"Let's Do Something Nice"
There's something about healthcare that seems a little arduous. It either requires slogging it in the gym, or a supplement schedule of military precision. It's not really my vibe- I prefer the simple and the feel-good. When you feel good, rather than being decadent, you are flooding your system with hormones and neurotransmitters that benefit you, boosting the restorative properties of the body and mind.
Whilst training to become an osteopath I was teased by one of my close friends for wanting to 'do something nice' whenever a deadline beckoned. We indulged in the foodie delights in nearby Borough Market and Bermondsey, we took Bikram yoga classes and frequented the floatation tank centre up the road. As well as dealing with exams and heavy workloads, it made such a difference to overall stress levels.
Most of the health industry is peppered with revved up phrases such as 'bootcamp', 'go for the burn' and 'keep pushing'. Personally, the tough approach to health and fitness has a negative effect on me. I work best at my own pace, in pleasant (not loud, sweaty or artificial) environments, with kindness and consideration to myself. I would rather walk for an hour through the park than do 3 minutes of burpees whilst cursing in my mind!
The problem with regimes that are stark and prescriptive is that they aren't beneficial in the long-term. Most people eventually get bored, or become overwhelmed with the time and effort required.For women, they can ignore our cycles and create unnecessary stress. Instead, making incremental healthy changes can be successful. Leo Babauta went from being overweight, unhealthy and in debt to a very different picture just from simple habits and talks about this in Zen Habits.
There is no such thing as the one-size-fits-all. The first step is to tune in to what feels good.
We are emotional beings, and by tuning in to feelings of joy can set us up for healthy merriment. We each have a blueprint of things that make us feel good. Having enough of these things in our day- and sometimes it takes marking it in the diary to make sure it happens- can be wonderful. I don't know about you, but I prefer a gelato whilst walking on a sunny evening to feeling inadequate because I can't quite keep up with a shouting gym instructor.
My favourite feel-good habits include time reading each day, walking in nature, weekend naps, monthly massages and cooking wholesome dinners. I use Instagram to slow me down during my day, and encourage me to notice what's going on. It helps me to keep my routines fresh.
I'd love to know what you truly enjoy for your health and wellbeing.
By the way, if you're wondering about the cakes above, it's from a recent afternoon tea picnic- yes it's sugar and bread filled, but it's also a treat. A meal that serves no other purpose than enjoyment and celebration. That, coupled with sunshine and good company is my idea of wellness.