One thing I have learned in my journey to a healthier lifestyle is that wellness needs to be holistic: mind, body and soul. Taking care of emotional health is an essential part of my life. When I was at university I was under a lot of stress, and this resulted in me getting burnt out and being in a really unhealthy place emotionally and mentally.
About 4 years ago I reached a point where I realized it was necessary to protect my emotions and prioritize joy in my life. To each person practices of self care look different but I made several changes which where instrumental in me becoming the more content person I am now. With that in mind, today I am sharing what I do to maintain a peaceful and content mindset.
Re-evaluate your work balance
As a driven perfectionist I tend to take on a lot, in both my work and home life. This was a major of stress in my life, especially in my teens and early twenties. Last year I did a lot of reading into some Scandinavian cultures, looking into why they are some of the happiest people on the planet. A fundamental part of their culture involves valuing spare time and leisure over money and the subsequent overwork that results from that. This means a lot of people have work hours closer to 6 than to 8 hours a day. I was challenged by this information to switch from over 40 hour weeks to part time work and it has been one of the most valuable decisions I've made this year. I enjoy my workdays and am significantly more productive when at work. This also gives me extra time in the week for quality time with loved ones, and working on my many little projects.
Altruism and giving back is a remarkable way of increasing satisfaction and happiness.
For me this looks like volunteering for half a day a week at our local animal shelter, which doesn't feel like work at all! Helping out causes I am passionate about just because I can gives me a huge thrill, it also helps me put my life in perspective and understand how truly blessed I have it. Not to mention taking my mind of myself and my own problems and investing in others does a world of good.
My primary reason for physical movement is to feel strong and happy, and it works. Find which way of moving works for you, for me this looks like jogging, hiking, dance and yoga. These never fail to make me feel miles better, though not always during the workout itself.
Planned leisure and relaxation time
Prioritizing and scheduling time for the things you love, and recharging your mind is so important. I find that unless I schedule my creative and introversion time, it doesn't happen. Its as simple as creating a phone reminder several times a week and it makes a world of difference in our outlook.
Tech Free Time
Similarly to this I find that spending a lot of time on phones and computers can lead to a feeling of disconnect from the 'real world'. I target this by ensuring I'm not always taking my phone with me on date nights, and most evenings I keep my phone in my office while I am in the living room. On weekends I have a mostly phone free day on either Saturday on Sunday, enabling more engagement with my surroundings on days off.
Over time I have learnt that I don't always have the power to change my emotions but I can develop the ability to move my focus from negative emotions to something else, so they don't rule my life. This is done by lots of different practices, primarily tea rituals, colouring, yoga and meditation. A combination of these have helped me move focus away from stress and difficult emotions so that I can give my mind a break.
Surroundings and environment have a huge impact on outlook and mood. Settings that generate happiness for me have a lot of natural light and plants accompanied by a lack of clutter. For me minimalism is key, peaceful surroundings result in a peaceful mind.