Taking care of the most important person in your life should be a priority. And this person is yourself. Let me ask you a few personal questions:
- What do you do in your free time?
- Do you have any free time at all?
- When was the last time you spent with yourself?
- Do you enjoy being by yourself?
- What kind of things do you do for you and only you?
- Are you kind, forgiving and generous to yourself?
Please don’t worry if you are not doing any of these things because you can always start today. I would like to share my different approaches how I get closer to myself and how to find peace of mind.
The Fasting Method
“The time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself.”
Being by ourselves can be scary. That is why we are always looking for distractions, doing meaningless things to avoid getting to the point when we have to face ourselves. Even so, we need to do it for our sake and the sake of everybody else around us. Nobody teaches us how to do that. Thank God, nowadays there are many easily available offers on mindfulness, awareness and these kinds of topics.
I have some tricks for myself. I do a special kind of fasting: Social media fasting, phone fasting, knowledge fasting, information in general, and from time to time I also do people fasting.
Three years ago I attended a ten-day retreat on something called “noble silence”. The first rules on this retreat were: no phone, no books, no colorful clothes and no greetings to the fellow attendees. Nothing but you, looking at your inner SELF.
It was terrifying, during the first three days. I was ready to kill the master. I was so loud inside myself. But on the fourth day, something happened. I stopped fighting my thoughts and everything went quiet inside my mind. I would say, I was able to see my thoughts.
I know, it sounds crazy, but that was my feeling, and I liked it. When you can see your thoughts, they don’t scare you anymore, you can be yourself and enjoy it. Amazing!
After this experience, I decided to enjoy this feeling more often and that is why I developed my own special fasting methods. It doesn’t take ten days but, depending on how my week goes, I take at least 12 hours to be alone. Really alone. On a very stressful week, I do a twenty or twenty-four-hour fasting. Yes, you can ask me; “How come you fast for so long when you are busier than normal?” I do it because this is the only way I can be efficient, and the only way I would not kill someone.
If you’re brave enough, try that kind of retreat. But until then, here are some things you can do on a daily basis.
Have your routine and make it non-negotiable. It will be difficult at the beginning to stick to it, even if you live alone. Don’t worry. Go ahead and do it anyway! Begin with one single thing and only when you are comfortable doing that, add something else and so on.
I learned to be patient changing or creating routines in my life by reading Robert Mauer’s -“The Kaizen Way” and
Darren Hardy´s “The Compound Effect”. These two summaries are just to motivate you to read the books!
- Go to bed at the same time every day and at least try to find some kind of schedule. Let’s say between ten and midnight or something like that.
- When you know, your day or week is going to be challenging, plan and prepare ahead:
- Make sure you have enough soulful food at home and prepare meals for the whole week. Yes, for the whole week!
- Wake up early and enjoy some 15 minutes with yourself. For Christ sake, make your bed! Two minutes work and you have your first mission accomplished!!!
- Drink more water especially in the morning. The best is with some lime or lemon drops in it.
- Learn to meditate, do some stretching and breathe consciously.
I practice what I call “The 3 to 8 breathing method “which goes like this:
First, open the window, you need fresh air. Inhale stop and count to three then exhale.
Begin with three counts and try to go to eight counts. The longer you go, the slower and deeper you breath. If this is too challenging, try this.
If this is not appealing to you, stay in bed and just Be grateful!l for your life. Do not take your wellbeing for granted! Be grateful! Watch a motivational video or listen to a podcast ? It works for me, especially when the week or the day is tough. When I can´t see the light, I watch this one.
Run, walk, or dance your way out of a stressing situation. Go for a ten or fifteen-minute walk. Dance to your favorite song. If you think you are not a dancer just move your body, no one is watching anyway.
Have some rituals and stick to them. I have a Friday ritual: When I come home I clean up if there is any mess, I take a shower with sea salt pealing (this is just sea salt from the kitchen and soap) to wash out whatever unpleasant things happened during the week. Light some candles and create a special atmosphere, burning a bit of white sage or incense or putting some essential oils in my room diffuser.
Listen to one of my five rhythms dance music, dance to that, while preparing my meal.
It is true that you won’t be able to control and plan everything, but I am sure there is more than one thing you could and should do.
Treat yourself, Love yourself, Forgive yourself
I have a specific amount of my budget just for treats. I use this money for a Thai-massage, go to the theater, buy some special food,or buy flowers for myself etc. These are some of my ways to remember how much I love myself. Sometimes, it is just having a lazy day, staying in pyjamas, eating in bed and watching the Andy Griffith show (1960-1968) and laughing like crazy.
We all make mistakes. There is no point in beating yourself up. The most beautiful thing about the past is that it is over. You can’t try to change whatever you want. It is gone forever. Accept it and forgive yourself if you did something you consider wrong. Forgive others if you think they did you wrong and move forward.
Spencer Johnson wrote in “The Present”:
When you want to make the present better than the past.
- Learn from the past
- Look at what happened in the past
- Learn something valuable from it
- Do things differently today
This morning I finished my first reading of The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down a book by Monk Haemin Sunim. And these are some interesting and useful recommendations to close this article:
First, sense the pleasant feeling of deep breathing.
Second, leave home ten minutes earlier.
Third, see what is in front of you.
Fourth, close your eyes and savor food.
Fifth, stop multi-tasking and just enjoy music.