A healthy mind is a healthy body

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Lately I’ve been feeling a bit rubbish about myself. I find that trying to keep on track with my health and fitness can sometimes lead to me been really overly critical about my body, scrutinising every little imperfection in the mirror.

Of course I know this isn’t a good thing to do and it always passes quickly, but it did occur to me that a lot of girls feel this way every now and again and we shouldn’t! Beyoncé is right when she sings: ‘Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst… perfection is a disease of a nation, it’s the soul that needs the surgery’.

We constantly strive for perfection when we are missing the point that it is our imperfections that make us the unique individuals we are. No matter how healthy your body is, if your mind is negative and ‘unhealthy’, you won’t get very far! With that being said, I have come up with a few of my favourite tips and tricks to get your self-esteem back on track, nobody should have to feel bad about themselves when there are so many things you can do to combat that feeling.

  1. Affirmations

So you may think it sounds a little cheesy, and you might be right, but this actually works! Write down five things you love/like about yourself that have nothing to do with how you look, for example: ‘I love that I am doing well in my degree’. You might find this really hard at first, but that’s kind of the point! We focus so much on our looks as a society that it’s important to take time out to think about other things we like about ourselves. Once you have written them out, stick them to your mirror so you can see them every day, this will eventually reinforce that positive attitude!

  1. Paint your nails

I don’t know about anyone else, but I always find painting my nails pretty therapeutic and it makes me feel good about myself knowing they look nice. I try to keep this interesting by mixing up patterns and colours and if I’m feeling brave I even attempt nail art. It seems like a really small act, but it does help to make me feel that little bit more put together.

  1. Hair masks and face masks

I love that feeling after I wash a hair mask out, I blow dry my hair and it feels like I should be in a Loreal advert (move over Cheryl Cole)! I’m particularly fussy and protective when it comes to my hair so treating myself to a hair mask makes me feel really good. I really like the Aussie 3 Minute Miracle ones as they seem to work really well and are only £1.09 in Boots for a sachet!

I also like using face masks as I have really dry skin, so my skin tends to look a bit lifeless most of the time, however after I’ve used a face mask it looks great! I don’t tend to wear a lot of make up so face masks are perfect to keep my skin looking nice naturally, plus they are a pampering essential.

  1. ‘Me time’

I find a lot that I don’t tend to stop and take time out from working and studying to just relax and unwind. Although a lot of these tips could come under the heading ‘me time’ I think it deserves its own section. Mostly when I am not working, studying or in the gym, I’m staring at a screen (either the TV or laptop) and this is not a great way to relax! Watching TV isn’t strenuous on anything other than your eyes, but it keeps you cooped up indoors away from fresh air!

Simply just going for a walk is a really good way to unwind and be alone whilst getting some fresh air, which in itself will make you feel better. You don’t need to have a destination in mind, but it’s good to aim for somewhere like a park where you can find somewhere to sit for a while quietly and just think. I recommend not taking your phone too, so you really can be alone for a while!

If you don’t fancy walking, grab your favourite magazine (Elle is mine) or a good book (cup of tea and biscuits are also essential) and find somewhere cosy and quiet to sit and read. Since starting Uni I haven’t read purely for pleasure very much, for lack of time, and it’s getting me down!

Immersing yourself in something other than technology every once in a while is definitely necessary. Also, whilst you are back home one weekend, take advantage of the bath! I love having a nice bath every now and again with a Lush bath bomb and some candles, sounds very clichéd I know but there really is nothing more relaxing!

  1. Yoga

For some this sounds like a scary word full of contortion and many VS model Instagram posts, but honestly it doesn’t have to be! I am a complete beginner at yoga, but I try to do a little routine every evening to wind down from the day. You can find many YouTube videos and blogs showing you the correct positions and routines.

I find yoga so calming, focusing on my breathing while doing the poses really clears my mind and all my worries seem to melt away while I’m at a class. There is something about this kind of stretching that just makes the body feel good, you don’t have to be very flexible or fit at all, you just have to be willing to try. You never know, you might actually start to enjoy it and want to start a class!

  1. Bake

Even if you aren’t great in the kitchen, you will be able to make amazing cookies/brownies/cake with a Betty Crocker kit! All you need to do is follow the simple instructions on the back of the box! If you are a ‘seasoned’ baker, maybe try out new recipes or get creative with old ones to make something new. I really don’t know why, but I always find baking a nice way to do something a little bit different and it completely distracts my attention from any worries for a little while. Also, the sense of accomplishment when you take your sweet treats out of the oven and they look good (and taste good!) is a really nice feeling.

  1. Tidy up

I am an incredibly messy person; my bedroom looks a little like the Room of Requirement! So it’s no wonder that my mind is always all over the place when the environment in which I live is chaotic too. Every once in a while – I am working on doing it more – I take a morning to completely tidy up and throw away anything I no longer need. This is a very therapeutic action for me, and afterwards I feel a lot more relaxed. Lately I’m all about trying to feel calm.

  1. Put on your favourite matching lingerie

Personally, I feel so good about myself when my underwear matches! That little boost of confidence can be invaluable sometimes. I feel so put together when my lingerie matches. If you don’t have a favourite set, take some time to go buy one!

I know things like bras need to be tried on, but nothing is worse for the self-esteem than those horrible changing room lights – I recommend you buy, and then go home and try.

Words by Kelsie Marsden

Jess is your Deputy Editor

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