Wellbeing and wellness are the words of the moment when it comes to looking after ourselves, but what do those words mean to you? When I hit rock bottom I knew things had to change, or I wouldn’t be around to see my 50th year. Then I woke up to what wellbeing meant, and everything changed.
In this blog I’ll share my own wellbeing routine and a little bit about my journey into wellbeing.
It is no accident that I became a life coach and holistic therapist, it was always meant to be, although I didn’t always know it. When I reflect back on my life, with all its ups and downs (and very downs), all the twists and turns, knocks and shocks, that was the universe preparing me for my life’s purpose. Since before birth, as a womb twin survivor, I learnt empathy and compassion for my twin, we would have found a way to communicate that wasn’t by word or sign, more of a mind connection (perhaps telepathy, often associated with birthed twins). Although there’s no empirical proof of telepathy there are countless stories from identical twins that is hard to ignore. So even in those first few months, we would have held a bond closer than any other. When I came hurtling into the world on my own, I would have felt loss at a deep subconscious level, not really understanding what I felt or why. That deep sense of knowing, sensing, that started to develop within the womb, is what might be termed today as emotional intelligence, or perhaps it’s a combination of that and telepathy? Either way, it’s a gift. Sometimes a painful gift (that takes a while to understand), when you feel other’s pain and anxiety, fear and anger, nonetheless a gift I’m grateful for.
When I was young (school age), I often felt a deep loneliness and would chat to myself as I played (a womb twin survivor thing). I never really fit into groups at school, and often preferred to play and be alone (another womb twin survivor thing). This does have its downsides though, connection is an important element of human fulfilment and happiness, and choosing to be alone becomes an issue over time. This was the first wellbeing lesson I had to learn. Kindness to others was another early lesson, I had my fair share of unkind experiences from others, and one day I decided to forgive someone who had been nothing short of vile to me, in that moment of forgiveness and the act of showing compassion, I felt free. Life balance was to show itself for the first time in my early 20’s, when I would spend my weekends undertaking domestic duties around the house whilst my other half happily went off fishing. This is a lesson that took some time to learn, and I still have to check myself when I’m working too hard and putting my wellbeing routine at the bottom of the priority list. Spirituality and emotional self-care came to me first in my early 30’s, after a period of hard life knocks. The realisation of the absolute importance that exercise and nutrition have on mind and body, has been prominent throughout my 40’s, as has mindfulness, meditation, and self-compassion. So here we are today, in my late 40’s. Am I perfectly happy, in balance, and as well as well could be? Absolutely not! Sometimes yes. Sometimes more than others. Sometimes I have to have a chat with myself. The difference today is I know exactly what I need to do, and I can get back on track much quicker due to the wisdom I have gained.
For everyone wellbeing is a journey… the secret is committing to that journey and taking those first steps, with hope and belief in yourself.
Creating a wellbeing lifestyle
My wellbeing lifestyle has been 30 years in the making, and over that time it’s changed and matured. It is a result of study, reading, trying things out, finding out what does, and doesn’t work, and taking an interest in the latest evidence and research. Most people do some things that are looking after their wellbeing, however, a wellbeing lifestyle should be holistic, and by that I mean take into account mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual self.
Before I get onto what mine looks like, I want to share some important general tips about changing your lifestyle, so that wellbeing is at the centre of your life.
- A wellbeing lifestyle is what it says on the tin. It’s there for life. It might change but it’s a lifestyle choice.
- Be mindful of everything about your life: what you do, don’t do, how you feel, how you behave, what makes your behaviour change and how that affects yourself and others. Be mindful of what you eat and drink; what makes you happy, sad or angry… literally everything about your lifestyle, through a gentle mindfulness (awareness), of your good self in this universe.
- Do not ruminate, punish, or compare yourself, or your lifestyle, with others. This is about what works best for you.
- If it’s not working, adjust it. Whatever you choose to do should be joyful.
- Don’t give up just because you had a bad day, this is a journey, not a competition or a race. New habits take around 30 days to embed, then you need to keep going.
- Let others have their opinion, but at the end of it all, this is your choice so don’t let anyone talk you out of your choices (unless it’s really good advice :))
- Finally, think about why this is important to you. What would it look like if you didn’t consider your wellbeing, and what impact would that have on you and those you love? Write it down, know your purpose.
My wellbeing lifestyle
So here we go, this what my wellbeing lifestyle looks like today – always subject to change 🙂
- I’m a huge natural history fan, so walking is always going to be a great way to exercise for me, but more than that it’s great for your mental health and general psychical health too (think fresh air and vitamin D).
