How to slow down and give back to yourself
It seems that for a long time, we’ve all been told to engage in selfless acts of kindness towards others, in order to be a good person. We often find ourselves putting family and friends ahead of our needs, or saying yes to every little request just so we don't upset someone. There's no doubt that it's great to be able to give to others, as it leaves an irreplaceable feeling in your heart. But we must also remember to look after our own health, and not feel guilty being selfish every now and then. That’s because when you’re living as the best version of yourself, rather than a depleted version, you’ll naturally find that you have so much to give to the world around you. One of the key foundations of happiness is the ability to relax, slow down and give back to yourself.
It can feel like a pretty bizarre concept to many, that by actually slowing down the pace in which you live life, you can discover so much more about yourself and what’s going on around you. From your environment, to those you’ve chosen to let into your life, and maybe even those you have left behind, all the way to how your children are growing up, and the habits you’re passing down to them.
So often, you find yourself caught up in the whirlwind of life, that you slowly become disconnected to what’s actually going on around you. So where do we begin, and what steps can you take to slow down?
Controlling this aspect of your life is often much easier said than done. When everything seems so overwhelming, you often don’t know where to start in making changes in your life. And for that reason, some people never do find ways to change, they end up stagnating, only attracting more of what they’ve always got.
To prevent that feeling of being stuck in quicksand, it’s always good to start with the baby step approach. If you can find one single, small area or object to change or remove in your life, then focus your attention on that. Knowing that you can eliminate one piece of negativity or energy blocker, will then help to create momentum to eliminate bigger aspects that are holding you back.
Distracting a racing mind
You might have noticed just how big meditation and yoga classes have become in almost every location around the globe. You no longer have to make a pilgrimage to India to locate a guru, as you’re likely to find one down the road. If you’ve always been curious what all the fuss is about, then now is a good time to find out!
Both meditation and yoga have profound impact on your racing mind, and help to clear all the clutter that’s been living in there all day! By focusing on your breath and movement and connection with your body, you’ll be surprised at how many valuable lessons picked up in these classes, can be transferred into your day-to-day life.
These lessons form part of your personal toolbox for tackling life’s little challenges, and most importantly staying in control of your thoughts, before they spiral in the wrong direction. You learn a lot about the art of surrendering and letting go to all the things that no longer matter. You’ll also notice just how many energy blocks you have through tense muscles, and how this affects the workings of your internal organs and overall posture.
The importance of beauty sleep
Have you noticed that the more errands you squeeze into your day, the later your bedtime usually becomes? That’s because there’s that valuable window of opportunity, at the tail end of the day, to finally do what you want to do. Perhaps the kids are finally in bed, all the tasks are ticked off the list and now it’s you time. Before you know it, the clock strikes 2am! Sure, this is all about focusing on more time for yourself, but don’t become too nocturnal over it!
While some people claim to function completely fine on five hours sleep, it doesn’t truly give the body and mind enough time to rejuvenate. We all know how easy it is to turn into the Grinch when you haven’t had enough sleep!
There’s a mind boggling amount of restorative processes taking place when you sleep, with just about every single tissue, cell, organ and system within the body being affected by the amount of shut eye you get each night.
In particular, sleep has been shown to flush out toxins built up in the brain throughout the day. This helps to explain why you wake feeling so fresh and invigorated after a great night’s sleep.
Putting sleep at the top of your list of priorities is a must. Find ways to cut down your list of to-do’s, so they don’t creep into the night. This might involve saying no more often, if you find yourself always putting your hand up to help others. Perhaps you can set aside part of an afternoon to meal prep for the whole week, leaving much more time in the evenings to relax (or maybe take off to a yoga class?)
Lifting your mood with perspective
Often distracting your mind from your every-day routine is just what it takes to clean the slate and start with a fresh mood. Remember that angry motorist on your drive to work, who completely threw out your mood for the entire day? That’s a lesson on perspective! Cast your mind back to all the little things you got caught up in over the past year, then place them back into the big picture. You might even kick yourself and wonder how you allowed a particular person to affect you at such a deep level.
These little reflections will help you to realize where you might be losing your energy, overthinking situations or getting caught up in someone else’s bad mood!
Food’s connection to how you feel
Other than external distractions that have a good way of lowering (or lifting) your energy, there’s many little internal workings going on that can affect your mood too.
Emerging studies are proving just how much of the food you eat can affect your mood. Although you don’t exactly need a scientist to tell you this on paper, as you would have your own personal experience. You know those times when you may have binged a little bit too much on holiday junk food? Common feelings to come out of a poor diet include irritability, sluggish energy and even unexplained anger.
Stepping away from refined, processed foods and into highly nutritious food choices, will dramatically improve your overall mood and feelings of wellness. Aim for 80% nutritious food and give 20% allowance for those naughty treats.
Dr Mercola wrote about the 30 healthiest foods of all time here. You may even find yourself researching particular supplements, that along with healthy food, are known to alter brain chemistry, detoxify the body and lift your mood.
As you can see, there are so many aspects, both internal and external that affect your level of relaxation. It’s always your choice whether you cruise through life in first gear or travel at top speed. Finding a healthy balance is all about what works for you, and removing the blocks that stand in the way of obtaining your ultimate relaxation mindset.