focusing on the music press pause and spend that valuable free time thinking about you.
Less is more, when more is not enough.