Morning routine

I have recently been reading a lot on various ways to manage anxiety. One of the most commonly written about things has been the suggestion that a good morning routine can really help get your mind in the right place for the day ahead. With that in mind, I have decided to give a few of the suggestions a try. I will be documenting my progress with this over the next few weeks. I am aware that I will find this process difficult as I have never really got on well with overly structuring my life, but if there is any chance it can help it is worth a try.

Making the bed.

This is something that I never do in the mornings, ever. It has been suggested that quickly making your bed in the morning can benefit you in multiple ways. First, it gives a very quick sense of achievement. I’m not overly convinced by this as it is, after all just making the bed. Second, it helps you to have a clear mind. I can see this being the case more, as it is known that tidy surroundings help contribute to a clearer head.

Although I’m not really convinced that it will help, I am willing to give this a try. It should only take a couple of minutes each morning so I really have nothing to lose.

Freezing shower.

This is something that I have read about a lot, and have considered before. The health benefits of swimming in cold water or otherwise immersing one’s self in it are well known. From stimulating the brain and heart to making sure your pores are closed. This may require taking a hot shower at another time of the day in order to ensure proper cleanliness or alternatively just turning the water to cold for a couple of minutes at the end of my regular shower.

As I have read about this more than once, I am completely willing to give it a try.

Get moving.

Excercise first thing in the morning has been suggested to me a number of times. The biggest piece of advice I have been given on this though is to not overdo it too early. Doing 5 to 10 minutes of exercises such as press-ups or sit-ups when you wake up is more than enough to get you fired up in the morning. Save the gym or your run for later in the day.

Drink water.

This is something everyone should do as soon as they wake up, even if they don’t have problems with anxiety. After 7 or so hours of sleep, the body is getting very dehydrated. A glass or 2 of water as soon as you wake up is vital to starting your day off well, it is even more important than eating breakfast. I would advise keeping a glass or bottle of water by your bedside so that you can drink as soon as you wake.

Write something.

The power of getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper cannot be underestimated, it has proved to be invaluable to me as a way of combatting insomnia. It is also a great way of getting your brain ready for a busy day. Just spending 5 minutes getting some thoughts down, write about literally anything will help set you up for the day ahead.

These 5 things are the suggestions I am going to start using for my morning routine, depending on the success of this I may add more later.

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Running can be more than just exercise.

I love to run. I have found it to be not only a good way to keep fit but also really helpful in the battle to control my mind. This last weekend I went for a run along one of my usual routes, the old railway line between my hometown of Calne and Chippenham. Usually, I would run the 10km there and then 10km back, this time, however, I walked back. When running I listen to music or podcasts, on this walk though, I decided to just listen to nature.

The effect a walk like this can have on your mental state is remarkable. I am often wary of going on long walks because I am prone to overthinking, I so often descend into a place of darkness because of it. This walk, however, was so calming that it has given me a whole new outlook. The peaceful nature of my chosen route only served to help this.

The coffee problem

Whenever I feel myself getting stressed or anxious, one of the first things I like to do is get a cup of coffee. This is initially all I need to calm down. My level of attentiveness shoots up and my productivity increases dramatically. Unfortunately, this boost in energy and alertness comes with a major downside, the big increase in stress hormones such as cortisol. This coupled with the blocking of happiness hormone production tends to actually lead to an increase in my anxiety. The big issue is that when my anxiety levels increase, all I want to do is to drink more coffee, further fuelling these issues.

Scientifically speaking, there are studies that support this. The effects of caffeine on people with anxiety and depression have long been studied. There is evidence that in small amounts caffeine can be of benefit to those with these conditions. In larger quantities it can have the opposite effect, blocking the production of happy hormones and increasing the production of stress hormones. The issue I have is that caffeine doesn’t appear to be the problem for me, I can happily drink green tea all day without issue.

It took me a long time to work out that coffee, alone, as a beverage was the thing that was fuelling my problems. Despite now knowing this, I still have the problem because I cannot easily escape my dependence on coffee. Tea does not provide the same calming effect for me, even though I also don’t get the negative effects. All in all, I need to find a middle ground, it would be foolish to think I can completely give up coffee, but for my mental state, I need to try and cut back.

The amazing relaxation spots in Wiltshire.

This post is a part of my series looking into health and what we can do to keep ourselves healthy, while still enjoying life.

Click below to access the hub page for the health series:

A push for perfect health

20th April 2018

Every so often I like to remind myself just how amazing the county that I live in is. It is so easy to forget when you are driving past these places every day. I live less than 10 minutes from the world heritage site of Avebury, and about half an hour from Stonehenge. There is so much amazing countryside right on my doorstep, and I don’t know if I really appreciate it.

Today I went to Devizes to get a coffee and then drove to Silbury Hill to enjoy it in peace. I hope to go to one of our amazing landmarks or beauty spots after work every Friday during the coming summer.

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21st April 2018

This morning I drove into Marlborough from my hometown of Calne. The drive between these two towns only takes about 20 minutes, but it takes you through some of the best countryside this country has to offer. There are no mountains or valleys, no forests, nor any vast lakes but the chalk downs, rolling fields and abundance of ancient landmarks makes it such a beautiful place. This drive between the historic market town of Calne, the place Dr Joseph Priestley was living when he discovered oxygen and the even more historic town of Marlborough, where a burial mound dating back to around 2400BC is located within the grounds of the college, is one of the most amazing drives you can take. In particular, the stretch of road that goes through Cherhill past one of Wiltshire’s many famous white horses is particularly pleasant, especially in the sun with the windows down.

Supporting Mind: the mental health charity.

This post is a part of my series looking into health and what we can do to keep ourselves healthy, while still enjoying life.

Click below to access the hub page for the health series:

A push for perfect health

 


 

Earlier this year I took part in a sponsored event, RED January is an event where you are tasked with Running Every Day in January (hence RED). This is in support of Mind, a UK based mental health charity. Mind offer support and advice to people with mental health issues as well as campaigning to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

I am a huge supporter of this as well as other people and charities who are helping those who fight with their own thoughts every day. Although I myself have never sought help directly from Mind or any other mental health charity, I feel I have benefited from the work that they do by the fact that I feel able to talk about my problems. The understanding of these issues has come such a long way and I hope that it keeps moving that way.

If you would like more information regarding Mind and the work they do please visit the link below.

Mind: for better mental health

If you are not from the UK and have any information about any of the great charities that work for this cause in your countries please feel free to share in the comments. Let’s provide a directory of charities from all over the world to help all those who need it.