Working on Yourself, For Yourself: Becoming a Happier, Healthier Person
Are you guilty of always putting yourself last? When you have children and are responsible for others it’s so easy to do this. However, you can’t pour from an empty cup. To be able to look after others, as well as live your best life possible you need to look after yourself too. People typically set goals in January but there’s never a bad time to change your life. Here are just a few ways you can work on yourself and be on your way to becoming a happier and healthier individual.
Shed Excess Weight
People talk about weight loss like it’s the easiest thing in the world. ‘Eat less and move more!’ they cry. In theory, it’s simple, but what that doesn’t account for is the emotional side of why people gain weight in the first place. As a child, you might have been told to finish your plate or have been made to feel guilty if you didn’t. These attitudes might have followed you into adulthood. You might use food for comfort or have slipped into bad habits that are difficult to break. Whatever it is, if you’re struggling with weight loss you’re certainly not alone. If you’re over a certain BMI or have weight-related health conditions, you may qualify for gastric surgery if you’ve tried everything and are struggling to get your weight down. This could be in the form of a gastric band, bypass, sleeve or even balloons which are some of the newest forms of bariatric surgery. Diet and weight loss pills that you can buy online won’t do you much good (and in some cases can be incredibly dangerous), but those prescribed by a doctor can be helpful if you’re struggling and don’t want to resort to surgery. If you feel as though you can shed the weight through exercise, it may be worth joining a slimming club which offers weekly counseling sessions. These can keep you on track and really help you to get to the bottom of why you’re overweight in the first place. Very low-calorie diets or ‘VLCDs’ have been shown to be very effective for weight loss, with these you abstain from food and instead eat a set number of food packs which are formulated with all of the vitamins and minerals you need each day. Most people lose around a stone a month doing this, which can be very motivating and really help you keep it up as you see results quickly. If you don’t have huge amounts of weight to lose, just work on cleaning up your diet. We all know that plenty of fresh fruit and veg, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy is the way to go.
Work Your Body
Most of us lead very sedentary lifestyles. We get around using a car or public transport, we sit at a desk all day and then go home and lie on the sofa. It’s not until you have to actually do some form of physical exercise that you realize just how unfit you are. It’s not uncommon for people to realize they’re struggling walking or climbing one flight of stairs where they’re so inactive. If this sounds like you, it’s worth knowing that this is pretty easy to reverse. If you join the gym and commit yourself to three or four one-hour workouts per week, at the end of the month, you’ll find that your cardiovascular system can work so much more efficiently. While it feels like torture at first, once you get into it you’ll find you can push yourself harder and actually quite enjoy the burn. Exercise shapes and sculpts your body helps to burn off excess calories and is beneficial for every cell in your body. Regular stretching such as yoga and pilates help to improve flexibility, giving you a greater range of motion and reduces the chances of injury. Resistance training helps to build lean muscle which gives your body stability, as well as allowing you to burn more calories at rest. This is because muscle is metabolically active, to maintain itself it needs a lot of calories meaning long after your gym session is over you’re still burning them up. Cardiovascular exercise improves fitness and endurance, improves circulation and helps remove toxins from the body through sweat. If you’re an exercise newbie or haven’t worked out in a while, it’s worth hiring a personal trainer- even if it’s just for a few sessions. They can create you an exercise plan based on your body and goals.
Quit Your Vices and Beat Addiction
Most of us have some form of bad habit. Nail biting, hair chewing, gossiping or overspending can all be irritating to us and others. But sometimes our vices are more than just habits and can become compulsions or addictions. Drinking and drugs will cause a massive deterioration in health, they can damage organs, weaken the immune system, make you susceptible to certain cancers and generally ravage your body. Psychological addictions such as gambling, shopping, and junk food can completely consume your mind and have shown to have the same effects on the brain as physical addiction. Addiction can quite literally ruin lives, so it’s important to seek help if you’ve found yourself in this position. According to The Recovery Village, addiction is a disease and should, therefore, be treated as such. With the right help and guidance, it’s possible to put addiction behind you and look forward to a brighter future.
Don’t Neglect Your Mind
The link between mental and physical health has been well established; to experience true wellness, you need to focus on both. While all of the above points will improve your mental health, there’s much more to it. Get enough sleep, be social, practice hobbies you enjoy. Take up a course or classes to learn something new, keep feeding your brain and challenging yourself for a happier lifestyle. Don’t just let your skills stagnate, keep busy and occupied and work on becoming a more positive individual. Read self-help books, or hire a life coach. If you feel that you have a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression, seek help for this rather than burying your head in the sand. With a happy, positive mind frame you can achieve anything.