It’s not uncommon in life to go through fazes where you feel pretty average. This may be due to some standout factors, such as a disappointment in your career, a breakup or family issues. Other times, it can be caused by an accumulation of small factors that can leave you feeling tired, unmotivated and all-round average. The latter was the case for me last month. I felt lost in my career, I felt unfit and unhealthy, and I was letting stress get the better of me. I hated feeling this way and I was determined to escape this rut.
At first, I wanted to address my physical health. I’m not an unhealthy person but I wasn’t at my best. I tested some pretty extreme methods thinking they would be a miracle cure for my lack of energy. Many of them simply weren’t for me – I’m talking about you, juice detox! Eventually, I ended up making a few simple dietary changes and adjusting my exercise routine – or lack thereof one. It’s surprising the difference that small changes can make when you stick to them on a long-term basis.
From there, I moved on to reassessing how I felt mentally. Stress was affecting my overall wellbeing and the root cause was clearly work related. Because I’m a freelancer, it can be hard to set boundaries and it’s very easy to place unreasonable pressure on yourself. It was essential for me to take a step back and really think about how I can improve my work/life balance and accept the highs and lows of freelance work without letting stress affect me to the degree it currently was.
I hope that by sharing these 5 Lifestyle Changes that Have Helped Me to Feel Great, you too will feel inspired to reflect on your wellbeing. Making simple changes to your current way of life can really give you a boost and help you to feel your best. Let’s face it, life’s too short to waste days feeling sluggish and unmotivated. So here we go, here are 5 Lifestyle Changes that Have Helped Me to Feel Great:
1. I logged out of Instagram
This was tougher than I imagined and really made me realise just how much time a day I wasted on the platform. As an “Influencer”, I’m obviously required to spend a decent amount of time posting and engaging. However, I never set myself any boundaries. From the moment I woke up, to the moment I went to bed, I was constantly distracted by Instagram. If I was bored, I would check it; if I was procrastinating, I would check it. Countless times a day, I would find myself mindlessly scrolling the feed. I was spending more time consuming content rather than creating it. It was not only wasting my time, but it was bad for my mental health. I was falling into the comparison trap, feeling rubbish as I looked at the beautiful feeds of other Instagrammers. It was detrimentally demotivating, and I knew I couldn’t continue on this pathway. Logging out of Instagram is a way for me to set boundaries. I can no longer automatically look at the feed or Stories every time I pick up my phone. It’s a simple strategy but having to enter my password makes me reflect on why I’m using the platform and if it’s really necessary to do so.
2. I started using a fitness app
I did a lot of research before I finally decided to download the Zova fitness app. For me, this app seemed to be the most suitable. It’s almost like having your own personal trainer. I started doing the 2X3 program where you complete two 10-minute workouts 3 times a week. The workouts are tough and have really helped me to increase my muscle tone and overall fitness level. It’s the first time in a very long time that I’ve stuck to an exercise routine without becoming bored after a few weeks. I tend to do my workouts at around 4pm and it gives me a great energy boost for the rest of the day.
3. I started having lighter lunches (and avoiding pasta)
I’m passionate about pasta. I love it. It’s my favourite food and I could easily eat it every day for the rest of my life. It’s also a quick and inexpensive meal, making it a perfect lunch option when you work from home. My big pasta lunches, however, left me feel tired and unmotivated for the rest of the afternoon. It seems that carbohydrate rich foods, such as pasta, boost serotonin levels, which in turn leaves me feeling very content but also very sleepy. I now save pasta for dinner and opt for a lighter lunch, such as a salad bowl or an omelette. This leaves me feeling more motivated to get stuck into my work the rest of the afternoon.
4. I bought a Weekly Good Habits Checklist
I recently purchased this Weekly Good Habits Checklistfrom my favourite stationary store, Kiki K. I can often waste a lot of money in this store on unnecessary items, but this purchase, I do not regret. It’s allowed me to list all the things that make me feel good (or bad, if I don’t do them), such as, practice French, exercise, catch up with a friend etc. Once accomplished you can tick it off the list. You’re supposed to give yourself a reward at the end of the week, however, I don’t usually fill out this section as the feeling of accomplishment is enough of a reward. Using this checklist has helped me to feel less stressed. I no longer feel guilty that I haven’t practiced my French or responded to emails, because the list is a good motivator to get these tasks done.
5. I learnt to become kinder to myself
When you’re your own boss, it’s easy to feel like what you’re doing isn’t enough or isn’t good enough. It’s also really easy to be hard on yourself for having an off week. I’m slowly learning that it’s not the end of the world if I sleep in from time to time and or have an unproductive afternoon. Before, I would feel so guilty if this occurred and give myself a really hard time. I’m trying to be gentler on myself and try to focus on what I have achieved as opposed to beating myself up for what I haven’t.
It’s not always easy to make changes to your daily routine, but it’s important to do so when your current way of life isn’t making you feel your best. I still have weeks where I might feel a little stressed. However, the stress I feel now is considerably reduced since adopting these new habits. Hopefully by sharing these 5 lifestyle changes that have helped me to feel great, you’ll feel inspired to make some small, positive changes to your lifestyle too.