What is Wellness?

Do you believe you have the power to influence how your lifestyle affects your health and longevity?  Do you put everything down to your genes or your age?

Well, the answer is that you CAN influence your health, your surroundings and how long you live. There is one person who can make you happy, healthy, energised and well and that is YOU-good news is it not, knowing you can control this?

What is wellness?  Most people do not know what it means:

Wellness is a balanced state of well-being-it is NOT just about being ‘well’ and free from disease.  Each area of your life can have a profound effect on the other including your mood, energy, attitude towards people and yourself.

Firstly, let me absolve a myth to get things moving for you.  80% of all chronic conditions are believed to be directly related to lifestyle factors and only 20% down to genes.  This means you can influence if you get ill or how quickly you recover from an illness. That is a staggering and exciting thought when I hear so many people tell me “I inherited this from my mother or father or ‘it’s in the family’. Your genes and your brain CAN be changed.  This is known in the science world as epigenetics and neuroplasticity, which shows that external factors can change genes on or off, up or down and low cognition and brain function can be improved.

So, if you take control of your own life and how you manage it, not only can you increase the risk of not getting ill or developing a chronic condition but you can reduce or reverse a current underlying ‘illness’ and remove toxic pills from your body.  Many conditions are caused by inflammation which can be reversed.

Examples of some reversible conditions include:

  • Arthritis
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Gout
  • Heartburn/Acid Reflux
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (especially constipation)
  • ME/Chronic Fatigue

People who self-manage their own lifestyles tend to be more productive, less likely to visit their doctor or get ill, do not need medication and have more enthusiasm for life. Even cancer survivor patients have been seen to improve their health after treatment by making changes. Arthritis and fibromyalgia can be reduced and reversed as they are both inflammation which may be controlled without pills.

Another of the popular excuses I hear for people not making the changes they want to is ‘not enough time’.  What is time anyway?  Time belongs to us and what we choose to do with it is in our control. We do not work 24 hours 7 days a week, we do not sleep 24 hours 7 days a week.

Create Your Own Time

The fair and true fact of that is we all have varying jobs, priorities and finances but everyone has the same amount time in their purse.  You could call time ‘your pocket money’.  You are given the same amount as the next person each week and how you spend it is up to you.    Obviously, some people just have a bit more spare time than others but if you want to make changes to feel better about something you CAN devote some time to it.

Remember long-term changes are better than short fixes so a little is better than nothing.

What are your long-term goals?
What is your reason for getting up each day?
Do you feel excited by the answer?
 If not, what would you like to see happen?

If you can answer these, you will be on the first step to achieving what you want and better wellness all round.

Look at what you DO want rather than what you DO NOT want.  You can then break this down further into five year goals, yearly goals, weekly and so on.  Research has shown that people who write their goals down tend to achieve them.  So, start brainstorming and get your ideas onto paper or into your tablet.  Do you also know your own identity, values or mission in life? If you need help capturing these, contact me for a brainstorming coaching session.

Let us start with the basics to achieving your wellness….

As mentioned, each of the areas of your life overlap to enhance to your wellness so I have written some questions and ideas to get you thinking about the balance in each area of your own life.  You will find many different authorities on the subject of wellness but here I have broken them down based on my own experiences and research and what I do here at Making You Healthier.

Remember, we are all different so what is more important to one person will vary for another.  For example, if you work in an office and your brain is whirring when you get home, it might be important to do something calming with your spare time and if you work alone or outdoors, you may want to do something that challenges your brain.

The common areas of Wellness to consider are:

  • Home/Environment
  • Creativity/Curiosity
  • Exercise and Diet
  • Rest and Relaxation
  • Social Life/Family/Connections
  • Work/Career/Finances
  • Spirituality
  • Love and Romance

Take what you want and leave the rest

Home/Environment

Whether you own or rent your own home, ask yourself this question.  How cluttered is your home?  Clutter can add to stress in your life.  Whether you live in a large detached house or a 1 bedroom apartment, the first step to your wellness and peace of mind is to de-clutter your home.  De-clutter your home to de-clutter your mind!

