Don’t Worry, Be Happy… Can it be that easy?

September 1, 2022

At the moment,  life is pretty stressful all over the globe. Here in the weather obsessed UK, we might dream of long hot summers, but this year it has been dry and hot for so long that we now have areas of drought and wildfires causing untold damage.

The increasing cost of living and fuel prices are causing anxiety for millions as the weekly shop and energy process are increasing every week.

September also brings added stresses for many with children starting school and parents seeing their older children off to university, college, or new jobs.

It is almost impossible to eliminate the external stresses, but by taking some simple measures, you can help your body and mind be better equipped to cope. We don’t have a magic wand to make it all better, but perhaps we can offer a few tips to help you create a better wellness strategy leaving you in a better place to deal with what you have to contend with.

It is almost impossible to eliminate the external stresses, but by taking some simple measures, you can help your body and mind be better equipped to cope.

And relax … if only it were that easy! Taking time out is something that many of us are not very good at, yet just a few minutes a day can make a big difference to our mental and physical wellbeing. We all know that ideally we keep away from screens for at least an hour before bed and also have breaks during the day. Blue light filters and night settings on screens can help if you do find yourself using your phone or computer late at night. Support your eye health with antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Eat plenty of brightly coloured fruits, especially blueberries, to support your eyes.

Take five minutes every couple of hours to stand and stretch. Take a few deep breaths and become aware of where the tension is in your body, usually it is the shoulder and neck area. As you exhale, lower your shoulders with each breath and feel the muscles relax. If you don’t get to move around much during the day, aim to have a short walk at lunch time, even 30 minutes outside in fresh air can have a positive impact. If you can get into a green space, even better. Being in nature helps to calm and relax us.

If your muscles regularly feel tense, think about taking a magnesium supplement, needed by the body for muscle function and normal psychological function, it is an important mineral for the health of the body. Many users take it in the evening as it helps them to feel more relaxed and in turn, sleep better.

A good night’s sleep can make all the difference as to how we face the day. Preparing for sleep is not just about putting your phone down. Simple things like not eating a large meal late at night, having a warm bath with essential oils such as lavender, drinking a herbal tea rather than coffee and making your room as comfortable as you can, are all things that can help you get a better sleep.

It is not only caffeine that can keep you awake at night, but it could also be your supplements too. B vitamins are well known for helping the nervous system function properly and to help reduce tiredness and fatigue. But if you take B vitamins late in the day, some people find they get a boost of energy and can’t sleep. So, take your B complex at breakfast or lunch time and save your magnesium for the evening meal.

A lot of is find that if we get stressed or worried, we have digestive issues too. Conditions such as IBS are very stress related and being anxious can flare up your symptoms. Keep your gut healthy by making sure you eat plenty of fermented foods such as yoghurt, kimchi, or tofu. These foods provide healthy bacteria that help keep the gut microbiome in good condition. Research shows us that a healthy gut microbiome has a positive impact on our immune system, our moods, and our digestion as a whole. If you really don’t like fermented foods, take a friendly bacteria supplement that will give you a wide range of good bacteria.

As we head into the cooler months, it is time to think about your immune system. Our mental health can have an impact on the immune system too and if we have a low immune system and pick up bugs, that in turn leads to us feeling worse mentally.

Vitamin D is needed for proper immune function and as we head into autumn, we are unlikely to get enough sunshine to manufacture it ourselves. A supplement is a perfect way to keep our levels topped up. Vitamin D is also thought to play a role in our moods too, so a good supplement to add to your regime. Although traditionally from fish sources, it is now available in a vegan form from lichen, perfect for vegetarians and vegans. You will find it in capsules, tablets and liquid, so it is easy to find the one that works best for you.

As we head into the autumn, we are less likely to get vitamin D from sunlight, so it’s time to think about a supplement.

Vitamin C and Zinc are also important for immune function, take a look at the supplements you are using and see if you are getting these important nutrients. If not, it could be time for a seasonal change for your supplement regime and make it more autumn and winter friendly.

The amino acid L-theanine is found in green tea and has been shown to have a calming effect. Drinking a good quality green tea can provide theanine, but it will also contain caffeine. A small amount of caffeine might be something you want during the day, but perhaps not in the evening.  L-theanine can also be taken as a supplement which will provide you a measured amount rather than relying on the quality of your green tea.

September has a number of awareness weeks that can act as a good springboard for you to discover something new or to find out more about a topic. Awareness weeks often mean there are activities going on that allow you to try out different things. For example, Organic September will see lots of food retailers and restaurants highlighting organic food. A great way to increase the amount of fresh fruit and veg in your diet.

Simple lifestyle changes such as increasing your fresh fruit and veg intake, can have a positive impact on your overall wellness.

Happiness at Work Week was founded in the Netherlands as a way of helping employers and employees be aware of the work environment and make it a positive place to be. We spend a lot of time working, if we can make it a better place to be, the impact on our mental wellness can be quite significant.

Many migraine sufferers find stress and anxiety to be a trigger for an attack. Migraine Awareness Week sets out to increase awareness amongst sufferers of what could be available to them and to give an understanding of what an attack can be like, to those that never experience a migraine.

A newer even is Youth Mental Health Day, started in 2020 by stem4, a charity that supports young people build positive mental health. They have free apps and support, a useful tool for young people starting something new such as university or a new job.

And finally, a good laugh and a bit of fun can do wonders to our overall health and our outlook, not all awareness days have to be serious, 19th September is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, time to bring a little fun into our lives, it’s good for you!

It’s good to bring some simple fun into your life, little things can make big differences.

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