As we navigate our way through the coming months and look forward to seeing friends, family, and work colleagues again-not to mention our favourite cafes and restaurants, and our favourite haunts, its time to restore the balance within.
Many of us have probably eaten more food and drank more alcohol during these strange and restrictive times, but as we move into the summer and an easing of those restrictions, it is a good opportunity to restore our own natural norms and habits, and even create some new ones as we look forward to boosting our immune and emotional systems.
I have some ideas which I hope will help but would like to add that when we start to look towards making positive changes and restoring healthy habits, its important to add a big dose of self- compassion and turn down the volume on our ‘inner critic’.
Rapidly expanding research demonstrates that self-compassion is strongly associated with emotional wellbeing, less anxiety, depression and stress, maintenance of healthy habits such as diet and exercise, and satisfying personal relationships.
Research also shows that:
• Self-compassionate people engage in healthier behaviours like exercise, eating well, drinking less.
• Self-compassion provides the safety needed to admit mistakes, rather than needing to blame someone else for them, and that
• Self-compassionate people take greater personal responsibility for their actions. They don’t just beat themselves up when they fail and are less afraid of failure, and more likely to try again and persist in their efforts after failing.
• It is strongly associated with fewer negative states like depression, anxiety, stress, and shame, and negative body image.
• It is strongly linked to more positive states like happiness, life satisfaction, optimism, and better physical health.
Go slowly and gently with whatever changes you wish to make and consider the following:
• Start each day well, a good breakfast, when you start the day mindfully(simply put, being aware of how you are feeling as you awaken and noticing your surroundings rather than allowing the mind to start the day at full throttle with all the items on your ‘to do list’), compassionately, with gratitude, and an open mind and heart for all the day will bring, you are fuelled in the right way to meet the demands and joys that the new day offers.
• Aim to go to bed at a regular time and get up at a regular time-our body’s own circadian rhythms and body clocks work better with routine.
• Practice the art of slowing down- eating and drinking slowly helps us to eat and drink less
• Try alternating alcoholic drinks with refreshing mocktails and ice teas for the summer months ahead
• If you are physically able then taking a daily walk incorporates good fresh air, enjoying nature, and creating natural tiredness for a better night’s sleep and helps flush out toxins and helps to restore and maintain healthy weight.
• Practice relaxation-perhaps listening to music, attending a class, sitting quietly, reading, being creative perhaps drawing or journaling.
Finally, as you reflect on restoring the balance within to encourage healthy habits , each day think about this acronym AOL
A - everything you achieve each day deserves recognition however great or small the achievement.
O - all you have overcome on your journey towards positive change and personal development.
L - all you have learned from your challenges, about you, your abilities, capabilities, strengths, and all you have learned that empowers you.
Annette Boden Wellbeing