What the *$!@ is #selfcaresunday?

Type the above hashtag into Instagram and you are bombarded with images of young wellness bloggers posting photos of them going ‘off the grid’ and ‘taking time out for themselves’. While this is completely unattainable for most of us (hello, student budget/full-time job/[insert life commitment here]), there is some benefit to the idea of ‘self care’. Sometimes our day-to-day can be so hectic, and when we actually have a half an hour to ourselves with nothing to do most of us grab our phones. Now, I’m as fond of scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest as the next person, but I regularly fall down the black hole of social media and realise that an hour has passed and, yet again, I didn’t have my relaxing bath or whatever I had wanted to do that evening.

Therefore, I have written myself a list of activities that I know I enjoy doing for those evenings when I have half an hour (I know that for some people even this seems like a luxury) or so to see if it will encourage me to give myself some lovin’ that doesn’t involve the instant gratification of social media.

This is my list below – I’d love to hear about any of your favourite self-care activities!

  • Make a cup of herbal tea (*current favourite = lemon and ginger)
  • Read some of my book in bed
  • Do an adult dot-to-dot (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it – dot-to-dots with 1,000 dots are tricky!)
  • Challenge myself to a sudoku
  • Run a bubble bath
  • Paint your nails
  • Do some of your colouring book
  • Listen to a podcast in bed
  • Go for a short walk
  • Listen to a favourite album from start to finish (no shuffling)
  • Do a face mask
  • Catch up on some favourite blog posts
  • Take a long shower
  • Call my mum/nana/granny/neighbour
  • Watch a DVD

 

I hope you get a chance to practice some self-care this week.

X

 

Image: pexels.com

Top tips for tummy troubles

This one covers digestion from mouth to, well, bottom. So, if you’re munching on your muesli, maybe give this a read later!

Having problems with our gut such as bloating, wind and constipation can be fairly common, but there are some tips and tricks that can help reduce the chance of getting these symptoms.

 

Take time to eat and drink

How many times have you gulped down a glass of water when you’ve realised that you haven’t had a drink all morning? Who else sometimes gobbles down their lunch whilst sitting at their desk?

Taking time to chew our food properly is the start of digestion, breaking it down into much smaller pieces and coating it in saliva. Saliva contains an enzyme called amylase which starts to break down the starch, long chains of sugars, into shorter chains of sugars.

Chewing food well also gives our brain time to register that we are eating and to prepare the rest of the digestive system. This can also have the effect of making us feel more satisfied, something that Laura Thomas has also mentioned in her Mindful Eating podcast episode.

By chewing food and drinking fluids slowly we can also reduce the risk of taking in a lot of air at the same time which can sometimes make us feel a bit windy.

 

Find a routine

Something else that can really help with ‘getting things moving’ is to have a regular meal pattern. If you haven’t eaten anything since breakfast and then have a huge dinner this can affect our stomachs.

For some people, their routine might be 3 meals a day, whereas others may include some snacks in there too. If you’re absolutely starving by the time you get to your next meal it might be worth trying to have a snack in between next time.

 

Up your fibre intake

The current recommendation is to have 30g of fibre a day, but most adults are currently only eating about 18g. Dietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate that can’t be digested an absorbed in our small intestine. Instead bacteria in our large intestine partially or completely breaks it down. It is essential for preventing constipation, softening stools and making them easier to pass, as well as lowering our risk of heart disease, diabetes and colorectal cancer.

These foods are particularly high in fibre;

  • Starchy foods like oats, potato with the skin on, sweet potato, high fibre breakfast cereals, wholemeal or wholegrain bread and pasta, and brown rice.
  • Vegetables such as peas, sweetcorn, parsnips, green beans, carrots
  • Beans and pulses such as chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils
  • Fruits like apples, pears, plums and prunes, apricots, raspberries and blackberries
  • Nuts and seeds such as almonds, peanut butter, linseeds and chia seeds

This table has been adapted from the BDA Food Facts sheet on fibre which shows how you can fit extra fibre into your diet.

Portion size Fibre per portion (g)
Breakfast Porridge 50g 5g
With raspberries 80g 2.5g
Snack 1 banana or apple 1 medium sized 2g
Lunch Baked potato 180g – medium cooked 5g
Baked beans 80g 3g
Sweetcorn (tinned) 80g 2g
Snack Wholemeal bread 2 slices 6g
  Peanut butter 1 tablespoon 1g
Dinner Wholemeal spaghetti 150g 5g
Suggestion: add a tomato based sauce and vegetables
TOTAL 31.5g

 

Remember that if you are having serious and recurrent problems with your stomach or digestion please see your GP or registered dietitian to rule out any other health problems.