The elusive work life balance. Many on acreage can boast they ‘have it all’ living the Aussie dream on the land, having the space and freedom to make it theirs as well as avoiding the suburbia house clusters. Hey Darryl, how’s the serenity? But when you have a large property, it can take a lot to maintain it to keep it looking like your castle. Sometimes when we focus on all the tasks that need to be done, it is a matter of priority of the household and the property – like a ‘top of the pile’ mentality. Top of the pile is a metaphor for a huge stack of mail that has arrived, and you need to prioritise which bill to pay first. Living on acreage as well as maintaining a work/life balance can seem hard to manage; so you develop Habitual Routines to get it all done.
Yes, we are all Creatures of habit and we function best when things are predicable because it reduces anxiety & you are able to mentally prepare for what is to come evoking feelings of safety & control. But when your habitual routine is affecting your happiness and mental wellbeing, we need to assess if the habits & routines we have established to keep everything ‘running smoothly’ and evaluate if they are still relevant and serving our needs.
The interesting thing about Habitual Behaviour is that they can be automatic and unconscious actions that have been developed as an adaptive coping mechanism (they have been reinforced so much) now these routines are hard to break because they have become inflexible and immediate. Meaning: this behaviour has become preprogramed like a computer in your brain; you can be so task focused that any deviation from the goal can provoke anxiety, fear of failure and challenges your sense of control. This habitual behaviour can impact on our mental health and happiness – we are focusing on the tasks to complete in an automatic fashion rather than having the freedom to choose what we want to do to with our time.
Positive Psychology states that happiness is a fallacy; rather achieving happiness is a conscious effort of balancing your ‘five pillars’
1. Positive emotions – Learn to appreciate and be grateful for the life you have on a daily basis.
2. Engagement – Participating in activities that show your strengths you will become confident & productive
3. Relationships – Making an effort in all your relationships and not taking people for granted
4. Meaning – Finding something in your life that is important and giving your purpose
5. Accomplishments – Set achievable goals then celebrate your success when you complete them
So if reading this you realise that you can have feelings of being overwhelmed, you feel constantly fatigued or stressed, the to-do list never ends and you feel you are not able to get on top of things, even the jobs around your property which you once loved you now dread –– then perhaps it is time to investigate or your habitual routine and focus on your wellbeing goals.
Firstly, be aware of where your time is going, understand your routines as they stand now and think about if you should keep the routine exactly the same – or would it be beneficial to shake things up to put a smile on your face. Have you developed ‘maladaptive coping mechanisms’ – so when you’re stressed out you started with a beer in the arvo or a cupcake after dinner and now it has turned into a carton at the end of the day or eating a whole cake at night? Have you been focusing on getting the kids home after school, cleaning and cooking for dinner… perhaps learning to ‘let go’ of those hardcore structured habitual routine and one day a week play with the kids in the yard and put in a frozen meal?
Think about your friendships, if you feel they are one sided or narcissistic, maybe think about distancing yourself from people that don’t make you feel good about yourself. If you feel like the majority of your spare time is feeling isolated on your property and you haven’t been in a social group setting for longer than you can remember, get involved in community events. We are social beings and need that camaraderie!
Remember when you were younger and you used to love that hobby or activity but no longer do it because life has got in the way? This is me giving you permission to get it back. Habitual routine doesn’t just affect your mental health, it can also affect where you spend your money – like that morning coffee you buy on the way to work, or when you are feeling blue you go out and buy something that will make you happy?
If they are becoming problematic then make a goal of saving that coffee money and then at the end of the year it could buy you a weekend away or even outsourcing help to keep things maintained! This is a constant process of evolving and becoming the best versions of ourselves, setting a positive example for our children, practicing gratitude for what you have, understanding how to feel happier in life and not letting your established habits take over your life if they are no longer relevant.
If you are looking for more information or even to talk to someone about what you are experiencing, please feel free to contact me at www.supportivetherapy.com.au. There are a lot of free resources for you to access, as well as online store so you can view self-guided therapy sessions and eBook’s that may benefit you.
You are not alone. There is always help. Thank you for your time.
All the information contained in this document is general advice only. This is not specific to any situation or person or based of any clients case study. This information is from the main concerns facing the majority of my clients as a collective and has proven to have made a significant positive difference in an individuals or couples experience.. If you are triggered or offended in any way, please contact Supportive Therapy immediately so we can make you feel at ease and explain our perspective. This information is intended for empowerment and knowledge in the best interests of my clients. This is not intended to replace therapy, but to aid in personal growth, personal development and the recommendation that this book is to be reflective within in person therapy. Everything contained in this document is the intellectual property of Elena Bishop, director of Supportive Therapy Arana Hills. You do not have permission to share, reproduce, copy, adapt, display or anything similar that violate copywrite laws. The consequences of ignoring copywrite of the contents within this document will result in legal action. I have worked hard and reserve the right to protect my property without it getting into the wrong hands and being used unethically or fraudulently.
I started my practice to make a positive difference – to have a voice for the voiceless. I am someone who inspires positive change in people’s lives. I support you in exploring your current concerns & investigating your history to uncover patterns that you may not even be aware of. I motivate you to feel strong & confident, to evolve into a better version of yourself and be happy in your relationships.
As well as running my Private Practice, I am the Brisbane Mothers’ Mental Health Network Coordinator, Publishes monthly articles in several outlets, and customises Training & Education for my clients on her YouTube channel. These are examples of a holistic approach to my clients needs for education, empowerment and normalising how we all can struggle at maintaining our unique and healthy relationships.
Any questions? Send us a message and we will get back to you. We offer counselling, mental health & wellbeing, mothers support, couples therapy and psychotherapy in Arana Hills, QLD.
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