How to live a life that feels meaningful

by | September 2018

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If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.

Jack Kornfield (contemporary author on Buddhism)

If looking after yourself feels self-centred or selfish, then this month’s topic could well be for you! Caring for yourself does not need to be about navel-gazing, it’s acknowledging that if we are to live a life that feels meaningful, including assisting others along the way, then that requires some self-investment.

It can be useful to think of four main areas in life that need our attention: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Here are some ideas:

Physical: exercise, relaxation, and nutrition
Mental: learning, becoming clear on what we think and believe, mental calmness
Emotional: listening to how we feel, and asking what helpful actions are called for; making time for activities that make us feel good; making time to talk about our emotions with those closest to us
Spiritual: cultivating our sense of belonging and sensing we are part of something greater than ourselves; developing life purpose.

So this month, using the list above, take some time to ask yourself the question “Am I looking after myself well?”

 

Challenges

During the month choose two or more of the topics above as areas you are going to focus on. Then make an agreement with yourself that for a minimum of 15 minutes every day you will do something that adds to that area in your life.

Take time to do nothing and rest. Doing nothing well can be very challenging! Leave your phone in another room, don’t turn on the TV, don’t read a book. Just stop, rest, look around and notice.

 

Videos

How to gain control of your free time.
Laura Vanderkam, an author on time management, says it’s all about prioritising. Imagine yourself at the end of the year – write your own performance review and group email about what you did on your holidays. What would you like to be saying in them? Now, make it happen!

Why we all need to practice emotional first aid.
Why do we spend more time caring for our bodies, than taking care of our minds? Psychologist, Guy Winch, talks about the importance of taking our mental and emotional wellbeing seriously.

How to make stress your friend.
In this interesting and entertaining talk, psychologist Kelly McGonigal points to research that suggests it’s not so much that stress is bad for you, but that you think it is bad for you. Perhaps time to think differently about stress…

Articles

17 ways to take better care of yourself.
Suggestions for looking after yourself from seventeen different people whose business is to know how to look after yourself.

Self-care for those caring for others.
If caring for ill or elderly friends or family members is a part of your life, don’t forget to care for the carer.

Self-care strategies for overall stress reduction.
From making sure you sleep enough to the benefits of hobbies, here’s a list to keep you well occupied in your self-care.