Clear your mind, eat well and conquer your fears

Melissa Mulongoy

This piece isn’t about improving your physical appearance per se, but rather about how you view the world around you and what you can do to live better.
I was inspired by a Happy FeastMelwoman who doesn’t know she’s one of my great inspirations to seize life by the horns. Mentors rarely do. She too was inspired by an influential woman and friend in her life, so I’m doing my due diligence and sharing this in the hopes that some of you might feel moved to look deeper.

Five points to help you look better in 2015:

1)    Look at what you do to divert yourself. How are you feeding your mind and soul, and what keeps you inspired?

I fare better when my mind is stimulated than not. I consider myself an eternal student, at times more diligent in my learning than at other activities. Reading is high on my list of hobbies and I read on a wide variety of subjects. My current reading list includes Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, a bit of heavy reading about natural medicine and holistic health, and a few fantasy novels.
I’m also currently learning Korean, for the simple pleasure of it, and spend quite a bit of time studying. I divert myself by watching Korean variety shows and that’s pretty much it as far as shows go. I do watch documentaries and have recently started studying the ‘behind the scenes’ for some of the different things that interest me the most.

2)    Look at what you’re eating. How are you fuelling your body?
I’m vegan. Transitioning to veganism has been an extremely positive and impactful change in my life. I’ve become more concerned with where my food comes from, what it means to grow your own food, eat local or organic food and why. More importantly, I’m interested in being vegan but eating foods that are culturally relevant to me. I’m African and I also love, love, love Asian food. I make it a habit of fusing my culture with others to create the most delectable and filling vegan meals. On the top of my list right now is a creation that falls beautifully somewhere between Nigerian pepper soup and Korean soybean paste stew. Interesting, right?

3)    Look at who you invest your time with & how. These are the people shaping your reality. Are they contributors or detractors?
I spend way too much of my days in front of a computer, but I consider myself very lucky. For the moments where I’m not glued to technology (good thing I don’t watch TV), I have a younger brother with whom I am very close and who happens to be my best friend. He is someone I can talk to frankly and have those difficult conversations with. He has listening ears to hear my woes, broad pillowy shoulders to cry on, the right words to spear me on, and a gentle hand to pat me on the shoulder with.
Although I can be very gadget-oriented, I do spend a lot of time with my family these days. And although family can seriously take you through the wringer and back again, they are also the roots that keep you deeply grounded.

4)    Look at your physical activities. What are you doing to engage your body physically?
I did mention that I spend hours and hours of my day in front of a computer screen. I don’t always create a good balance between sitting down and doing physical activities. I’ve even noticed lately that I’m suffering from lower backache, diminished circulation, achy joints and a loss of flexibility.
I can’t stress the importance of keeping your body in motion enough, and I’m speaking from experience. So I’m making a concerted effort to even out the active:inactive ratio in my days. I’ve found a great workout buddy in my mum. She’s my wake-up call every morning to get the day started with our dance workout. It’s fun because we both love to dance and I don’t see myself losing motivation any time soon because we’re doing it together.
Meditation, yoga or even walking your dog are all great things you can do to be more active and boost your wellness. The best part is, it’s free; you don’t need a membership, and you can make it work for you.

5)    Look at the products you use. What are you putting in your hair, on your face and on your skin?
Take a closer look at the labels on the things you use. Take the time to ask questions about products and clothes. Large corporations have money on their minds, not your best interest. The chemicals we use on our skin might not show any damage in the short-term, but what about the long run? How are you harming your unborn children without knowing it? Well, tar in your cosmetics will do that. What about the clothes you wear? Great, so you’re dressed to the trend or you hit the bargain jackpot! But did you take the time to find out where your clothes are manufactured and produced? People in sweatshops often earn less than a dollar a day and have to manage to feed their families with that. Maybe consume less as well?

6)    Look at your fears and shame. What are the things that are holding you back?
Do I even have the space to go into this? We are ruled by fear. I am greatly ruled by my fears. What I do is ask myself why, and do what I can to overcome them one step at a time. I’m afraid of being too much in the public eye; let me unveil myself and write a few articles for the Community Contact.
Fear is the mind killer. Letting gross fears get the best of you will always make the difference between tapping into your deepest self and coasting through life without a purpose.
What are you looking at in 2015?

Melissa Mulongoy
Co-founder of Happyfeast.ca