At the End of the Day: Recover to Thrive, Not Just Survive | 10-minute read

At the End of the Day: Recover to Thrive
Image courtesy of Zachary Nelson from Unsplash:

Each day we wake up, how many of them allow us to start the first 5 seconds of our day saying, “Oh, wow! Another exciting day!” And no, sarcasm doesn’t count because doing this to ourselves is just self-deprecating and we know it. Why do we feel so empty? We need to recover to thrive, not just survive. Let’s say a bad decision is -1 and a good one is +1. We have been filling our day with -1 decisions. All of us have been grinding for our +1’s almost for as long as we’ve lived. Well, at least those of us who can read and understand this now, anyway.

But we don’t get to do so. We WANT +1’s but we usually end up getting -1’s. Basic math tells us that more -1’s than +1’s gives us, well, negative. I don’t know why it’s easier to get -1, maybe it’s because +1’s usually have other requirements. When we wake up at 8:00 a.m., get up or close your eyes again? -1. When we get up, do we go to the bathroom for morning toiletries or do we choose to look at our phones? -1.

At around 10:30 in the morning, do we get off our seats to do what we need to do or continue scrolling through our IG feed? -1. A better way to cite this point is: for each second we spend scrolling through social media, do we have a purpose for why we do so? Do we subconsciously procrastinate each time we swipe up? Do we realize how many times we actually go for -1? Before we sleep, whether we get to reflect or not, we know that deep inside, we have a negative.

We’ve probably seen a lot of self-help and psychology videos (even if some titles are clickbait). “5 Ways to Have a Better Day”, “Why You Always Feel Tired Waking Up”, “ You’re Not Going to Like How to Actually Love Yourself”, and so on. But we either ignore them and scroll past them, or we watch them but we don’t really understand because we’re not really trying to understand it, or we just click on it to mark it off our checklist. Deep inside, we already know what we have to do. But for some reason or another, we usually just end up deflecting and “coping”.

Recover to Thrive

We need some time to be “off”. Not a vacation, not some long break, but something we can have on a daily basis. 30 minutes, 15, 10, heck, even 5 minutes will do. 5 minutes of silence everyday. No phones on toilet break, no lyrics while working or studying (debatable), no social media while traveling. There’s a reason why we’re passively more stressed now than we were 30 years ago. Our minds are tired.

Back in the day (yeah, I know, I know…), when you traveled, there was nothing else to think of other than the sights around you and the traffic. When you called someone and their line was busy or no one answered, you drop it and do something else. When you wanted or needed to go somewhere, you usually had to plan it in some way since there was no Uber yet. Now, there are tons of things you can (and sometimes even should) do while doing: load a playlist or control it, message or call someone, check ridesharing availability, and so on.

On-demand services are awesome because they give us control, but it is also because of this ability that our minds are micro-drained even before the first 10 minutes of our day. We always have a choice now. Don’t like the music? Click “next”. Someone not answering? Leave them a message (or worse, spam them with “Why are you ghosting me?”). Car or driver not available today? Just book one.

All of these now bog our brains with minute little decision points each time we engage in them whereas we just “drop it” back then. Switching music requires a couple of actions: stop what you’re doing, get your phone, turn on the screen, unlock it, switch to your music app, look for something you prefer, play it, and if you’re not in the mood anymore, look again and play.

I don’t have to explain how chat, messaging, and calling leave us in a semi-permanent state of anxiety if and when we do not get the response we’re expecting: look at phone, no alert, back to work, look at phone, no alert, back to work, and so on. And no, booking a driver or a car isn’t a 50-millisecond activity either. Phone, unlock, switch app, select destination, select vehicle type, check price, check alternate routes, decide to hit “Book now” or something, wait, and wait, and wait, and finally, cancel. Just kidding about that last part but you get the point. All these micro-decisions can stack up to almost a thousand or more everyday – easily.

Don’t Just Survive

As cramped as our days are, we need time to rest; time to reflect. We need to think about what went well in our day, be grateful for them, and what to actively treasure in our memory banks. We also need to recall what went wrong and what could have been avoidable, not to sulk about it, but what we can still do about them, especially if there’s a next time they happen again.

Our physical bodies can only recuperate through sleep and while a lot of us know that, we underestimate our brains’ needs to have this “sleep session” even while we’re awake. Meditation usually involves emptying our minds of EVERYTHING. I’ll be honest, I know I just wrote an entire (neuroscientifically simplified) article because I know this, but I have to admit that I have not been able to practice this. I struggle like you. But we need this. We really do. Let’s give ourselves some love.

You can read my other thoughts here:

Credits to Zachary Nelson from Unsplash for the featured image I used in this post.

Discover more from The Sidestream Network

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

honganqi Avatar

About the author



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.