- I’ve done pilates and yoga classes since I was in my 20’s, I love both. Today I have my own creation, MoGaChi, that combines body mindfulness, hatha yoga inspired body movement, controlled breath, a section on energy stimulation and balancing (this is my ‘Chi’ section), and a short relaxing meditation to finish. I do this about 4 times a week and put on classes periodically throughout the year.
- I aim to meditate everyday. I don’t beat myself up if I miss a day (or two).
- I’ve been fascinated by the trends in fitness, from the 80’s ‘gym bunny’ style aerobics and step, to lifting weights, HIIT, Les Mills, Circuit, Kettlecise, aqua fitness and so on. I’ve tried most of them over the years and I’ve learnt that what worked for you once, may not always work for you. Try lots of things until you find your groove. If you get bored of your groove, or an injury or life circumstance means you need to change it, then do so. I have my own 4 minute HIIT session that works my legs and arms (in the main). I use 2 small 1kg dumbbell weights for the lifting parts.
- I’m a fair weather leisure cyclist and it’s the most wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable thing to do on a lovely day. I’m fortunate to live in the country but there’s lots of places you can cycle, including old railway lines that have been converted for walkers and cyclists. I have a dutch bike (think Holland), that allows me to pile whatever I want into my basket, sit up and take in the scenery as I ride. I’m also about to embark on some HIIT cycling on my husbands watt bike (an exercise bike to us novices). I’m aiming to do a warm up followed by a short 5 minute HIIT ride, once or twice a week, tops.
- I’ve just taken up dancing again, oh how I love to dance. At the moment it’s tap and salsa but I’ve got my sights on adding in ballroom and latin very soon.
- I’m mindful about active living, so I take the stairs rather than the lift (unless I’m laden with shopping). When it’s nice my husband and I may walk rather than take the car. I don’t mind if I forget things and I have to go back upstairs, (which is often). When I’m working from home I walk around the garden after my lunch… and so on.
- I cook often, and from scratch. My food always tastes better than a meal (or sauce) from a packet or box. We do have the odd takeout or meal out and that’s fine.
- I take an interest in the nutritional value of food, and I always read food labels. This is a good habit to get into, there’s so much hidden junk in things.
- I eat mindfully. That means when I’m eating, I eat and taste and enjoy the sensation of my food. I also aim to eat to 80% full (a Japanese thing called Hara hachi bu), which means being aware of getting full. I also mindfully give myself a smaller portion than my husband.
- I aim to understand how food and drink affects ones mood. Some foods are good for reducing stress, for example chicken and mushroom risotto, vegetable and pasta bake, or try snacking on almonds, bananas or dark chocolate.
Some foods, on the other hand, can promote low mood, such as alcohol, diet or energy drinks, low fat snacks, refined white sugar, and pastries.
- I aim to take time out to really relax the mind and make sure I get a good nights sleep (not withstanding a snoring husband).
- I make time to hook up with family and friends, to just be, and laugh (lots).
Things you may like
Nutrition and exercise books:
No affiliation here just a couple of books I love and will get you heading in the right direction for wellbeing.
- Food Medic for Life – love Hazel Wallace, as a doctor and PT instructor (who’s doing a masters degree in Nutrition), you can’t go far wrong with this book and following Hazel on Instagram. Find on Amazon
- BOSH – if you fancy going vegan, or even injecting a little into your weekly menu, these two friends (Henry Firth and Ian Theasby), have some amazing recipes to share. Find on Amazon
- The Happy Kitchen – Rachel Kelly shares recipes worked up with nutritionist Alice Mackintosh, based on ‘mood food’, that helped her through a difficult time in her life. Find on Amazon
I’ll be sharing more books I love, recipes, essential oils, herbs etc. in my new blog ‘wellbeing weekly roundup’, so keep posted.
I’d love to hear what your wellbeing routine is. How it’s impacted on your life maybe?
Supporting you to be your best and happiest self
If you want a treatment or therapy to heal, de-stress and relax, or regain balance, you can work with Alison in a number of ways:
- View all holistic Treatments
- ‘Live Well’ programmes for Health Recovery and Transform your Life
- Therapy Coaching Sets in resilience, emotional, life, and thought balance
- Get online support through our clinic on call service
- Check out forthcoming events and classes, including MoGaChi and Meditation
- Explore the workplace wellbeing
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