How are you feeling? For real? If you ask me, I am all kinds of things: relaxed, anxious, worried, happy, impatient, grateful, annoyed, calm, light-hearted, angry, hopeful, excited, sad… It’s the whole bandwidth of emotions.
If the past few weeks taught us anything, then it’s probably the awareness that nothing in life is certain, and everything can be turned upside-down from one day to the next. In many ways it is a very painful process: we have had to let go of things, plans, habits, people… Whether you had to cancel your long-planned travels, or you lost your job, or you are expected to work from home with small kids in the house, or you find yourself working around the clock risking your life to save others – the situation brings most of us to a place way outside our comfort zone, and sometimes surely ‘over the edge’.
However, whilst our outside world is falling apart, it is an amazing opportunity to focus our attention on what’s inside, on ourselves, our life and who we are. Last year I travelled to Thailand for a yoga retreat to do exactly that – this year I have a similar experience
at home! Unfortunately without the beautiful beaches, but still with lots of time to be with myself and think about life. It’s a home-retreat, that can be a valuable experience for self-discovery…if you let it.
Here are a few ideas to get your ‘me-time’ going:
- Start your day with a short meditation! What are you grateful for? What really matters in your life? If you want, write it down in a gratitude journal afterwards.
- Move your body! Whatever type of sport brings you joy – do it! Make it a habit to take 20-30mins every day. My choice is yoga, I just LOVE it. If you haven’t tried it, please do. Yoga is a life teacher in so many ways. I’m going to write a separate blog on yoga some day, so stay tuned J
- Journal! Writing down thoughts, ideas and even worries is a great way to reflect and take a step back. You can also try to answer some concrete journal questions, that help you discover who you are, e.g. what are my interests, what are my greatest strengths, what has been my biggest achievement, what is my purpose,…?
- Exercise your creativity! Like any other muscle, creativity can be trained. It’s not about the result, it’s about the process. Sing, even if you can’t sing (just close the windows for the benefit of your neighbours). Paint or play with the colours (nobody needs to ever see the picture). Write a poem (which nobody ever has to read). Whatever it is that gets the right side of your brain active and your creative juices flowing is great, because it simulates your imagination, your intuition, and makes you think more holistically.
- Do some good old personality tests! Learning about yourself is always fun, especially with personality tests like Myers Briggs, PVA, Enneagram, etc. It doesn’t matter if you’ve done them before, because a) things change and b) it’s not the result that matters, it’s your interpretation and reflection on the result that is the interesting part. Write down your findings in a journal to have a record of it when you come back to the test in a few years from now.
- Learn something new! Maybe you have always had an interest in a particular topic, which you’ve never had the chance to pursue? Now is the time – read about it, do an online course, listen to podcasts, talk to people… Maybe you can even acquire a new set of skills during this lockdown?
- End your day with a short meditation. Listen to your breath. How do you feel? Accept and welcome anything and everything that comes up – positive and negative emotions. They are all valid and deserve their time and space.
While we cannot change what happens in this world, we can choose how we react to what is happening. Our thoughts, emotions and behaviours make all the difference. The better you know yourself, the better you will manage.
My best wishes for you and your close ones,