5 STEPS you can take to feel more like yourself
When going through life, one is constantly evolving and transitioning. We learn how to live brave and vulnerable, choose love again after a heartbreak, show up when everything in us does not want to and sometimes, we win. Other times it just feels like the effort required to do more than what is needed is too much. You settle into a comfortable routine, doing just enough to get by and no more.
Showing up for work - checked.
Enough meals to survive - checked.
Deadlines made with bare minimum effort - checked.
Doing just enough to keep your job, ensuring the kids stay in school and ensuring you survive long enough to get back to bed. The truth is, you'd much rather stay wrapped up in a blanket, than show up.
This is followed by, a sunny day, where you feel the energy come back. You have a day that gets the laundry done, you clean out the kitchen cupboard and even get some journalling done to get some goals written out. You surprise yourself with a workout that evening and truly feel like yourself again.
Only, it lasts another three days and then - smack back into a slum.
This cycle perpetuates itself, over and over again. Until the sunny days don't feel so sunny anymore.
I am not going to give you advise. I am not even going to tell you what to do. Or, give you another 5 tips on how to get out of the slum. I am simply going to list 5 ways to get yourself feeling like yourself again. You can choose to do one thing, or 2, or 3. The point is, that often, one simply has no idea where to start. Starting feelings like too much an anxiety-inducing process, so you stay stagnant.
I feel you. We are living in interesting times (my way of explaining the craze that life is) and how you are feeling is valid. I also know that you are tired of feeling this way and that is why I am simply going to jot down a few things that may make you feel better. Try them, when you are ready.
1. Re-connect with yourself
The body is made up of various parts and when the body feels neglected, it can often start to feel as though you are wandering off and your feet cannot seem to touch the ground. That analogy is point-blank accurate because it is about centring yourself and coming back to yourself to feel planted.
One way to reconnect with yourself is to meditate. Meditation is not about sitting in a yoga spot. Instead, it is about feeling centred. Feeling your entire body, your feet, your hands, your back or your shoulders. Allowing the energy to flow through you, with breathing. Allowing your mind to come back to the present and bringing yourself back to yourself.
Choose from the various meditation styles and methods that exist and meditate for 20 minutes a day. You can do 20 minutes when you wake up or when you go to bed. Or split it into 10 minutes, doing the first 10 minutes when you wake up and the other 10 minutes when you go to bed.
2. Write down your thoughts
When you feel like your brain will not quit. It will not switch off and your mind becomes a battlefield. A place always on edge, always thinking about what needs to be done, what should be done and what you are not doing. This causes anxiety and makes one even more unproductive. One way you can still your mind and gain control over your mind is by doing thought-work which can happen through journaling. It is simply starting the process of working through what is going on in your head.
Dedicate time to journalling. You can choose to do so on a set day of the week, or time of the day. You decide the frequency and then ensure you stick to it. Decide where you will journal and ensure you have it on hand at your designated journalling time. The trick is to not overthink what to write down, instead, jot down everything you have been thinking about. Let the thoughts come to you and release them through this journaling exercise.
The idea is to take stock of what is happening within you and to create space between you and your thoughts so that they are not all-consuming. Sometimes, we think there is a lot going on in our minds, when it is actually one thought, that we are playing over and over again with different scenarios. Journalling does not provide solutions, however, it can provide perspective and that can sometimes lead to solutions.
Writing down your thoughts is only intended to help you take stock and release the turmoil inside you.
3. Get active
The moment we think of exercise, particularly when it is not a part of your daily life, it feels overwhelming. That is alright and understandable. That is why the suggestion is NOT to join the gym or get into a Bootcamp class (although it is a great remedy for mental exhaustion). Instead, it is a suggestion to get active in one form or the other, by including something like stretching or taking the stairs at work. However, it has to be something you do daily.
The trick to formulating new habits is by habit stacking. Meaning, you put one habit on top of another. If you brush your teeth each day (I sure hope you do LOL), then you decide to do one minute of stretching each morning before brushing your teeth. That is habit stacking. If you make a cup of coffee each morning before going to shower, then you commit to two minutes of stretching while the coffee brews. If you take the elevator up to work each morning, then you commit to taking the stairs instead.
When deciding how you will get active, look for a habit you possess and then stack an active habit next to it and commit.
Getting active is in stretching, yoga, a 5 minutes walk during lunch, 30 minute walks after work, gym, Bootcamp or setups before bed. It does not have to be intense, it just has to be something you are willing to do. Being active helps you get energy back into your bones and reconnect with your body.
4. Play more
When we grow, we lose our inner child. We become mature and forget our inner child, we stop laughing like we used to, we forget to enjoy the small wonders of the world and we stop being vulnerable.
Simply, we forget to play. Soon enough, we no longer know how to reconnect with the childlike nature within ourselves, which steals the joy from us.
Learning how to play more is in actively and consciously allowing yourself the pleasure of what brings you joy. Choosing to have tea and bread for dinner, because you had a long day at work - and allowing that to bring joy to your family table. Finding yourself in the middle of a joke with a friend and laughing from your stomach, and not controlling the moment. Picking up the garden sprinklers and playing with your children under the spray of water. Drawing again, going adventure-seeking on a Sunday afternoon and plain simply having some good old fun.
Playing more is not simply about starting a pillow fight (which is never a bad idea), but about reconnecting with your inner child. Remembering the days where you were carefree and trying to find that place again, responsibly.
Start by doing one thing you truly loved years ago, and cannot remember when last you did it. If you used to love dressing up for a photo shoot at home, do it. Used to love getting your nails done and haven't in a while. Do it (nail polish does the same as acrylic nails). Used to love a game of cards. Play some. Used to love going for a walk in the gardens near you. Do it. Used to love baking random recipes. Do it.
Just come back to yourself. Play more. Do the things you love more.
5. Be vulnerable
Brave is s/he who speaks their truth, unapologetically. It feels brave to share our innermost thoughts. The parts of us that are hurting, feeling vulnerable and making us feel less like ourselves. We silence ourselves and vow that we will manage through this, alone. Worse yet, we feel like everyone is having problems and how can we possibly add onto that.
The worse thing one can impose on self is silence when your soul wants to speak. You are not alone, and the best thing you can do to brave is to speak. To allow yourself to be vulnerable and speak your truth.
Reach out to someone you trust and share how you're feeling. We can often get caught in the frenzy of emotions and forget that we are surrounded by love and people who care. Reach out. You will be okay.
Do one of these 5. Just one.
Remember, sometimes it takes one step. No matter how small or how big. Just one step. Always one foot in front of the other.
From one Powerhouse,
Find me on Twitter - @mavisbraga