6 Ways to Actually Improve Your Mental Health 💞 Part I

1. Get Outside 🌿🌍☀️

Spending time outdoors is shown to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Getting outside boosts your mood and immune system, reduces stress and anxiety and, as a bonus, encourages physical activity.

2. Exercise Regularly 🏋️‍♀️💪🖤

Moving your body and exercising regularly does wonders for your mental wellbeing. With a range of benefits such as; getting those happy hormones pumping, increasing focus and concentration, regulating breathing, boosting energy and motivation and improving sleep quality. Exercising also helps you build self-esteem, resilience and confidence as you build a strong body. You also increase your opportunities for social interaction. Whether that be your new bootcamp buddy or the person you wave at every morning on your run - every little connection is good for you.

3. Learn to say "no" to things that don't work for you and create boundaries ✖️✖️✖️

It's natural to want to help and care for everyone around you. Its a lovely quality, as long as its not to the detriment of your own health or stress levels. Saying "no" is not a negative so you shouldn't feel badly about it. Its just about setting boundaries and being honest. Whether you say no to more work when you're already at capacity or are telling your friend/family/partner/child that you need a little quiet time rather than going alone with whatever activity they want to do, saying no enables you to set boundaries and control your capacity.

4. Realise that some stress is good stress 🤗🤓💜

When we hear "stress" we immediately jump to the negative, but some stress is actually good for us. The trick is being able to recognise the difference and respond in the healthiest way. Good stress is the kind of stress that helps you learn, grow and develop. Like getting out of your comfort zone or pushing yourself to achieve something new. Studies show that this kind of "anxiety" can actually help you perform better. When you begin to feel stressed, take a breath and think about the cause. Are you feeling nervous about something new or being pushed out of your comfort zone? Nervousness is temporary and attached to an event or something challenging that will pass. The uncomfortable feeling will go away once the "event" has occurred. Anxiety is felt daily and can be attached to something that may seem irrational.

5. Practice gratitude and mindfulness 💫💕🍃

Gratitude and mindfulness are a great way to put things into perspective and to take some time to "reset" so you're able to think more clearly. These practices also help you to slow down, recognise and appreciate all of the great things in your life which we can easily overlook when we're under pressure. Studies have shown that groups practicing gratitude and mindfulness report having significantly better mental health.

6. Talk to people you can trust 😘👫🙏
Whether you need advice, to vent or to just have a great big belly laugh about a crazy situation, having people you can talk to openly, honestly and without judgement is important. Often, the simple act of saying something out loud helps to rationalise it and give you a sense of relief for getting it off your chest. Its also great to be a support to your loved ones in times of need too...

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So Christmas & New Years has been and gone. Now is the perfect opportunity to start the New Year right and chase those goals. Start being proactive about what you want to achieve for 2018 NOW and pick up the pieces right away after Christmas!

So you have the will, but don’t have the way? Here’s our top tips to get you started? …...

1. Goal setting

Set yourself some new goals for 2018 - Whether it be wanting to shed those unwanted Christmas kilos, fitting into a new dress size or just aiming to feel good and happy within yourself -  short and long term goals are a great way to keep you on track, and the feeling of ticking them off as you achieve them is even better! Write them down, save notes in your planner and remind yourself periodically of your goals. Make yourself accountable and assess your progress, ask yourself if your goals are realistic and assess any changes need to be made in order to help the process.

2. Find your motivation
Find your motivation by recognising what works for you! How someone else achieves their goals particularly when it comes to weight-loss will not necessarily work for you!
Think about what you have or haven’t already tried - did it work for you? - if not, why are you here now? What can YOU do to make it work this time?! Find a plan that is suited to you, fits in with your lifestyle and is maintainable. Don’t set yourself up to fail by going all guns-blazing, following restrictive diets and burning out after a short period of time. BALANCE is key!

Make sure you follow reliable sources, ones with a vision you agree with whether it be diet, exercise or your mental well being.

3. Remove anything that will hinder your progress
Rid your pantry of those tempting Christmas foods! The remains of Christmas usually linger in the fridge calling your name every time you open the fridge door - pavlova, pudding, chocolates and heavy meats are always tempting when they’re right under your nose! Remove any of those temptation you have over indulged in over the festive season so you can start a fresh slate. At some point in time we are all guilty of saying ‘Diet starts tomorrow’, ‘I can’t let it go to waste’, ‘I’ve already ruined my diet may as-well wait until the new year’, and then you find yourself in 2 months time still in the same position. The best thing you can do for yourself is START NOW. If the food isn’t there, you won’t be inclined to eat it and this will help your BALANCE! This comes hand in hand with our below tip...

