May 2021 Word of the Month: Health

This month is Mental Health Awareness month, and I chose this month’s word to live by based on that. So this month’s word is ‘Health’.

There are many ways to be healthy, many ways to look after yourself. Looking after your mind comes with also looking after your physical health, your nutrition, even your social life. I can’t say that I’m perfect in all of those, but I know they’re all important and I try to do what I can for each of them.

I’ve listed out the ways that I look after my health below, and offered up a few tips and suggestions too along the way. 

Nutritional Health

I’m gluten and dairy free. The reason being is because I have an auto-immune disorder called Psoriasis. It’s a skin condition where the skin peels and heals ultrafast in places, resulting in sort of scabby patches. I have to say, since going gluten and dairy free, this has healed up and mostly disappeared. I used to have big patches on my elbows and knees, and now they have gone completely.

The gut itself is a second brain and because of that it can influence what’s going on in the body and the mind. The best things you can do for it is to eat well and make sure you have a varied diet, limit the amount of sugar, and be conscious of what you put in your body, even introducing pre-biotics and pro-biotics if need be. Don’t forget, if you’ve ever had any antibiotics, these kill off the good bacteria as well as the bad in your gut, so it’s a good idea to check out your gut flora.

If you tend to get a lot of bloating, gas, and have issues with anxiety, you might find you’ve got a gluten intolerance and issues with your gut flora. The gut can affect mental health – as well as physical health, so my tip is to investigate. Try cutting out dairy, gluten, or both, and most of all limit the amount of sugar in your diet.

There’s loads of products out there to make the transition to a dairy free and/or gluten free diet. As a side note, if you’re a fan of tea, in terms of plant-based products I’d recommend oat milk instead of normal milk… 

This month I’m taking up probiotics to help my gut flora, and I’ve chosen a product called Biomel. You can read more about them here, and even order some yourself. They’re dairy and gluten free, so right up my street.

Physical Health

I’ll admit, I’m probably not as good with physical health as I should be. I try and go on daily walks for about an hour or so, but when the weather’s crap this falls a bit by the wayside. It’s silly as I can just throw on waterproof clothes and brave the rain, but anyway…

I still say trying to build up a regular routine, be it daily or a few times a week. Whether you’re into walking like me or perhaps into some kind of sport, or even love to swim, I think it’s so important to have some sort of exercise in your life. I’ve never been a lover of sports, though I quite like Badminton, so walking is right up my street. You visit new places, explore your local towns, and what’s great is it gets you away from a screen! I also love to take my camera with me as there’s always a great picture along the way… another incentive for going for a walk I think and a great way to introduce good habits by including more than one together into a group of good habits.

If you’re wondering how to keep up the habits, I’d definitely invest in a good app to track your exercise. I have a fitbit myself so I can track my steps – and of course use it as a watch! But honestly you can get an app for that. There’s a bunch of great apps out there for doing exercise too, as well as using YouTube for classes like Yoga. Here’s a few I’ve used before:

This month I’m going to try and go for a walk, however short, even if it’s raining! I’m looking forward to warmer days where I can walk more too… roll on summer!

Social Health

These days social health is quite difficult, what with lockdowns and limitations, but if we were basing this on normal circumstances then I’d say we’d all be seeing friends, family, and work colleagues on a regular basis in person, rather than on zoom or Facebook messenger. Whether it’s online or ‘in real life’, I absolutely think social health should be something we all work on. 

I’m an introvert myself, so I’m far better with small groups or one-on-one chats (if that makes sense), and I need to take time by myself to build on my energies. There are times I’m not up for social chats – I’m too tired, too drained, not in the mood, and on those times I either decide to go anyway because I’ll feel better for it, or take time for myself.

For extroverts, I think social health is really important as extroverts build their energy through social interactions. I have a friend who is an extrovert and they really do thrive on any social activities!

This month I’m finally seeing a few of my friends in person, and despite knowing the weather won’t be great, I’m still going and looking forward to it. Because of Lockdown and various restrictions, as well as living a few hours away now from my close friends, we’ve been talking to each other online quite a bit. I think it’s so important to have regular socials with friends – and family too, if you’re not living close by. I appreciate that not everyone gets on with family, so in that instance friends are a lifeline. 

Social health is as much important as all the others – they offer us outlets to talk things through, give us a focus and a distraction at the same time, and it’s important that whatever we go through in life, that we know that others are there for us, to talk through things, to recognise similar situations and offer support, and to realise we are not living in a bubble on our own.

So if you’re not already, I recommend having regular chats with friends and family. Even if you don’t live nearby, there’s always zoom or Facebook messenger – it’s so important to have that break and recognise that there are others in your support team, as well as offering that all-important support to others.

If you’re wondering about events to set-up, or even attend in these pandemic days, I would definitely recommend meetup.com. A lot of events are online, or restricted to a certain number, but it’s a great place for finding events near you, or even setting up a group yourself.

Mental/Mind Health

I’ve tried a lot of things along my journey to build my mental health. Mindfulness, meditation, tapping and such like but some of it didn’t really help to be honest. Mostly what helps is me trying to live in the moment, in the present, rather than focusing on the past or future. I just take it each day as it comes and do what I can that day to practice what I enjoy – writing, drawing, bullet journaling etc.

As I said, there’s a bunch of activities I like to do to keep my mind active – besides writing, drawing and bullet journaling I enjoy online games, colouring books, and of course – reading. But overall I think what helps mind health is a combination of physical, nutritional, and social health alongside doing what you love, which is why I’ve written about all those prior to discussing mental/mind health.

The thing is, we as an organism need a number of different types of health to keep our mind healthy as well. The right food feeds our gut, and because of the second brain here, it affects our mental health too. Good, clean food equals better physical and mental health, and I’d definitely recommend cooking from scratch wherever you can instead of going to the pre-packaged food aisle. Things like stir-fries and rice bowls are great if you’re not a fan of spending hours in the kitchen, but Pinterest is a great source of finding recipes.

We need regular exercise – in the natural world, enjoying the space around us, from forests to the ocean and everything in between. Green spaces are absolutely essential to bring us back to earth and ground us when we’re feeling worried about things. 

We need people around us, to talk to, to rant to, to share ideas, to help and support each other. Talking to friends and family is the basis of realising we are not alone in whatever we are going through.

Above all, health is so important and there’s a number of ways that we need to be healthy, to support our mental health.

Because it is mental health awareness month, I’ve listed some resources below that have helped me, some that I’ve included already in this blog post, and generally those that are just damn useful.

Resources

Please feel free to share your own ways you help your health, and any resource you’d recommend.

Kate @ Kandid Chronicles x


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