January – Recovery

 

Each month I’ll be sharing progress on my monthly wellbeing focus, and the top resources that have  helped and inspired me to live a little better than before. 

This month I reflect on reclaiming my attention, addiction, taking myself seriously, living life without sugar, and the journey to recovering the person I was meant.

 

💜 January Inspiration 💜

My focus this month has been on identifying the influence certain addictive products, namely sugar, and secondly social media, have been exerting on my life.  

As someone who has freedom as one of their top values, it’s been a real eye-opener to say the least, to realise the trap I’ve been living in.

The three books I’ve read this month that have sparked a mini revolution and a deep investigation and reflection on my addictive patterns are:

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World   – Helped me see how f$%£king shot to pieces my attention is thanks to social media, modern hyper-communication, and the source of all knowing, as well as all rubbish, the internet.

This book helped me step back from ‘busy-ness’ and question what I’m doing in life and how I’m actually adding value. Or rather, how I could be adding value, if I could just stay the f%$k off insta-crack for long enough to get something worthwhile done!

Realising how much power social media and other bits of technology were holding over my attention and the addictive loop we can so easily fall into with them, I started to contemplate addiction generally and to look at other areas of my life where I had a sneaking suspicion I was less in control than I liked to think I was.  This led me to shine my freshly-wrangled-from-social-media-focus onto another core health topic: food.

As a health lover and someone in the biz for over ten years now you’d think I’d know what to eat. And yet. I’d say food nirvana is still a tad out of reach and feeding myself in a totally nourishing and non-neurotic way is still  a habit that’s up for grabs for me.

Food Focus

These two books have been incredible resources and I highly recommend them both.

Food: WTF Should I Eat?: The no-nonsense guide to achieving optimal weight and lifelong health : Does what is says on the tin. With so much conflicting advice on what to eat it really can be a case of scratching your head and thinking WTF?? The chapter on sugar is particularly enlightening, which is what led me to read the next book:

 

 

Good Sugar, Bad Sugar This is an Allen Carr book, part of a series called the Easyway that helps people let go of unhelpful behaviours in their life by reframing how you perceive these so-called ‘treats’ and ‘rewards’.. Its most commonly known for its Quit Smoking title.

If sugar, or feeding yourself in a less than optimal way,  is something you grapple with I cannot recommend this book highly enough!! If you could press a button and remove your desire for sugar (the bad kind obviously, we’re not talking fruit here) leaving just a desire for foods that deeply nourish your body, mind and spirit, would you press it? This book is that button. So if you’re not ready to part ways with sugar, then definitely don’t read this, cuz when you’re done reading it you won’t look at it the same again.

 

💜 This Month’s  Experiment: Sugar-Free Jan 💜

A few days before the new year I was feeling sick and tired of not feeling optimal and decided something needed to change.

I narrowed down the most destructive thing in my lifestyle to sugar. That shit was bringing me down and it was time to part ways with it.

I set myself a 30 day challenge. Sugar-free January. There’s nothing like removing something completely to properly gain some perspective on what it adds and detracts from your life.

Compared to the average person I probably eat fairly healthy.  I cook my own meals and love a good kale salad.

But I also have a chocolate-tooth. It’s totally a thing.  

Cacao is still in my diet, nothing wrong with cacao per se, but I knew the sugar had to go. I couldn’t continue to fool myself that there was any place for it in the sort of high-vibe, feel-great-all-the-time-skip-out-my-door-in-the-morning life I’m aspiring to live.

Sugar has no place in a healthy human diet.  It really is that simple. It’s a fact substantiated by plenty of scientific research. There is no healthy or recommended amount, except maybe 0. It’s barely a food!

💜 Sugar: What I Learned 💜

One of the best bits of advice I got from reading Food: WTF Should I Eat is to treat sugar like a recreational drug.

Would you sprinkle some MDMA on your cereal in the morning to help you get the day off to a pumped up start? Probably not.

A quick line of cocaine at 3pm to get you through the afternoon slump?

A bag of ecstasy passed around as treats to the kids after school for being good?

It’s crazy shit I’m talking right there, and yet, we do this with sugar!

Why do we ‘reward’ ourselves and our children with a substance that’s so toxic when consumed in anything but minuscule amounts? A substance that causes obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, stroke, and depression?

How is that a treat?

We have to really pay attention to the things we expose ourselves to and be honest about whether they are life-affirming or life-detracting. This isn’t always an easy process.

We often want to continue clinging to things that we know don’t serve us because the illusion that they provide some sort of value is so strong.  That’s the hood of addiction.

But there comes a time when enough is enough.

I think I’ve reached this point with sugar.  

The books above have helped me to reframe my confused thinking around sugar and see it for what it is, a drug like substance that provides no benefit and deserves no space in my life.

 

💜 Abstainer or Moderator 💜

Gretchin Rubin talks about people falling into two camps. Those who can moderate their intake of something and those who need to abstain. You may be an abstainer for one thing and a moderator for other things.

Only you know if something is a problem for you, but if you find a lot of your mental energy being chewed up constantly debating whether you should have something or not, and if so how much , and how frequently, and then constantly having to re-asses…..maybe it’s time to just abstain. Maybe abstinence is easier.

With sugar, I think abstinence will provide me with a great deal of freedom.

 

💜 Recovery 💜

On anything addiction related Russell Brand is a great resource. I’ve read his book Recovery and love his definition of recovery as “recovering the person you were meant to be all along.” Yes!

My 30 day challenge has been freeing so far, and what’s making this stand out from similar forays into sugar-free living is that I’m taking myself and my sugar addiction seriously.