4. Update your shopping list
One of the most effective things you can do for yourself preparing to dive into your new goals, is to update your shopping list. Christmas has been and gone, now it is time to restock and refuel yourself with those ‘feel good’ foods to get you back on track. Write a list of foods that are going to help you get closer towards your goals, and start making a plan (just make sure you don’t shop on an empty stomach). Organise your food in a way that will work for you - whether that be meal prepping and planning, organising your fridge, tracking your food, creating healthy meals with your partner or for your family, or just simply being mindful of your food choices throughout the day. If you don’t have tempting foods in the fridge and in the cupboard then you can’t eat them!

5. Pack your food
Are you always buying your lunch at work? Do you often find that you are rushed and haven’t organised anything to take to work - which leaves you opting for that take out shop on the corner, living off coffee and minimal nutritious food throughout the day.
Try setting your alarm 5 minutes earlier to throw in that yoghurt, fruit or fresh salad to snack on while you are at work. Adding 10 minutes into your night time routine by preparing tomorrow’s lunch, is another way to ensure you are making mindful food choices throughout the day, and will also save you a dollar or two!

6. Be prepared for obstacles
Like any plan, there will always be a challenge, obstacle or hurdle you will need to overcome at some point. Have plans set in place for when you fall off the wagon to prevent you from throwing in the towel. Allow yourself to understand that you may mistakes, but be sure to recognise when you are making these mistakes and prevent them from occurring again. Ask yourself why you let yourself slip, recognise why it happened, and most importantly make yourself a priority! Make sure you are surrounded by people who are going to support your goals and only want the best for you. Make notes of your progress and assess any necessary change, keep a diary, track your food, do what works for you and what you need to do to be accountable!

7. Get moving!
Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health! Physical activity can help maintain weight control, manage health and disease, improve mental well-being and boost your energy levels. Find an activity that works for you, whether it is booking in regular personal training sessions, joining bootcamp, hitting the gym with your headphones in and zoning out, walking with a friend, playing a sport or organising activities with your children - get yourself moving!

8. Aim for 8 hours sleep per night
Adequate sleep is key for a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep can have positive health benefits including improving your mental health and well-being, improving your memory and help with maintenance of healthy weight through the healthy balance of hormones during your sleep cycle. GET SNOOZING!

9. Drink plenty of water
Aim for at-least 2L of water per day at minimum. Drinking plenty of water has so many substantial benefits to our health including maintaining regularity, increasing energy, relieving fatigue, aiding in weight loss and boosting your immune system. Studies have shown that losing as little as 2% of your body’s water content can significantly impair your mental and physical performance. Get yourself a new drink bottle, keep it at your desk, take it in your car wherever you go and stay hydrated!

10. Make yourself a priority!
As previously mentioned, making yourself a priority is one of the most important things you can do for yourself when trying to achieve a goal! It is very easy to get side tracked by friends, events and even provided work lunches, when you are in the middle of chasing your goals. It is very important to make sure you have balance and are not restricting yourself from missing out on social events, however there are a few things you can do in order to have the best of both worlds.
If you know you will be having a morning tea at work with snacks provided - make sure that you have pre-planned the rest of your day with mindful food choices so that you can fit in that extra muffin or biscuits with your tea.
You are also allowed to say NO!  - Your friends are all keen for a night of pizza, chips, choccie or drinks and you are trying your best to stay on track. You are ALLOWED to say no, make your own choices, bring your own food, suggest an alternate restaurant, opt for a salad on the side instead of chips or eat before you go. Do what is best for you! Not what is going to make your friends happy or you feel guilty, make sure you have your own best interest at heart always because at the end of the day they are YOUR choices and YOUR goals to achieve.

Want to get back on track but don’t know where to start with your food & training? Don’t underestimate the value of professional coaching with our team to use your nutrition & exercise as a vehicle for success. You don’t need to be an athlete, train every day or even have a gym membership to see results, quite simply we will devise a plan to hit your targets and maintain a happy, balanced lifestyle.

BRING ON 2018!