Mind Thuggery is an exploration of quintessential techniques to keep your mental health in check. I’ve broken it down into 2 articles, because it’s a lot to digest.
The end of the year and the beginning of a new one are, I think, the best and worst moments in our annual spectrum. In one hand we’re clutching our glass of bubbles with a celebratory chink. With the other we’re clawing through all the debris, sweat and mounted stress from thrashing out just one more day, week, report, month, meeting before the bitter end. It’s this exact melting pot of emotion, exhaustion and elation that welcomes the volatility and vulnerability associated with the new year. So, how do you approach it with clarity and the mental capacity to face the hurdles and humps of the new year.
Dismantle expectations and set your own benchmarks – a lot of us spend too much time feeling guilty for things that we haven’t yet achieved without knowing what it is that we really want. If you cringe when someone asks what you want, chances are you don’t know and that issue alone is confronting enough to make you want to delay defining it. Not reaching your goals isn’t a matter of life or death. You can learn, grown, adjust and re-aim. Not reaching them because you don’t know what they are, however, is a double negative and will only result in a whole lot of pent up frustration, and peeling labels off beer bottles.Depending on your place in the world there’ll be certain expectations of perception floating around like bullet shaped balloons waiting to pierce you with anxiety when you think about what you coulda, shoulda, woulda be doing with your life. Don’t let those run rampant in your mind without taking time to evaluate what you really want and need.
C H A M P A G N E – And by this, I mean celebrate occasions and successes. Why? See here. In short though; when you stop to celebrate you honour both the past and the future. Retrospect helps develop insight into understanding successes or failures of the past, and also helps to inform your plans for the future. Here’s an activity to help. Do it while you sip yo champagne if you like. Take a big piece of paper and list each month of the year. Under each month write down at least one achievement that you can be proud of. You’ll be surprised at what you’ve actually accomplished. Make sure you take a moment to relish your achievements and keep your calendar to frequently remind yourself of these milestones.
Comparisons are odious – Shakespeare had it right when he injected this phrase into his 1599 script. He was also waaaaaaaay ahead of his time. In the wholesome time of 2017 with our greedy consumption of social media considered, being able to cease comparing yourself to the hot chick (x1560) on Instagram with a ridge where her hips should be, toothpick thighs AND perfectly dishevelled boho charm 100% of the time is up there with the difficulty of training your cat to be your chauffeur. Both would be handy but are near impossible. Just as you can’t teach your cat to drive though, you can’t be anybody but you, so comparisons are only hurtful jabs at your delicate self worth. Try to keep them to a minimum.
Appoint gatekeepers – Find friends that really understand your head, the way you think and who will proactively help, not hinder your progress. Real friends will let you unwind to them, will nurture you despite your flaws and won’t walk away during difficult times. They’re also the same souls that know when to tell you to snap out of it or stop being self indulgent and whiny. Know who you can lean on and always express gratitude for their care. Nourishing great friendships will mean your mind continues to be nurtured by at least one other human, and that’s amazing.
Don’t box yourself in – Don’t overdo things just because you think more = better. Get yourself comfortable with the fact that more time, money, heartache, stress doesn’t necessarily amount to more success. Doing something well, doesn’t necessarily mean you need to take the hardest possible route to get there. I used to have 3 jobs because I was so wary about saving money. I got so used to working 12-16 hour days that if I did anything less I felt guilty and lazy. Ironically it was always more of a hindrance than a help because I was often run down, sick or stressed as a result. Also I gave most of my pay to the tax office, or I spent all of the extra money I earnt on obscene amounts of coffee, parking tickets or broken phones that occurred as a result of being too tired for my own brain to function. Allow yourself the time that you need to be the best version of yourself; factoring in your goals, work, health and leisure time too.
Til next week, say no to Mind Thuggery