Finding yourself has to come first

I think its really easy to get consumed in pleasing others, putting people first when your a woman comes quite naturally, we watch our mothers take care of us and our dads and are grandparents, especially if like me you come from an Indian background. But what I have noticed watching from the sidelines, is that it reaches a point when those mothers who haven’t taken enough care of themselves, who haven’t been aware of their own needs will get to the point where they are constantly searching for external happiness because as they grew, they moved further and further away from their core self and were so busy taking care of others, they never found the time or realised the importance of being happy within and taking care of  themselves. I feel its a blessing to have made this observation and it makes me even more confident that I want to work on myself, so when it comes to the time, I can make sure I don’t loose who I am. It is very much about being aware of how your feeling, what your feeling and why. It also comes down to the importance of trusting yourself and knowing that the decisions you are making are the best ones for you. Especially the big decisions that won’t just impact you but people around you, I think sometimes you need to be extra responsible and sensible when its not just about you, some may call that selfish but I believe its actually selfless. There is nothing wrong with doing whats best for you. I’ve been watching lots of motivational speeches and when I can feel myself slipping away, I have to stop and ask myself, why am I doing this? how will it effect me?

I’ve been watching lots of motivational speeches and one particular video always stands out Jada Pinkett-Smith on Taking Care of yourself, I think I have even mentioned this before but here it is again. the question posed, is how hard is it being a wife and a mother?


My Life Changes

If you read my last post you will know I moved from a large city to a smaller one and I explained some of the things this move resulted in including sadness, loneliness and a sense of generally feeling a little lost due to a lot more time to think. It has meant I have had to force myself to make some changes to my life, some changes I resisted.

Getting to a stronger mental place and staying happy is so important to me because thats the way I can ensure I stay afloat and that has been the main motivation for these changes. I often work backwards in my thinking. Whats my end goal and how can I get there, this strategy is a great way to ensure you reach your end goals. So the first step to make changes in your life is by asking yourself ‘what makes me happy?’ and then changing things in your life to ensure they satisfy your happiness.

So what things have I implemented in my life to encourage stronger mental health and happiness?

The first change was to seek some help, not just help in the form of therapy but help in the form of books and videos to make me feel more energised, motivated and to ensure I don’t slip into my sadness too much, something I realised used to happen often.

I have also made a big decision to put the 9-5 routine behind me, something I am still working to make happen and something i feel my soul is dying for me to embrace and I need to not only be strong but also be positive and have faith that it will all work out for the best.

I chose to not always be the perfect cook and learn to be more organised, when it is not just yourself that you are thinking of, you need to adapt yourself, so I now (and I still find this hard to say) consider convenience food once a week, so I can have a break from the laborious cooking routine, something i just don’t enjoy.

Me Time
Dedicated me time. This involves getting in to bed earlier, switching off from technology and also waking up earlier. The morning is the most important part of your day, as is the time before you sleep.

Self Development 
This has involved reading self help and motivational books and watching a lot of motivational speeches, all in an attempt to get me in the right mental place for the things that will follow. Being so emotional about everything really takes its toll and effects you in every way.

Questioning myself  & reflection
I have always heard that asking the right questions is so important, asking yourself how you are feeling. why are you feeling this way. what would make you feel better is sooo important for your improvement and something i am still learning to do more of. Taking time to reflect on a regular basis will help you find the answers to these questions.

Charity/Helping Others/Giving 
I made a vow this year that I would do more for others and this involves giving money to charity and just trying to give more to people who I know are not as lucky as I am and there are many in the world.

Being aware that i do not practice gratitude enough made me start the 365 days of happiness challenge. Every day on my Instagram, I share something I am grateful for. (feel free to join me here: I also share gratitude on a daily basis with a friend, I have made this part of my routine.

Not get overwhelmed by Social Media
Social Media as a platform is great but social media mostly reflects the great, fun moments (I mean how often do we see someone post them at home having a cry). After feeling continuously sad due to spending too much time looking at others ‘fabulous, fun lives’, I made a conscious decision not to spend as much time looking at social media. This felt like the only option for me. The other thing I have done is try to focus on using the channel to share positive things, not just where you go and what you do but also what you feel, trying to motivate others.

