If the last year has forced us to do anything, it’s to take care of ourselves. We’ve had to practice mindfulness, and that includes every sense of the word – we’re taking a holistic approach. Take some time to focus on yourself, find balance and see how quickly the benefits follow.
The present is all we have
Living in the future or past only steals from the present and all that the present moment has available to us. We can never be perfectly prepared for challenges that may come, we have to have faith that we are resourceful and we will figure things out when the need arises. Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair – it keeps you busy, but you won’t get anywhere.
It’s okay to accept compliments – and believe them
How often we shower our kids, friends and spouses in compliments and love, yet struggle to receive them ourselves, truly take them to heart. How you view yourself has a psychological impact, even influences the decisions you make which direct the path for your life. ‘Your diet includes everything you consume and spend energy on, not just food. It includes who you spend time with, what you read and listen to, what you watch, and most importantly what thoughts you allow,’ says Dr Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist and mental health expert.
Sometimes doing nothing is all you need to do
The list of to-do’s is never-ending, especially for the 21st-century woman. Chasing our tails can leave us feeling depleted and frustrated. Getting to a place of accepting that it’s okay not to achieve everything perfectly all the time, and sometimes taking the time to do nothing can actually be better for our productivity in the long run. This also helps get our minds back to a balanced state.
Step away from the screen
On average, South Africans get over 8 hours of screen time a day. Experts warn that excessive screen time can increase your chances of suffering from depression and increased anxiety, and I’m sure some of us here can attest to this. Ways to reduce screen time can be as simple as having tech-free meal times, or getting rid of your phone plugged in next to your bed. A healthy skill to learn is to just sit and be, letting go of the need to be constantly stimulated. We have become human doings rather than human beings, we’ve lost the ability to be still. Increase your screen-free activities, such as walking, or reading hard-copy magazines and books.
Take inventory of your inner circle
We need more low maintenance friends, those who accept all of us and don’t sap our precious energy. Surround yourself with stable, positive people who weather the storms of life with you. Positive friendships have an impact on our wellbeing, helping us stay grounded and less overwhelmed when obstacles come up.
Remember to breathe
Even just a few minutes a day of meditation can improve your mood and outlook of the day ahead. It takes a bit of practice but really helps bring you back to the present moment. Bringing your attention to your breathing is a great way of quietening your mind. Don’t beat yourself up about the wonderings of your thoughts, what’s important is how you respond when this happens, without judgment or thoughts of failure; take a moment and come back to the breath and present. There are many apps and Youtube videos with guided meditations, which are a good place to start. Remember don’t be too hard on yourself, it takes practice and there is no right or wrong, just the simple act of sitting quietly has benefits for your wellbeing.