Are You Living Your Best Life?
The power of embracing new challenges and passions
With work, life, family and everyday stresses and strains to deal with it can be all too easy to forget to carve out time for yourself. But making changes, breaking out of unhealthy cycles, and experiencing new challenges all help to add spark to our lives and set us on an exciting journey of self development. Here, we look at the #liveyourbestlife revolution and find ways to create a more mindful, fulfilling and nurtured life.
Pursuing new passions will give you a new lease of life, says author Jessica Pan whose new book Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: An Introvert’s Year of Living Dangerously is all about breaking out of your comfort zone.
“Last year, I realised that every weekend, I went to the same café, walked the same route and visited the same spots in London. I had recently started working from home, and while staring out at the world from my sofa, I wondered what would happen if I took more risks. What could be gained if I finally said yes to things that I had been too scared to try my entire life?” says Jessica.
“I vowed to try new, daunting things (like improv and friend-dating, to name a few) and to explore more of what London had to offer me. I ended up having the most fun and exciting year of my life.”
See Jessica’s tips on breaking out and trying new things over the page.
The Mindful Movement
In its simplest terms, being mindful is staying present and appreciating the now. According to the NHS: “Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can not only help improve mental wellbeing… but can help you enjoy life and understand yourself better.”
Practicing mindfulness, be it through meditation, yoga, reading or taking small moments of calm during your day can help to channel body and mind and reduce stress. Science backs up the trend for more mindful living with several studies indicating that those who take regular ‘time outs’ return with renewed focus, increased productivity and capacity both at work and home.
Get APP It
There are some great meditation apps for beginners out there including Mindspace which offers a free 10-part basics section and guided meditations in three, five and ten-minute options.
Stop, Breathe & Think asks users to check in and describe how they’re feeling. The app then matches tailored meditations to your current state of mind.
A mindful step further, Insight Timer works like a social network for meditators, witha world map indicating how many people are meditating at one t ime. It offers a huge collection of more than 15,000 guided meditations and allows you to see who is nearby and to invite friends to join you. The app also has community forums where users can discuss all things mindfulness and meditation.
Open your mind and body up to new experiences and you’ll soon feel the benefits. If you’re feeling lacklustre, simply committing to spending 15 minutes outdoors every day can really help change your mindset and in turn lead to new fitness goals.
Find it hard to stick to jogging? Too busy to sit down with a book? Whether you’re in the car on the school run or walking round the supermarket, podcasts provide a vast resource of incredible stories, inspiring interviews, and are a great way to tap into new interests and passions.
The Goop Podcast has weekly interviews with leading thinkers, culture changers and industry disrupters – from doctors and creatives to CEOs and spiritual healers. Some cracking recent installments include how to tackle stress and burn out, manifesting the life you want, and how to become your future self.
For those interested in empowerment and zeitgeist issues hitting the news cycle, The Cut on Tuesdays brings you women’s voices on culture, style, sex, politics and people from around the world.
Fearne Cotton talks through the pitfalls and challenges of family life, career and personal growth with celebrity guests in her new podcast Happy Place. For wisdom and insight, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday is the place to go, and for budding business minds, How I Built This tells the story of how some of the biggest brands in the world started. How to Fail with Elizabeth Day sees big names talk about their biggest failures – and how they can be turned into a positive.
Shelf Help, a digital book club dedicated to wellbeing aims to connect as many people as possible with books, ideas and experts that will inspire them to look at themselves in a different, more positive way. Every month there is a new book to read and one digital meeting held on Facebook or Instagram, plus some fantastic London-based forums and Q&As with leading authors.
If you’re looking to get back to work after a break or work from home and need a little help managing that work life balance, Mutha Pukka has an excellent library of articles online on flexible working.
Jessica Pan’s Tips on Living Your Best Life…
Make a list of things you’ve always wanted to do but have been too scared of. Sit down with a pen and a pad of paper alone and really ponder this. Think back to what you used to love to do as a kid or what have you always wanted to try? You’ll be surprised what pops up.
Try something you’ve always been curious about. While re-visiting things we used to love can be rewarding, don’t just limit yourself to only things you’ve done before. If you’ve always been curious about stand-up comedy classes, or have always fancied a go at rock- climbing, you have nothing to lose by signing up for a few beginner classes.
Talk to more people. I cannot stress enough how vital this is. So many of us can sign up for a class or tour or event, pay the fee, arrive on time, but when it comes to talking or sharing with the others in the room, we clam up. Don’t be intimidated by strangers in the class – usually you’re all beginners, but if you’re not, the more experienced people are almost always happy to give advice. This is a chance to connect with new people with common interests in a safe, friendly space. Don’t waste it!
Don’t be discouraged. You might not like the first thing you try, but that doesn’t mean new things don’t suit
you. Try something else on your list. One new hobby, class or change could make all the difference in adding some new magic to your life.