With so much being out of control in the world, the old adage goes: Focus on what you can control: Your attitude, your reactions, your actions.
But how exactly do you do that?
One philosophy we are leaning on right now is the idea of developing your own powerful, internal guide. We’re talking about becoming more “self-reliant” — not in a “I’m going to build my own log cabin” kind of way, but, rather in a metaphysical way.
Self-Sufficiency: A Buoy for Challenging Times
Self sufficiency can mean different things to different people: Living “off-the-grid,” growing your own food, being financially independent, and supporting your family are all forms of being self-reliant. But true “self-sufficiency” is having an internal “North Star” and a sense of wholeness and belonging. It is a cemented sense of who you are, making it harder for external influences and voices to affect you. It helps strengthen your connections to society and makes life more meaningful and satisfying.
As this essay from the Art of Manliness so beautifully explores, among the screens and higher and higher-tech advertising, it is increasingly challenging these days “to live a life that is inner-directed rather than other-directed” by outside forces.
Despite being a potentially uphill battle, realizing your own self-sufficiency can be a powerful tool for not only navigating challenging times, but also having the confidence and vision to realize your true path.
Here are some ways we are embracing being and feeling more self-reliant.
Release Yourself from Screens and Immerse Yourself in Quiet
The constant absorption of information and social chatter from screens — esp. if you dive in on social media first thing in the morning — can actually reroute the nerve pathways in your brain to make you feel more anxious and on-edge, and constantly looking at the (polished, edited) lives of others can leave us feeling empty and insecure. Reclaim your brain and stop letting your social media feeds exploit your dopamine. Get back to basics by replacing screens with physical books and activities (guitar-playing, gardening, working on a house project — anything that doesn’t involve a screen and gets you moving your body and thinking in a quiet space). Do this at least once a day, and stay away from your social media pages until noon each day. This simple act can reduce the negative effects social media has on your self-worth and create space and time for you to reflect on things you truly care about.
Release Yourself from “Shoulds” and Create Boundaries
Living up to our own expectations can be hard enough — what if we can’t seem to live up to our loved one’s expectations either? If you find yourself “stuck” on making a decision, or feel overwhelmed by all the work, chores, and obligations in your life, it’s time to reassess your “to-do list” and think through what you are doing to please others vs. what is best for you and will leave you with a “full cup” at the end of the day.
What feeds your soul? What brings a smile to your face? What makes you hopeful and free? What truly brings you peace? What would make you feel excited about life? Ask yourself each of these questions and write down the answers. It may sound cheesy and feel even cheesier to do, but do it anyway. Name these cup-fillers and then work to prioritize them. Turn your “I should…” statements into “I want to…” statements. If they are no longer true after you make that change, rethink these so-called obligations and decide whether some boundaries need setting or whether you need some form of outside support to get it all done, whether it’s between you and a friend, you and your workload, or you and your family duties. These smaller tasks will slowly work toward the larger and fundamentally important role of realizing who you are and what is truly important to you.
Seem daunting? Give yourself a (fun) kick in the pants and read Feck Perfuction to jump start your journey into realizing what you really want out of your life.
Release Yourself from Auto-Pilot Mode and Take Self-Care Seriously
With so much uncertainty for so many right now, it can be hard to “slow down” and enjoy the simple things. But it’s absolutely what we need right now. Our brains need time away from the grind to feel happier, and you better believe it needs breaks to maintain productivity.
Over and over, I’ve found some of the simplest remedies work the best in terms of helping us slow down and feel healthy and whole. These are almost laughably simple “life remedies,” but their benefits are very real and very much rooted in science.
Seriously — make sleep a priority. Yes it will help your brain function better, but did you know it also helps maintain healthy testosterone level and libido functions? Now we’re not saying 8 hours is a must for all — every person has their own sleep needs. Learn how many hours make you feel best, set yourself a bedtime deadline and get into the flow of sleeping well.
Again, it’s almost too simple. Sunshine can provide us with feelings of warmth and happiness, but it also provides a necessary vitamin — Vitamin D — that most of us are deficient in. (If regular sunshine isn’t available to you, take a vitamin D supplement). Do your immunity (and lots of other biological functions) a favor and make sure to get your vitamin D in each day.
Move Your Body
Avoid being stationary for too much of the day. Taking regular stretch breaks, lifting some weights, doing some push-ups.. These are all really simple ways we can make sure our bodies are getting the circulation movement they need to function properly. Moving also helps release any built-up stress you’ve accumulated throughout your day.
Maintain a Healthy Gut
Did you know that maintaining a healthy microbiome — that is, making sure your gut has the right balance of bacteria — is directly correlated to basic physiological functions like your emotional behavior, pain perception, and how your body handles stress? Read up on how to keep a healthy gut and accept it as a major player in obtaining overall health and wellness.
Taking control over these foundational elements of self-care will help boost your confidence for taking control over other areas of your life. They’ll also provide you with the physiological groundwork needed to help you be clear-headed as you make bold new decisions for a more fulfilling and self-reliant life.
What helps you feel grounded and in control of your life? Have you tried these tips? Let us know below.