Here we are, in July; onto the second half of the year. This is the perfect time to do some reflecting on how the first half of the year went, and how we are feeling.
Unlike the beginning of the year when we tend to take stock and set resolutions and goals, around this time of year sometimes we have gotten so caught up in everything that’s going on in our lives – work, family, friendships, relationships, education – that we forget to look after ourselves. You may be feeling exhausted, stressed, sore with bodily aches and pains, disappointed with some things not going as planned, lacking direction, and maybe even some mid year blues or a slump. I encourage you to take some time to tune into your bodies and minds, and check in to see how you are feeling in this moment.
Are you feeling a little off balance? If you answered yes – never fear! There are some things that you can pay more attention to and implement to get you back to feeling in tip top shape in no time, ready to face the rest of the year. The following tips are very simple and often common knowledge, but it can be easy to forget about these aspects of our health and sometimes we could do with a gentle reminder to take better care of ourselves.
SleepSleep or lack thereof, can be one of the biggest factors affecting your mood and general well being. It doesn’t matter if everything else is going well, if you haven’t slept well you won’t feel great no matter what. It is important to get into a routine and listen to what your body needs. Set a bed time and stick to going to bed at that same time every night. Use some trial and error to find what time you feel best waking up and again – if possible, start waking up at that same time every day. Some people feel best when they sleep 9 hours a day, others when they sleep 6. You need to do whatever is best for you and your body, which will take a little while to discover and get used to. Avoid using technology in the bedroom, and the few hours before bed dim the lights or use candles or lamps to relax and get into a restful state.
NutritionIt can be easy to let a healthy and nutritious diet fall by the wayside when we have so little time and energy, but you will feel considerably better when you eat regular, nutritious meals that you enjoy. Without proper nutrition you will feel lethargic, bloated, unsatisfied or even ill. Try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and get enough proteins and good fats. One of the best ways to stay on track with healthy eating is to write up a meal plan at the start of each week. Go shopping for those ingredients, and you’re off to a fanstastic start.
Health and immunity
With proper sleep and nutrition you are already on the right track to feeling good, but sometimes we might need a little extra help by supplementing with vitamins and minerals. Seeing a naturopath can help guide you in the right direction. They can give their advice about any individual health issues you may have and assist in helping you stay hopefully stay illness-free. Make sure you also drink plenty of water. Lemon and honey in warm water can be a tasty way to keep hydrated and also keep those sore throats or colds at bay.
Sometimes our jobs can put a lot of pressure on us to work a lot and it can be hard to say no. But you need to learn the art of saying no, especially when other parts of your life need more attention, like relationships and education. Work isn’t everything, and there is always something else out there. Family and loved ones are the most important things. So if work is getting in the way of your relationships, education or sanity and not letting you say no, then it maybe be best to take some time off or even let that job go for the time being to allow yourself to catch up with life and get back on track. The people around you will help to support you while you need it; and money isn’t the be all and end all to life.
Slow down and reduce stimulation
Try to avoid multi-tasking and live more in the present moment. Stop rushing around and slow down to ‘stop and sniff the flowers’ of life. Do more with purpose and enjoyment, rediscovering your sense of wonder. Set 5-10 minutes each day to meditate, or if that daunts you even just sit in quiet and reconnect with your body and mind, allowing yourself to breathe deep and refreshing breaths.
These days many people are overloaded with unnecessary stimuli and as a result have very high stress and cortisol levels. To combat this, set a technology-free time of day, preferably before going to sleep at night which will help you to unwind. Instead turn the lights off and use a lamp or candles, play some quiet, soothing music and do some of your favourite stretches or a slow yoga flow. You may even like to set a technology-free day of the week and use that to spend more time outside, read a book or spend quality time with your partner, kids and friends. When you avoid unnecessary stimuli such as too much lighting, noise, appliances or devices and social media you will feel so much better.
Do more of what you enjoy
Sometimes we need a gentle reminder to do what we enjoy. This may be reading, walking outside or hiking, playing board games, writing or any other creative outlet, yoga or other fitness related activities. Learn how to not feel guilty about doing things that you love by remembering that you cannot give from an empty basket, so to speak. If you are burnt out and miserable you cannot expect that you’ll be able to keep helping other people or getting the most out of your life.
I hope these tips have reminded you to take better care of yourself, and highlighted which parts of your life you need to focus more on and nurture. It’s like they say on aeroplanes, put your own oxygen mask on before helping others. You will be of no use and can’t help anyone else if you yourself are struggling for breath and fighting for life!
One thing that countless people say makes them feel great is, of course… yoga! At our classes you will gently move your body in ways that feel good, you will unwind from the busy-ness of day to day life, you will feel great physically and mentally while meeting like-minded people who are caring and accepting. And there are a range of classes with something to suit everyone. We hope to see you at the studio soon!
love the Kaizen Yoga team xx