How are you feeling today and do you manage to get a bit of self-care into your daily routine?
Self-Care is an expression thrown around so much these days isn’t it? But, it really is a practice you should incorporate into your daily life.
For me, I feel so much better after a 30 minute walk surrounded by nature, should it be in the park, or anywhere with plenty of greenery. I enjoy walking in a nice quiet environment! I always feel refreshed after a brisk walk as it clears my mind. Throughout a walk it gives me time to reflect on things, to admire the beauty of nature and to just be with me!
If you work in an office, even taking a 15 minute walk outside for some air during lunch can make all the difference. It’s about getting into a little habit.
What form of Self-Care do you enjoy?
Self-Care can mean absolutely anything, it can be sitting reading a good book uninterrupted for 20-30 minutes. It can be playing your favourite instrument, meditating or going for a swim. Even a walk on the beach or taking time out to enjoy your favourite cup of tea/coffee without the rushing about. Oh, do I love sitting down with that obligatory chai latte. Something so simple can be so powerful; when you let it! Anything that makes you feel happier/relaxed.
Dedicating time for you
Starting a habit that focuses on your needs should become priority; and a good habit at that. We live in a world where life can be so busy and we often forget to put our own needs first. If you are in a constant state of ‘rush’ then you find it hard to focus on what you really want/need. Even 20 minutes each day will make all the difference as you are becoming aware of your needs. After a while it will become habitual.
To build a habit, you need to practice it.
Make it easy
If you find you are feeling a bit overwhelmed/stressed at times then take a step back and concentrate on your breathing. How does your breathing feel? What is worrying you?
Inhaling deeply (filling those lungs) and exhaling slowly a few times should help you to connect with yourself and to feel more relaxed. It’s so simple and yet again, powerful!
Remember: YOU are always priority and taking that time out to practice Self-Care every day is so important for your physical and emotional well-being. Think about what it is that YOU enjoy. How can it become a habit? Could it be a 20 minute walk during lunch. Could it be reading a good book or sitting down and being completely present with that hot cup of tea/coffee. Whatever it is; make it a habit going forward. You owe it to your body and mind. Learn to become more self-aware and to tap into what makes you feel good. It really is about the simple things in life.
So, you’re scrolling through FB or Insta, having a little old harmless browse – next thing you know you compare yourself to others and your mood suddenly changes (oh boy have I been there) you switch to auto-pilot and down that bloody rabbit hole you go, making yourself feel worse! Does this sound familiar to you?
It’s not surprising why you feel bad after a browsing session when it comes to social media. Selfies are everywhere, filters are on hand and those perfect (well edited) life snaps are shown. The “like” button has also become gold to so many people. The list is endless. On the other hand, however, social media can be a great platform for promoting your business, sharing your creativity, highlighting important issues, giving you a right old laugh and raising awareness on so many important causes/subjects. We’re in a time where everything is done online now and working from home is so much more common since the pandemic.
When my relationship with social media started
When I first became acquainted with FB back in 2007, I have to admit I loved it. Social media was a new way to connect with others and I loved checking into places, posting the obligatory holiday snaps, dinner (I know) and basically sharing the snaps I “wanted” the world to see. Oh did that soon change.
When Social Media becomes unhealthy
Now, when I look back, social media was not one bit healthy for my well-being. When the novelty of this new platform had worn off my self-esteem dipped whenever I was scrolling or if I was having an off day. Do you find your mood changing when you’re scrolling for eternity? Yep, we’ve all been there! My goodness I remember well before mobiles and the Internet and managed quite well. In todays world, don’t you feel lost if your phone isn’t attached to those hands? I’m so much more mindful these days with social media after deleting my personal social media accounts many years ago (I just had to and feel much more happier/content) I still have FB and Insta, but more for hobbies and work. However, maybe you do have control when it comes to social media use and that’s great – its all about being mindful. You’re in a time where social media is so powerful and addictive. Try not to compare your life (I know it’s easier said than done) we’re all unique and brilliant in our own ways. You have your weaknesses and strengths. Build on your strengths and what you enjoy doing and what makes you feel good.
According to NCHR (National Center For Health Research) 45% of adolescents have reported to being online “almost constantly,” whereas 44% stated being online several times a day. This is a huge percentage of younger people spending their time online on a daily basis – and is bound to have a negative impact to your mental well-being. However, a 2018 survey report (NCHR, 2018) has stated how 31% of adolescents found a positive impact from social media use and connecting with others. But, 25% of adolescents found social media to have such a negative impact.
