Try these classic approaches if you’re looking for new ways to connect with yourself and promote reflection, self-care and wellbeing.
Writing can be an extremely potent way to bring a sense of peace and clarity to your day. It all depends on how you use it. Simply externalizing your thoughts onto the page (or screen), without judging the quality or style of your writing is a great way to let off steam and express yourself in a safe container. This can help you get to the bottom of a certain bundle of thoughts or emotions and come to a deeper understanding of your perspectives on a certain event.
Not that it needs to accomplish this in order to be of value. In much the same way that having a friend we can speak our mind to can help with getting things “off our chest”, cultivating a regular practice with journaling can help in much the same way.
You can also use practices like writing out a gratitude list every day to bring the things that give us joy to the surface. Try writing out 5 things that made you smile throughout the day, and read back over them whenever you need a pick-me-up.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a psychologist best known for popularizing the concept of flow states. When we’re in a flow state, otherwise known as being “in the zone”, we’re happily absorbed in the moment, which has a positive impact on our ability to combat stress and fatigue by unburdening us of dissonant thought patterns and behaviors.
What that looks like for you is entirely individual, so long as the activity, you’re involved in manages to hit the balance between being engaging but not too challenging. That could take the form of doing some online sudokus, spinning the 0-36 numbered wheel in Roulette, or going surfing. It entirely depends on your proclivities as well as your mood.
What might be perfect for getting you into a flow state at one point, like some mild cardio exercise, may prove inappropriate for you in a different mood or frame of mind so don’t be afraid to experiment!
We can get wrapped up in our goals and the demands of day-to-day life, and sometimes we can lose sight of what we truly want from life. Sometimes the simplest steps are the most effective when it comes to ensuring we’re meeting our fundamental needs. Treating yourself in a way that feels positive and nurturing is a powerful practice for self-care.
Whether that’s going in for the full spa-style bath replete with scented oils, or curling up under a blanket with some snacks in front of your favorite show, there’s a whole variety of minor ways we can give back to ourselves in a way that enriches our experience of life.
The intention is what guides this process and distinguishes it from “normal” relaxation. Remove external stressors where possible, maybe turn off your phone and notifications. Dedicate some quality time to yourself to enjoy in peace.
Recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in nature immersion-oriented therapies. A recent study derived from the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey concluded that 120 minutes a week, or two hours, spent in nature had long-term benefits for participants’ mental and physical health.
While the romantic notion of disappearing for a week in the mountains is unrealistic for most, the study points to a simple fact that even dedicating some time to a quiet park each week can have real benefits for our well-being. There’s a host of potential reasons why, not least the fact that we are animals, and as such, we benefit from being in surroundings that reflect our biology.
Modern life has many benefits but the pace of city life as well as its corresponding population density, pollution and noise, all represent stressors on our body and mind that can promote anxiety and discomfort. Taking some time out of each week to go for a walk in some nearby countryside or chill out in a park with a good book can have great long-term benefits accordingly.