Back in the swing of it (see what I did there) after a two week break. Travelling has felt like an irritant in the past, especially while I was trying to build a routine, to develop a habit. Now that I am nearly at the finish line and my routine is bedded in it feels refreshing to have that break. I know I can drop back into it easily. It is no longer something I have to think about it. The power of habits is well known, there are plenty of books about it and all of the talk is usually about bad habits like drinking, smoking, drugs, but habits create a good life, especially when we do things automatically. Think about brushing your teeth, putting on a seatbelt, or looking both ways when you cross the street. I recognise that building habits is a true life skill.
The benefits of having a break are underestimated too. We have all heard the stories of people being found dead at their desk or burning out in a work environment or the sports hero that peaked at the wrong time and faltered before the final. My break lifted some aches and strains on my back and shoulders. It provided me the chance to get out in the fresh air (I went to Japan for a week and escaped the Aussie bushfires that were raging here). I put in over 20,000 steps a days as we explored temples, shrines, parks, lanes and cities. While my upper body and joints recovered the tendons in the lower half tightened up and I realised that while this challenge has been good I have neglected balance.
Japan is a great place to think about balance. Old and new. City and countryside. Simple and fantastically complicated. The whole country has a zen feel and we felt welcomed everywhere. Simple customs like not eating while you walk, taking your litter home with you, being polite, all of these things have made me look at my habits. I’ve stopped eating at my desk as a simple start, just heading out of the office to find somewhere to sit and eat. Not only does it feel more mindful, I also add a little extra daylight and exercise to my day. This challenge is coming to a close but 2020 will build on this in a more balanced way.