In the early 1900s, Andrew Carnegie commissioned Napoleon Hill to study successful people with the intention of identifying the core principles of what makes a person successful. Carnegie believed that if we could identify these principles and share them, then everyone could be successful. Initially Hill was looking at patterns of success in the area of finance and material success. However, over time, what he discovered is that the top two attributes of wealth identified were peace of mind and physical vitality.
At a time when the world is endeavouring to respond to an international pandemic of unprecedented proportions, we have never been more acutely aware of the importance of our health and wellbeing. So despite the challenges in this current time, I want to share with you today a number of tips for creating peace of mind and physical vitality for you and your loved ones.
And if you’re feeling like you have to prioritise work or other commitments over your own health and wellbeing, the following quote from Paul Hawken may be the thing that will help you to see what Hill learned over a century ago:
“Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor.” ~ Paul Hawken
In the section below, I’ll share ideas to support and empower you to create a holistic model of health and wellbeing for yourself during this time, including suggestions to create more peace of mind and enhance physical vitality. Essentially, what we’re talking about is having a positive and empowered approach to self-care.
You’ve most likely been exposed to lots of ideas for staying well during the pandemic – creating a healthy routine, eating well and getting plenty of sleep. You are probably also aware of other typical suggestions to enhance your self-care: taking a bath, lighting a naturally scented candle to create a nice ambience, preparing a delicious meal and spending time in nature. Below I’m hoping to give you some new suggestions…
4 Tips to Enhance Your Self-Care & Well-Being:
1) Build Your Physical Strength, Fitness Levels or Flexibility!
Building your physical strength is powerful and health-boosting! Not only is physical strength and flexibility life-affirming and good for our health, but feeling more physically powerful actually helps us feel more empowered and less helpless in life too!
So add some physical activity into your schedule – as little as 15 minutes daily. Maybe by the end of this you’ll be fitter or even be able to do 10 (or 100!) press-ups!
There are many options to boost your physical strength and health. Here are some ideas:
- Take up a yoga practice – excellent for strength-building, flexibility – and calm! There are lots of online option, just google it and you’ll be amazed. If you want to support local as I am endeavouring to do and happy to encourage everyone else to do too, please check out the fabulous, new virtual studio at: https://yogacorkireland.com/virtual-studio/ A big shout out to everyone at Himalayan Yoga for this initiative and for their great offer to make yoga accessible to all at this time: a free weekly community wellbeing class that is open to all levels and free memberships to frontline healthcare workers in Ireland during the Covid-19 crisis.
- Learn to do a press-up or push-up. Then see if you can get to 10 (or more – depending on where you start)!
- There are so many online fitness classes on Youtube – for beginners, experts – with equipment and also with no equipment whatsoever. To give a thumbs up to another local initiative, have a look at Workout Walking with Shirley Lankford, (yes, we’re related!) – two levels catered for: Steady Steppers for a gentle paced workout and Speedy Striders for those who want more challenge.
REMEMBER: BEing stronger = FEELING stronger and more in control! And building your PHYSICAL strength or fitness = REDUCED feelings of helplessness!
2) Begin a Meditation Practice
Meditation is a practice that has been proven scientifically to calm us, help us be more creative and be happier (for starters). It’s extremely beneficial.
There is a lot to learn about meditation – and it’s called a Meditation Practice for a reason. But it’s also not as hard as it sounds. You can start with as little as 5 minutes a day – and it’s good to build a routine, so you meditate at the same time every day. Get a book on “Meditation for Beginners” or go to Youtube or Google and search for “How to Meditate”. Another good place to start is “Metta” or “Loving Kindness” meditation. Again, search online and you’ll have lots of options to choose from.
It helps to have a quiet space without interruptions – which admittedly many of us don’t have at the moment. Perhaps you can get out in nature and meditate in a quiet spot for a few minutes or negotiate some uninterrupted time while you start your practice. And for some people, trying to meditate when anxious can be stressful. If this is the case, listen to a relaxing guided meditation instead. Another idea is to listen to a sleep meditation or “Body Scan Meditation” before going to sleep.
Some of my favourite sources of support for starting or developing my meditation practice have been:
- Headspace – the App and website that covers everything from starting out to deepening your practice. Some resources are free and others are subscription based.
