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Using Journalling To Look After Our Physical & Mental Health

Do you ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? Juggling work, family, social life, horses and everything else life throws at us in between can be overwhelming at times. We leave the house at the crack of dawn and don’t get home till after dark, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Now, I know most of us wouldn’t change that for the world; we are dedicated to the sport and love our horses too much for that. But, when we are constantly on the go and rushing through life at 100mph it's easy to get caught up in the stress that it brings and neglect some much needed ‘me’ time, which will undoubtedly lead to you being both mentally and physically burnt out and exhausted – a place none of us want to be. Feeling constantly stressed, rushed and tired, will start to compound over time and have a negative effect on your mental health.

So how can you prevent this from happening?

The answer? Scheduling some much needed ‘me time’ into your week. Now, I know you are probably thinking ‘I have no time as it is, how can I possibly schedule some time in the diary just for me?’

Or maybe you are one of these people who is constantly giving and helping others so you feel it's selfish to do something for yourself?

If that sounds familiar then just remember in order to help others you must first help yourself – you can't pour from an empty cup!

I have recently become a converted fan of journalling. Like a lot of you reading this, I used to think I didn't have time to journal or plan, which is pretty ironic because since I started journalling my productivity has increased significantly. And so has my mental clarity; it has removed so much stress from my life as I know what is happening and when, I have a clear plan of my day and week ahead, I have blocked out time in my day, just for me… I know, crazy right?!

Our physical and mental health both feed each other. Working on your nutrition and physical health will in turn improve your mental well being. If you get up and go for a walk or exercise of any form, your body releases endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in the body – similar to that of morphine!

So my ‘me’ time includes a workout 5 times a week; by scheduling them in the diary I have made time for them so there are no excuses. It even includes 15mins at the end of the day to fill out my journal – reflecting on the day's events, writing down what went well that day, what didn't go so well, what I could have handled better, what I am grateful for and planning for the following day.

This is what I call a ‘braindump’; getting all your thoughts out of your head and down on paper before you go to sleep means your brain can switch off and you will get a better night's sleep – which in turn will feed both your mental and physical health.

“I never wrote things down to remember; I always wrote things down so I could forget.” - Matthew McConaughey

I'm not saying you need to start working out 5 times a week, but I am suggesting this year you try journalling. Schedule some form of exercise other than riding into your week regularly, and this, along with reflecting back on your day, will help control the stress life throws at you. Plan your week in advance the best you can – if you make time in the dairy to fill out your journal and do some form of exercise then you are a lot more likely to stick to it.

Let's look after our mental health this year.

Natalie Alexander
Horsemart Content Contributor
Published on 04-01-2021
Natalie is a qualified Level 3 Personal Trainer who has moved her business 'NMA Fitness' online, providing personalised Fitness Coaching programmes to clients internationally. She is also a keen event rider who competes her own horses that she has produced and is bringing up the levels with big ambitions for the future. Combining these 2 passions, Natalie specialises in working with equestrians to help them achieve their health and fitness goals, focussing on losing body fat and gaining strength to improve performance in the saddle.