It’s time to shake off those winter coughs and colds and start making plans for the warmer months ahead.
The best thing you can do this year is plan to take some extra care of yourself. We all lead hectic lives and those New Year’s Resolutions didn’t happen so instead how about signing up to a year long commitment to get yourself in your best shape yet and we’re not talking physically, we’re talking body, mind and soul.
We are overwhelmed with adverts for the latest detox, miracle diet or cleansing juice when really so many of our stresses and strains could be eased by simply finding some balance in our lives.
Its easy to find the best advice from health gurus and lifestyle bloggers to give you a boost and help you find an island of tranquillity in the hectic seas of life.
Take a look at our top five and see if you can implement some of this great advice into your daily routine.
If you’re a parent of a young child, much easier said than done but when you can grab some downtime, there are some measures you should put in place to ensure your sleep, however limited, is the most restful and restorative it can be.
Begin the wind down early. You probably won’t need to too much persuading to start getting cosy and warm long before bedtime, but starting the process of telling your body that rest is coming soon is an essential part of a bedtime routine. Warm drinks, a bath and dimmed lighting all help send out the right signals but there’s one extra action you can take to help power down your brain: drop the screen time.
Hard to do after a long day thinking about the needs of other people and a great distraction but sleep experts suggest switching off all screens at least two hours before bedtime to help your over-stimulated brain calm down.
If you’re someone who struggles with sleep anyway, then make sure you leave your phone or tablet well away from your bed as engaging with it in the night, only tells your body it’s time to wake up.
To help get you off to sleep make sure your room is cool, but not cold. Our bodies prefer this hibernating temperature over a furnace, and that all outside light and noise is blocked out. There’s no harm wearing an eye shade or earplugs if needed.
Good quality sleep trumps short, shallow naps any time. If you’re feeling the effects of sleep deprivation, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about helping you find some more sleep time, whether that’s by providing childcare or taking over some of your responsibilities for a while. Make sleep a priority and start feeling human again.
We’re not talking about a hard-core exercise regime, unless you really enjoy it, but instead getting some daily movement into your routine. Our bodies love to move but if you feel forced into a run or sweating it out in an exercise class, you’ll very quickly grow to resent it.
Instead, find something you really enjoy whether that’s a walk with the dog, gardening or dancing around the house. Whatever you do, do it for fun and pleasure as well as for fitness.
Carving out some time to take stock of where you are in life and where you want to be is an essential part of your overall well being. Some call this kind of guided thinking, Mindfulness and it’s an exceptionally useful way of focussing in on where you are, how you feel and what you can do to improve your circumstances.
To get the most out of Mindfulness techniques, take a few moments to sit and breathe deeply, concentrating on the breath coming in and leaving your body. Unlike some techniques, which ask you to clear your mind, Mindfulness promotes feeling your feelings and allowing them to sit with you without stress, anxiety or judgement.
Explore these techniques online or find a coach who can help you through some of the more complicated versions such as Mindful meditation.
Once you’ve taken stock of your emotional and mental health, do take time to think about where you are physically. If you’re taking any medications, how are they making you feel in your body? Do you need a medication review with your doctor or are there any other things you can do to help yourself to feel better.
Perhaps, because of your busy lifestyle, you’ve been putting off seeing your medical practitioner about an ongoing health concern when all you need is some medication. Don’t put it off any longer, if you’re suffering get to the pharmacy today or simply buy it online, however you get treated make yourself and your health a priority.
Again, if you have a lot of issues going on in your life then stress and anxiety might be somewhat unavoidable but if you’re suffering from anxiety or depression, it’s time to get yourself treated.
These things can quickly escalate and what starts off as mild symptoms can easily ramp up leaving you feeling isolated and scared. There are many causes for feeling depressed or stressed from life’s situations to underlying medical or psychological conditions. In almost all cases there are a range of therapies and medications that can help, so get to your doctor or counsellor and talk through where you are and how you are feeling. You won’t regret it.
The key to all self-improvement techniques is not to put yourself under so much pressure to be the perfect anything. The only way you’ll feel the benefit of real change is by taking small steps that genuinely make you feel better not doing things just because they’re the latest trend.
So be fussy, be choosy, be selective and do what you want to do for yourself. Make time to put in place some routines that lead to a calmer, happier you.