We’ve all been there… The late nights.
The to-do list that feels like it’s never-ending.
The over-flowing inbox that demands your attention.
Everyone needs you and needs you RIGHT NOW.
A little bubble of panic sits in your chest as you look at your life and wonder how the hell you’re supposed to keep it all up.
You know you should be exercising, eating better, getting more sleep but, pssh, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Just thinking about shaping up, losing weight, or eating healthier exhausts many women.
But it doesn’t have to be that hard.
The trick is to start small. If that feels like too much, break it up even more. Even the smallest step towards positive change can lead to big results.
Here are my top five health hacks to bring more wellness into your life – even when you feel like you’re losing the plot.
1. Get some zzzs
I love my sleep. And if you’re anything like me, it wins the choice battle every time – but it’s also the first thing you let go of when life gets crazy.
Ever tried getting things done when you’re exhausted? You’re irritable and depressed. Looking after yourself is way, WAY down the line because you’re in Survival Mode.
Not getting enough sleep affects your cravings, your mood and energy levels, your metabolism, your focus and your motivation, causing us fall into unhealthy habits.
- Create a wind-down and regular bedtime ritual. Take your time to wind down. Instead of TV right before bed, try a warm shower or bath. Spend ten minutes meditating or listening to some calm music.
- Try and get 7-8 hours of sleep consistently. Life happens, I know. There are movie marathons, fabulous parties or the baby refusing to sleep. But try and go to bed at the same time every night – and that includes weekends! This will help to the keep the body’s internal clock in a routine. Consistency is the key!
2. Don’t lose yourself
When life starts to slide into the realms of “crazy-busy”, this is also when many women get off track with their wellbeing. It’s easier to put everyone first before our own needs because to think of ourselves first can be considered selfish.
But it is so important to build in time for yourself so you can recharge, restore and not burn out.
- Take the time to pause and check in with yourself. Make it daily if you can, or at least weekly. Look honestly at how things are going. Plan and schedule in that me-time for yourself – to exercise, take downtime, meal-plan etc.
- Set goals. And keep them somewhere where you will see them regularly and be reminded of them.
Ten minutes is all you need to take a moment and refresh yourself. Change your environment, go outside and breath in the air.
3. Keep an eye on your diet
When we’re busy and stressed, we tend to overcompensate for our exhaustion by turning to caffeine and sugar for energy. But the truth is that it is probably the worst thing we can do for our bodies. Try these instead:
- Limit coffee to one a day and keep it for the mornings if you really need it.
- A green smoothie or juice (INSTEAD of coffee. Ooooh!)
- Cut the crap – meaning choosing real food over processed, cutting out sugar.
4. Take a break
As life has become busier – and filled to the brim with juggling work, family, friends and everything else in between – sometimes it feels like we have forgotten how to focus on just one task, one activity or one experience at a time.
We multi-task like it’s an Olympic sport because, hey, Beyoncé has the same 24 hours as we do, right?
I’m a huge fan of meditation and it’s a highly effective way to practice mindfulness. But truth be told, I kinda suck at it. It’s one of the things that I am working on this year.
The benefits of persevering can be life changing. You don’t need anything fancy for meditation – just a quiet spot.
- I encourage you to try meditation. Start with 5 minutes a day (just 5!), and then move to longer times if you can. Tune in. Begin to believe that anything is possible.
5. Stay positive
I get it. Life is feeling pretty crapola at the moment.
It feels like it’s impossible to get rid of this intense pressure coming from all sides.
But don’t ignore your mind – it has the power to impact your mood, energy levels, choices and motivation.
The way that you see and think about the things going on around you is essentially where your stress comes from – rather than the actual situation itself.
Every thought you have is creating your reality and future. (Click to Tweet)
- Focus on what you’ve done rather than what didn’t happen. Take the time to acknowledge the progress and achievements and CELEBRATE the things you have accomplished!
- Watch the thoughts that come into your head and the language that you use – especially that inner voice that tends to be over-critical of us in these times of stress.
Reframing the thought of “I have to get it perfect” to “I’m doing my best” allows you not only to be kinder to yourself, but also be in a better frame of mind to keep going and look after yourself when the going gets tough.
The truth about your health
Changing habits is hard work, but often the way we approach it is the same way we lead our lives – pushing, striving, a single-minded approach that ends up being the most difficult way possible.
We all hit busy times.
When you’re overwhelmed but have to just keep going, this is when you need to do something about it. But chances are you don’t know where to start.
When you simply have too much on your plate, finding the time to look after yourself feels like another item on your to-do list.