The Most Crucial Pieces of The Puzzle (for me):
Let's take a look at the other crucial pieces of the puzzle... the ones we neglect at our own peril. I'm really good at neglecting some of these (especially sleep), and when I do it always comes back to bite me in the bum.
If I burn the candle at both ends, I find myself lacking in clear thought, unable to focus properly, more likely to make mistakes, and less likely to be able to be creative! Sleep gives me time to mull over ideas and process things, as well as time for my body to heal and balance itself out. I think we all neglect sleep at our own peril.
I'm actually at the peri-menopause stage and sleep is a hard thing to snag some nights, and the day after a 'poor sleep' night is always tricky for me.
Here's a lovely page (it's actually a site for selling blinds believe it or not!) about all manner of ideas and tips for sleep, and a sleep calculator. Pretty cool actually.
The app called Noisli is something I use often. You can mix and match your own soundtrack of background noises and sounds to provide a soothing all night soundtrack to your sleep. The app promotes itself as a productivity booster, but for me, its best use is as a sleep aide! I just sit my iPad beside the bed all night, and away I go!
STILLNESS AND SOLITUDE:
I'm not the best at meditation (yet!), but I do love listening to meditative audios. Taking time to myself to just be, is so important. It's a way to retreat, regenerate, and renew my spirit and my energy. Even just 10 minutes sitting in nature, day dreaming, or focusing on my breathing provides such relief and refreshes my mind ready for whatever is next!
A special place I've discovered, with stacks of meditations to listen to for free, is Audio Dharma. The talks, downloads and meditations are centred around the teaching of Buddha and Buddhism. I've been interested in Buddhism for a long time, and find myself drifting closer towards its teachings as time goes on. Even if you're not interested in it at all though, this site is a huge sanctuary with resources to soothe and calm.
Also, Radio Magico has some wonderful meditation audios and info. You have to check this site out. It's terrific (I mention it again below!)
And, last but not least, Jack Kornfield's site has some amazing meditations you can begin to experiment with and use daily. These are written mantras and meditations. You can also shop for beautiful books and audios.
I suffer from chronic fatigue, and have to be very careful with my diet as a part of my maintenance plan. I try really hard to include lots of green vegetables, other vegies, simple proteins, the grains my stomach can get by on, and other simple unprocessed foods. I really know it if I eat too much junk food over too many days!
I really do believe in that old adage 'You are what you eat'. Or put another way 'You get out what you put in'. If you want a quality life, then you need to fuel yourself with quality food.
Movement (or exercise to put it more bluntly!) gives you a rush of feel good endorphins, creates mental space, and gives your body the chance to maintain flexibility, fitness, and strength.
Numerous studies have shown how beneficial it is to mental and physical health. It helps keep depression and anxiety low, and can add years to your life!! Why wouldn't you? I get most of mine from dancing, some walking and orienteering... doing things I love always motivates me to get going.
Alexandra Franzen agrees... When you 'don't have time' is when you need it most of all.
I'm an introvert, and I love my own space and time to decompress. Being in a room with lots of people can drain my energy big time, but catching up with a small group of friends is like gold. I make regular time to nourish my friendships and family connections because even though I'm a bit of a loner, I still need those connections.
As humans, we're wired to be social (so I seem to read everywhere), and especially as we get older, I think, they remain crucial to our mental and emotional well being.
Friends to share a laugh with, offer a shoulder to cry on, be there through thick and thin.... these are the things I value, and they do too!
As I've mentioned before, I think we all need to make time for moments and activities that bring us joy. I believe they're vital to anyone's best life. And, as YOU matter, you need and deserve these things.
Something that sparks joy for me is music! I couldn't live without it. If you're looking for some wonderful background music to stream whenever you work, try this site and click on the Radio Magico box. Music 24/7 whenever you want!
You can also download the app for free.
The music ranges from zen, to dance, to relaxation.