Sometimes life leads you on a journey that leaves you flabbergasted with the impact it has on your being. Recently I have been on a journey of rediscovery. You see, during the last few years, I felt like I lost a sense of self. This was not necessarily because of any one person’s influence, but because of a collective of circumstances that has caused me to change the way a react and act. I am an advocate for mental health and the importance of maintaining a balanced life for the benefit thereof. In all honesty, up until recently, I have not been practicing what I have been preaching (so to say). At the time I believed I was. I would have staked my life to say that I was doing all that I needed to attain mental stability. Looking back now, this was far removed from the reality. I have only truly learnt what attaining mental health meant in the last couple of months. Truth be told. It is not as simple as having your self care days, or do something nice for yourself every now and again. Yes, those things are important. To me mental health rests on the balance between your spirit, your soul and your body. Allowing the things of the mind (such meaningful work) to fall into place once the balance between the other three things have been restored.
The other day I took a picture of myself. I really do not like taking selfies, as it makes me too self-aware, but someone had asked for one and I hesitantly obliged. This was after going through my entire camera reel to see if I could not get another picture of myself. Through me trying to find an alternative picture, none really seemed worthy to share. Not because they were not nice pictures, but because it felt like those pictures are no longer true representatives of who I am as a person. Yes, it is still the same person in the picture. However, looking at the pictures, I could not recognise the soul behind her eyes. Then it struck me just how much I have changed in the last couple of months. In the last couple of months, I have developed a recognisable maturity, one that not only I have observed, but those close to me as well.
This transformation started approximately two months ago. It was a Friday like any other, after work I signed into YouTube for my pastor’s weekly Friday coffee session. Little did I know that her message would have a life changing impact on me. In short, her message revolved around the need for each of us to cater not only to our physical needs, but also to that of our spirit and our souls. Without realising it, this planted the seed towards a journey that has already shown me so many things about myself that I did not know.
Body, mind, soul
So how do you go about seeking this balance? Well, I can tell you this, first thing is first, you need to recognise that there is an imbalance in your life. Take a hard look and see how many things you do for 1) your spirit, 2) your body, 3) your soul 4) ventures of your own 5) ventures of others. Once you have determined this, match them up and see if the amount of energy spent on each of these things are matched.
Personally, I take number 5 as a complete entity of its own as, as of this post, I work from 8am to 4pm and that is non negotiable. So the balance in my life resides on the other four points. I figured, if I can be absolutely thriving in those four areas life would be balanced, but you see, 8 hours of a day is a lot and you loose 8 hours for sleeping as well, it really only leaves 8 hours for you to thrive in four other areas of your life.
What I learned early on in this process, is that it is not easy attaining a desirable level of balance in all of these elements at once. It is rather taking continuous action towards each and every aspect, until the system as a whole is at a balance. Personally I started with working on my Spirit, as a closeness to God, drives my determination much faster than any other aspect in life. Followed by tending to my soul, as I knew that I was not nearly doing my part in doing things that bring my best side out. Care for my body followed this, because a strong spirit and soul needs a strong body to hold everything together. The final addition to the balance was (and this is where we are now) spending hard deserved time on my own ventures, business goals and dreams.
Taking care of the balanced lifestyle business
So how do you go about all of this? Taking care of every aspect of your being?
Working on the spirit. To me, this directly related to building a relationship with God, relying heavily on the principles set out in the Bible. Truly believing that He has our best interest at heart and that we should learn to let God take control of our lives. This relationship building routine will differ for every person, depending on the devoted time you spend with Him and how you choose to approach building your relationship with Him. This also depends on the amount of information that you can take in at any point in time. My regime might scare people away, so if it seems overwhelming to you, start small. Start with one Bible plan and a section of a chapter a day, with one or two praise and worship songs to bring your spirit in line with God’s spirit. Then building it up to where you can be in constant conversation with God. As for me, I have been doing 3 Bible plans a week, been reading 3 chapters of the Bible a day (I started with Romans, finished reading Philippians, John and Ephesians, and I am now starting with Matthew) and I have been spending a half an hour a day doing praise and worship. I have also been practicing praying, but not only that practicing having conversations with God.
Feeding your soul is utterly important as it serves to be a continuous reminder of the the things in life that brings you complete joy. These are the things that you are drawn to when you have no one around. What are these things to you? Visiting people you love? Embracing a few hobbies? Learning new skills? For me this was learning how to paint, reading, writing, spending time with my family, and writing. I have been doing a lot of writing as of late.
As mentioned earlier, in order to house a strong spirit and a strong soul, your body needs to be strong as well. Strength building could involve you adding a workout session to your daily routine, changing your eating habits or doing stretches. Personally, this has included working my absolute favourite stomach routine into my day and changing up my diet a bit (you have read my vegan living post, right?). This has also included a few other important decisions, which I will share with you on a later stage.
Today I want to leave you with one notable thing I have learned through this journey. That is the importance of self-discipline. Without self-discipline no amount of inspirational posts and quotes will be able to get you over the threshold of merely being inspired. Being inspired does not bring about change. Having the self-discipline to take advantage of the inspiration, that brings about change.
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