Hello lovely readers! Hope you’re all doing well.
There’s one common occurrence in our grown-up lives which only tends to increase with time. Stress. None of us can deny the feeling of not being stressed regularly. Work commitments, family responsibilities, career goals, studies and other major areas of our lives eat up all our time. This leads to a feeling of frustration and stress.
I do not think there is a single soul in this world who does not have to deal with it. The happy picture of always been carefree, sorted and relaxed is only good to imagine, but not the case in real life. Stress is inevitable. It does not matter how much or how little we have to bear, but it exists for sure. Sometimes, it’s fine too. It motivates us to work hard, allows us to do more and even makes us stronger in the long run.
But that does not mean that we have to feel it all the time, does it? The good effects of stress are quite a few, but the ill effects are countless. They can take a huge toll on our health and well-being, leading to burnout at the end. It’s that feeling that you cannot handle more pressure and everything exhausts you. Sounds familiar? I’ve heard stories where people seemed proud of having felt overworked. It only gives a false sense of satisfaction. That is nothing to be proud of by any means.
This one conversation with a close school friend of mine gave me a new insight. She asked me think of the times we were our chirpy best. Of course, it has to be the time when we were kids. Remember how we played all day, enjoyed each moment and felt good almost all the time? She then went on to ask me what were those activities that made us genuinely happy during those days. Was it playing a sport? Or was it indulging in art? Or was it watching a bunch of cartoons? It could be anything. But the point here is that there is bound to be at least one activity that used to make us happy (real happy) during our childhood.
What then happened, years later? Our cricket bats or badminton racquets were replaced by laptops and computers. Our pencils and paintbrushes were stuffed into a dark corner, left all alone to gather dust. Although let me ask you, why is the need to let go of these indulgences once we grow up?
There is no “adulting manual” which states that we should let go of these interests once we grow up and build our careers. We make the imaginary rules when there is nothing as such. Especially in uncertain times like the current situation worldwide, a lot of people are undergoing stressful situations and even more are noticing signs of burnout.
Putting two and two together, my friend asked me to try and go back to doing certain activities which brought joy to me as a child. She had tried it and the results were great for her. I found the idea quite simple and effective and decided to try it out myself.
For me, drawing and painting were those childhood hobbies. But once I passed school, painting stopped too. I did not even find time (or so I thought) to sit down for a few hours once in a while to draw something simple. Sigh! I did not realise how much I missed holding a drawing pencil or a paintbrush. There was just “no time” for it.
But not anymore. During the nationwide lockdown period, I took out the set of colour pencils and sketch book stashed in my desk and restarted the hobby I had forgotten I LOVED. And the feeling was astounding. Minutes passed into hours but I did not feel the time go by. I was in a state of trance and felt so much at peace.
The childhood version of me slowly came back to life and I found myself getting more and more attracted to my sketch book. My hands itched to draw something almost everyday. It has been a few months now, and the joy refuses to diminish. I try to reserve my Sundays for drawing and painting (usually Mandalas). Some days I find time and some days I don’t. But whenever I open my sketch book and hold my drawing pencil, I zone out almost instantaneously. I enter into a meditative state of mind when I indulge in it.
The message I want to convey through this blog post is simple. Stress is common and in fact, normal for functioning every day. But we should not put it on a pedestal and let it rule our lives so much so that it leads to extreme exhaustion. Our childhood versions are still very much within us, waiting to be rediscovered.
Distress or de-stress. Take your pick!
Until next time, stay blessed and stay safe!