Knock, knock. How are you feeling lately? Have you made time for yourself recently?
The reason I am asking this is that most days we experience complexity, urgency, and an overload of tasks and goals we want to reach. The guiding mantra behind this way of working and living is: “We need to perform at a constant rate and always give our best regardless of anything”.
We hear in many different corridors, in the metro at rush hour or at coworking spaces, that in order to become a successful person we need to work our hardest and always give our best without even taking time to recover from achieving one goal and working towards another. It has even reached a more alarming level. We do not take the time to ask ourselves if what we are performing is actually fulfilling us or not. We mainly perform! In order to live successfully, life has come to be assimilated as the act of always being occupied with something and leaving no space to take a break or leisure time.
But hold your horses! Parallel to success, deep inside of us we want to live a meaningful lifestyle above everything. We still have an inner voice that is taking care of our welfare, and that is discreetly reminding us to not ignore those few moments when we are actually able to hear it and take a break.
By taking a break, we evaluate what we are creating in terms of what is the purpose behind it. Are we learning something from it? Are we going somewhere? Are we truly enjoying the time, energy, and effort we put into the work we are carrying out? In the end, everything is summed up in the question: Do I have the capacity of keeping up with the complexity and demands of life without taking real care of myself?
Honestly, I am aware that this is not an easy intervention because it is always linked to a change of attitude and perspective in life rather than anything else. Yet, it is essential that we pay attention to the signs that are pointing us to hold the reins sometimes and take control of the situation.
Down below I want to share 6 key points that you can begin to integrate into your life. They are small, applicable strategies that will help you bring more wholesomeness into your lifestyle.
This is what embraces why and how we do everything in life. We act upon our curiosity being awoken by something, and we include it into our lives because it has become meaningful to us. We make the time to learn it and take it step-by-step in order to come to understand and master it. We leave everything else aside. We simplify. And that is the key to cultivating a fulfilling lifestyle. Simplification leads to clarity which brings us to a point of clearing out the aspects of our life that we honestly do not need in order to become who we want to. We create structures that allow us to see the relevance of our interests, and rituals that support what, how, when and where we want to develop them. By doing that, we cherish more liveliness in our actions by streamlining our processes.
Try this: every day for the next week remove one thing from your morning or night routine. It can be preparing your breakfast the night before, rather than doing it in the morning; showering for less time to be able to eat breakfast (you’ll be doing something for the environment, too); leave your clothes, or your bag/purse ready the night before; turn off your phone 1 hour prior to going to bed; eat dinner on a smaller plate; go to sleep earlier. Notice how lightweight and attuned you feel at the end of the week, and decide what you want to re-incorporate into your routine and what you can live without after all.
How we feel and how well-rested we are everyday influences our daily life performance enormously. It is essential to embed simple and restorative practices into our days to support this optimal wellness. Determine what matters most to you (it can be more than one): writing, meditation, yoga, taking a bath, reading a book, wandering around, breathing techniques, singing, etc.
Try this: Choose one or two practices that you want to implement in the next week and make them non-negotiable. Make the effort to include one you can measure short-term but will give you long-term benefits like breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, or sleeping the number of hours necessary for each body. Adults need between 7 – 9. Children 10 – 12.
Having rituals that support the streamlining of tasks, goals, work procedures, and conversations can help us leave the tension, anxiety and unnecessary stress aside that come along with them. By taking the time to create simple structures that can guide us through outlining possible ways of developing, we will have useful tools at hand that can support us in concentrating on the details and outcomes, some unexpected, of what we’re working towards. We want to focus on the essence of the situation, not on the decoration.
Try this: make use of apps, to-do lists, and detailed planning to organize what you want to achieve on a daily or weekly basis. During a conversation try listening to the words you are using when talking about a specific topic or responding to specific questions and use simple, objective and precise words. In the process, pay attention to how you are feeling and reacting to them. Maybe the words aren’t the problem, but the way you are using the tone of your voice or the time you are choosing to talk about something. In the end, it’s all about what kind of communication we want to achieve in our conversations.
We all have tools or activities that we favor when we want to replenish our mood and fill up our energy levels. Implement them and have them at hand whenever you need to make use of them. They might include having a weekly ladies’ night, going to stand-up comedy, cooking your favorite meal, trying out something new, or simply having a restful night at home. Knowing what brings you comfort after a long, sometimes stressful day, is the best way to restore yourself for the next day.
Try this: pick two or three of your restorative tools and use them in the next two weeks. You can also support yourself by applying some extra external measures like taking valerian, drinking chamomile tea, applying lavender, bergamot or sage essential oils on your mattress, or having a long soak in the tub with bath salts.
As soon as we wake up, our mind is connected to our thoughts, plans, emotions, to-dos, appointments, problems, conversations, etc. It is connected to ourselves. We realize everything that we have inside of us at that moment. Being aware of who we are can be the best way to tune in to ourselves and be able to deal with the daily demands we encounter in life. Demands always come with a list of challenges and obstacles and it can be very helpful to trust our inner guidance with regard to how we want to proceed. Furthermore, in order to deal with these challenges in an essential and fulfilling way, we need to be driven by what we are pursuing, claiming who we are and what we want every step of the way.
Try this: highly value all your personal qualities and bring them out in moments of doubt and uncertainty. Living the moment mindfully is about giving the best of yourself and being true to your own feelings and thoughts in each experience; it is about learning from each moment in order to keep creating yourself according to your abilities and personal motivations. Be your own guide and reach out to someone else when you feel overwhelmed or you are beginning to override yourself in ways that are only destroying you and giving you destructive advice. In life, you are the only one establishing your own limits – no one else.
To recover from each experience we need to remove distractions and focus on being present and disconnecting from the past. What has already happened stays behind us, not in an inactive way, but in a supportive way. To learn from past experiences we need to practice gratitude in order to understand their essence and be able to take the constructive and applicable components from them and use them in the present.
Try this: bring the art of breathing into your life so that you can reach a level of true relaxation and disconnection. Being able to grant yourself the power of acceptance, rejoicing, and submergence in yourself is the best way to develop a real and constructive connection with who you are.