Over the course of this blog (and my life), I’ve written oodles and oodles of entries about mental health and well-being. Not only are they important subjects to talk about, but most people have their own story to tell in regard to health and well-being. Mental, physical, spiritual – the lot.
Sure, we don’t all feel the need to share our mental health journeys over the internet, but as I already started sharing bits here and there when things have been bad – I thought why not share a little more when things are kind-of-better-but-not-oh-so-amazing-just-yet… Life isn’t always black and white.
When we moved to Oakham at the start of the summer, I kept telling myself that this was the opportunity to rid myself of bad habits and embrace some new ones. Did it all happen within a week of moving (as I expected)? No, of course not – that’s literally mad. For months I tried to get into healthier patterns and struggled to make them stick. Forming habits is a heck of a lot harder than we all think. It’s only when we find a truly compelling reason to stick to the healthier habit that it becomes easier.
As I’ve mentioned before, August really kicked my butt mentally and physically, giving me what I needed to completely flip my daily routine on its head. Here are the little habits that are really helping my mental health.
Starting my day before the world starts
I don’t know what it is about getting up after 9 am, when you know the rest of the world is already at work and getting on, that makes me feel like a rubbish human. I’d always feel like I was behind or already failing at the day because I didn’t get up at 6 am.
Some people are night owls, but when I’m actually awake for it, I love the mornings. For the last fortnight, I’ve been waking up around half 7/8 and feel SO much better for it. After giving myself some get-with-it time, enjoying a cuppa and just having some no-screen quiet time, I write a little list of goals for the day before having breakfast and getting set.
Building on this little routine is not only giving me better night’s sleep, it’s also making me enjoy each and every day, appreciate the little things more and on blue-er days it helps me clear my overthinking mind and focus on what’s really important in the day ahead.
Limiting my scrolling
So, sticking with the kind of morning routine that gets me in a great headspace… lately, I haven’t been turning my phone on until I’ve really woken up, gotten ready and set my own plan for the day. I used to check Instagram and my emails within the first ten minutes of opening my eyes and it’s only now that I’ve stopped doing this that I realise how detrimental that can be to a delicate mental health.
I don’t know about you but seeing other people’s polished and edited lives before I’ve even decided whether to get dressed today is not how to feel like a bad-ass life-living 21y/o. No matter how beautiful someone’s flat lay might be, I don’t need to see it until I know what my day’s going to be about.
Actually getting dressed
Pyjamas are the bomb. They’re so comfy and cosy and literally the best thing at the end of the day. The magic of pyjamas is dulled, however, when you wear them all day long. I’m all in favour of a duvet day every now and again. I fully support a well-timed pyjama afternoon too, but ever since I’ve made the effort to put on outside clothes before 10 am (still not mega early but I’ll get there) my days have just go SO much better.
When we actually get dressed I think it makes it easier to get out the house and do something (or buy something – lol). Especially on days where every little thing feels challenging, getting over that first hurdle before half the day is gone always feels like a massive step in the right direction.
Neglecting my car
Aside from the fact that my car is in need of a wash, I don’t mean that I’m actually mistreating and beating my car up. Basically, what I mean is that I’m walking more. Since I currently work from home, getting enough steps into a day can be super difficult and even though I do think I walk around the house quite a lot, nothing compares to a walk in the fresh air.
Sometimes I walk to the shops instead of driving and sometimes I just take an urban stroll around Oakham – discovering something new every time! I set myself the goal of walking 2 miles a day at the start of this month and am doing well so far! The exercise is great for all kinds of reasons, but the walking is also giving me some great thinking time. I’ve been coming up with projects, ideas and plans on my walks, which makes me think that these next few months might just be the best of the year so far.
Eating at the dinner table (vs. at a cushion)
One upside about living with someone who works crazy shifts is that when it comes to tea time I can eat wherever I like (because I’m usually eating alone). For a while, I took advantage of this and would eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on the sofa (or even in bed.). However, recently I’ve learnt that eating in front on the TV in a cosy spot usually means that I don’t get up very fast afterwards… i.e. I spent whole afternoons on the sofa watching crap.
Now that we’ve moved the dining table into a room of its own, I only eat at the dining table, and it’s great. It makes meal times feel more proper, I focus on my food more and I tend to get up and get on when my plate is clean. I also love that I can see the world go by when I’m sat at the table, people walk past quite often and I feel a little less isolated in the house on my own.