Body, Mind and Soul (part deux)

in Health & Wellness June 15, 2021

I went through a difficult emotional turmoil in 1998. Having a demanding job, living literally out of suitcases, traveling for weeks on end, with hardly any close contact with my family and my loved ones, didn’t help my marriage.  I was divorced! 

A week after that devastating event, I was called to join a Project Team in Sydney.  In a normal environment, I would have been thrilled to return to my stomping ground.  A city where I grew up from a reticent teenager, to a self-reliant young adult.  A city which kept all my secrets and experiences, much that shaped me.  But instead, I was sad. 

All I wanted to do was to be in a dark room, with the curtains drawn, and to cry out loud. 

I tried to level my work with my personal life, but almost always ended up with me feeling down and out. 

I always pride myself as a ‘glass-half-full’ kind of person, but I soon realised that staying positive is not easy when you are feeling dejected.  I was miserable and anxious.  I was also very stressed at work – trying to manage clients’ demands and tight deadlines – didn’t help my mental condition.

Mental health is not to be taken lightly  

Emotional and mental health is important because it is a vital part of our being and it impacts our thoughts, behaviours and emotions. 

Most people don’t even know that they have developed a mental illness.  However, people should look at the early signs of mental health disorder such as feeling hopeless, displaying negative emotions, feeling confused, having consistently low energy etc.  Mental illness is still a stigma in our society, but it shouldn’t be.  We need to recognise that similar to physical health, our minds need nurturing (too) in order for us to have a perfect meaning to life. 

Knowing that I was not well, was the first step. I recognised that I needed to take charge of my life.  Burying myself in work, and temporary forgetting my emotions, was not the answer.  I started to make changes to my lifestyle, in order to facilitate my wellness. Such changes included sleeping more, since sleep is a cornerstone to health, although consultants aren’t given such luxury most times. I began eating a balanced/nutritious diet, continuing with my exercise routines, and having exposure to nature. 

I started being more mindful, living in the present without judgement. I also began to derive pleasure in little things like sitting on the lawn whilst sipping my coffee, enjoying the morning sun.

I made sure to take time for self-love, which is most important for everyone to recharge and refresh, and to accept healthy love in their lives.  My immediate boss also encouraged me to gradually use up my annual leave (which I accumulated so much over the years), and actually take vacation!  Having a support network of close friends and family, is integral to living a healthy and balanced life, and can also be helpful in boosting our emotional health. 

After some time, I decided that I needed to take a step back.  I missed home.  Although I was in a better position emotionally, I knew that I needed to return to my familiar surroundings again, to spend more time in Malaysia. 

I left my consulting world, and took a position in a media company in 2000.  It was the best decision I made.  I loved the fast-paced nature of the industry, loved the challenges the work brings, and made many lasting, meaningful friendships.  I thrived to reach a balance between life activities, responsibilities, with efforts to achieve psychological resilience. 

I found new love, amidst my busy schedule.  I was married in 2005.  I was in a good place.  Life couldn’t be any sweeter.

Take care of your mind, and your soul will follow.