As we start the new year, we’re faced with a significantly heavier threat of Covid and its new strain along with round three of lockdown, and many of us are home schooling.
Winter sniffles, dark and gloomy weather and plummeting temperatures can all add to the struggle. It’s time to take a minute to dial things back and think about our own health and wellbeing. As the age old saying goes, ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’. If our own cup isn’t full, we’ll struggle at the first sign of any stress, be it physical or mental.
January can be a challenging time of year at the best of times, let alone during a global pandemic. Stress levels are elevated for the majority this new year. Healthy eating and looking after yourself can be the first things to go out of the window during stressful times. We all know we need our five-a day but in reality, it’s not always that easy to put it into practice. But the knock-on effects of malnutrition not only affect our physical health. At Magenta, we’ve been thinking about how food affects mood, or ‘brain and belly’ as we like to call it.
Food for thought
Did you know that 70% of your immune system lies in your gut? Or that 95% of serotonin receptors are found in the gut? The popular phrase ‘you are what you eat’ packs much more punch than maybe a lot of us realise and not just for staying trim. During the thick of a global pandemic that’s taking its toll on many, keeping our immune system strong and boosting the production of feel-good serotonin from healthy eating couldn’t be more critical.
If your gut isn’t balanced and healthy, this will have a detrimental impact on your mental health and contribute to stress and anxiety. Stress also unbalances the gut, so there sparks another negative belly, brain cycle. We have a gut-brain axis in our bodies that allows them to ‘talk to each other’. When one is unhappy, so will be too.
We all crave sugar and caffeine and heavy carbohydrates during times of pressure. This dates back to caveman times where the body would’ve been physically stressed by the threat of an animal usually. Stress response was linked to physical exertion and the body would need to refuel. We’re not under the same threats of being chased by a hungry lion in this day and age but our bodies can’t differentiate our new stresses so our response in terms of food is the same. Eating and drinking the wrong types of food over a sustained period can have detrimental impact on mental health.
Health studies show that people who follow a balanced diet and have a balanced lifestyle tend to have better mental health. Be mindful of diet and get the best nutrition you can for a stronger, more rounded you.
None of us can run on empty. Fill your cup so you can be in the best, most balanced state possible and enjoy a healthy new year.
Here are some other things Magenta likes to do to keep our cup full, our energy reserves high and promote better mental health:
• A morning stroll to watch the sun rise or in the evening to watch the sun set
• Spending time in nature
• A cold-water dip in the sea – great immune boosting and mental health benefits
• Mindful activities like meditation or mindful colouring
• Move! We love yoga, running, Chi Gong and boxing
• Get the right amount of sleep
• Cook some nutritious food. Cooking is great for mindfulness too
• Have fun! Laughter is a great healer
We have our very own wellbeing manager to help ensure that the Magenta team is supported to stay physically and mentally healthy.