B for Balance

Balance. Such an easy word to say, yet such a hard thing to achieve.

Balance is so important in life. Without it we cannot ever truly be satisfied. Let’s take work and leisure for example.
Too much work? Not enough enjoyment, can lead to depression.
Too much leisure? Not enough work and you don’t get where you want to be, can lead to depression.
Sometimes it seems like you just can’t win! The answer is of course a mixture of both of them; to work hard but also allow yourself important relaxation and leisure time.

According to the Oxford dictionary, balance is:
1) To offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another.
2) To put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall

I believe that balance in terms of physical and mental wellbeing is both of these things.

If we achieve balance in terms of (1), where we weigh up importance of events and do both of them but according to importance, we will be putting ourselves in a steady position for the future, also definition (2).

So how do we do this?
We need to find what’s known as ‘the middle ground’.
(If my old psychologist is reading this she would be laughing at the irony of it, I was always awful at finding the middle ground. But don’t you worry, I am trying and I haven’t forgotten!)

  

 My top tips on finding the middle ground and keeping yourself well:

• Always find time for yourself, even something small like having a bubble bath or sitting down with a cup of tea and a book for half an hour. Those small things really can make a difference.

• Work is important, but your mental and physical health is and always will be the most important. It’s okay to take time out to look after yourself.

• Get enough sleep; no one can function efficiently if they’re tired, it’s much better to sleep as long as you need and have less time working than to hardly sleep and work for ages; you’ll find the quality of your work will be so much better when you’ve actually had a decent amount of sleep!

• When stressing about something always make sure to take a step back, a deep breath, and to consider how important it really is. Are you being balanced? It may sound stupid but sometimes it can help to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
  

 
FOOD: balanced eating

Food is also a place where the word balance is key. As someone who has suffered from an eating disorder, I know how your brain can warp your perceptions. I know what it feels like for every mouthful to be ‘too much’. But learning about food has been really helpful, true it hasn’t exactly changed anything, but it has helped me realise that I also need to see food in a bigger picture and have a more balanced view.

There has been a huge craze about ‘clean eating recently’. But is purely eating foods that are considered ‘healthy’ balanced? In my opinion, no.

To start with, I don’t believe there is such thing as a ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ food. In my eyes, everything is healthy in moderation. One chocolate bar will not make you fat. Nor equally will one carrot make you healthy. It’s all about getting a balance of all 5 of the food groups and also having freedom in what you eat. Yes you must nourish your body, but as long as you don’t eat chips every single day then chips will not hurt you! Everything in moderation. You need to eat what you enjoy and what you like, as well as making sure you’re eating a well-balanced diet.

When I see these people who only eat superfood salads and wouldn’t dream of touching a chocolate bar, to me that isn’t balanced. It’s disordered eating, not necessarily an eating disorder (depending on the mentality behind it) but it definitely is a disordered habit. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that we are all different and some people love clean eating, I am simply saying be careful of these things and consider why it is you want to go down that route if you chose to do so.

 

 I hope you have enjoyed this post, I know I only skimmed over a whole variety of topics, but if you want to know more or have any questions please do feel free to comment below.

Thanks for reading.

A for A-Z challenge

Today is the first day of the blogging for A-Z challenge, and I have signed myself up!

A bit of a crazy thing to do seeing as I have hardly posted these last few weeks, but I wanted to do it because I want to raise awareness and what better way to do it than this? 

For the next month I will be posting every day except Sunday, each with a theme of a letter (e.g. Tomorrow will be B). If you have any suggestions for things I should write or things you want to know about please do comment below, I have 24 posts to write so I’m sure I can fit it in somewhere!

I’ve created my own badge but you can find out more and grab the official blog badge at www.a-to-zchallenge.com.

 

My goals for this month are to keep up with this challenge, allow myself to relax and enjoy myself as well as revising, and to prioritise my mental health more. 

I hope you enjoy this month’s posts, and please join me in my A-Z journey!

Thanks for reading.

Why we mustn’t ignore difficult memories

The past, the present and the future can all be demons that sit waiting to attack. The present may seem awful, the future hopeless, but personally it is the past I find hardest to come to terms with.

Our brains are funny things. We have different systems of storing memories even within our short term and long term memories (I’m lucky enough to study Psychology A-level so I know even more details on this topic). This means that memories are not pure; often they will have been re-coded into more processable material by the brain, and can be revisited and changed depending on our thoughts around that memory (also known as interruption).

Ok, so we know that the memory is a complicated thing.. Why does that matter?

Because our brains are so vast in capacity and our memory system is so complicated and wonderful, it also unfortunately means that our long term memory potentially lasts forever.

Memories, both bad and good, can stay with you all your life.
That is why it is so important we face our past and let ourselves calmly reflect on it, so that in due time we will think of it less, even if it is still stored deep in our long term memory somewhere.
If we don’t, it will only make the memory more prominent and demanding to be thought about and revisited.

Essentially, although memories can be pushed down and forgotten about for some period of time (also known as repressing memories), one way or another the memory will submerge, often exaggerated by your thoughts and feelings around that memory.

I’m not saying that allowing yourself to think of difficult times isn’t difficult, because it most certainly is; but I think it is important for people to know why it is that some memories just won’t leave no matter how long we ignore them.

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Hope this made sense, and please do comment if this post was helpful, and/or if you’d like me to do more psychology-based posts.