15/05/2017 09:50 BST | Updated 15/05/2017 09:51 BST

Why This Health Coach Wants You To Eat Ice Cream

Yes you read that title right.

I am an ice-cream loving health coach. In fact, straight after a session this week I went to the local ice-cream parlour and bought a double scoop cone, then sat there while I enjoyed it.

But let's put this in context.

I'm not talking about you eating a full tub of Ben & Jerry's and then feel self-loathing.

What I am talking about is creating a joy list .

Eating ice cream is on my joy list. It comes without guilt, without self-loathing and without binge eating.

A joy list is a means to perform self-care.

Self-care is a buzz-word of 2017 but with any luck it will become the catchphrase of our generation.

Self-care is often the first thing to be cast aside when we are stressed, yet it should be the first thing we do to ensure we don't get any more stressed.

Mental health awareness is a hot topic these days. It's becoming the norm to open up, yet other than talk about how we feel there are things all of us can do to look after ourselves.

I call this a joy list. You can call it whatever you like.

So what is it?

Write down 10 free things you like to do that make you feel happy. Things that fill you with joy, fill your cup, top up your happy tank.

They don't have to take up much time, but should be a minimum 15 minutes.

Here are some examples you can use, or come up with 10 of your own:

  • Bubble bath
  • Walk outside (if you have a nearby park, forest or beach then try to visit these).
  • Sit in a sunny spot with a book or magazine
  • Dance in your living room
  • Relax with a hot drink (and drink it while it's hot!)
  • Soak your feet
  • Paint your nails
  • Watch your favourite TV show
  • Go for a run
  • Give yourself a hand massage with essential oils

Now compile a second list. This time write down five things that bring you joy but cost money.

They don't have to be expensive.

Here are some ideas:

  • Visit your local cafe
  • Go for a sauna or jacuzzi
  • Manicure/pedicure
  • Massage
  • Go for a swim at your local pool
  • Yoga class
  • Art class
  • Go to the movies
  • Get your hair blow-dried
  • Visit your local ice cream parlour and eat an ice cream while you watch the world go by

Now you have got both your lists you are all set.

Each week pick at least one item from your free list. You can pick an item more than once a week, but weekly should be your minimum.

Every other week pick something from your luxury list.

There is no maximum on self-care. Feel free to do more from your lists, add new things. This is an opportunity that you do not want to miss out.

And trust me, your family and friends will want to know what you are doing.

Do what you need to fill yourself with joy.

PS My local ice cream parlour is technically a gelato kitchen, but it's still creamy and delicious. My aim is to try as many of the flavours as I can this year, but without going overboard - you can sample three flavours before ordering. This week I had a scoop of coconut ruffle with a scoop of vanilla.