I’m taking my recovery and my extraction from the pull of sugar very seriously. I’m seeing sugar for what it is finally; a vitality-detracting addictive substance.

I’m acknowledging that it has had a power over me and it’s time to put it in its place and take control again.

Before I’d always end up making excuses as to why I should go back and ‘treat’ myself to sugary things again after a bit of a break. But as you can read above, how much of  a treat is something that leads to obesity, diabetes and all manner of health-problems?

I want to start acting like I really love myself and start treating myself accordingly by treating myself to actual treats.

Obviously it’s early days, who knows where I’ll end up with this. But I’m taking it day-by-day and letting myself enjoy life without sugar.

I’d like to look back at the end of the year and say YES – January was the month I elevated my life to next level by dialling this new habit of sugar-free living.

The Moon is my Calendar Journal pictured here is helping me track my monthly wellness focus. For every day that goes by without sugar I give myself a little love-heart, a visual reminder that I’ve done something loving for myself.

There’s no deprivation or suffering going on here, I’m actually stepping into a new level of freedom and self-love.

Big Sugar

You might say sugar is the new smoking. A widespread health epidemic that ‘Big Sugar’ – as I’ve taken to calling the peddlers of processed-edible-food-like-substances packed with sugar- are keen for us not to look too closely at.

Did you know that if you removed all the ‘food’ items in your local supermarket that contain added sugar you would be left with just 20% of what you see there?

Also, experiments by these companies were run to try and reduce the sugar and salt intake as a way to to address the health epidemic. They failed as it turns out most processed food with added sugar doesn’t taste of anything when the sugar and/or salt is removed. Because they aren’t real food!

Bonkers isn’t it. 80% of what we’re presented in a supermarket is highly addictive, engineered-food-like-substances, with little if any nutritional or taste value, salt and sugar aside,  designed to hijack our biochemistry and keep us hooked on something that will insidiously and slowly poison us.

I’ll share something straight from Food: WTF Should I Eat:If it were a brand-new product, the government would treat it like a dangerous substance to be controlled and regulated, not something that should be given to babies and added to 74% of all packaged foods in supermarkets. In fact, it would be approved as a good additive because it is so toxic when consumed in anything but small amounts. When you look at the damage caused by sugar – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, stroke, depression – you have to wonder why we continue to eat it as we do, and even worse, why we spoon-feed sugary junk foods to our children.

The food industry is poisoning us for profit. Just like the tobacco industry did. Same shit. Different poison. 

 

A Rose By Any Other Name

 

…..would still smell as sweet, And sugar by another name will still mess you up.

The Eskimos have over 50 ways to say snow.

We have over 50 ways to say sugar.

Gives you an idea how  deeply woven into the fabric of our society this toxic substance is. Read this list of the different names sugar is coated under and soak it up. 

Next time you’re looking at an ingredients label and wishing to avoid sugar don’t be fooled by fancy names for it.  Dehydrated cane juice, agave syrup, coconut sugar….it’s all just sugar dressed up in fancy shoes.

Once it hits your bloodstream it hijacks your chemistry and brain just like SUGAR SUGAR.

Phew, that’s a hell of a lot of information and rantings on sugar. If you’re still looking for more inspiration and information to advise your own re-assessment of sugar, here’s what else I found useful this month:

 

Research Papers

Sugar Addiction: From Evolution to Revolution

Sugar addiction: is it real? A narrative review. 

Impact of sugar on the body, brain, and behavior

Podcasts

Barry Friedman: How to Detox from Sugar, Beat Cravings & Become A World-Class Juggler

https://fatburningman.com/dr-mark-hyman-what-to-do-about-fake-foods-nutrient-deficiencies-pesticides/

Russell Brand – for general addiction information is great!

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/russell-brand-on-recovery-addiction-life-love-fatherhood/id1290769207?i=1000393025416&mt=2

And this podcast, The Doctor’s Farmacy, is awesome for all things food as medicine.

Essential Oils

Of course I’ve been using my oils to support me with this month’s focus.

Cinnamon is wonderful for balancing blood sugar and banishing sugar cravings. I use a teeny-tiny-not-even-a-drop in my cacao to satisfy any need for sweetness.

Peppermint is wonderful whenever you need a pick-me-up. No longer will I grab some chocolate, my new habit is to grab the peppermint and roll some on my temples.  You can’t get rid of a bad habit right off the bat, but you can replace it with a better one!

Jasmine – sugar hijacks your biochemistry and messes up your body’s ability to regulate its dopamine. It makes you feel like you need the sugar to get a hit or high. It’s an illusion. Just like the smoker that starts smoking and establishes a craving for nicotine which nicotine then addresses i.e. the nicotine doesn’t make you feel better than a normal non-smoker feels all the time, it just brings you up to normal by feeding a craving that you’ve created by starting smoking in the first place.  Mad isn’t it? Sugar is the same.  Jasmine helps us to rebalance our dopamine function.

Rose – a reminder that this isn’t about depriving myself of anything but actually loving and caring for myself on a much deeper level,  but freeing myself of something that brings me no real joy or benefit.

 

Over to YOU

Could you give up sugar? How does the thought of that make you feel?

Is there something else in your life that you know isn’t really serving you but you find yourself constantly pulled back to?

 

 

 

February – Drink Up!

Pause and Reflect

We’re 17% of the way through 2019. 59 days down. 306 days to go until 2020.

