Most of us find it hard to imagine that there are things we can introduce in our daily lives that can enhance our inner balance and improve our mental health. And we’re not talking about the obvious, such as having a healthy breakfast, either. Here are small, easy, and achievable steps (there’s a risk of becoming more overwhelmed and pessimistic with the lack of change otherwise) towards a better state of mind:
Don’t read your emails after 8pm
You’ll be tempted to start replying if you read them. Even when you resist replying, they linger in your head at a time when you are trying to unwind and relax.
You probably know this already, but here’s how – go to bed 20 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime tonight. Add 5 minutes each day. By day 21 you will have added 2 hours to your rest time.
Ignore your Inbox until you’re ready
Do not look at your inbox in the morning until you are in a space to actually deal with the emails. If you open them earlier than that, they mentally impact you and steal the calm moments in the morning.
Make the early morning your sacred time
Take a half hour just for yourself before the madness of the day (breakfast meetings, errands, your partner rushing to work) kicks in. If you have children and they’re not at school yet, delegate them to a trusted adult for an hour. It will be beneficial for the children – enhancing their resilience and building self-confidence and trust. And it will be good for you to have some quiet time alone – to breathe, stretch, meditate or pray. A deep breathing exercise of three minutes is the fastest way to bring yourself to the present moment, to drop the constant worry for a while and to feel your own peaceful energy increase.
Choose to move daily for 20 minutes
Pick a movement that appeals to you most – be it swimming, a brisk walk, jog, yoga class, pilates, gym training.
Start creating “To Do” lists
Separate the items into “Things that have to be done today”, “Things that can wait to be done next week”, and “Things that don’t have to be addressed till much later.” Not everything is an emergency and has to weigh heavily on you. Prioritise.
Delegate, delegate, delegate
Think of every item on your list that might be done successfully by someone else. Every task you delegate leaves room for you – to breathe, rest, concentrate on yourself and what you need to do. It is not selfish. It is self-care.
Create a safe space
Notice the energy of the people you spend time with and become aware of those who make you feel tense, unsafe, force you to overeat, or feel “not good enough.” These are people who drain your energy without you even noticing it. Choose to spend time with those who make you feel safe, calm, and relaxed. They enhance your energy.
Practice saying No
Say “no” often, gracefully and with a smile. And remember that “no” is a sentence. It is enough. No justification needed.
Find a time of the day when you can think of the three things or moments you are grateful for. Write them down. Read them at night – and every night. You invite more things to be grateful for into your life by noticing the little things and the people who made your day. Acknowledge them.
This article was contributed by Ralitza Peeva, a Counsellor and Life Coach at COMO Shambhala Urban Escape. Armed with a Masters in Counselling and a PhD in Sociology, Ralitza’s approach integrates multiple disciplines and methodology such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, and Client Centred Therapy. She works together with her clients to explore and gain the insights necessary to enable them to lead a fruitful, balanced and fulfilling life.