5 Things you Need to Start Doing to Feel Better!
It starts around late October, a sense of uneasiness, the chatter centred around the warmer weather, impending holidays booked and that c word… Christmas. Every year without fail a large portion of my clients start panicking when they feel the hint of a balmy breeze and start enjoying the lighter afternoons. Topics of conversation start centring around fitting into last year’s swim wear and the Covid kilograms that need to ‘just go’ before Christmas. It’s not only the physical appearance that creates dissatisfaction but also the feelings of lethargy and tiredness after being on the go 24/7. For many of us, a large sense of overwhelm is looming with no clear cut solutions on how to navigate the ‘forest from the trees’.
Knowing that we have all the same amount of minutes and hours in the day it really is about spending some time planning and thinking about what is important, setting some intentions at the start of each day and learning to prioritise those things that are important to us.
Instead of feeling like ‘blah’ going into the latter half of the year we can start to feel more like ‘Yah’ if we spend some time on the following:
- Move Your Body in Ways that Make You Feel Good
What is the best exercise for you? The one that you enjoy! Why? Because if you enjoy dancing or swimming for example you are more likely to stick to it long term. Just because you read somewhere that weight training is the best form of exercise (don’t get me wrong it has a multitude of benefits) if you don’t enjoy it won’t be sustainable long term.
When we exercise it helps us to release feel good hormones called ‘endorphins’ a neurochemical associated with feelings of euphoria. These feel good hormones can assist with a clearer mindset, creativity and an improved mental state. The other benefits of moving your body more is it helps burn off excess body fat, it improves our strength and fitness, this lends itself to a happier and healthier version YOU all round.
2. Create Healthy Boundaries:
Do you find it hard to say ‘no’ to people? Do you find yourself in situations where you think why am I doing this or I don’t want to be here? Creating healthy boundaries is about saying ‘no’ to the things you don’t really want to do. It is about putting yourself first and practicing on a daily basis more self- care. Does FOMO or the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ stop you from saying no to things when you know deep down you really should. Remember when we start saying no to the things that are not right, we start creating more room for other opportunities which are right!
When it comes to creating boundaries as well this also translates to people in our lives. Do you have a partner, friend, flat mate or co-worker that makes you feel less than?
One solution is to have an honest and open conversation with them about how their comments make you feel or if the idea of that is too scary write them a message asking that they respect you and what that looks like.
Another solution is to limit the amount of time spent with them, spend time with them on your terms and at a neutral place where you can leave the situation quickly if it starts to go pear shaped.
3. Design a Self -Love Mantra:
It is well known in the psychology world that our thoughts create an emotion and our emotions dictate our behaviour. Our self-talk and the language we use to describe ourselves has a direct impact on how we feel, and thus the way we behave. When creating a self -love mantra we need to silence our inner critic, you know the one that always pops up with judgements, negativity and criticism. This is hard to do, I know, especially when we experience up to 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day and most of them are negative. We are hard wired on a subconscious level to think this way.
Positive mantra’s take practice! It is almost like we are rewiring the brain to think differently. By practising positive mantra’s this in turn will help us open up different neural pathways in the brain and let those old negative ones wither away and grow less powerful. This new way of thinking will take some practice but remember what we water grows!
We can practice a self- love mantra by writing down 5 things everyday we like about ourselves. These 5 things should not relate to other people for example “I am a caring and kind friend’, this relates to how you make others feel. Instead try “I have been thru some tough times in my life which has made me resilient and strong” or “I am happy. I am enough’.
A self love mantra can be written down where you can see it everyday or you can say it out loud or in your head or anytime your inner critic comes out. These practices will help us to be kind, to heal and to experience some self- compassion for ourselves.
4. Purge your Social Media:
Comparison truly is the thief of all joy. Go thru any of your following lists and unfollow any accounts that make you feel less than. The point of social media is to stay in touch with friends, family and acquaintances or to educate or entertain you on some level. Whilst scrolling or tapping and you come across something that floods you with shame or self doubt you know to ‘click unfollow’. Keep this practice up regularly and use it across all of your social media channels.
You never need to explain your decision to unfollow someone. Or just say for example it’s a family member or a friend’s Instagram page that is triggering some unwanted feelings for you. You can try muting or snoozing their stories and posts so you see less of their content.
5. Practice Daily Mindfulness:
We live in an age of high speed this and digitised that which makes slowing down even harder to do. From the moment most of us wake up in the morning we are racing around trying to get kids ready for school, off to the gym or getting ourselves to work on time. Most of us don’t even sit down to eat a proper breakfast rather we grab a coffee on the run and then sit in front of a screen for hours on end. Our cortisol or ‘stress hormones’ are being continually dumped into our system and most of us are running off the flight or fight hormone adrenaline. It’s no great surprise then that our population is suffering under the weight of all of this stress and our physical, emotional and mental health is being compromised. We have seen an increase in the number of people suffering from mental health issues which has been exacerbated due to Covid.
If you want to know the value of mindfulness, you may want to consider this. Can you sit for 1 minute and completely quiet your mind? And can you do this without feeling like you are jumping out of your skin? If you have ever done this exercise it can prove to be quiet a challenge. Taking the time to quiet our mind and just sit with ourselves is a lot harder than what it sounds.
Mindfulness techniques can include practices such as Yoga, Meditation, breathing exercises, Tai Chi, Stretching or simply sitting quietly and emptying our minds from all thoughts. It is about learning to pay attention to the present moment with the intention of letting go of judgement, for the present is the only real moment we have. The problem for the majority of us, is we spend too much time bemoaning the past or catastrophising the future, we spend very little time in the present.
Mindfulness helps improve our concentration and helps reduce ruminative thinking that contributes to the high levels of stress which are so prevalent in today’s society.
When we are mindful, we experience our life as we live it. We are present with our family and friends and we experience the world directly through our 5 senses, we taste what we are eating and we recognise the thoughts we are having. When we allow ourselves to get out of our heads and experience the world directly without the endless commentary of our thoughts we may just open ourselves up to the limitless possibilities that life has to offer.