By Roz Jones
Often, when we dream of being better people or improving our lives we think of our finances. We want to have enough money to afford cars, houses, holidays and all the nice things in life. Would that be enough or even possible if we did not have inner strength? Without being the toughest versions of ourselves? Toughness is one of the things we barely give thought to and when we do, it is often when we are cornered. We try to be tough when we are left without any other choice. As caregivers, this happens all too often because of the amount we take on.
We often associate being tough with having muscles, masculinity, a serious face, being inflexible, or being mean to others and the likes. Those are some of the most common connotations, but, does being mean, having muscles, masculinity, inflexibility, and keeping a straight face make you mentally tough? You can be all those things and still be ‘weak.’
It is important to note that we can never achieve perfection. The world around us and our situations keep changing, and will continue to do so. Therefore, we will need to either keep up or stay ahead to survive and remain relevant. To walk the path we dream of without wavering, we need our inner strength to match our dreams and purpose. We must be brave, determined, and focused among other things. We must be able to conquer your fears, doubts, and other weaknesses to be able to stand up against the world and reign. You need to be willing to keep growing and becoming a better person than you were yesterday.
To become the toughest version of yourself, you need to equip yourself in the following ways;
Work on your mental health – Your mental health is everything. The greater part of your being depends on it. Being mentally healthy is mostly about maintaining a positive state of mind. Your mental state determines your perceptions and how you respond to external pressures. If you are mentally strong, every other form of toughness is just a bonus. Mentally healthy people know how to choose their battles, are confident, are emotionally intelligent (control their emotions rather than being controlled by emotions), are strong-willed, and are not easily derailed from their main goal. A positive state of mind allows you to be in control of your life and enables you to make good decisions. As caregivers this is particularly important when facing fears.
Stay physically healthy – There is a connection between physical and mental health. Poor mental health puts one at risk of physical health and vice-versa. Also, you find satisfaction in your ability to conceive an idea and also be the one to execute it or see it through. You easily achieve goals and learn more when you are directly involved in making decisions as to how things should be done. Therefore, ensure that you exercise to stay fit, strong, and energized. It also helps you refresh your mind and relieve stress. One of the most important aspects of physical health that you need to prioritize is eating healthy. Your choice of food has immediate and long-term effects. Eat food that will help you stay alert and energized throughout the day while ensuring that you won’t be affected in the long run.
Improve your skills – We live in a competitive world, all while being required to work with a team. It is not enough to acquire a skill and end there. Become the best possible. You do not want to feel like you are not as good as your peers, nor do you want to be the weakest link in your team. Being good at what you do gives you confidence and makes it easier for your voice to be heard. With good skills and the will to continue learning you will be respected and unstoppable as a professional.
Show love – They say ‘love conquers all’. It empowers you, while it denies entry points to anyone who wishes to be enemies with you. When the negative energy sent your way is met with love, the enemy is disempowered and it will not be long before they run out of plots. Choosing love helps maintain positivity, focus on that rather than focusing on unnecessary fights. Build meaningful relationships whenever possible. Love will most likely earn you respect and win people’s hearts. You will always need people on your side, especially when things get tough.
Build a strong support system – Even the most mentally stable people do go through tough situations. They lose hope and get close to giving up. It always helps to have people who will give you the support you need to get back your strength. As a caregiver, this support system is exponentially more important for you because you cannot do this alone!