Sometimes the pressures of life can take their toll on our minds and bodies, leaving us exhausted, depressed and lacking in energy. Here’s how to give your mind, body and spirit a lift.
Make sure you start every day on a positive note. Instead of reading the papers or watching the news which, let’s face it, generally leaves you feeling pretty miserable, read a book that inspires you instead. You can catch up on the news later in the day, but make sure the first thing you read leaves you feeling uplifted.
photo credit: Anders.Bachmann
Sit and write down a list of simple pleasures that you enjoy and pledge to do one every day. This could be anything from lazing in the bath rather than having a quick shower, to having a bar of your favourite chocolate. The important thing is that it makes you feel good.
Make time each day to focus on a moment in your life when you felt successful and empowered. It doesn’t have to be a major achievement – it could be a moment when your boss congratulated you on doing a good job. Bring to mind how you felt at the time and re-live those feelings of accomplishment, knowing you can do that again.
Breathing in a rapid, shallow way is known to create a state of stress in the body. So take time to make sure that you are breathing properly. Breathe deeply, inhaling into your abdomen and exhaling the breath fully. Repeat this five times and practise whenever you feel stressed or uneasy. It will quickly bring about a state of calm.
Ensure you take some form of exercise at least three times a week. If you normally drive to work, get the bus instead a couple of days a week and get off a stop early to fit in some walking. At lunchtimes go out for a 20-minute walk instead of sitting at your desk. Take up a new hobby that you really enjoy. Not everyone is suited to the gym, so why not try salsa dancing or cycling?
Most of us have something we don’t like about our bodies, but instead of focusing on your flaws, focus instead on the bits you do like. Look at yourself in the mirror and decide on what parts of your body you like and pledge to make the most of them. Ask a friend or a partner what your best feature is – you might be pleasantly surprised.
Every day make a promise to yourself to undertake a random act of kindness. This could include making an anonymous donation to charity, paying a compliment to a friend or colleague, holding a door open for a stranger. Enjoy the fact that you are doing something good for others.
Challenge yourself to do something you’ve never done before. It doesn’t have to be something as extreme as abseiling (unless you really want to!) Pushing your boundaries and stepping outside of your comfort zone gives you the belief that you can achieve your goals and cope with difficulties that come your way.
Make time to meditate every day – five or 10 minutes will make all the difference. Switch off the phone and sit somewhere with your back supported by a wall or chair. Close your eyes and relax. Start at the top of your head and work your way down your body, relaxing the different parts in turn. Breathe deeply, counting to five as you inhale and five as you exhale. Keep this up for five to 10 minutes, then slowly open your eyes.
About the author: Liz Parry is a writer specialising in holistic health and wellbeing, personal development and spirituality.