There’s something I want to share with you guys. Even though life may often look hunky dory for Matt and I, it’s actually been a bit of a rough year for us. Just like many of you we’ve had our fair share of personal and work related issues that have really impacted our outlook on life. At times it’s felt like ‘one thing after another’ is going wrong and we’ve questioned our ability to cope. When lots of events beyond your control take place life can quickly became frightening and overwhelming.
This run of bad luck let my insecurities get the better of me and I started to feel like admitting defeat and hiding from the world. It became incredibly hard to walk the talk and shout about health and happiness when your own confidence is shaken and you feel pretty miserable. But Matt and I pride ourselves on being true to what we advocate and one thing we encourage is positive change to get you to a better place in life. I also believe these things are sent to challenge us so knew I needed to take action.
I wanted my mojo back and here’s what I did to regain control. I recommend all mojo-less folks consider the following if you need a helping hand right now.
Number 1: Add Don’t Eliminate
When we’re feeling low the last thing we need are additional feelings of guilt and deprivation, especially when it comes to nutrition and exercise. I stopped trying to avoid anything as it would only lead to extra pressure or a chance to beat myself up, I just simply added in more good stuff. I prepped loads of healthy food to stop me from consuming excessive amounts of any not so good stuff. I started my day with my favourite protein smoothie and drank boatloads of green tea (which by default meant less coffee). The l-theanine in green tea crosses the blood brain barrier and increases serotonin levels, it has a calming effect on the nervous system and reduces feelings of anxiety too.
I also cooked up all my favourite Fitter Food fish dishes as the EPA and DHA component of omega 3 fats have been proven to alleviate depression and improve mood health. I put together some trail mix each day with macadamias, goji berries, cacao nibs, coconut and 90% dark chocolate to keep the sugar demons at bay. I put my gym trainers away and got out every morning for an hour walk with Hamish.
I needed head space, fresh air, a chillout playlist and some low level movement. After all, studies have proven the ability of walking outdoors to boost serotonin by 100%. I also knew that if I hit the gym there was a chance I’d end up doing a particularly punishing workout in a bid to grab some endorphins and a much needed sense of achievement, yet hormonally my body wouldn’t thank me for it. I didn’t declare a break from exercise I just prioritised my walk and often felt it was just enough and there was no need to train on top of this.
Number 2: Psychotherapy or Counselling Sessions
There is a slight stigma or perception that this is only something you opt for if you suffer from more serious mental health issues – like depression or addiction – when in fact most of us can benefit from this type of professional support. There are many varieties available but ultimately it’s about finding the right person for you. I looked around locally at practitioners registered with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapists who specialised in issues I needed help with and I’ll confess to checking their picture first to see if they looked like they’d give me a hug (they don’t btw!)
It was actually an old school friend who encouraged me to do this. She lost her sister to ovarian cancer at the age of 35, they were best pals and needless to say she was devastated. She started having bereavement counselling and every time we spoke it was as if another small part of her had come alive again. When her sister passed away she felt an obligation to fill the role of her missing sister and care for everyone, almost to the point of revolving her entire life upon this purpose. Her counsellor guided her away from this expectation and slowly began to plant the seed of a different future for her. The strength and confidence she gained from the experience was transformational. When I confided in her I was struggling she immediately insisted I have some counselling sessions of my own.
It’s recommended you commit to 6 concurrent sessions to really establish a sense of progress and from there you can then choose to have them as and when you need the support. There are things I discuss with my counsellor that I couldn’t confide in anyone else. Matt is a phenomenal support to me but sometimes those close to us try and offer constructive advice when that’s not really what we’re looking for. Counselling offers more of a non-judgemental sounding board that allows you to voice and explore your state of mind and any emotional attachments you may have.
I learned a huge amount about myself and how many of the things I think people are judging me on were likely established during childhood. Events that may seem insignificant now, like not passing an exam, may still influence some of your behaviours and values. In actual fact the only person usually judging is often yourself, no one else – everyone else just wishes you would be a little kinder to yourself.