What victories can you claim so far? How have you been investing those precious moments of your life? If you’re not sure what you’ve been up to, but would like to start focusing on key areas for improvement so you can make some tangible gains throughout the rest of the year, join me in my #happyhealthyme 2019 monthly challenge!

#happyhealthyme 2019 challenge

Realising at the end of last year what a distracted-do-all-the-things-at-once-mess I was, I decided my word for this year would be FOCUS!

Part of my strategy for living out this mantra this year is to pause at the beginning of each month and assess which area of my life could do with my full awareness and an upgrade in order to move my health and wellbeing to the next level.  

The beauty of this strategy (if I do say so myself 😉) is that it allows me to slow down and really drop into one particular behaviour. And if I can make even a 1% improvement in the chosen area, and get that dialled in as the new default, i.e. a new habit, this will compound over time and have an enormously positive impact on my health trajectory. BAM!

A month is also heaps of time to practice the new behaviour.  Practice is the operative word, because more often than not we can’t just declare we’re going to do something better and then just go right ahead and do it forever more.  

A month gives me lots of times to read all the books, listen to all the podcasts, get inspired and informed, and experiment. It give me time to cock it up completely, forget about it, come back to it, and time to sit down, reassess what’s tripping me up, and try, try, try again.   

My goal is that by the end of 2019 I’ll be able to point to 12 tangible upgrades i’ve made in my life that have raised my bar.

I gave up sugar in January, you can check that story out here.  No more added sugar for me. That was a biggy. So February was something a little less huge. Water.

If you’d like to join me in this fun challenge head over to my free Essential Wellness community and let us know what you’re working on each month.

February – Drink Up

Do you drink enough water? Most of us don’t apparently. I had a sneaking suspicion that a little more water would do me good.

There are different schools of thoughts on the topic.

Some say not to overthink it, drink when you’re thirsty and you’ll be fine. Don’t worry about those ‘8 glass a day’ prescriptions. They’re a myth,

I’m so up for listening to our bodies. Trouble is, it’s such a noisy world and I think we often get confused about what our body actually needs. We may spend so long ignoring our body’s messages that our body kinda pipes down.

Sure your body will tell you when it’s thirsty. It’s not going to let you die of dehydration.

But on the other hand, does that mean you’re drinking the optimum amount of water? Or would everything work better with a bit more of the juice of life flowing through you and plumping up those beautiful cells?

 

Finding My Optimum

That was my experimentation this month. To find the sweet spot of how much I should be drinking to feel optimum, while not needing to wee every 2 minutes.

One calculation I found stated that we should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day. Bear in mind that food, teas etc, also contain liquid, so it doesn’t necessarily all need to come from straight-up water.

A few other sites, including the NHS, state anywhere between 1-2 litres a day. Again, it depends on your size, the temperature outside, whether you’re blasting out some HIIT or laying around on the  coach…so use your judgement… don’t be the ONE person that overdoes it and ends up in A&E with water poisoning. True story.

 

My Evolving Water Habit

I drink a 600ml bottle of water first thing in the morning. I dialled this habit in several years ago and it feels great. I definitely notice if I don’t do this. For this month’s experiment I was looking to add another bottle between breakfast and lunch and another one between lunch and dinner. That ended up being too much so I scaled the challenge back down to adding one more bottle.

Some days it was easy. Other days I had incredible resistance to drinking the damn water.  What the heck is that about? By this stage in my wellbeing journey I’ve learned to look at resistance with curiosity and find creative ways to break it down.

Tips and Tricks to Work Your New Health Habit

Like I said above, a month gives you a really good window to hack the habit you’re working on and get through the resistance that inevitably comes up when making changes.

Here’s what helped me:

Make it easy and obvious.

💧 Every evening before bed I fill my water flask up and take it up to bed with me. It’s so easy to wake up and drink my water in the morning. The momentum is set in motion the night before. I applied this to adding another round of water by filling up the flask again at breakfast and placing it next to my laptop, with the lid off. This last bit turned out to be a small, but crucial step. The lid off acted to get things in motion again. It was much easier for me to pick up the bottle and sip the water slowly between breakfast and lunch. Just seeing the lid off began the behaviour.  

Crazy no??  But it really is these tiny little shifts that can make a huge difference and tip the chances of us doing what we say we’ll do, and what we want to do, and turn this into what we actually do.

Set some simple boundaries

💧 Post-breakfast, I set up a rule to not eat anything else until lunch, or, until I’d had this extra bottle of water. It’s surprising how often we confuse thirst with hunger.  By focusing on drinking my water I can easily stick to my three meals a day, no snacking eating rhythm.

Jazz it Up

💧Sometimes plain water is just not inspiring. I love adding a drop of my doterra citrus essential oils, lemon and grapefruit are favourites, as is the metabolic blend.

Track It

💧Using The Moon is My Calendar Journal has been super useful as each night I sit down and draw a  little symbol to indicate if I’ve practiced the habit of the month. I draw a love heart, to indicate the practice is a practice of self-love, which it always is. Taking care of your health is self-love at it’s best.

💧Not being able to draw a little heart at the end of the day was a major bummer for me. I felt sad for not taking care of myself as I’d intended, which motivated me to do better the next day.

Reward Yourself
  • One of the most successful formulas for establishing a new habit is trigger, habit, reward. Set a trigger to remind you to do the do, do the do, then rewards yourself for doing it, at least until the reward inherent in the behaviour takes over as the rewards itself.
  • With this in mind, I spent some time thinking about what could encourage me to drink that extra bottle of water, instead of reaching for the snacks (old-less-good-habit).  It’s kinda childish, but why not? Stickers. Love hearts. Each time I drink a bottle of water I get to add a love heart to the bottle of water to decorate it. As time passes and I win at this drinking game, my bottle because full of love, which reminds me of all the love I’m showing myself with this new habit.

