Where do you come on your list of priorities? After the kids, work and house? Somewhere off the bottom of your to-do list?
Something I have realised over the last few years is that it is important to put yourself first. That doesn’t mean you are dropping all your other responsibilities or being selfish. It simply means you are taking care of yourself so you are more able to take care of others. It means you are showing yourself the love and attention you deserve to grow, flourish and stay healthy – physically and mentally.
I have talked openly about my family circumstances dealing with cancer, allergies and asthma and how this has fuelled my anxiety issues. Today, during mental health awareness week, I want to share 5 things that have made a big difference to me and are essential in my own self-care:
We are very lucky to live down a farm track surrounded by fields. I grew up in the countryside and being in nature has always been very important to me. Even when I lived in New York we were only 15mins walk from Central Park and in London we backed onto a green walkway and were minutes from the park . If I am stressed, upset, unmotivated or anxious then I go for a walk with my crazy Labrador helps. I find being outside helps me live more in the present, practice gratitude and switch off from everyday life so I can refuel and refocus.
Take care of your gut
I had heard people talking about gut health, probiotics and their links with everything from allergies to mental health but I was always a bit skeptical. However, researching Living With Allergies made me realise there is a very clear link with inflammation, atopy and allergies. This also made me explore the subject more and realise the links with our mental health and wellbeing. I have friends that are great at fermenting food and making their own probiotics but it’s really not for me, so I was very happy to find Zenflore capsules. They are full of probiotic strain 1714-Serenitas, which clinical studies have shown can reduce levels of stress hormone cortisol. They also contain B vitamins so are an easy way to help me maintain a healthy immune system and boost my energy levels.
Eat better breakfasts
I got into a really bad habit of always having heavy, bread based breakfasts. They would leave me sluggish, feeling unhealthy and also being starving by mid morning. I meant to do something about it for ages but never really did until I realised that when I’m out and about I always go for savoury breakfasts. So now, I take my Zenflore, drink some water and make my go-to breakfast of spinach, onion, tomato and cheese with easy egg (an amazing egg substitute) in a flatbread. Starting off with a filling, healthy meal means I am more likely to eat better throughout the day and also stops me reaching for something sugary mid-morning.
Have a morning routine
Having a good breakfast is all part of my morning routine that helps set me up for the day. My friend Mel got me into Miracle Morning, which talks about the benefit of a morning routine and the key things you need to include. I don’t stick to it precisely but most weekdays I start with some mediation and a cup of hot water and lemon, followed by visualisations and affirmations. I then do some exercise and sometimes journalling, followed by my breakfast and cup of tea. None of this needs to take that long and as my kids are up at 5am, I do it while they are watching some TV. It helps me feel productive and gives me the right mindset to have a successful and positive day.
Listen to motivational audio books
I feel like I’m a bit late to the party with podcasts and audiobook but I am officially addicted! I love listening to them when I’m walking the dog or when I’m driving without the kids. All the ones I have been listening to are by inspirational women with a self-help/self-love theme and they are totally working! My favourite so far is ‘Girl Stop Apologising’ by Rachel Hollis but I also really enjoyed ‘You Are A Bad Ass’ by Jen Sincero. They make me feel more confident, in control and able to take on the world! It’s like having a supportive big sister in your ear reminding you – you’ve got this!
What are your tips for self care? Have you tried probiotics for your stress or mental health?
This post is sponsored by Zenflore. You can find out more about the gut-brain axis and how the probiotics work over on the Zenflore FAQ page.