Clean Lifestyle, Clean Mind

Okay, so, before I start, I'd just like to clarify that I'm no nutritionist – nor a mental health specialist – nor even a fitness guru. However, I can clarify that I have found a very strong correlation between living healthily and thinking healthily. As someone who suffers from quite an unstable state of mind, I cannot stress how important diet and lifestyle choices are in safeguarding a positive mentality and consistent motivation levels. In other words, I have found a completely organic form of therapy which I would love to share with you.

1. Cook healthy meals

Here’s some food for thought. Over the past few years, I have developed an amazing relationship with healthy food. I have discovered a whole new side to cooking, one which allows me to dedicate valuable time to experiment in the kitchen. More importantly, this allows me to enjoy healthy eating and view it as productive rather than reductive. Many often assume that healthy meals translate to boring rabbit food that leaves the taste buds hopelessly depraved. A pinch of quinoa served on a bed of spinach, perhaps? I think not.

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In this light, I decided to start a healthy food blog called Good Guiltless Grub. This Instagram page has become a platform for spreading body positivity messages, inspiring people to start eating healthily and providing affordable and quick recipes for students. After all, commitment to healthy eating is often hurdled by that fact that students are too busy and broke – Good Guiltless Grub saves the day.

2. Ditch the drinking culture

Like many fellow students, my first year of university was admittedly a major 'let myself go' year. I rarely took much care of what I was putting in my body, nor took much notice of how this was severely affecting my daily moods and motivation levels. I was either preoccupied with fighting off my returning hangover (often cured by a takeaway) or rushing to get ready for the next big night out (often resorting to another takeaway for ease). Seeing as I was either hungover or indulging in flat takeaways, there definitely wasn't any time for exercise either.

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Towards the end of a very messy first year, I decided to dedicate less time to drinking and partying and more time for cooking and studying. You’d be surprised at how much time being hungover eats up. I noticed a significant difference within a week. I felt more energised, motivated, and refreshed. It was like a rebirth!

3.Replace napping with exercising

Don’t get me wrong – university is tiring. What I didn’t realise throughout nearly the entire of my first year was that endorphins are in fact not a myth! When it comes to finding energy, the gym is your best friend. Physical fitness is linked to feelings of wellbeing and strength, which, in turn, makes me feel motivated to carry on eating well and gives me a sense of direction. This is all cyclical - all of these factors work hand-in-hand to clean up the mind. Once I’ve been to the gym, I come out with my endorphin-packed head held high and go home feeling excited to make a new dish from a newfound recipe.

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Committing to a healthy lifestyle does wonders. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an absolute sucker for chocolate and still treat myself to all my favourite foods (pizza and pasta till the end). It’s all about balance. In fact, I don’t view healthy eating as dieting in the slightest, but rather as feeding my brain with positive energy. The same goes to exercising – working out isn’t my punishment, but rather my reward. All it takes is a bit of commitment and you’ll be well on your way.

Thanks for writing for us, Estelle! Hear more from her...

Hello! I’m Estelle and whilst I’m no fitness/fashion/travel guru, I absolutely love writing on these topics. I’m a British English Literature an French undergraduate studying at the University of Birmingham. Writing about things I care about is my passion - I hope you enjoy reading my work as much as I enjoy writing it! You can follow her on her personal Instagram, her blog Estelle's Rambles and her Twitter. @stelleydragan

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