Researchers have also shown how social media can disrupt sleep (NCHR, 2018) I can vouch for this myself, as I used to take my phone to bed (I stopped that years ago) put it under my pillow and if I woke during the night would have a quick check: then the dreaded scrolling started. Leave your phone downstairs at night or put it into a drawer. Get that proper nights sleep your body and mind needs.
Finding the right balance
There are positives to using social media when you get that balance right and become more aware when online. If you struggle with your confidence and you find yourself feeling low after spending quite a bit of time scrolling: then take a step back and have a little break to recharge your own batteries.
7tips on balancing a healthy social media life
1. Ask yourself these questions before going online:
How do I feel?
What can I do instead?
What exactly is making me feel worse?
How is this beneficial?
2. Delete apps from your phone, so you don’t have it handy to constantly check/scroll.
3. Follow positive well-being accounts, these will help you to see the positives. Follow genuine accounts focused on your wellbeing.
4. If it gets too much or overwhelming then take a little break from it. Or even dedicate a day with no social media use every week.
5. Take up a hobby you have always wanted to try or rekindle an old one.
6. Go outdoors (leave the phone at home) Spend time in nature to recharge your own batteries and connect with yourself. There is so much beauty out there and outside of social media. Breathe in that fresh air!!
7. Become more aware of your feelings when online. Check in with yourself: ask yourself do I feel ok doing this? Set yourself a time limit when online.
Social media can be so addictive and you can spend wasted hours scrolling.
Channel your energy into what YOU really enjoy. What makes you smile? It’s ok to take a break and remember to always be kind to yourself. Step by step you can change a habit. You are more than enough. You really, really are.I feel so much happier not having a personal social media account anymore and I limit my time spent when browsing on the phone. I’m more aware when online. I channel my energies into what I enjoy, which is being with my family, writing, coaching and poetry. Talk to someone if it all gets a bit too much, it’s ok to share how you’re feeling with someone you trust – it’s not a weakness but a strength to open up (and at your own pace too)
Thank you for checking out my post and let me know what your relationship with social media is like.
Do you need to find a healthier social media balance?
Do you need the motivation and discipline to move forward with your goals?
This is a photo of myself, my race bib and my medal after I ran and completed Dublin Marathon in 2013 (I ran my first Dublin Marathon in 2010)
How did I feel? Delighted, relieved, exhausted, sore, but proud!
How did I make this happen?
I spent 4 solid months training 6 days per week, booked a few 5k and 10k races as part of my training plan and followed a great marathon book (that book was my training and nutrition coach)
Now, I was working full-time and studying part-time too. How did I manage all this and was it a bit crazy? Heck, yes it was a bit crazy, but, I planned well and followed that 4 month plan to a tee. I had a great marathon training buddy (she kept me motivated and if you’ve trained for a marathon you will know how those long runs can be very lonely on your own) and had a supportive other half!
Looking back it was hard work (results always take determination, belief in yourself and discipline) and there were plenty of times where I felt like giving up, shed tears and my confidence was knocked. But, I would always focus on the end goal and visualized myself running over that finishing line. That picture was always in my mind.
If you want it, you can fly,
You just have to trust ‘you’ a lot
When you set goals, you need to have a structured plan, believe in yourself and then visualize it.
Give yourself a pep talk!
Whenever you lack the motivation to move forward with your goals, ask yourself:
What can I do differently?
Why did I start?
How can I make this work going forward?
Running a marathon is HARD WORK and you need to put in that time and commitment. Build yourself up and pace yourself.
Like everything, most of it is all in the mind. What you feed yourself mentally certainly affects your performance.
Be kind to yourself with that self-talk!
When you put in the work, then you get results. It’s all in the preparation, believing in yourself, doing the research and being disciplined.
Keep checking in with yourself and reflect.
Plan of action and final thoughts
I make sure I follow a plan, set goals, have a clear vision and I work hard at what I set out to achieve.
Should you be training for a marathon, working towards a big job promotion, changing career, wanting to lose weight or anything that involves commitment; you need to put in the work, be disciplined, prepare, plan and visualize that end result! But, being kind to yourself too.