  • Does everything have a place?
  • Are your rooms, shelves, cupboards or garage so overloaded that you cannot find things easily?
  • Are your clothes stuffed into your wardrobe weighing it down?
  • Is your paperwork in order? Do you know where to find things you need for an upcoming event or have to search a hundred emails to find it?
  • Can you find what you need before you leave the house or do you run around frantically and get in a panic because you are now going to be late?
De-clutter to De-stress

You may love the area you live in but if not, does your home at least give you peace of mind when you are in it?  Do you enjoy being there and does it show your personality? You may want to make some improvements and if you do not own the home you live in, think of how you can add your personality without spending a fortune.

  • Speak to the landlord about your suggestions-they could be pleased you are taking an interest and may give financially towards the changes.
  • Buy flowers every few weeks to brighten up your kitchen or if you on a budget, buy a nice plant to keep on your counter or dining table.
  • Consider changing the curtains or cushions to a colour and style which suits you
  • Always open your curtains fully to let bright light in during the day and use warm low lighting bulbs at night.
  • Lights should be dimmed at night and your TV’s brightness and contrast reduced at least an hour before bed.  Our bodies are hardwired to wake up or stay awake when light is bright. (more on improving your sleep in a later article….)

If you are like me and live in a house which needs refurbishment or maintenance and cannot get it all done all at once, tackle it one project at a time.  Save or budget a little to do the jobs you cannot do and if you can afford it, pay someone to do the jobs you hate such as ironing or mowing the grass.

Do you live in the city and yearn for the country or live in the country but want more of the buzz of town or city? Set yourself a long-term goal to move. What resources or support do you need to make it happen?

  • If you do have a garden, choose flowers and shrubs you like and do not feel bad about removing the ones that you dislike.
  • Plan your garden or patio space so that you have some colour each month-you can find a good choice of plants at your local garden centre, which will give you growth and colour from February right through to October.
  • If you work indoors most of the time, aim to get outside in nature for at least 20 minutes a day, especially if you work on a computer or with fluorescent lighting. This is very important in winter as artificial light has far less the light capacity to balance your brain than the sun has.  This can help with labelled conditions such as SAD or ME, as natural light penetrates your eyes into your brain to fire off the neurons to help you feel more alert.
  • Being in nature is also scientifically proven to raise mood and lower stress and its free!

Creativity/Curiosity

Do you ever have new ideas or career passions and forget about them a day later or do you think they are too silly to push forward with?  Do you think that creativity is unimportant in your life? When is the last time you were really curious about something?

One of my greatest icons is Leonardo Di Vinci.  A few years ago, I read the book How to think like Leonardo Di Vinci and learned some valuable tips on the art of creativity.  I also had the pleasure of visiting the Di Vinci Museum in Florence recently and seeing some of his ‘out-of-the-box ideas and inventions.  He was not afraid to daydream and captured many of his ideas as drawings.  Nature inspired him, especially the movement of butterflies and what makes them fly.

What being Creative can do for you:

Tests of creativity measure not only the number of alternative solutions that people can generate but the uniqueness of those alternatives. The ability to see things uniquely is linked to other qualities such as flexibility, tolerance, unpredictability and the joy of unknown things and not the fear of them. Being creative is also a really good way to entertain yourself or others-when you get engrossed in something you love, time passes much quicker and do not ‘clock-watch’.  It is also a great way to relax without much effort on your part-this is called a state of flow.

What do you really enjoy doing where time goes quickly?

Cultivate your Curiosity

In order to be creative, you need to view things in new ways or from a different perspective. Among other things, you should be able to generate new possibilities or new alternatives,  recognise ideas or options that could be useful in solving problems and communicating better with others. Also, having a passion may be something to talk about when you are with friends or a stranger.

I always carry a small notebook and pen with me and use an app on my phone for dumping ideas or projects.  

The key here is not just to capture creative ideas but it is very important to get things out of your head .  Too much chatter in your head can cause stress, affects your memory and blocks your creative thinking.