I think our stressful, social media filled lifestyles are increasing the pressure many of us place on ourselves and causing unhealthy behaviours we struggle to control feelings and negative thoughts. Counselling is something I recommend to any clients struggling with emotional eating, orthorexia, binging, addiction, low self-esteem, lack of motivation or obsessive compulsive behaviours. I support with nutrition, supplements and exercise of course, but sometimes the demons need to be addressed with a little exploration into the root cause.
To choose a counsellor or psychotherapist head to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapists and select a practitioner registered in your area.
Number 3: Daily Mindfulness
We have covered mindfulness before HERE Matt and I make time for mindful walks where we turn off phones and just let our senses be our senses again. Here are a few more tips:
- Stop multi tasking – it’s stressful to our brain and often means you burn dinner!
- Simplify your life – your wardrobe, your menu, your task list, your social calendar and consider ditching some digitals, especially if you’re tracking and logging information daily.
- Remember health is about who you hang with – Prioritise time with people who make you feel good.
- Remind yourself life is a journey not a destination – the ride should be a happy one! 🙂
Number 4: Mentoring and Coaching
Matt recently wrote about the importance of having a trusted coach or mentor.
Whether you’re looking to resolve a health issues, lose weight or regain confidence mentors and coaching can have a profound effect upon your progress and success. Even at my lowest time I’m usually still pretty good with my nutrition as I’m fully aware that a boatload of junk food will send my serotonin levels crashing through the floor, as a Nutritional Therapist and Trainer I don’t really need guidance in these areas but when it comes to running a business and having confidence in my abilities as an entrepreneur, well that’s a different story altogether! I really need ongoing expert help and support with this. Passion and goals are one thing but actually putting a strategic plan in place to attain them is another. Matt and I do this with clients but it took me a while to accept we needed help to do this with our business.
Having a mentor helped us to map out our vision and some key steps to achieve it. It lifted a huge weight from my shoulders. Also knowing that if the tasks and paths we take don’t work out we have the guidance and support to change. We do this with our online members every single day, coaching people closer to understanding their needs and best means of achieving them, if something isn’t sustainable or effective we help them change it.
Through our business coaching I also realised many of the barriers to progress and limitations we experience are often self imposed. Worry, self doubt and not believing great things can often cloud your vision and potential. I think women suffer from this more so than men, almost like we don’t deserve success and happiness? As part of a coaching programme we were asked to create a primary question that we could ask ourselves daily to remind us of our goal in life, mine was “How can I laugh and smile more each day?” 🙂
Number 5: Say Yes To New Experiences
When I’m not in a good place I just want to crawl to the safety of the sofa, watch Friends on repeat and eat dark chocolate (it’s medicinal, honest!) Earlier this year I was doing exactly this, I was stuck in a chuckles and chocolate rut where I wouldn’t have to cope with any unknowns or added stress. I declined social invitations or deviations from my spot on the sofa. If I was feeling particularly low I might also jump on social media and check out how successful and amazing everyone else was doing just add insult to injury.
The counselling and coaching was a big part of hauling me from my comfort zone as it helped me realise I was missing out on life experiences and needed to get my lust for adventure back again. I decided if an opportunity popped up where I though “ooh no way” instead I would say ‘yes.’
Experiences are really a journey of self discovery. They allow us to grow, change, face fears and build confidence as we conqueor new challenges. So recently I’ve been saying “yes” a lot and let fate decide what experiences will bring into my life. I’ve jumped out of a plane, surfed, climbed trees and drank champagne on a school night and stopped missing out on life itself. The next time you feel like saying ‘no’ say ‘yes.’
Find Strength In Numbers
In life sometimes sh*t happens, what’s important is that you take action, explore the cause and implement changes to support your mental health and wellbeing.
If you feel like you’ve lost your mojo why not jump into our membership group Fitter 365 and we’ll help you regain it with healthy, nutritious food, incredible support from our members and the Fitter Food team who will be armed with tips, advice and a virtual cuppa.