What changes do you need to make going forward?
How can you make that change happen?
You can do whatever you put your mind to. Believe in yourself, lace up those trainers and get starting!
How are you feeling today and did you get a good night’s sleep?
Are you getting enough sleep per night in general; i.e between 7-9 hrs? Are you struggling to fall asleep at the moment?
It’s tough sometimes to get the right amount, especially if you’re a new parent isn’t it? Or you could be going through other major changes in your life; should it be at work, your relationships, college or moving home.
But, getting the right amount of sleep each night is so important in order to decrease those stress levels; and to keep your anxiety levels controlled. I know myself by not getting those early nights (my youngest is an early riser!) I don’t feel myself. Your concentration is poor the next day, then you reach for the junk food and you lack the motivation to exercise or to move forward with your goals. Getting those early night’s in helps your overall wellbeing and to control stress/ low mood.
Sleep problems could cause health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression, heart disease and reduced immune system function (sleepfoundation).This is not surprising as you do reach for unhealthy options when it comes to food ( I do and I’m also too tired to exercise if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep). But, I make sure I get those 8 hrs sleep each night, so I’m more motivated/focused to eat a well balanced diet, to exercise properly and to be more productive the next day.
Research has shown:
That 40% of aged 18-24 struggle to fall asleep at night (sleep foundation)
33% of people above 55 in the UK also struggle to fall asleep (sleep foundation)
22% of people in general in the UK struggle to fall asleep (NHS)
7-19% of the overall population struggle to get enough sleep (national institute of sleep)
50-70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders.
Sleep problems during times of stress
What problems do you experience during times of stress? Low quality sleep can affect your physical and mental wellbeing if not controlled/managed. Prolonged sleep problems can cause health problems/diseases.
Common sleep disorders
Restless leg syndrome
During times of high stress I tend to get palpitations prior to falling asleep. I’ve also experienced sleep paralysis a handful of times during my life (now, if you’re aware of sleep paralysis then you know how terrifying that can be! Not pleasant is it?)
8 ways to improve sleep(Sleep Foundation, NHS)
Avoid Caffeine (a stimulant) and alcohol just before bed (at least 2hrs) as they can prevent you from falling asleep or going into a more deeper sleep
Exercise throughout the day but avoid it just before bed
Make sure your sleeping environment is dark, relaxed and with dim lights if you prefer a light on
Put away those gadgets – I know how distracting they are. When I take mine to bed I’m scrolling and wasting valuable sleeping time (we’re all guilty of this aren’t we?) I always leave mine downstairs now.
If you’re feeling anxious, do a bit of writing before bed and let those worries out. It really helps.
Listen to a bit of relaxation music to help you drift off
Stick to going to bed at the same time each night so it becomes a habit/routine over time.
Invest in a sleep tracker if you’re really experiencing problems with sleep.
Do you like your tea/coffee before bed and can’t do without? Maybe try some calming lavender herbal tea instead – to help you drift into a more relaxed/calmer state just before bed.
We often forget how important sleep is – especially when we’re running around and busy with life. But, it really is the foundation to leading a more healthier lifestyle. When tired/exhausted you reach for unhealthy foods and that Caffeine to keep you going and you lack the motivation to exercise. Your anxiety/stress levels increase and you are more prone to health problems in the future.
Take a step back, look at how your sleeping patterns are and adapt (using these tips I’ve shown throughout)
What tips do you have that helps you with sleep?
Thank you for stopping by to check out my post. And, here’s to you having a decent night’s sleep going forward!
Are you feeling stressed? What are the signs when it raises it’s ugly head for you? Are you feeling tired, are you going through massive changes in your life at present? You probably have so much going on in your mind at the moment. Juggling way too many balls, would that be right?
According to the Mental Health Foundation UK, over 74% of adults have felt stressed and overwhelmed in 2021 (this is no surprise with COVID). A high figure to the amount dealing with stress.
There really are so many contributing factors to raising those stress levels. I know myself when stress hits – as those palpitations start as I’m about to fall asleep at night, my head is full of worry and I struggle to relax (avoid Caffeine or keep it a minimum) However, stress can work in your favour throughout certain times of your life. Should it be right before an exam, reaching a work deadline, running a marathon or situations where you need to be focused (Smith, 2022). Stress could help you during these times as you want to perform at your best (Smith, 2022). But, it’s learning how to manage stress levels and to be aware.
