As a person contemplating life, where to go from here, where the path I have taken has rendered me so far, and as a person searching for tools to deal with stress, to improve my outlook and soften my self judgment, here are a few of the things I am enjoying, that I find are working for me and (at times) the things I revel in. Perhaps some of these ideas might help those dealing with trying times themselves, or they may simply bring some enjoyment to your own day.
- Yoga. I often find that whatever baggage I bring to a class, the instructor’s messages somehow seem to speak directly to me and help me to find peace.
- Lying under a tree, watching the light dance, the dappled patterns, and feeling the breeze on my skin. No matter how hot the day is, it is always cool under a tree.
- Water. Watching the rhythmic movement of water is soothing, whether it is the languid lapping of a lake or the pounding of the ocean on a beach, or even the incessant trickle of a stream. The blue, the stormy steel grey, the churning brown – water always calms my heart, brings me back to where I am and makes me feel like I never want to leave.
- Contemplation. This is my natural state. I can’t stare into space, or waves, or trees forever but when I can make space in my day for contemplation, I am better equipped to face the other things that come at me.
- Managing my time reduces the unpleasant surprises – somewhat. I know that while I am taking time off work I can only handle about 2 activities a day. Any more and I feel stretched, like I just don’t have time to do it all. Limiting myself to 2 activities has made my days stretch out compared to when I was working and doing a million things at once. My days feel longer now. Managing my time also means arriving early to things so that I’m not putting myself under pressure as the clock winds down to a deadline.
- A visit with a friend, a friend who has been through difficult times (who hasn’t?), who knows me well, who has nuggets of wisdom to share, moments of laughter, and who brings me back to my true self. I recently enjoyed a long walk followed by coffee with someone who has been a close friend since our university days and, when we said our goodbyes, I felt 20 years younger, 20 years lighter. I felt like I used to when I was 20. It was beautiful.
- Writing! Hence this blog, but I also journal privately and have started jotting down some ideas for a story. The more I write, the more writing becomes natural and necessary for me. I woke up with writing ideas 30 minutes after I went to sleep last night and had to write them down.
- I do not want to stray into the murky area of product recommendation and endorsement but I will say that a friend recommended the book, Taming your Gremlin, and that about a quarter of the way through, I am finding it interesting and somewhat helpful.
- I have been talking to my naturopath who helpfully reminds me of the alternative (even more alternative) approaches I don’t always know about. For example, someone who has been over-stressed for a protracted period of time could be suffering from adrenal fatigue – and there are supplements for that! My naturopath has also recommended I look into union psychology and sand table therapy, and although I haven’t yet had the chance to check them out, I mention them here in case you have, or in case you are interested.
- I have also been following the standard Western approaches of going to my doctor and to a counselor, which has helped me find some practical approaches to dealing with stress and inner demons (taking time off work as one example).
This is what I have worked with so far. I can see some progress after almost 2 months, but I recognize that is not a lot of time to readjust one’s approach to life. Patience I am still working on.