Get up, Dress up, Show up
Before you start feeling weighed down by the numerous roles and responsibilities life throws up, always keep these cues handy to ensure emotional and mental wellness.
As the famous saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Recently I was on a Zoom call with my closest friends, all busy professionals in their own right. I was absolutely delighted to see all of them so well-dressed and dolled up, despite this being a casual and friendly online get-together. Like their appearance, they were glowing in their conversation, radiating with new ideas and with an unbelievable zest for life. That wonderful morning had left us all inspired, with a positive afterglow.
However, I have also seen the reverse scenario in certain online and physical meetings, where some participants do not make any effort to dress up! Intentionally or unintentionally, their enthusiasm levels are at an all-time low, bringing down the fervour several notches.
Three months have already passed us by since the new year began, much of it spent under the shadow of the omicron variant and third wave of COVID-19. It has been a rough two years since the pandemic first started. Men and women alike have coped with children at home full-time, alongside limited domestic staff and increased chores. They have pursued their jobs from home in crowded – and sometimes less-than-ideal – spaces, with the uncertainty of employment loss looming large over them.
It is no wonder then that all of this has taken its toll on us emotionally and physically. In the process of doing what is right and what needs to be done, we sometimes forget to do what is necessary to create joy within and keep ourselves going. This isn’t just applicable to pandemic situations (although they have definitely made things worse!) – it also applies to many, who regularly get caught up in the day-to-day nitty-gritties of life, without pausing to take a breath for yourselves. I have a few secrets up my sleeve that have really worked for me, to ensure we keep our spirits upbeat, enriching our own life and the lives of those around us.
Find your passion
With all these other roles you occupy in your day-to-day existence, it is important to step back and remember who you really are and what makes you tick from the inside. You might be a busy professional working unearthly hours each day, or a new bride or groom, or a new parent or grandparent… but you need to take at least 30 minutes every day just for yourself, to discover what gives you happiness and feeds your soul. It could be singing or dancing (record yourself if that is the case!), or it could be painting or writing, or even the most favoured gardening. In fact, 80-85 percent, people have said gardening is one of the most therapeutic activities! Put your heart into something you enjoy doing, and see what a difference it makes to your mood, self-esteem and the way you perceive life!
Put a smile on someone’s face
Nothing gives your life meaning and purpose like sparking joy in others. It could be as simple as a visit to an old aunt that you’ve been putting off, cooking your spouse his or her favourite snack, or volunteering for a larger cause that is close to your heart. Either way, you’ll be secure in the knowledge that you’ve brightened up someone’s day with your actions, and that in turn can be extremely rewarding for you as well.
Connect with friends
An Irish proverb says, “A good friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have”. If you have even one or two such friends, you’re truly blessed. Whenever you feel like you need a good laugh, or a break from the daily rigmarole of life, call up your friends or make plans to visit. Messaging apps are great – but they can’t substitute the fondness in a person’s voice, or the warmth you feel in their hug. The easy thing to do is to lose touch with friends simply because you’re caught up with other things. Don’t do that – make a conscious and frequent effort to connect with them, and observe all the negativity and self-doubt in your heart melting away.
Don’t neglect your appearance
This isn’t just about looking good for the outside world. It is about feeling good for yourself, inside out. Take care of your skin, nails and hair on a regular basis. You might decide to walk around with uncombed hair at home when there’s no one to see you, or leave that big zit unattended to – but these are all big no-nos. Keep an emphasis on good hygiene, and especially on dental health, which are underrated aspects of feeling good and staying healthy. Studies have shown that when you know you look your best, you’re naturally more confident, happier, lighter and even ready to embrace your physical imperfections. Make exercise a part of your daily routine, and follow a basic grooming session to make sure you look and feel neat and clean. Dress well as far as you can help it, even if you are alone at home. There’s no one more important than yourself to dress up for, and you deserve to feel special all the time!
Get your master health check-ups in place
Knowing that you’re in good physical health can automatically make you feel better, more empowered, and motivated to be the best you can. Take your bi-annual master health check-up without fail, and address any concerns you have – no matter how small they may seem – with your doctor. If you’re a male above 60, take the PSA ( Prostate specific antigen) test to rule out prostrate cancer, while women should include a pap smear and mammogram in their roster of tests. There should also be a regular stool examination for occult blood examination and periodic colonoscopy for the early detection of colon cancer.
Value your family and job
At the end of the day, even though it might be tiring to be a parent or a professional, to spend 14 hours a day on video calls, or be swamped with household chores, remember to be grateful for your family and work. Family is the constant backbone that makes life special; they are the people who love, accept and support you unconditionally. A busy day at work is the sign of a successful career, enabling financial security and professional fulfilment. Don’t neglect these two aspects in the quest to find yourself – balance is the key. Remember that, and always practice gratitude every time you feel overwhelmed.