In my previous blog I explained how I got to the point of seeking help. I wanted to be able to deal better with certain thoughts and needed some support. In this article I want to tell you what I did to change my behavior, thoughts and attitude after my conversations with my coach Sarah were completed. Of course these are all things that work for me and maybe not for you but I hope I can give you some inspiration with my four tips!
I try to meditate every day to calm myself, observe my thoughts, let go of unnecessary feelings or simply reflect on the day. By doing this regularly I am aware of the factors that cause me stress, but I also think of everything I am grateful for. Simple breathing exercises also ensure that I can overcome moments of panic or intense tension. I often use applications on my phone such as RelaxMelodies, Breathe and Youper to meditate or do other mindfulness exercises. There are of course many other options to explore when you start researching! Coach Sarah also pointed me to this article about progressive relaxation: very nice exercise if you have difficulty relaxing!
#tip2: the essential triangle of movement, sleep and nutrition
Enough exercise, enough sleep and good food: it sounds incredibly logical, but often not enough value is attached to these three things! The three factors are also very closely linked; good nutrition ensures that you sleep better; sleeping well ensures that you have more energy to move and movement in turn ensures a good night’s sleep. For me this triangle is the basis to feel good. If I don’t feel good physically, I will soon notice that in my mental well-being. Since a year I have been consistently exercising for the first time in my life by bootcamping twice a week and I find that it works wonders for my mental well-being. Sport helps me clear my mind. I find it incredibly difficult to not cling to my thoughts and my thoughts never stand still. An hour of exercise is the only moment for me to succeed. Never thought that I would ever enjoy killing myself in the open air: but I came to love it and wouldn’t want anything else!
#tip3: customized relaxation
This is a valuable tip for me which I received during my coaching trajectory from Sarah: relaxation is not synonymous to doing nothing. For some people doing nothing works great and that is of course super nice but if – like me – you really love planning and structure, doing nothing can feel incredibly useless and therefore sad. So: make lists and make a schedule if that suits you. I was always convinced that in my free time I had to relax by “doing nothing” while I am someone who has a to-do list for everything. I sometimes felt really useless after a night alone at home and this could even result in crying or provoking quarrels with boyfriend. Sarah reassured me by telling me that many people secretly love structure and things to do and it makes sense that you also look for this in your spare time. When I am home alone on days off I make sure I have a schedule with moments of relaxation such as watching series, reading a book, exercising and meditating.
#tip4: selfcare Sunday
It sounds like a cliché instagram hashtag but “Selfcare Sunday” has become sacred to me in recent months. Every Sunday I take a moment for myself to reflect on the week, write in my diary, do yoga exercises, meditate, read and put on a face mask so that I can fully relax. Sometimes this session lasts an hour, sometimes three. Of course it doesn’t always work to do it on Sundays but then I make sure that I plan my moment a day earlier or later. My boyfriend knows this too and makes sure he doesn’t bother me while I go to our bedroom. Everyday I try to write down my feelings in the NiceDay app and I always look back on the week on Sunday: how I felt and what was the cause of it. I write all of these findings in my diary, as well as my goals for the coming week, things I am grateful for and the pitfalls that lie ahead. I notice that by writing things down, I can literally “write off” emotions and thoughts. I hereby give recognition to what I think and feel and believe that it is an important step in self-acceptance and feeling better about yourself!
Love and see you next time,