Small levels of stress can enhance our memory as it puts us on alert and can stimulate our thinking.  However, over-excretion of  stress hormones often impairs memory. In particular, the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and the amygdala are affected. The hippocampus and amygdala are involved in learning and the prefrontal cortex (PFC) helps working memory, self-regulatory and achieving goals. Chronic stress can lead to changes in neural circuitry which leaves your brain trapped in states of anxiety and depression, thus suppressing creativity.

There are many tools out for managing tasks and projects.   Check out OmnifocusWunderlist or ToDo for simple lists. Many people like Evernote if you need to share information. Find what works for you as sometimes the simplest can be the best. Remember, a nice notepad and pen can do just as well if you manage it right!

Your brain can change at any age-for better or worse.   Enhance your creativity to cut your stress and enhance your brain power.

Sleep

Poor sleep patterns can play havoc on your mood, your energy, motivation and general health.  It is such a complex area.  I have written a completely seperate blog on HOW TO SLEEP BETTER so please do take a look at that guide.

Exercise and Diet

Exercise

When choosing an exercise or activity to get fit or to clear your head or calm you, do not follow the masses of what you SHOULD be doing.  Some people have the make up and capacity to train and run a marathon whilst others will benefit more from regular gentle exercise such as long walks, rowing, cycling or short runs.  I am in the latter and feel great after just a 40-50 minute run. 15 minutes on the rowing machine or a slow cycle ride.  If you need to calm anxiety or are often tired, start with Yoga or Pilates for mindfulness and breathing techniques.  Yoga is exercise and also increases strength and flexibility  – I am addicted to my weekly yoga class!

Tip: Never pick exercise just to lose weight-80% of weight loss comes from foods and if you enjoy your exercise of choice, you may lose some weight naturally!

Choose an activity you really enjoy

If you get pain when you exercise it a sign that something is wrong (the no pain no gain myth is rubbish!).  Pain can arise from repetition such as over-working arm muscles in racquet sports or from posture imbalances and weakness in certain muscle groups on running long distance at fast speed.

Public Health England have just published research on almost 200,000 adults and found that 45 per cent of middle-aged men, and 38 per cent of middle-aged women, fail to have a brisk walk of even 10 minutes once a month. That is 4 in 10 adults! If you are one of them you are increasing your chances of early disability, risk of serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia and some cancers.

So how does exercise improve brain health?

There are many ideas about how exercise helps improve cognitive health. Aerobic (or cardio) exercise , raises your heart rate and increases blood flow to your brain. This leads to the production of neurons in certain parts of your brain that control memory and thinking. In addition, an increased heart rate encourages you to breathe harder and faster. So, as more oxygen enters your bloodstream, is it also delivered to your brain.

Exercise also increases serotonin which lifts your spirits and may be beneficial for someone experiencing feelings of depression.

A great way to start off exercising is to workout to your heart rate.  Buy a basic heart rate monitor and calculate Your Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF).  This keeps you at a level for your body and age and stops you over-doing it.

To calculate your MAF = 180 minus your age (minus 5 if you are new to exercise).  Try this next time you run or cycle and see how comfortable it feels (and you still feel great afterwards).

The main thing with exercise is just to get out and do something which you truly enjoy and makes you feel good but does not totally exhaust your body for days later.

Diet

What do you eat on a daily basis to enhance your health and energy? Do you eat processed meals, bread, wheat, biscuits and shop-prepared sauces?  Do you drink alcohol more than 3 or 4 days a week? Is a lot of your food WHITE or BEIGE? All of these foods contribute to slow release toxins entering your cells and slow down the efficiency of your organs, immune and digestive systems.

Are you on a diet to lose weight? I can tell you now that in a year or two you will be one of the 65% who puts that weight back on!

Most people eat generally healthy but it is not good enough.  I am NOT going to write about weight-loss or drinking or smoking too much or what is and is not good for you as you hear enough conflicting views in the media every day. It is important to start by knowing, everyone is individual and what your partner can eat may not be what your body needs.  As a general rule, you could aim today to increase your water intake, start reducing sugar, white carbohydrates and wheat as they can be difficult for your cells to process and makes your immune system work overtime.

