How self awareness helped me decrease stress?
Updated: Sep 8, 2019
I was really stressed and somewhat burned out throughout last spring. Some of you might ask how is this possible for someone in their 20s. Well, let me tell you that life in the 20s these days is quite stressful. Think about the number of choices, the variety of roles that we have to fulfill, and the amount of freedom we have - from choosing the country you want to live in, the social environment that you start to gather around, the kind of relationship you start to create, the career path you want to take, the list just goes on.
The stress for me led to an unhealthy situation in which I was not eating, sleeping, or exercising enough. My curious and adventurous personality did not help in this case. I just wanted to see and experience it all, especially as I had just moved into a new city, Helsinki. I kept telling stuff to myself like that I will eat when I have time, and I have time to sleep when I am older, or that once I get this done or going, I will be okay. Now writing this all down, these things sound really stupid, but that is how I kept ongoing. After going through a few meltdowns and more than a couple interventions with friends and family, I woke up to reality. It was like I had removed patches from my eyes and stepped out of this invisible bubble. After a period of extreme disorder and a significant amount of self-evaluation, I could only ask myself the question; how had I let myself get into this situation?
I decided something had to be done. I knew I was faced with the need to transform my life, which requires answering a lot of questions. I knew I had to get into a better state of mind to make the next decision to get on the right path. For me, this meant to give myself time to get clarity on myself. To be able to do this right and to be able to concentrate truly and fully on me, I provided myself an opportunity this summer to get away from distractions and to shut down as much of environmental influences.
To created a potential for transformation, three adaptive conditions must be taken into consideration; (1) community, (2) structure, and (3) guidance. All which I needed to take into account to create a habitat for personal growth.
For the summer break, I flew to Colorado, my second home, to get into the environment and community of support, which I knew to be the best for me. In this community, I had great potential to concentrate on building a healthier structure in life - I started to pay attention to exercise, eating well, sleeping in a schedule. I mean all the basic stuff. Taking a month off totally from any work did help the case - one of the perks of living in Finland. Besides, I decided to delete all my personal social media accounts (except LinkedIn, which is easy for me not to check) to have a minimal amount of distraction during the process. I sought out guidance from successfully balanced people around me and reached out to olde mentors. During the process to ensure that my curious self would not get bored in the organized and structured new lifestyle that I was building, I proactively sought out new things to try and do. This led me to discover hot yoga, big thanks to Pamela. With hot yoga came the higher realization of taking time for yourself, and to just breathe. I mean really breath. As our yogi, Leah would say to "provide yourself opportunities to check in with yourself”.
"Provide yourself opportunities to check in with yourself”.
Overall I had given myself time! By creating the potential for transformational process and providing myself consistent opportunities for check-in times, I noticed I was able to be more present and actually help and support the people I love. By being present, I was able to create and strengthen relationships with people around me, take in the information around me, and genuinely observe and give thank to things around me. The world is getting more hectic and full of distractions. People are proactively starting to look for and come up with ways to create distraction-free environments and to escape the overly distracted daily lives. For example, Paweł Althamer’s art exception includes a quiet white room, which he has a design to “purify the senses and the mind of the ever-present flood of external stimuli” in today's society. Before entering the white room, the participant leaves their phones at the door and get dressed in white.
Sometimes hitting rock bottom or a low point in your life is needed to make the required changes in our life. I am not saying that people should wait until getting to this point, better if you do not, but for me, that is what was needed in this situation. Through my process, I learned the importance of check-in time. How often do you actually give yourself time to check in with yourself? I want you to be honest with yourself and think. Give yourself time to breathe and give gratitude. Even a small part of your morning spent on self-awareness can make a huge difference in the way you spend your day. The desire to self-improvement led to the need for self-transformation.
Even a small part of your morning spent on self-awareness can make a huge difference in the way you spend your day.
I want to thank all my friends, family, and everyone around me for the help I have received. I would not have been able to do this without help.