Here’s the third post in my “self-care” series, after I wrote last week that although the term “self-care” wasn’t in my childhood or teenage vocabulary, it’s become something I’ve learned is crucial, from listening to wonderful podcasts and reading great blogs on “lifestyle design”, mental health issues, and figuring out how to live and breathe in today’s changing and demanding world.
For the next week or so, I’m going to share some of the best things I do to give myself a little space, even when I’m so busy or anxious I feel like I barely have time to pause. Today, food and exercise (SIGH).
- Reducing carb and sugar intake, aka, limiting my Franco Manca visits
There are more arguments around this than people on the planet, but basically, through trial and error and diets and periods of eating rubbish I’ve found that I feel better and healthier if I generally avoid carbs with my food about 90% of the time. Everyone has to do what works for them.
I’m still fatter than I want to be and I still have a serious sweet tooth (and bread tooth, and cheese and gin) but even leaving behind all the crap about Atkins and paleo and cutting out food groups and ascribing morality to certain foods – top tip, don’t do it – I know that I feel better if I don’t eat pasta, bread, potatoes or rice, or any of their friends.
I LOVE THEM TOO MUCH, but they don’t love me. A sourdough pizza or carbonara or bowl of rice or bag of Doritos will taste INCREDIBLE at the time, but will have me waking up the next morning feeling like an elephant is sitting on my stomach, and I’ll be half a stone heavier, and much sleepier without even trying. It’s just not worth it most of the time.
Sometimes, though, in a fabulous Italian restaurant or when on holiday, it IS worth it – and I enjoy the food all the more. All about balance. Ditto for chocolate mousse. Which is a bit sad, but true. Sigh, adulthood. Sigh, slow metabolism and genes. Sigh, thyroid. *Cries*
- Moving around more – basically, sweat, tears and yoga
Again, this is key to me feeling like the world isn’t caving in.
Exercise does not come naturally to me – at school, I saw PE as a chance to chat, make up elaborate excuses about why I couldn’t join in, and get crushes on any slightly nice-looking, young, sporty teacher whose unfortunate task it was to “teach” us.
But again, through trial and error – and a good deal of getting my butt to work out when I really didn’t feel it (I’ve found that basically, you have to do it even when you REALLY don’t want to) ‒ I’ve found that a good mixture of high intensity training on a mat, interval training on the treadmill, key weightlifting moves, and a chunk of yoga is the best route to a happier and healthier soul. Especially the yoga.
Honestly, it’s the best way to stretch, and you can breathe and feel all spiritual and chilled out too.
I recommend Yoga with Adriene on YouTube – the woman is a funny, relaxed, brilliant goddess, and I only use her videos for my yoga (the video above is my absolute go-to favourite).
My self-care series