You would not eat rat poison in moderation so why eat toxic foods in moderation?

What you eat can manifest in

  • headaches
  • poor digestion leading to bloating
  • poor absorption of nutrients
  • muscle and back pain
  • low energy and being ‘tired all the time’
  • heartburn and acid reflux

to name just a few……

I have listed some basic tips below on eating awareness and small changes to consider as part of your overall wellness.  If you start with 1 to 3 today, which will be difficult at first, you will be taking a great step to feeling better:

  1. Eat when you are hungry (look at food as fuel and nutrients for your cells)
  2. Use a smaller plate and eat slowly
  3. Stop when you are full-this can come on quicker than you think
  4. Loose the old-fashioned concept of what is breakfast, lunch dinner/supper (eat vegetables for breakfast if you like or your dinner at lunchtime)
  5. Do not eat in front of the TV or laptop
  6. Plan your main meals the day before you do your shopping and include plenty of vegetables in that
  7. Cook from scratch at least 3 days week – make a bulk and freeze it
  8. Reduce bread and pasta consumption (or just have them as a ‘treat’) – I am still shocked that the NHS advises eating bread and pasta as part of a balanced diet!
  9. Reduce your cereal intake – the “vitamins” in these are added, unnatural and synthetic – and the NHS still advises eating these !
  10. Wean off caffeine over 3-6 months until you are down to 2 cups of coffee a day or no more than 3 teas (I used to drink up to eight cups of caffeine a day and now enjoy my 2 cups a day and do not need it to wake me up!)
  11. Drink hot water or herbal tea in the morning or afternoon and after 8pm
  12. Reduce your alcohol to 2 days a week-if you are a binge drinker who cannot stop at 1,  you may have an addicted brain which enjoys the ‘buzz’ of alcohol.  Alcohol is a poison and kills brain cells, nerve cells and affects your stomach lining.
  13. Work out the emotion or feeling you have when you crave certain foods and at what time. For example a sweet snack between 1pm and 3pm; could this be the time you actually have your main meal? – see below.

Do you comfort eat or drink alcohol to relax?  This is your mind hijacking you so ask yourself what is it you really need?  Are you tired, bored, lonely or overwhelmed by what you have to do?

WHAT YOU EAT or cut from your meal planning is equally important as WHEN YOU EAT.  If you are someone who is never hungry in the mornings, it could be because you eat too late at night.  Try not to eat later than 3-4 hours before you go to bed.  Your body needs time to digest the food and will not do that when you are sleeping.  If you go to bed around 10pm, you should aim to have your main meal at lunchtime or 6pm to 7pm.

Food is not the only way to wellness but as we are surrounded by it hourly and daily, it can be one of the most difficult areas to change. Sort out your mind and get organised and you will start to sort out your food choices…

Rest and Relaxation

What do you do to relax?

This may possibly be the most difficult area for people to answer and balance. We are under pressure to do well at work, log onto social media and technology generally, bombarded with actions and to do lists and demands from others when we are not at work.  No wonder the number of people complaining of tiredness increases every year!

Being tired all the time can be exhausing…….

During periods of heavy activity (both mentally or physically) our immune systems are constantly activating to repair muscles and joints. Without proper rest, your immune system cannot catch up to the repairs which your body needs.  This can affect everything from memory (as mentioned before), sleep, digestion including gas and bloating and the organs of your endocrine system have to work harder.  Many of my clients tell me they are “too busy” to take time out to “do nothing”.  Remember, doing nothing IS doing something.

The benefits of relaxation include:

  • Slowing your heart rate
  • Lowering your blood pressure
  • Slowing your breathing rate
  • Improving digestion (thus reducing constipation)
  • Maintaining normal blood sugar levels
  • Slowing down of the stress release chemicals
  • Increasing blood flow to major muscles
  • Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain

It is important to understand that relaxation is also about relaxing your mind and letting your thoughts go for a short period.  Meditation is great for this as it can help balance the brain chemistry and neurons engaged in fighting stress and over-thinking.  If you are unsure about meditation, you should just aim to get a good balance between work, rest and exercise.  Resting after exercise is just as important as it helps to repair damaged tissues and helps to restore energy.

