I hope your eyes and minds have travelled with me through SAD month this October. I hope you remember to be gentle with yourself with a little self care as the longer days and winter storms quickly approaching. Self care extends beyond doing things like reading, exercising, and going for massages though. If not, you can always click to read the first, second, and third post.
Self care includes meditating and silencing your mind, or otherwise known as finding your quiet place.
It means working hard and digging deep within yourself to find the peaceful hymn instead of the buzzing around you that calls you to fix things and go, go, go. Once you find your quiet place, I hope you’ll realize that it truly is your lifeline. Yes, it requires frequent maintenance and practice to prevent the grass from growing over the trail you once walked through frequently. But practice makes perfect just like any other coping skill or personal project you’ve worked for. It’s worth it in the end right? I recently had to deliberately put everything on hold to rediscover my quiet place too.
I felt a nagging sadness and anxiety that I couldn’t shake even when I was out of bed and being very productive. Rediscovering my quiet space has helped me to breathe again and cleanse my life through the art of reflection.
What is self care?
Self care is giving yourself the time of day to be yourself and do whatever makes you happy and relaxed. Down time is something that thing you know you need to do… but only after A, B, and C has been taken care of first. Does that sound familiar? It’s lost between focusing on healing yourself, remembering to take your medications (because somehow it’s still a super annoying chore), and maintaining a life within your job and relationship with others.
When you read more about self care, you’ll find different recommendations such as taking a bath, reading your favourite book, or catching up on your TV shows. Because let’s not forget that Netflix is one of the best media innovations next to Google and YouTube. It is all very important. However, this self care practice means that we are still doing shit. Can we take a moment to do nothing at all? Try doing nothing if you still feel drained and exhausted after implementing this conventional self care practice. What do you have to lose?
I think that we don’t allow ourselves do nothing because a silent mind and body is awkward; we’re always programmed to do something. Who the heck knows where our mind will travel if we stay silent?
Silence can also rapidly spin you into an anxiety whirlwind. You might start worrying about which chore you still have left on your list. Or maybe you start replaying a trivial fight you had with someone last month. I can guarantee you that these anxious and uncomfortable thoughts won’t stay the more you practice being in your quiet space.
Remember: your quiet place allows you to mindfully give your body, your soul, and your responsibilities a rest.
How does one find their quiet place?
- If you’re laying in bed depressed and anxious already this winter, congratulations! You have completed step 1! See, you’re not a messed up failure all the time. Otherwise, find a comfortable place to sit or lay down. The golden rule here is to try and sit still, which might take a bit of practice. If you have this tendency to wiggle around, hold onto a tennis ball or hug a pillow.
- Close your eyes and breathe. Imagine that you’re carrying a cloud of your breathe through your esophagus and down to your stomach. Repeat.
- Listen to the voice in your head for once – the one that tells you to stay quiet when you’re about to say something stupid. Continue to tell your mind to hush if you begin to imagine the zombie apocalypse, or if you begin worrying about your laundry, or the assignment that you have to finish. Finding your quiet place is serious business people but you can do it!
- Keep breathing. Are you still guiding your breath to your stomach still?
- Count your blessings, release the imaginary cloud of breath, and exhale deeply. If you’re feeling depressed and anxious, stuck and trapped, it might help to see the positive things in your life instead of all the downfalls and failures that are keeping you in bed. Even if it’s just, “I am still here today and trying.” It momentarily pauses the “my life sucks and I’m trying so hard but it’s not getting better” thought.
Where will your mind go next time? Back to the zombie apocalypse? Or will you find a new light, new goal, or new self? It can be neither of those things but I hope you’ll just feel a little more refreshed and calm.
I hope you can channel the same determination to find your quiet place, as you have used to… let’s say finish work earlier so you can attend that concert or to finish the last stretch of your 5 kilometre run. If all else fails, there are a tonne of meditation apps you can download onto your phone, tablet or laptop. They speak to you and guide you through it! It can’t be more weird than listening to that british lady direct you in your car navigation system right?