- Jason Stephenson – for everything from Five Minutes of Positivity, to a wonderful Ho’oponopono forgiveness meditation to sleep meditation/guided visualisation
- Padraig O’Morain – if you just want to hear an Irish voice, Padraig’s is amazing. You may recognise his name as an Irish Times contributor and he also has numerous books that give a practical and gentle introduction to mindfulness and meditation.
Distracting ourselves from our fears is a valid technique for feeling better!
Laughter releases helpful chemicals in our bloodstream – Endorphins (our natural “happy” drug) and Dopamine (part of our bodily “reward” system).
On my Life Mastery Coaching Programme when we’re looking at enhancing our health one of the recommendations is that you watch a comedy movie once a week! Comedy and humour really does add to our sense of wellbeing.
- What are your favourite comedy shows or movies?
- Is there a comedian you like?
- Netflix and similar have so many watching options, so find something that makes you laugh!
IMPORTANT: We should NOT over-use laughter as a distraction technique. And it shouldn’t be used for ongoing and persistent fears in regular life. But laughter can bring some light relief and that’s welcome at a time like this.
If you don’t have time for a movie or TV show, I highly recommend these laughing babies to give you an instant lift.
4) Grow Something – Or Get an Indoor Flowering Plant!
We all know the benefits of spending time in nature, and there is nothing quite like growing something – whether it’s flowers, fruits or vegetables that makes us feel good!
Even if you live in an apartment you could grow fresh herbs on your windowsill or balcony to cook with! This can be a lovely activity to do with young kids also, growing something like Watercress gives you quick results and keeps young ones engaged in the process.
To get started in general:
- Get some seeds, (a pot and some soil if needed) and get started.
- Garden Centres and nurseries are starting to open in Ireland again, or you could order seeds etc. online.
- Follow the instructions – and remember to water it!
If growing something is just too much work, get yourself a succulent (cacti) planter, or you could get an indoor plant like a Spathiphyllum* (Peace Lily) which is good for cleaning the air of pollutants (and easy to take care of).
TIP: Be aware that some plants are poisonous to pets – so always check.
Which of the ideas above resonated with you? Is there one that you’d like to make a commitment to starting today? What’s a first step that you can take?
For my part, self-care was something that I learned to develop and nurture when my kids were very young and life was very hectic. I took to heart the Airplane Oxygen Mask Rule: “Put on your own mask first, before YOU HELP others.” It made sense to me that in order for me to be at my best for our young family I needed to be well myself. It’s a practice that has stayed with me and I take care to eat nourishing food, stay hydrated and make sure I get plenty sleep, especially when I’m under stress. I also do some Tai Chi (see here the Capacitar International Tai Chi exercises I most use) and/or meditation every day.
Two most potent forms of Self Care
The other self-care practices that I consistently work with, both in my own life and with my coaching clients, is to make time and space to nourish my dreams and to surround myself with a support structure that keeps me strong.
I recommend these two practices to you today, as a means of enhancing all other self-care practices you have in place:
- make time and space to craft the vision for your life and
- put in place a powerful supportive structure to support you in staying in a place of expansive thought and energy.
These two forms of self care not only defend us against the anxiety, scarcity and fear that so many of us are feeling deeply at the moment, they also give us the real fuel that we need to help loved ones and move closer to our dreams at the same time.
- What if you could make this pandemic time the most powerfully transformative time of your life?
- What if you could look back on this period proud of the choices you’ve made and the person you grew into?
The transformational question you most need to ask to get you going on this process is:
What would I love?
Ask yourself that question in relation to your health and wellbeing, your relationships, your career or creative expression and your time and money freedom, and begin to craft the vision of your life where you are thriving in each of these domains.
Then look at how you can build a support structure to achieve that vision. Maybe you have someone who would be an accountability buddy for the changes you want to implement? Or perhaps you can access a mentor through work or networks or clubs you are involved in?
If you would like help to clarify your life vision and explore the difference it would make to have a powerful structure of support through coaching why not book a complimentary strategy session with me – Simply book online here and we’ll get you started today!
To your Well-Being!