A year of well-being and simple living

YOUR BODY WILL BE AROUND A LOT LONGER THAN THAT EXPENSIVE HANDBAG.

INVEST IN YOURSELF.

I found December especially hard last year and already by January 6th I am feeling better. The cold and the dark were oppressive and on top of this I caught a winter cold (who didn’t?) and then a double ear-infection so I became crippled by the blue meanies! Oh the the misery! But, with the coming of the New Year, the days are visibly lengthening and brightening and the darkness is receding. There is light!

I am planning on spending 2018 on a journey towards well-being and sunny, simple living. I have begun a well-being journal and am not putting undue pressure on myself but just keeping a note of the things I am doing. The aim is to review it monthly and see if there are any benefits and possibly see less of those blue-meanies next winter.

And so, I have decided to do the following:

  •  More Yoga
  • Read lots
  • Minimise spending
  • Take care of myself
  • Eat regularly
  • Get in touch with nature by going out into those natural spaces as often as I can and plan trips into the outdoors
  • Be curious, learn new things
  • Exercise regularly and moderately.

Yoga

Mindful-Yoga-pic

One of my loves in life is Yoga. I love that combination of movement, breathing and meditation which helps calm my mind and strengthen my body. My yoga practice has been somewhat neglected recently but I will return to a weekly class every Monday, starting next week. Yoga is not for everyone but there are a range of different styles out there so do look and see if there’s one to suit your needs and preferences.

Reading More

If there’s one thing I love to do it is to read. This one won’t be too hard for me. I am currently reading Gossip From the Forest by Sara Maitland.

I love this little book, the author examines the connection between forests and fairy tales. The book is a little unusual in that it is a peculiar marriage between fiction and essay which I am finding thought-provoking and interesting. It is also leading me towards visiting more forests in the coming year which will help with my plan for spending time outdoors in natural spaces.

Gossip from the Forest by [Maitland, Sara]

Waiting by my bedside is the fabulous Lion.  A friend told me if you’ve seen the film and enjoyed it you will love the book, it’s even better.

Lion: A Long Way Home by [Brierley, Saroo]

Minimising spending

This is a difficult one. How do we minimise spending with prices increasing all the time? Changing careers from teaching (relatively well paid) to being self-employed forced me to stop and think about the way I was spending money. There was a need to take up a few jobs to help run the car and pay the council tax and I had to stop buying myself things! This proved to be perfect and my life is much simpler now that I buy what I need and nothing else.

I have a couple of tips:

Meat free Monday

With a carnivorous husband this wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. We devote Mondays to a meat free supper. Not only does it reduce spending somewhat, it is better for our health. Check out some of my meat free recipes below:

Midweek Moroccan Mushrooms with Cous Cous

Meatless Monday Vegetable Casserole

Lentil soup

Make your own liquid soap (and reduce the use of plastic) 

For this you need to be using bars of soap….take the odd scraps of soap that are too thin or bendy to use and pop them into a screw-top jar with a little water. Leave it to form liquid, just adding more scraps as you use your soaps.  It will melt down nicely, just mix occasionally and add some water then when the jar is full, put your liquid soap into a hand-soap dispenser. It makes a fabulous hand wash.

 

Taking care of myself

This whole blog post is really about self-care. Consciously taking the time to look after yourself, not just to eat well and exercise but become aware of your own mental health takes time and effort but is worth it.

I’m going to do more of what I love, do more that I want, take time to breathe and look around, slow my pace (metaphorically) and look after myself as well as others.

Another great quote follows………

Don’t be excessively concerned about your health. That in itself is a sickness.

Sadhu-guru

Eating regularly

Most of us like to eat and it is possibly true to say we eat too much. The importance of regular eating needs to be stated. Some of us find it really hard to stop eating. For me, there is a close link between my moods and food. I know that eating regularly and sensibly will keep me in peak mental form throughout the day. Having had an extremely serious eating disorder in the past I know that I need to be very careful. I am always conscious of my weight, and whilst not overweight I know that as I age I am getting much thicker round the middle. There are dangerous links between being too heavy and ill health and I want to avoid them.

Regular eating helps with focus and sustained attention and benefits our short term memory. It might help to plan what you are going to eat and try smaller meals and snacks throughout the day in order to replenish your energy levels and limit over indulging at meal times.

I’m not an expert or a dietitian, hopefully what I say makes sense (please let me know if it doesn’t).

My tips for eating well:

  1. Base your meals on starchy carbs (oatmeal, yams or sweet potatoes, brown rice or basmati rice, beans, peas and legumes, quinoa, whole grains.)
  2. Fruit and vegetables
  3. Eat fish
  4. Cut salt and saturated fats
  5. Get active
  6. Don’t get thirsty
  7. Eat breakfast.

Natural Spaces

I read somewhere that there is a theory that we are drawn to, and soothed by natural landscapes – especially flowers, plants and water, because they contributed to our survival as early humans.

There is natural beauty everywhere, even in our big cities. Some of the most beautiful natural spaces can be found in city parks. Walking along a waterfront, stargazing or watching the sun set at the end of a busy day can happen fairly easily. Looking actively for natural beauty brings with it lovely rewards. I am journal-ling my time spent outdoors by taking a daily photo and posting it to my Instagram. For me, this is not about exercising as such but it’s about slowing my pace and really looking at my surroundings.

Learning new things

Learning new things soothes the soul. Crafting, Art, Crochet and Knitting are back in fashion (if they ever went out of fashion). It is fun to be creative! But if creativity is not your thing try learning to swim, ride a bicycle, take a Salsa class or learn something new about yourself. Train for a marathon or mountain climb. Set a goal and aim high then go for it. You will surprise yourself – you will learn that you can do the things you always wanted to. Take the time to try. Invest in yourself! I have taken up drawing again, something I’d not done since I left school, and am slowly moving into painting. I will take a life-drawing class this year.

Exercise

Last on my list is exercise and I’ve added the words ‘regularly and moderately’ In the past I’ve tried and it has become a chore that I have enjoyed so little I have stopped. Swimming in lanes up and down a municipal pool 50 or so times in an evening is, quite frankly, boring. Running doesn’t do anything for me. I enjoy it so very little I am completely unmotivated to try. Exercise classes are great, but in all honesty I hide in the back row and find excuses not to go, eventually stopping. I detest gyms although I don’t mind the workouts but find they are filled with the vain and the super-fit. Exercise is last on my list despite me knowing it could or maybe should have been first. It needs a commitment from me so I am going to keep the words ‘regularly and moderately’ and tackle it this way. I will take more walks because I do love to walk especially in the Spring, Summer and Autumn. Winter is not easy. But here is my plan!

Try to go outside every day, take a walk – short or long, fast or slow. Notice the little things. Enjoy the fresh air.  Try not to let the weather put you off too much but if you don’t get out every day be kind to yourself. It’s not the end of the world as long as you don’t give up. Make plans to go on trips and outings at the weekends. Take a photo every time you do this as a record of what you saw. Just one photo. Don’t worry about the quality of it. Just do it and upload it somewhere. (Mine are in Instagram).

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Wiltshire is such a beautiful county, it sparkles in the sunlight but is rather dank and dreary in the grey. But if you look carefully you can find all kinds of things……like this!

Look after yourself and drop me a line or press the like star below if my post has helped you decide its time to live simply and concentrate on your well-being.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Cathryn says:

    Enjoyed your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Cathryn 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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