I’m so excited to introduce you to Dr. Abbey Fecher this week! I first met Abbey back in February and we talked a bit about things like helping others take control of their health, building a community, and encouraging our daughters to dream big. I instantly felt drawn to her and knew that if she gave me the opportunity, I’d want to share her words with my readers. So when she suggested sharing some strategies for taking control of your physical and mental health to improve your confidence, I was really excited! she’s got a lot of really great tips, so I’ll let her take it from here.
Do you ever feel like you are not in control of your mental and physical health? Every time you look in the mirror you don’t like what you see? You feel like everything you try doesn’t work?
Confidence stems from how you see yourself. You may judge yourself by the way you look. You might compare yourself to others. You might have a hard time remembering and seeing everything that makes you strong and wonderful.
Change is hard. Building confidence is hard. Accepting yourself as you are is hard. The simple act of taking control of your physical and mental health is very liberating. Just thinking about or having a plan on how you can take control builds confidence. Small achievable changes will bring you success and renew the belief in yourself.
Here are 10 strategies you can use to help you regain control of your physical and mental Health.
1. Focus on Sleep
Focus on sleep… sleep is underrated by almost everyone. Sleep is the first thing we will sacrifice when we are busy. Sleep is imperative for our mental and physical health. The CDC recommended adults get 7-9 hours of sleep a night! Sleep deprivation (not getting an average of 7-9 hours of sleep a night) leads to increased risk of anxiety, depression, heart disease, immune deficiencies, weight gain, and much more.
SOLUTION: prioritize your sleep. Make a plan to get 7 hours of sleep a night. Ask yourself: What changes will I have to make to my daily routine to go to bed earlier or get up later? What am I willing to sacrifice to get enough sleep?
2. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Self Care
Self care needs to be included in your daily routine, it is not negotiable. You truly need to take care of yourself if you expect to show up 100% in all other aspects of your life. Self care needs to address your mind, body, spirit, and heart. We tend to neglect our heart and spirit and focus on what we should eat, drink, how much exercise to do, some breathing techniques, etc…
SOLUTION: make a self care plan for each day. Include 1 activity for your mind, body, spirit, and heart that will bring you inner peace and joy. Some suggestions are:
● Mind: do something creative, journal, take breaks during your day, learn something new, problem solve
● Body: exercise, drink water, eat healthy, relax, sleep
● Spirit: enjoy nature, meditate, dance, have a mindful moment, help others, sing
● Heart: spend time with your family, cuddle with a pet, laugh, do something you really enjoy, prioritize spending time with friends
3. Keep a Journal
Maybe you had a journal as a teenager and would write about your crushes or drama with your friends. Well, bring back that journal! Journaling has been found to be extremely helpful to sort through thoughts and feelings. You should journal about things that you are struggling with AND things that are going right. We focus so much on the negatives in life. Why not also include all the great things you accomplished?
SOLUTION: Dedicate the same 5-10 minutes of your day to write in your journal. Write what comes to mind. Maybe it’s just writing down some inspirational words for yourself. Or maybe you need to get something off your chest. Perhaps you could set some small goals for yourself for the day. It’s your journal, write what feels right to you and calms your mind.
4. Get Outside and Get Moving!
Did you know that just 15 minutes of sunlight a day will increase your vitamin D levels, improve your mood, improve your quality of sleep, strengthen your bones, and decrease your blood pressure? Exposure to sunlight signals our body to release more serotonin, which is associated with improved mood and sense of inner calm and peace. Exercise also has many benefits in the body such as improved mood, improved sleep, decreased risk of heart disease, weight management, decreased risk of injury, and increased life span. Combine the two and you are really going to reap the benefits!
SOLUTION: Find a form of exercise that you enjoy. Not everyone likes going to the gym and that’s OK! Join a community fitness class, find a friend to walk with, go for a bike ride with your kids. Aim for 150 minutes of exercise or physical activity a week. That is 30 minutes 5 days a week.
5. Take Control of Emotional Eating
Food plays a major role in your life. Without it you can’t survive. You may turn to food for comfort. You may eat certain foods when you are feeling angry, sad, stressed, frustrated, bored… A lot of times you do it without realizing it! Emotional eating is linked with weight gain, difficulty losing weight, feelings of guilt, and lack of confidence in yourself. If you can begin to recognize these eating patterns and address them, you can break the cycle of overeating and binging when you are upset, then feeling guilty, and then punishing yourself only to do it all over again!
SOLUTION: Keep a food journal. For a week write down how you are feeling before you eat, identify your mood and emotions. Then record what you eat and how you feel after. Review your journal and see if you can see any patterns. If you KNOW that you are feeling stressed and you KNOW that you reach for cookies when you are feeling stressed you can acknowledge that pattern and break it. Hence taking control of your eating!