You can find ways to relax by doing an activity you like but do not let it stress you.  For example, if you like gardening but get overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do when you go into the garden, that is not relaxation, that should go on your ‘Project List’.

When is the last time you had a holiday?  Leaving the routine of the home can help you to recharge your batteries, change your mindset and increase your gratitude for what you have and where you live.  We often only feel the benefits once we are back home.  If you cannot afford a holiday, take some off work anyway to do something for YOU.  Go and block out a few days in your diary NOW.

Here are some ideas to relax and I have included a few of what I find helps me.  Some can take only two minutes, others  bit longer.

  • Watching a comedy and allowing yourself to laugh out loud
  • Sit in a room for 5 to 10 minutes-without your phone or tablet!
  • Lie on your bed reflecting or daydreaming if you feel overwhelmed
  • Spend 15-20 minutes a day in nature (more if you can)
  • Have a massage or other therapy which you love
  • Listen to some relaxing music
  • Take a bath
  • Meditation-even 5 minutes helps
  • Join a Yoga class
  • Doodle, colour, paint
  • Do a crossword or Mensa puzzle (if these do not increase your stress levels)
  • Spend time with your pet or children with nothing else going on
  • Book your next holiday
  • If you cannot have a holiday, book some annual leave in your diary anyway!
  • Write in a Journal for what you have achieved this week and what you are grateful for
  • Read a book or magazine with your phone switched off!
  • Massage your own hands or feet
  • Stretch-a big cat stretch from toes right up to your forehead
  • Make a cup of your favourite drink and sit still until you finish it
  • Walk in the rain for a change
  • Book yourself a ‘Duvet Day’ (guilt-free please)
  • Choosing exercise which suits your mentality and energy
  • Have a bath and lock the bathroom door
  • Steal a hug which releases oxytocin and reduces cortisol
  • Put your phone on flight mode from 10pm until after your shower the next day

    What is your excuse for not doing something?

Make up your own list and write it down somewhere as a ‘go-to’ tool when you need a reminder.

Social Life/Family/Connections

Different people bring out different sides or features of ourselves and it can be healthy to have a mix of social connections and friendships of all ages.

Aim to spend time with people who make you feel energised, uplifted and supported.  Some relationships can exhaust us and give us nothing in return for our efforts.  This may be uncomfortable in certain social circles or with some family members but remembering who you are and that we are all different can help balance this.

If friends or family members drain you and make you feel tired after being with them, work out what it is about them (or you) that brings that on.  The more you understand and discover about yourself,  the more you can cultivate and attract relationships which mirror qualities in you.

Family can be challenging for many of us and we may not get on with everyone.  This can create a conflict for you when you do not want to just distance yourself from a loved one or parent.  You may not see eye to eye and clash with personalities or feel angry about something that happened in your childhood.

Why not try Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to see this relationship from a different perspective. Often, anger is sadness and NLP does not necessarily make you become best friends but from my experience, it can help you gain inner peace and ease the issues and anger you have towards the other person.  This can put you back to a place of calm so that it does not constantly take over your thoughts.

Do you find your friendships are formed only with your partner?  Have you created your own networks and friends independent of that relationship or do you rely on them for socialising and entertainment? Whilst having a meaningful and loving relationship with our other half is healthy, spending too much time together can also be unhealthy. Having time and space away from our partners with people of a different mindset can add more fun and add to our ongoing self-discovery.

You could be fortunate enough to still have friends from school or college living close by.  When was the last time you initiated a meeting in person with them?  Why not contact someone you have not seen for a while and see if they want to meet up for coffee or lunch-you will be surprised what will come of it and how good you will feel afterwards.

On the other hand, perhaps you are the type of person who does not have lots of close friends-this is not uncommon but having a hobby or joining a group which shares your passion or interests can open your mind to new ways of thinking (remember the bit on creativity above).  You also get to meet new people and still keep your independence with an activity that you truly enjoy.  Eventually those new people are not strangers anymore and friendships can develop if you do not force it.

