So you know, I run a small business. Guess you know about that. If you didn’t, well, now you know. But anyway, I am not here to toot about my shop. I am here to speak about how I keep myself going… because, trust me, I do!
Ooh, it’s not easy. And it is definitely not there at the switch of a button. Of course, there are natural factors that determine it too… like, for me, sunlight is a huge factor.
- Get your dose of Sunshine:- I am not saying I need the Indian summer… but I definitely need the sunshine. I did not quite believe it till I realised that over a period of time, while the overcast skies helped my skin and all that… but oh, it messes up my head …big time!!! So if you can, get out into the sunshine every morning. Walk, work out, practice yoga, run or swim… stroll is also fine… but let the sun shine on you. Trust me, it will do you a world’s good. If you are in countries like mine, where sunshine is quite literally, a rare sighting, then still do continue to work out, whatever little or whatever you can manage, and get your dose of vitamin D… eggs, mushrooms, oily fish, vitamin supplements…Vitamin D. I am not kidding… I have felt the real struggle of deprived Vitamin D and it’s not funny.
2. Affirmations:- Okay, I do this very often and I have spoken about this to my closest friends too. I talk to myself. There are lot of times, when the mind is muddled and the white noise all around gets really mind numbing. In such times, I just get into a different room and look myself in the mirror and talk out loud….I tell myself all things positive. That I am fine, that my work is great, that I am pursuing my dream, that I am strong, courageous, bold. And I have learnt a lot from Rainbow Dash …My Little Pony fans, anyone?! And most often than not it works. It snaps me out of something. Yes, I have an amazing support system too, who are a ring away…but sometimes, I want to help myself. It quietens my mind better. Tell yourself that you are enough. That you are doing the best that you can. that you will continue, no matter what.
3. Imagine the Best:– I get up everyday, and I sew. I am a bagmaker and I also make and sew many other things for decor and home. I make some amazing bags. I have no inventory to meet or an order to fulfill. I just imagine my world…every morning…in my head, my world is a place where everyone is dying to get a bag from me, a custom made bag…that I have people clamouring to get a piece of my work…that everyone is telling everyone they know, that my bags are a must-have and as if their lives will be incomplete if they don’t get one of my creations. That thought makes me want to get up and sew. Big or small, it eggs me on. I slowly find my mojo back and I start to work on a deadline. I act like my own boss and prioritise what I want to do and I do it. I imagine the best for me. I want you to do that too. Just do it. Imagine the most extreme, best thing about yourself. If not anything, It will steer you on
4. Be kind to yourself: For the longest time, I used to be really hard on myself. I
needed to complete one project a day. I needed to start and finish the same day. I needed to manage my home and business perfectly every day. Then I slowly saw the cracks. The cracks were in my mental health, were in the way I was managing my day, was in the way I was feeling about myself…and if I ever were unable to complete my task on a said day, I felt miserable…like really bad. Then I reminded myself, that I didn’t have to feel like this. I was my own Boss. I reminded myself the reason of starting my own business and that was to be able to call the shots and do things in my own pace, to be and spend more time with my family. I was confusing my corporate life experience with my work- from-home business and losing the plot. And I was not enjoying the experience. That’s when I realised that I needed to be kind to myself. To take a break, to understand that I could sometimes finish things the next day… that it was okay! And to be honest, it was. So be kind to yourself. Whatever it is that you do, kindness begins with you.
5. Learn something new:- I love learning to make new things. While there is always that bag that I can sew in a few hours, or a small set of something else…every so now and then, I challenge myself to learn to make something new, or start something new. I dive into learning the ropes, understanding the language, getting better at it and recreating it in my own way. Learning something new gives me the adrenaline rush that I cannot explain. The feeling that I tried, I learnt and I succeeded gives me a tremendous boost. Sometimes I don’t succeed too. But then I remember to be kind to myself. So I try again or sometimes, I let it go, too. You do not have to excel in everything that you set out to learn or try. But try always. Never stop learning. It will keep the brain juices flowing and the cobwebs out .
6. Consume Positivity: Now, now… don’t get me wrong. I am not all utopic and fluff. I do get my daily doses of news and world happenings, of issues and everything else. But I have also over time, learnt that my activism cannot be at the cost of my mental health and peace. I do not work at my optimum best when I am anxious. And it’s okay to recognise what works for you or what doesn’t. I admire and know a lot of people whose daily dose of inspiration is activism and fighting for the world. But I am not that person. And if you are not, it’s okay too. I am a homebody. I need my core to be positive. I watch shows that are stories of successes… of trials and efforts, of kids becoming chefs, of men self building homes, of women climbing the dales, of octogenarians successfully vacuuming their living rooms These stories inspire me, motivate me, help me be creative and do not push me towards a sinking feeling about the world. I consume less news about the world. I decide what I consume and feed my mind. I don’t mind telling you that I can watch repeats of Jane Austen classics and Friends everyday, because it keeps me in a good frame of mind. What’s your happy place? You definitely need to feel good about the world... is it your parent’s home? Is it your reading nook? Is it your kitchen? Is it your blogging world? Is it netflix? Find that out , because that helps fuel your core and your inner recesses of your mind.
7. Don’t compare: Yes, Yes, easier said than done. I learnt this by quietly watching a couple of groups of women that I am a part of on facebook. I follow this quilting group and bag-making on facebook. Each member is exceptionally talented. Most of them are amazing entrepreneurs too. But no one is competing with one another. Each one of them is trying to learn, or trying to teach or sharing. All they care about is being there for each other, help each other get better and get better together. I cannot tell you how comforting it is to belong to a group of people who are not just talented and hard-working, but also caring and empowering. I learnt from them that the best way to grow is not by pulling anyone down, by not comparing and feeling bad about oneself, but rather by just doing your work sincerely and getting better than your own self, than you were a day before. You are your own competition. That’s it.
8. Be your own Cheerleader: Most importantly, clap for yourself. Cheer yourself on. Be the loudest on the cheering squad. There is no one else who knows it better than you, on how far you have come. What the world sees, is how far you have come in terms of designations, or how much you succeeded , how much your paycheck has grown etc. But you are the only one who knows how much you have grown, how much you have learnt, all the inhibitions that you have shed, all the fears that you have conquered, all the self doubts that you have quashed and all the noises that you have quietened. It was your dream, your figment of imagination that pushed you to do this and that’ a great thing to do. So you have earned that cheer. Big and Loud. Don’t impose yourself with self doubts. Be generous with your affirmations and be kind to yourself and be the loudest cheerleader that you can ever be. Ooh, it feels awesome to make someone feel good about themselves. And if that person is you….oh, it feels super awesome. Trust me.
I am not giving you gyan out of a self help book. I am helping myself, everyday. I am doing each of these every day. Little by little. I fall often. I stumble too and some days I just vegetate by the window. But most days, and I can tell you honestly, most days… I am picking myself up. and it feels great to be on my side. Try it