Over the past few months I have been getting very down and unmotivated. At first I didn’t notice it because I was so busy with my life, going about my day from morning to night, on repeat. But then the other week I realised I just felt really awful. I don’t just mean health-wise, I mean everything. I felt awful about myself, I found I just couldn’t be bothered to do anything or to go anywhere. I had no motivation to cook, to go out and see friends, to write for this blog or to even read (Which I love to do). I put this down to many things. It’s also a part of the reason I’ve been absent, as I admitted last week.
One of those things is that I’ve been stressed. In multiple kinds of ways. My role at work changed which meant my workload got a lot higher, and I’m not managing it well. My really close friend and flatmate left London for good because her visa ran out, now everything is quieter and lonelier. I’m stressed about money (aren’t we all?), I’m stressed about things back home in New Zealand and I can’t do much to help the situation.
On top of that, I got really sick two months ago, and I’m still not feeling 100% better. I had a sinus infection which kept me bedridden for two weeks. I would have liked to stay in bed longer, but I didn’t have any sick leave left at work to do so. My sinuses have been bad since, even though I was on antibiotics for the infection. I went to the pharmacy and they gave me some over-the-counter medicine for my sinuses which has helped a lot. I’m finally starting to feel a lot better than I was.
Now I’m trying to pinpoint the things that are making my stressed, unmotivated, and lethargic. There are situations I can’t change, so I’m focusing on just being there as much as I can for my family back in New Zealand. In other areas of my life however, I can definitely changes things.
Having a balanced diet
I have been eating horrible since I got back from Egypt and proceeded to get really sick. I mean I was eating bakery food for breakfast, and buying lunch out everyday. I was eating toast a lot for dinner. I was eating a lot of bread, I had it for every meal. So I was tired all the time, I felt bloated a lot, my body didn’t feel right, I felt lazy, and I was getting no proper nutrition. No wonder I’ve been feeling lethargic and unmotivated.
I received a Nutribullet as a present for my birthday back in April and I’ve only just recently started using it. I’ve been replacing one meal a day with a healthy, fiber filled, fruit & vegetable packed smoothie, for a few weeks now. This has dramatically changed the way I feel already, I regret not starting to use it earlier. I feel like I have way more energy, I crave fruit and vegetables, I’ve stopped eating and craving sweets or chocolate, and it’s making me feel a little happier.
Fruit and vegetables are so good for you, when people tell me they hate them I just can’t fathom why, you must eat way too much processed sugar if you don’t enjoy the natural sugar of fruits. If you’re one of the people that hates eating fruit and vegetables, then try smoothies as a way to start enjoying them, and to cut down processed sugar. I definitely recommend it.
I’ve been really focusing on what I put into my body. If I don’t have a green smoothie for breakfast, then I will have egg muffins for breakfast instead which are full of protein and healthy vegetables. What are egg muffins? Think of an omelet except cooked in a muffin tin with loads of good vegetables. They’re easy to heat up in the morning and eat.
I have a healthy lunch, my go-to lunches are an easy chicken wrap – cook the chicken in advance, then make the wrap at lunchtime with fresh vegetables, or a chicken salad. In winter I love eating quinoa, chicken and roast vegetables – you heat it up at lunchtime and you’re good to go.
For dinner it really depends on how I’m feeling, if I didn’t have a smoothie for breakfast then I will have it for dinner instead. Otherwise I will cook myself some sort of meat, vegetable & carb for dinner. Often this is salmon, boiled veges, and sweet potato. I’m the sort of person that could definitely eat the same thing every day. It doesn’t bother me.
My flatmate loves to cook though, so sometimes she will cook us a Nourish Bowl for dinner, and man, those bowls are super healthy but also super delicious and filling.
Cutting down alcohol
This one is going to be a hard one. Like I said, I’ve only recently started this change, so I’m still trying to figure out a balance. I was drinking a lot of alcohol before my friend left London, mainly this was because I was trying to do everything with her since she was leaving. So I went to every social event, and I was drinking multiple times a week socially. A lot of weekends were spent hung-over.
The London lifestyle includes a lot of going out and drinking. So I know I don’t want to eradicate alcohol completely, because you know what? I still want to enjoy life. I’m not trying to lose a lot of weight, I’m only trying to live a healthier lifestyle so cutting alcohol out completely isn’t necessary, in my opinion at least.
I do need to cut down on alcohol though. Alcohol is a depressant, so I know it’s not doing wonders for my emotional state. I’ve been detoxing from alcohol for a month and I’m happy for it. But if I want to go out with some friends to drink once every while, then I won’t deny myself that sort of fun.
I’m just going to be mindful of how much alcohol I drink, and how often I drink it. When I do drink it, I don’t want to binge drink and I want to stay away from the sugary cocktails. Lucky for me I love vodka, soda water, and fresh lime. It’s my go-to alcoholic drink on a night out for many reasons, one being my hangover isn’t as bad on these, another is that it’s lower in sugar.
