The ingredients of a good day
A few weeks ago I wrote about having a bad day.
I believe it’s important to think and talk about both positive and negative mental health experiences.
I also think actively reflecting on good days can lead you to internalise learnings that can help during the rocky patches.
So this week I’d like to talk about the good times and think about what makes a good day for me.
The last two weeks have been really positive for me. This is my attempt to deconstruct what’s happened to help me understand what the likely ingredients are for a good day — for me.
I’m terrible at building habits around exercise and being freelance just seems to be another barrier for me. The only thing I’ve ever stuck to, and I use those words loosely, is swimming. I know my day will be better if it starts with a swim. I also aspire to live somewhere with a pool on site, something I now want to make a goal and not just a pipe dream.
I’m a sun lover, always have been. I blossom in the summer and wither in the winter. The weather really affects my mood and I know if it’s sunny it’s likely the day will be better. I obviously can’t control the weather but I do try and be outside in nature as much as I can when the weather is good (I’m writing this from the egg chair in my garden). I also try and take more time off during good weather periods.
In person interaction
I’m an introvert but I need in person interaction. It recharges me. The last few months I’ve had much fewer opportunists for this and it’s affected my mental health. My partner also now works from the office three days a week so I’ve lost my lunch buddy.
The last two weeks I’ve been doing in person field research for the first time in three years, I spoke at and attended conferences and have done in person working sessions. For the first time in a long time it felt like my work life was back the way I remembered it and it was a nice feeling.
The field research and analysis I’ve been doing has also meant more collaboration. I’ve been talking and thinking about problems with other people. This has been a shift from the last few months which have felt isolating and very task based.
I’m working on two projects at the moment that are really stretching my brain. One because it has lots of constraints and the other because it’s quite big and important and there is a lot to consider. Both are keeping me thinking is a good way, not in a waking up at night way. I feel like I’m being challenged but I have the time required to do the thinking I need.
I feel privileged to have worked on some meaningful projects over the last six months. Projects around Cancer, A&E, mental health and more. Sometimes it can be frustrating if I join an agency project and I can’t see it through or be part of the team for the whole gig but if I’m engaged by the mission of the project and can contribute is a small way then I get a boost from that.
This is a new one for me but we recently bought our first flat and it turns out I love gardening. I’m finding it’s really good for my mental health and nurturing things feels rewarding. Even just going outside to water the plants at the end of the day is a positive thing for me.
So that’s a little checklist for myself to come back to when things are feeling rocky. Hopefully this will inspire you to recognise what your ingredients of a good day are.
This post is also inspired by a lovely session Zoe Amar ran around mental health on Friday — thanks for taking the initiative Zoe.
Thank you for reading today. If you enjoyed what you read please consider buying me a coffee. The money you donate will go towards funding my development as a writer so that one day I can hopefully get paid to write as well as design. Donate here or click the green tip button below.