Just Breathe: Improving Your Physical, Mental And Emotional Health

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Spring is finally merging into summer, and as the seasons change a lot of us find ourselves feeling in need of making a few changes. Here are a few tips on how you can improve your physical, mental and emotional health this summer…

Your Physical Health

Get In Shape

First of all, it’s time to get in shape. Forget everything you’ve been told about developing a bikini body for the beach this summer – let’s face it, if you have a body and it’s in a bikini then that’s all you need! Instead, focus on the way that you feel. Being strong and being able to run after your toddler without getting out of breath and noticing that you’re getting stronger and more supple so your balance is better – all those things are much more important and invaluable than what exactly you weigh. If you don’t usually walk around much then now might be the time to make that change – leave the car at home when you pick your kids up from school or the bus stop in the evenings and give the environment a break as well!

Start A Class

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If you’ve never gone to a fitness class, now might just be the time to start. No one’s saying that you immediately have to start a rigorous schedule of circuit training, but if you find it hard to run on a treadmill without getting bored then a class might be a much better option for you. You could learn to swim better or even do a water fitness class at your local pool – those might be great options if you’re a little overweight because the water will support your weight and prevent your joints from getting sore or injured. If you want to focus on strengthening your core muscles then pilates might be a good fit for you, while yoga is great for anyone who wants to get flexible and supple. If you’re more of an active person, try out zumba and dance the night away as you do aerobics to Latin music.

Start Cooking From Scratch

If you’ve never been in the habit of cooking your meals from scratch, now is the time to start. A lot of pre-packaged food tends to contain a lot of additives, along with added sugar that you really don’t need in your diet – not only will it destroy your energy levels but it also isn’t very good for your teeth. If you have any dietary requirements or you simply want to know what exactly is in your food, it’s a good idea to start cooking it from fresh yourself. Go for fresh fruits and vegetables along with free range meat – it might be a bit more expensive but ethically it’s definitely worth it!

Eat Breakfast

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If you’re looking for one tip about how to eat more healthily, this is it: start eating breakfast. A lot of people completely skip the most important meal of the day and just go for coffee instead but the truth is that if you want to eat healthily for the rest of the day, it’s important to start well with your breakfast. Go for wholewheat toast with smashed avocado and a poached egg, or maybe peanut butter and sliced banana if you’re in a hurry. Granola with fresh berries and natural yoghurt is both tasty and good for you, and if you really aren’t a breakfast person then you could always make a smoothie that you can sip at your desk at work.

Your Mental Health

Watch Out For Mental Health Issues

A lot more people suffer from mental health issues than you might expect. There is definitely still a bit of a stigma surrounding mental health problems like depression, anxiety and OCD and the only way that we can remove that stigma is by talking about mental health issues more. You might think that depression means that you feel sad all the time or that you can’t stop crying, and those things can definitely be symptoms of it – but other symptoms can include feeling angry or annoyed, or simply feeling empty and as though you aren’t taking as much pleasure in your favourite things as you used to. If you think you might be suffering from depression, go and talk to your doctor – it isn’t anything at all to be ashamed of.

Go To A Therapist

Therapy doesn’t have to be just for people who suffer from mental health problems or who have had bad things happen to them, although it can definitely help people living in those circumstances. It can also work excellently for anyone who just wants to work on their coping mechanisms, meaning that they’ll be more equipped to handle whatever life decides to throw at them. Going to therapy means that if something bad does happen to you, you’ll find it a lot easier to deal with

Practice Self Care

Finally, it’s important to make sure that you take care of yourself. Self care doesn’t mean telling yourself that you don’t have to go to work because you feel sad or buying too many pairs of shoes because you’re in a bad mood. It means making yourself go out to see your friends even though you might not feel like it, because in the end it’s the best thing to do. It means making yourself eat salad even though you don’t feel like it, because your body will thank you for it in the end, and learning grounding techniques for when you’re unhappy and wound up. It means taking a shower even if you don’t want to, going for a walk, getting up off your sofa. Self care means doing the things for yourself that you need to and that will make you feel better in the long term as well as in the short term.

Your Emotional Health

See Your Friends

It’s important that you make sure that you get out of your house and that you socialise as much as you can. No one’s trying to force you to be a social butterfly if you really aren’t that kind of person. But you need to be aware that maintaining friendships can take time and effort, and even if you don’t feel like it, you need to drag yourself off the sofa after work and out to a restaurant to have dinner with your best friend. In the end, you’ll be glad that you’ve done it – and seeing your friends is often like a form of therapy because you can all talk about what’s going on in your lives. It might just make you feel less alone to hear and see that other people have similar problems to the ones that you have too.

Cut Out The Dead Weight

If you have any relationships in your life that simply aren’t going anywhere, you now have permission to end them and get them out of your life. Remember that your time is a precious and valuable thing and you shouldn’t be wasting it on anyone who simply doesn’t deserve it. If you have a partner who doesn’t treat you as well as they should, you need to end the relationship as soon as you can – your partner should be a support to you and make sure that you feel good about yourself. It needs to be a loving and mutual relationship and if that isn’t what you’re getting, it’s time for it to be over. Likewise, if your friends simply aren’t as supportive as they should be, think about it hard and try to decide whether your years of friendship are still worth it. Remember: nothing is a failure simply because it ended.

Focus On Your Professional Life

If you feel dissatisfied in your day to day professional life, now is the time to make some changes in that arena. Talk to your boss about increasing your wages at your next annual review so that you feel you’re getting paid fairly for your work. If you dislike the job itself then it could be time to start looking for something that you find more rewarding. A lot of people who work at charities and non-profits might get paid a little less, but they know their work is valuable.

Do What You Love
Finally, it’s time to start to focus on yourself and to start doing what you love. A lot of us start telling ourselves that we’ll do what we want at some point in the future – we’ll write those novels, we’ll learn Spanish, we’ll go on a dating website and finally find the loves of our lives. But let’s face it – if you keep putting things off, then the time will never come and you’ll be left with a lot of regrets. Everyone has enough time for the things that they really care about so it’s time to prioritise what you really want to do. Get a babysitter so you can start to go to painting classes, and book that holiday in India, and start to learn how to make French pastry. The time is now, and if you don’t go for what you want you’ll only regret it.

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