The saying goes “healthy body healthy mind” but I think the reverse is also true.
If you are feeling depressed, suffering from anxiety, loss of confidence, or feeling overwhelmed with life, in general, it is easy to stop caring about and looking after yourself.
I experienced all those feelings while going through menopause and for a time I really lost myself.
I had no desire to go to the gym, I didn’t care how I looked.
I let my legs and other bits get hairy and I couldn’t be bothered to put on makeup or wash my hair.
For a time I struggled through each day like a lethargic zombie gorilla.
It is as important to look after your mind as it is to care for your body with good nutrition and exercise.
Negative thinking can be one thing that can cripple you mentally and when that little voice starts prodding at you and doubting your every move it can become a permanent resident that can render you helpless.
One way of dealing with this is every time that voice rears its ugly head is to say “ Go away this is not helpful or “I don’t want this in my head now thank you,” and try to replace the negative thought with something positive or a thought that makes you feel happy ( Ideally do this in your head, as if you happen to be in the supermarket or at school pickup you might get some strange looks while talking to yourself!).
I like this quote “ You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head.
Be kind to yourself”.
Often we are so critical, berating ourselves for gaining a few pounds or telling ourselves we are not good enough or not worthy.
Another way I found to pull myself up in my tracks when the negative thoughts start is to ask myself? Would I actually talk to one of my friends like this?
Would I say to a friend you have gained weight, you look ugly! Or don’t bother trying that, it’s not worth it, you will fail anyway?
Of course not so why say it to yourself?
I found repeating affirmations can be helpful too.
These are repeating to yourself some positive personal helpful phrases over and over again.
I think it is similar to doing a specific exercise every day for your body, eventually, you will progress and it will become like second nature to you and you won’t have to think about how you are doing it so much anymore. It could be something as simple as “ I like me” or “ I have loads of energy! “.
With the affirmations the more you say them to yourself eventually your mind will start believing them and you will see yourself and life in a more positive way.
I found it good to say them to myself first thing in the morning or last thing at night while looking in the mirror after brushing my teeth.
You could also stick some post-it notes in your kitchen or wherever you will see them most, to repeat to yourself throughout the day.
If you are stuck for ideas have a look on the internet or Pinterest for affirmations that you can make appropriate for you.
Getting outside is good for the mind too. Sunshine actually helps in the release of dopamine which is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of reward and motivation, that is why you always feel great and ready to go for it after a holiday.
Going for a walk, being amongst nature in the fresh air and looking at and appreciating your surroundings is also good for grounding your mind and clearing your thoughts.
When you are feeling low try doing something nice for someone else, it is a distraction from your own feelings and gives you a sense of reward to make someone else happy.
Finally, say thank you! Being grateful has a big effect on how you feel. I started using this idea after reading a book called “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne.
When my menopausal depression was bad and I was feeling in a dark place, every evening and morning I would write as many things as I could that I felt thankful for.
My family, my warm bed, my health, a sunny day, my funny little dog, whatever I could think of.
This helps with feeling positive and makes you appreciate all that is good about your life.
I am all about exercise and nutrition for wellness but equally, you need to care for your mental health, as the hardest prison to escape is your mind and if that is trapping you nothing else can be enjoyed.