Last year I made a concentrated effort to improve the way I was looking after myself. Or at least, I intended to make a concentrated effort to improve the way I was looking after myself. I came back from London feeling very beaten down, worse for wear, and mentally drained. I knew that it was time to confront some old demons that had been bothering me for many, many years and that it was time to really get my act together so that I could enjoy the latter half of my twenties without the mental baggage I’d been carrying around with me since childhood.
I set out with great intentions, but as so often happens, life got in the way and I was distracted. I fell off course and in the end many of the things I’d vowed to do just didn’t happen. I did actually film a video (which you can watch here) explaining the different steps I was going to take to improve myself and embrace the rest of 2018 and while I perhaps didn’t stick to them 100% they definitely laid out the foundations for a better me.
2019 dawned and after a busy start to the year I’ve found myself in a very similar mental state to last year, only this time I’m refusing to allow myself to get distracted from my “wellness journey” (this is the term I’m affectionately going to use when I refer to it from here on out).
In fact, I’ve actually gone much further than last year, putting into place some things I’ve needed to begin to tackle for a while and committing to things so that I have no excuses to put off making necessary changes to my life any further. I figured that this blog would be a pretty good place to start sharing this journey with you so I hope you guys enjoy following along with me on the road to a better me, and if this helps anybody going through anything similar or wanting to make changes to their lives too then that’s an added bonus!
So without further ado, here are five steps I’m taking to improve my mental health and wellbeing this summer:
I feel like therapy is such a scary word, and it really shouldn’t be! For the longest time I think the idea of needing therapy has been seen as a negative, something to keep quiet about or be ashamed of and until recently I think I would have been too scared to share this part of my life with you. One good thing that the internet has done for society is definitely making mental health and the discussions about it more mainstream and accepted and it’s something I’m a massive advocate of. Having issues with mental health is nothing to be ashamed of, and will happen to the vast majority of people in some way or another during their lifetime. I’ve had my own struggles with anxiety and depression since my teens and while I’ve seen a number of different therapists to deal with those issues there are some others that don’t relate directly to mental health that I’ve not yet confronted. Next week I begin that journey with a new counsellor and while a huge part of me is terrified to talk about it all there is a bigger part of me that is so excited to finally get the help to let go of things I’ve been carrying with me for most of my life. I already feel better for just booking the appointment and knowing there is going to be somebody there to listen to me and help me deal with and let go of my problems.
You don’t need me to tell you about the benefits of exercise for both your physical and mental health – it’s something so widely known, accepted, and practiced and yet I am terrible at getting into a healthy gym routine! I always start with the best intentions and have a few weeks or a month where I’m making real progress only for something to happen in my life that puts a spanner in the works and before you know it I haven’t been for two months again and suddenly my waistline has started expanding. Now I’m going to be honest, I hate the gym. I hate it with a burning passion and I think that’s another reason why I struggle to stay motivated with it. While I hate the gym, I love swimming and yoga and therefore I’m placing a greater focus on both of these activities this summer, aiming to swim at least two times a week and do a yoga workout at least three times to keep my body active. I’ve also signed up for three months of reformer pilates classes at a studio in Chester which I’m so excited to get started with. I find working out with a trainer much better as there’s someone there to motivate me and make sure I don’t slack off, and she’ll be able to help me work around the issues I have such as reduced movement in one of my arms and a recurring knee injury that I struggle with in the gym.
They say travel enriches the soul and I’m lucky enough to be in a position whereby I can afford to plan trips to new places with friends and family. This year I’ve already ticked off two bucket list destinations and while it might be a few months before I make another trip I’m definitely itching to get on a plane again and head (hopefully) to somewhere sunny. I currently have my eye on an Italian yoga & wellness retreat for a week this summer – I think this is exactly the type of thing I need to do to really cleanse my body and soul and therefore I’m focussing my energy on bringing this to life. I’d also love to head back to Paris with Mum for a girls trip, as well as maybe a couple of UK city breaks towards the end of the year. I’d also adore to go back to America this year but this one might be a little ambitious – perhaps a plan for 2020 instead!
- Stay Hydrated & Improve Your Diet
Ok, I feel like I mention these every time I do a goals orientated post but I’m so hopeless at keeping track of both of these! Similarly to exercising, I’ll have stretches of time where I drink more than enough water every single day and am living my best hydrated life, only to fall off the wagon spectacularly and spend weeks at a time surviving on one or two glasses a day and some sort of soft drink. This needs to stop. Not only are too many fizzy drinks terrible for you, but being hydrated is so important for so many aspects of your everyday health and wellbeing! So from now on I’m back on the hydration wagon & it’s full steam ahead! My diet on the other hand is going to take a little longer to overhaul. I really want to go in depth and get some allergy tests done this summer to see what exactly is causing the issues I have with my gut so that I can finally formulate a diet that is going to work for me properly. In the meantime though, it’s time to cut down on crisps, chocolate and snacking in general!
I’m generally a good sleeper however I will go through periods of mild insomnia each year whereby for months at a time I just can’t sleep no matter what I do. While I still don’t really know how to avoid or combat those, I am going to embrace the good sleep times as much as possible by getting into a better routine of both going to bed earlier and waking up earlier to make the most of the day. Since going self-employed I’ve definitely noticed a change to my sleeping pattern – suddenly the knowledge that I can actually sleep in if I want to has meant my attitude to bedtime has totally changed and I find myself going to bed later and later. I need to nip this in the bud and ensure that I’m sleeping by no later than 11.30pm at the absolute latest, and getting out of bed at 7.30am latest even on the weekend. At the moment I’m sleeping with my Enlighten trays in for my teeth whitening, so when my alarm goes off in the morning I’m jumping out of bed so fast to take them out and swill my mouth out with water and that’s definitely helping me to get active much earlier each day!
So there we have it, five ways I’m improving my mental health and wellbeing this summer! I hope that this post becomes the first in a series of many positive wellness related posts over the course of the year and I look forward to having a read back through them at the end of the year and seeing just how far I’ve come 🙂 I say this every time my birthday comes and goes but I’m really intending on making 27 the best year yet and I can’t wait to share it with you all.
Comment below & let me know if you have any wellness tips or goals for the year ahead! Let’s work on ourselves together!