It has been a minute, and I just wanted to check in, say hi, and to share a little of what I find helpful in coping with the pressure of modern life.
As we work on Mr Feelgood, it’s inspiring to reflect on the relationships that have been born across the globe with our valued readers and the guests that we’ve featured and interviewed. Whether famous or not, folk are fascinating, everyone has a story, a multitude of challenges, and of course, wonderful gifts. And it’s also clear that no amount of money, status, celebrity or notoriety can incubate you, or exclude you from the inevitable slings and arrows of life as a human!
You may have come across versions of these a thousand times, but it remains essential to reiterate the importance of self-care. It used to be taboo for a bloke to speak of such, and I’m sure that still remains for some, but as a father, husband and friend, I think it’s a healthy act to take time and make a conscious effort to give myself some support, and figure out the right measure of self-care. In fact, it’s absolutely necessary.
If we’re willing to maintain our bodies, striving for optimal strength using nutrition and exercise, what’s the problem with affording our mental health the same attention and respect? None whatsoever!
So, although there are many to choose from, here’s my top five go to methods for recalibrating, shifting my mood, my energy and thus the quality of my very existence. Which, of course, then produces a knock-on effect on my family and community — including you!
1. Like the late revered spiritual teacher Ram Dass illustrated in his seminal book, ‘Be Here Now’, take a moment to stop, breathe and be still… yes, be still. Read that again: STOP, BREATHE, BE STILL… Tune into your immediate surroundings, observe with relaxed focus, your own body, the vibrations coming from within and exercise kindness and compassion, to your self (which will naturally then effect others). When I genuinely commit to this, I almost immediately feel centered which then shifts my mood from sometimes being prone to self-sabotage, to a gentle feeling of gratitude, which then often grows, dependent on the quality of my focus. It’s not a magic pill and like all things of value, takes time and effort, but just giving yourself a chance, committing some time and making an effort, it’s a very positive start.
2. Probably my most leant upon method of getting out of a funk, is utilizing ye olde fashioned pastime called walking. Take a walk in nature, get lost a little in a forest, explore an urban park, stroll alongside a river or ocean and marvel at the magnificence of our beautiful planet. I love to be amongst trees, there’s something magical and soothing about being in the centre of a living, breathing community of trees. Peaceful and majestic, ancient and modern, they spark my imagination and represent history and stories, survival and regeneration. And yes, though not regularly, I have been prone to hug a couple from time to time! It feels good to be in awe of nature, which never discriminates, always delivers and to which we’ll all someday return.
3. Listen to music…and dance! Yes, it seems obvious but as a young man, a day never passed without being improved and elevated by a collection of tunes, a familiar and energizing track or a bluesy melancholy song to indulge some deep emotions. As I aged, I noticed a subtle departure from such as I became consumed with work and worldly worries. But thanks to social media and our ‘kids’, who are now teen to young adults, I’ve been reintroduced to the massive benefits of all genres of music — and yes, dance, movement, mixing it up with abandon is absolutely the most wonderful medicine for the soul. Go on..have a wiggle..right now! feels good, right ?
4. Possibly one of the most difficult things to do: TURN OFF YOUR PHONE! Walk away from your screen of choice. Just say NO and stick to it. Like meditation, it’s tricky. Take baby steps, start with five minutes and then steadily extend but what’s vital is to BE CONSISTENT. This is gonna be seriously challenging, given our obsession, borderline addiction (personally speaking) to our contemporary devices. For those of a certain age, remember how rich and physically, spiritually, sensually engaging life was before this time of reliance upon technology. There was a definite separation between work, play and rest. To help you with this, commit an hour a day to reading… a book.
5. If you have children, focus on them without distraction. If they’re young, join them and get lost in their imaginary worlds — you’ll be amazed at the fun, calm and rejuvenation that can be had here. If done effectively, you’ll experience that sweet spot where you forget the passing of time. I guarantee you’ll feel good. And of course the benefit to them is beyond price. If you haven’t any kids, play with your pet, or a friends pet or sit with a friend and truly listen, properly, without interruption or a need to jump ahead preparing a smart answer, which brings us full circle to…
BE HERE NOW!
Of course this is a mere sample, my way, which of course changes like the seasons but what’s universally appealing is our need to take the time to be gentle with ourselves. There will always be times to trailblaze, get lost in the cut and thrust of industry and advancement but without rest and consistent maintenance, we’ll waste our potential and this incredible miracle called life.
Let me know how you get on…