Be festive and enjoy!

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

Decorations are up, Christmas shopping is well, almost done, and children are a couple of weeks in to school holidays….I’m not going to lie, the latter is testing my patience, right this minute!

However, my message, for this, the last blog for 2016 is to be grateful and enjoy the festive season.

I’m going to focus on just a couple of things during this holiday season to make it a memorable one – here they are:

Be grateful – I’ve already, sometimes through gritted teeth, been repeating this to my children in the last few weeks.  Its pretty simple, when we focus on what we have instead of what we don’t have, it allows us to be more grateful.

Be present – not the wrapped type!  Take some time each day to use your senses and notice the fabulous sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Christmas – we really are surrounded by some wonderful things – use the holidays as time to absorb them!

Eat mindfully – not continuously.  I don’t know about you, but when there is yummy food around, I just want to eat it.  But this festive season, I’m going to really try to take a minute before putting tasty morsels in my mouth to ask – do I need this? or do I want this? or am I just eating this because its in front of me?

Enjoy your people and your holidays (if you are lucky enough to have a break) – your people might be your family or friends or colleagues (if you have to work!) – It’s Christmas – be festive and enjoy the time!!  And, just a heads up, nobody will want to be around you if you obviously aren’t enjoying Christmas! And if you aren’t a Christmas person, pretend – who knows, it might just even get you in the spirit!

As I mentioned, this is my last blog for 2016 – next week, I’ll be taking my own advice and enjoying my festive season.

I look forward to 2017 and continuing to bring you blogs on health-related topics – if you have any feedback on the blog – I’d love to hear it – both good and bad 🙂

Merry Christmas

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What will you ‘do’?

I believe mental health week is an important time to raise awareness of important issues including depression and anxiety – but it also annoys me a little bit that we need a dedicate a week to a topic that should be part of what we do in our everyday existence.

The theme of next week’s mental health week celebrations is ‘Value Mental Health’ – I wholeheartedly agree that we not only need to value mental health but cultivate it.

Mental and physical health are so intimately related that it is impossible, and I’d say almost reckless, to imply that there is a clear line where one finishes and the other starts.

So, we know that to be physically fit, we need undertake certain activities, ie. eating good food, drinking (water), sleeping well and exercising regularly to name a few.  We could say we do these things, but ultimately, we actually need to ‘do’ them to stay physically healthy, we can’t just say we have!  Mental fitness is no different, we need to complete certain practices to cultivate being mentally well. Again, you can say you are grateful and kind to yourself – but unless you truly are, you aren’t helping yourself!!

I was reading an article this week about activities we can ‘do’ to improve our mental health (not just during Mental Health Week but all year around!) – you can read the whole article at http://theweek.com/articles/601157/neuroscience-reveals-4-rituals-that-make-happy , or I have summarised the dot points below – here they are:

  • Ask yourself ‘What am I grateful for? – turns out that even if you can’t think of anything, it is the searching that helps to have an antidepressant effect on the brain.
  • Label negative feelings – simply giving the feelings a name has been proven to decrease the impact that the emotions have on our state.
  • Make that decision – It’s no coincidence that you feel a sigh of relief once you have made a decision, no matter how small it may seem.
  • Touch people – not in a creepy way, but research has shown that physical touch increases happiness, eg. application of this tip needs permission, but might include such things as a hug or pat on back or holding hands.  See? Not too hard!

So while we need to ‘talk the talk’ and value mental health,  we actually have to practice ‘walking the walk’ too!!  So, this mental health week, how many of these four tips, or what else can you ‘do’ to improve your own state?

 

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