It’s easy to put ourselves last when we have work, family and other obligations to consider. But Candice (our in-house content writer) exhorts us to take a step back and reassess what’s important – because when we do, we will do well, and other aspects of our life (and the environment) will too.
Low energy, insomnia, headaches, anxiety – these are just some of the physical symptoms I used to encounter daily due to stress. We live in a fast-paced century where everything and everyone is moving at light speed. It is a no-brainer for burnout.
I often wish there were more than 24 hours a day to complete a multitude of tasks (and binge-watch Netflix). Well, spoiler alert! There is no way our minds can keep up with those activities even if we’re given 100 hours a day because we will constantly add on more errands and activities to keep ourselves fulfilled – or so we think.
I’m not a health guru, but I’ve noticed signs of constant struggle to keep up with my deadlines. I subconsciously think about work even when I’m out socialising. I check for emails and messages (and reply to them almost immediately). I go through occasional mental meltdowns. I’m beginning to acknowledge the warnings that I’ve conveniently ignored.
Am I pushing myself too hard? Is this all worth it if I’m putting my mental and physical health at risk?
So I began to make small changes to my daily routine so that I can focus on what’s truly important for my soul. As the title suggests, it is about being – being in the present, being in the moment. After all, we are called human beings, not human “doing”.
Here are my five simple ways to take ownership of our personal well-being.
1. Declutter your mind, declutter your life
While you are on a roll Kon Mari-ing your wardrobe and living space, don’t forget to declutter your mind. We often focus too much on the external factors that only our eyes can see, and miss looking inwards for signs of stress. Journalling is a therapeutic form of brain exercise that allows us to dump all our thoughts and ideas onto paper. It helps to clarify our thoughts and feelings, thereby helping us to gain valuable self-knowledge. Sometimes the best ideas are sparked through journalling!
This can be done either in the morning before any tedious brain work, or at the end of the day as you wind down for bed.
Let it flow
2. Seek clarity within yourself
Meditation has nothing to do with spiritual rituals. I see it as a method to prime my mind and increase productivity. Meditation has reportedly been shown to measurably reduce anxiety and improve memory recall. Morning meditation works best for me as it anchors my intentions for the day, and provides a sense of calmness to tackle challenges rationally and not emotionally.
3. Escape to a lush hideout
This is a hard one. Living in Singapore, we are not geographically situated next to mountains and valleys. But if we look deeper, it doesn’t take much effort to appreciate our beautiful reservoirs and beaches! Even exploring a neighbourhood park will be a great escape from your electronic devices.
Have you also heard of forest bathing? The idea is less about escaping from the urban jungle, and more about connecting and returning to a natural way of being. Research suggests that being with nature helps to lower levels of frustration and bring in a space of presence.
Follow Xiu Nature Connections for updates on their next forest bathing activity in Singapore.
We all need a change of scenery sometimes
4. Nourish your body with soul food
Nourishing your body with vegan and sustainable food choices is not just for the benefit of our planet. When we consume more whole, unprocessed, natural foods, it is the ideal way to eat to avoid illness, obesity, and most chronic health issues. Plant-based foods are loaded with nutrients that enhance brain health and improve your mood. Start slowly by having one plant-based meal a week, then gradually increase the frequency. Take a mental note of the shift in your mood when you nourish your body with more greens and less meat.
Green living is made easy with Souley Green’s food collection.
For ingredient suggestions and tips on how to liven up your plate, click here
5. Get sufficient sleep
Yes, sleep! Quality sleep is important for various brain functions. When we are sleep deprived, we tend to experience mind fog, have a short temper, binge-eat… the list goes on. Our mind and body crave an ample recharge after a long day of heightened senses and emotions. Try sleeping for at least six to eight hours, and waking up at the same time each day. A regular bedtime is a key part in your brain's proper circadian function and in achieving a better holistic feeling overall.
Here are a few bonus tip and a cherry on top – practice gratitude. Gratitude is the most impactful emotional transformation that creates a feel-good factor in our minds. By taking the time to acknowledge the things that we are grateful for, we evoke positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.
Incorporating these changes into your life can be really fuss-free and rewarding. Your urban-wear body will thank you for the quality time offered to attend to your own wants and needs.