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Living Well - Things To Improve Your Life:

Living Well means taking an active part in your recovery and doing everything you can to keep yourself well and improve your quality of life.

Sometimes it seems easier to just 'exist' in an in-between state. Medications can make you tired and make it difficult for you to function and think. We know that doing something for yourself can require a huge effort, especially when you're not well.

It is also true that anything you want to achieve in life requires some level of effort to attain. Life is like that - even when you don't suffer from any sort of illness. Nobody is telling you for one moment that this will be easy but any achievements you can make, no matter how small, can be built upon over time.

If you can develop good habits in 'wellness living' then you are far more likely to have a successful and sustained recovery. The rewards are long term and will far outweigh the effort involved.

Everybody, sick or well, can slip into a 'comfort zone'. Many people don't like change - there's nothing unusual in that.

If we are to grow as individuals then sometimes it is good to challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zone or our habits and try something new.

So many of us get in a habit of eating the wrong foods or sitting on the couch and these habits are hard to break.

If we persist in changing our habits eventually good food becomes a habit itself and you wonder how you ever ate the things you did before.
Likewise we may discover that we actually enjoy being outside in the sunshine or doing some activity - maybe something we did before and had forgotten how much we could enjoy it.

Wellness living is just like that. The more you practice good habits, the easier it becomes. Eventually you begin to 'want' what is actually good for you, and you find you no longer want the things that were not so good for you.

So, some tips for wellness living:

Good Food:

'Good for you' food costs the same as 'bad for you' food. Getting the right food means your body is healthier and so is your mind.

The Importance of Breakfast:

Having a healthy breakfast is a great start to the day. Breakfast provides your body and brain with the energy needed to achieve any goals you may set for yourself.

Cereals are quick and easy to prepare and give you fibre and essentials your body needs. Add some fruit or yoghurt to enhance good nutrition.

Snacking:

Snacking during the day is easy when you're not doing anything much with your time. Try to keep yourself occupied to avoid this. If you must have a snack eat your favorite fruit or something healthy.

There is no point filling the fridge with fruit you don't like if it goes off because you won't eat it. It is more economical to have the fruit you enjoy and eat it all even if it is a bit more expensive per piece.

The Fast Food Habit:

Fast food can become a habit and your body may end up craving fats and sugars that it doesn't need. Even if it takes some time try to avoid fast foods.

Everything in moderation is the key. You don't have to deprive yourself of things you really enjoy, (like chocolate, icecream, lollies or chips) but you do need to have them as a special treat rather than between meal fillers or worse - meal substitution.

Try this - if you simply can't stop eating the things that are not so good for you then eat them only after you have eaten the foods that are good for you. That way you will eat less of them and sometimes you may be so full of good food you don't have any room left for junk food.

Fluids:

There is nothing quite as good for you as good old-fashioned water.

Fizzy drinks should be avoided as much as possible - they contain huge amounts of sugar or if they are diet drinks then they have chemical sweeteners in them that you can do without.

Soft drink is a habit. Water can become a replacement habit. If you have to, add some cordial for flavour. Once you haven't had soft drink for a while you probably won't want it at all. Don't forget that fruit juice can contain large amounts of sugar also - check your labels when buying.

Caffeine:

While many of us enjoy a coffee there is some evidence to suggest that it may react with some medications. If you must drink coffee limit it to one per day or better still, drink decaffeinated coffee. Don't forget that many canned and bottled so-called 'energy' drinks contain large amounts of caffeine and should be avoided.

Exercise:

Exercise is good for you - it improves circulation and provides oxygen to the brain for clearer thinking.

It is wise to discuss what forms of exercise would be safe for you with your Doctor before commencing.

Some people like to walk, some people don't. Even if you don't want to walk up the street or in the park you can still get some exercise in your own garden.

'Stair Steps' are easy to do. If you have a step at home you can spend 10 minutes stepping up and down (always facing the step).
Spend 5 minutes starting with your left leg and the next 5 minutes starting with your right leg (otherwise you'll end up with bigger muscles on one leg than the other!).
You dont need to go fast with this exercise, just a steady pace will do all you need and it is amazing how much this simple exercise can achieve in a very short time.

If the thought of exercise makes you cringe, try to think of an activity you would enjoy that involves physical movement, that way you get your exercise without thinking about it.

Combining Food and Exercise:

If you have a back yard, why not plant a few vegetables. Tending a garden is not hard work once established. Even if you only have a very small space or you have limited mobility you can grow vegies in pots.

Any fresh produce is excellent for your health and tending to even the tiniest garden can be a mentally relaxing and therapeutic passtime. You are also getting exercise while you are doing it!

Pets and A Good Helping of Unconditional Love:

There is nothing like a pet to make you feel good. Just having them around has been shown in studies to improve a persons mood and attitude.

Having a pet gives you something to be responsible for and an interest in something. The love, trust and loyalty your pet shows you every day will put a smile on your dial!

Show your pet love and respect and they will return it over and over. They will always be pleased to see you, pets accept you just the way you are.

Pets are individuals with their own personalities. They can be very funny and entertaining and extremely loving.

If you don't have a pet maybe consider getting one. Even if you can't have a cat or a dog, budgies make great pets and are full of personality - very happy little chappys to have around. They also don't cost a lot to feed and are easy to care for.

If you already have a much loved pet you may like to send us a photo to put in our pet pages gallery.

Enjoy Music:

Listening to music has been proven to have a positive effect on mood and emotion. It can promote optimism and joy and be relaxing and calming. Any type of music is good (as long as you enjoy it).

Instrumental music is a great idea. Sometimes we place too much importance on the words/lyrics of songs, you can avoid this problem by listening to music that doesn't have words.

Choose Happiness

Choose to make happiness a focus. Take action to control negative thought patterns.

Actively seek out therapy to optimise your thinking, identify and change negative expectations, learn to utilise your strengths and build happier relationships, become comfortable with yourself.

More Information:

See our 'Helpful Links' page under the 'Healthy Living' heading for a link to the Mind Body Life website ('MBL' button). This website has detailed information and great ideas on healthy living for people suffering with mental illness.


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