Yesterday, we went through the three types of stress and how they affect your body differently. Today you’ll get some practical steps to start enjoying yourself more.

Don’t confuse your ‘free time’ with unplugging. For a lot of people, this time is never free of worries and frustrations.

Be honest with yourself; is your mind constantly churning with problems during your ‘free time’ – while you’re walking the dog, at a party, watching a movie or spending time with that special someone? This must change.

You need to find something you love to do (other than playing your instrument, dancing or performing), and set aside regular time to do it, uninterrupted, dedicating 100% of your attention to the task at hand.

Lock your phone away, disconnect your internet and mentally unplug from everything that’s worrying you. Focus solely on what you’re doing, be it exercise (good option), learning to cook, watching a movie (couldn’t have enjoyed the Batman if I was worrying about work), having a romantic dinner (they’ll notice the difference too), or whatever you can think up.

The idea is to hold your attention solely in the present moment (as new agey as that sounds). The past is set, you can’t change it by wishing something hadn’t happened, and the future can’t be influenced by worrying about what’s coming next.

JUST CHILL OUT

Of course I’m not saying you should become a totally blissed out, absent minded fruit cake. Sell all your possessions to live on a secluded farm, use your own poo as fertiliser and write angry letters to evil corporations.

Let’s be realistic. Obviously there are many things you still need to get done and improve to make a name for yourself, but setting aside dedicated time for work/practice/performance and unplugged time will benefit you health-wise in the long run. You’ll also get things done faster, become more efficient and overall a happier person.

So here’s three simple steps you need to do the moment you finish reading this article:

STEP 1

Write a list of things you love to do, or would like to start doing. These must have nothing to do with your career, performing “for fun” or practice. Here’s a few basic ideas to get you started:

  • Start exercising
  • Learn how to cook more healthy meals
  • Try out Yoga or meditation (if you give it a chance, it’s actually really good for you)
  • Learn a new language
  • Go to the beach with friends
  • Take a walk in nature
  • Go on a romantic date (get creative rather than expensive, don’t just go out to the same pub you always go to)

STEP 2

Allocate regular time. Think about how much time you can dedicate solely to your chosen “unplugged” activities (at least two hours at a time) on a daily and weekly basis. Also, mark off time to become totally focused on your work and getting things done. These are times of zero distractions and 100% attention to the task at hand.

STEP 3

UNPLUG. Get rid of any distractions. Put your phone on silent, stay off facebook and the internet and stop worrying. When your mind wonders, keep bringing yourself back to what you’re doing right now. Follow through and repeat. Especially when times are tough. You’ll find yourself more clear minded and feeling better because of it.

Just start having fun again!