Do we really need self care routines ?
Do we really need self care routines ? Loofah photo created by pvproductions - www.freepik.com

Everyday wellness ritual

Do we live intentionally or just go through our daily routines in a mechanical way ? Are self care routines a hype or a necessary ?

On one of my many visits to a bookshop, and these are many by the way, I happened to shift my vision from the normal go-to-segments to explore and seek something different. I was amazed to see the number of books and authors under 'Self Help'. And it struck me at that moment in time, how most of us are constantly seeking - consciously or sub consciously - ways to improve our lives.

Long before the trend, there was one very simple motto that I lived by - 'Do what you love, Love what you do'. Somehow this very simple mantra helped me identify things that I loved to do ( whether consistently or not was a different matter all together ) and ensured that no matter what I would always love whatever I did - 100% if not more.

And so when I read Ikigai - The Japanese Secret to a long and Happy Life, I could connect. Everything in the book is just simple thing we feel we already know. And then the beauty of it all is that we know everything written in it and the everything that we know is simply true. In very simple terms - Ikigai ( pronounced ee-kee-ga-ee ) translates to reasons to live or purpose of living.

Ikigai
Iki - life, alive and Kai ( gai in the term ) - reason, worthiness.

The whole world wide chase of self help and self care is a journey and not a destination. It is not something switched on with a tap of a finger or just by reading a book(s). The journey to purpose and wellness in life is a consistent and conscious choice that we make for our lives on a daily basis. Something many of us find difficult. Awakening consiousness and awareness is indeed the first step to the pursuit of happiness. Identifying the purpose of our life - the reason to wake up and jump out of bed - the raison d'etre is key.

So how do we do this ? How do we identify our purpose ? How do we pursue what makes us happy ? How do we even get started ?

The Japanese believe that ikigai is in all of us. And it is unique to each one of us, just as our finger prints. There can be common factors but as a whole your ikigai would be different as compared to mine and ours unique as compared to those of people across our communities and globe. Your ikigai is what you make it. Magnificent or simple. Easy or difficult. Challenging or comforting. And mind you these keep changing as time goes by. Our experiences, our choices, our beliefs affect our ikigai too. And thus our journey of wellness starts with identification - constantly and daily.

Steps to living intentionally from the time you wake up to the time you sleep :

1. Wait before you check your phone - connect with your surroundings and your energy first.

2. Tune into how you feel and what you need to do - Understand your feelings and make a small mental note of what you need to do. Create a clear vision and set your intentions.

3. Hydrate and nourish your body - The importance of this cannot be undermined.

4. Move your body and soul - Do not stay rooted in a place. Move around. Meet people. Talk to colleagues. Infuse positivity around you. Take a moment to help someone. Make sure you appreciate atleast 3 people / things before the end of the day.

5. Connect with God/Universe/Energy/Self /Science - we all need to be guided in some ways through both the good times and moments of despair - which we will have plenty of in our daily business of living.

6. Awaken your senses - Music heals and music inspires. Simple. Nothing more - nothing less. Diffusing essential oils such as lavender, frankincense and sandalwood in your 'my space' helps. Connect with nature - let your eyes soak in small things that almost always bring small joys. Tune into your intuitions - analyse them.

7. Clear Clutter - In your mind - your workspace - your phone - laptop - room. Anywhere and everywhere. Remove things that you do need. Stay away from anything or anyone that has a negative vibe.

8. Rest and Recharge - give yourself time to soak in water. Well not literally - but your time under the shower should be mindfully relaxing. A relaxing foot soak works like magic. Air is important too. Take in conscious breaths of air into your lungs. And heart too.

9. Create something - Do something different from the routine and mundane. If you are lazy - take a walk. If you are questioning your existence - gaze at the stars. If you feel unmotivated - watch a movie or read a romance novel. Take out that long pending exotic recipe. Read a book from your TBR. If nothing change your bedsheet.

10. Gratitude List : Write 10 things you are grateful for. Your morning coffee. Your nourishing food. The air you breathe. The money in your wallet. An ache free day. The music you heard and the impromptu dance you did - and how you felt good after that. Peace in your community. Rains. A fluttering butterfly.

Everything small need not be nothing. With the right attitude, anything can appear to be something worthwhile.

Start small. It is not easy to bring a mountain of change overnight. small changes become habitual and eventually support you intentional living.

Understanding who you are and what you stand for is so important. Gather all your feelings and emotions in writing. Journaling is a wonderful pursuit in this endeavour. It helps you accept who you are.

Find joy in little things we often take for granted. Make a list of what you do. Analyse which of these made you happy. Do more of these. Then focus on doing this better. Do this often till it becomes a habit. And voila - you have your ikigai.

None of these things happens overnight. Its easier to write and lecture than to actually do. But every small step is a step that reduces the journey of a thousand miles. Every small step takes you towards a more meaningful life.

Do what you love and love what you do.

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