Habits

Well being on the Land – Evaluating Habitual Habits

happiness

Profile pic

Written by Elena Bishop

Social Worker

23 Mar, 2022

The elusive work-life balance. Many on acreage can boast they "have it all" living the Aussie dream on the land, having the space and freedom to make it theirs as well as avoiding the suburbia house clusters. Hey Darryl, how’s the serenity? But when you have a large property, it can take a lot to maintain it to keep it looking like your castle. Sometimes when we focus on all the tasks that need to be done, it is a matter of priority of the household and the property – like a ‘top of the pile’ mentality. The top of the pile is a metaphor for a huge stack of mail that has arrived, and you need to prioritise which bill to pay first. Living on acreage as well as maintaining a work/life balance can seem hard to manage; so you develop Habitual Routines to get it all done.

Creatures of habit

Yes, we are all Creatures of habit and we function best when things are predictable because it reduces anxiety & you can mentally prepare for what is to come evoking feelings of safety & control. But when your habitual routine is affecting your happiness and mental wellbeing, we need to assess the habits & routines we have established to keep everything ‘running smoothly’ and evaluate if they are still relevant and serving our needs. The interesting thing about Habitual Behaviour is that it can be automatic and unconscious actions that have been developed as an adaptive coping mechanism (they have been reinforced so much) now these routines are hard to break because they have become inflexible and immediate. Meaning: this behaviour has become preprogrammed like a computer in your brain; you can be so task-focused that any deviation from the goal can provoke anxiety, fear of failure and challenge your sense of control. This habitual behaviour can impact our mental health and happiness - we are focusing on the tasks to complete automatically rather than having the freedom to choose what we want to do with our time.

Five pillars

Positive Psychology states that happiness is a fallacy; rather achieving happiness is a conscious effort of balancing your ‘five pillars’

  1. Positive emotions – Learn to appreciate and be grateful for the life you have daily.

  2. Engagement – Participating in activities that show your strengths you will become confident & productive

  3. Relationships – Making an effort in all your relationships and not taking people for granted

  4. Meaning – Finding something in your life that is important and giving your purpose

  5. Accomplishments – Set achievable goals then celebrate your success when you complete them.

So if reading this you realise that you can have feelings of being overwhelmed, you feel constantly fatigued or stressed, the to-do list never ends and you feel you are not able to get on top of things, even the jobs around your property which you once loved you now dread –– then perhaps it is time to investigate or your habitual routine and focus on your wellbeing goals.

Conclusion

Firstly, be aware of where your time is going, understand your routines as they stand now and think about if you should keep the routine the same – or would it be beneficial to shake things up to put a smile on your face.

Have you developed ‘maladaptive coping mechanisms’ – so when you’re stressed out you started with a beer in the arvo or a cupcake after dinner and now it has turned into a carton at the end of the day or eating a whole cake at night? Have you been focusing on getting the kids home after school, cleaning and cooking for dinner… perhaps learning to "let go" of those hard-core structured habitual routines and one day a week playing with the kids in the yard and put in a frozen meal? Think about your friendships, if you feel they are one-sided or narcissistic, maybe think about distancing yourself from people that don’t make you feel good about yourself.

If you feel like the majority of your spare time is feeling isolated on your property and you haven’t been in a social group setting for longer than you can remember, get involved in community events. We are social beings and need that camaraderie!

Remember when you were younger and you used to love that hobby or activity but no longer do it because life has got in the way? This is me permitting you to get it back. The habitual routine doesn’t just affect your mental health, it can also affect where you spend your money – like that morning coffee you buy on the way to work, or when you are feeling blue you go out and buy something that will make you happy?

If they are becoming problematic then make a goal of saving that coffee money and then at the end of the year it could buy you a weekend away or even outsourcing help to keep things maintained! This is a constant process of evolving and becoming the best versions of ourselves, setting a positive example for our children, practising gratitude for what we have, understanding how to feel happier in life and not letting our established habits take over our life if they are no longer relevant.

Learn more

If you like Elena's article you can book a session with her.

Recommended Therapists Available Now

Sally Walsh

5.0

198 Sessions

NSW

Psychotherapist

5.0

198 Sessions

Professional Excellence and Authentic Care for over 10 years. Opened during April school holiday and Anzac, so get in touch if you need support. Are you overwhelmed, an...More

Denise Metcalfe

5.0

348 Sessions

NSW

Psychologist

5.0

348 Sessions

Hello and welcome! I look forward to getting to know you and working with you to achieve your goals for therapy. I am passionate and dedicated to support my clients, ensu...More

Nicky Angelone

5.0

218 Sessions

VIC

Psychotherapist

5.0

218 Sessions

Hi, I'm Nicky, a registered clinical counsellor with PACFA. I'm here to support you, whether you're facing a specific challenge or seeking deeper self-understanding, I'm ...More

Zac Chadwick

5.0

100 Sessions

NSW

Psychologist

5.0

100 Sessions

Hi! I'm Zac, and I've been practising since 2017 through the NDIS for psychology and Behaviour Support. I have a Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis and have worked wi...More

Profile pic

Elena Bishop

Social Worker

Elena Bishop is a social worker with qualifications in psychology and social work. She specialises in anxiety, self esteem and women's issues.

Book a Therapy Session Today

Find a therapist and book your session online

Browse Therapists