How to Fill the Bouncy Castle of Life
I can’t believe we are half way through the month and almost half way through the year! The sun is finally shining and we are about to hit the longest day of the year next week. So this is exactly the right time to be doing as many things as we can in order to make us feel emotionally, physically and mentally stronger and build up our resilience to life’s knocks. Things always seem a little bit easier when the sun is shining and we have more time, especially right now with almost 17 hours of daylight to enjoy!
So this month I thought I would share with you the analogy I have been using with my current clients regarding self care and mental health.
Imagine you are jumping on a large, inflatable bouncy castle. It’s constantly being filled with lots of air to keep that memento of bouncing up and down going and going. The more air that is inside, the softer your landing and the easier it is to keep bouncing back up again. As soon as the machine at the back stops pumping the air in, the bouncy castle starts to deflate and it’s more and more difficult to bounce back up and eventually it just becomes a very hard landing, and we just can’t bounce back.
I like to think that our self care is a bit like the air in that bouncy castle. We need to keep filling our lives with enough good things so that whenever we fall down, we have enough resilience to enable us to bounce back up again. If we stop doing those things, and if something goes wrong in our lives or we ‘fall down’, the landing is much harder and it’s a real struggle to bounce back to how we used to be.
Here are a few ways to fill your bouncy castle
1. Get enough sleep – 7 to 8 hours a night
Switch off devices an hour before bed
Keep your room dark and cool
Avoid watching the news before bed
2. Move your body
Do some simple stretching
Join an exercise class
Get up from your desk and move every hour
3. get outside into nature
Go for walk
Do some gardening
Spend 10 – 20 mins outside early in the morning
4. Eat a fresh and balanced diet
Cook from scratch as much as you can
Eat 30 plants a week
Avoid ultra processed foods
5. Drink more water
Try and drink 2 litres a day
Add some lemon or mint to your water
Drink a glass of water before every meal
6. connect with friends and family
Meet for coffee
Call a friend every week
Join a group of like minded people
7. spend time doing something you love
Take up a new hobby or restart an old one
Relax with a book
Listen to your favourite music
Every evening make a list of all the positives of the day
What are you grateful for?
What have you achieved today?
9. put your phone down and be more present
Delete some social media apps
Put your phone away at meal times
Go for a walk without your headphones
10. learn to say no
Set some boundaries for yourself and others
Don’t feel guilty
I hope that has given you some ideas of how to fill your own bouncy castle. Some of these ideas link nicely together, and often when we start doing something good for ourselves it can start a domino effect of doing even more. My advice is pick one thing that you could do more of or that you want to add into your life.
Maybe go down the list and score yourself out of 10 as to how well you are achieving these already, if anything is coming out as a 4 or below maybe it’s time to start doing more of that in some way.
When the sun is shining and the days are long it’s a lot easier to do some of these things, and if we create some good habits and self care practices now we can build up our resilience for those darker days.
Remember I am always here if you need some help to have a calmer mind and a calmer life.