Mastering our health is everywhere we look nowadays. Most of us are on a quest to find something that we enjoy that will enable us to be happy and healthy. If we are completely honest with ourselves, this urge commonly occurs around January, post Christmas stuffing and with new resolutions ahead. We all have this urge to ‘be better’ as each year begins. In reality, we are usually crying into a box of chocolates by Valentine’s Day because we lasted a mere month and are already on the band wagon of ‘I’ll start Monday’.
The thing with health is, we have all somehow been conditioned to believe being healthy means being an athlete, when in fact, health is so much more than that. To me, first and foremost, happiness is the most important factor. There is some really strong evidence now that suggests happiness is medicine that can defy many medical statistics that suggest otherwise. So, the question is, how can we ensure happiness is a key part of our daily life, if our personal situation is a strain on that? What can we do to take care of ourselves when we wake up at 6am and hit the deck at 10pm?
One criticism I have with a fair few programmes and concepts out there, is that they are all packed with great ideas but only doable if you don’t work or have kids. I once tried a very popular workout programme that is a huge success. My body was in incredible shape, the best it’s ever been in fact. However to get there I was required to do a HIIT workout 3 times a week, which lasted 30 minutes (not to mention the hour it took to recover!), 3 low intensity workouts were required on top of that, plus a rehabilitation workout. That’s 7 workouts a week! I also had to follow a very strict diet, and pudding was never an option, unless I wanted to drown in chia seeds, which as great as chia seeds are (and believe me when I say they genuinely are fantastic for your health), who the fuck wants that for pudding?!
What happened was, my body changed significantly, but I was still tired, miserable and unhappy with how I looked. I liked my body now but I still had new goals I wanted to achieve. ‘Now I want to get my bum perkier’, ‘I wonder if a regular spray tan would make me feel better’, ‘I am happy I’m in shape but I’ve lost all my boobs, it’s not fair’. This dangerous cycle left me feeling like I wasn’t doing it right. I felt like there must be something wrong with me if I still wasn’t happy. I had no time to spend with my friends, my work was suffering because I was exhausted from the relentless training and although the physical changes were evident, I didn’t feel ‘full up with love’.
The real issue, was not me, there was nothing wrong with me, it was the approach that was wrong. I was so focused on my physical health, I completely forgot to address the rest, and worse still, neglected the rest in order to fit in my 7 workouts a week.
I decided that my happiness was more important, and began developing the concept of Love Yourself Lean, which focuses on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health all in equal measure. Sometimes I trusted it, sometimes I didn’t, the road was long. But, just as I was starting to doubt myself, fate dealt me a card. I was introduced to Taryn Brumfitt and The Body Image Movement. For those of you who are yet to find out about this community, go find it! Seeing her film trailer inspired me beyond belief and gave me the confidence to know that what I was doing was right.
Now, I don’t have kids and I do know that in some respects, many mothers out there will want to slap me round the face and tell me ‘I just don’t get it’. But, I do run 3 companies, have a step daughter, and commute back and forth to work everyday alongside helping to look after my Mum, so in a nutshell, I am part of the 100 mile an hour club. My day starts at 7.00am and finishes around midnight.
We have this concept that self care is a time consuming project, but it really isn’t. By simply being aware and mindful throughout your day, you can relieve a great deal of stress and give yourself the little nugget of time that you need to take care of yourself. I know that without this, I would currently be failing miserably in what I do.
Below I have outlined a few suggestions. I have tried to stick to ‘short and sweet’ activities but have added one to the end of each category that is a little more time consuming but that can perhaps fit into your schedule. What I will say is that health takes commitment. Commitment and time are often confused as the same thing, and they are not. If you truly want to be healthy, you can do it with a busy life, but, you must commit to the cause from a place of love and respect for yourself.
It is important to still recognise the importance of this one although it does not have to be the London Marathon!
- Park your car in the furthest spot from where you need to be and run to your destination (not particularly child friendly)
- Stretch- Sun Salutation take 10 minutes and can be done before bed or as you get up
- Walk to school/take the stairs instead of the lift
- Drink 2 litres of water each day. Buy a bottle and carry it around with you
- In the evening, each time the adverts are on, complete a mini HIIT workout
- Plan an active day out with the family to look forward to
- Take yourself to bed 10 minutes early and sit quietly with a warm drink and hot water bottle (see my gorgeous hot water bottle from Harbor Beau on Instagram) and consciously enjoy it
- Buy yourself some flowers
- Eat a massive piece of cake and don’t feel guilty
- Help a friend (you can order gifts online to life someones spirits so anyone can do this)
- Put your pyjamas on the radiator when you get home so they are warm when you put them on
- Plan something fun and put it in the calendar. Busy people need something to look forward to and work towards to avoid a pointless rat race
Actually, to order a journal for a friend click here 😉
- Set a reminder on your phone with the words ‘What are you grateful for?’ to go off each day. Be thankful for all that you have
- Listen to some music at work
- Dance with your kids
- Go outside, look at the sky and breath deeply counting to 10
- Cuddle your pet (or your human). Release energy and connect energy
- Go technology free for a day at the weekend
NB: A lot of people are quick to dismiss the spiritual approach as though it is not valuable enough. Conquering this area of your health almost puts the others into place. All I’ll say is, don’t dismiss it until you’ve tried it.
- Don’t look at work emails after 6pm
- Read- even if it means driving to work 10 minutes early and staying your car for that time
- Get organised, and always do the worst jobs first!
- Be brave and try something new! Book a challenge and see it through.
These are just a few ideas, and activities I have used in the past. As our LYL community grows we can begin to take inspiration from each other and remember that not every bit of self care has to be huge. Self love is about being kind to yourself, and in return your health will improve. If you can not fit in any of the above, I really believe you should re evaluate what you can do to try and bring some peace to your life. We get one chance to live our life, so make sure you don’t lose sight of the present moment. Strive for balance, and remember progress is the key, perfection is not real.
Have a lovely day 🙂