Recovery needn’t be only focussed on the physical. Making sure we plan some recovery for our minds is just as important. Just as sleep helps both our bodies and mind recover it’s a good idea to be proactive in our mind care and recovery in waking hours.
In our modern lives we’re very go go go all the time and even when we’re not, we’re still ‘’doing’’ something whether it’s watching netflix, checking our phones or simply thinking about what to do next. It’s incredibly rare that we’re resting both our bodies and minds at the same time.
Making sure we have good mind health and recovery is based around creating a light hearted, positive, calm and confident atmosphere in our thoughts and how we feel.
I like to base mind recovery around 3 key areas.
- Self compassion
- Slowing down
Self compassion simply means being kind to yourself.
The more we give into negative self talk in our minds, the more we tell ourselves we’re not good at something, the more we suffer then the more likely these things take hold and become true in a sense, even if they have no basis in reality.
Often our biggest enemy when it comes to happiness, mind recovery and having a positive disposition in life is ourselves and the thoughts that go through our minds each day.
Self compassion is often overlooked, but can be very powerful. The more you’re kind to yourself, the more likely you’ll express compassion and kindness to others. This is an ongoing action that requires some awareness but also being proactive with positive and kind self talk.
How to do it.
Notice and name – Notice when you you’re talking negatively to yourself (in your head), name it (negative self talk) and let go of it. You don’t need to try and stop it, just notice when you’re doing it. Just becoming more aware of it will help to reduce it.
Increase the good and kindness to self- Where possible, increase positive and kind internal chatter to yourself. These are kind of like positive self affirmations. ‘’Good work’’ ‘’you’re doing great, keep going’’. It could also just involve a sense or feeling of positivity in yourself.
Slow down (your thinking and the mind so you can be more present).
Planning in time to slow down from the busy pace of life and be more in the present moment is probably more important for our minds than our bodies. You can do this in a number of different ways:
Nothing time – 5 mins, 15 mins or 1 hour, it doesn’t matter how long. Just schedule in nothing and feel free to get bored. Do nothing, just observe, listen, smell and sit with your thoughts or your better half.
Mindfulness – As always, meditation and mindfulness are great ways to rest and focus the mind- find a method that works for you. I use headspace.
Green time– Get out into nature, the park, nearby countryside. Green exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression. Try going for a walk in a green space.
Flow– Choose activities that you know help you get into flow – ones where you’re focussed on one task solely without distractions. Focusing on one action helps us to be more present.
Examples could be surfing, walking in nature, drawing, art, crafts, gardening, exercise, learning & the age old favourite meditation.
This is more of an idea and general attitude than a specific habit action, but you could definitely find ways to make this more of a habit.
When we grow up we often lose our playful nature and ways of thinking. Often those who have a playful attitude keep daily life and their perception of it, a little bit more light hearted.
If we can keep things playful or light hearted in our conversations, in our thinking and how we approach our days then I think we’d all be better for it. Being playful and light hearted can mean the types of words you use, how you think or your body language (smiling, laughing, open body).
How to do it.
In conversations- keep it light hearted, discuss tough things in a light hearted/friendly way, smile more, use positive body language.
Approach – Just think ‘’how can I approach this in a playful way’’?
The bigger picture– Thinking about the bigger picture can help you shift from being tense, stressed, closed and negative to more light hearted, open and relaxed. Putting things into perspective and realising how lucky we are in life (to have food, health, shelter), and that in the end we all die can help us take solace in the little good things in life and approach life in a more playful way.
Which one or two actions would you try this week?