Wellness is not just about Abs and Avocados

After spending a week in the wellness research rabbit hole, it struck me that most articles and information about wellness is staying fit, eating right and participating in Ukraine gymnastic-like yoga. I like you try my best to get it all right, from supplements, to spinning and from meditating to not drinking a bottle of wine each night. And most of the time I do okay. But I think wellness is a more 360 affair, and about appreciating the shadows of our lives, as well as the Instagram, razzle-dazzle. How many of you have woken up and felt pretty crappy, often for no particular reason?

I like to call it a case of the Debbie Downers. It is not as severe as depression; it’s just about not feeling that great. There is nothing definitively going on to contribute to this event of the Debbie’s. Perhaps the thought of a chaos and drama free day is a cause. As an ex-drama and chaos junkie, this used to be a real trigger for me. Perhaps its the thought of going to a job with an intolerable boss. Whatever the reason at times like these, having the added pressure to be on top of your Wellness game and eat right for me is often not a priority. When Debbie comes to town, don’t fight her, embrace her and invite her along with your day. You know what she is like, she comes and goes willy-nilly, but if you fight your unwelcome guest, she tends to persist for stronger and longer.

On days like this self-care is number one. I have one meal where I eat whatever the hell I like, I may have a nice fat glass of red wine, even on a school night and horror of horrors I may even forego a visit to the gym on that particular day. Honouring these days mean you will have a wellness plan that works. As long as these Debbie downer days are not coming too frequently, you are just going through what everyone goes through. Sometimes when I scroll through my feed, I start to feel the dreaded guilt that I am not living such a holy-than-though life everyday like the people in the images before me, but of course, people are only taking pictures of the good stuff. Maybe we should be posting more honest snaps of ourselves exercising all the points of our wellness plan. You never know my next picture might be of me in the dark under the duvet watching How to get away with Murder on my iPhone eating a whole packet of chocolate digestives. I wonder how many likes that would get?

Here are six tips to help you when you are feeling miles away from Spirulina, spiralizing and Spinning.

Acknowledge

When you realise you are not in the place of wanting to get up at the crack of dawn to hit the early morning pilates class and that the nutribulltet beaker of green smoothie that you made last night for today is not going anywhere near you this morning. Acknowledge it. As long as this is a one-off day and not a pattern that is beginning to emerge then just go with it.

Accept

Acceptance is a continuation of above. I tend to try and fight feeling when they come up, but something which is far more powerful is to accept it and let it sit with you. Go about doing the things you need to do, but life is all about feeling the many emotions that come up, and as long as they are not debilitating then just let yourself feel the way you do.

Plan

Rather than having the wheels fall off your carefully curated healthy eating plan totally, commit to having one meal where you eat what you like. Try not to overdo it, but perhaps replace one or two things which would typically be healthy, like switch sweet potato with some fries. The other day I did just that, and it felt like such a treat to go into the store and by some oven baked chips. I had some grilled chicken, salad and veggies and then a big pile of steaming fries. Perfect.

Binge watch

Doing the old Netflix binger has helped me through some anti-wellness days. When you get back from work, put your pyjamas on, put your hair up, cook you dinner with that plate of steaming chips and then snuggle under a blanket and watch a good handful of your favourite new shows in blissful escapism.

Congratulate

Pat yourself on the back for getting through the day and pray, plan or hope (whichever is your thing) that you will have a better day tomorrow.

Sleep

Sleeping is the most healing remedy of all. If you want to try some quick and easy foods which will help you sleep you can find them here. I have read many articles on the best time to fall asleep, and I thought what this Doctor said to be the most helpful. Dr Allison Siebern who is consulting assistant professor at Stanford School of medicine Sleep centre says that our genes predict what time we feel the most comfortable going to bed. I find that if I am bed by 10 pm, I get a good nights sleep, and when I come in late from a dinner out or take the Netflix binge-watch a little too far (just one more episode!) my night is not quite a restful. I do swear by this Magnesium product to help me ease into the land of Nod. You are the expert on your sleep patterns so on all nights and especially nights such as these, try to get as much shut-eye as possible.

Obviously as I say in all my writing about mental wellness, if you are feeling down often and struggling to cope. Please visit Mind which is an excellent helpful resource.

Lorraine

Ps: If you spot any typos let me know and I will correct them.

Pic by Anna Pelzer

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