We are all in this thing called ‘life’ together, and what a ride we are on! In the middle of the madness and mayhem, the peaks and troughs, the lessons and laughter, and the triumphs and tragedy is the beautiful and complex you. You are the writer of your story and the CEO of your life. It’s extraordinary, sometimes boring and occasionally heartbreaking. You start new projects, change direction and end things you thought would last forever. Then you rebuild and do it all over again. To set yourself up for a successful, resilient and happy life, you should have integrated strategies that support your emotional wellbeing. Then, when the inevitable curveballs come, you are ready for them. What are your non-negotiables when it comes to looking after you? Here are 10 life must-haves to help keep you balanced:
#1 Sandy Feet. This is about having a place that you can visit which feeds you emotionally, physically and spiritually. It might be the beach, the hills, or somewhere else. In our fast-paced world, it’s important to have a special place to refuel and reflect. Where do you go to look after you?
#2 Adventure. The human spirit needs comfort. It also needs newness. Think about the moments that make your heart beat faster – going on an adventure, such as travelling abroad, is often a great way to learn about yourself. New experiences show us things about ourselves and the world we live in. Where will you go on your next adventure?
#3 Messy Moments. There are days when you should allow yourself to let everything go, whatever that means to you. It’s impossible to be a high performing person who always has it together all of the time. Sometimes life is messy. Do you have a strategy for looking after the messy you?
#4 Kindness. Being kind to others is great for your health and your actions nearly always find their way back to you. My experience in working with leaders and organisations around the world clearly indicates that we associate kindness with trust, compassion and integrity. How can you be consciously kind every day?
#5 Stillness. The body and the mind both need physical activity to be healthy. However, it is just as important, if not more so, to allow your body to be still. It is in these moments that your body heals, your head processes and your heart feels. What would be different for you if stillness were part of your everyday life?
#6 A Grateful Heart. There are gratitude books and journal everywhere you look and that’s because valuing a grateful mindset changes how you think and feel. Gratitude brings perspective, allows us to say thank you and recognises the aspects in your life that are bringing happiness and opportunities to learn. What are you grateful for?
#7 Patting Dogs. We need to find ways to connect with our communities. It’s important that we feel like we are part of something bigger than just ourselves. When you stop and pat someone’s dog, it creates an opportunity for conversation. Okay, so you might not love dogs… but there are lots of ways to be in the moment with someone else. How do you connect with people around you?
#8 Hugging. OK. People generally fall into one of two categories: huggers and non-huggers. Hugging communicates so much about what we are feeling. A huge can be comforting, or it can say ‘I’m sorry’, ‘I love you’, ‘I’m so happy to meet you’ or even ask ‘are you ok?’ Hugging releases oxytocin from your brain which makes you feel good, it’s the most natural mood elevator around. Who can you hug today?
#9 Stealing. Now, don’t go and do anything illegal! But the world is full of amazing people, so perhaps there are some things you could borrow from them. Some of the greatest writers, CEOs, designers and teachers on this planet do what they do so that you can grow and translate their learning for yourself. Who inspires you?
#10 Escape. There are moments, hours and/or days when you should ignore everyone and everything. Have no plan, see a movie, just be totally free in the moment. This freedom is essential for your wellbeing and shouldn’t be looked at as an indulgence. It can be a real challenge to carve this time out, but this is when you create new thinking and let go of stuff that doesn’t serve you. How can you remove some noise and create space for you?
Lisa Stephenson is the founder of Who am I Projects and author of Read Me First (Major Street Publishing), a book filled with thought-provoking coaching questions, strategies for success and life’s must-haves. Lisa draws on decades of experience as a global speaker, leadership consultant and success coach and has worked with some of the biggest global names, CEOs, elite athletes and entrepreneurs. For more information on Lisa go to www.lisastephensonconsulting.com.au