After a six-fold increase in use during the start of 2016, adulting officially became everyone’s favourite word. Officially defined by Merriam-Webster as an activity that has to do with ‘acting like an adult’, it can be anything from filing for taxes to setting your own dental appointments. And, if we’re being honest, it’s not exactly the easiest thing to do. But how exactly can you make it without compromising your mental, emotional, and physical health? We chat with health coach and Wellness With Tish founder Tisha Jaswantlal for wellness tips that will help get you through adulting.
Your own perception of self matters
“I often remind people, what we see on social media is highly curated and not always a reflection of real life,” Tisha says. “I definitely don't look amazing or eat perfectly all the time.”
She shares that her own struggles with self-image after undergoing two bouts of anorexia (among other health diseases) played a huge role in understanding our perception of self influence and how we deal with a crisis, personal or otherwise.
Her advice is to remember that it’s okay to let yourself let loose on certain occasions. We are often so fixated on the successes of others that it makes us forget to take care of our own selves.
“It has been a learning process for me to stop being such a perfectionist, to stop having to control everything all the time, to stop feeling guilty for taking breaks,” she admits. “Interestingly, letting go of senseless worries and accepting my present self has helped my mental health the most.”
You have to watch your own pace
There’s no harm in being goal-oriented. After all, it’s one of the many things that adulting teaches us. However, there is a difference between setting milestones for self-satisfaction and forcing yourself to tick boxes because of societal expectations. The latter often leads to burnout.
While not everyone can go on a nine-month retreat around the globe like Tisha did when she quit her corporate job to address health concerns that resulted from overworking, her best piece of advice speaks a universal truth.
“There is no pride to be had in pushing our bodies to the point of breakdown when we start to lose sleep and experience chronic stress. Sadly, a lot of times, this pressure is self-inflicted. I realised it was my own ego that contributed to my burnout years ago.”
What you put in your body matters
Adulting often forces us to present a formidable facade despite perhaps skimping on how we treat ourselves within. Its most common manifestations are eating cheap and moving less to have more time to stick to our desks and finish our tasks. Realistically, however, it’s even more detrimental — both health- and career-wise — to disregard your eating patterns.
“It’s important to cultivate a healthy relationship with food and your body. After all, there’s been more research on gut health and how food impacts not just physical health but also our mental health, even conditions like anxiety and depression,” Tisha explains. “As a simple analogy, do 1,000 calories of ice cream work the same way in the body as 1,000 calories from broccoli? What we are eating matters a lot more than how much we are eating.”
Focus on holistic health instead of chasing happiness
‘Adulting’ has often been equated to ‘getting your life together’. That’s why we often hear people say that it’s ‘hard to adult’ or ‘adulting is impossible’. With this, Tisha suggests that instead of going after the abstract idea of happiness, we should focus on a holistic approach to wellness that will help enable us to achieve our goals.
"As a psychologist, I ask questions such as WHY and not just WHAT, with a focus on a holistic approach to health, so as to create sustainable, lasting health benefits for my clients," she explains. "This includes ensuring that one's mindset, attitude, emotional state, along with the physical, are in their healthiest."
Tisha also shares that learning to “appreciate solitude” and “enjoy experiences without needing validation from other people” will follow soon after.
Overall, she reminds us that adulting is just a stage in one’s life that we all have to go through. It’s an inevitable phase that comes with hitting a certain age. But it is not a physical wall we have to break through and overcome. It’s simply life as we make it. While it is a fun expression to sigh about from time-to-time, the key is in reminding ourselves that even when the going gets tough, adulting should not be about chasing happiness.
Need more notes on 'how to adult'? Check out these films featuring inspiring women.
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