Wellbeing seems to be a real buzzword right now. But what does it actually mean to me? We all have our own picture in our head of what it is. If you look at any piece of wellbeing marketing, it will be white towels and spas, or yoga studios and meditation. But how many of us are actually doing those sorts of things regularly? I can’t remember the last time I went to a spa. There was a time when I was a regular yogi, but once I was juggling two kids and work, things like yoga classes went out the window.
My idea of health and wellbeing has definitely changed over time. A few years back I was juggling work at QVC, a parenting Youtube channel and two small children, while also trying to be all the things, a great wife, daughter, friend and colleague, and I wasn’t taking time for myself. I thought I was juggling it all just fine, but like most unsustainable things, the wheels eventually came off. There’s a saying: “if you don’t take time for your health, then you’ll be forced make time for your illness’. Sounds a bit dramatic, doesn’t it?! Well sure enough, while spinning all the plates, I had to make time for appendicitis. The thing that struck me most though, while lying in hospital, was that I was just grateful to have a legitimate excuse to be laid up in bed. This didn’t feel like the right reaction. It was then that I realised I needed to start putting myself nearer the top of the list for self-care. I can’t be a great anything if I am not functioning on a fuller tank.
After that, I made some changes. I gave up the Youtube channel and immediately that freed up a lot of time. It meant that I could stay on top of the school letters, the life admin, the housekeeping, the friendships and relationships that really mattered and, shock horror, I could take an hour here and there, and sometimes even a day off for myself. I do acknowledge freeing up that sort of time isn’t that easy for everyone, so I am very grateful I was able to make that change in my life.
Life manages to still suck up a lot of spare time, so I have to take note when I am doing too much and be mindful of how I am feeling. I have a habit of filling extra time with more work instead of taking time to do nothing. So, when I get that creeping feeling in my tummy, the dreaded anxiety, I take notice. Here are some of the things that work for me. These are by no means the answer for everyone, we all have our own goals and hurdles that affect what we are able to do, but this is what gets me back on track.
This is one of the most important things on my list. I have a habit of binge-eating bad food when I feel down. I want all the carbs and the takeaways, the salt, the fried food, the crisps and dips. I know when I need a pick me up that I need to fuel up on the good stuff and stay away from the junk. I make sure I am eating lots of different salads and vegetables, along with oily fish. I love salmon with roast tomatoes and green veg. I also like to make my own granola, so I know exactly what is in it. You can see the recipe video I did by clicking here.
I then sprinkle this on yoghurt along with raspberries, blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup for breakfast. To really up my five a day, I make a smoothie with whatever combo I have at home. We nearly always have spinach and avocados in the house, so I add them along with sweeter fruit like apples and strawberries, and that’s then downed in one! If I have almonds or cashews, then those go in too. You don’t have to have a fancy smoothie maker, any blender will do but machines, like the Ninja will make it extra smooth when you add things like nuts.
If I haven’t been getting enough in my diet, I will top myself up with a supplement. I am currently using the Prime Fifty Fighting Fatigue tablets as I, like many others, have been feeling particularly sluggish this year. (I am 41, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use Prime Fifty too).
I do try and make it to the gym sometimes, but I will always choose the great outdoors if I can. I am very lucky to live close to the sea and this is my absolute soul food. Head space, fresh air and open space makes a huge difference to the way I am feeling. I love it even if it’s wild and windy. I will walk up to around 8km, if I have the time, and try and do it at a pace that gets my heart rate up and gets me just out of breath enough. It’s a great fat burner, if that’s something I am concerned about, but it’s really just about getting moving and ticking off those 10K steps. I will run parts of it – I’m trying to build that fitness up – but I do find it tweaks my knee and hip, so I find walking a better option for me as it’s kinder to my joints! The other great thing about walking is that it can be really nice and sociable, and I can have a really good chat and catch up with a friend. If I am on my own, I will take a seat on the beach and just watch the waves.
Clear the calendar
I love a great night out with friends, it’s often just what the doctor ordered but sometimes you just have to cancel plans or at least say no to more offers. If I am overwhelmed with things, then I need to just chill out. Unless it’s something that I really want to go to, of course, like a good friends birthday dinner. It’s so easy to end up saying yes to things so that you don’t offend or upset someone, but sometimes you just have to think to yourself, how is this going to make me feel? Is it going to make me even more tired at the end of a long week? It’s not always about going out though. It might be an offer of overtime at QVC, my work brain says ‘do it’ but my heart often shouts a little louder and says no, take the day to yourself or have a movie day with the kids instead and catch some zzzz’s on the sofa.
I really love having a proper early night when I can, and not just when I am up early for work the next day. The kids do sometimes make this one difficult, because they have become masters of trying to put off bedtime, but when it works, it’s bliss. I would make it even earlier than 9pm if I could but this is the most realistic. If I can add a bath into the mix and it be ‘clean sheets night’ then it’s a triple whammy of recharging. I use the This Works Pillow Spray, as the smell really helps me relax, and I try and avoid using my phone to scroll. A really important element to this is no alcohol. Fred has a new sleep tracker on his watch and it’s so interesting to see the huge difference in the quality of sleep when we’ve had wine and when we haven’t. A really good night’s sleep is like someone has waved a magic wand over me and I’m fully charged again.
So those are my main go-to’s when I need a reset of my wellbeing. I try and make exercise as regular as possible, but the other elements I mentioned are sometimes as and when I really need them. I try and eat well but there are some days when I don’t think a single piece of fruit or veg has passed my lips. So like most of us, I am a work in progress!
I hope you are all looking after yourselves. Please let me know below what your go-tos are for your own wellbeing.
Lots of love
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