After being put through the wringer in 2020, being kind to ourselves should definitely be a top priority this year. Seriously, finding new (or reviving old) ways of making yourself feel incredible for the sole purpose of ensuring your mental health is in top shape has never been more important. These habits can look different for everybody – the only criteria is that they should help you feel like your best you, soaking up every vibe in the present possible.
The downfall to this is that it’s ~way~ easier said than done, right? Achieving mindfulness is a long-term, ever-changing journey – one ex-Bachie star Elly Miles has been on recently. Luckily for us, she has a heap of advice and wisdom to share around how she’s gone about her path to achieving better mental health (without skimping on treating herself, of course).
Between being on TV twice (stressful), working as a nurse (also stressful) and general life commitments, Elly’s got a tonne on her plate, but she’s found a few ways to always keep mindfulness and peace at the forefront. And it seems to be seriously working – I mean, have you seen her smile? She’s simply glowing.
Anyway, I’ll stop gushing. here’s what she had to say about her positive habits that’ll hopefully give you a few ideas as to how to kick off your new routine.
PTV: What does mindfulness mean to you?
Elly Miles: To me, mindfulness is taking time out for yourself to really focus on the present moment. To fully immerse yourself in that moment and connect with yourself. I know a common way for people to do this could be meditation, drawing, colouring etc – I love to engage in mindfulness through breathwork.
PTV: What’s the one thing you do every day to take care of your mental health and wellbeing?
EM: One thing I do every day to take care of my mental health and wellbeing is to go and train at my gym. I have recently experienced a new and heightened level of anxiety toward the end of 2020 when I was going through a public relationship and break up. For about a period of 2-3 weeks, it felt like my throat was closing in – it kind of felt like I had someone’s hand wrapped around my throat. This was the first time I’ve ever experienced such intense physical symptoms of anxiety due to being so stressed and overwhelmed.
The only time it went away was when I was training. I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through those months without being able to go to my gym for relief.
PTV: What are some other everyday habits you practice to ensure you’re feeling your best?
EM: I love to do intermittent fasting – 16:8. I find this is fantastic for my energy levels, digestion and ensures I’m not unnecessarily overeating. I stick by a good balance of 80/20 when it comes to clean foods versus not so clean foods. I try to get outdoors every day for a nice nature or beach walk with my dog.
PTV: When did you start to properly pay attention to your mental health needs?
EM: The most important thing to me in my life is to be happy. So if there is ever a time where I notice that is slipping or I am struggling, I am very proactive in trying to overcome those feelings. Ways that work well for me is of course training, eating well, spending time outdoors, spending quality time with friends, family and my dog.
I have also begun seeing a Kinesiologist which I find extremely therapeutic! I think it’s so important to be kind to yourself and recognise that everything in life is temporary; both the good and not so good days. So I just try to really appreciate the good days and know that the not so good days don’t last forever.
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PTV: How do you treat yourself after intense times?
EM: I think it’s so important to get enjoyment out of life, especially after busy times. For me, I’m a massive foodie! Food brings me a lot of joy. So I really love to treat myself with something yummy to eat! Especially a sweet treat, my current faves are Proud & Punch Pops. They’re absolutely delicious, vegan and are less than 100 calories per serving, which makes it perfect for a treat that I can enjoy every day while still adhering to my 80/20 balance!
PTV: How do you prepare yourself for busy weeks to make sure you’re at the top of your game both mentally and physically?
EM: I use an app on my phone called ‘Check This’. I’m a list writer and I love nothing more than writing down a list and ticking it off! I have lists for everything; shopping lists, daily to-do lists, life jobs etc. That is a strategy I have always utilised in my nursing practice! Another way for me to feel like I’m at the top of my game mentally and physically is that I need everything to be organised and tidy! If my room is clean and my car is clean and all of my washing is done – I feel like I can achieve anything.
PTV: Do you have any tips for staying in the present?
EM: I think once you realise the value of letting go of your worries regarding the past and future and recognise that the only thing that truly matters is the ‘here and now’ then you’ll have a more effortless time being present. I think having conversations with people who have that mindset really helps to shift your perspective. I had a great conversation with my trainer about this and I found following that, I was definitely able to be more present in each moment. So I guess, surrounding yourself with people who value living in the moment definitely helps – start the conversation.
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PTV: What do you do to dispel negativity both online and IRL?
EM: This is a toughie because I find that the nasty things people say to you online really stick with you. Don’t get me wrong, there are SO MANY lovely comments and messages I receive, however for some reason, it’s the nasty ones that stay with you sometimes. I have had to make a conscious effort to choose to really absorb the weight of all of the nice messages I receive to take the edge off the nasty ones. It does work, too! Now, when I’m reading a nice comment or message where someone tells me I’ve helped them get through a tough time or brightened their day, I really let that soak in – because that’s a pretty incredible thing to be able to do for a stranger and that’s what makes being in the public eye worth it for me.
As for IRL negativity, I don’t really experience too much of that to be honest, I think that’s probably because I have a very positive outlook on life myself and I only surround myself with people who share the same!
PTV: How do you go about achieving a work/life balance and what does that look like for you?
EM: I have a very strong belief that we are put on this earth to live our lives the way we please and to get the absolute most out of our lives. We only have one after all! So I make the things I enjoy in life a priority! We work to LIVE, not live to work – in my opinion. From my experience being a nurse, I have seen lives be cut short or turned upside down. So that has given me a different perspective on life. You’ve got to go out and LIVE it!