 

So that’s that’s 17% of the way through the year and I have kicked sugar out the door and upped my water intake to feel full and juicy AND cut out snacking between meals. Feeling #smug.

Next up – Spring seasonal cleansing. Do you do a seasonal detox? Fancy joining me on mine? 

What are you feeling called to focus on next in your life. Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

 

Sam x

 

 

 

JOIN ME ON AN ADVENTURE TO HAPPIER, HEALTHIER HABITS

If you know you need a habit overhaul and a lifestyle upgrade to unleash the best of you that’s lying dormant within, but you’re not sure where to start or how to stay the course to see the changes through,  check out my 10-month happy healthy habits course.

Previously offered as a 10-week programme, I’m reworking it so we can dive deeper and really make changes that stick, stick stick, so we all emerge at the end of 10-months operating at a new level of frequency. High-vibes all the way.  Register your interest to join the waitlist and I’ll be in touch as soon as the course is done cooking.

Go Deep, Not Wide

Yes to BOOKS!

Sometimes you read a book that changes you.

I’ve decided to read more of those in 2019.  And not just read, passively consuming yet more information as I have such a propensity to do #lovelearning – but to actually spend more time with each book thinking about how the information can be applied to my life and putting it into damn action.  I’ve actually read my three January books twice – how’s that for deep!

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World is the first game-changing book of the year.

Deep Work is described as “a professional activity performed in a state of 🌟distraction-free concentration🌟 that pushes your cognitive abilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your worth and are hard to replicate.”

How often do we make time to do this? Honestly, distraction-free concentration? Say what? Most people (myself included) live in a state of perpetual distraction! 

Our brains are constantly bumping along in distraction and reaction, doing shallow work, like sending emails and skimming online snippets of information, to such an extent that we’ve actually lost the ability to concentrate in any depth and even think for ourselves.

If you can master your ability to focus and go deep into something, rather than have your attention constantly scattered, you have a serious edge.

I want to work deeply.  I want to master my focus. I want to use my brain, and stop outsourcing all my thinking to google.

My takeaways and action points from this book:

  • Attention residue means when you switch from one thing to another some of your attention remains on the original thing. If you’re constantly switching from a – to – b – to – c, and back to- a, your attention is all over the shop! Focus on one thing at a time for a predetermined set of time. Stick phone on do not disturb and set a timer.
  • Use my google calendar to schedule blocks of time for getting core tasks done. Don’t decide spontaneously to do non-critical or important stuff during these time blocks.
  • Ask myself regularly, is what I’m about to do now the best use of my time? Don’t get caught up in busy-ness for the sake of busy-ness, or let shallow work distract me into feeling productive. 
  • Set up specific times to use social media and email, stay out of these at other times.  Start to build a schedule that means I take breaks from focus rather than breaks from distraction.
  • Actually assess the technology that is chewing up my attention (Instagram, Facebook, Email) to see whether it is genuinely bringing enough value into my life to justify any costs and drawbacks, like the total fragmentation and annihilation of my attention!
  • BE BORED – don’t fill every space with checking of social media. Give myself time to check out, dream, think….a relaxed mind is a creative mind…that’s where the magic is.  Downtime actually aides productivity.  
  • Bonus points, every time I resist the urge to randomly check my phone for messages, social media etc….I am training my mind to let go of distractions. This makes it easier to go into deep work when periods of time have been carved out for it.
  • Quit social media for a month as an experiment – not ready for this juuuust yet but it definitely needs to be done as the thought makes me a bit edgy. 

MY 2019 MONTHLY WELLNESS COMMITMENT

As part of my focus on going deeper rather than bouncing around the surface, I’ve decided that each month I’ll be focusing on just one primary health upgrade.

The  idea is to really establish something as a new healthy habit each month, so that come December I can point to some tangible lifestyle upgrades.

I’ll be reading around my monthly focus, listening to podcasts, and tracking my experience and findings. I’ll blog each month right here with an update on the topic of the month.

Deep Work led me to investigate my relationship to social media and how in control I actually was. This spurred me to start looking at other areas of my life where I might have less control over my actions than I’d like to think I do.

My health focus in January has been addiction as it plays out in food. I’m experimenting with sugar-free January.  Watch this space for my update and top resources for kicking the sugar-habit 🙂

 

Conscious Language: You DO have time!

Let’s Talk About Time

If you didn’t read Part I of this series check it out here.

You can probably sense where this is going if you read the previous blog.

“I don’t have time” and “I’m too busy” – two phrases to scrap completely.

We all have 24 hours in a day. We all have a mixture of basic needs (sleeping at night), and responsibilities (looking after little people, going to work), and most of us are plugged into social media 23.5 hours a day mindlessly scrolling for FOMO on something important.

OK, I exaggerate, but seriously, how much time do we fritter on things that don’t need doing? And then lament how great we’d be and what lustrous lives we’d live, if we just had the time for it.

Let’s Do the Maths

Let’s assume you work 40 hours a week. You spend 7 hours a week getting to and from work. You sleep 8 hours a night, which is 56 hours a week. That’s 103 hours a week.

We each get  24 hours a day, and 7 days a week. That’s 168 hours a week. Everyone gets the same amount. Time is very fair in that sense.

