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Posted: 13th May 2024

Self Care, Small Habits & Big Results

A Coach's Guide to Mental Wellness.

Written by Donna Bradbury.

As a coach dedicated to helping others find balance and well-being in their lives, I often find myself emphasising the importance of self-care. It's a fundamental aspect of our overall health, affecting our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. But what happens when the person advocating for self-care finds themselves grappling with their own battles behind the scenes?

In my journey, I've discovered that self-care isn't just about bubble baths and face masks, it's about showing up for yourself, even when the weight of the world feels unbearable. It's about celebrating the small victories, like simply getting out of bed and facing the day ahead.

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Grief & Self Care

Let me share with you a glimpse into my own journey of navigating self-care through grief. Despite my role as a coach, with its connotations of having it all together, the truth is that I, too, face daily struggles just like anyone else.

Coming up to a year ago, I experienced the passing of my beloved Mam. The pain of grief hits me unexpectedly, making the idea of self-care feel like an uphill battle.

So, how does one navigate self-care through grief? Here are some reflections and tips that have personally helped me along the way:

  1. Acknowledging the Pain: It's okay to not be okay. Acknowledging and accepting the pain of grief is the first step towards healing. Instead of bottling up emotions, allow yourself to feel them, even if it's painful.

  2. Prioritising Rest: Grief can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally. Prioritising rest and establishing a consistent bedtime routine has been crucial for me.

  3. Practicing Mindfulness: Mindfulness practices, such as meditation and deep breathing exercises, have been invaluable tools for grounding myself during moments of overwhelming grief.

  4. Nourishing the Body and Soul: While grief may diminish the appetite and/or the opposite with emotional eating, nourishing the body with wholesome foods can help provide the energy needed to cope.

  5. Seeking Support: You don't have to navigate grief alone. Seeking support from loved ones, friends, or a professional therapist can provide a sense of comfort and understanding during this challenging time.

Through my own journey of grief and self-care, I've come to realise that it's okay to not have all the answers or to struggle at times. Self-care is not about perfection; it's about showing up for yourself with compassion and kindness, especially when you need it the most.

So, to anyone out there facing their own battles, know that you're not alone. It's okay to take things one step at a time, to lean on others for support, and to prioritise your own well-being. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it's necessary for healing and allows you to be the best version of yourself.

So how do I keep going?

I try to do exactly what I teach my clients. I try to show up for myself, day in and day out. I celebrate the small victories and prioritise filling up my cup, even on the darkest of days. I strive to be just 1% better than I was yesterday, knowing that progress, no matter how small, is still progress.

I've embraced daily habits that serve me and bring out the best in me, while also recognising that perfection is an illusion. Some days, things don't go according to plan—and that's okay. Because in the messiness of life, that is completely normal.

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Exercise

Exercise has been a game-changer for both me and my clients when it comes to managing mental health. As a coach, I've witnessed firsthand how it serves as a powerful stress outlet, providing a space where worries can be left behind and endorphins can take centre stage.

While my approach to my own training has shifted with the challenges of fibromyalgia, I've learned to embrace the fact that any movement is good movement. Whether it's strength training or a walk in nature, every step counts towards nurturing both body and mind. Many of my clients join me for sessions three to four times a week, not just to sculpt their bodies, but to help with their mindset. The benefits of exercise extend far beyond physical health; they are evident in every aspect of our well-being, including resilience, boosting mood, and offering sense of empowerment.

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Starting an exercise routine can indeed feel daunting, especially if you're unsure where to begin. But the beauty of physical activity is that there's something out there for everyone, regardless of ability or fitness level.

One great way to kickstart your fitness journey is by participating in challenges for a good cause. Not only does it give you a goal to work towards, but it also allows you to contribute to something meaningful while improving your health. For instance, I and some of my clients have embarked on the challenge of climbing Snowdon to raise money for a good cause. While this event lasts only a day, the weeks of preparation leading up to it have been a significant motivator for both me and my clients to increase our physical activity levels.

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Of course, you don't have to climb mountains to experience the benefits of exercise. Simply going for a 5-10 minute walk or engaging in any form of activity that suits your abilities can make a significant difference. The key is to find something that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle. Whether it's dancing, swimming, cycling, or yoga, the important thing is to get moving and stay consistent. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Thank you so much for reading my blog. If you want to find out more about me or Level 10, visit my Facebook or Instagram page.

Here is a little something for you…

I have worked with my client Beth Cameron, in collaboration with Simon Taylor from York Mind, Chris from Yormind/ChatChit Podcast, Stef Bricklebank, and Hannah Kay. to develop a completely free wellbeing planner PDF download, which you can find here.

The planner features proven ways to assist you in establishing a routine, practicing mindfulness, and setting goals. Pages include a gratitude journal, daily goals/mood tracker, scheduling support, a vision board template, habit tracking, and general tips for wellbeing, including exercise.

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