“Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.”
With everyone around us constantly sharing their quarantine productivity updates, it is natural for the rest of us to feel pressured to join in. Even if no one is actually keeping track, the voices in our heads sure know how to make us feel unworthy. During such a time, feeling peace in our hearts is the most important thing, and whether you achieve that by baking a dozen cupcakes or spending the entire day staring out the window, it is totally up to you.
If being productive does not feed your soul, let it go. True contentment comes from within, so here are a few tips which can help you keep those negative thoughts at bay.
Affirmations are an extremely effective tool for overcoming self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. Whenever we hear or say something to ourselves over and over, our minds start to believe it. Thus, choosing to feed our minds positive thoughts can completely change our mindset and help us feel fulfilled.
I know not everyone believes in the power of words, but if you wholeheartedly give it a try it just might change your life. The next time you feel negative thoughts creeping in, look at yourself in the mirror, rephrase it in a positive manner, and say it out loud to yourself. However, the key is to believe in the words you are saying — and at first, you won’t. As you keep going, it will happen naturally.
There are plenty of affirmations available online, choose the ones which resonate with you, or make them up. Here are some of my favourites:
- I am enough.
- I love, trust, and believe in myself.
- I am surrounded by eternal peace and harmony.
- My life is perfectly on track. Even when I feel lost, I know it will all fall into place.
Being grateful is one of the key ingredients to leading a peaceful and content life. The next time you’re feeling blue, grab a notebook and a pen and list down all the things you love about your life. Focusing on your blessings will make you a more positive person overall and help you feel more at peace with your life.
Spend time in nature
I’m sure you have noticed how much nature has been thriving lately. Numerous birds perched on branches covered with luscious leaves, chirping to their hearts’ content — a few minutes in such an ambience is sure to lift your mood. If you don’t have a garden, go to your balcony, roof, or simply crack open a window and let the breeze blow on your face. Breathe in the fresh air, appreciate the beauty, and let your worries drift off with the wind.
You probably see this tip everywhere, but do not underestimate its power. The effects of meditation can be so monumental that you will chastise yourself for not beginning sooner. Learning how to quiet your mind will help eliminate negative thoughts, improve your focus, and help you feel lighter and happier.
There are many types of meditation, but if you are a beginner the simplest one you can begin with is Breath Awareness Meditation. All you need to do is sit or lie down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Take long, deep breaths — in through the nose and out through the mouth — and just notice the sensations caused by it.
Limit your screen time
The tranquillity I feel after a day of no social media is beyond belief. As it is, social media increases our anxiety and makes us scatter-brained, and during these trying times, the news and negativity can send us into a wave of grief and panic. While it is important to stay updated, limit your time and stick to headlines only.
Do something you love
If you’re swamped with work, remember to make some time for things you enjoy. Whether it be making a puzzle with your child or watching an episode of your favourite show, even thirty minutes away from work and worries can do wonders for your mental health. For the ones who are spending most of your time in leisure, it would be good for you to do something which resembles work (but you also enjoy) once in a while, such as re-organising your bookshelf in a different order. The sense of achievement that comes from such tasks will have a positive impact on the rest of your day and get rid of that nagging voice in your head.
Yoga is one of the biggest blessings in my life and I am eternally grateful for it. The benefits it can have on your mental and physical health are endless; it is the key to feeling more at home in your body.
The Tree Pose is my personal favourite, and it is deceptively simple: The difficulty lies in being able to balance yourself on one leg — and for that you must quiet your mind. But don’t let that scare you! With a little patience and determination, anyone can do it. Do this once a day (even if you can hold your balance for 2 seconds at first) and soon you will become a master at it. This pose will eliminate your fears and worries and help you feel grounded.
Some more simple poses to begin with:
Cobra, Child, Half Spinal twist, Bow, and Corpse pose.
Plan each day differently
If it is possible, engage in different activities every day, or at least switch up the sequence of your daily duties. Once we get used to a certain cycle, life can seem monotonous and dreary. But something as simple as changing the order of the same activities can help make your day brighter.
Wait it out
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what you do or how much you try, you’ll still be lost in a world of agitation and frustration and nothing will seem to bring you back. If that is the case, take some time off from the real world and your responsibilities. If you feel like lying in bed like a lump of Jell-O all day, do so. If you need to cry out your frustration, go ahead. Slowly but surely, your soul will heal in time.
Kashfia Hassan loves to write professionally and for fun.