Indians love to run around and compete. Your day begins with a race to grab a seat in the metro, followed by a race to reach your workplace at 9:30 AM (or else, they may even deduct your salary! This crappy concept exists even today!) Once you are settled, you juggle along deadlines and several administrative tasks. Cut to the time of appraisals, they will compare your performance with that of Ram and Ramesh and every random person in the company to make their point and not give you the raise or promotion you deserve. The so-called work-life balance is nothing more than a myth, and you bring work home. This cycle continues for several years, with work getting more demanding, your partner (and kids) needing some of your time, and yes, you need to sleep to remain alive, so all the spare time that you could have had is spent sleeping. Consider yourself lucky to have a two-day weekend, because several companies exist that work six days a week.
Over time, you feel life becoming a hazy blur in the rat race. You can’t remember a single day when you were totally relaxed without being preoccupied with the thoughts of the upcoming deadlines or kids’ school or impending bills. Your soul is hungry for something, but you don’t have time to realize, let alone give it, what it requires to sustain.
Here are 10 ways in which you can nourish your soul, giving you a new form of spiritual energy, and making you feel a bit more in control of your life.
- Breathe: Every morning, go to the balcony or preferably to a park, sit still, breathe and feel the incoming oxygen energizing every cell of your body. Feel your lungs expanding and your muscles working. Whenever you are stuck in a tough moment, breathe. We are living beings and need oxygen to survive, and this simple act of breathing deeply calms us and clears up our head.
- Smile: Just smile. Even forcing your face to a smile makes you feel better immediately (it makes your body think that you are happy and releases happy chemicals called endorphins). The positivity of being happy gives you a fresh burst of energy, helping you have a fresh perspective.
- Take a leave: You have a leave quota for a certain reason. The company will continue very well for a day or two without you. Once in a while, it is a good idea to call in sick and spend a weekday curled up in the bed, reading a book or watching a movie, learning something new, cooking and pampering yourself too. You earn and work in order to feed that body, hence there is no harm in taking a meaninglessly meaningful break to nourish your soul.
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- Do a mundane chore: Sometimes, when you are stressed, it’s a good idea to arrange your room, closet, or do some cleaning. It makes you feel capable of bringing orderliness. When you look at the end result, your stress is reduced and you feel like a competent entity.
- Watch an animal play or eat: Looking at a living being of a different specie makes you reflect on your own capabilities as a human being. Not only is it stress-busting, it offers you a peek into the life of another creature, and puts you in touch with your humaneness.
- Sit and think of a part of your body, and manoeuvre it: We don’t appreciate our body enough. The kind of shitty things it helps us through, and how well each part functions in order to keep us alive. Sit with your eyes closed and think of your feet, and how well they help you walk, and move them a little. Repeat with several parts of your body. This simple act makes you aware of your own existence, and how wonderfully perfect your body is.
- Look at the stars: Nothing is more peaceful than reflecting on our own minuscule position in the universe compared with the infinity that exists beyond. Looking at the stars and the moon is calming, and helps us appreciate our unique position in the universe. There are still no signs of extra terrestrials, which makes us pretty unique in the sense that we are the only conscious living beings in the vast expanses of space (at least till now, while we have no more evidences!). Appreciate that.
- Create something: Humans are not only meant to earn and eat. We are equally capable of the beauty that exists in the form of art. Pick up a pen and write a poem or a story, no matter how ridiculous it seems to you. Cook up an exotic dish. Record a song on your phone in your own voice. It is refreshing for our body, mind and soul.
- Observe a plant: Go to a park or observe a potted plant at your house and look at how beautifully it sustains itself. Appreciate the wonder of nature that exists in the form of greenery.
- Be grateful: It is not necessary to express your gratitude to God in a temple or a mosque or a church. The mere fact that you are grateful sends out such vibes to the divine and makes you a lot more peaceful.
From personal experience, I can tell you that these work very well and help you find much more meaning in life. In the crazy times that we live in, slowing down and doing things that harmonize the body, mind and soul is not a luxury, but a necessity so that we end up not losing ourselves. Nourish your soul and you can feel a lot better about being alive.
Did you try any of these? How did it affect you? Let me know!