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Being mindful of how cliché it is, I don’t want to say “being in hospital for 11 weeks and being diagnosed with an IDB changed my outlook on life”, but as contrite as it sounds, it’s true. I’ve learned a lot about my body and mind, but I have also been given the chance to reflect on how lucky I am in life to have wonderful friends and family who supported me through my whole stay, a job I love that pays well that was fantastic about the whole situation, and a body that is an absolute warrior.
As you can probably tell from my other posts, I am NOT a life coach, but I wanted to share with you some of the small changes I have made that have improved my mind, body and soul in the last few months. I also put together a couple of tips on what to do in the morning to ensure you have a good day on my TikTok.
Take note of your dietary intake
First and foremost I just want to say I do NOT mean calorie counting. If calorie counting is triggering for you, please disregard this one or find an app that tracks your vitamins and minerals and doesn’t have calories on it. You can also do this manually, by using a food diary. When you read into which vitamins and minerals are responsible for certain things, that overwhelming lack of motivation may seem to make sense. I used to be the first person to resist the advice that eating a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet, while also drinking plenty of water, is the way to feeling great, but I regret to inform you, it is completely true.
Remind yourself what you are grateful for
Some days, if you have a lot going on in life, it can be easy to wake up and think not much is going for you. But if you take some time to think about it properly, you will likely have a couple of things at least to be grateful for. Anytime you start to feel like you are getting a bit down on yourself, take out a pad and a pen and write a list of all of the things in life that you are grateful for right now. Reading back the list to yourself will help you to get in a more positive frame of mind.
Take time out
Time alone is a funny old thing. Some people love it, and some people hate it. I love being by myself and I enjoy my own company enough to go on holiday solo. I get that this isn’t for everyone though. But even if the thought of spending time by yourself terrifies you, you still need to grab an hour or so here or there to decompress. Even if it is just locking yourself in the bathroom and having a nice relaxing bath with some bath bombs, it’s still better than being around people ALL OF THE TIME. We live in a time where we are not only connected super closely in real life but also digitally, so it is always a good idea to have a bit of time without having to be “on” for other people.
Compliment other people
There’s no denying it, making other people feel good makes you feel good. You probably already compliment people daily, but they are likely to be people you already know. Why not branch out? Tell that girl on the tube you love her coat. Tell that writer on Twitter you enjoyed his latest article. The world is a hard place sometimes, and you never know if your complement could make a difference to someone’s day if they are struggling, and even if they are not, EVERYONE enjoys getting them. If you are too self-conscious to start in real-life, set yourself the task of writing nice things to a couple of people online each day, you will be surprised how good it makes YOU feel.
Get enough sleep
This is another one of those tips I used to read and think “yeah, okay, who even gets enough sleep nowadays”, but alas, the reason this advice floats around so freely is because it is indeed true. You’ll find a lot of stuff online about getting your 8 hours, but the truth is if you try and stick to a routine for a couple of weeks, once your body gets into the swing of it, it will tell you how much sleep it needs. Sadly, I tend to go to bed around 8 pm or 9 pm, and I wake up at 5 am on the dot, naturally, every single day. I’m not suggesting for one minute everyone wants to wake up that early, so the best thing to do is figure out a time to go to bed that works for you, and then stick to it for a couple of weeks and see what time your body starts to wake you up.
Make your goals achievable
My ultimate dream would be to meet a billionaire who falls in love with me and pays for everything for me but travels for work a lot so I barely have to see him. Unfortunately, for someone currently using their personality as contraception, this isn’t particularly realistic. When you set your goals, think about why you are setting specific ones. Is it because it is something that you want to achieve or is it something you feel you SHOULD achieve because your peers are? Setting yourself goals that you won’t achieve is just setting yourself up for a fail and will make you more unhappy in the long run. And if you do want to work on those big ambitions, instead of just setting them as a generic goal, set yourself a timeframe for each step you need to complete to get there.
Have a morning walk
Even when the weather is cold, having a nice walk is a great way to wake yourself up in the morning. If the weather is cold just wrap up. It doesn’t have to be a long walk. I tend to make the 15-minute walk to and from my town centre for a Costa in the morning. There’s just something about getting outside and getting some daylight before you start everything you need to do that day that is motivating. Especially if you put on some of your favourite music!
Have a clean and organise
When you are feeling a bit unmotivated, the thought of doing any cleaning or organising can be off-putting, to say the least. But once you start, it can be satisfying and you will love the result. If you can afford it, why not treat yourself to something to revamp a space or room that you need to give a good sorting out? I recently got myself a cheap new desk, and this has encouraged me to have the huge “spring clean” I need for my bedroom before I put it up. But it doesn’t have to be something as big as this, sometimes I find even sorting out my make-up box makes me feel better.
Break up your “to-do” list
It doesn’t matter if it is work or life admin, “to-do” lists can make you feel organised for about 5 seconds then overwhelmed any other time you look at it. Breaking up your list into easily manageable chunks can be a quick thing to do to take a lot of weight off of your mind. I organise my “to-do” list by using a traffic light system. Red is “URGENT needs to be done ASAP”. Orange is “needs to be done ideally but no one will die if I leave it a couple of days” and Green is “not urgent, but if you are feeling motivated might as well get this out of the way”.
Cut back on alcohol
I gave up alcohol a few years ago, but in the past, I have still had a couple of drinks each year on holiday, but that’s it. Unfortunately, now that I know I have an IBD no alcohol will be passing my lips ever again. Safe to say you are probably thinking “ok, you are one of THOSE people that doesn’t drink and preaches”. That isn’t what I am trying to do. All I want to explain to you is how much my life improved when I more or less quit alcohol. First and foremost; not getting hangovers. When you get into your late 20s they can be evil. Some of mine lasted two days, and that is a hell of a waste of two days. I have a lot more time now I am not wasting it in bed hungover. I lost weight, got clearer skin, and started sleeping better. Again, I’m not going to try and bully any of my readers into living a completely sober life, but if you cut down you will still see some positive effects.
Love to know your thoughts guys?