We get it. Life is busy, chaotic, stressful.
But in between work, saving to buy a house, globetrotting around the world, fitting in social engagements, hitting the gym, eating well, spending time with a boyfriend or girlfriend, and keeping up the latest Bachelor drama, when do we get the chance to just… breathe?
In this 24/7 world we live in, it’s common place to put everyone and everything before our own wellbeing.
But at what cost?
Living in a constant state of heightened anxiety is terrible for our health. It’s literally making us sick.
It’s well known stress is a major contributor to such diseases as irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Excess cortisol is linked to depression, osteoporosis, and high-blood pressure.
While stress also plays a huge part in premature ageing, and is thought to be to blame for the population getting, well, fat.
Put it this way, when you’re feeling down/stressed/exhausted, hands up how many of us reach for that block of chocolate? Fried food? Family-sized pizza?
Look, we’re totally not judging. We’ve been there too. But the truth of the matter is, our bodies can only tolerate living in a flight or fight state for so long before we crash.
It’s like expecting a car to run on an empty tank. It’ll keep chugging away, but then one day, it’ll give up, shut down, and leave you stranded.
That’s why it’s crucial you give yourself a chance to chill out every now and then. We’re not suggesting you quit your job and join an ashram, or ditch your phone and rely on carrier pigeons.
However, incorporating these simple tips into your everyday life can make the world of difference.
Your body, mind, and spirit will thank you.
A dose of nature a day keeps the doctor away. Okay, we may have adapted that one slightly for the purpose of this article, but next time you finish work for the day, instead of collapsing on the couch, strap on your runners and go for a walk. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes. Explore your neighbourhood. Walk along the beach. Stroll through a park. You’ll start your evening feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, sleep better, and feel more energised the following day. Mum used to say there is no problem a good walk can’s solve. And so far, she’s right.
It’s difficult to quieten the chatter in our mind. That’s why meditation apps are so helpful. They guide you through a practice, focusing on any particular area you feel needs attention. You can even do it before bed to help you drift off into a peaceful sleep. Meditation is proven to reduce stress levels, alleviate anxiety, improve concentration and even slow down the ageing process. We like the Smiling Mind app. Or you could just search for one on YouTube.
Firstly, it’s good for your body – why else do you think every yogi look like they’ve just stepped out of cover shoot for Women’s Health Magazine? But it’s even better for your mind. Yoga helps to regulate your adrenal gland, therefore lowering cortisol levels. It also lowers your blood pressure, improves posture, flexibility and bone health, and helps you to unwind and de-stress.
If you honestly calculated how much time you spent on social media/your phone each week, would you be scared of the result? How much time do we spend on perfecting an Instagram post? Trawling through your ex’s new girlfriend’s page? Comparing ourselves to an impossibly hot Swedish model who seems to live in string bikinis? Our reliance on the online world is only getting worse, but ironically, we’re more disconnected than ever. It’s also stressing us out, disrupting our sleep and making us miserable. Unplug for a day, or even just one night a week, and watch how much better you feel.
This one needs no explanation. Baths are the ultimate in relaxation. Dim the lights. Light a candle. Pop in a Detox Bomb and switch off. Warm water helps to reduce pain and inflammation, calm the nervous system and reduce stress and anxiety. Bliss.
It’s a no-brainer. Eating fried, sugary, fatty foods makes us feel like crap. Eating a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, legumes and meat makes us feel good. Fuelling your body with high-quality foods has an impact on our mood. Our mood has an impact on our attitude to life. A positive attitude reduces stress. It all goes hand in hand. You can’t do one without the other.
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We all know that feeling of perspiration. It can be felt after your hours at the gym, an embarrassing bi-product on a hot day or even a reaction to being nervous on a first date. Sweating is a basic human function, but have you ever looked into the health benefits of getting your sweat on?