We all need to find methods to replenish ourselves and to feel refreshed. It may seem simple, but the key to fulfilling your professional obligations, personal responsibilities, and satisfying your interests is ignoring emotional noise and focusing on your inner needs. You must find the balance between protecting your psyche against external stressors and growing your sense of internal peace. To achieve a balanced lifestyle you'll need to practice consistent self-care, environmental awareness, and social inclusion.
Self-care is a series of deliberate actions to improve the state of our whole self: mind body and spirit. Some examples of self-care include exercise and meditation. Research has shown that those who exercise experience a significantly improved mood on days they exercise. The National Institute of Health reports that self-care in the form of walking 20 to 40 minutes, three times per week for six weeks can improve depression, anxiety, and self-concept.
Meditation, a Buddhist practice reformed by western practitioners, is a conscious training of the mind to explore and resolve internal conflicts. Researchers at the University of Louisville found that practicing meditation for 2.5 hours, eight times a week significantly reduces depressive symptoms after a period of two months.
Environmental awareness requires you to learn more about external factors, or stressors, that trigger your anxiety and depression. Becoming more aware of the people, places and things that drain you emotionally will help you prevent mental burnout or a breakdown.
Social inclusion is engaging in supportive interactions with people who love you. A few examples include going to the movies with friends or attending faith-based services. In previous years clients who struggle to manage their anxiety and depression have asked me to recommend strategies to building a social life. For example, clients may ask, "How can I be social if I can't find the motivation to get out of bed?" I suggest addressing this lack of motivation by creating a list of inspiration. When was the last time you felt energized? Who were you with and what were you doing? The answer to these questions should be your starting point.