Nourishing the soul

Self care, not just for the physical benefits but for the mental state is equally important.

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Almost 18 months ago, I was diagnosed with an auto immune disease that I’m still fighting. There is no family history of any kind which makes the occurance  of it a bigger mystery. While my treatment continues and there’s assurance from every doctor I’ve consulted so far that the condition is curable, there isn’t necessarily a timeline to it. It came to me as a shock when I first discovered what I was going through. Not being completely aware of the severity of it, I thought it was a matter of a few months and I could beat it in no time. Little did I realise that it was a sticky one and wasn’t going to leave me that easily. 

I was in a very demanding and hectic role at my workplace at that point of time, which I believe worked partly in my favour. I’m saying partly because while it kept my attention away from thinking about my health condition the stress at work on a daily basis wasn’t the favourable part at all. Things were getting worse at work with long hours becoming routine and the stress building up without any respite. Consequently, this was beginning to tax me physically and emotionally as everything other my professional life took a back seat. It was time to pause, take a step back and think of prioritising what mattered the most. Finally, I quit albeit without a plan. What mattered the most then was to focus on my health and not to do anything stressful till things were under control. 

From working relentlessly for 12-14 hours everyday to not doing anything was a very big change. But th calmness and the peace that it brought with it was a bigger difference it made to my life that I was certainly vying for. Most importantly, it gave me the time and mind space to think of what I wanted to do next, what were the things I wanted to do to get better and how I wanted to work towards them. The very first thing I identified that had been missing from my life for a long time was yoga. I knew I had to bring it back in my routine and there hasn’t been a day I’ve regretted that. The next one was getting my diet right, eating well and on time was very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Putting a lot of thought behind every meal and ensuring that it’s the best I can have was crucial. So while diet and fitness were checked off the list, there were other important things too.

I realised that apart from taking care of my physical self, it was equally important to be mentally strong to fight the disease. First and foremost, I learnt to be very positive and not let any negative thoughts rule my mind. Surrounding myself with like-minded people who only had encouraging words for me and distancing myself from those who made me feel remotely insecure or uncomfortable was a conscious decision I made. 

Since I started paying close attention to my diet, cooking became a big part of my day which I truly began to enjoy. Writing too was a long lost hobby that I reconnected with after a while. I joined groups that volunteer for charitable organisations. Dedicating my time in meaningful ways for good causes is a very satisfying feeling and also made me realise how much I was grateful for and all that I was blessed with. While an active social life is always good to have, it’s important to spend some time doing things all by yourself for your personal development too. 

One of the things I chose to do is to become a part of a book club. Not only am I encouraged to read (and there’s a deadline to finish a the book), but also get to meet a group of like-minded people to discuss the book with (and make more friends in the process). Win-win! One of my most favourite one but not something I can indulge in often is travel. Taking even short trips or weekend getaways with your near and dear ones is a very relaxing experience that takes your mind off the daily grind. 

Making time to take care of your mental state just as much as your physical self contributes to a great extent towards your wellness. It could be just a walk in the park, playing with your pet, spa sessions or a lunch date with your best friends, make it count. These are things that go a long way in nourishing the soul. You’ll know when you’re rewarded with a warm and happy feeling. And I know it as I see every report of mine looking better. Conclusion – eliminate what’s not making you happy and be in control of it because only nourished souls can be happy souls. 

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