Modern life can be exhausting. Some people thrive with lots on their plate whilst others, myself included, need regular time to re-charge. It’s important to take this time and listen to our body, when it clearly indicates that it’s struggling. A few years ago, I didn’t listen to my body and blindly forged ahead; boy, did I find out that you can’t ignore your body forever. I won’t go into the circumstances leading up to it but I eventually woke up one morning, in a state of frantic anxiety, before my doctor signed me off work for six weeks. I can truly say that period of self-reflection clearly showed me how to get my priorities in order. That awful year improved towards the end, after I took steps to improve my situation; it also taught me to be kind to myself.
These days, I try to maintain a good level of wellbeing by staying mindful and quietening my rebellious, occasionally exhausting mind. Keeping these practices up has helped me and I hope you may also find them useful!
Check in with yourself
When you’re in a situation that doesn’t make you happy, take a moment to stop and ask yourself why. To give an example, I am not a career-minded person; for years, I fought this by convincing myself I’d train as a manager and also complete a degree part-time. I completely ignored the fact that neither of these choices appealed to me and now recognise that a day job does not (and should not) define a person. My aim is to work for myself within the next 3 years and I’m determined to achieve this. Checking in with yourself saves a lot of unnecessary stress and can help you create a life that serves you.
Give spirituality a chance
Although I’m not a religious person, I am deeply convinced that all existence was conceived by some indescribable life force and that our lives on earth are not the limit of our consciousness. Practicing meditation and reading extensively about positivity and the law of attraction has benefited me; both are invaluable for calming the mind and being able to see things clearly. I am entirely guilty of living in the past and, even more frequently, the future but the teachings of Eckhart Tolle in ‘The Power of Now’ (really the most incredible book) are helping me to notice and value the present moment, simply because it’s all we ever have. If you would like to try meditation but find it difficult to stop your mind thinking incessantly, try guided meditation recordings on Youtube. These help me to focus intently on my spiritual practice, thereby preventing any random, pointless thoughts from interrupting me. Yoga is also an excellent spiritual and physical practice, which will make you strong, if you hop on the mat often enough! Try introducing a couple of Yoga With Adriene videos into your morning or evening time and enjoy the benefits.
Pay less attention to the clock (and make the most of ‘dead’ time)
Eckhart Tolle discusses the illusion of time in ‘The Power of Now’; man’s preoccupation with clock time (invented by mankind) can be highly detrimental to our wellbeing. ‘Dead’ time (e.g. waiting for a train, having nothing to do at work, etc) also makes us feel that chunks of our lives are being wasted. By utilising this ‘dead’ time, we can optimise our mood and spend time nurturing pastimes/projects that we enjoy. I use an hourly train service for my commute, which leaves me with a sizable chunk of ‘dead’ time every day. This is when I write (this post included); before I walk to work! Of course, there are days when you will just want to stretch out and listen to some tunes; this is also good for your overall health, as songs you enjoy have a positive effect on the body’s cells. Writing in my dead time frees up my evenings, reinforces the fact that I’m giving enough time to something I love and stops me from becoming bored.
Eat and drink mindfully, exercise when you want to
The food and drink we consume can have a strong effect on our physical and mental health. Taking a kind approach to your diet and fitness is the most effective way to build good habits. You might question yourself; “how will this meal nourish me?” or “I feel under the weather. Do I really want to jog in the cold, or shall I do some yoga tonight, in the warm?”. This will allow you to truly listen to yourself and make the most beneficial decisions.