Assuming the first calculation pretty much sums up your responsibilities, i.e. time already spoken for, that leaves 65 hours a week FREE TIME! 65 hours a WEEK!!  That’s sooooooo much time!

Doing for the Sake of Doing

So if you don’t have time. What are you doing with all those hours? Aside from outright wasting time, do you (like me) find yourself busily in motion doing a lot of stuff that appears to be productive but is actually just doing for the sake of doing to make yourself feel better and avoid doing what you actually need to be doing to move ahead in life? Or you know, just relaxing and truly enjoying those hours doing what you love?

I say this because I’m guilty of it. I’m currently doing a 90 day challenge with my doTERRA gals and it AMAZES me my capacity to divert into doing a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, a social media post here, catching up on emails there, responding to texts right away, basically nice easy distractions that give me a sense of being productive and ‘on top’ of things, so that I don’t actually have to get on and ‘do the work’ because if I procrastinate on calling that person I know needs calling then I can postpone possible failure and stay safe. OK, that went down a bit of a rabbit-hole.

My point is we often make ourselves feel super busy and like we don’t have time, but if we look at what we’re doing, cut out the things that don’t really matter or need doing, we’ll find ourselves with a lot more space to breathe and do the things that matter.

Does This Need Doing?

Zoom out a year from now and look back at what you’re doing today. How much of it actually matters? Drop the stuff that doesn’t matter so you have space for the stuff that matters.

And if you’re already doing that and still find yourself crying out to say “but I’d don’t have time for x, y, z” then flip it around with “I’m choosing to focus on this other GREAT (make sure it is is great, not just random social media scrolling and mindless consumption) thing right now”.

84,000 Lives

According to some traditions we each reincarnate 84,000 times, so our soul has many, MANY, lifetimes to do the work it needs to do. So if you feel hurried and like there isn’t enough time for it all, zoom out to this soul perspective and relax 🙂

Some mantras to relax and open up time and space:

“I’m choosing to focus on other things right now”

“I’m nurturing these other areas of my life right now”

“I can do it all of course, but not all at the same time”

“ I have alllllll the time in the world”

Conscious Language: You CAN afford it

This is Part 1 of a 2 part rant on conscious language, and a simple trick to feel more powerful by simply watching out for two common phrases that will likely tumble from your tongue when you’re not thinking.

‘I don’t have time’‘ also popularly known as I’m too busy’, and ‘I don’t have enough money’, or, ‘I can’t afford it.

Just don’t say these things any more.

Please.

Will you promise me? At least notice when they come rolling out your mouth and contemplate their veracity.

They’re a script we’re stuck in and repeat on automatic loop. They don’t even mean anything. They aren’t even true in the vast majority of cases. And they rob us of our power. As though we were at the whim of some time-stealing, money-hoovering goblin. Which just ain’t true.

Let’s Talk About Money

There are SO many juicy conversations to be had around money.

A lesson I’ve learnt recently is that people (myself included) have money for the things they really want. When we want something badly enough we find away. We cut back on other things, we redirect spending, we go out and earn more, we borrow, we get an advance on Christmas/Birthday presents. We take out a loan. We good ol’fashion save up! To summarise, we find a way.

People always have money for the things they really want. It’s true. Saying ‘I can’t afford it’ is at best a polite way of saying I don’t really want to buy this, or support that.

Take smoking as an example. A smoker might smoke a pack of 20 a week. The average cost is £8 for a 20 pack. £8 x 52 weeks in a year = a £3,328 a year habit.  Did you know that in Great Britain, smoking is more common among those earning less than £10,000 per year in addition to those who are currently looking for work?  (true fact from this government report). 

Now if someone asked you to spend/invest around a third of your annual salary on something (houses aside, we’re well-versed in the benefits of investing in property and onboard with taking out loans for that!) well your body would probably do all sorts of weird things, quiver and shake, you might let out a nervous laugh, or just an outright laugh, before declaring it an absolute no-no.

And yet, people earning less than £10,000 do sustain a £3.000 a year habit.

I wonder, if you offered one of these people who fall into the smoker earning less than £10,000 a year a business opportunity, or a coaching package, or some sort of training to elevate their earning potential and/or improve their lives, or the holiday or adventure of a lifetime for £1000/£2000/£3000 how many would say ‘I can’t afford that’?

Not to pick on smokers, I just find this such a good example of how we can always find money for the things we truly want. 

That doesn’t mean we can all magically buy everything right now. That’s not the boat most of us are floating in. BUT, crucially, it’s about priorities. We have the power to prioritise where we spend our money so that we are purchasing the things we truly want and need.

So next time you find yourself saying you can’t afford something, be honest, and empowered and say:

 ‘I’m choosing to invest my money elsewhere right now’

or…

this isn’t a priority for me at this time’.  

Notice how freaking awesome it feels to be the boss of your spending!

 

I’ll be battering the “I don’t have time” phrase in Part II next week :-p

 

Never Got Anything To Wear?

Maybe the problem isn’t your wardrobe. And maybe the solution isn’t a new outfit.

Maybe the problem is that you’re not really happy in your own skin?

That dissatisfaction with yourself, and your life as it currently is. How often does it spur you to spend money on things you don’t need? Things that provide temporary upticks in the otherwise constant-hum of background discontent?

You know you’re carrying excess weight but rather then addressing the core issue you buy yourself a new outfit to make yourself feel better, from the outside in.

Or maybe you’re caught up in the cultural obsession with self-flagellation, perfectionism and all-round self-bashing with the never-good-enough stick. So you buy yourself a new outfit to temporarily feel good enough, from the outside in.

