10 tips to a happier life
Time to focus on yourself? Health and Life Coach – Simone Gilbert shares her advice on how to take control of your health and happiness.
Muddy Norfolk editor Helen Burgess spoke with local health and life coach Simone Gilbert who is passionate about helping women to take control of their health and vitality.
Females and The Three C’s
Many of our health problems start young, when we learn to admire “Super Women” and questions like “How does she do it?” are asked in awe rather than concern.
Young girls are conditioned into thinking they must “have it all” and “do it all” but this is unrealistic for some and unhealthy for most.
Comparison, Competition and Criticism start young and follow us throughout life.
Motherhood can magnify all three – at a time when we most need love, nurturing, support and kindness, sadly comparison, competition and criticism are silently working away. From the actual birthing process to breast feeding, baby body pressure, returning to work, child development phases and social skills and finally the school years.
Why we justify time out?
I am hugely guilty of over compensating when I take some time out for myself. I rush around making sure everything is ready for the kids and my partner – clothes laid out, dinner prepared, fun itinerary sorted – sound familiar?
No matter whether we are home-based or working, mums are connected by these feelings of ‘time-out’ guilt.
Simone stresses that self care is imperative for our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. It’s only during moments of self-care that we rebalance to achieve true happiness and overall good health.
But where to start? I sometimes feel like I’m juggling so many needs that I have no idea when it comes to my own self-care. So I’m going to be start by following Simone’s advice and I’d love for you to join me on the journey.
Top 10 tips to a healthier life
The best way to make lasting change is to take it week by week. Each week decide on ONE thing (and only one) that you can do to be healthier.
This is the time of the day that you get to rebalance, realign and prepare for the day. Make this time for meditating, movement and mindfulness (not mind fullness!).
- Start by waking 30 minutes before the rest of the household.
- Enjoy a glass of water with lemon.
- Meditate – use an app like Calm if you’re new to it.
- Gentle exercise – 10 minutes of stretching, yoga (use an app like Daily Yoga), a walk or jog, whatever works for you. Work up to exercising 30 minutes most days and start your day on a natural exercise-related endorphin high!
- Treat yourself to a lovely notebook and write down three things that you plan to achieve during the day.
2. Drink (water not wine)
Simply, drink more (filtered if possible) water each day.
- Begin your morning with a big glass of filtered water. Add some lemon juice to rehydrate your cells, get the digestive juices flowing (to properly digest your breakfast) and help the body’s natural detox and elimination processes.
- Aim to double the amount of water you drink each day. Use an app to remind you to sip steadily throughout the day (but not with meals – let digestion happen effortlessly and leave a 45min window before and after a meal).
- If you struggle with water consumption, add a squeeze of lemon and a tiny pinch of Himalayan salt, some berries, a slice of orange and/or slices of cucumber. Whichever flavour you prefer. Just not cordial – you can do without the sugar.
- Buy a Stainless-Steel water bottle & refill regularly. Take it everywhere.
3. Meal times
Sit at the table – focus, eat and talk.
- Being mindful while eating aids digestion. Slowing down means we’re less likely to gulp our food.
- Chew your food – thoroughly. Digestion begins in the mouth, so chew slowly and at least 10 times per mouthful. Savour the flavours.
- Create connection by taking turns to share ‘the day’s success and the day’s lesson’
- Use this time to teach healthy eating for your children.
It’s not new – but eating an array of vegetables each day keeps our bodies functioning well. They help the digestion, detox and excretion processes, support elevated and sustained energy levels and are associated with stronger mental health.
It’s not only the kids that need five a day – try at least 7 vegetables and 2 pieces of fruit a day.
- A smoothie for breakfast makes this easy. For lunch include a salad or dinner leftovers. Dinner – lightly steamed veggies adding a little extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
- Pack healthy snacks when you’re out and about – nut & seed mixture, an apple & nut butter, veggie sticks and hummus.
- If you like it, add chilli to your meals. It kicks your system into producing endorphins; happy hormones & natural pain relievers. Add it to salad dressings and stir frys.
5. Well being
Doing what truly lights you up is the highest form of self-care.
- Remember what you love, make a list and include new things you want to try. Look into local groups and/or gatherings of like-interested folk.
- Do them daily, put them into your diary and prioritise your happiness.
- Be with people that make you laugh, as often as you can – it’s a great stress buster.
6. Time out
It’s not just for toddlers – we all need time to ourselves. Pressing pause every day helps to clear the chaos, ease the stress and allow things to feel balanced and happier again…
- Make your wellbeing a priority and a set a time each day for you.
- Make it known: “this is my time” – my time to meditate, read a book, take a bath. Let people around you get used to you having time out. It’s powerful for you as well as modelling self-care for others in the family.
- Get back to nature – walk on the grass bare foot. Connect with Mother Nature, it’s wonderfully grounding, calming and re-energising.
7. Language is powerful
- Choose your words wisely – think and speak only those things that you would comfortably direct at your best friend.
- Replace words like “should” with “could”- which allows the space to decide actions mindfully.
- Stop using words like “just” – “I am just a …” to describe abilities and roles.
- Practice using “yet” – it gives possibility the chance. If you haven’t managed or mastered something, finish your sentence with yet. Feel the difference in your energy.
8. Work/Life Balance
It’s about honouring you and those you most love. It’s about achieving a happy flow between the two, which will make you more productive everywhere.
- Play Nicely – find the good in people and situations wherever possible. Focusing on the positives will open opportunities and a more receptive energy.
- Set boundaries or rules for yourself. For example, put a ban on checking work emails after a certain time.
- Share and celebrate your successes. It triggers dopamine which is the feelgood chemical linked with reward.
- Say “No” – protect your boundaries. Give yourself permission to say no. I’m sure you’ll find a way to deliver your message politely!
9. Ask “What are we doing tomorrow?”
Children often end their day with “what are we doing tomorrow Mummy?” Content knowing what is ahead, even if it is a nice relaxing day at home. Having something to look forward to makes you feel good.
These things don’t have to be complex – they just have to be things that make YOU happy and that YOU look forward to. It can be as simple as a meal booked with family and/or friend, a night out, a new hobby or a holiday. On those harder days, these things will provide inspiration and anticipation.
10. Bed time
Bed time routines are not just for children. Poor sleep directly affects our health through everything from nutrition choices to our resilience.
- Make your bedroom a peaceful sanctuary that promotes rest – dark and quiet
- Turn off electronic devices half an hour before bed and read / relax. Recharge devices in another part of the house.
- Enjoy a bath – magnesium flakes, coconut oil and lavender oil will really put you into rest and relax mode.
- Rub a little lavender oil in your palms and inhale – put a drop on your pillow too
- Write down three things that you’re thankful for – this helps to relax your mind as it’s filled with ‘positives’ right before sleep.
- After you turn out the lights focus on your breath to calm your whole body: nose breathing, inhale for 4 counts, hold for 5 counts and exhale for 7 counts. Repeat 4 times.
Don’t feel overwhelmed and feel you have to do everything at once. It’s about picking something to focus on each week and in time you will reap the rewards.
If you’d like more support, Simone helps women to get clarity, reconnect with themselves and regain calm control and balance in their health and life. This in turn will result in more confidence and improved health.