I’ve been lethargic for a few years since I started to take medication for my anxiety and CPTSD. It was partly the symptom and the antipsychotics. But I couldn’t deny that it was also me.

I could only do one task in a day. One task. Lucky enough, I was able to write. If that wasn’t the case, it’d definitely be heartbreaking for me as I’m a writer. But when I decided to write, I couldn’t do anything else at all. My mind would focus only on writing.

Most of the time, I felt tired. I didn’t want to do anything. Achieving one thing in a day was incredible. My house was messy, except for the days I decided to clean it. I didn’t care about the nutritions of my meals. We were in the middle of the pandemic, and everybody ordered delivery food. I also took food as a therapy. I ate what I wanted, and every dishe and snack was at my fingertips. I could only manage to go to the gym for a few months before it was closed due to the outbreaks.

I was miserable. My life was a mess. The only good news is that I’m still alive.

Near the end of last year, I learned how to make bread. I was born and raised in Thailand, and as you probably know, our main source of carb comes from rice. Still, I do love bread and have always wanted to bake my own bread. My mental health condition had improved by then, so I started to learn bit by bit. And that was when my journey back to productivity began.

Making edible bread wasn’t all that difficult. But making nice and tasty bread was hard work. Still, I didn’t give up. Early this year, my husband built a new kitchen for me, and I went from making bread from time to time to cook almost every meal for us.

I was at that point where I could no longer stand how unhealthily I was living. You might argue that Thai food is the best. Yes, it tastes the best, but that doesn’t mean ordering food all the time is healthy. Restaurant food is the same everywhere. It’s full of sodium, sugar, fat, and god knows that else while it contains almost zero vegetable.

I was determined to take care of myself, so I made good use of my new kitchen. At first it was difficult because I was so used to doing only one thing in a day. It put me under a bit of stress. One of my friends is an excellent cook, and when I shared my struggle with her, she told me to stick to it. She said I needed to make a habit of cooking for myself and after that it would be less stressful.

And she was right. After one month, preparing my own meals became a habit. Now I don’t need to spend a lot of time preparing or even thinking about it. I began to get back into shape and felt great about my appearance and overall physical health again. Cooking is like meditating. I think it’s true for many activities when you first start doing them. Because you concentrate more, you become mindful of what you’re doing. That’s simply how meditation works.

At the same time I was incorporating cooking into my routine, I went back to the pool. I hurt my knees many years back and haven’t been able to run without having knee pain ever since. I had a few choices and swimming was one of them. And how lucky I was because swimming has worked miracles for my physical as well as mental health. Swimming is also like meditating in the sense that your breath and movement become rhythmic. Now I can’t live without hitting the pool a few times a week.

I didn’t stop at baking, cooking, and swimming. I love coloring both on my iPad and paper, and now I even keep a small kitchen garden. Taking up more hobbies automatically prompted me to make time for things I enjoy. I feel more energetic than ever, and when it comes to work, I write more productively and enthusiastically.

There’s probably some science behind all this, but I’m just telling you from my experience that doing something (or a lot of things) I love makes me enjoy my life more, and therefore I work more productively. Now that I’m fit and happy, what else would I possibly want to create?

Have you ever felt like you still want to sleep after many hours of rest? Relaxing is not only important for your body, but also your mind. That’s why you need to be mindful and let your mind be free. This is the true and lasting way to be productive. It’s not like a vacation that you take once in a while but a life style that you can enjoy throughout.

If you’ve been uninspired lately, it’s a sign to take up a hobby. Listen to your heart and do something that makes you happy. A mindful state is your haven, and there you can make anything possible.