…. And just like that, we’re halfway through 2020. What a whirlwind of a year this has been, nothing short of an emotional, and physical rollercoaster. I’m sure you can relate when I say that at the best of times it can be a challenge to stay driven, focused and motivated, but now more than ever, during this period of ‘hibernation’ I guess you could call it, I have personally struggled to hold myself accountable with my goals and ambitions. I want to use this opportunity, this post, to talk about Mental Health, and my own personal experience with mental health during these ongoing, strange times.
Let’s take a step back in time to May, when everything was beginning to come to a standstill, shops & restaurants were closing, people started working from home, holidays and trips abroad cancelled… people had to resort to staying at home, little did we know, we’re still waiting, we’re still at home, and although a little scary at times, I’ve come to learn that there is beauty in everything that happens, and I’ve pushed myself now more than ever to really focus on not only my career goals, but my personal goals too, what do I want to achieve in the next 5 years, how am I going to get there, what makes me feel accomplished and fulfilled? Sadly, in this present climate, I think people are under the impression that we only need to check in with ourselves and our mental health once every blue moon to see how we’re feeling, if our goals are being met, but I’ve come to realise that checking in with yourself daily is so much more effective, powerful and quite frankly more productive. Don’t get me wrong, there are days when my emotions and my productivity levels just don’t go hand in hand, days when the level of concentration ebbs and flows, days of slowing down during my cycle, listening to my own body intuitively to allow for a better understanding, on a deeper level of consciousness how I am truly feeling. These days are ok, don’t judge yourself on those days. During moments of feeling uncomfortable, try to remember that these moments are temporary, and they are signs that growth is happening within, all you need to do is accept this period, and create the space to allow the magic to seep through.
I’m here today to share Five Ways that have personally helped me to remain calm & conscious throughout my ongoing mental health journey, and new rituals that I’ve adopted that’ll stay with me long after hibernation has passed.
BE AMONGST NATURE
"Nature provides everything we need to protect and maintain health." - Alfred Vogel.
Yes, Yes, Yes, to this!
The first step to maintaining a Calm & Conscious Lifestyle was to go outside, amongst nature and breath (semi) fresh air. I’m not talking about strenuous exercise, just a simple 20-30-minute walk, a few times of the week can make a huge difference. If you don’t feel comfortable getting out and about just yet, or you just prefer to stay closer to home, if possible, go outside barefoot and ground yourself that way. Walking barefoot, or grounding allows you to reconnect with Mother Earth and can make you feel calmer and more stable during times of distress. Now, if you’re reading this and you’re living in the UK then you can most definitely relate when I say we don’t get enough sunshine – and lack of sunshine, means lack of the all-important Vitamin D. The immune regulating and boosting vitamin that we need in order to support ourselves during times of sickness, not to mention, Vitamin D has a huge role in the body with mood and the nervous system, particularly with autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. So yeah, it’s pretty important! Without the sunshine it’s almost impossible to get Vitamin D from our food source directly, so supplementation is a great way to go.
However, it’s not all about the sunshine, the next biggest reason for why I’m such a huge advocate of being outside in nature is because our natural environments are full to the brim with essential vitamins and minerals that have profound positive implications on our health. Most plants will give off Phytoncides; an organic compound that are naturally antibacterial and antiviral in their quality, helping to fight disease, naturally!
Failing that, if you can’t get outdoors then try to bring the outdoors in, this will also do wonders for your mental health. Light a natural candle, diffuse some essential oils that will evoke feelings of being out in the nature, think Patchouli & Cypress.
My second way of maintaining a Calm & Conscious lifestyle is to actually consume less, by practicing mindfulness of where, how and who I buy from.
I’ve always been aware that shopping local, and organic was not only better for my physical health but better for my mental health too. You see, by shopping locally for your fruits and vegetables, you are helping smaller businesses’ who have, most of the time been around a lot longer than commercial stores. Buying local helps businesses who need it most stay afloat during these harrowing times. Top tip; buy only what you need, re-use & recycle wherever possible.
LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF
My third way to maintaining a Calm & Conscious Lifestyle was re-learning how to love myself. Huh? Sounds a little out there, I’ll give you that, but I’ll explain how I have been practicing the art of learning to love myself.
Whether your alone or not, spending time alone by yourself, with your own body and your own thoughts is so important. I don’t just mean sitting for 5 minutes in your room staring at the wall, I mean, really learning what your body & mind loves to do, and make it count! For me, I started to make conscious decisions about who with, and how I wanted to spend my precious time. Something as simple as running a hot bath, lighting a candle, investing in self-development books, evening walk’s with my partner, setting aside one hour a day of reading, cooking a nutritious meal for one and being present whilst eating my meal, no distractions from other people, my phone, work. Just me & my food. This is something I had forgotten to do, pre-hibernation, but one thing is for sure, I’ll never neglect loving myself ever again.
ADOPT HEALTHY HABITS & RITUALS
My fourth way to maintaining a Calm & Conscious Lifestyle was to adopt more healthy habits & rituals. Often, I will sit and reflect, and the main prompt that comes up time and time again is, “I am the happiest when I am” – One example of this may be to get up at the same time every day, setting yourself a routine for the morning. My favourite routine and one that I’ve been doing for quite some time now, I like to wake up around 630am, stretch and do my breath-work for 15 minutes. Next I’ll make the bed, and wander downstairs to make my celery juice. I’ll then head out for a walk, 20-30 minutes each morning, often I’ll listen to a podcast or meditation on my walk. This little routine has had such a profound impact on my mental health, it allows me the time and space to check in with myself, before the busy workday commences.
EXERCISE YOUR MIND & BODY
My fifth and final way to maintaining a Calm & Conscious Lifestyle during hibernation has been to move my body & exercise my mind. It’s so easy to get complacent and put everything on tomorrows to do list, and although I’m the biggest advocate for everything at your own pace, it’s incredible what you can do with your mind when you put it to work. By exercising your mind, you strike the perfect balance to keep your hormones happy & harmonised. Resetting your mind allows for the motivation of a healthy body; I’ve stepped away from strenuous muscle building exercises as this was actually promoting poor mental health & stress on my body and hormones. Instead, I opt for yoga, Pilates/barre, toning workouts instead and this is something I’ll continue to practice long after hibernation ends.
….. And breathe! If you’re still here kudos to you for making it this far, it just shows that you’re invested in your mental health as much as the next person. I really do hope you found these top five tips to maintaining a Calm & Conscious Lifestyle helpful.
With love & light,
Thank you so much Victoria, this post is just beautiful! We have loved your inspiring and motivating words pre and post hibernation. It has been so exciting for us to share your important tips on this transitional phase.
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