10 ways to deal with the bad days

Some days it seems like nothing can go right. We all have those days where it just seems like there is too much drama. Too much pressure. Too many expectations. Too many things to do, not enough time. Then there’s all the unnecessary nastiness. Some days it’s just all too much!

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It’s days like these that self-care is super important. Sometimes I struggle with this. It’s something I have been trying to focus on lately. So here are a few of the things that make me feel better on those days.

1: Be kind to yourself

This is probably the most important thing. Some days you just need to cut yourself some slack. Would you have the same expectations on someone else that you have on yourself? Why shouldn’t you be as kind to yourself as you would a stranger? There’s only so much you can do and sometimes you just need to be okay with letting things go. It’s alright not to be perfect (see why here).

2: A good old pamper session

By far my favourite thing is to run myself a nice, hot bath, with bath salts, a beautiful candle and a good read. Sadly my unit doesn’t have a bath though. Instead I’ll do a face and hair mask, give myself a mani-pedi or some other make-me-feel-pretty thing. This usually involves some gorgeous scented candles burning in the background.

3: Play some feel good music

What I consider feel good music seems to vary with my mood. Sometimes I want something up beat and pop-y, other times calm and relaxing. Listen to your mood and pick some tunes that suit you. I have a few Spotify playlists that are my go-tos for times like these – let me know if you want me to share.

4: Treat yourself

Come on, who doesn’t love a little (lot?) retail therapy? I usually use it as an excuse to buy myself something little. This is usually something that smells amazing – a scented candle, some new body wash or body butter. I always find this is an instant pick me up.

5: Do some yoga

Yoga is such a good release for me. There’s something about focusing on body positioning, movement, breathing and stillness of the mind that just makes everything else melt away. On days like these, I tend to opt for the chilled out, slow and relaxed Hatha yoga as opposed to Power or Vinyasa sequences. On the really bad ones, this could literally just be an extended period in child’s pose. Really it doesn’t matter all that much what you do, as long as it works for you.

6: Life admin

I always feel better when things are sorted. All those little things you have been putting off, like calling to make appointments, seem like such a big deal on bad days. Sometimes making little steps to move ahead can make it so much less overwhelming. Attending to one or two of those little things can make all the difference. It can make you feel on top of things and is definitely worth the effort.

7: Stick to your routine (as much as possible)

It’s important to maintain some form of normality. If you normally go to the gym every Monday, don’t stop on account of a bad day. Those kind of things can actually help to get you out of that funk. Keeping busy can take your mind off things and give you something positive to focus on instead. Also, you will probably regret it the next day if you don’t.

8: Affirmations

Create a journal or notebook with all the good things. The things you like about yourself. The things you have achieved. The things you are proud of. The things that inspire you. The things you aspire to be. Do this over time when you think of it. Then you can bring it out on a bad day and be reminded of all those positive things. An instant pick me up.

9: Reach out

Make social connections. Invite friends over. Arrange to go out and do something. Even if you can’t organise something right away, knowing you have plans in the future gives you something to look forward to. Otherwise, just have a good chat with old friends can brighten any mood.

10: Chill out

Some tea and a good book. Or maybe Netflix and chocolate is more your speed? Either way, just taking some time out and escaping reality for another world makes a world of difference. You can check out some of my top picks here. Opting for a comedy is a great way to lighten the mood and bring some smiles to that face.

What are your go-tos for a bad day pick me up?

How your gut health is affecting your immune system

I’ve been feeling a bit off lately. It seems like it is one thing after another – always being sick. I was at my physiotherapist the other day, and she mentioned that gut health has been strongly linked to depression and a number of other things – so I did a bit of digging.

Turns out that your intestines contain more immune cells than the rest of your body, so most of your immunity can be traced back to how your gut is functioning. There is increasing evidence that how well your gut is functioning has a direct correlation not only with digestion and irritable bowel, but also with depression, obesity, allergies, asthma and coeliac disease. (Source: Science Daily)

This explained so much for me. For so long I have had pretty much zero appetite and I was in a constant state of flux with irritable bowel no matter what I ate. The next logical step was to look at ways to improve gut health.

Gut health is to do with the flora in your intestines – a mix of bacteria (good and bad), parasites and fungi. Things like antibiotics, the pill, junk food and diets high in meats can all decrease the good bacteria in your system, putting it out of whack. Eliminating or reducing these are going to help, but let’s face it, sometimes you just need to take these things.

The other option is to increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut. The best way is through probiotic supplementation (obviously you should consult your doctor before taking any new supplements). Here are some of the options I have come across.

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SCOBY Kombucha Tea

This is probably my favourite option. SCOBY stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. Basically what happens is the SCOBY is placed into tea and sugar. The living colony that is SCOBY then ferments the tea and sugar, leaving Kombucha.

The result has incredibly high concentrations of good bacteria and goes a long way in helping re-balance your gut flora. Be careful not to take too much, especially at first. I could only manage about 1/3 to 1/2 a serving, otherwise the change can cause a build up of gas and bloating – this part is the same regardless of which type of probiotic you choose.

Kefir

Kefir “grains”, which are a type SCOBY, are added to milk in a similar process to Kombucha. Obviously the milk brings about an entirely different taste but has the same benefits. It tastes a little sour, similar to yoghurt. Kefir is a much more potent probiotic than yoghurt so only start with a little.

Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage. Basically the combination of cabbage and salt is allowed to ferment for a few days to a few months (depending on climate). The result is high is those much needed probiotics, from the fermentation process. You may be thinking “it would be so much easier to just buy this pre-made”. Unfortunately, most sauerkraut that is sold in the shops has been heat-treated, which removes all of the goodness of probiotics from it.

Probiotic supplements

The other option is probiotic supplements. I left these til last as they tend to be pretty expensive per serve and some have pretty low levels of probiotics. If you can’t stomach any of the above, then look for the supplement that has the largest number of probiotics and multiple strains. In the cultures used above, there is a large range of different types of good bacteria. In supplements, they often focus on 2-3, sometimes even 1. Keep in mind that you gut has billions of bacteria, so there will probably be a lot of zeros.

What are the ways that you like to stay healthy?