mental health

Your mental health comes first.

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
– WHO

It ended up not being a blog post last week. I had to take some me time due to personal circumstances that made the week and the one before rather hard.

Living with a mental illness is a full-time job, and often it is a full-time job you try to leave at home and not bring on about your day because of the stigma you might face. Managing mental heath is often a bumpy road. It can be a speeding treadmill where the only change in speed is up, eventually something’s got to give and 9 times out of 1+ it is you.

It is hard to try to get back in control when you are taken for that ride. For me, I always tend to think that the best way is through. I run at the wall, I will power through it; ignoring small symptoms that I always recognise in retrospect. The next wall will be ticker and maybe I can run through that one too. Keep on running and hit the next, just a little bit harder. Keep running. Keep ignoring. Unfortunately your skin and bones does not grow into steel in this process. Eventually a wall will be thick enough to cripple you and bring you to your knees.

I complete this process over and over, even after recognising the pattern. Because I am human. I make mistakes. The important part is to get back up again and how you go about it. What I have learned is that I need to ensure that I put my mental health above everything else, when I don’t things go wrong often disastrously so.

Putting your mental health first, does not mean that you will go about your day just doing what suits you and never compromise. Putting your mental health first means to exercise discipline, it is to go to bed early even if it is weekend, because you know routine is good for your mind. To put your mental health first also means that sometimes you will skip the gym, not just because you don’t feel like it but because you know if you go and underperform it will make you feel even worse.  Taking care of your mental health means cutting out people who aren’t good for you, even if you have a “hell-of-a-great-time”, sometime even if they are family. It is also cancelling plans that you might once looked forward to but now cannot bring yourself to do.

Having that aside, to put your mental health first also means not cancelling plans when you “just don’t feel like it.” It is going to the gym when you would rather watch Netflix, because you know it will make you feel good. It is separating the “I don’t want to” or “I feel like being lazy” from the “If I do this now, I will be worse off because of my mental state,” and take the appropriate action.

Taking care of your mental well-being is hard work and it is knowing yourself, so that you get a breather between the punches. All you can do it practice, learn something and get better; the important thing is to keep in mind that to be happier you should embrace the journey and stop worrying about the destination.

 

 

fitness · mental health · Workouts

First steps to healthier eating.

I am a big fan of small but substantial changes, because these tend to fare better long-term. Fad diets, restrictive diets or the omitting of a certain nutrient is not sustainable in the long run. That is not to say that restrictive diets does not have their place, but when you look to improve your diet you need to find something that suits you and that you can stick with.

With mental health, or any kind of illness, diet is an important part of recovery. I, myself, feel the good effects of eating better. Eating better gives you more energy, makes you less tired and makes sure that your brain can function properly.

In the flood that is the internet it is often easy to get lost in all the information and it hard to get it all down at once. I have therefore created a short starter list for healthier eating. The list is meant to help you make healthier eating choices.

  1. Wholewheat and wholegrain choices. 
    Most people know that it is healthier to eat wholewheat and wholegrain, but still chose to eat white bread and pasta. Wholewheat is a good source for dietary fibre, something that most people do not get enough of. Fibre is very important for our digestive system. For this reason alone wholewheat pasta is better than regular pasta, because more fibre will improve the health of your digestive system.
  2. Portion sizes. 
    The next thing that is rather important to take note of is portion sizes, because most people are not aware of what a normal portion size is. In most ready meals you purchase you get way too much rice and not enough vegetables. Loading your plate full of rice will make you consume much more than you need. Two heaped tablespoons is one portion rice, couscous or pasta (dry) that would fill much of a whole dinner plate after cooking..
    The British Hearth foundation has a good guide you can look to for guidance of portion sizes (Click here).
  3. Eat more Fruit and Vegetables.
    Fruit and vegetables, in addition to provide vitamins, provides you with fibre. Fruit also provides a good source for natural sugar, so if you are looking to curb a sweet tooth you could try slicing an apple and add some cinnamon.
  4. Cut down on the sugar. 
    The more sugar you eat, the more sugar you crave and the less sensitive you become to the taste of sugar. In effect this means that if you eat a lot of sugar, then fruits for example does no longer taste as sweet to you.
  5. Cut back on the salt. 
    We eat way to much salt, and we do not need it. Almost all processed foods contain a lot of salt. The recommended daily limit of salt is 6 grams. Make sure to read the food label because even if you do not add salt to your food, you might be overeating salt because it is already added to the food you buy. My tip is simply to never add salt to the food you make (unless you make it from scratch). The same thing that happens with sugar happen with salt, the more you eat of it the less sensitive you get to the taste of salt.
  6. Make more food at home.
    Set yourself a goal of cooking at home 2 – 3 days a week, make some good home-made food from scratch. That way you can see what goes into your food. After a while you will probably prefer the food you make yourself to the food you buy out.

Those are just a couple of quick tips to eat a little healthier, these are rules I follow myself because they are low maintenance and they do not restrict me from eating what I want. Of course the most important thing is to be mindful about what you eat and be honest with yourself about what you eat.

The HIIT exercises for this week is below.

Monday:

5 Rounds for time:

10 jumping jacks
10 lunges
5 Burpees
10 Ab crunches
10 back extensions
5 Burpees

Wednesday:

As many rounds as possible in 15 minutes:

5 Burpees
12 High kicks
16 lunges
5 Burpees
10 Push ups
15 Russian Twists

Friday:

5 rounds for time:

10 Jumping Jacks
10 Squat Jumps
5 Burpees
15 Russian Twist
15 Back extension
5 Burpees

See you again next week 🙂