Are you nourishing your tree of life or inhibiting it’s growth?Read More...
Now that January is upon us, we will have countless images shoved under our nose to change our physical body and whole life (in about 30 days, so no pressure!!). We will be encouraged with ‘New Year, New You’ bullshit and led down a path of guilt and shame as we sign up for new gym membership or take the first step on the weighing scales. The weight loss/ diet industry makes BILLIONS each year (64 billion in the US alone in 2018) by marketing and selling products that we are led to believe we need to be happy, healthy and fulfilled. Advertisements and whole magazines will be dedicated to making you feel like you couldn’t possibly be happy, fulfilled or healthy if you’re not the size of the airbrushed models shown.
We know all about Photoshop and filters, but these headlines still trigger our insecurities and draw us in because that is what they are intending to do. Millions are spent creating campaigns and researching the psychology behind it all so don’t feel bad if you feel like you are being sucked back into a 30-day detox after the Christmas holidays. Our worth is not measured by the number on the scales or the measurement of our hips. Our health is not defined by what size our clothes are, I can range between 2-3 sizes in different shops. We are all made up of different shapes and sizes and often we strive for a body shape/ weight that is so far out of reach that we could spend a lifetime eating ‘clean’ and working out and still not achieve it. But rest assured there will be a continuous stream of new diets or exercises regimes to try. Diets don’t work, they are restrictive and obsessive and short lived. They only prove to cause fear, anxiety and control around our eating habits and reward this behaviour with cheat meals and binge eating.
That is not to say that you shouldn’t eat healthier or set an intention to get fitter or stronger. Making positive changes to our lives is a good thing. Growth should always be encouraged and supported in all areas of our lives. We are constantly changing, learning, growing, letting go and blooming once again. We live our lives in cycles as does nature and so as the winter cycle comes to an end, it makes sense that we would want to prepare for the spring. However, it is still winter, a time to nourish and heal, a time of introspection and reflection. A time where we can look back on the past year, take the lessons and blessings and carry them with us into the new year as we realign with our values, with what lights us up and fulfils us and with the desires for the next cycle to come.
Usually at New Year people make grand plans and resolutions because they feel they are lacking in some area of their life. They feel as if they ‘should’ be doing better. They feel as if they have failed to succeed or achieve something. They feel as if they need to reach a certain destination or goal to be happy, fulfilled, healthy or successful. They are told again and again by advertisements and media that who they are is not good enough. This conditional thinking and living encouraged by those who profit from our insecurities will actually be the rope that binds us to this way of living rather than set us free. When we make a call to action from a place of guilt, shame, lack we are acting because we think we ‘should’ and therefore we will spend our time constantly striving and never arriving at the place we so desperately seek.
This January instead of making a list of resolutions that evoke guilt, shame and resentment and low self-worth, I suggest taking a few weeks to reflect and realign with what you truly want to bring into this coming year. Let’s get the garden ready, clear the soil, get rid of the weeds and dead leaves, chose the seeds you want to grow, nourish, nurture them and tend to them daily and watch as they grow and bloom as the year unfolds. Remember the grass is greener, where you water it. We know when we tend to the garden that the seeds are growing, in the time they should, we don’t keep digging back up the soil to see if the seed is still there. Know that you are changing and growing in your own time too, trust and enjoy the process.
Here are some journal prompts to reflect and realign on in January, to help clear the garden and decide what flowers to plant. Writing this stuff down can bring huge insights and healing, give yourself the time to write it down.
- What are your proud moments/ achievements of the past year?
- What did you learn this year? What lessons learned were necessary for your growth?
- What lessons were particularly hard? Are they healed/healing/ in need of external support and if so, where can you get it?
- What are the highlights of the past year?
- What are you most grateful for this year? (read more on gratitude here)
- Who was your greatest support this year? Do you need more support going forward? What or who might that look like?
- What are you leaving behind and not bringing into the next year? What no longer serves you, your growth or your happiness? What do you want to let go of?
- Write a list of all that things that light you up, that make you deliriously happy, peaceful or content. Think about when you were younger and what you loved to do. Write everything down from the simple to the grand e.g. fresh bed sheets to travelling to faraway countries. Make time and space in your life for these this year.
