I haven’t been myself lately. I’m a little more tired, a little more sluggish and I feel like my brain is a little more slower than usual as I’ve been forgetting the simplest of things. If I’m being honest with myself, I haven’t taken the best care of myself lately. My physical health and wellness has taken a back seat lately.

Part of this is probably due to the fact that I never really get to take time out. Between my job, studying, recipe testing and blogging, volunteering at Church and being a wife and friend, I never take a break. I usually have Mondays off due to how busy my weekends can be but, before long my phone my is ringing – hello DND mode.

Now I’m not sharing this to complain or gain sympathy. I truly love the life that I live and I’m #soblessed to do what I get to do daily. I’m sharing this to help you shift your perspective, in hopes that you will know that you’re not alone when it comes to being caught up in the busyness of life.

I’ve often described 2019 as a year where I felt like I was a hamster on a wheel, knowing if I stopped running, everything would drop. What I’ve learnt is that it’s time to reset and put back into place the boundaries I once had.

I think about the times I’ve felt most balanced in life. Funnily enough I had more pressure and stress during those times than any other. I realised I was at my most calm because I carved out time for self care and the things I enjoyed doing. Therefore, I was able to effectively manage my stress levels.

When we think of wellness, we often think it involves a strict diet and exercise regime. However, this is what diet culture would have you think, mainly so they can make more money off your insecurities. When you come to understand this truth, you’ll realise that wellness isn’t about diet and exercise at all. Wellness is the process of actively making choices towards change and growth resulting in a fulfilling life.

Wellness matters

It matters because everything we do and feel impacts our wellbeing. In turn, our wellbeing directly impacts our actions and emotions. Therefore, it’s important for us all to achieve a state of wellness in order to manage stress and improve our overall health.

Starting off with the right mindset is just the beginning.

I remember journalling and coming up with four markers that I wanted to use to help me with my mental health and wellbeing. These weren’t rules and I didn’t put pressure on myself to meet them daily. If I missed a marker, it was ok.

I call these little markers the 4 S’s to Wellness.

Let’s take a closer look at them.

The 4 S’s to Wellness

1. Steps

I never strive to hit a certain number of steps each day. Instead, I use this as a way to stay accountable to myself and ensure I move my body each day. It may be a gentle stroll, a quick fire HITT session or a stretch and pilates class.

Incidental movement is just as important as three to four intense workouts per week. It can be anything from taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, parking your car further away at the train station, walking around while chatting on the phone, using a standing desk at work or standing up and moving around every thirty minutes.

As long as I do some form of daily consistent movement, I find that I have mental clarity and I am able to focus throughout the rest of the day.

2. Sugar

Many people see sugar as a ‘sweet poison’ and try to avoid it at all costs. However, their views are slightly off because not all sugars are the same. I use to use sugar as a way to boost my energy levels because I was always so tired. At that time I wasn’t sure of the root cause for my constant drowsiness. After I was diagnosed with PCOS and insulin resistance I shifted my focus to decreasing my sugar intake. In return I found my body was able to better metabolise what I was eating, taking in more nutrients, and I was no longer having crazy blood sugar crashes. I was also able to reverse my insulin resistance completely.

Sugar isn’t all bad and it’s completely ok to consume it in moderation. Watching what sugar we eat and what we pair it with is also something to look out for. Foods that are higher in the Glycemic Index (GI) break down quicker so can cause dramatic blood sugar spikes and crashes. When this occurs this effects our energy levels. While foods lower in GI breakdown at a slower rate and help keep your blood glucose levels stable.

If someone is painting all sugars with the same brush, question them. Sugar in fruit is completely fine – enjoy it! The important thing to look out for the type of sugar you’re eating when determining the nutritional quality of foods and their impact on you body. Furthermore, it’s important to look at what types of foods you are pairing it with. We eating foods that are higher in GI we can naturally lower their GI value by pairing them with proteins and fats.

3. Stress

Everyday I do something that is a relieves stress and allows me to be grounded in the moment. Being grounded is so important as it allows you to focus in on the now.

These can include:

  • taking a bath
  • doing a face mask
  • take moment to read a chapter of a book
  • have a cup of calming tea
  • lighting a candle
  • making space to breath

By taking time out I allow myself to shift my focus and thoughts from all that has occurred during the day and I’m able to make space to allow myself to enjoy the stillness and just be present.

4. Sleep

Sleep is so important. I found that if I was getting under six hours of sleep a night, I was a pretty horrid person to be around. I was constantly hangry and fed my body with anything and everything I could get my hands on to get me the energy I needed.

Whilst I might not be getting over six hours of sleep these days, I now have the tools in place to ensure I quickly fall into a deep sleep.

The first tip I have for you is probably one you have heard before. That is, try and stay off any form of electronics a minimum one hour before going to bed. While this might not is always possible, one thing that can help is investing in blue light filter glasses. The lenses have a warm tint to block out the blue light emitted from screens. This blue light from electronics can mimic daylight and trick your body into thinking it is daytime when it’s not. There are some really great brands out there and a quick google search should help you finding a stylish pair that suits you!

Another way I wind down before bed is by lighting a candle or dimming the lights in my bedroom and putting some lavender essential oil in my diffuser. Then I have a cup of calming tea with some simple instrumental tunes on in the background.

Finally, my favourite way to put my body in a relaxed state to lie down on the floor with my legs up against the wall. This encourages the production of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid). GABA is a naturally occurring amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter. GABA’s role is to reduce and inhibit certain brain signals and lowers the activity of the central nervous system. This effects the body and mind by bringing a sense of calm, assisting with sleep quality.

These are just a few of my night time tips. I’ll be sharing exact my night time routine with you in a new post soon.

What does all this mean for me? Well I’ve decided that this year I’m going to step into a slower pace of life. So I am challenging myself. I’ve decided that 2020 will see me go back to ticking off the 4 S’s daily, all at my own pace.

The question that remains is will you join me?

Leave a comment or head over to my IG and let me know how you’ll restore balance to your 2020.

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