I thought today would be a good day to talk about few things that I've been thinking about lately as its Mental Health Awareness Week, and as an advocate of talking about your mental health it's only right that i do the same, and well, you guys are the perfect understanding crowd ;)
I've been self employed for just over 6 months, going from a busy shop/office environment to working from home with a staffing of 1..me.
After the initial exhilaration and yahoooo moment of not having to go in to an office each day, rocking up to my sofa in my scruffy joggers and slippers and sitting in-front of my laptop all day things started to go a bit down hill for me. It wasn't the work per-say, it was my mental state.
I would sit in front of my laptop and not move from 9.30-4pm each day, other than to walk to my kitchen to make a cuppa and lunch (and my house is teeny so that's about 5 steps each way).
I started to put weight back on and would find myself feeling unmotivated and a bit low.
Salvatore works away a lot, so it would often just be me and the kids after school, and then just me again once they were in bed.
About a month ago i realised i wasn't happy.
The dream of being self employed and not tied down wasn't what I thought it would be.
After some major self analysis i realised its not my work, its me.
I had let myself go.
My outgoing ways had dwindled. I'm not a lazy person and yet the thought of doing any exercise even walking to the shop sounded as much fun as sticking pins in my eyes (not gunna lie, full on exercise has never been my forte)
It was time to make some major adjustments
I knew i was happy with my job here but what i wasn't doing was making it work for me. I would waste time and procrastinate instead of applying myself.
So I changed.
I thought today i would tell you a few of my steps to getting back on track, health wise and happiness wise.
1.First up i tackled my snowballing weight issue.
My weight has fluctuated a lot over the years, but i knew that i was getting uncomfortable in my jeans and after a shock weigh in one Saturday morning i knew it was time to change. Being so sedentary had done me no favours (more on that in a moment) and for once slimming world just didnt seem to be having the desired effect like it had previously for me. With about 10 lbs to loose my sister suggested MyFitnessPal app. I've never calorie counted so this was a new and slightly daunting idea, but after two weeks i had gotten the hang of it and was starting to see progress! The accountability and the database is fantastic. I am totally addicted and on track to hit my goal weight in the next month. I love that its on my phone so its always at hand too.
2. Invest in a Pedometer
I knew i wanted to get more active, i'm not talking extreme gym bunny here, let's face it thats probably never gonna happen, but I invested in a good pedometer. I started with using the pedometer (Pacer) on my phone but found it wore my battery out really quickly, so after some research and looking for good deals i went with the Garmin VivoFit (it was half the price of a FitBit) as it did what i needed it to do. So far I'm really pleased with its ease of use and the app it comes with. It syncs to MyFitnesspal so my calories burned from exercise are taken in to consideration. There's nothing i love more than earning calories enabling a small treat.
3. Go Walking.
I started walking.
I love to walk with my dog, but even that had dwindled through winter and i'd become SO unfit that even a gentle walk left me feeling tired and annoyed.
With my new pedometer in place and seeing that even walking could gain me a few extra burned calories it got me to walk that little bit further and further. I'm trying to walk everyday/every other and my walks are hitting around 3-4miles. I want to get to 5 miles and then 10 and eventually start hiking. It really excites me. I haven't done any exercise in so long, but this i thoroughly enjoy. It showed me that you don't have to join a gym or do a server fitness dvd to do exercise. Walking is great for the joints and really does contribute to weight loss and a healthy fit body (and mind!)
4. Get outdoors
Going hand in hand with the walking, just being outdoors has helped me so much. Its like free therapy. I walk, i think and think until i can think no more and suddenly my mind is clear and i'm no longer stressing about this email, or that problem. I've thought about it all as much as my mind can possibly think about it, and then i move on. Its so wonderful being outdoors, the fresh air is invigorating and soon you start to notice the little things around you, such as some pretty flowers, or a gorgeous spot.
After each walk i always come back with renewed vigour and a clear mind. And if I'm not walking and its dry, i try to go in to my garden. I mowed my lawns last week for the first time ever. It was hard (the grass was knee height and thick growth) but i enjoyed the grafting and the rewarding feeling of looking at my freshly mowed lawn and thinking 'I did this' When hubby got back needless to say he was pleased that he didn't have to do it on his weekend off! I'm now planning some plants and a herb garden. Being outdoors has really proven the ticket to my mental happiness.
I am a lover of coffee and Coke Zero, but they are bad, bad, bad for me. I'm not prepared to quit as they are my only vice ;) BUT I am limiting myself. I suffer terribly with an easily bloated tummy and on recommendation have started drinking Teatox. It really works, i have a much less bloating, but not just that i feel like my skin is clearer (less red undertones and generally much happier) my nails and hair are growing super fast and i just feel like my insides are cleaner and thanking me for it. I suffer from IBS but with my new healthy eating and the Teatox i have not had one flare up. And for me that feels bloody fantastic!
6. Putting Goodness Back In
I've also started taking a mulitvitamin. Having suffered from lethargy i thought it would be good to put some goodness back in to my system. I choose the gummy options cos i'm a giant kid.
7. Listen to good music.
Obvious, right? But sometimes i forget. Sometimes i like to walk with just my thoughts, other times i like to walk to music, throwing in the odd skip and dance here and there.
8. Arrange to see friends.
As i know longer get my social interaction in the work place its vitally important i see friends regularly. Back through winter i became a recluse and would often decline invites to go out. Now i say yes and arrange meet-ups with friends at least twice a week. Its important for me to remember this is my job as well so i schedule in writing days and days when i can pop out and go for lunch or even meet up for a walk with friends who have dogs. It brings me back to life chatting and gossiping and laughing. I always come home afterwards feeling elated and often find I work more productively.
With these things in place i have been happier and gradually getting healthier.
I recognise the warning signs of when i start to go down hill and know how to turn it around.
What do you do to stay happy and healthy? I would love to hear if you have any tips!