Receiving advice and recommendations is great, they can be genuinely beneficial. However, there's a fine line between solicited support and over-saturation, especially in health and well-being. Daily, we receive hundreds of messages via social media and TikTok from self-made gurus about mental, physical and spiritual health, which are often pejorative. Indeed, some of my younger clients say it has become too much, a constant stream of advice that stirs up internal pressure and a sense of not being enough. The problem is that there's just too much, and it can be hard to navigate through this to find what is suitable for you rather than becoming further pressured along with life security.
Now, here the phrase less is more comes to mind; having grown up surrounded by alternative and metaphysical culture, I had remarkable teachers who trod lightly, knowing there is a delicate balance to be found, a style that I have adhered to in my own work and where tuning into your internal compass is vital. It is so easy to be attracted to the fast-lane quick fix in the same way that people were drawn to LSD in the 60’s and 70’s and ecstasy in the 90’s and beyond, as a mainline to Nirvana.
How you begin, is to stop. Release the overload by writing out the mental clutter every morning. Next, inwardly tune in and connect with your heart through the breath and reflect on the things that resonate deeply with you and feel right; in other words, distil, understand and create a simple, manageable plan that supports your mental and physical health in a balanced way, without any pressure.
Here are a few suggestions of how take the stress out of living well and fuse several practices together as a whole:
Get your daily dose of mindfulness with Yoga Flow, Qi Gong or wall pilates; you can combine breathing with energy-balancing movement, meditation done with intention. An energising twenty-minute brisk walk, for example, can tick two or three boxes - the rhythm of walking helps boost your mood by increasing blood flow and blood circulation to the brain and body. It positively influences your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is your central nervous response system. This helps regulate your stress response, and regular physical activity increases your self-esteem. The added bonus is you are outdoors in the fresh air, and the sun means you get a daily dose of sunlight and vitamin D. This also mobilises your body's intake of Endocannabinoids and BDNF, essential for brain agility and health.
In the same way, eat seasonally and choose foods you love, knowing that food is medicine, so making good choices will support many other bodily functions. A few indulgences are not the end of the world either. Remember, eating is vital to your life and a pleasurable pursuit, not a punishment, a beautiful moment to pause and nourish yourself. Whether you batch cook a wholesome soup, kedgeree or make a warm salad (blanch raw foods for 30 seconds; it's easier to digest) with a healing dressing made from Olive oil, turmeric cider vinegar, garlic and ginger. Suddenly, food becomes creative, healing and inspiring. Equally, bathing can be a time of transition, rest and meditation so that you can make the most out of the evening ahead with good food and convivial conversation and no work talk or eating in front of the TV.
The moral here is to take your foot off the accelerator pedal, be in the moment, and not let negative past beliefs and experiences fuel you. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion; one thing you know is that you always have the choice to change and choose what is best for you.