The Busy Women’s Five Minute Guide to Health & Wellbeing
Let me guess you’ve got about 5 minutes or less to read this? I’ll cut right to the chase. If you’re a woman like me you know that you can be notoriously stubborn when it comes to making your health and wellbeing a priority. A recent Australian study showed that over one-third of women are experiencing stress or worry a lot of, or most of the time! Sadly, this statistic isn’t an unfamiliar one. In the fast-paced, busy, I need it done yesterday culture we live in, we find ourselves asking, how do busy women make their health and wellbeing a priority? Is it even possible?
Firstly, I want to assure you, that yes, it’s possible to improve your health, wellbeing and energy without feeling like your adding another thing to your to-do list. Secondly, I’m going to share the no-fuss, quick and easy changes that you can do to make your health and wellbeing a habit instead of an afterthought.
So let’s address what’s stopping you from making those positive and healthy changes you know you need in your life?
Most health professionals will tell you what stops us is one of two things
- Women are facing a lack of time.
- Women don’t prioritise their health and well-being as an essential non-negotiable.
Let’s get honest about a lack of time
I’m going to ask you to get really truthful with yourself and answer these questions
“Why am I so busy?”
“What would I do if I wasn’t so busy? “
“How do I feel when I’m not busy?”
The answers to these questions are your own to reflect on. Your answers will serve as a guide to help you get really clear on if you’re actually short on time or if you might be filling up your time up with things that don’t actually serve you so that you can tune into what you really want to be doing that adds to your health and wellbeing.
Your answers are going to put you in touch with your memories of what it feels like not to be busy, they will remind you what’s possible for you and how good it really feels when you take a break from the busy, because isn’t it time we stopped glorifying busy and placed the value on slowing down.
What Does Slow Down Even Mean?
It seems counter-intuitive but when we’re not being rushed to handle all the daily tasks and the endless to-do lists, we manage busy-ness better. The less you focus on trying to speed through what needs to get done and the more you give time to being in the moment, the more productive you are.
If you’re struggling to think about how to drop down a gear, let me paint a clear picture of what slowing down actually looks like.
- Instead of waking up and scrolling through Facebook and integral try gently closing your eyes and focusing on what you want your day to feel like.
- Instead of responding to emails and making calls in your lunch break, take the time to enjoy lunch without the distractions, take in the scenery, people watch or get outside if possible.
- Most importantly find at least one moment of peace a day, even if that means sitting in your car for 5 minutes before you head into work so that you can consciously slow down and experience just being.
Whilst it might feel like we need hours rather than minutes before we can relax and distress, if you aim for just a few minutes of stillness consistently, each day, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Giving yourself the daily and consistent space to slow down, soften and be is a game changer.
Now let’s address the issue of prioritization. Making ourselves a priority, that elusive yet magical idea that seems too good to be true right?
The thing is, our health and wellbeing levels are directly linked to being able to put ourselves first. I could easily give you a list of the top 50 ways to do this but we both know you don’t have time for that and I promised you I’d get this done in 5 minutes. So I’m going to give you 2 things you need to prioritize.
Prioritize the relationship you have with your body. This also means that we dedicate time to care for our physical body. We can do this by listening to what our body’s needs are around rest, nourishment, and movement.
Sleep, this is the grand enchilada ladies, our bodies require rest and regular sleep to recharge and rejuvenate. Getting enough sleep helps us retain more information and increases our memory function. Start with a sleep routine that focuses on winding down an hour before bed. Turning off screens (yes your phone is a screen) dimming lights, getting comfortable and beginning the process of letting your body know it’s time for relaxation. The average adult needs approximately 8 hours of sleep, so aim to get to bed to achieve t8 hours, or as close to it as you can. We all take time to adjust to sleep changes so continue to follow your sleep routine until your body catches up.
Nourishing your body is about making food choices that make our body feel good. When we nourish our bodies we eat nutritious foods full of goodness AND have that brownie if we feel like it! As a general guide eating more plant-based foods like foods like fruits and vegetables and healthy grain foods should be a priority. You should also include moderate amounts of dairy and protein foods like lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes and small amounts of healthy fats. Without getting into a debate about the best eating regime to follow, I’m advocating eating food in a balanced way that brings us delight without fear, guilt or stress. This isn’t labeling any foods as good or bad, rather it’s about conscious choice and enjoyment. You can also check out more info on the new healthy eating food pyramid here: http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/national/resource/healthy-eating-pyramid
30 minutes of movement a day is all you need. The key is to get creative with your movements so it doesn’t feel like a chore. If something doesn’t excite you or make you feel good you won’t do it, point blank. So find the movement that suits your body, whether it’s a walk, yoga, a boxing session or an at home workout make sure you enjoy what you’re doing and aim for 30 minutes. If you’re really pressed for time, make good movement choices, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a brisk walk during lunch or even standing over sitting where possible.
Prioritize the relationships with the people you love, the ones that fill you up and make you feel good. It can be easy to take for granted and forget about the things and the people that make us truly happy. Set a goal around your important relationships that starts with connecting with at least one person once a week. Ideally, it’s in person, if need be, make it over the phone or via email. When we have satisfying connections in our world that are genuine and authentic we not only feel better but we also have a sense of community and belonging.
Finally, I’m going to ask you to do one last thing… I’m going to ask you to commit to your health and wellbeing because you’re worthy. When we fill our lives with busy to the point where we are no longer the priority, we become less human beings and more human doings. We exist, but we are not living, we lose the magic of what life is, the opportunity to flow, to feel to enjoy and notice each moment in its vibrancy and richness. So I ask you to make a commitment to questioning, to slowing down and prioritizing yourself because you’re worthy of living a life that feels deeply connected and fulfilling.
Natajsa Wagner, Clinical Psychotherapist
About: Natajsa Wagner is a Clinical Psychotherapist in private practice in Brisbane, Australia. She’s on a mission to spread the word that THERAPY IS THE NEW BLACK… Because your mental health is just as crucial as your physical health.
She’s worked with clients for over half a decade on challenging aspects of their life that they feel stuck in, including anxiety, depression, grief, stress & disordered eating. She gently holds the space for women to connect back to themselves, to discover their innate wisdom and illuminate the unconscious blocks that need to be processed so they can heal and transform. To ultimately live with happiness, authenticity, creativity & spontaneity.
To contact Natajsa or to find out more please visit www.natajsawagner.com