Trust me when I tell you to keep reading. No, I’m not asking you to take up meditation or convert to Buddhism. All I am asking is this… If you live a hectic lifestyle and find yourself run down more often than not, then don’t go anywhere, I am here to help. I’m going to explain to you 10 simple steps to finding your calm that have changed my life and helped me let go.

We live in a world that’s constantly moving. All around us everyone is rushing to be somewhere. Always thinking one step ahead and what’s coming next. Sometimes we need to take a step back from reality and be mindful of what our own needs are. Self-care is one of the most important factors in life but we weren’t taught how to look after ourselves in school. I recently attended a six-week training course at ‘Jersey Hospice Care’ and one session focused on the importance of self-care.

As a health care assistant, it is of high importance that I am not only caring towards my clients but also taking care of myself in order to fulfill my duty. We touched on many different aspects of care but this particular subject stuck out most for me, given my previous circumstances. We discussed what self-care meant to us as an individual and how we could implement it in our everyday lives. No two people are the same, we are all different and what I do in my spare time to relax may not be relaxing for someone else. How are you expected to function at your full potential if you aren’t taking care of number one.

So Why do we Neglect Ourselves?

When we are running on empty or not feeling 100% and faced with the question. We always answer with the same invalid excuses… I don’t have time, I’m too busy or I’ve got better things to do. Take it from someone who knows, you can only burn the candle at both ends for so long before your body and/or mind starts to shut down. It can feel like the world is on your shoulders at times. Between holding down a job, keeping relationships, working out, picking up the kids, managing finances, cooking meals, cleaning the house, hanging out the washing or the next big social event on the calendar. Whatever your current situation is, I am here to help.

Now I know what you’re thinking, how can I help you? I’m a 23 year old nobody with zero life experience in the grand scheme of things. What if I told you I’ve had my fair share of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Constantly in and out of the doctors, tried numerous different medications, several failed attempts to speak to a professional and unnecessary time off work because I didn’t know how to deal with it back then. I’ve been in your shoes and it’s not worth it, trust me! I had to run away from all my problems, before I could see clear again.

For some people, running away just isn’t an option. So I want to share these ten simple steps I’ve implemented into my trail of thought. This way of thinking has been a game changer and if you follow them, I guarantee they will make a difference. Even if it is only small, it’s better than the struggle you are currently experiencing. So let’s dive in.

[1] LET GO OF COMPARING

Comparing yourself to anyone other than you will do no greater good. The only person you should be comparing with is your ‘past self’. Think back in time 24 hours ago, okay good… Now be better than that. Trying to measure up to anything else is a waste of your time and you will only end up disappointed. When I finally let go of the idea of becoming something I wasn’t and began focusing on improving myself, I realized how strong I actually was (mentally and physically) and what I truly was capable of. Work with what you’ve got and stop trying to be something else.

[2] LET GO OF COMPETING

The same applies. Compete only against yourself in all aspects of life. Trying to compete against someone else won’t do you any good and it will only end in tears. Wake up everyday and come first place and if not, then beat your personal record from the day before. I would tire myself out trying to keep up with everyone around me, only to find I came in last almost every time. (Unless of course you are an athlete then by all means compete away LOL) But you know what I’m getting at.

[3] LET GO OF JUDGEMENTS

Judging yourself and/or other people is an unhealthy habit. I advise you to stop this immediately. Not to worry, as I was guilty of this, so you’re not alone. I would make small judgmental comments in my head about strangers walking past me, why? Because deep down I wasn’t happy, so by putting others down it was my brain’s way of trying to make myself feel better. I didn’t know this person, so who was I to judge them. The same goes for you, quit putting yourself down… If it’s something you don’t like about yourself or something you’ve done you can either change it or own up to it. You’ve got enough going on in your life without being your own worst enemy.

[4] LET GO OF ANGER

Being angry won’t solve anything or make the problem go away, it will only consume you. Here comes the cliché… Life is too short to be angry or hold grudges. Just think about all that wasted time and energy you are using on something that isn’t resourceful. By letting go of anger, you are opening up space for more positive vibes and that’s what we want more of.