6. Have Fun and Laugh
How do you feel after spending a night out with your friends laughing and talking? Pretty good right? Or maybe you watch some stand up comedy on TV that has you laughing until you cry. How do you feel after that? Relaxed… happy… Calm? Laughing increases oxygen rich blood to your organs, stimulates release of endorphins (feel good hormones) from your brain, releases muscle tension, and calms your stress response. Laughing also has a number of long term effects such as improving your immune system, decreasing pain, and improving your mood. When was the last time you made time to do something you really enjoy?
SOLUTION: Find something to laugh at every day. I love to watch funny cat videos on facebook and tiktok… you just can’t resist laughing at silly animals! Also, plan a minimum of 2 outings a month with your friends or your partner to do something really fun. Go to a comedy show, try a high ropes course, go out for happy hour… the options are endless. When you have something to look forward to it makes the daily grind more tolerable.
7. Make a plan
Having a plan and a process is key to managing not only your health but also life. Everything can feel so overwhelming… journaling, drinking water, exercising, sleeping, deep breathing, eating right. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and ignore it all! If you have a written plan of how to manage all the aspects of your health it will help you stay focused and reach your goals. You need to know what you are working towards, what you need to do each day, week, month, and how you are going to do it. If you can map out a path to your goal you will 100% reach it.
SOLUTION: Start with setting 1 daily, weekly, and monthly goal for what you are trying to reach. Maybe you want to start journaling regularly. Your daily goal might be: “I will write one sentence in my journal before I get out of bed in the morning to set my mood for the day.” Your weekly goal could be “I will write 1 journal entry every Monday about my goals for the week and my accomplishments from last week.” Your monthly goal might be “ I will have a minimum of 12 journal entries each month to help me organize my thoughts and feelings regarding losing weight.” Then to make a plan, schedule your journaling time into your day and stick to it. Enter it into your calendar and treat it like an appointment. See how the new task of journaling seems less daunting? You can do this for anything!
8. Drink water
About 60% of the human body is water! Almost every tissue in our body is composed of water. You can see how important it is to stay hydrated and supply your body with the hydration you need. If you are looking to lose weight, decrease joint pain, increase your energy, improve your memory or mood, decrease headache frequency….. DRINK WATER! It is such a simple habit to incorporate into your daily routine to improve your overall health. And no… you don’t need to drink a gallon of water a day!
SOLUTION: Drink a glass of water right when you get up in the morning to start your day. Get a water 32 oz bottle and fill it in the morning. Make a goal to 1 32 oz water bottle before lunch and 1 between lunch and dinner. Try herbal teas or put citrus (lemon, lime, orange) in your water for a little flavor! Your overall goal should be to drink half your body weight in oz of water per day.
9. Take a Mindful Moment
Do you spend time each day with your thoughts? Do you take a quiet moment to yourself during the day? Do you practice breathing techniques when you start to feel anxious or stressed? If not, you should! Knowing how to recognize your own triggers for anxiety and stress is so important to take control of your health. By the end of the day you may be feeling stressed, frazzled, and tired. If you take some time for yourself each day and just breathe, assess how you are feeling, and rest your mind you will feel so much better by the time dinner rolls around.
SOLUTION: Take 5 minutes EVERYDAY to get lost in your mind. Maybe it’s after lunch. Maybe it’s after your kids get off the bus and they are busy doing homework. Or maybe it’s at 2:00 when you hit a slump every day. Pick a time that makes sense to you and stick to it. Give yourself permission to spend 5 minutes doing nothing. Let your mind clear, do some deep breathing, and relax!
10. Develop a support system
It’s okay to need help. It’s healthy to have people you can lean on when you’re not feeling your best. We all need help at times. Life is hard and you probably expect so much of yourself that sometimes every day tasks seem overwhelming. We all need to vent. We all need to cry. We all need a hug. Having a support system, whatever that looks like to you, is so important. You need people you can turn to when your mental health isn’t 100%. You need people you can turn to when your physical health isn’t 100%. You need people to turn to because you are human.
People to listen to you… people to motivate you… people to empower you… people to console you…
SOLUTION: Find your people if you haven’t already done that! Identify your friends who are the best listeners. Identify your friends who give the best advice. Identify your friends who will always be there for you. Just knowing that you have people to turn to can be a very powerful thing!
Confidence comes from within.
When you feel in control of yourself you will have confidence in yourself. I hope you can see that making some small changes in your mental and physical health can make a huge overall difference in how you feel and see yourself.
One last question…
How would your life be different if you could look in the mirror and love what you see?
Want to learn more from/about Abbey? Connect with her here!
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