For me, it’s a Wednesday – bin day, that is. And not just physical rubbish (or recycling and garden waste, obviously!): I also mean putting out the rubbish from our minds and lifestyles. If you’re looking for something new to try, how about a weekly clear-out of old stuff, timeworn ways of thinking, and tired or toxic thoughts and feelings?
Just as you wouldn’t retrieve something from a rubbish bin and reinstate it long after it had been collected, try not to pick up old thoughts and feelings again. Once you’ve put the bins out, keep them out. This way, you’ll have much more space for clear thinking and peaceful, easier feelings.
A slight nod to Valentine’s Day this week, with a little bit about hearts and keeping them healthy. It won’t be news to anyone to hear that eating a healthy diet, not smoking and getting some exercise all help; but what about some of the other elements of life that contribute to heart health? They are often inter-connected. For example, stress is not a direct risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but it's possible that it may contribute to increased risk levels. It all depends on someone’s coping mechanisms. Some people try to cope with stress by smoking, drinking too much alcohol and overeating. All of these increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, but it’s important to remember that they do not necessarily cause it.
So what can you do about it? Well, there is nothing new under the sun and I’m in danger of repeating myself with this…! Perhaps ask yourself why you are smoking, drinking too much alcohol or overeating. What are the reasons behind your behaviour? And maybe there is another way to deal with it. It’s all about knowing what triggers your behaviour and what could help instead. I’m not suggesting that a year-long sabbatical is all that will help, as that may be impractical. Yet there are daily steps that we can all take to reduce stress levels: and we go full-circle back to eating a healthier diet, being physically active and looking after yourself. See? Nothing new under the sun!
I know so many people who started 2017 by trying to change an aspect of their behaviour: doing more of something, doing less of something, or trying something new. And then, by this time of year, resolve can begin to flag… but it doesn’t have to. Try not to expect that you will give up, just because many others do. It’s all about knowing your patterns and working with them. Here are some ways of keeping motivation and energy levels high:
1. Do a little bit every day, or at least fairly often. Keep chipping away and you’ll notice the benefits.
2. Set yourself some achievable goals. Try not to make your goals nearly impossible to achieve. Instead, set small, do-able goals and achieve them regularly. This will help maintain your motivation.
3. Make your goals a bit more fun! Rather than plodding through tasks, add a bit of levity.
4. Get others involved in your quest for motivation. If others know that you’re working towards something, they can help when things get tough and offer encouragement and support.
5. Reward yourself for every small gain. Take a few minutes to consider how far you have come and congratulate yourself for your achievements.
6. Be flexible and realistic. Some days don’t lend themselves to achieving much, and some goals might need to be changed mid-way through. Keep moving forwards regardless. Don't give up!
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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Clean Well-being blog