This week started off on a bit of a down note. There has been a bit happening behind the scenes and I find myself being pushed right out of my comfort zone. We can’t control everything that is going on in our lives but I do know that we can choose the way that we react to them. I think my “go hard at my problems” approach hasn’t served me too well. I have been fighting with the universe a bit instead of just letting things take their course.
Unfortunately, I have been letting these internal battles get the better of me and that has shown in my relationships (sincere apologies to mum and dad) and the way I have been feeling. I knew that things needed to change. I wasn’t prepared to engage in any rituals or do something extreme. I wanted to do it little by little.
There have always been things I know that I can do to feel better both emotionally and physically. This week I have reintegrated them back into my routine and I am feeling so much better for it now.
I have developed a list of 12 things that I love to do when I am feeling down. I hope you give a few of these a try and that they inspire you to come up with a list of your own. There is no one way to feel great again. I think it is the habits we form for sustained joy that are the most valuable. So without further delay here are my top 12 tips:
1. Time in nature
In summer I always gravitate to the sun. I love walking and being outside whenever I can. During winter I don’t make being outside a priority (partly because I am super sensitive to the cold). This week I have started to get outside a bit more and it has made a world of a difference. The other day I spent pretty much the whole day outside at the South Melbourne Market (discussed in tip 2) and I came home on such a high. Whether it is a 15-minute walk around the block or just going to sit outside with the morning paper and a coffee in hand – I highly recommend giving it a try.
2. Visit one of your favourite places
The South Melbourne Market is without a doubt one of my favourite places in Melbourne. I was introduced to the market a few years ago when one of my health and foodie idols Lola Berry opened up “Happy Place” there. Since then my family and I often find ourselves there on the weekends exploring the market and trying out the beautiful cafes in the area. Here are a few things to do if you happen to visit:
Get yourself to a café – My favourite cafes in the area are Urban Produce, St Ali and Dead Man Espresso.
Visit Coventry bookstore – I love a good book, I am currently reading “Everything is f***ed, a book about hope” by Mark Manson.
Buy a kilo of peanut butter – Get yourself to Moses and Co. Market Wholefoods located in the centre of the market and enjoy peanut butter paradise. They have these machines that literally make the freshest and most delicious peanut butter ever!
Load up on all the fresh produce – There are endless amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and nuts (seriously the biggest cashews I have ever seen). This is definitely not the kind of place to visit on an empty stomach because you will want to buy and try everything!!
Sit and enjoy a cup of tea at Tea Drop – I was literally amazed at how many different teas they have for sale! If you are a tea lover this is the place for you! Pick up a treat from one of the many patisseries and enjoy it with a cup of tea for the ultimate experience.
3. Make a healthy treat to SHARE
I am putting emphasis on the “share” just because I love the feeling of making something and enjoying it with others. There is something truly special about giving someone a gift that you have made yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Just the other day I cleaned out my cupboard and found heaps of nuts and seeds. I coated them in coconut oil, cacao and maple syrup and baked them in the oven for 20 minutes. When my family got home there was a full container for them to enjoy.
4. Clean your room and work environment
A messy environment only adds more stress to my mind. I can’t work in an environment that is cluttered. I take pride in having a really clean room. Every night before bed I pick up all my clothes, fold them and put them away. I make sure there is nothing miscellaneous hanging around. When I wake up the next morning things are in order and I don’t have to spend time cleaning up. The same goes for my desk. I find it really frustrating working at a messy table. At the end of the day I pack everything up so the following day I can start fresh.
5. Train in the morning
I love to exercise because of the way that it makes me feel. I think so much clearer when I have moved my body which is why I like to exercise in the morning. I don’t train for very long most of the time, usually only 30 minutes. It is enough time for me to smash a decent session and not lose motivation. My favourite workout by far is Pilates. I love being in a group fitness environment and enjoy my catch ups once a week!
