The beginning of this year found me in Edinburgh celebrating Hogmanay with one of my best friends. One my train ride back to Aberdeen I had plenty of time to get my thoughts in an order and prepare me for what would follow. I knew 2017 wouldn’t be easy; I would have to complete a very challenging experiment that required me to work in the laboratory everyday for 3 months, move out of the flat we were renting and live in different friends houses, live off my savings as my funding has ended and finish the write-up of my Ph.D. thesis! And all this while living exactly 2878 miles away from my family and friends! Life had other plans for me though and things haven’t turned out quite as I had expected them to be, in fact things got much worse than what I had anticipated. It’s not just me of course! So many people go through difficulties that we will never know but with a little faith and self care sooner or later worries fade away and all this will seem like a long forgotten nightmare. How? Insert self care and gratefulness!
Self care and gratefulness don’t come easy because we tend to focus on the negative things that happen in our life instead of focusing on the positive ones. For example to me, moving around friends houses while going through such a difficult life period consumed me massively to the degree that not even the people in my closest environment realised the impact it had on me! However, instead of focusing on the fact that I didn’t have my own place I should be grateful that a) I had friends that took me in and b) I had the chance to spend more time with my friends and do fun stuff. It’s all about getting the good stuff out of bad situations!
Naturally, self care and gratefulness takes practice and it doesn’t happen overnight. It took me more than a month to realise that the way I saw things was the way things happened. My thoughts created my reality and the more positive I was, the better my days were. And it all began!
So how to practice self care, gratefulness and love yourself and life more?
Here are a few steps that helped me through the process::
Imperfection: Always remember that imperfection is human. Your struggles and life difficulties are just part of the human experience. We all lead a unique pathway and not being liked by everyone is perfectly fine.
Mindfulness: Step outside your influence zone and see life as it really is. Things might be tough but acknowledge the struggles and difficulties with mindfulness and don’t let these feelings rule your life. Be present and enjoy every moment!
Be gentle to yourself: When you feel that your world is collapsing do something that makes you happy! Listen to your favourite song, do 20 burpees (it helps way more than you think!), eat a chocolate bar, make some tea and light up a candle. There are always ways to make yourself comfortable and sooth the pain, so stop sabotaging your happiness!
Practice gratefulness: This morning I made a list of all the things I am grateful for to have and experience in my life. Within seconds of writing the first few things I realised that this could be a very long list but I decided to focus on the things that at that particular moment felt important. And they weren’t a few. I tend to forget how incredibly blessed I am to have reached the highest level of education with scholarships all the way up until now. The fact that I am HEALTHY that I can go for a run anytime, that my lungs and legs are strong and that I can travel and do anything I want thanks to my strong body! That I have a strong network support of family and friends, a house to live, that I live in a country that has peace and that I have this blog that has allowed me to travel to so many wonderful places! And last but not least that I come from one of the most beautiful countries of the world, to be Greek and be able to pop in for a slice of sunshine anytime I wish it melts my heart and makes me so proud of my heritage and ethnicity!
Focus on the future: Learn that where you are now is because of what you achieved in the past and the harder you work today the better your future will be. Accept the past and look forward to the better times ahead!
So here’s a little exercise for you to practice today…
1// Read your favourite book.
2// Feed yourself good, nutritious food. My breakfast was a Bounty which as you can guess messed up with my energy levels so now I am nourishing myself with this delicious and full of goodness prawn katsu curry with pickled carrots and jasmine rice from Myhk. You can find most of the Myhk products on Ocado, Waitrose and Amazon Fresh these days hich is so handy if you live a hectic, stressful life! I have also tried a few of their other recipes so I will report back on this later on.
3// Listen to your favourite song and light up a new candle! Mr. postman brought this one on my doorstep today, it’s the flower garden from the Gordon Castle collection, all about supporting local products here, and it smells amazing! Even from before lighting it up my living room smelled like roses!!!
What good did you do for yourself today?