Well hasn’t 2020 been an absolute wrecking ball of emotions?
With ‘normal’ life put on hold, we’ve had to get creative about how to look after ourselves and, most importantly, our mental health.
We lost our coffee catch-ups in a quaint cafe, fitness classes and gyms where we moved our body and settled our chaotic thoughts, and our theatres where we could escape from reality.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say, my mental health has never been so battered, but also never been so important.
I had absolutely no idea how to lift myself up, get myself off the sofa, feel peaceful and content again.
A lot of resources and influencers mention meditation. As great as that is, you’ll know if you’ve ever tried it that meditation takes practice. You can’t expect to sit for ten minutes and find inner peace.
Whether you practice meditation or not, these four things can provide some semblance of peace away from meditation:
Reading. Courses. Education. Podcasts. Webinars. Youtube Videos.
These are all brilliant ways to learn something new. It doesn’t have to be career related, it can be completely random.
Personally, I love watching Youtube videos on how people grow businesses, how to cut your own hair, how to become more charismatic.
I also love listening to podcasts, especially ‘The Michelle Obama Podcast’. Her grace and insight make for a peaceful but informative podcast. With interesting topics, and even more interesting guests, it’s a great use of any spare time you have.
Equally, if you wanted to focus on your professional skills and career, courses are a great investment in your future self.
2. Release Your Inner Child
Don’t worry, this doesn’t involve any crazy activities that will make your neighbours look at you funny.
Children love fun. They don’t colour in the hopes of becoming an artist one day, sell their artwork in exhibitions and make loads of money.
They colour because they enjoy it.
There is no end goal other than to create.
As adults, we don’t often give ourselves enough time to create in that way. To do something for the fun of doing it.
I started dancing. Watching videos and copying routines. Not so I can become a professional dancer or make a career out of it, but because I love moving my body to music and rhythm, to feel freedom accompanied by a heavy bass and tresillo beat.
I’ve also started writing in the same way. There’s no end goal, just a feeling of freedom in the use of my pen and a notebook.
In Help Guide’s (a non-profit organisation for mental wellbeing) article about the benefits of play for adults, they even reference the positive impact it has on our productivity and ability to innovate:
“When you play, you engage the creative side of your brain and silence your “inner editor,” that psychological barrier that censors your thoughts and ideas. This can often help you see the problem in a new light and think up fresh, creative solutions.”
Playing is such an important skill. It gives us time to relax, enjoy our time alone, and enjoy time with others.
Who doesn’t love trudging around in crunchy snow with your family or loved one, just like you did when you were a kid?
3. Do Something You’ve Been Putting Off
We all do it. Life gets busy, but it also can get boring.
No one enjoys booking their car in to get it serviced, no one thinks “Yay! More ironing to do today!”, and let’s be frank, no one enjoys paying bills.
But, whichever way you spin it, you know it’s necessary.
So rather than procrastinating, get it done.
The pain of putting off that errand or chore is, in most cases, far greater than actually completing it.
To stop myself falling into the whistle-and-walk-away trap, I now list my chores and errands as reminders on my phone as soon as they come in. Then the next morning, I get them done first thing.
In an interview, Roy Baumeister, a Professor of Psychology and New York Times Best Seller, says we have far more will power in the morning than we do as the day goes on. So if there’s something you’ve been putting off, but you never seem to get round to it, try to settle on a time when you’ll do it the following morning.
For me, I get and have breakfast, and whilst my partner is in the shower, I’ll pay the bills or answer the emails I’ve been avoiding.
Then the rest of the day feels far less stressful, and I don’t have that constant niggling worry that I’m putting something off.
4. Open Up
Sometimes we just need to let it all out.
Talk about our fears, worries, anxieties, insecurities and sadness.
Whether it’s with a family member, best friend or therapist, sometimes the best thing to bring inner peace is to acknowledge and accept what’s been causing havoc for our mental health in the first place.
Catharsis, which comes from purification/cleansing, can provide inner peace.
Whilst the initial fear of opening up can feel like a mountain too steep to climb, once you start, it’s like your soul acknowledging what’s brought you so much sadness, and accepting that it’s ok.
Another step in the journey
This year has been difficult at best, and we all deserve our consolidation with inner peace.
There’s no right or wrong way to find that beautiful settled feeling inside your soul, whether you meditate or not.
The fun lies in trying different methods that work for you.
Whatever the future holds, we should all be exceedingly proud of the resilience we’ve found.
The courage to face every inch of what we call a ‘normal life’ stripped away, leaving isolation, grief and disorientation.
In the frustration and angst, we found creative ways to connect with our loved ones, look after our mental health and gain perspective on what matters most to us.
This is just another step in our journey, but through finding inner peace, we open the door to creative solutions, human connection and an inherent sense that “it’s all going to be ok”.
Look after yourselves,