Another area I want to focus on and get back into, is exercising. I hadn’t really been to the gym much since Egypt. Actually since before Egypt, I was too stressed to go to the gym before then. After Egypt it was because I was sick and I didn’t feel well enough to be working out. All the same my body got used to not exercising.
Because I was eating so badly and not exercising, I gained a bit of weight over the past few months. Well I mean I lost muscle mass and gained body fat. My weight did go up a few kilogram’s but I noticed it more in my size. I gained inches everywhere, and it was a horrible feeling. Not only could I see it on my body, I could feel it. When I walked I felt it on my thighs and in my stomach, my clothes stopped fitting right, my pants were too tight, my sleeves were super tight on my arms, my bras became a size too small. When I lay down I hated the way my chin and neck felt (Does anyone else hate that feeling?). I’m talking in past tense because it’s not that bad now, but I still haven’t lost enough weight to get back to where I was, let alone to where I want to be.
So I’ve been getting into a routine of exercise at the gym. I hate running with a passion (for health reasons, I have asthma and I want to learn how to control my breathing), so for now I’m concentrating on the gym. This includes both cardio and weights. I used to have a PT last year, so I remember a lot of the sets we did, I know how to use the machines, I know a few exercises with the free weights. Once I get up my stamina I will start going to gym classes as well.
Side note: Is anyone else too scared to join a gym class because everyone in the class looks super fit and strong? The strength classes, HIIT classes, and floor based classes at my gym all have super fit looking people that do it. I know if I joined in, I would be the one dying on the floor having an asthma attack half way through.
So far I’m finding the results are already making me feel better mentally as well as emotionally. I love the feeling I get after I’ve worked out; sometimes it’s really hard to get to the gym, but it’s always worth it and I never regret it. I’ve started going back to the gym for only 30 minutes a day because it’s all I have time for. Once I get into a routine, my plan is to go before work and spend 45 minutes to an hour working out.
Actively try to stop stressing
I know this is easier said than done. In my opinion there’s no point in stressing about situations you can’t change. So I’m trying to relax and stop worrying about the things in New Zealand that I really just can’t change. I’m already doing everything I can for those situations, so I need to let go of the rest of my worries.
Exercising and eating healthier is already helping a lot with this. I find I’m less stressed on a day I exercise, so that’s one more benefit from exercising. Keeping a organised and clean space is another way I find that is helping me to be less stressed. It’s so simple and doesn’t actually literally effect anything except my mood, but that’s one effect I welcome.
I used to do yoga, so if that’s your sort of thing I definitely recommend it. Right now I don’t really feel like I have time for yoga, simply because I’m trying to work on so many things at once. So sometimes I listen to a Deepak Chopra meditation if I feel like it. I’ve bought a few of his meditations in his apps. Check them out if you’re interested, I really enjoy his meditations, so I definitely recommend them.
“Clear space, clear mind”
This really applies for me. When my space is clean and clear, I feel organised and like I’m in control. However if it’s messy and cluttered, then I feel like a mess, I feel lost amongst all of the things laying about. So I’m getting into the habit of putting things away once I’ve finished using them so they’re not left out, I like to vacuum a lot, and I’ve given away things to charity that I don’t use or wear anymore.
They say that when your space is cluttered, your creativity halts. It has something to do with the fact that when you’re trying to be creative there’s too much stuff in your vision for your brain to focus and concentrate. At least that’s what I took away from the articles I’ve read. This feels accurate for me, because I’ve felt more organised and more creative since I cleared out my things.
Having a clean room also does wonders for the way I feel when I go to sleep. Does anyone else think this way too?
Take time out for me
I really do believe that everyone needs to be selfish every once and a while and to take out time for themselves. For me, I’ve taken some of my social time out. One, because I don’t want to drink alcohol and socially that’s what we do. Two, because I need to start budgeting better. Three, I really want more time to myself to write, to be creative, to listen to music and dance around, by myself.
Is that bad that I want to spend more time by myself rather than with friends? I just feel like I need a ‘me break’, I don’t want to have to think about other people right now. So for the past month I’ve turned down multiple social engagements, just so I can get myself in the right frame of mind and head space.
Sometimes it’s just what you have to do.
For the past few months I’ve been in a bad space, it may not have been as bad as what other people experience, but for me, it’s affected me and I’ve noticed. It’s prompted me to change up some things, I realised I needed a change. To be more active, to look after myself more, to be motivated. I don’t like it when I’m lazy, I don’t like wandering around with no aim, I don’t like not exercising and eating super unhealthy.
While I still don’t feel as motivated as I used to be, as on to it, or as organised. I do feel like I’m trying to actively get there. I’m feeling a little better than I was. I do think there are still things I could change, like my job, but that’s way too big of a change for me right now. I don’t even know what it is that I would be looking for, and I wouldn’t want to just jump headfirst into something I’m unsure about.
Have you ever felt like this? What do you do when you’re not in the right head space and you can tell it’s affecting you? How do you change your mentality? Have you ever been stuck in a rut in your life? What did you do to get out of it?