When I lived in London, many of my friendships came from work.  Moving to the country changed that and for a while it was rather lonely.  My friendships with my London friends fizzled out as we no longer shared the same interests.  I found myself isolated but made the decision to link up and attend local community events, join a running club and sign up for networking talks and events that interested me.  I now have a good balance between work and social and have met some wonderful people along the way. There is so much choice of fun and adventure in the country and it tends to have less pollution than the city or town.

If you are looking to make new friends or a variety of activities, have a look at Meet Up.com-it has grown so much in the UK and there are activities and groups to suit any interest. The key is to just get yourself out there and ‘show up’ remembering that not everyone will like you and those that do will like you for your values and personality.

If you have ‘social-anxiety’, it likely to be an unconscious fear from childhood or teen years. One or two sessions of NLP may help to eliminate  that and give you confidence and skills to attend any social engagement.

Work/Career

If money was no object, what would you choose to do tomorrow?

Our work life can play a huge part in our daily existence and many of us spend more time at work than we do with friends or family.

Do you enjoy your job and find your work fulfilling?
Do you have a career plan that motivates and inspires you and utilises your talents?
Are you so exhausted at the weekends that you cannot be bothered to do much?

Perhaps you are an overachiever and feel permanently stressed to do well all the time?  Whilst there is nothing wrong with hard work or performing better than your peers on intellect or talent, if you find you are anxious for fear of criticism and judge your worthiness on how well you do, you may need to review a few things.  Ask yourself if there are any boundaries you can apply at work or at home to make sure you have time for you to allow the stress-hormone cortisol to calm down.  Just give yourself permission and drop the guilt anytime you choose to do something just for YOU.

If you are thinking of changing your job, take a look at this article from Luke Bower of Dale Carnegie-5 Ways to Land Your Dream Job-> https://goo.gl/vMnJp1

Are you working for the money for a longer-term gain?  This is a good motivator for many people. Just be aware when you get wrapped up in a job which makes you fell permanently exhausted and gloomy even by Monday morning.

Do you go back to work revitalised and renergised?

You might have a goal to save for something for your home or the holiday of your dreams – a reward for your hard work. If you have a large mortgage and high expenses for your children, this could be your motivation.  Does this work to the detriment of your health?  Whether you enjoy your job or not, you may find yourself working long hours.  It is very important that you get a good work/life balance to continue functioning at your best.  Do not deny yourself time alone or with people you love when you are not working.

Do something fun and make sure you feel relaxed and energised to return to work with clarity and focus. Learn to say NO!

Finances

Money is an emotive subject.  The debate on whether it makes us happy or not is ongoing.  What money does do is it gives us choices and having choices makes us more content. How does it make you feel-good, bad, safe, anxious-do you hoard money or do you use it to enjoy your life?

One of my favourite sayings is “enough is as good as feast”.  How much money do you want? Do you work to live?  Do you want to travel or buy your own home? Do you have some savings as financial security should things ‘go wrong’.  How much would you need for that?

If you have unwanted debt, it can drain your energy and emotions.  I am not going to cover a lot on debt here but if you are one of the 1.5million households in the UK in debt, try now to work out a plan over a year or two (or longer if necessary) to cut your debt and to spend and budget more within your means.  Set this in your ‘Project’ list and focus on it.

Start by cutting up your credit card and cancelling your overdraft and paying them off!  Use discount vouchers for days out with your children,  have a month where you use your loyalty cards, plan meals in advance, shop with a list or on-line to a budget and cook from fresh as much as possible.  Spend within your means to take the financial burden off your mind and do not compare yourself to what others have – they may not be as happy as you think…

Spirituality

This is a subject many people shy away from, mainly because they do not understand it.  It can often be confused with religion or living outside the norm. What spirituality does includes is a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves and looks more at our human spirit as opposed to physical or material things.

Why are you here?  What is your purpose? What motivates you to get out of bed in the mornings?

