Over the last few weeks, our focus at BecauseYOU was to support people to connect to themselves, and find ways to take time out for self-care. Here's a summary:
Why Connecting to Self?
In a time of hyper-connectivity, ironically we have lost our connection with self, nature and others. Research shows us that our body is a storehouse of critical information about our wellbeing, and we need to listen and act upon it. By taking the time to connect with ourselves, we create the space to slow down, find attunement with our body, mind and spirit and begin to understand what we might need to feel better.
Befriending your nervous system
Each week, we shared how the BecauseYOU team used one of the senses to connect to ourselves and asked our audience to reflect on what works for them. While we often think about mental health as being about our thoughts and emotions, it's also about our bodies. One path to connecting with our body is through our senses.
Engaging our senses has a direct impact on our nervous system. Being mindful about what we're seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching and sensing and what that does to us can be a really empowering way to support our own regulation. For eg. one team member shared how when he's feeling a bit anxious, the smell of coffee beans calms him down.
Sometimes your nervous system needs soothing, and at other times it needs to be activated. Being aware of what works for you is a great first step.
Meditative art through Zentangle
Damko Wangyal led us into a beautiful Zentangle workshop to increase focus, creativity and to relieve stress. This art form can be picked up by anyone, and by focussing on the art form, you focus on your inner experience. Through beautiful patterns, Wangyal encouraged us to focus on the process and not the outcome. Our participants were delighted with the deep focus during the sessions, and the final piece of art produced.
“Zentangle was a gateway to active resting for me. After struggling with being mindful for quite a while, I finally had a breakthrough with Wangyal's workshop. He is a gentle and nurturing guide.” - Amita Dias
Prioritising self-care in a conflict zone
BecauseYOU community member Ashish Shrivastava lives in Sukma in Chattisgarh, a region that's impacted by the Naxal conflict. We learnt that the 'Niagara of India' is located in Chattisgarh!
During his InstaLive, he spoke about the transformational impact that focussing on self-care has had - and he did it by creating strict boundaries and a regular routine for physical exercise, mindfulness practices and journaling.
Connecting to Nature
A common complaint we hear is that in the pandemic, our connection to nature is lost and our homes have become our world. Binita Modi led us through a thoughtful workshop to bring nature into our workspaces by bringing in the elements that we often ignore. Whether it's lying on the ground to feel the connection to earth or accessing a memory or finding elements of nature through an object near us, we were able to find ways to bring nature back into our lives.
A stand-up comedian's take on mental health
A few takeaways from our InstaLive with writer and stand up comedian Siddharth Dudeja:
Waking up everyday and doing what makes you happy, even if it's very simple - for yourself rather than for others - lightens the pressure and helps you feel fulfilled.
Getting through the imposter syndrome or self sabotaging is difficult, but stick with what you're doing and it will quieten down as long as you're not fixated on the outcome.
Not following the herd on social media but creating content that's authentic to you, may be difficult to sustain but brings you peace of mind. Also, a healthy relationship with social media is much needed!