The Sunday Dinner Challenge
“Family gives us two things; one is roots, the other is wings” -Unknown
Welcome back to the blog,
It's an interesting start to the Kingston, Jamaica summer. For starters...it would be nice to have some prolonged sunshine. The days here this past week have been interesting...with a nice sunny morning accompanied by a few thunderstorms in the afternoon and sunshine in the evening. Studying the weather long enough...I'm sure we're all at the point where we know when to be outside and when to be inside our homes these past two weeks. All in all...it's really not that bad.
One of the things that I've been enjoying lately is my Sunday routine. I honestly believe that there's some element of peace that surrounds you, when you allow yourself to just enjoy life. Sunday is the day that I social media detox. Scientific studies have highlighted the facts about constant social media usage, and I'll take some time to clarify them below:
a) Social media is a soft core addiction. There is a certain endorphin rush that you receive when you receive an email, get a text, get a like or get a DM. For this reason, we are constantly wanting to feel the urge to keep posting, keep uploading a YouTube video or sending an email to colleagues or family members. Since we can constantly see what others are up to, we no longer feel the need to call and connect, and for this reason many persons feel connected, yet alone. Understanding the mechanisms of the mind, you'll want to cultivate the natural encounters with the people who are around you.
b) Social media affects mental health. There are various studies that correlate social media usage to feelings of inadequacy in various people. By seeing how other people live, it is easy to compare oneself and try to keep up, instead of generating feelings of gratitude for that which you have been blessed with. By diverting your attention away from others and learning to allow yourself to appreciate what you have, you actually will live a happier, healthy life.
A social media detox is one of the best ways to live a happier healthy life. Many persons have completely weaned themselves of various platforms in order to balance their lives. I've personally eliminated the majority of the social media platforms that I was utilizing and find that three is my personal optimal number for a balanced life. For creatives, I find that sites like Instagram are wonderful, while for a professional presence LinkedIn is ideal. I currently check Instagram once per week, whereas in the past I was actually online on the site on a daily basis. By minimizing external influences, I'm able to cultivate creativity from within. By stepping away from the virtual, you get to experience the realness of life.
SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY
While you don't need an entire circle around you, you were brought into this world via a family. There's a select group of people who were chosen to be the guardians of your destiny. Your parents actually exist to facilitate your future purpose. You were born, you were nurtured, you were sent to school, you were carried on family vacations and you were guided with respect to how to relate to people in the world. With the principles gained, you then become able to facilitate the next generation and carry on the legacy. It's important to not be one who drops the baton. Life is like a relay, and when you take the time to process that, you actually become more careful with respect to how you live, who you associate with, and how you present yourself to the world.
When you can, take the time to have family gatherings. In your own household, Sunday is the ideal day for such activity. In the past, Sunday was a day where families would gather at church in the mornings, and then be home in the afternoons for dinner and relax for the evening, before school and work the next day. As both parents became breadwinners, it became a bit more challenging to accommodate church and Sunday dinner festivities. With the advent of the internet however, it's possible to attend virtual services from your living room, and still have family time. You can then make it to the sanctuary for special occasions. Commuting can take a toll on your energy.
The moments that you find yourself remembering the most, are the ones that were created for you by your family, and these ultimately become the memories that you will create for your own children. The reason that we unconsciously model our parents, is because they are the ones who nurtured us. While no parents are perfect, for the most part, they attempt to instill right principles into you. Take the best of the experience, and add on to it where possible. If your parents did nothing wrong, then carry on the tradition as it were. In some instances, systems do work effortlessly and you don't have to reinvent every wheel.
Regardless of your family size (whether you're in transition from your parent's nest to your own nest, or already have your own family) it's a great idea to practice family traditions. They will give you some stability and enable you to be a more responsible adult. Those who lack traditions will drift in life, as traditions are centered on a discipline of allowing yourself to connect with the people that you love.
HOW TO START YOUR OWN SUNDAY DINNER CHALLENGE
a) Schedule Sunday dinner into your calendar. We all have life changes that can pull us out of schedule. Going off to school for instance, if the distance apart is great, actually disrupts family gatherings. In order to not miss out, occasionally gather with your college friends and have a pot luck, or if you have friends in your apartment building, create a routine that fosters having a proper dinner every once in a while. This is the start of the creation of your own family. The gathering could be once a fortnight. As you create the space for formal occasions, you'll stabilize your community around you.
b) Challenge yourself to cook. Great chefs become great chefs via practice. Get a feel for the cuisine that suits you best, and find a cookbook or online recipes and then practice them. Via cooking, you can actually control what foods you put into your body, and improve your health. We give our best to people when we are serving them. Being a host or hostess to family or friends is a sign that you care about them.
c) Just do it. In the beginning, you may not be amazing at organizing a grand gourmet meal. Ever so often...you can do what many have done...and create a partially home made meal. Order a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket, then take it out of the packaging, present on a platter and carve it. Making the starch and salad is a quick fix and et voila, you have dinner in about half an hour to forty minutes. As you become more competent, you'll then challenge yourself to create grander arrangements. You don't have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.
Enjoy your life...it's your personal gift. Take a little time to stop and smell the roses as they say. Life is long, and eventually you realize that certain things won't really matter five years from now...or twenty years from now for that matter. If you prioritize and make the important things in life your focus, you'll live a happy, fulfilled life.
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