I’ve been having somewhat of a rollercoaster of a couple of weeks…
On Friday 18th January I hopped on a train to Bournemouth to spend the weekend with around 50 of my relatives.
On the 20th I returned to London, met Tim and got straight back in the car to head to Bristol for our podcast, which was starting the following day.
On the 23rd I returned to my warm, cosy bed in London (phew).
On the day this blog is published, I will be returning to Bournemouth for a girly weekend with my mum and some friends.
I will then be back in Bristol this Sunday night, return to London on Wednesday evening, only to head to Dublin on Thursday morning for a long weekend with my best friend.
If all goes to plan, I will be returning to London on 10th Feb and actually staying here for a while!!
Not only have I been moving around lots geographically, but each location has required a very different headspace. As you can imagine, a family reunion with 50 of my (closest) relatives, all staying in one hotel and partaking in lots of organised fun (laser quest was involved) was great. However, it was pretty intense and required a good deal of social interaction without a moment alone.
Then in Bristol, I was in a school – again, lots of fun – but I was on the job, active, and focussing on the task at hand. Returning to London required an altogether different headspace: back to my desk, pulling together creative decks and keeping on top of admin. So it’s been very much a physical and mental whirlwind – lurching from one mental setting into another, rather rapidly.
And all this got me thinking about adaptability.
According to Dr Shimi Kang, Harvard-trained doctor, researcher and author, the one key thing that leads to a ‘awesome’ life – including good health, passion, purpose, security and joy – is adaptability. It’s common sense really; natural selection favours members of a species who can adapt most effectively to their environment and maintain all their basic needs for survival.
Dr Kang takes dolphins as a point of comparison. Dolphins are highly intelligent, social and compassionate creatures because they don’t compromise on their basic needs. For example, they have adapted to the fact that they must avoid sharks but also get sleep – by sleeping with one eye open. They are able to remain constantly vigilant by only resting one half of the brain, whilst the other half remains conscious. On the other hand, us humans aren’t getting enough sleep. Being too busy has, for some, become a ‘marker of importance’ and 48% of UK adults say they aren’t getting the right amount of sleep – often because of this. This impacts their wellbeing.
This example indicates that we are not properly adapting to the changing world around us. The pace of life has increased and we are compromising on the basic survival tools that enable us to live a happy and healthy life.
Reflecting on how I have been coping with the ever-changing environments I seem to be in at the moment, I am quite pleased to see that I have been able to keep my wellbeing pretty in check. The two biggest struggles I have faced have been tiredness, and the need for downtime alone. And so, I have adapted accordingly. As I had been involved in quite intense social interaction for several days, I made sure that, in Bristol, I had a little time to myself in the evenings. What’s more, this past weekend I largely just relaxed at home and avoided filling my weekend with social arrangements. I also made sure I was getting enough sleep. I ensured I went to bed early to prepare for the early starts in Bristol, and I also allowed my body to catch up and get all the sleep it needed over the weekend.
However, I am certainly not perfect. My diet, for example, went completely south whilst I was away – eating whatever, whenever, without really considering what was good for my mind and body.
It is not always easy to put your wellbeing first and adapt. It takes a lot of self-awareness – an ability to recognise the things that you need to stay happy and healthy. Everybody is different and it’s good to learn what you need to do to stay well in this topsy-turvy world we live in.
So Hubbers, next time you feel like things around you are changing, whatever they may be, just stay aware of the things your body and mind need to be as happy and healthy as possible, and try to adapt so that they aren’t compromised!