Self-care series - Part 2 - The Mind
Like our superficial attempts at self-care of the body, we cunning humans have devised superficial techniques to healthy minds, like sudoku, crosswords etc. The true beauty of our mind lies in its resourcefulness and creativity. We are at our resourceful and creative best when we are not stressed. Based on cognitive neuroscience, when we are stressed it takes away up to 70% of our cognitive ability i.e you are not resourceful or creative anymore.
How do we de-stress and quieten the mind?
Walking: Ideally walking in nature or even just taking a quiet walk around the block, is so useful in quietening the mind. Focusing on the sights and sounds during your walk or your breath, allows your mind to take a break from the role of trying to control and protect you and actually function as it should - which is to notice and thank. Have I surprised you with this statement? Yes, our mind is often overworked and is taking on the function of analysis, control judgement etc. when all it really should be doing is noticing and practicing gratitude. It is what meditation and mindfulness are attempting to get you to doing too.
Building a meditative and a mindful practice is a sure shot way to destress. John Kobat Zin even proved we can rid ourselves of stress related diseases like psoriasis with mindfulness. To understand and learn the practice of mindfulness I recommend signing up at www.palousemindfulness.com. It's a free 8 week instruction and you can join their Facebook group too for life.
Coming back to self-care of the mind - we are more than our mind! While mindfulness can teach you how to be present and calm our conscious mind, which wants to control instead of being in a state of allowance, I found quantum healing really helped me. You can find details of it on my website designyou.ca/quantum-healing
Find a hobby. A ‘hobby’ is that thing you used to enjoy doing and losing yourself in, without judgement, and did it for fun. A hobby brings out the resourcefulness and the creativity I was mentioning. This could be writing, a form of art, building something , cooking… I think you get the drift!
Hobbies don't come easily after or while in an abusive relationship. We need to rediscover what interests us now in this very different state. I had no idea where to start, I used to love reading, horse riding, sculpting, writing poems, and dancing, but what did I enjoy now? It was a process of elimination for me: I took up sculpting classes, creative writing classes, tried reading books, drew a blank when I tried writing poems again - none of it seemed to fit. Till I stumbled on hiking as a hobby.
Now you might wonder what is the resourcefulness and creativity in hiking or how is this self care of the mind? I found hiking helped calm my mind and therefore made me more resourceful and creative. It also led me to join a charitable organisation called Gulf4Good, a charity which helped children around the world by organising hiking challenges. To join a hiking group, I had to raise money which would go towards building schools (like I did in Peru) or planting trees in a Maasai village in Kenya. Besides the soulful experience, the joyful hikes, I learnt new skills in fundraising, I made new friends and I felt so proud of my achievements - summited Kilimanjaro, I travelled to places I had only dreamt of, and I set an example for my then 13 year old son who also climbed Kilimanjaro with me.
Like everything, starting a self-care practice of the mind can start as small as taking 10 minutes every day to focus on your breath. Once you have learnt to calm the mind, hobbies are a good way to see your resourcefulness and creativity.
Creativity helps more than just the mind, depending on the type of creativity you could be killing two birds with one stone!