I was doing yoga teacher training with Rod Stryker once and I remember him joking about this concept. How we convince ourselves that if we just buy that new scarf/bag/dress/coat/haircut we’ll be happier. Nirvana is just one more transaction away.

We buy into it, because it does work. Temporarily.

For a short spell we feel closer to the kickass-badass-goddess deep down we know we are. Our outer appearance feels temporarily more in alignment with our inner vision. But it’s a bandaid. It’s not the actual solution to the problem we’re seeking to solve.

I remember another time in my life. A time when I had indeed found the solution to the inner discontent.

I was having a lot of fun. I was partying. I was making friends. I had lots of options and opportunities at my feet. I felt like the whole world was my oyster.

This was all mindset btw. This was how I was choosing to experience my relationship to life.

I was in love with life.  Someone actually pulled me up on it and asked me to spill the beans. To tell them who I’d met. No-one in particular. Life was my lover.

And guess what? I never once at this time felt like I had nothing to wear. I was happy wearing anything. Everything in my wardrobe had its charm.

I felt great, so everything I wore looked and felt great. To me at least. And that’s all that matters, right?  I remember a particular cardigan that cost £2, primark-second-hand through a charity shop. It was great, I looked fine and dandy in it and enjoyed wearing it. The End. No clothes drama. Ever. I was having far too much fun revelling in how wonderful it was to be me to care all that much about what I was wearing. Honestly, I would have been comfortable and confident rocking a bin-bag!

So what’s the point of all this? Next time you feel like you ‘have nothing to wear‘ consider this:

Self-care is the best outfit.

Self-love is the best make-up.

Do something for yourself that will truly fill you up with love and light, from the inside-out. 

 

 

 

If you’re done with band-aid-solutions to your woes and ready to get stuck into making real lifestyle changes that will have you radiating from the inside out, check out my Happy Healthy Habits course.  Next courses start September 2018 and January 2019. Register your interest now if you’re ready to start feeling your best.

You’re The Author Of Your Own Story

A few years ago I was in a major early-adulthood rut. I hit a fork in the road and had to make a major decision about which direction I wanted my life to take. I made the right choice but the process knocked the hell out of me.

I was energetically-depleted, and, despite being pretty “health-conscious”, didn’t feel all that in control of my health and wellbeing.

My waistline was expanding for a start. Not massively, but enough for me to see that, despite being relatively healthy by our cultural standards, I was still basically on the usual ageing trajectory which = degeneration over time.  Slower for some. Faster for others.

I did not like what I was experiencing. My yoga training had also told me, and shown me countless times, that this was not an inevitability.  Images of 150-year-old Indian yogis tied up like pretzels and prancing around like spring chicks kept cropping up.

You’ve heard the phrase “when the student is ready the teacher appears”. Well, just as I was in my slumpy-rut-a-tut-rut wondering what the hell to do next, I saw an advert on facebook for a 10-week programme that promised to get my life on track by guiding me step-by-step through the 10 core habits of yogis that ALL humans need to thrive.

The timing was divine. It was exactly what I needed. Structure. Support. A step-by-step plan.

I LOVE a good plan. 🙂

The best bit is, after implementing just habit 1 for a few weeks, I was out of my rut and back into the flow of my life.

I was so impressed by this course and how effective it was in getting me back in the driving seat of my life and into an upward spiral that I quickly signed up to become a yoga health coach so I could offer the programme myself.

And here I am doing just that.

So if you are in a rut. Whether you know it or not.

If you are feeling less than your best (and fyi: 99% of us are nowhere nearexperiencing the full potential of how good we can feel and how awesome we can rock this life!)

If your body is experiencing the effects of ageing and of our modern stress-filled life.

If you have aches, pains, niggles, extra pounds, random injuries and chronic sickness/illnesses.

If you haven’t got the energy you once had, but still have so much you want to do with life.

If you keep on repeating the same old patterns that you know no longer serve you, but can’t work out how to get yourself out of this trap.

If your body is sending you various signals and your mental response is “oooh, guess that’s because I’m getting on now”.

If you’d like to do more and feel better, but feel stuck in “I can’t”, “it’s not possible anymore”.

If you’ve given up on yourself, but not quite entirely yet.

If you’re resigned to the fact that degeneration over time is just a fact of life.

I’m here to tell you that this is all OPTIONAL!

It’s a choice.

Your write your own story, any way you want.

Just so you know.

You have so much choice.

Choice and power.

Over how you feel, physically, mentally and emotionally.

If you’re not rolling around reveling in just how much power, choice, and control you have over your life and how you feel. If you’re not consciously deciding how awesome you want to feel each day, but you’d like to, then please, PLEASE, for the love of all the goddesses, don’t struggle solo any more. It just ain’t fun. Or effective.

Take the first step now and register your interest in the next 10-week Happy Healthy Habits course which starts in September. There mightn’t be enough places left for you this time around but at least you’ll have taken a small step today and you’ll be on the wait-list for the next time around.

The next course is heavily discounted for the last time and I only have 5 out of 10 spots left as of today.

So if you want to take a giant leap in your well-being this year, don’t dilly-dally on yourself.

The. Time. Is. Now.

 

You’ve heard my story, but here’s an update from a  dear client who took my last course…

The last course really kicked started things for me – I’ve started yoga classes 

again and regularly run.  I had never ran before, always wanted to but didn’t think I could due to arthritis and ‘can’t do’ attitude.

The people on the course inspired me along with the kaizen steps. I even managed a half marathon earlier this year with another one planned in October! I NEVER thought I would do that!! 

