A recent podcast I listened to prompted me to think of the things I do to get into my comfort zone. I’m naturally more of an introvert than an extrovert and I largely prefer peace and quiet than crowds and noise (unless it’s live music, that is). Upon reflection, it’s clear I subconsciously do a lot to try to live my life that way. Some examples include:
- Getting the early train into work. I’m a naturally early riser anyway and, on the days when I need to be in the office in Manchester, I used to get the train at around 6.15. However, one day back in January this year, I checked the train website when I woke and noticed that my usual train was reduced from 6 to 3 carriages. This sent me into a mild state of panic. Despite the train being relatively quiet at that time of day anyway, this meant those 3 carriages would be busier than normal – far from ideal when you’re the type of person who seeks peace and quiet. So, I rushed my shower, dashed out of the house, and caught the 5.46 train instead. I’ve caught this train every time I’ve been in the office since. For me, getting up half-an-hour earlier is worth it for that peace and quiet.
- Speaking of trains, most on my route are 6 carriages now. Every time I travel, I walk to the very end of the platform and board at the final door of the final carriage, even if it’s raining. The middle carriages always fill up first, so it makes perfect sense to me to board either end of the train and savour that space and emptiness.
- This all ties in with me usually being the first one into the office on our floor. I love this. It’s a large, open-plan office and the lights all flick into life as I walk to my desk. It’s my time, free from idle small-talk and forced conversation with others. I get to my desk, log on, take a sip of coffee and get started with my day, all without interruption. Heaven.
- Speaking of work, we’ve used a desk booking system since attempting to return to ‘normal’ following Covid. I always book a desk either at the far end of the office or at the sides – I hate being sat in the middle. Why be in the hustle and bustle, with noise and conversations surrounding you and distracting you, when you could be sat at the edge, getting on with work in relative peace and quiet? It’s a no-brainer for me.
- I adopt the same approach when going to the cinema. If possible, I prefer to sit on the back row. I don’t like people sat behind me and always aim for a back-row ticket.
- Regular readers will know I’m shedding some excess fat this year. I recently started the Couch to 5k plan to get into running again, though I’ll only take to the streets during the early hours of the morning. On days when I lace up the trainers, I get up at around 05.00-05.15, with a view to being back in the house by 06.00 (certainly no later than 06.30). I much prefer running when the roads are quiet and there are very few people around. This is largely due to a sense that people will be looking at me and judging me if I run at any other time. I wrote about this very early on in the days of YYCDI as I’ve long since had an issue with bothering too much about what others may think about me (bizarrely so, as I know the vast majority wouldn’t give me a second glance). That still applies and I much prefer to get out when the day has barely begun. Though this isn’t the sole reason for doing so. If I didn’t think like that, I’d likely still run early in the morning. I love that sense of achievement so early in the day – it gets me in a positive frame of mind for whatever else the day throws at me.
- For similar reasons, I’ll only exercise at home – I hate gyms. It’s an environment I feel distinctly uncomfortable in and I’d rather leave it to those lucky people who couldn’t care less what people think of them. I have all the set up I need at home in terms of cardiovascular and weight-training gear and I’m very happy to decamp to the garage or the spare bedroom whenever I need to exercise. I just pop in my earbuds, start my workout playlist, and happily work up a sweat on my own.
- Finally, I find myself locking the front doors at around 7pm most nights – often earlier during the winter months. In my mind, this is my way of shutting out the outside world for the day. No deliveries, no random rings of the doorbell, no cold callers trying to sell me milk, double-glazing, or charity subscriptions. Of course, locking the door is no guarantee that I won’t have any such calls, but it still brings me a little comfort in doing so.
There are many more examples I could quote though I’ll leave it there for now. I make no apologies for any of the above. Some of this may resonate with others, it may not. However, it all works for me, makes my life a little easier, and I’ll therefore continue to do these things. I’ve seen many quotes which suggest that growth and success only happen when people step outside their comfort zone, and I fully understand that and agree with it to a significant degree, though I believe that there are certain things we can do to remain calm, comfortable and happy, yet still challenge ourselves to achieve in other areas of life.
I really don’t know if it’s just me who thinks like this or if such behaviour is fairly commonplace. What about you? What do you do to get into your comfort zone and achieve peace of mind?
As always, thanks for reading and take care.