It was March 2020 and, because of the pandemic, many university students had to vacate residences and move to our homes to complete the academic year. For me, the initial days at home were fun because my family enjoyed having me back. However, as time progressed, I noticed that I was not adjusting as well to being at home, as I had hoped.
There were a few reasons for this. One main one was that there were many chores to be done – something I was not used to at this stage. Having lived alone for a long time, it was easy cleaning up after myself. I had one plate to wash and mopping my room or our flat in residence was manageable.
Here, at home, each time someone mentioned chores, I became irritable and resistant. This caused a lot of friction between my family and me. They could not understand why the sudden change in attitude. They were angry and resentful because it seemed, to them, that I was too good for my home.
The challenges did not just end with chores. I had extreme personality changes. I would lock myself in my room and not engage or communicate with anyone. I just felt out of place. Not only that, home did not make sense to me and I wished that I could be on my own. This was so strange to me because when I was far from home I would pester my family with video calls, phone calls and texts.
I started becoming depressed. I would go to bed wishing that I didn’t wake up. I even went as far as to say to my sister during an argument that my family wouldn’t care if I died or not. I hurt her in that moment. She was crying uncontrollably and I realised immediately that something had to change.
Change is difficult, for anyone, but I came to learn that change begins with our habits and altering them intentionally. I reviewed the person I was and the person I have become and discovered that I regressed in some ways. The good values and qualities I used to have are no longer there. The qualities I used to possess (strength, diligence, intelligence, dedication) disappeared. My heart used to be in everything I did. Whether I was holding a leadership position or just cheerfully engaging with my friends – I was all in.
Seeing this decline in my personality prompted me to start making positive changes in my life. I started with drinking enough water and it made a difference in providing me with the energy to do chores at home. To improve on my skills as a person to navigate life I engaged myself with online courses.
One course was called, “The Science of Wellbeing”. Through this course, I learned about “savouring”. Savouring means taking time to experience and enjoy the small things in life. This really changed my perspective. So, I started applying it to my life. It helped me to experience life better as I was no longer set off as easily. I had taken a conscious to look at life from all angles and learnt to exercise compassion in all that I do. This also required a balance with assertiveness and healthy boundaries.
Allowing this transformation made a huge impact in my life because doing chores was no longer a pain and family interactions did not feel strained anymore. Love took over and from there, things became much better and bearable.
We as humans like to be comfortable. We like the familiar. However, it doesn’t pay to stay comfortable with the habits you’ve become accustomed to. Bad habits can take a toll on your mental health and the state of those around you. If you know your behaviour is hurting those close to you, try to change and improve it. If you work on you all the time, the world around you will slowly start to shift as well. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Read one writer’s opinion on how we measure success, here.
Tell us: Do you have any habits you’d like to change? What are they?