I have dabbled with meditation for many years and I was lucky enough to be given access to the Headspace app. Part of my excuse for not meditating was lack of access so now I have no excuse, I can’t honestly say its not easy to calm your mind after so many years of it being so active but at least now I have an accessible resource if I need it.

Walking & Exercise
Finding time to exercise when you have to cook, clean, tidy and work has definitely been one of my biggest challenges, still working on this one, I do force myself to go on as many solo walks as I can, especially as I am not a massive gym goer. Also signing up for classes is a good idea but find something that personifies you, whether it is dance, boxing or a yoga class.

I have had no choice but to communicate better, I always expected people to read my mind and know when I am not ok but thats unfair, I can’t say I have 100% won in this space but I am really trying. The other reason for needing to communicate better is because people are a little further away then they were.

Make plans
Knowing that there are things scheduled in the diary gives me something to look forward to, in life we all need something to look forward to or we can get engrossed in the mundane routine of life. Although I would love to just take things as they come, I also realise some things involve planning and I have to plan things if I want to make them happen.

This should have actually been at the top of the list. I think being honest with yourself is massively important in trying to figure out what changes need to be made in your life. If you aren’t honest, you won’t even realise that you need to make changes but how long can you lie to yourself for is the question? 

Identifying whats important
Looking at whats important in your life will help you to understand what you need to be doing more of. This is once again where reflection comes in.

I guess the final bit of advice I would give is to evaluate your life often, find the time to think about things that need to be changed, things that you could do to improve your life and ultimately your wellbeing. You know what they say, the only thing that is constant, is change!


Can you have it all?

There are a few things I miss about my life in London. The fact my routine involved exercise was great, it meant I was exercising without having to schedule it in my daily routine. Another thing was the variety of things to do, this is a massive advantage of being in a big city, you can never get bored. Thirdly are friends and family, for me, friends and family are and always will be a massive support system in my life. They offer me strength, guidance and a lot of love. Having such easy access to all these things really contributed to my happiness.

Moving to Leicester has been a challenge, the things that came naturally to my life (like friends, family & freedom)  I have had to create myself and this has involved being organised, being motivated and forcing myself to look at myself in a deeper sense, thinking about what actually makes really happy and figuring out how to make this happen.

More than ever, having the time to think has allowed me to get to know myself better. It means I am forced to be more aware of my sadness and sad days which feel like they come more often (once again because I have time to be aware of them), it has forced me to be a lot more grateful (not having what you had always makes you grateful, its unfortunate that we don’t appreciate it in the first place), it has forced me to create my own routines (having to search for things that make me happy and ways to do things that make me happy)  and it has made me even more determined (to ensure I feel good as often as I can). I hadn’t realised this before moving (or maybe I did, I just wasn’t aware of it)  but I love to be free, I hate being held down by people or everyday routines, it makes me feel trapped, I am basically a free spirit and I need to feel free in order to feel happy. If I want to have it all, I have to make the effort to create it all. This involves making some big changes and decisions in my life but you’ll have to wait for the next post if you want to learn more about my changes.

What changes can you make in your life to ensure you have it all?

Whats important?

Every now and then you really need to ask yourself whats important, I have a feeling I didn’t do this that long ago but as we all know things are constantly changing, so reflecting back on your list again and again is absolutely fine. So whats important to me at this very moment?

  • Friends – Friends have always been a massive form of love and support and will always be on the list.
  • Work  – If you asked me 6 months ago, it was my job but now its putting the wheels in motion to go it alone. This involves a bit of planning and that I am still figuring out.
  • Family – I am blessed to have family who like my friends, are supportive and always very much have my back.
  • Mental Health – This one I would say has come about more recently. Being a person who suffers from anxiety and very sad days, taking care of my mind has become even more important than taking care of my body because I can control my body weight but controlling the mind involves a completely different kind of strength.
  • Sleep – I have been a bad sleeper for many many years and this is really the centre of my focus for now. To get to a place where good sleep is a daily achievement.

Whats important to you?

