Sometimes the best life lessons are the ones we DIDN’T ask for, am I right? I find that the most poignant personal growth moments are not when I am in a grad school chair listening to lecture and taking copious notes about how to improve myself, or when I am in training seminars scribbling quotes and mantras about how to be more compassionate in my work, but rather when I’m out in the real world… interacting with real people… doing things…
Here are some lessons I’ve learned lately that hopefully will help me be better in work, play, and just life in general. (I hope some of them help you, too.)
1. Clear space makes for a clear mind.
Don’t come home to clutter if you can avoid it. I am notorious for taking off my jacket and leaving it draped over the dining room chair, or leaving my shoes at the door, clothes draped over my side table, etc. Why? Why do I purposefully leave things around when it takes approximately 2 minutes to put said item in its rightful place? My mom has been trying to teach me this for years but I just haven’t quite gotten the knack for it yet! Well, guess what has helped me get the knack for putting stuff away…
On Superbowl Sunday (before the game had started) I discovered I had ants in my apartment. Now, I am not a “dirty” person – I may not be super tidy all the time, but I keep a clean space (aka not “dirty” though perhaps cluttered.) These ants were (I kid you not) making their gross little ant trails for ONE TINY PIECE of granola that had fallen out of the cereal box when I poured my cereal and fell on the floor. ONE PIECE!!! I was so mad. So, I cleaned my apartment top to bottom for 5 hours to get rid of unwanted ant visitors and just clean the place in general (which felt amazing.) This leads me to my next lesson…
2. Do your dishes immediately.
My last roommate was AWESOME at this. We didn’t have a dishwasher so I learned to do my dishes quickly after I’d eaten or made my meal. I have a dishwasher in my new place but guess what? My new place has ants and guess what attracts ants? Food. So now I just keep in the habit of doing all my dishes as soon as they’re used. And it feels AWESOME.
3. Clean your makeup brushes regularly.
I get sick fairly frequently. Maybe on average once every two months? (Does this seem frequent/more than the average person my age?) I don’t know. But SH pointed out that I rub my eyes a lot. I may be a hand washing freak, but he makes a great point. Rubbing eyes, nose, ears, mouth you name it is a big no no if you want to avoid spreading germs. Guess what also spreads germs? Makeup brushes. Guess what I rub around my eyes, nose and mouth? My makeup brushes. I need to get on a cleaning schedule because not only is it gross, it could be spreading bacteria around my face. (Also not good for skin care.)
4. Develop a good work routine.
I struggle with routine. I really do. I love the idea of packing my lunch every night before work the next day, and waking up at 6 to shower and shave my legs and go to work but the reality is that just doesn’t happen. I’m going to make more of a conscious effort to improve my routine so that I maximize the hours in my day and turn non productive time into productive time. I want to wake up earlier while still getting enough sleep (which means I will have to get to bed earlier…), I want to save money by packing my lunch, I want to look and feel professional when I get to work so I need to groom myself appropriately, do my hair and makeup as I see fit and dress the part, etc. All of these are goals. I’m learning. I also don’t have a great way of organizing my time. Does anyone have good organization apps for an iphone to recommend? I need good life hacks, people!
5. Work Out Regularly. Enough said.
I feel infinitely healthier, happier, and more fit when I work out regularly. For me, regularly means 3-4 times a week, at least. I like to work out by going to krav maga and kick boxing classes. That has really helped me get in shape and feel good about fitness and my health. When I neglect my workout routine, my stress levels soar.
*Bonus lesson: DO NOT CHECK EMAIL BEFORE BED.
I learned this yesterday when I checked my email at 11:30pm. I was already getting in bed super late, I wasn’t feeling well, I was tired, and then I checked my email when I heard my phone bing. I got an email that in the moment made me feel awful – only to seem much less threatening in the light of morning. Has that ever happened to anyone else? Not to mention emails are often work related, stress inducing, spam, newsletters, — all things that are much too stimulating when you are about to fall asleep. Just say no. Put your phone across the room and turn it on silent.
I’d love to know, what are some of your life lessons that may have been painful at the time but you’re thankful for now?