How is your mental wellbeing?
Some signs that it is not all it could be are:
- Feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
- Waking up tired despite going to bed at a reasonable time.
- Felling like you have nothing to look forward to and can’t remember the last time you had fun.
Not so long ago those three signs were my constant companions. They walked beside me in the morning and lay beside me at night. There was no escaping from their constant presence.
I knew it was important that I made some changes or I was on a one way path to self destruct.
WARNING! There isn’t an instant fix.
Don’t think you can put everything here into practice and suddenly wake up one morning and feel wonderful. Do you remember your mother telling you “anything worthwhile in this world takes hard work and determination”?
She was right.
The Good News
There isn’t much hard work involved but there is determination and a certain amount of singlemindedness. You need to be a little bit selfish. You need to say no to others from time to time so that you can follow your own path.
There maybe not much hard work but these changes are not easy either.
Be consistent and develop a routine. There will be times you think, “I can’t do this today” and that’s fine but if you find yourself saying that more often than not then something isn’t working. Reassess what it is you want to achieve and how you can tweak things to suit you better.
Don’t give up because something seems a little difficult.
Get up a little earlier and incorporate some light exercise into your day.
I know this sounds clichéd but even light exercise like walking can improve your health. It is harder in the winter but rug up and get moving. When you get back you will be ready for the day. Walking can; reduce body fat, strengthen bones, improve muscle tone, reduce risk of heart diseases.
Kill two birds with one stone and listen to a podcast while you walk, maybe an audio book or learn a new language.
Learn something new.
As in the previous point get into listening to podcasts, they are a great way to be learning while doing something mundane. Or listen to that book you’ve always wanted to read but haven’t had time for. The brain is a muscle; if you don’t use it you will lose its function.
Push it with challenges that help build new neural pathways.
Join a club
Being part a group of people that have a shared interest can be stimulating. If it is a sports club even better you can keep fit at the same time.
I was never one for clubs until I joined a local martial arts group and I haven’t looked back. We learn together and laugh together.
If you are not quite ready for that step at least cut out all refined sugar and stick to using raw coconut sugar or sweetening desserts with dates. It is a good starting point.
Similarly with grains if you are not ready to give them all up stick to whole grains; brown rice, amaranth, barley, rye, spelt, millet buckwheat etc.
Make sure you eat a good breakfast to set you up for the day. At night make sure you don’t resort to calorie loaded snacks in front of the T.V. Try some coconut yoghurt and fruit or a bliss ball instead.
Incremental changes will make a big difference.
When you’re organised you: work more efficiently, easily see what needs to be done, think more clearly and feel less stressed.
Keep lists and tick off as you go.
I use Wunderlist which is a free app that integrates with calendars such as outlook, google and iCal. You can keep lists for work, home, personal stuff, whatever it is that you need to remember to do. I keep many lists one of which details what needs to be organised around the house. You will never again forget what that thing was that you wanted to remember.
Complete simple tasks ahead of time like making sure you have the clothes you need for tomorrow ironed, having your lunch ready to take with you.
Tidy up the night before ready for a new day. You will find your morning stress levels decrease tremendously.
Mindfulness can improve both your mental and physical health. Pay attention to the now instead of dwelling on the past or planning for the future. Let thoughts come but don’t hang on to them just observe and without judgement let them pass on. It may be difficult at first but the more you practice focusing on where you are or what you are doing the easier it will get. Our Aikido sensei has a saying. Nowhere, Now here.
Turn off electronics and have quiet time before bed
Read, talk quietly, organise yourself for the next day. Try to get to bed a little earlier. Seven to eight hours sleep is the optimum for good health.
Do you have any tips you can share with us? Let us know about them in the comments.