It’s okay to take time for yourself | Lauren

Over the last year, I’ve been thinking a lot about my personal health. It’s a “new year’s resolution” of mine to pay attention to (and hopefully improve) my personal wellness. That’s a phrase I saw a lot in 2017 – personal wellness. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a sceptic when it comes to fads and trends splashed across the media, and when I did some research into what personal wellness meant, I found a lot of long vague explanations about how wellness is much more than merely physical health, exercise or nutrition but in fact is the full integration of the states of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. What a mind-bender. I was ready to write off the concept completely and get back to my daily grind when I thought about it properly. Personal wellness can mean whatever you want it to mean – it’s a phrase that adapts to the user, to be whatever they need it to be in order to achieve a balance. So I applied it to myself, breaking down aspects of my life that I know I had control over.

Physical health – that’s one of the features of personal wellness I see everywhere. Taking that time to make sure you are a-okay physically, to be in your best possible health for the lifestyle you lead. I know I should probably go to the gym more – in fact, it’s on my to-do list, to get back into regular gym visits. Exercise gives you endorphins, which in turn make you happy, which can only be a positive thing for personal wellness in terms of both physical health and mental health. And who doesn’t love fitting comfortably into that pair of jeans that just about buttoned up before? I know I do. Because it’s all about being comfortable in your clothes, in your body, in yourself – it’s okay to want to feel good, whatever that means for you.

Healthy diet is another thing that I constantly see in the media, whether than be on the news or in magazines, and that seems to general boil down to having a diet well-balanced with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and healthy fats. Seems simple enough. However, I know what I’m like with food – I’ll eat healthily for a few weeks, no snacking in the office (very difficult), no snacking at home (almost impossible) but then I’ll snap and devour a vending machine. Not good. When looking into personal wellness though, it’s all about balance, right? For me to achieve that happy balance, that means having a cheat day (yes please pizza), or treating myself to that pain au chocolat on a Friday morning. It’s okay. It actually makes things more bearable, and definitely makes me commit to eating regular balanced meals every day.

The sleep schedule – this is something I definitely struggle with, having pretty severe insomnia for the past eight years. This is also one of the only things I have already looked into doing, before this personal wellness crusade. So far, the only thing that reduces the hellish purple bags under my eyes is sleeping in a little at the weekend. Sounds simple right? Something most people do? For me, due to the fact that I only sleep in 2-3 hour batches during the week, if I can add another 2-3 hour doze on a Saturday and Sunday, it truly does me the world of good. I can emerge from under my troll bridge to face the world, without looking like an extra out of The Walking Dead.

Finally, set aside some personal time. Read that book you bought last year, take that boxercise class you’ve been eyeing up, do a little retail therapy – I could continue for hours about this. I think this is one of the most important parts of the personal wellness saga, because it is genuinely the one everyone tends to focus on the least. It could be anything from calling my grandparents at the weekend or having a wine-and-movie night with my housemate – it’s all in the small details.

It’s okay to take time for yourself. In this modern day, where everyone and everything is expected to be so go go go, it’s okay to take that half hour walk to clear your head, to say no to staying late at work, to leave your phone unchecked for a few hours, to set aside some time for just you. Sometimes we all need a break; sometimes we all need to put our own needs first instead of being swept up in a hectic lifestyle where you work yourself to the bone and get so little back. The majority of my week, month, year is spent in my workplace so I know I need to do better. I know I can do better. I know I will do better. How about you?

Lauren

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