Relationship Therapy

Sometimes you have to let go of relationships because they are not good for you, sometimes this happens organically, you drift and the relationship just fades away but other times, you have to mentally and spiritually let go, make a conscious effort to step away from the person in every possible way, although you know in time to come, you’ll be able to move on from it, I think the biggest and most important thing to do is make peace with it, making peace with something you don’t want to do is a challenge and takes a lot of strength, its testing and it involves a lot of faith and belief that that is the right thing to do. I also think you have to expect that this persons life will continue without you and once you are out of their life, they are free to do whatever they want.

Another scenario is when you try so hard to keep a relationship alive but its just keeps slipping away, I think this is the saddest kind of situation. In some ways part of the problem is you are holding onto something that might not even exist anymore, just like time passes by, so do relationships. I feel like the universe or something out there even makes an effort to separate yourself from this relationship (obviously for your own good, after all, the universe is always looking out for you) and all you can do is surrender and let it happen and I think the sooner you can accept this, the less painful it will be, you can’t control other people but you can control yourself, you also can’t tell others how to live their life but you can put yourself first and make a decision to not let things upset you or affect your happiness.

In life at various times, certain people will fit your life, you will be on the same path and your paths will always align but sometimes, you will go in different directions and thats ok too. Don’t expect that everyone will be around always and don’t get upset that people move on, haven’t you? When something happens in your life that causes a big change, there will be repercussions and its just learning how to manage these and this takes time, once again, patience very much comes in here.

The final thought is the beauty of new relationships, there are never any voids, someone else will fill the empty space and you need to make sure you allow that space to be filled (but be patient), don’t mourn what you have lost but be ready for whats about to come. Only you know whats best for you and only you know how you can bring new, wonderful things to your life.

A 6am start…

Everyday I wake up when my alarm goes off at 7:25, even though I am awake, I don’t actually get out of bed. Last night after a lengthy call with one of my best friends, I just couldn’t sleep, I read, meditated and had my glass of milk and finally fell asleep at around 1 but this morning, I was up at the crack of dawn, instead of doing the usual which involves listening to a motivational speech and jumping in the shower, I listened to a motivational speech, read my book (13 things mentally strong people don’t do by Amy Morin), did a live video based on my readings, meditated, found a few quotes to share on my social and then went for a shower and I have to say, all that positivity in the morning worked wonders, I have felt pretty on top of it all day and continue to feel great but the weird thing is, is that I probably got even less sleep then I am used to. So what was the miraculous solution? Well it was being in a good mental space first thing in morning, they say the first 2 hours of the day can dictate how well your day pans out and my first 2 hours was brilliant. They also say 10 minutes of meditation/mindfullness is the same as having 2 hours sleep and I have to say, that makes 100% sense and is a complete reflection of how I am feeling now. I guess its true what they say! But its crazy the things you have to do to stay in a good mental place but I also have to say, its sooooo worth it!

Not being too attached to your role

Today I saw myself get angry whilst playing one of the roles I own, we play so many roles that it is natural to get attached to these but sometimes its worth taking a step back and reminding yourself that this is just a role and not actually something that needs to upset you or make you angry. If you can separate yourself then you can look at the situation with a rational mind.

Another thing I realised is how hard it is to deal with people who are so insecure/unsure/needy, these feelings get projected on to you and when your as absorbent as me, these can really affect you. This is something that on an every day basis I control but this is not necessarily the easiest thing to do when in the work place and that involves a whole new coping mechanism, something that I am still trying to put into place, I guess one way of thinking about it, is, this person is not the person they are acting like, I often pity this kind of oblivious/ignorant person but when what they are doing directly affects me, it is so hard to do this.

On reflection of this observation, there are a few things I need to note for the future and things you can also consider if you are ever in the same position:

  • This person is a soul and not the irritating person they are projecting
  • This is just a role I am playing and I can switch off from this role if I want
  • This person is not going to affect my peace of mind and I will stay calm instead of getting angry
  • I have a choice and I can choose to not let this person get to me
  • I am in this situation for a reason, I am here to learn and I must pay attention to these lessons so I can learn from them and move on (this one is really important)
  • Everyone who enters my life is a teacher and is here to teach me something
  • Each role will have a different challenge and my job is to face these challenges head on and find ways to deal with them