Traveling is something that makes me happy, that improves my wellbeing. But what happens when I’m not able to travel? I’m a full-time Masters student. I definitely can’t travel full-time as well. That’s one reason I try hard to find new things to do in daily life – new walks, new Cornish villages, even new recipes or pubs. This month, as I’ve been hard-hit by essay deadlines, an extra neuroscience class on top of my normal class load, inauguration stress, etc., I’ve tried to make my wellbeing a real focus. (That’s what January is for, right???)
Here are some of the things I’ve been trying out this month…
1. Saying no, and not feeling guilty for it. In college, I ate every meal in a dining hall at a huge table with all my friends. I felt like I had to be social every weekend night, and most weekday nights. Lately, I’ve realized that this has made me develop a sense of guilt around socializing – if someone asks me to hang out, I feel like I have to, I don’t give a second thought to whether I want to. I’m getting better at not feeling guilty if I spend time by myself.
2. Taking vitamins. I recently found out I’m anemic and vitamin D deficient among other things. My mom sent me back off to the UK after Christmas with a HUGE bottle of vitamins, which I’ve been taking daily, and I can actually notice a difference in how I feel. Placebo effect, possibly, but I don’t care!
3. Eating clementines. On a similar note, I realized lately that the best health I’ve ever been in was about three years ago, when I went through this weird phase where I ate a ton of clementines. Like, a TON. Clementines forever. I’m 100% sure there were other factors involved, but I’ve noticed that since I’ve started up my clementine habit again, I’m feeling a lot better! Vitamin C love <3
4. Doing things right away. I’m the master of putting things off. I’m your friend who has 2,387 unopened emails. Which, I’ve come to realize, living in a country where there are waiting lists for everything, is actually detrimental to my wellbeing in multiple ways. I still have a lot of work to do, but this month I’ve managed to do some major things I’ve been putting off – like setting up physical therapy appointments or arranging meetings, etc.
5. Created a blog Instagram. This may seem counterintuitive linking wellbeing and social media… However, my blog Instagram is something that has made me really happy. I feel like I can finally post all the photos I want, in the way I want, without feeling bad about clogging up my friends’/family’s feed. It also, oddly, feels less self-promotiony, because people can either follow it or not, purely depending on whether they’re interested in my blog.
6. Donating to organizations. I’m a Masters student, and even though I work two jobs, I’m still in a place where I’m losing money rather than earning. However, I recently made a commitment to donate more, within what I can afford. I made one-off donations to Planned Parenthood, Flint Child Health and Development Fund, and set up monthly donations to Islamic Relief USA’s efforts to help refugees resettling in the USA. Post-election, I felt pretty useless and like I couldn’t change anything – but even a few dollars here and there makes me feel like I’m making a small difference.
7. More honest blog posts. Since I started writing more honest and personal posts this month, I’ve noticed not only a big increase with my own satisfaction, but also the honest engagement I’ve been receiving. I’m still going to offer the odd gluten free guide or city guide, when it’s meaningful to me, but I want to make this a more personal space that people can connect with.
I think wellbeing is one of those never ending journeys, and I’m excited to see what other tools I develop over the coming months! What have you been doing in 2017 to help your wellbeing? If you’re a non-traveling traveler, like me, what do you do in your free time?
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