Sometimes we go through periods of continuous struggle, yet - if we are open to it - we also experience beautiful moments, deep joy and gratitude.
It takes mindfulness, courage and commitment to put things in place so you can still notice the beauty in life. This is not about denying challenges, but about doing justice to the whole experience of being alive - it’s important to keep a healthy perspective.
Maintain healthy routines in terms of sleep, food, exercise and things that bring you joy. This is not a ‘nice to have’ strategy (that mindset looks something like this: “I’d love to, but there are more important things to do," or "someone has to do the hard work around here”). Making time for fun and relaxation is not less important than doing things that are more obviously, directly or traditionally connected to critically important work — these are complementary and go hand-in-hand.
At some point in the day, make some time to stop thinking. It may sometimes seem impossible and it definitely takes practice. When I have anxiety, I sometimes struggle to sit down and meditate, so I like to do something active first: walking, hiking, a bicycle ride, swimming — whatever it takes to give my mind a break.
When I have a lot going on, it helps me to manage my thoughts by tackling big topics or events at specific times (rather than randomly throughout the day). This acknowledges the importance, but prevents them from overriding every other aspect of my life (which makes it difficult to focus on the good stuff).
Sharing moments, memories, laughs and challenges with the people you love is one of the most amazing things about life. This can be tricky when you’re drained of energy (when it can be difficult to show up and be present), and it’s important that you understand and respect the space you’re in. It really helps when others respect the space you’re in, so tell people how you feel.
Reaching out to your broader community too (the people beyond your inner circle or even your beliefs or way of being) is not only a reflection of humility, but also a wise acknowledgement of others in the shared experience of being alive. Sometimes you’re in need of help, sometimes you’re in a position to offer help. The ideal is that we’re mostly in a position where we can collaborate with others, enabling us to achieve so much more.
Deep, meaningful conversations
This is possible when you show up fully and put differences, pride and assumptions aside to speak from the most authentic place you know. Though we can never fully understand another person's situation, these conversations help us to see others and to allow them to see us. This helps us to connect.
Managing fears & expectations
Times of increased stress may stir up old demons. Also keep in mind that the stressed version of you may not be the easiest to be around. Listen to the voice in your head — how are you speaking to yourself? Would you speak to a close friend that way?
If you’re in place of low capacity, don’t expect yourself to perform the way you would when you’re at a healthy or full capacity. It’s ok to push yourself from your comfort zone to your adventure zone (reasonable challenges), but be careful if you’re going to push into your danger zone. What’s the danger zone? That’s a good question to answer for yourself because those are your boundaries. Cross them long or often enough and you risk burning out, which may cause you and those around you additional, unnecessary suffering.
You’re responsible for creating a healthy, beautiful life for yourself and those around you, but that doesn’t mean you should do it on your own. Reaching out is a sign of strength and understanding.
Share your thoughts: what helps you notice the beauty in life?