A Healthy Body is the key to a Healthy Mind.
As May is mental health month, it is a great opportunity to talk about ways to keep on top of those pesky demons. We are firm believers that a healthy body has a healthy mind.
We am not alone when it comes to thinking that the key to a healthy mind is a healthy body. It seems as though one cannot live without the other. Or at least not at its fullest. Our mind controls our body and if it is unhealthy your body will start to feel the physical symptoms of that illness, and if your body is sick it can have a significant impact on your mental health.
We strongly believe that for anybody suffering from their mental health can see huge improvements by making small lifestyle changes which support the health of their body and mind.
Everything you read here is light information that I feel may help – We are not medical professionals so if you do feel like you need professional help, please speak to your Doctor or mental health charity.
What you eat has a HUGE impact on your general health. Your body isn’t supposed to be in-taking processed fatty foods with minimal nutritional value. Don’t think I am not a victim, who doesn’t love a guilty (family) bag of Doritos? But your body will not be able to handle that level of fat and salt on a weekly nevermind daily basis.
If you consume fatty, processed foods every day you may notice that it will affect everything from your skin health, stomach health, bowel health and everything in between. Your body is asking, begging, for a balanced diet which includes a range of vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids and natural fats. Without these, your body and brain cannot function properly which leads to having poor physical and mental health. You will be surprised how easy everything you need is to find…
Get yourself a cookbook, buy some fresh ingredients and start experimenting with food – avoid the pre-prepared frozen meals and make them from scratch. Learn about what nutrients your food contains and what body system they support. A natural balanced diet can fuel your body but it can fuel your mind in exactly the same way- a wide range of vegetables, fruits, legumes (lentils, chickpeas & beans), fish, whole grains whole grains (rice, quinoa, oats, breads, etc.), nuts, avocados and olive oil are essential when it comes to supporting a healthy brain and mind.
Things such as olives & fish oil are full of fatty acids (Omega 3 & 6) are essential for healthy brain function and can help your brain look after itself. You can either try to include everything in your diet or support your body with a supplement or too.
You don’t have to avoid the last minute Friday night take away or an occasional bar of chocolate. I am not asking you to be perfect, just think about what goes in your body and give it the respect it needs!
Move Your Body!
Exercise covers a wide range of activities. If you’re not into the lycra and bravado of the gym then don’t worry – you’re not being asked to throw yourself into fake tan or heavy sweating in public.
Exercise can be almost anything that gets your heart pumping, lungs drawing in air and body using energy. As a human being, your body is designed to be a machine that moves extensively every day. Through millions of years of evolution, it has only been possible for the average person to sit on the couch regularly all day in the last 50 years or so- especially with sitting down jobs like working in call centers, offices and from home becoming the norm. I do love a good veg sesh, but have you ever felt a little down after a day of doing nothing? That is your body telling you something.
Your body loves to exercise so much that your brain produces two main chemicals: Serotonin and Endorphins. Both are responsible for altering your mood to increase happiness levels and reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. In fact, a little regular exercise can result in a 30% less chance of depression among a plethora of other health and well-being benefits.
When it comes to actually doing something, start small and just do what you can. Whether that is walking to work rather than getting into the car, going to a gym class or something small in the house, you will notice a huge difference in the way you feel; with a combination of the correct balanced natural fuel and regular exercise, you’ll be onto a winner!
Trust me, no need to punish yourself for having that packet of crisps or sit in front of the TV all day; it makes it so much more rewarding when you have earned it!
Our friend Mummy Jojo swears by a freshwater swim – nothing like it to get hypothermia while smiling like a gibbon! Seriously, try it- this takes us nicely on to my next point.
Feel the Earth Around You
For me, there is nothing more liberating than the outside world. Yes, even in the deepest darkest winter months when the rain comes in sideways and the day lasts 3 hours it makes me feel better just to get out.
Get yourself some fresh air once in a while and spend some time outside. It is easy to sit in the office all day to come home and sit in all night. Even for those who hide in the summer too, get yourself outside. Whether that is to sit outside for lunch, a weekend walk,15 minutes sitting in the garden with a coffee or just lay face down in the earth.
Being in touch with nature is very important to your spirit – and I am speaking to you as somebody that doesn’t consider themselves as a hippy – at all.
- Strange one but in the summer, take your shoes off and go stand on the earth. Something like grass, or put your feet in the sea. It is oddly and wonderfully liberating. We (especially in Scotland) always have socks or shoes on our feet. To feel something other than concrete feels fantastic and makes you feel like you have achieved something new. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and get your toes dirty!
- Grow things. If you don’t feel like being outside, maybe try and bring outside in? This spring, I decided to take the leap and reluctantly bought a couple of house plants; it made a huge difference to the way I saw my living space. The simple act of caring for something and seeing it grow is very rewarding; plus it gave the house a touch of the outside. Plants help to clean the air and produce oxygen so all round good for your body and mind!!
- Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and go camping or walking in the wilderness. It is unbelievably sobering to be in the middle of nowhere and not feel the safety of man-made creations. It brings you right back down the earth and puts your mind into what really matters; surviving. It sounds dramatic but even just the idea of being completely isolated in the wilderness can help to declutter your thoughts and help you process out the things that just should not matter to you. All the drama, worry and nonsense is replaced with a sense of direction, clarity and positivity. Scotland is the perfect country for it too.
Captain obvious strikes again. You already know it, but reducing your intake of alcohol can be fantastic for your body and soul. I get it though, that moment when you put your feet up after a hard days work and pour a glass of wine or crack open a cold one is unbeatable. I don’t want to take away your moments of comfort, because those are important too.
Overdoing though, it can have severe repercussions for your body, and your mental health. If you range from a big weekend of drinking to a drink every night of the week you will definitely feel the change your body makes when you stop. In the long term, consistent drinking can increase your risk of cancer, liver damage, strokes, heart disease, stomach cancer, throat cancer, dementia and depression.
Alcohol changes the way in which your body processes fat; it ensures that the fat you consume is converted into storage- that storage is usually your belly or on your organs. This means that that big greasy takeaway after a big night out doubly punishing for your body. If the body can’t process it’s excess fat properly there will big consequences in the future.
If you are like most people and have a couple of drinks every so often you may have already noticed that there are short term effects of our favourite position. Look past the hangover, alcohol is a depressant so can make you feel down (often referred to as the booze blues) and can disrupt your sleeping pattern, which is hugely important to your physical and mental health. If you already suffer from depression or anxiety, just a couple of drinks could make you feel so much worse.
If you are one to turn to drink when things get rough, you may be perpetuating the issue. Rather than self-medication with alcohol (or any drugs for that matter) try an alternative that your body will thank you for.
There are a million ways to do one thing, so if you understand the key fundamentals you will be able to find a solution that works for you. As with anything, don’t overdo it and make sure that you do treat yourself every so often. Life is about riding the delicate highs and lows of life, so make sure your body and mind are ready for anything life throws at you!
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