This is another post where thoughts had been swimming around in my mind for a while, to the point where I was like RIGHT – time to write them down. A combination of getting massively into hot yoga classes and reading Mel Wells’ incredibly inspiring The Goddess Revolution book have spurred me on to get metaphorical pen on paper.
Both of these things have really helped to change my mindset recently in a positive, reflective way recently. Sure, there are times where I feel low, anxious, worried and put pressure on myself (thanks to my Virgo personality traits for those ha), but reading and practising something in a way that makes me concentrate on being ‘mindful’ has had a significant impact on my general wellbeing.
I wanted to share some of the top things I’ve learnt along the way of being inspired by a motivational book and getting hot and sweaty in a studio on a regular basis. Let’s go!
1) Connect your mind, body and soul
One of the main things hot yoga has taught me is how important the link is between the three elements of ourselves; and how easy it is for them to be so disconnected without us realising it. For 60 or 75 minutes during class, everything going on in my head is replaced with focusing only on my breathing, being in tune with my body and listening to every part of it throughout each movement and posture.
Whether I’m sat down or exercising, I now notice that I make a conscious effort to not slouch or hunch my shoulders, and make sure I concentrate on my breathing if I’m feeling stressed out. It’s these little things that you can apply to everyday life outside of class that have really helped me to consider my whole body.
[A special mention to the wonderful teachers at The Life Centre in Manchester, who do a brilliant job of leading the classes and engaging the mind, body and soul in a revitalising way.]
2) Stop comparing yourself
Mel calls it ‘the curse of comparisonitis’, something that will hold you back and keep you trapped in a vicious cycle of feeling shit about yourself. From #fitspo posts on social media to celebrity magazines either slagging off women who have gained a few pounds or championing a crazy new fad diet you MUST try because X has lost 20 lbs from it, it can be easy to get sucked into this negativity.
Instead, distance yourself from this content and focus on NOT being in competition with anyone else. Be that person who people are drawn to because of their smile or friendly nature, don’t care so much about what others think and BE yourself unapologetically. Accept that you might not be everyone’s cup of tea but so what? You can’t please everyone!
3) Look after your body
Think about approaching yourself as you would a friend or family member. If they were looking tired or seemed stressed out, what would you tell them? How sad would you feel that they hated a part of their body which to others, was one of their best features? It’s this kind of thing that really hit home for me when reading Mel’s book – so why are we so harsh on ourselves and focus on hating parts of it?
Turn that around and treat your body in a way that NOURISHES it – so get enough sleep, eat well, exercise to get the endorphins going (rather than punishing it). In hot yoga we are told to appreciate what our body allows us to do which is something we should all take on board; it’s with you for life and allows you to do so many things – so be kind to it!
4) Spend time with loved ones
Although we can get wrapped up in day-to-day life, it’s important to see family and friends as much as you can – part of being happy is being around those who make us feel good, who we can talk to about anything, who we can offer help and support to and share good memories with.
I’ve always been very close to my family and although I don’t live too far away, I regularly call or Skype in between seeing them. Likewise with friends who I don’t see all the time, I make an effort to keep in contact with them, see how they are doing. James and I make sure we spend ‘couple time’ with each other as well as working hard or doing our own thing – MAKE time to dedicate to others.
5) Find your passion
‘What is it that truly nourishes your soul?’ Mel asks this question in her book, making us think about past times or activities that really get us excited. For me that’s exercising, being outdoors, travelling to new places, dancing away at a festival or gig, cooking or baking and taking/editing photos (I’m lucky that it’s a big part of my job!). Whatever that may be, make sure you’re getting enough of these things in your life – and if you’re not, change it.
6) Push that comfort zone
Just like in a hot yoga class, we can feel comfortable and satisfied in a position (apply this to a life situation) – but why not go that extra bit further and push yourself that extra bit. Think of a circle around that scenario and each time you experience it, widen it that little bit more. Yes it might be scary but after you have accomplished it, you’ll be gradually making that circle bigger and bigger – until eventually you’ll be unstoppable!
7) Be open to new ideas
You know what you like – but don’t stop there. If Spotify suggests listening to a new band, if a friend wants to watch a film that isn’t usually your cup of tea, if you get invited to somewhere totally random, if the waiter recommends an obscure dish on the menu – take a chance and try it! The worse that can happen is you don’t like it, but feel proud that you gave something a go. Being open-minded to new things is something James taught me and I’m so glad he did as I’ve discovered so many new things I LOVE!
8) Treat yourself
Whether it’s a pamper session, shaving your legs, getting your nails done, buying a new top… It’s nice to spoil yourself every now and again, particularly if you’re in need of a boost. You don’t need to spend a lot of money (I’m not one for splashing out and I don’t believe that money can buy happiness), but the point is taking some time out and indulging in some ‘me’ time. It can be a rare thing so appreciate it when you get chance!
9) See the good in every situation
I’m so bad for worrying about silly things and sometimes I have to tell myself to stop thinking about what could happen and instead just get on with it. Half of me actually believes that things happen for a reason; the other half thinks life throws things at us that we might not have planned out but we have to just deal with. Whatever that may be, even if it’s negative and really shit, I think it’s important to try and turn it around and see a silver lining. It can be hard, it can take a lot of mental strength, but life is too short to waste on letting these things take over. It can be easier said than done but it can make you a stronger person.
10) F*ck trying to be perfect
Linking all of the above, I think the bottom line is to be kinder to yourself, cut some slack, stop trying to please others and don’t put so much pressure on yourself. If there’s something you aren’t happy with, quit moaning about it and change it. But in the meantime, try to accept who you are and be happy with that.
I’ll finish this post with a quote from The Goddess Revolution which really hit home – I want to remove the ‘with your food’ part as I think this should apply to all areas of life!
‘The trick to being happy and healthy [with your food] is to let balance, flexibility and acceptance be your guiding principles. And remember – your best is good enough.’
Thanks, I hope you enjoy reading this <3