Notes to myself: Tired or just wasting my energy on some stupid sh** again?

I love to read books, go for long walks, work on photos or write stuff on Medium, and these are only a couple of things I actually enjoy. Shame I don’t have energy in the evening to do them, not mentioning a couple new hobbies I would like to start. My excuse is always the same: I had a hard day, a lot happened, I’m exhausted, so tired, I need to rest, leave me alone. Let’s say — it is easier to blame the whole world than do something about it. I understand that occasionally it may be actually true, but when it becomes a pattern, actions need to be taken. Otherwise, it is going to end up bad for me, and it will lead to re-introduction of some of my old, bad habits. These habits will create a vicious cycle of unproductiveness, feeling-guilty and even more excuses to not change a thing. I will start eating sweets to boost my dopamine and try to kill my time in weird ways. I will watch some meaningless youtube videos, probably not paying too much attention to them anyway. I will seek cheap thrills or find more expensive ones just to boost my mood. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Finding the root cause

I’ve got a very cosy and warm place at home, just the perfect place to relax. It’s my favourite spot in the whole house — a conservatory in the living room. Moody warm lights over my head. Scented candle in the corner spreading some love. Quality music flowing out of a speaker in front of me, maybe something like symphony version of Linkin Park. A comfy sofa with slightly stained armrests from my tea mug. I love tea. It’s a treat to all my senses. That’s where I leave my day behind, relax, think, read or simply spend quality time with the loved ones. That’s where I started the process…

… my safe space …

I realised there is a problem to deal with and self-awareness is the first step to change. The very first thing I had to do was a not-too-long meditation session, followed by a long break of lying down on a cold floor to clear my mind. Thoughts were rushing through my head as I started analysing what has changed in my life and how I got here. What bothers me? Why it bothers me? Is there anything I can do about it? The most painful part — I had to be honest with myself, brutally honest, and nobody else will do it for me. After a few hours, I ended up on a sofa, took some notes and created a bullet-point list of things that I can improve. It was my unorganised plan of action, and I wanted to sleep on it to see if I will feel the same way about it the next morning. I did…

The most significant changes I decided to make

Is TV really needed in my life?
I still used a TV for Youtube, and I usually watched whatever it has been suggested to me. I was a sucker for YT’s algorithms.… car accidents, coubs and other weird, random shit. Watching these clips was a great way to “disconnect” after a long and challenging day. I could easily spend a whole evening watching stuff in the background while doing something equally meaningless on my laptop in the meantime.

The next morning the device was taken off the wall, and the difference it made to my energy levels were just stunning! Best Decision Ever! Anybody wants a free 60" Samsung TV? :)

How my eating habits affect me?
I occasionally enjoy fast food in the form of pizza or a burger. I never considered myself an unhealthy eater. At the same time, I always knew I can be better, there is always room for improvement. That became even more apparent after I met someone next to whom I look like a junk-food Yoda.

Food these days is heavily processed for convenience and often contains potentially harmful toxins and substances. That usually goes in pair with excessive amounts of carbs that are a cause of inflammation. All these things considered, they do impact my body — I am what I eat.

Their convenient form saves me time which could be used more productively, so it would be silly to waste it on meaningless things, right? I can definitely do better in this area and stop eating stuff only for taste and more nutrition value too. What if I could have both? My body will love me for that by repaying with more energy and a clearer mind.

What are my cheap dopamine shots?
Quick dopamine shots create an imbalance in my mood ecosystem. They give a lot of happiness (if I can call it like that) in a short period, but that guarantees a more sudden and extreme drop later. I was occasionally tempted by those chocolate rolls from Waitrose. Amazing treat, but with a very unpleasant side effect called: “I really shouldn’t, but it was soooo f*** tasty”. Mostly when I had way too many of them. How about some online shopping? It’s a bit too easy these days, and with my mood down, I’m tempted by a lot of things. I might end up with stuff I actually don’t need. Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with alcohol. It had been excluded from my life 3 years ago, and I could write a separate story only about that.

None of the above is worth the price due to their short-lived happiness value and nasty hangover effect.

Do I worry too much and write scenarios that will never come true?
I am quite good (don’t want to call myself an expert) at writing negative scenarios. It’s a helpful skill if used to prepare for future challenges and make sure I considered different outcomes of my actions. At the same time, there is no point to worry about things I can’t change.

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” — Dalai Lama

I tend to suffer more in my imagination than in reality, and most of the dark scenarios never come true. Not only this process drains my energy, but it also raises cortisol and stress level. It affects not only me but also people in my near proximity. It’s the negative energy which I unconsciously spread.

Are the things I do, really what I want to do?
If it’s something I can outsource, I should do it. No point to force myself to do things I don’t have to do. Especially if I’m talking about daily routines like cleaning the house, shopping for groceries, etc. I’m sure there are more things I can cut out to “buy back time” — the only commodity in my human’s life of real value.

Are these people around me really the one I want to spend time with?
I am an average of the five closest people around me. If I invest enough time to figure out who these people are, I might learn something interesting about myself. My pool of friends changes once in a while, and within last year it definitely went in the right direction. I’ve managed to cut out some toxic people who made me feel miserable and ashamed of my successes.

I’m surrounding myself with people who share similar values as I do, and who inspire and motivate me to action.

Why do I compare myself to others?
I still do, probably a bit too often, and comparing up doesn’t really help. It brings worry, stress, a feeling of inadequacy, enforces the impostor syndrome and occasional doubts about myself. We all have different circumstances and different lives. I can only compare myself with who I was a day before.

Is my automatic mode on?
Nope. Not anymore…

Notes to myself

  • Stop watching TV and meaningless stuff.
    There is nothing interesting on TV nor on YT anyway. This time can be used in so many productive or simply more relaxing ways.
  • Healthy food is a priority.
    Food should be nutritious and give energy, not steal it. Put a little bit more effort in preparation, and as a result, I will have more power to get through my busy days.
  • Stop looking for cheap dopamine shots.
    The artificial and short-lived boosts always end up with more crappy mood later. Seek the balance, not extremes.
  • Stop worrying about things that didn’t happen yet.
    I should practice “positive worrying” more than negative. I usually suffer more in my mind, than in reality and things are rarely as bad as I can imagine then.
  • Stop doing stuff because you have to do them.
    Outsourcing things I don’t want to do will help me to “buy” time for things I want to do.
  • Stop spending time with people who suck out your joy.
    Find people who share similar values as you do, who inspire and motivate you to action… and occasionally challenge your assumptions.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
    We are all different…

Healing software engineering teams for a decade. People focused guy, trying to change the world one little step at a time. Automotive photographer after hours.