Have you ever stopped to consider the things you “swear by” in your every day life?
Maybe you know people who have remedies, habits and ways of doing things that they swear by. A grandparent’s bizarre home remedy for the common cold, your best friends’ obsessive list making, or a family member’s uncompromising insistence on a daily nap.
I don’t really know what got me on to thinking about this. I never really considered myself as a “swear by” sort of person. There are things that I do. Behaviours that I habitually and sometimes obsessively do. But perhaps there are a few things I swear by in life.
“I Have Just The Thing!”
I noticed this before Christmas when I was coming down with the flu virus that has been doing the rounds in the UK. The juicer came out and I made myself a litre of raw vegetable juice. “It’s worked before” I told myself. “This is bound to sort me out!”
To swear by something is simply doing a thing because you believe it is the best thing you can possibly do for a particular desired outcome. The result might be longterm health (or remedy), harmonious family life, or a great relationship for example.
Within Our Realm of Control
We can be intentional and deliberate in finding things to swear by that can actually shape a healthy approach to life. I quite like to think about these things because they are activities, habits, and practices that we have choice over. They are the results of a life of scientific curiosity…although the things we swear by are not always supported by science – they might be quite the opposite in fact, if you’ve got lucky choosing a certain type of horse for the Grand National for example!
What do you swear by in daily life? I’d love to hear those things that you’ve come to believe in the importance of. Perhaps a hangover cure, a way to start the day, or something you do to keep your close relationships healthy and fresh.
Over the years so far in my life, I’ve developed many habits and rituals which I suppose you might say I swear by. There are probably a load more than this, but these are five that sprung to mind:
A Morning Routine
In 2012 I decided to become more intentional about the first part of my day. I can locate the exact day it happened because as a part of my then newly formed morning routine I was journalling on a daily basis on my laptop. I can track the entry when it first began.
Since Monday 5th November 2012 a solid morning routine has become something I swear by. The perfect way to set up the day up in a gentle and healthy way.
It dawned on me that until that point I had been getting up as late as I needed to before leaving the house. I was rushing, and starting out on the back foot, trying to catch up with myself. By getting up earlier, and using that time for soul enriching stuff like reading, journalling, and exercising, I was able to be proactive rather than reactive.
I start each day with two glasses of water and a coffee. I read, journal, and exercise (run, swim, or go to the gym). Then I’m ready to start my day, knowing that it’s already been a success in many ways.
Smoothies and Juice
I got a Breville Blend Active personal blender for Christmas in 2015. I hadn’t asked for it, and had notoriously failed at all previous health drive efforts. But something about that device kicked me into action, and I’ve started almost every sing day ever since then with a green smoothie.
In 2016 I took it one step further and bought a centrifugal juicer so that I could do more with vegetables. Since 8 days of a juice only diet in June of that year, I’ve made vegetable juices at least twice a week pretty much without fail.
Why do I swear by it? Because it makes me feel great. I will never forget that week of pure juice. It made me feel like I’ve never felt before. The world seemed more colourful, I had much more energy and motivated, and I experienced vibrancy and life.
I start each day with a green smoothie (spinach, kale, apple, banana, almond milk and spirulina), and dot some vegetable juice throughout the week (my favourite recipe is: beetroot, carrot, celery, ginger, cucumber, broccoli, asparagus, and apple). It took some getting used to, but now I genuinely enjoy it.
I swear, it makes me feel great!
Walking The Commute
Sometimes it can be hard to get motivated to exercise. It feels easier to stay put on the sofa, drive instead of walk, or get the lift when I’m able to use the stairs. A big thing that I’ve been lucky enough to swear by over the past six years or so, is walking my commute. This is something I’m very aware I’m in a privileged position to be able to do because I’m near enough to work and able to walk. I don’t take it for granted, and spend intentional time during the daily walk to feel gratitude.
Even when I work from home I try to walk to walk there… It started when I would get a lift with Nic to her place of work and then walk home at the start of the day. Sounds like a strange waste of time, but it really wasn’t!
I swear by it because it provides a great transition between home and work. It gives time to decompress, to reflect, and to get fresh air and a sense of rhythm into my legs. I recommend it to anyone for whom it’s possible. It’s made a world of difference to me.
Singing Stupid Songs
I kind of enjoy making up silly songs around the house or in the car. Both Nic and I do. It’s something I swear by because it keeps us childlike. It lightens me up and makes me use my imagination when everything seems so serious. Anything that gives our sense of humour a nice workout is something to swear by because it’s so important to hold lightly to the world and our lives.
Singing stupid songs forces me to release my pride, to see the world through a different lens, and to enjoy the funny stuff around me.
Whenever I can I take afternoon naps. It could be because I get up at 5.30am every day and that leaves me a little sleepy after lunch. But I find that a shot of espresso followed by a 25 minute nap, sets me right for the rest of the day. I am probably quite fortunate in being able to drop off and sleep for such a short period of time without the need of an alarm. It did take some training however, and over time I developed the habit to the point where now my body knows it’s nap time and it gives that little boost of energy when I need it.
They are a few of the things I swear by in daily life. The list goes on and stretches into different areas, but I thought they might be helpful to get you thinking about some of your own “swear by habits”. And to help get you unstuck if you’re bogged down in similar areas. Which leads me to that question…
Over to You
What habit/practice/activity do you swear by in daily life, and why? I’d love to hear your response to this question. Please leave your answer in the comments below.