You’ll notice the client used the term “kick-started”. The power of this course doesn’t just lie in the course itself and the 10-weeks we spend together, but the new and better trajectory that you step onto as a result of doing this work, and the positive compound effect this continues to have on your life throughout the rest of your lifetime.

Will your epic testimonial be featured here this time next year?

Here’s a fun exercise if you’d like to be in a position to write something like the above a year from now. This exercise will literally get you writing a new story for yourself. Enjoy!

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

 

Two free online talks coming up next month on Lifestyle Medicine.  Pick up some simple tips on how to add more years to your life and more life to your years,  from the comfort of your own home. How easy is that?

More details and registration here.

Supercharge Your Intentions

It’s all moon-tastic over here. This year I’ve been plugging into the lunar cycle and working more mindfully with her cyclical wisdom.

Today we have a super new moon. If you don’t have a new moon ritual, maybe today is the day to start one?

The monthly new moon is a cosmic reminder to surrender what’s no longer serving us in our life, and an opportunity to plant the seeds for new beginnings. This is a time of beautiful renewal.

Create some space, get quiet, surrender into a long deep exhale, and revel in that space of infinite potentiality. What will you manifest in this next lunar cycle?

If you’d like to dive into a new moon manifestation practice, check out this quick guide.

New Moon Blessings!!

 

Is there a gap between how you feel and how you’d like to feel?

Does the gap seem to be getting wider with age?

Do you have a sinking feeling that you’re getting slower, stiffer and fatter with each passing day but don’t know what to do about it?

The Happy Healthy Habits course is here to turn that ship around. To empower you with the skills you need to take charge of  your health and shift your trajectory onto a path of vibrant health.

Head over here for more details and to register your interest, next course sets off in September, will you join us?

Simple Self-Care for the Super Busy

So you’re super-duper busy. Who isn’t these days? Busy seems to be a way of life. Oftentimes we put our self-care at the bottom of the pile, something to get to last, if there’s time.

Thing is, self-care isn’t really optional, it’s not a luxury. It’s not fluffy-duffy-day-at-the-spa-get-your-nails-done stuff. It’s taking appropriate care of our vehicle for action in the world; taking care of our body, mind and spirit, so that we can show up as the best version of ourselves and contribute to society and the world around us.

Not having time for self-care because you’re too busy is like not having time to stop and refuel the car because you’re in a  hurry to get somewhere. Running out of fuel while you’re racing along is more time-consuming and less efficient then just stopping for regular re-fills.

That said, how do you slot those re-fills seamlessly into an already full life?

The Why

First, always, take a moment to get super clear on why you’re committing to make some time for self-care. Do you keep coming down with colds that knock you out for days? Do you keep blowing your fuse and getting into relational messes that you then have to clear up? Is your cup running empty but you’d like to have something to give once again? Are you just missing out on feeling great most of the time and sick of it?

What’s the why? We always need a strong why before making ANY change. We’re creatures of habit, without a strong why to fuel our changes we will just keep doing what we’ve always done.

The How

How do you slot self-care in when you’re busy?

The answer: 1 minute practice

If you don’t have 1-minute you really don’t have a life at all. If that’s the case, you might want to look at that! So I’m going to assume you do have minutes to spare. You’re reading this after all 🙂  Sprinkle several self-care-power-minutes throughout your day and notice the difference it makes. Setting a timer is a nice way to trigger these new self-care mini habits.

The What

What can you do in 1 minute that’s going to make a difference?

  1. Meditate, stop, drop and breaaaathe deeply for one minute. Set a timer, everything can wait for 1 minute. For 1 minute make the world stand still by letting it all go and entering a deep pause. It’s not quantity but QUALITY that matters. Take one minute and make it count. I’ve meditated for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, hours before, and sometimes only been really present when the timer went off to start and to signal the end. So get grooving with the present moment (possibly my favourite definition of meditation ever!) for one minute. 
  2. Move your body! Jumping jacks, sun salutes, walking, jogging on the spot, a mini-dance party. Whatever floats your boat. Just get your breath going, your heart pumping and your body moooooving. Notice the difference after just one minute.
  3. Earth/Ground: Go outside, take your shoes and socks off and plug yourself directly into mother earth. For bonus points look up at the sky and soak up heaven and earth for 1 minute. Guarantee you feel better.  Won’t go into why this is amazing here but if you’re not aware of earthing definitely check this out.

And there you have it, super, simple self-care for the busy bee.

 

If you’re ready to get serious about self-care, ready to dial in the daily habits and routines that will unlock the best of you,  then join me on my next HAPPY, HEALTHY HABITS adventure. You’ll gain 10 new habits in 10 weeks that will set you on a better trajectory for life!

Learn More

Top Tips for a NINJA immune system

Guard Your Sleep

Sleep is the best beauty cream and health supplement. Not getting enough sleep on a regular basis is one of the quickest ways to shoot your immunity in the foot. So get yourself a sweet bedtime routine, and wind down for some epic sleep to stay well.

My favourite ways to guard my sleep:

  • Turn off all electronics (including the TV!) an hour or two before bed. Give yourself time to literally unplug. Our devices give off a blue light that messes with our sleep hormone melatonin. The bright blue light of our dear screens and devices trick our brains into thinking it’s still daylight.
  • If you can’t bear to unplug look for special night settings that turn the harmful blue-rays down. For my computer I use f.lux, it’s a great programme that reduces your screen’s blue light: https://justgetflux.com/
  • Do something nice for yourself at the end of the day as a little self-care ritual, it’ll put you into a great mood for sleep. Some of my favourite things include making a nice herbal tea, giving myself a foot massage with some essential oils (cedarwood and lavender are two of my faves right now), and reading something inspiring, or journalling.

