By guest contributor Tatiana Stoianovski
“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” Mahatma Gandhi
For most of my life, I valued and lived by the rule that the busier I am, the better.
And the more speed and momentum I had, the more I felt I was ‘progressing’ in life.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking lots of action and seizing the day, when we find ourselves in a perpetual rat race, struggle to keep up and begin to put ourselves and our health last, problems arise.
Last year at one stage, I found myself working 3 jobs, plus studying part time.
Did I feel like an “I-can-do-anything” Superwoman at the time? Absolutely! But did I also sacrifice my sleep, my family time, my social life, my eating habits, my exercise, my alone time and my hobbies? Absolutely!
It was only when I began to feel disconnected from my true self, anxious, always on the run, grumpy and irritable around my loved ones, and burnt out and exhausted to the point where I literally could not wake up at all one whole weekend (yes, I actually lost count of how many hours I slept!) that I realised that something had to change.
I began by slowing down, taking stock of my life and asking myself the question we all dread to ask ourselves: “where am I going?”. It’s amazing how the veil of ‘being busy’ gave me no time to think about just ‘where’ being perpetually busy was taking me – and even more importantly, WHO being perpetually busy was turning me into.
Then I spent the next 6 months actively reconnecting with myself and restoring more balance in my life.
With divine help, I made some much-needed positive changes in life including developing a closer spiritual connection with God and cultivating more faith…
developing a beautiful romantic relationship;
resigning from a job that was not serving me;
relaxing my mind and healing myself through Reiki;
launching my own small Reiki business…
detoxing my life more of negative energies;
consciously beginning to acknowledge and let go of ‘ego’ habits such as pride;
spending more time with my family;
engaging in my hobbies such as writing and creativity more;
and developing healthier eating habits.
Here are 8 strategies I’ve learnt – and am still learning – on the road to creating a more balanced and authentic life.
1) Begin to see yourself as a HOLISTIC BEING (mind, body, heart and soul)
“Each of us is a house with four rooms – a Physical, a Mental, an Emotional and a Spiritual Room. We tend to live in one room most of the time. But unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.” – Rumer Godden
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt through life, through practising Reiki and through my Holistic Counselling studies is that we are a multi-faceted, rather than one dimensional, being. And that balance comes when we begin to take care of these 4 aspects of ourselves, rather than just one or two.
It may sound complex to juggle 4 aspects of yourself, plus other aspects of life, but it is more straightforward than we think because our external world is a reflection of our internal world, and therefore positive internal shifts lead to positive external shifts, thus slowly creating a more harmonious existence.
And let me tell you from personal experience that even one small consistent change (such as the ones below) can lead to huge internal shifts and many other unexpected and positive results because our minds, bodies, hearts and souls are so intricately connected to each other.
♦ Some ways to nourish your Body: sleep more, exercise more, dance more, eat more natural and unprocessed food.
♦ Some ways to nourish your Mind: read more, do more creative writing, journal your feelings and thoughts more.
♦ Some ways to nourish your Heart: do more random acts of kindness, volunteer or give to charity, do more nice things for your family, friends or partner, do things you love doing more.
♦ Some ways to nourish your Soul: pray more, meditate more, write down your inner most dreams more.
Do more things that nourish ALL aspects of your holistic self such as Reiki, Yoga and Meditation.
2) Slow down and once in a while and ask yourself and God: “What can I change to make my life better and more authentic?”
Asking myself this question helped me reconnect with the person I was underneath my tiredness and grumpiness: the person who was desperate for peace and balance.
Asking yourself reflective questions like this may feel raw at first, but can lead to many positive results after. After all, we can only positively change the things that we first acknowledge as needing to be changed.
3) Create a personal Vision Board
Once we have acknowledged some things in our lives that can be positively changed or refined, we can choose to set some goals, dreams and visions and then create a Vision Board.
This board can be made simply by pinning to a pinboard the images, words, inspirational quotes and feelings we wish to cultivate more of in your life.
This is especially beneficial if you’re a visual learner and has worked really well for me personally.
As well as setting goals, allow room on your board for fate and the unexpected. The beauty of a Vision Board is that it can change over time as our lives and our dreams change.
Remember that setting up a board is not about being rigid or having a narrow vision, but about positive and flexible goal setting.
4) Switch off the TV, computer, phone and music from time to time.
Being accessible and ‘on call’ 24/7 means that we often don’t have time to breathe, let alone be alone with our true thoughts and feelings.
It’s okay to switch technology off from time to time.
Give yourself permission to do it, and you will find you have so much more free time than you realised.
5) Go out in nature more
We may often suppress, rather than fully express, our true selves in our daily lives. But in nature and environments where we are free from external glares, judgement, and expectations, we can be the person we are in our heart: fully ourselves.
To reconnect with your true nature more, spend more time in nature more.
It’s as simple as that.
6) Live more simply and from the heart.
The more I live, the more I am convinced that life is inherently simple.
And that being as straightforward and in tune with your intuition as possible is the best policy.
Listening to your inner signals and your intuition (heart), rather than overthinking everything (mind) may take longer to learn and implement (I’m still learning too) but it will be worth the effort.
By clearing and relaxing our minds, we become more in tune with our intuition and our lives begin to seem much more simple.
And we literally breathe easier.
7) Focus inward rather than outward.
Let’s remember that our only competition in life is the person we were yesterday, so never compare your life with others.
To others, it may not seem like my life has changed or that I have changed over the past 6 months. But I know it has, and that I have, and that is enough for me.
It may not seem like I am ‘progressing’ on the outside, but I know better and that is enough for me (and I have a different perception of ‘progress’ now too).
Remind yourself of 3 things:
- Life is not a race – with ourselves or with others.
- Dreams don’t have an expiration date.
- Direction is as important as speed. Don’t just rush into things. Take it slow and choose your direction wisely and consciously.
8) Cultivate more patience…in relation to yourself and life.
Don’t rush any changes you make, force any new habits, or expect results overnight.
Instead, let’s honour the time it takes to do something, to develop a new habit or routine, and to see positive changes occur.
Just like seeds don’t grow into flowers overnight, new habits need time to grow and flourish.
They say it takes 30 days to form a new habit, so be patient with yourself and kind to yourself, especially in the beginning.
Because we are all a work in progress and constantly learning and evolving.
That is the beauty of life.
remember to give yourself lots of support and credit, because working on our internal world is always more challenging than working on our external world.
You are amazing already for the efforts you have made and are continuing to make!
Tatiana Stoianovski is a Reiki Healer and Founder of Inspired Self. For daily inspiration and wisdom for the Mind, Body, Heart and Soul, please visit her Inspired Self Facebook page and follow her on Instagram. She looks forward to connecting! *Photo credit