Thursday, 3 January 2013

Dear diary

Today's task from the daily bites january calendar is to spend 5 minutes writing a journal.

This may not seem particularly health related but writing things down can be a great tool for improving your health, for example:

- writing down your goals helps make them more concrete, then spend a couple of minutes each day making a note of how you got on meeting them, any steps you took, any set backs, and what you can do the next day to achieve them - you'll be amazed how much quickly you achieve results, just by doing this.  It doesn't just have to be health goals, you can apply this technique anything you want to change about your life

- writing a food diary - just write down everything you ate that day and at what times, you don't even need to pass judgement or do anything about it, just write it down and you will start to become conscious of unhealthy patterns and naturally start to correct them

- venting - journalling can be a great stress reliever, especially when you want to let off steam. Just write down whatever is getting on your nerves. If it's a person writing down a rant you'd like to say to them (but don't for good reason!) can be especially cathartic

- if this all sounds a bit dear diary for you remember you don't need to keep a regular journal to get the same benefits.  If I ever feel overwhelmed or just not as positive minded as usual, a grab a piece of paper and write on it everything that is annoying me or that I'd like to change - literally everything however small.  Then on a new piece of paper I write down everything I could do to change or mitigate anything on the first list.  Even without taking any action I already feel better, and I usually then feel pretty motivated to start ticking things off the second list.

Infact I'm going to use this blog as my scrap of paper and give you a real example - right now I'm somewhat annoyed that I didn't make great use of my evening, this was partly because I arrived home tired and a little stressed and so immediately plonked down infront of the tv and then only had time for a few items on my to do list, when really I could have got it all done.  Action points for my second list to stop this happening again:

1. when I leave work try and walk part of the journey home, and use that time to unwind and destress, paying attention to my surroundings, rather than letting my mind go into overdrive, this will help me arrive home feeling less frazzled

2. when I get home, have a glass of water or cup of tea straight away to rehydrate (dehydration is a major course of fatigue)

3. have a sit down, but without the tv on.  At the end of a full day in the office we're all bound to be tired, expecting to come home full of beans and start rushing around the flat is unrealistic.  Having a ten minute sit down to just unwind can be amazingly restorative, and once you're properly rested you'll find you get a second wind.  However turning the tv on totally counteracts this, tv is draining on the nervous system, and has this amazing power to keep you in one stop for hours

4. learn to be a bit more zen about my to do list, at the end of the day I don't need to get it all done so right now I don't need to give myself a hard time - I did the urgent bits and enjoyed some sofa time, so it's not all bad and rather than trying to do anymore I should just go to bed nice and early and have a good sleep!!

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