6. Listen to podcasts
I am OBSESSED with podcasts at the moment! I have actually stopped listening to music in my car so I can listen to more. I listen to motivational, comedy, fitness, health, wellbeing, crime …pretty much anything! I will put a few of my favourite ones below for you to check out! Remember the key is to listen to ones that make you feel GOOD. You want to finish it feeling better about yourself and like you have learned something. If it makes you feel crappy turn it off. My current favourites are:
The Health Code – Health and wellness (hilarious)
Who the hell is Hamish? – Crime
The James Smith Podcast – Fitness and wet yourself with laughter hilarious
Seize the Yay – Inspiring, insightful… also very funny
Food for Thought – Inspiring, health, nutrition, lifestyle
Deliciously Ella – Insightful, health, wellness, inspiring
On Purpose with Jay Shetty – Motivational
Oprah’s Master Class – Inspiring
No Filter – Informative, personal and insightful
Maddie – Crime and mystery
KIC POD – Health, fitness, wellness and light-hearted
Crappy to Happy – Wellness, health, educational
I told there’s a few…
7. Find some quotes that are inspiring to you
All you need to do is go on the @seize_the_yay Instagram page to find lots of inspiration. I have listed five of my current favourites for you!
“Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
“The flower doesn’t dream of the bee, it blossoms and the bee comes.” - @spoonful_of_sarah.
“I recommend being gentle with yourself and loving yourself unconditionally, regardless of what comes your way.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer.
“You were assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.” – Unknown.
8. Have a night time routine that you LOVE
I notice massive changes in my physical and mental health when I haven’t had a good night sleep. For me a good night’s sleep starts with a good bedtime routine. Depending on your circumstance your routine will vary. You can’t compare yours to that of anybody else. My favourite routine looks a bit like this – Cleaning up after dinner, making a cup of liquorice tea, getting a couple of squares of 95% Lindt dark chocolate and sitting and watching Masterchef. I sleep best when I don’t go on social media after 8:30 (but this is a bit harder when I am on break because I want to keep engaging on Instagram) and close my eyes at 9:30pm. For more information on sleep check out my article on sleep linked here.
9. Make time for the people that bring you up
I have been very fortunate to catch up with so many loved ones over the last few days. During exams I tend to close myself off and not see many people. I have really enjoyed the freedom of going out (without the added guilt that I should be studying). The saying “your vibe attracts your tribe” rings true to me. When I am vibrating on a high positive level I attract the most beautiful people into my life. I have been fortunate to attract so many incredible people into my life. They have been so loving and supportive through the changes I have been going through over the last few weeks. Having people that you can speak openly with is the biggest blessing. I love people that bring me up and encourage my dreams but also appreciate their honesty at times even if it is hard to hear.
10. Snack on foods that make you feel good
A major area of nutritional research at the moment is the link between a person’s diet and their mental health. I know for myself personally that I feel my best when I am eating a diet filled with delicious whole foods. I have more energy and motivation in the gym and in my relationships when I am balancing between eating well and indulging from time to time. My favourite go-to snacks at the moment are almonds (or nuts in general), apples, mandarins, fennel, carrots and cucumber. I will generally have a piece of fruit or a vegetable paired with a healthy fat (such as nuts) to fill me up until my next meal.
11. Have a cry
I am not usually a crier but lately I have been crying a few times a week. I never used to let myself show emotion but have found that by letting go I have actually allowed myself to be more open and vulnerable. I can see what I truly care about and just how much certain things mean to me. It is never for a long period of time but I have found that a few minutes of tears (as opposed to bottling something up for weeks) has been really beneficial for me.
12. Sit with your emotions
It is very common for me to have my emotions at the back of my mind and not address them for a long time. I go through the motions of everyday life and try not to let them bother me. On Sunday I literally sat for an hour and a half out the front of my house (no phone or stimulation of any kind) and just had a think. I considered my situation, how I was handling it and if there were things that I could proactively do to change my situation. I found that afterwards I had gained a lot of clarity and understanding.I knew the next step I had to take.
We are all going to have down days and that is okay. Nobody can be happy all the time. Sometimes we have to let certain things take their course and not rush (definitely a work in progress for me). We have to be patient and trust that better times are just on the horizon. Things don’t have to be sad forever. Tomorrow is a new day for you to do your best, grab that opportunity with both hands and run with it.