Sunday 1 January 2023

Ways to improve our well-being for 2023

Woman mediating by a tree in winter time

In the last year a lot has changed.  It's become obvious that taking care of my family's mental health is a major priority, much more than ever.  It's something I've always been aware of but it has turned into a daily concern here. 

We've been thinking about Anthony's medications and whether they are still working for him.  His ADHD meds have been so important for him in being able to focus but it's possible the heightened focus and also producing heightened emotions too.  We're trialling some time without them during the school break.  

He and we have developed some bad habits and routines that I think aren't helping - they are often the easy things to do but not always the best.  As the new year starts, I've been looking into other things too. 

You don’t need to have superhuman willpower to establish good habits but I often don't know where to start.  So here's an idea for me at least;  choose one thing each week depending on what works for you. 

1 Make movement part of the daily routine

There's lots to be said  resistance training as it’s so important to build and maintain muscle mass. Reaching for the weights, or simply using your body weight 3 – 4 times a week will increase bone density, and help combat strength, mobility, range of motion, and balance.  But I often find this difficult I need things that fit into my busy routine, so I think about walking the dog, but with pace or take a backpack. You don’t need to overdo this, just start light as movement of any kind works wonders for your mind, body, and soul. Once you experience the feeling heightened endorphins give you, you will never look back and this positive vibe will be reinforced each time you move.

2 Reduce and swap out sugar and high GI foods

With the body holding on to unused calories and sugars for longer as I age it is vital to reduce my intake but it's often what I reach for as I'm busy and get tired or even worse stressed. Bringing with it a ripple effect on the entire body, not least making it easier for us to gain weight, sugar also disrupts one of the most powerful hormones: insulin. Look out for hidden sugars in your food. Fruit juice and smoothies, for example, can be easily switched to water or tea. My daughter got an air-up water bottle for Christmas which is amazing!  It tricks the senses into flavouring water.  Another simple adjustment is to swap foods such as white rice and potatoes for brown rice and sweet potatoes. 

3 Emotional focus

Journalling and keeping track of your time is a brilliant way of looking back at achievements.  You’ll be amazed how emotions, food, and exercise is all interlinked and by having everything written down, you can also easily spot internal and external triggers. Meditation and self-reflection are also important, along with taking regular digital breaks.  Celebrate your achievements too, no matter how small you may consider them to be. Being present and enjoying your life’s successes is crucial for maintaining and nurturing your overall wellbeing.

4 Clear out

Some of our family really struggles when the home gets over cluttered and messy.  Which isn't great as I'm a person who makes piles of things everywhere.  Piles of papers, piles of boxes, piles of bags even. 

Sometimes it helps us to get rid of some of the things we don't use or store it away in a storage area or place like loft.  This can help me focus on what I need in my life and what I don't but can also be overwhleming.  Breaking it down into sorting our smaller areas can help or even asking your friends and family can make getting rid of things a more stress-free moving experience

5 Adopt an accountability partner or work out with a friend

Once you have committed to yourself having someone else rely on you and vice-versa can be the glue that keeps your motivation strong and helps the habit stick. It makes the entire experience more social, you can share your accomplishments and goals, cheer each other on, and lean on each other for support.  Extra support from friends, family, and colleagues can make all the difference when you hit a block.

If you've got further ideas to help us in 2023, I'd love to know.

Many thanks to Rachael Sacerdoti for her help in coming up with 
some of the ideas for this post as part of her It's So Simple Method

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