Everyday Wellbeing That Actually Works
Wellbeing is a the hype word of 2018, we can’t read a magazine without an article on it or go on youtube without a vlogger telling us all about what works for them. But I think there is an important distinction that needs to be made:
Everyone is different, and what counts as wellbeing for one person may not work for you.
I believe, however, that there are three things we should be doing as part of our everyday life anyway, to increase our health, happiness and in turn, our wellbeing.
We’ve heard of the juice detox diet, but what about the digital detox? We are spending more and more time on our devices, and if you’re anything like me that will be right up to switching off the lights to go to sleep.
Blue light, emitted from our screens affects our brains more than we think. This is the same type of light we have around us during the day when the sun is shining. So by staring at blue light long after the sun has gone down reduces the amount of melatonin our brains produce. Melatonin is the hormone that controls our sleep cycle, so falling asleep and staying asleep becomes a lot more difficult.
Using tech before bed also keeps the brain awake! Not letting yourself wind down properly before sleep can trick it into thinking it needs to stay awake for longer. Give your brain the time to unwind and process the events of the day, and there will be less pre sleep anxiety as your brain overloads with everything you did and need to do the next day.
Try leaving your phone on your dresser if you need it in your room as an alarm, or better yet, leave it outside the room all together. Try settling down with a good book, or try some in bed yoga stretches, these are my fave.
Recognise your inner critic, and have some frank conversations with yourself. Talk to yourself as though you ere talking to a friend who is overdoing it and needs an intervention. You’re allowed to not be a perfectionist all the time- a realisation I’ve come to recently- and you’re allowed to take a break and breather from your busy life if that’s what you need!
Not a single one of us is immune to stress and the fatigue of modern busy life, and allowing yourself to put yourself first means you’re prolonging your battery life. The whole ‘say yes’ movement is great- for those who have the time and energy! You are allowed to say no if it doesn’t work for you!
My favourite self care activity is to have a bath with epsom salts and lavender before bed after a particularly stressful day. Epsom salts are a form of magnesium which can be absorbed through the skin. It regulates muscle and nerve function as well as blood sugar levels and blood pressure- so perfect for de stressing and amazing for aches and pains.
Here are other self care activities which our Manchester Girls swear by…
I do 10-15 minutes of stretches in the morning before work. I’m never awake enough for a full workout but it’s a nice period of calm before I start my day. -Michaela Brown
I listen to this video every night five minutes before I go to sleep to manifest my best works while I sleep. -Jess Stoddard
I use the ‘Headspace’ app once a day and always walk to and from work, even if it’s raining, playing my favourite tunes. Reminding myself how beautiful and crazy this city [Manchester] is makes me feel awesome! -Ruth Sutherland
With the trend of HIIT sessions which is all about the cardio, it’s often easy to forget that this isn’t the only type of exercise the body needs- Strength training is just as important for building muscle strength, and having fun while keeping active is important for your mental health.
As someone who is unable to do cardio training due to health complications, I often feel left behind when trends to do with exercise start taking over, and I know I’m not the only one.
Exercise- and how to do it- is everywhere. From celebrity trainers and influencers on social media to our friends well meaning advice on how they hit the gym.
It’s important to find your rhythm and learn what’s best for you. If you can afford to go to the gym, always have at least one session with a personal trainer there who can teach which machines you need to be using to reach your goal, and most importantly- how to use them properly.
But exercise doesn’t have to take place in a gym to do good. Go walking or jump on your bike to work, meet up with friends and spend the day inadvertently doing exercise while being social (did you know that Bristol Girl has its own hiking group!) Find your local swimming pool and go when it’s quiet on your day off.
There are some great pilates and yoga sessions you can watch on youtube and do in the privacy of your home- a great idea for beginners too nervous to go to a real class until you know you can do a few of the moves.
Struggling to exercise due to chronic health conditions and pain? Try looking for a hydrotherapy pool, the water not only helps support your joints meaning it’s easier to stretch and move around, the warmth also soothes your muscles.
Swimming not your thing? Look up your local sports centres and see what they offer for people with disabilities. This can be a great, pain free way, of accessing adapted bikes and trying exciting exercise hobbies like rock climbing and even indoor skiing!
Just because you’re not doing the latest fad exercise doesn’t mean that all of these other exercises aren’t as good or important to do. Staying active in any way you can is important- and even better if it’s an activity you enjoy and look forward to!
Your wellbeing comes from a very personal place. We may all be human, but our bodies function and react to things in different ways. It’s important to recognise that everyone has their own thing that works for them. Just because your idea of wellbeing doesn’t look like someone else’s doesn’t mean it can’t work for you, or isn’t as important or worth dedicating your time too.
We often share wellbeing tips in the City Girl Network Facebook Group, which all City Girls are welcome to join here.
Written by Rachael Mole.