For more sleep tips, check this out.

Exercise & Movement

Exercise keeps our immune system-fighting strong, not least because it’s one of the most powerful anti-stress techniques. We all need lots of daily movement,  but sadly our sedentary culture means most of us aren’t getting anywhere near enough movement,

Try slotting 20 minutes of movement at the beginning of the day, before the day gets away from you. Then, whatever way the winds blow later in the day, you’ll always be getting a minimum amount of exercise each day.

If 20 minutes seems like too much, start with 10 minutes. If that’s too much, go to 5 minutes. Make it a habit! Daily is the key, even if it’s just a small amount, you’ll earn good compound interest on it over time.  

Besides exercise, keep your eyes peeled for ‘opportunities to move’.  Do you have to sit down while you take that phone call? Could you stand? Walk? Squat?! Ask yourself ‘how can I get more movement into my daily life?” and watch as the opportunities start to present themselves.  Katy Bowman’s book Move Your DNA offers lots of inspiring information and ideas. Her podcast is also well worth listening too. Just make sure you listen on the go 😉

 

Eat Real Food

Specifically lots of plants, ideally those in season.  When we eat plants they gift us their immunity, we benefit from the many wondrous chemicals and compounds that comprise their immunity.

When we eat local and seasonal fruits and vegetables we receive the immunity from plants that are set up to thrive in our area, which is where we too are looking to thrive.

Another way to get more plant goodness is to use a variety of herbs and spices in your meals. The amount of antioxidants in herbs and spices compared to regular plants is crraaaay-zy.

Check out this ORAC Scale chart that illustrates the point nicely. Something like  blueberries, which are well-known for their antioxidant punch, score around 2,400. Clove on the other hand, scores over a million!! See, craaaazy!

Don’t miss out, get your herbs and spices in there. It’s as simple as sprinkling some cinnamon on your porridge.

I’ve recently gone next level by incorporating some pure essential oils into some of my foods.  Right now I’m loving adding a drop of doTERRA’s On Guard blend to my porridge. It includes clove, cinnamon and wild orange so packs a powerful antioxidant punch, and is delicious to boot.  It’s been great while I’ve been away from home especially as I haven’t had my herbs and spices on hand and travelling about opens you up to all sorts of new bugs and possible infections, so you want to be more On Guard then ever. See what I did there? 🙂  Cinnamon is also super-duper useful in reducing sugar-cravings.

Which leads to the next point, reduce your sugar intake! It suppresses your immune system. This one’s a little tough for me as I’m a chocoholic, but the cinnamon is definitely helping!

 

Chill-ax – Reduce Stress

Stress puts you into fight-or-flight mode which suppresses functions that aren’t needed for the fight-or-flight. Our hectic modern lives are often fraught with low-level stress, so get yourself a strategy to deal with it. Create boundaries for yourself, don’t take on too much, take time out each day to just breathe and relax.

Carve out some time either at the beginning or end of each day (ideally both!) just for you, to meditate, journal, do some yoga…whatever helps you imprint a pattern of ease on your mind-body-spirit. Without some conscious practices built into your routine you’ll easily be swept up by the stress that surrounds us all. Unless you’re a complete cucumber and just too cool and totally unflappable. #envyyou

Mind Your Gut

The gut is known as the second brain. In Ayurveda it’s hailed as the root of all health. If digestion is healthy everything else is good, if digestion is messed up, all manner of problems unfold.

Did you know that 80% of our immunity is in our gut? And 90% of our serotonin!

Our gut is one place that’s full of bacteria. In fact, for every 1 human cell there are around 10 bacteria cell. We are totally outnumbered, so we better keep the bacteria dudes happy.

The best way to take care of your gut is to cut out (or seriously reduce) processed and junk food. Eat real foods that keep gut bacteria happy. You might also consider taking a probiotic – a supplement made of different bacterias that helps out the good bacterias in there.  Another great option is to eat fermented foods, these serve as wonderful probiotics. I always have a batch of sauerkraut on the go, it couldn’t be easier to make, see recipe here:

Consider Supplements

Do some research into supplements to see if you might benefit from any. Most of us in the northern hemisphere at least need to supplement with vitamin D in the winter as we just don’t get enough sun exposure and this is a vital vitamin for our healthy functioning.

 

Reduce Your Toxic Load

If you’re eating well, exercising, sleeping like a trooper, taking time to zen-out and stay cool, then it might be time to look at reducing your toxic load.

Something like 80,000-90,000 chemicals have been introduced into our environment in the last 50-100 years or so. We’ve never been exposed to such a variety of chemicals, many of which haven’t been studied or testing thoroughly. They’re in our face cream, our toothpaste, our shampoo, our cleaning products, our carpets, furniture, even in our water supply. Everywhere you look, they’ll be room for improvement.

Don’t get bogged down. Notice the products you have in your home that you’re using regularly. Check out the ingredients labels. Don’t freak out at the enormity of the problem and do nothing. Pick one things at a time and see if there’s a better option available. Better still, have fun making your own products!  

 

Action Steps:

Use the Think Dirty App to help you assess products and make better purchasing decisions. 
If you’d like to be in good company as you lighten your toxic-load then join my natural living facebook group for ideas and chit-chat on this topic. 

If you’re interested in using essential oils to uplevel your health and wellbeing then check out the link below. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, I’m here to help!