37 items of clothing, 8 pairs of shoes, 3 bags
I use the term ‘Modern Life Resentment’ to describe the feeling of stress associated with living a modern urban lifestyle. MLR may not appear as a conscious thought pattern. It may be a cool rage you feel, bubbling just beneath the surface, easily triggered by a seemingly insignificant event. It may be a lingering anxiety, ready to get the best of you when you expect it the least.
I would suggest most of us resent our way of life in some way, at some point in time. Why do we have to work all day? Why do we have to pay bills or get stuck in traffic? Most of us would consciously prefer to have more time for calming, energising and pleasurable activities.
Here are some simple antidotes against MLR.
- Minimise anything that does not nurture or inspire you. This may be exhausting family members or friends. It might be shopping for material things. It might be going to a gym that is out of your way because you still have a membership there for the next six months! Cut it out.
- Cluster stressful or time consuming activities. This may not work for everybody, but I personally like to make my busy times as busy as possible, and as a result my free time as free as possible. An example is making stressful phone calls. I like to do this sort of thing from work (on my own time and from my own phone, of course). Another example is food shopping. I do mine during the working week immediately after work. I also write a big shopping list to avoid going more than once a week. More free time later.
- Never forget, the internet is your friend. Most retailers offer online shopping, so that bacon or pair of heels you desperately need can be delivered to your door. This takes significantly less time and effort then physically walking into a shop. It also helps you avoid getting distracted and purchasing things you might not need.
- Learn to say ‘no’. I know this is a cliche in the self care world, but it honestly is the best way to have more ownership of your time. You might love your friends, but this Saturday night you really need to stay in and cuddle with your cat. You might love your job, but you can’t do that job for that other department right now because what you need more is to get your own work finished. The trick is to be sincere in your response. Most people are understanding and won’t resent you if you have a reason to decline politely.
- Prepare for self care. Always have the ingredients for self care available. I don’t drink coffee or eat chocolate often, but I have these available for the few occasions that I need them. If I’m to fall sick, I have a noodles in reach for moments of desperation. Incense, candles and good reading material should always be on hand. This reduces your need to leave the safety of your home to face modern life when things are hard.
Go on, slow down.
Most of us are lucky enough to get some free time during the holidays. This is a great time to think about how you might implement your own strategies for dealing with MLR in the New Year.