Reconnecting with Your Truest Self

 

Unlike with family and friends, connecting with yourself doesn’t require a weekly video call or the occasional “how are you?” text message. Instead, let’s talk about how you can reconnect with yourself. Your Tru-est self (see what I did there)? 

Here are 3 ways you can stay connected with yourself, even during the most trying times: 

 

1. Unplug

 

You’re scrolling through your social feed before you fall asleep and you’re hit with a barrage of posts about career advancesthriving relationships and life achievements on your feed. Though you may be happy for your friends, you might also feel a well of jealousy bubbling deep inside you.  

Research has shown that social media can cause symptoms of anxiety and depression depending on how you use it and how often you’re on the apps. In one study, almost 2,000 adult participants were surveyed on their social media usage and then categorized by the intensity, frequency, and even emotional investment they had while using the apps. Those who were placed in the “Wired” and “Connected” categories were the participants that scored highest on questions measuring anxiety and depression symptoms. 

Reflect on the way you spend your free time outside of work. Is what you’re doing really relaxing? Or are you just on autopilot? Having this conversation with yourself can help you find new ways to calm your mental state and enjoy your free time. Take some time to unplug from the social media realm and spend that time enjoying something that makes you feel good about yourself! 

 

2. Play 

 

Once we reach adulthood, the importance of productivity seems to overrun our lives. Even just sitting still and not doing anything may seem like a waste of time for some people. However, it’s when we engage in unproductive activity simply for the joys it brings us, that we start to understand the importance of play and the way it connects us with ourselves and others. 

An NPR interview with the founder of the National Institute of Play, Dr. Stuart Brown, describes play as “something done for its own sake” where the “act itself is more important than the outcome.” 

How often do you engage in activities just for the experience? Or do you always have a goal in place for everything you do? Though we often think of play as something we do to connect with others (I.e. Watching sports, clubbing, etc.), play is equally important for self-exploration and self-expression! 

So, play! Do something just for the fun of it! If you like to sing and dance, blast your music and sing along as you dance around your house! Or maybe you used to draw as a kid and stopped when life got busy. Pick up a pencil and relive that childhood experience! You never know, you might even discover a new passion that you never thought you’d enjoy before!  

 

3. Be Curious

 

When you work a 9 to 5 job, your daily routine can put you on autopilot. This endless slog of the same tasks every day can diminish your spirit and make you disengage with yourself and your own needs. 

That’s why it’s important to be curious and change up that routine!  

Know of a popular restaurant you’ve been meaning to try? Order takeout and support small businesses in your community! Or maybe you’re tired of staying indoors every day and just want some fresh air. Make a date with yourself, grab some hot cocoa or coffee, and go for a mindful walk around a park you’ve never been to before! Or, if you’re the active type, discover a new hiking trail and get some exercise while you explore new scenery! You might just find a hidden gem! 

 

4. Spend Time with Yourself 

 

Many people gasp in horror at the thought of seeing a movie by themselves or going out to dinner alone. Now, this reaction isn’t completely unfounded. Research has shown that people who self-isolate and avoid contact with others tend to exhibit more symptoms of anxiety and depression.  

However, the same studies also note that participants whose motivation for alone time was self-reflection and self-care showed great mental health benefits from their times of solitude. For example, self-reflection allows you to observe how you feel about your relationships, not only with other people, but also with your job, where you live, and most importantly, with yourself. This self-knowledge reveals your values and priorities, which can help you put your life in perspective and regulate your emotions during stressful times. Being able to regulate your emotions has been shown to benefit romantic relationships and help people succeed during major life transitions!

It turns out we could all benefit from some quality time with ourselves. 

 

A Thing to Remember: 

It’s funny how we get so caught up in our lives and responsibilities, that we forget who we’re really living our lives for: Ourselves.  

How do you stay connected with yourself? Use the tag @liveTruLyfe to share your story with us on Instagram!  

 

 

References: 

  1. Dew, Mary Amanda, PhD., et al. (2018, Mar. 1). Am J Health Behav. 42(2): 116–128. DOI: 10.5993/AJHB.42.2.11 
  2. Dixon, Lisa Prescott. (2020). Family Perspectives: Vol. 1 : Iss2 , Article 4. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/familyperspectives/vol1/iss2/4 
  3. Yenigun, Sami. (2014, August 6). NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/06/336360521/play-doesnt-end-with-childhood-why-adults-need-recess-too