I’ll be honest with you, near the end of last year I was burnt out and self-care was at an all time low. I really was, I was always tired, I wasn’t being very productive and my health was suffering. Something had to change, like really change. So, I decided to work on my well-being, like really try. Fast forward to now and I am feeling much better. So, I thought I’d put together a little list of what I have done to help not only my mental health, but my physical health too.
Now I’m not here to preach, I simply wanted to share what worked for me. Sometimes others sharing what helped, gives you the kick up the bottom you need. It really has to be you that pulls yourself out of that slump. It can be so incredibly difficult, especially in the winter months. Lack of light, decreased serotonin levels and just wanting to be inside, really make motivation feel heavy. But maybe my tips and the fact that spring is just around the corner will help you to move forward with feeling better.
drinking more water
How simple right? No. I was terrible at drinking water, like terrible. I survived on tea and although I’d cut out caffeine the year before, I was still drinking at least 7 cups of decaf a day. To me, that was enough water, turns out that nope, it’s not. So I cut down to one cup of tea a day, which was easier than I thought it would be. But only because of the water, that stuff is pretty magic.
Every morning when I woke up, instead of tea, I’d drink a huge glass of iced water. This not only helps kick start your body out of sleep mode, making you feel instantly more awake and less tired. Cutting down on the amount of dairy I was consuming also helped me feel less bloated and sluggish. The water also really helped clear up my skin, which really wasn’t going through a great time with all the central heating/winter weather. I’m one of those people that gets really down if their skin isn’t great, so this pushed me to keep up with the water. I started to get comments from my mother, on how I looked healthier and my husband noticed how more awake I seemed in the mornings.
I now try and drink 8 glasses a day, 2 in the morning, 1 before lunch, 1 mid afternoon, 1 before dinner, after dinner and 2 before I go to bed. Drinking water before bed really helps keep your body hydrated whilst you are sleeping.
reducing screen time
Gosh, screen time is scary isn’t it? When iPhone introduced the screen time app, I was not only mortified but ashamed. Making a living on the internet and when being ‘social’ is a huge key to success, it can be difficult to put your phone down. But I really was spending too much time on it, something my husband noticed and talked to me about. I started gradually, creating an app block on my phone from 1-2:30pm. This really helped with my productivity in the afternoon, something I really struggled with.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing, I genuinely had an addiction and would often un-block certain apps so I could continue to endlessly scroll for no reason. It was the evenings I really tried to tackle head on, as my sleep wasn’t the best. Instead of getting in bed and scrolling through my phone, I would read instead. This really changed how I slept, the improvement made me keep it up. Now, if I fall off the night time wagon, I can really notice the difference in my sleep.
looking at my light
This is probably one of the biggest changes I want to shout about. For Christmas I asked for a Lumie light alarm clock, a bodyclock starter. I wanted it mainly to get off my phone, as I thought not having to reach for my phone alarm would help and I wouldn’t need to take my phone to bed. What I got was a whole other thing, and I cannot recommend them enough. If I could become a Lumie ambassador I genuinely would. Ever since I bought it, I haven’t needed to use the alarm noise function. I simply get woken up by gentle light, replicating a sunrise. Not only does this put me in a better mood, I feel more awake and not waking up to darkness makes me feel happier.
After noticing how much difference a little bit of extra light made me feel, I tried to crave more. I went outside more, changed the arrangement of my office so my desk was next to my window. I started walking to pick up Evie from school whenever the weather would allow. I became so interested in light, that I bought the book ‘Chasing the Sun‘ and it changed my life even further.
Me and exercising just didn’t happen. I bought a gym subscription and didn’t go for four months, I just had no motivation to go. Then one day, I thought I’d give it a go. I decided I wanted to get stronger, so I looked into body pump classes. And you know what, it really does help, everyone is right. I quickly realised that just going to the gym and being left to my own devices did nothing. So I scraped going without a plan and stuck to classes, I need someone to motivate me to keep going. I really started to notice that I felt happier and it gave me something to look forward to. It was a little slice of me time away from the house.
I decided to become pescatarian back at the start of December, after reading ‘Eating Animals, Should we Stop?’ It was a conscious decision and one I really wanted to stick to. But without focusing too much on why cutting out meat is great for the environment, I want to focus on how it changed my relationship with food. I’ll be honest, the initial transition was very difficult. Eating meat is a bit of a muscle memory when you’ve been doing it your whole life. I realised I had to really think and prepare ahead my food choices. I’m only now starting to find my feet, three months later.
As meat provides nearly all of the protein in our diet, I really had to focus on finding different sources of protein. At first I found that I was sensationally hungry, mainly because I was un-educated and un-prepared. I would get to dinner time and realise I had nothing in to eat for dinner. I’d hobble something together and wonder why I wasn’t feeling great. Fast forward a few months and I am finally more educated on protein choices. I desperately try and eat breakfast, to dry and beat that mid morning slump I hated. I’ve introduced more slow release carbohydrates into my diet. Started eating a lot more vegetable packed meals and tried my hardest to meal prep. All of these things combined have helped me with the transition of cutting out meat.
I really hope these tips and advice on what I did to improve my own self-care have helped you to try and out a plan in place for yourself. Some of them were bigger changes than others, but they have really helped me to feel healthier and happier. Everyone is different and we all have things that help, I’d really love if you let me know what has helped you.