So what is stress and what are the triggers?
It’s when your body goes into the fight and flight mode and as a result your cortisol levels go way way up. Cortisol is the main stress hormone and works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood (webmd). It also increases blood sugar and regulates blood pressure.
Do you have a poor diet? Are you an overthinker? A perfectionist that compares yourself to others?What is your working environment and relationships like? Are you sleep deprived? All these tend to make you more prone to stress (Oh I can tick quite a few myself but I’ve learned how to manage those levels and to recognise the signs)
Oh do I know when I’m stressed as I feel irritable, tired and just not myself. And, I always crave that chocolate, or junk food in general (and that raises those blood sugars to a high level) I always get a head cold and those beautiful little bad boys called ‘cold sores’ always make an appearance too! I know it’s time to slow down and look after my own body when I get all these symptoms. Getting a proper nights sleep really is the key!
So how do you manage stress?
Exercise regularly as it regulates blood sugar and lowers those cortisol levels (even a long walk in nature or a swim. It doesn’t have to be strenuous)
Plenty of early nights (aim for at least 7 hrs)
Eat healthy foods i.e fruits, green leafy veg, eggs, yoghurt, wholemeal instead of white. Nuts, meat and oily seafood
Take a b vitamin
Journal and write it out
Avoid caffeine just before bed and limit the amount you take throughout the day
Take a break from social media if it affects your mood as that can be a big one (very guilty of that myself but I’m aware of it and have cut way down).
Breathing exercises are a great tool for pausing and to reconnect with yourself. Inhale deeply through the nose for 3 secs, exhale slowly through the mouth for 4 secs (give it a try)
Long term problems
Stress really can take it’s toll on the body, making the risks higher for hypertension, stroke, heart failure, digestive problems and many, many other problems (mayoclinic)
Listen to your body
Check in with yourself
For a more stress free life
You owe it your body and mind
If you are feeling stressed at the moment (oh there is so much going on in the world it really is inevitable at times to feel highly stressed and overwhelmed) take a step back, look at your diet, changes that are going on in your life and remember: REST, SLEEP, DIET and EXERCISE are all key to reducing stress and controlling your cortisol levels.
How do you feel about change? As in changing your career, your mindset, your eating habits, or taking up a new hobby. Change can mean many things. This year I became certified as a Life Coach, NLP Practitioner and Clinical Hypnotherapist. I was nervous when training started, but the more I became familiar with the course material and my training group, the more I warmed up to this change.
The process of change can be full of personal development and you discover more and more about who you are as a person and recognising strengths/weaknesses (as I am on this coaching path) Facing these challenges head on is a constant journey of growth and can pull you right out of your comfort zone.
Following your passion:
You hold the key to
Unlocking your full potential
Believe in yourself
I’ve always been passionate about encouraging, supporting and helping others; and finally plucking up the courage to sign up to an accredited course was a positive step towards that goal of pursuing the field of coaching.
What do you want to change in your life at the moment? How can you make that happen?
Have the courage to follow your
heart and intuition
I worked in a senior position within the corporate world for years and just never really felt fulfilled (when I reflect hard on that time). When my children were born I made the decision to stay at home with my little girls while they were still young, and it has been the best decision, in order to spend that quality time with them before they started school.
Embracing change and following your heart
Although change can be daunting, the more you follow your gut instinct, do your research and take your time; you realise that life really is short and you become clearer about what you really want.
Believe in yourself and how capable and worthy that you really are.
Two years ago I wasn’t a writer and now, I’m a published writer, poet, blogger and have written articles for positive wellbeing magazines and poetry zines. How did I move forward with my writing goals? I started to believe in myself and joined a writing club. Connecting with a community of like-minded writers is empowering. Joining a community with individuals who share your passions and interests can help you to grow and move forward.
Opening that door
Working hard to achieve your goals when it feels right will open that door to amazing opportunities when you allow yourself to do so.
It all comes down to ‘you’ at the end of the day!
Write a list of what you want to achieve within the next 6-12 months and work on those goals, while working on yourself. Make that decision; allowing yourself to embrace ‘change’.
What are you passionate about when you listen to your gut instinct?
Thank you for stopping by, have a great day and remember ‘change’ is a good thing! And, as the saying goes: