I can’t tell you how many times in my life, I’ve had an “epiphany” or vowed to make big changes to my lifestyle – usually all at once. My intention and reasoning is always pure in thought, with a strong will to make whatever changes I think is best, at the time. The problem comes with putting that intent and motivation into action.

Having Bipolar Disorder, this has impacted dramatically on my day to day motivation and of course my thinking (at times), and usually when I start to put any form of pressure on myself, or I feel it from an outside source, It’s like my brain and body just stops working together and I shut down. Eventuating in a lot of “broken” promises to myself, feeling disappointed and like a failure.

In my logical mind, I know of course this isn’t true, but it’s an incredibly frustrating feeling when you have so much desire to do things but your capability at times lacks.

Since I’ve stopped putting those pressures on myself (to lose the weight gained as a result of medication, to work out everyday for a minimum of 30mins, to eat healthy every day, to sleep a minimum of 8 hours, to look/appear normal) I’ve felt more relaxed and at ease. I still have the desire to do all of these things, because I know they are good for me but now I’ve relaxed enough to let things happen organically.

Exercise, is just something that I struggle with. I’ve tried and tried to be “that” girl, but if I miss one training session or whatever, the guilt I feel is incredible and is damaging for my mental health. I’ve completely taken the pressure of working out off the table and have just been focusing on whatever I can. If I can go for a 30min walk, that’s awesome, but If I don’t, that’s okay too.

I’ve just started doing the Seven Minute Workout which is HIIT. It’s great because I can do it in the comfort of my home which relieves some of the stress, especially on the days when facing the world is just a bit too hard and It’s great because it’s Seven minutes, I mean the ad breaks on your favourite tv show are not much less, so this has fit into my schedule well.

Improving my nutrition and what I shove in my mouth (hehe) has always been challenging. I had a coca-cola addiction for 15 years and my moods really impacted on the foods I ate or if I ate at all. My dietary habits were shocking. No breakfast, maybe something for lunch and usually easy/takeaway/high processed, high sugar meals for dinner.

Luckily things have improved dramatically in the last year especially since going off the meds. Lots of greens, whole wheats and fruit and of course lean protein. I still eat take out meals, but I do try to make healthy choices. I’m no excited to learn new recipes and experiment with food, which is all very new to me.

Everyone is full of advice, whether it be friends telling you about the latest product or activity that “will change your life”, bloggers, news outlets, magazines – every one has an opinion on how to be happy and healthy. Instead of following the masses, trying to fit in which is what I’ve been trying to do for years to avoid stigma in my life. I stopped, took heed and listened with a grain of salt. Nobody knows me better than I know myself, nobody knows what is best for me more than I do. Whenever I am able to block out all of the noise is when I’m at my best. I achieve the most and am thankful for doing it on my own. Those personal achievements after so much chaos, destruction and thoughts of failure mean so much more.

So how have I been able to make so many changes to my health in a positive way? It’s been slow, which has made it easier to stick with and adjust to. There is still a long way to go, but it’s definitely one step forward repeatedly instead of two steps backwards…..

  • I listened and read everything related to the changes I wanted to make, absorbed it all, then took the bits that I wanted;
  • I have learnt to say no to ensure that what I do is best for me and my health and wellbeing;
  • I stopped seeking validation acceptance through social media, friends and acquaintances – most of the people in my life, don’t know the real me. They might know the sick Missy and have based their opinions/views on me based on those times; WILL TALK MORE ABOUT THIS IN A COMING BLOG POST
  • I removed people who were toxic to my life –  deleting Facebook friends, stopped talking to certain people (my partner did this also). Our attitude is, if you can’t be there and support me/us through the bad times, you certainly don’t deserve to be in our lives for the good times!
  • Made a plan to incorporate the changes. My boyfriend is a smoker and desperately wants to stop for his own health and also mine, so we put a strategy in place for that – patches, reduction of budget etc… and it’s working. It’s not instant, but usually something that happens fast doesn’t always last….
  • Starting focusing on doing and eating things that made me feel good. Like learning to say no, doing the things that make me feel good, improves my mood, reduces stress and makes for an all-round happier and healthier Missy.
  • Take a risk. I’ve always been a risk taker, in every aspect of my life. Could be the Bipolar, or it could just be my character. I’ve always been taught, that you never know unless you give it a go. Even if you fail, at least you tried.
  • Don’t make all the changes you want at once. Take your time, learn to appreciate the new things. One step at a time.
  • Be authentic. For so long, I did and projected so many things that I thought others wanted or expected from me. Most of the time these things weren’t necessarily good or bad for me but didn’t give me any pleasure. Opening up and being transparent about my life and what it’s like to live with a serious mental illness has been healing and allowed me to feel comfortable in my skin again.

At the end of the day, there are always going to be things in our life that we want to change, for whatever reason. If your heart and soul is in it, those changes will happen naturally and will be for the best. But don’t force them, stop putting pressure on yourself to be perfect, or this or that or whatever it is you feel you need those changes for.

Be You. Be True.

Image | Alana Hose