World Heart Day: A feel good starter pack for all kinds of days you face
Happiness, contentment, joy, sorrow, strife, pain are emotions on either side of the spectrum, but all related to one common factor - how these emotions come to affect us and our hearts. September 29, marked as World Heart Day, spreads the word about all that one should do to stay healthy, eat healthy and live well. It’s unfair to assume that just one day of the year is enough to take note of what you intake into your body that might reverse all the ill-effects of the year gone by, and a preparation for another year or carelessness towards oneself.
Speaking of caring for ourselves, are we all doing enough in that direction, even if it’s a bit by bit effort into truly living better? Like avoiding bringing work stress home and spilling it all over your personal relationships? Or mixing personal and professional lives in a way that soon there’s no visible line any longer?
We choose to go out for a drink or a nice meal with people we like being with or when not exploring the outside world, spending a weekend sleeping in, to de-stress ourselves after a stressful work week. Is it a long-term solution to a life that could be lived better? Perhaps not. Before long we find ourselves caught in a vicious circle called our work-life imbalance.
Finding our Ikigai is a longer and may even seem questionable when the results don’t show up as quick as you might have imagined. At the same time, finding our purpose doesn’t have to be a mechanical process at all if we take one step at a time, stopping to smell the roses every now and then, finding peace in the smaller things and experiencing Hygge in the things we do - the cups of tea, a good book, great company, home-cooked meal, so on and so forth.
This World Heart Day, here’s a look at the few things you can feel good with, and keep your heart and mind happy (some of us are better thinkers from the heart too). We call it the ‘feel good checklist’:
* Cup(s) of tea or coffee:
In a fast-paced life, a cup of tea or coffee based on your preference might seem like a boon. But just one sip of your favourite warm beverage can seem like worries and all their baggages are miles away. Best had when it’s raining outside and you’re not getting drenched out of choice.
* Scented candles:
There are a plenty options available in the stores now. You can choose from various aromatherapy candles or oils that you need a diffuser for. Light these and soak in the moment or use these as an accompaniment for your meditation ritual. One of my favourites is the apple cinnamon essence that smells like there’s a live bakery where I’ve lit the candle.
* Home-cooked meal:
Studies have shown that cooking or baking help you relieve stress to a great extent and hence is a perfect go-to whenever you feel like a home-cooked meal. Better still, the person who can do the cooking for you and serve it hot, just off the stove.
* A good book (and its fragrance):
Did you know there’s a particular word for the smell of old books? It’s called bibliochor. When you pick up a book off the bookshelf or when the book chooses you, it’s a relationship you form that you see to fruition once you’ve completed it, yet the feeling hardly ever leaves you.
* A playlist for the mood of the moment:
A popular music app has a playlist for all moods and feelings. Good music can uplift your mood with every tune so there’s never a good time to listen to some. It’s mostly just play and go or if you depend largely on the internet, then have a running internet connection to facilitate music to your phone to your ears.
* Give a compliment:
Just like so many things in life, this one too doesn’t depend on a give and take gesture. It’s always nice to receive a compliment but it’s even better to give one when you know it’s probably made a stranger’s day. You could be that stranger one day in dire need of a kind word. The karmic cycle doesn’t take a break.
* Handwritten notes:
Phoebe says that she loves notes stuck on mirrors so she has something to read in the bathroom but if you share your living space with someone, it’s a sweet way to pass on reminders or just sweet nothings to either come home to or wake up to.
You don’t need to have a green thumb to enjoy time with plants or just take a walk in a garden and soak in the beauty of everything around you. Maybe take a book of poetry by Robert Frost or W.B. Yeats along and recreate those scenes in present day. However, it must be noted that taking some of your precious time out to spend with your plants (should have a few on your work desk or at home in your living spaces) also helps in reducing the effects of stress - which is a silent killer in many ways.
* Dogs or cats or their videos:
Social media has fulfilled our pet ownership dreams in many ways. A cute video can do wonders to an off sort of day, can’t it? But if you choose to keep a pet, remember to bring it up like your own child and not just keep one because it’s fancy.
It all boils down to this - How comfortable you are in your own company. Me-time can include everything from a shopping or meal plan to meditating to enjoying doing nothing, when you are at peace with your (lack of) plans or love your space enough, you automatically start understanding someone else’s need for the same things. What’s more, regular practice may even bring you to an expert level where you start advising all your dearies to try this out for themselves every once in a while.