In our hectic modern lives, it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed and under pressure to perform, especially in a demanding city career. An expert at finding peace and tranquillity in the most testing of careers, including time in both the military and investment banking, Tai Chi instructor and Experience host Keith has teamed up with Airbnb to guide city dwellers through the storm of smartphones and social media.
High quality rest
Respect the importance of getting enough rest. We often sabotage ourselves by working too hard, staying up late binge-watching Netflix or staring at our phones and laptops for hours. Instead we need to allow our minds time to settle and be free of over-stimulation, while being gentle on our bodies by disengaging from our work and social media.
Home cooked food
We’re all guilty of neglecting the importance of a healthy, balanced diet and not drinking enough water when we’re busy at work. Being self-employed, I recognize how easy it is to get carried away with work and ignore my diet, which I am often guilty of. However, this causes the body unnecessary stress and makes us more tired, so it’s crucial to eat well. Simple changes, like avoiding processed food where possible and keeping a water bottle near your desk to stay hydrated throughout the day can make a big difference.
‘Morning Pages’ are a creation by Julia Cameron encouraging you to put pen to paper as soon as you wake up and write three pages of long-hand, stream of consciousness writing. The process lets you pour out all your thoughts and feelings onto paper, stopping them from manifesting in other external ways, and helps you start the day fresh. I write my morning pages every day and they help me dump all my anxieties, bitterness, and frustration I may feel on any given morning. It has entirely transformed my life.
Meditation doesn’t have to involve sitting in full lotus position chanting “Om”. However just sitting still and allowing your body and mind time to settle can be incredibly beneficial, particularly if you lead a physically active lifestyle.
Seek out work that you find rewarding and inspiring, which will benefit not only yourself but your family and wider communities. For me, this was quitting my job in investment banking to follow my heart and start my Tai Chi school, but it doesn’t have to be so extreme – it could simply entail volunteering in a community project, for instance.
Time in nature
Spending time in nature reverts us to our natural state. A lot of health issues stem from over stimulation and a lack of time outdoors, so fresh air and gentle exercise can be hugely beneficial – even if not always an attractive prospect when the weather is poor! The Japanese art of Forest Bathing has become increasingly popular, with doctors prescribing it to their patients to treat all sorts of illness.
Seek out ways you can be of service to others whenever possible. When we become self-serving, we become blinkered to the needs of those around us, leaving us feeling isolated and invulnerable. Helping someone in need, even in a very small way, instantly brings a sense of great joy and achievement.
And finally, remind yourself of the importance of play. Life can often seem so terribly serious and painful, but it’s important to allow ourselves time to play and be silly – hence why my Tai Chi school is called Playful Dragons. It is through our playfulness that we learn most quickly and have most fun.
Keith discovered the tranquility and peace of Tai Chi after 9 years in an elite British military unit, followed by high intensity investment banking in London. Leaving this career behind, Keith went on to study under several masters in China before becoming a Tai Chi expert. You can book Keith’s Experience here.