Here’s a good example for you, last week I noticed upon returning to my parked car that I had been issued a ticket. Now if this had happened last year or the year before I would have been consumed by anger, but why? It was my own fault for parking in the wrong place, I have no one but myself to blame. So instead of shouting every curse word that came to mind, I got in my car turned up my music and began singing at the top of my lungs. I instantly forgot the ticket and just enjoyed the moment.

[5] LET GO OF REGRETS

Stop dwelling on what you can’t/didn’t do and start thinking about what you’re going to achieve next, even if it’s only something small. I regret a lot of things in life, but I’ve stopped thinking about them. At the end of the day I can’t go back and change the past I can only look to the future and like they say, the future is bright and full of so many possibilities.

[6] LET GO OF WORRYING

This is without a doubt the hardest step to achieve, however it is possible. If you’re like me then worrying about something will most likely take up 80% of your thoughts. I can’t function properly or focus on anything else. The best advice I can give to you is this.

Take five deep breaths. (Close your eyes and hold up your left hand, palm facing towards you. Slowly run your right index finger up one side of your thumb until it reaches the top, breathe in through your nose at the same time. Now back down the other side of your thumb and breathe out through your mouth. Continue doing this process on all five fingers. This technique will help you think more clearly and calm you down, thus diverting your path of thought).

Write it down, either in a notebook, a piece of paper or whatever you have at hand. (I solve most of my overthinking just by writing it down. Sure it won’t solve the issue there and then but by writing it down, it’s no longer a problem in my mind and I can tackle it at a later date).

And lastly, talk about it. Share your problem with someone, ANYONE! (A problem shared is a problem halved, whether it’s a friend, family member, professional or even a stranger. It’s good to get things off your chest)

[7] LET GO OF GUILT

Let’s say you’ve eaten something you shouldn’t have… chocolate, cake or too much cheese, so what? It’s done now, get over it and move on. You can’t go back and change it but that’s not to say you should punish yourself for it either. If it’s guilt that involves another person you have two options…

(1) you fess up and resolve the issue or (2) like I said above you get over it and move forward. I used to have an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise. Which resulted in me starving myself for days just because I didn’t go to the gym that day or if I ate something I shouldn’t have I would go full circle and over do it. Now I eat what I want and I train when I can, sure I’m not as lean as I used to be but I’m so much happier with myself and that’s all that matters.

[8] LET GO OF BLAME

Whether you are blaming yourself or holding onto a grudge. The best thing you can do is let that sh*t go. It’s not going to change the situation, it’s not going to make it better or make it go away. All it’s going to do is create another unnecessary thoughts in your mind that could eventually destroy you.

[9] LET GO OF FEAR

Being afraid of something is perfectly normal and everyone is afraid at least once in their life. What I say to this is, go out and conquer it. Test your limits and push boundaries, you aren’t losing anything at the end of the day and who knows you might just come out on top. I allowed myself to become unhappy in a toxic relationship because I was afraid of the thought of being alone. So when I finally plucked up the courage and did what was best for me, I accomplished so much more. I found who I was again and since then I have never let fear control my actions. Put yourself at the top of your to-do-list every single day and the rest will follow. Choose yourself every time. Be selfish, people will understand when they see how much happier you are.

[10] LAUGH… LAUGH HARD AND LAUGH OUT LOUD. LAUGH AT LEAST ONCE A DAY (ESPECIALLY IF IT’S ABOUT YOUR INABILITY TO LET GO OF ANY OR ALL OF THE ABOVE)

If all else fails, then laugh it off. Try and find the good in everything. (It’s not that hard) Life is great and in my eyes, there is always someone else worse off. So stop frowning and try smiling for a change. Look around you. I’m sure it’s not all doom and gloom and if it is then we can safely agree you have hit rock bottom, but guess what? There is only one way from here and it’s UP! So pick yourself up off the floor and start over. Just like the lotus flower you too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world.

Ten to Zen: 10 Simple Steps To Finding Your Calm