Spirituality is simply the part of us that desires to embrace something personal in our own unique way.  This can be anything from meditation and mindfulness to campaigning to change the world or listening to a special piece of music, appreciating art in a gallery or sitting in nature.  Whatever makes you feel more joyful and enlivened is good for your spirit.  You know the saying “that really lifted my spirits”.

What lifts your spirits? What are you passionate about?

What did you enjoy doing as a child or teenager that you no longer do but would reconsider if you made space and time for it? Did you run, swim, knit, paint, sing, play football.   Do you ever feel ‘in the moment’ when spending time with your children, grandchildren or pets?  It is a great example of being present as we forget for a while about our ‘to-do’ lists.

Gratitude: This is another word for thankfulness and an appreciation for kindness you have received or will receive.  Gratitude is more than just being positive when you feel down. It is an emotion which is fired up from little things or major life events that you have experienced.   It is about really taking note of the things that make you feel good. By saying what you are grateful for each day and out loud to yourself, you reaffirm a positive emotion that brings you in tune with yourself.  Try it and see.  What are you truly grateful for today?

Take time to nourish your inner-self and nurture your spirituality.  You will feel good about who you are, you will feel more empathy and connection to everything else around you, whether that is nature or people or just the unknown.

Love and Romance

  • Are you in a kind and supporting relationship?
  • Are you single and want to attract a new relationship?
  • Are you in a relationship that does not fulfil your needs and desires?
  • Do you live with someone with an addiction which is depleting your energy, emotions and finances?

Love is not the fairytale you see in movies and can come with fear of abandonment, rejection, loss of independence and unwanted challenges.  We often search for the ideal and set ourselves up for disappointment.  Equally, a good relationship can bring out the best in us, give us friendship and intimacy, encourage us to laugh out loud, embrace our dreams and aspirations and enrich our lives. Overall, it can give us a positive feeling of wellness.

The first step to cultivating any healthy relationship is to know and understand yourself first.  The more you are aware of yourself, the more you can take control over your own choices and manage expectations and set boundaries.  This,  in turn, can give you a greater understanding of how you relate to others. Secondly, take time to enjoy your own company.  I know some people who cannot be alone and are so needy that they drift in and out of unhealthy relationships through fear of loneliness or spend hours on social media to thinking they are connected to people.

My third tip for any relationship is one of the hardest for many – communication. Do you have trouble expressing your feelings to a loved one or do they run the other way when you start a conversation on a touchy subject?  You are not alone.  Talking about small stuff is easy but when things get more personal, it is difficult to even raise the subject, let alone work around a solution.

Start with sharing responsibilities around the home and as well as having your own responsibilities.  If you need to discuss something that requires focus and calm, talk as you walk.  Being away from your home environment and out in nature can relax the body and mind and allow for thoughts to just ‘flow’.  Taking a walk with your partner to discuss a concern is a great way to solve a conflict and brainstorm new ideas for moving forward and its free therapy!

The taboo subject in many relationships is sex.  Aim for a balance between having too  much or not enough.  Intimacy benefits not just your relationship but is good for your heart, reduces stress and boosts your immune system+.  Also, a good hug can be beneficial so take one when you can.

Sometimes, no matter how much we try, the relationship does just not work.  Find a way to let go and move on.  This may be harder with a mortgage or children but you only you change your circumstances and your life.  Allow the fear of change and the new challenge of fulfilling your desires to come into focus. You can do this alone or, eventually, with someone else – it does not matter how old you are.  Every day can bring a better life if you attract it.

What can you do within the next week to start balancing the jigsaw of your life?  Plan it now and see how you feel in 2 months time…..

If you have any tips for my readers on how to improve their wellness, feel free to add a comment

*Human Motivation-Robert E Franken
^ US department of health and human services
+ NHS Health and Care Information

Christine Southwell

Holistic Health Coach helping people achieve the best from their lives by being their own best versions of themselves. Addressing all aspects of life from self-esteem, energy, goals, relationships and balance are key to optimum health and happiness. Based in West Looe in Cornwall.
(Ayurveda Health Consultant, Neuro-linguistics Practitioner, Remedial Massage Therapist, Lymphatic expert) www.makingyouhealthier.com
Christine Southwell

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