One thing 2020 really taught me was how big the role of my environment is for how I feel about myself and if I succeed in what I set out or not. This past year I was observing my mood and energy levels in various situations. More often than not I went from totally happy and motivated to tremendous self doubt and anger and back to feeling loved in just one day. Each of the stages was attached to different body languages and different self talk, which both increases or decreases my level of confidence.
On some days at work I was thinking I am close to burn out again, but I knew my biggest problems related mostly to certain people and work situations. Those revolved around unresolved conflicts and power dynamics no one wanted to talk about. In a different environment last year I often was filled up with happiness and confidence. I reached a point when I thought I was a bit schizophrenic. It took a Counselor to help me acknowledge that nothing was wrong with me but that, in fact, my environment was not supportive and caused my emotional distress. No meditation or yoga class would fix the issue.
I was unable to resolve this issue so I had to make a hard decision and quit my job – during a world wide pandemic with a lot of job uncertainties. This decision took me 3 month to make and was one of the hardest, even though I had already a side business.
2020 taught me that, while I have control over how I show up, not all situations can be solved by meditating more, going to bed earlier or going for a run. Although all of these things are important to maintain my spirit and help me make better decisions, 2020 taught me the big lesson of how setting clear boundaries and sticking to them is most important for my own mental health and development. As hard as they sometimes are to set. I also believe, setting boundaries starts with sticking to my own set boundaries for myself and doing what I want to do first.
Mental health is an interesting but complicated topic. It is one of these fields where one thing is true and also the opposite. I truely believe in the importance and personal responsibility for our own mental health and at the same time our environment has a super big impact. So much that no amount of self development and habit change can make it go away. If you are in an abusive relationship or a situation with a forced power dynamic (as there are in a lot of families or work situations), don´t fool yourself. This has a tremendous impact on how you feel about your self and how powerful and confident you can show up in this world.
These situations are ofter unimaginably hard to change. This is why self development and habit change is so important and why it is the most important task to find at least one space in your life that you can set up in a way that you have full control over and feel as your best self – whatever that looks like today. Ultimately, I believe that the more positive environments we create, the more positive our change results will be.
Your own self-confidence space will be your haven and the space where you return to connect with who you truly are and where you can feel at your best. In my case it is my own apartment and I have set it up in a way that supports 100% of my goals. So this week I have rearranged my furniture (once again) to make space for what is most important to me during the 90Days! challenge:
- a space where it will be easy and fun to excercise
- a space to cook 3 healthy meals a day
- a space where I can work and write and coach
- a space where I can get good quality sleep
In my case that looked like rearranging my living room into a part-gym part office space with a couch in the back to read and relax. So instead of having a couch and a TV in the center, I designed the room to make it easy for myself to do the things I want to do in the room first: yoga, meditation, exercise, work, write and coach.
To set this up, I did not need to invest any money. I have my basic sports equipment already at hand and can use the furniture I already have. All it usually takes is a bit of creativity and maybe the willingness to sacrifice on something that is not as important to you as it is to fulfil your goals. In my case, my boyfriend did complain that the living room was much more comfortable before as it was set up to relax. But I don´t want to relax in that room, I want to work on creating my best life.
I did however invest in some new work out clothes . I want you to know that this is optional though. If your finances don´t support this right now, it is nothing that you need. A healthy life style is achievable for every budget, it may requires some hard choices, but health is not something that has to be expensive.
Don´t underestimate the power of environment. I am a firm believer that change has to happen from the inside out. But not changing things on the outside will eventually stop the change on the inside. Both should go hand in hand and sometimes, the change from the inside is helping the outside to change and sometimes, we get help from a change on the outside to help our inside growth.