• Feel Good
  • 15th Jun 2024
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How to rebuild your wellness routine when your life changes

My life has been through a fabulous metamorphosis over the last eighteen months.

I’ve gone from being single and working in a really stressful job to living with my fiancé and commuting three days while working from home for two. My commute is now a lot longer than it was a year ago and I don’t want to extend my working day by heading to a yoga class each night.

Basically, my whole routine has completely changed. And even after nine months living in my new home, I haven’t quite fixed on a good wellness routine. After moving in I had no desire to work out, then I lost my Grandad and again I felt no inclination to spend time working out.

Now, I’m newly engaged, and wedding planning is the most fun thing ever. But also just a little bit stressful. And I’ve realised – I need to get myself back into some form of wellness routine so I look and feel my best on my big day – and also so that I don’t let all those years of yoga and clean eating and meditation go to waste.

It’s about time I practised what I preach…

But how?

Life is completely different to a year ago. Previously I was teaching in Newcastle, it took about half an hour to get home each night and I lived by my routine. I’d take batch-cooked vegetable chilli to work most days, I’d head to a yoga class after work or practice yoga once I got home. I meditated every night before bed and most mornings on the way to work.

Now? To be honest I’ve practised yoga perhaps four times since Christmas. When I finish work I just want to get home as quickly as I can and my commute is about 90-minutes long. I don’t meditate at night anymore because it just isn’t part of this new loved-up, relationship routine anymore.

But, it can be.

I know that a routine is the secret to building good habits.

And I have started to build a healthier routine: protein smoothies for breakfast, coffee instead of Coke Zero, walking our cocker spaniel every day after dinner even when I’ve been to the office and walking him in the morning when I’m not heading to town.

But I know I can do better.

Habit Stacking

This is the idea of adding on healthy habits to the ones which already exist in your routine.

If every morning you clean your teeth after you wake up, begin to always meditate straight after cleaning your teeth. Or after your daily shower add a minute of cold shower if you want to try the Wim Hoff method. By adding these new habits to existing ones you’re more likely to be successful at keeping them going!

The difficulty I have at the moment is that my week is split between working from home and being in the office which means I don’t have set habits every day of the week. But habit stacking is still possible.

On the days I work from home I now go for a walk each morning. Moving forward I will follow this with a protein smoothie and a five minute meditation before I start my working day.

On the days I work in the office I have a whole commute in which I can take some time for mindfulness. Rather than scrolling on my phone I will read a book (something either relaxing or self-improvement based) and listen to relaxing music or listen to a guided meditation.

Other habits I’m going to stack:

  • Dinner followed by a walk
  • Lunch followed by yoga (at home) or meditation (office)
  • Teeth cleaning followed by guided meditation or breathing technique
  • Finishing my water bottle after lunch and after dinner

Getting back to exercise

At the moment my main form of exercise is walking Angus, which is great but it’s not ticking every wellness box. I need to include cardio and strength training.

But it is definitely true that getting back into the habit of exercise is the hardest part. I no longer head to a class after work and practising in the house just hasn’t become a part of my routine like I had hoped it would.

So, I’ve joined the gym.

If you know me, this is quite shocking.

But, I’ve decided to tag along with my fiancé and use the pool while he uses the gym. This is my own version of habit stacking where instead of stacking onto my own habits, I’m going to use my fiance’s good habits to hold myself accountable.

Getting back to mindfulness

I have always loved meditation. Ever since I was introduced to it at a young age, I have loved the way it makes me feel. That slightly floaty, calm feeling is as good as a nap in my mind.

And for many years, well over a decade, it has been a daily practice. Yet, a practice which I have fallen out of.

So, I’m going back to the good old meditation apps and I’m going to set a reminder twice a day so that hopefully I will manage at least one daily meditation. My favourite apps are Ten Per Cent Happier and Calm. I also love breathing techniques as an unguided way to meditate.

I am also going to practise more mindful reading. This means either reading something I’ve read before and know is relaxing or reading books which are within the topic of mindfulness and spirituality. As a firm believer in manifestation, I believe that by reading about positive things, listening to inspiring podcasts and avoiding TV shows which are ‘low vibrational’ you can really improve your wellbeing.

Salad

Getting back to healthy eating

After a period of seriously unhealthy eating after bereavement, I am now trying to improve my eating habits to feel more energetic and also to look and feel my best.

Some of the swaps I am making include cutting down on sugary snacks and cans of pop, eating more veggies and starting to move towards a Mediterranean Diet. I do feel a little boost each time I make a healthy choice and it’s trying to remember this as motivation every time I fancy reaching for the Percy Pigs or ordering in a Dominos…

The fact is that wellness looks different for all of us, but the basics are universal – move more, eat well and take time for yourself each day.

My life has changed so much but these principles have not. If you’re also feeling a little daunted at the thought of getting back to wellness, know that you’re not alone. All we can do is our best. Begin by taking small steps and slowly you’ll begin to feel better until all of these wellness practices are as easy as breathing.

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Hannah Bullimore

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