The experts offer their tips for a healthier body and mind in 2018…
January is a tough month. New Year’s Resolutions can fall by the wayside pretty quickly when faced with dark mornings and storm Eleanor. Never fear because here at the Roscommon People we’ve sought out some expert tips to keep you in a positive frame of mind and focussed on your health and fitness goals for 2018.
Director of Services at Vita House, Marian Keigher and Tiffany Walsh, Psychotherapist at Vita House and Boyle FRC have the following tips for better mental health in 2018.
Check your mental health
A yearly physical check-up with your GP is considered good practice to ensure any underlining issues do not get out of hand. So, why do we not treat our mental health with the same respect? Instead we wait until any issues get out of hand before seeking help. Instead of waiting until things become an issue why not have a yearly check-up with a mental health professional. Most minor issues can be resolved in just one to two sessions, but when things are left unattended small issues can become much larger.
The flaws we accept in others become our platform for self-criticism. We have become a society who doesn’t accept compliments or celebrate our own accomplishments. People who practice self-compassion are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and have a higher resilience to stressors as well as empathy to others. So in 2018 learn to accept a compliment graciously, pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments and show the same love and compassion to yourself that you give others.
With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Get out there
Many people spend an entire week, with very little time outdoors. This means we are spending our days under false lighting and breathing recycled air, this also affects our absorption of Vitamin D which plays a significant role in anxiety and depression. Getting outside has shown to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Do something nice for a friend or even a stranger. Thank someone, smile, volunteer, or join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
Nutritionist Anne Quirke says you are what you eat and offers five top diet tips to keep you at your physical peak this year.
Balance blood sugar
If you want even steady energy throughout the day always combine carbohydrates with protein and fats. Carbohydrates enter the bloodstream very quickly and when eaten on their own will cause spikes and dips in blood sugar. When blood sugar drops it’s usually accompanied by a combination of symptoms such as cravings, hunger, low energy and tiredness. Include protein with the good fats (avocado, oily fish, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds) to slow the release of glucose into the blood stream for optimal energy.
Eat the rainbow
Enjoy plenty of fruit and vegetables spread out between breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fruit and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals for energy production and healthy hormones. Antioxidants are important for liver health and brain health to prevent tissue damage from free radicals (a natural bi-product of metabolism). Vitamins A and E support skin health and vitamin C and zinc support immune function. Include 5 portions of vegetables and 2-3 portions of fruit a day to meet daily requirements
Essential fatty acids
Aptly named, essential omega 3 foods (salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, walnuts, ground flaxseed, flaxseed oil, chia seeds and avocado) must be consumed in the diet as unlike some proteins, the body cannot make them. These essential fatty acids will make your skin, hair and nails glow, they are important to keep inflammation under control and they keep joints lubricated and healthy. Considering our brains are mainly made from fats this nutrient is critical for brain health and helps prevent cognitive decline.
Limit sugar intake
Sugar has zero nutritional value - nutritionally it does nothing for us! And to add insult to injury research shows that excess sugar intake it is linked to obesity, insulin resistance, Alzheimer’s disease and PCOS to name a few. That said as a health coach I do understand that it is difficult to cut it out completely but you could start with reducing to 50-100 calories of a treat per day. Avoid anything ending in “ose”!
Avoid processed foods
Let’s face it unless you understand every ingredient on the box, you don’t know what’s in it! Processed foods are often full of sugar, salt and fats to make it taste better. Home cooking is by far the best option. In addition check out your local health food stores for tinned soups, curries and pasta sauces that are free from chemicals and other additives.