- What feeling/ emotional state do you want to feel more of this coming year? Why? Sit with this for a few moments and really feel it in within your whole being. We want things and set goals because we think that once we achieve them, we will be happier, fulfilled. We forget that we can evoke these feelings and emotional states every day by being present and by doing more of the things that light us up. Instead of getting stuck in a cycle of set a goal, be unfulfilled and lacking in an area of our life until/ if/ when we achieve it, we can realign with the emotional state/feeling /value that is at the core of our action.
- What is your heart and soul calling out for? More….? If you weren’t afraid of anything, what would you love to do/see/feel/ be? If failing wasn’t an option, what would you love to do/see/feel /be? Sit with this one also and see what comes up for you, you may be surprised at what shows up, the most important thing is to listen and trust what you hear.
- Write down the baby steps you can take over the coming weeks/months/ year. This is a guide and may (most likely will) change as you move through the year. Don’t try to micromanage every step, stay aligned with what your heart and soul is truly calling out for and make small steps towards it.
Each year in our lives is like a snapshot of laughter and pain, growth and release, achievement and defeat. Some years are lighter than others, some we wish we could live again and again while others we can’t wait to say goodbye to. Whatever your past year felt like, know that a new year, with a whole set of chapters is awaiting you and you get to write and direct each one. You don’t need to achieve it all in the first month and you don’t need to spend lots of money to achieve it. You are perfectly worthy and whole as you are. All the answers you seek are within you and the guidance and support of friends, loved ones or professionals can be found. When we reconnect and realign with our heart and soul, the right people will suddenly appear to guide and support us on the next section of our journey.
I can’t wait to see how we bloom and grow this year!
Wellness, the hashtag or tagline for many an online post from the knowledgeable to the influential. It is often thrown around with reckless abandonment with others such as organic, natural, superfood and the newest member, mindfulness to engage you in a product or health promotion of some sort. However, the word wellness has been around since the 60’s and 70’s, long before social media was even born. Wellness, a word coined by the leading psychologists, behavioural change therapists, counsellors and life coaches at the time who pioneered the way for the whole person approach we know today.
As this is a wellness blog, I thought it was necessary to dig a little deeper…
What does wellness mean?
And more importantly what does wellness mean to you?
I have often posed this question to individuals and groups as a Health & Wellness Coach and the answers are always similar;
– Wellness is the opposite of illness.
– Wellness is being fit and healthy.
– Wellness is having a healthy diet.
– Wellness is being healthy.
All the above are true and important aspects of wellness, but not the whole picture. To bring awareness to your wellness is to bring awareness to all areas of your life, looking at you as a whole –in mind, body, soul and environment.
Wellness isn’t just the absence of disease, you can be disease free and in a neutral position between wellness and illness and still feel unsatisfied or unfulfilled. Almost like wearing blinkers or driving on auto pilot. Not really tuning into what is going on in your body, mind or heart but getting by because you haven’t started to show the signs or symptoms of illness yet.
How often have you been totally satisfied in some areas of your life such as career only to realise that your relationships or health are in total disarray? Feeling so satisfied in some areas only to feel empty and wanting in others?
Don’t worry you are not alone in feeling this way. How else can we truly know what we want without having the contrast of what we don’t want. So always embrace and be grateful for this contrast as it is there to show you what you do want.
For me, wellness is an inside job and it starts with our awareness. After all, awareness can be curative. When we bring awareness to all areas of our lives and ask ourselves a few honest questions as to how we are truly feeling about them we may be surprised at how deeply we connect with the answers.
So where and how do we start? Let’s get this wheel turning!
As I said when we look at our wellness we don’t just look at one area like diet or fitness, we need to look at all areas of meaning within our lives. These may vary but for the majority they can be focused around these main areas.
- Personal growth
- Significant other/ Romance
- Physical environment
- Fun and recreation
- Diet & fitness
Take 5 or 10 minutes and think honestly about these areas within your life. You can add in or take out areas if you wish.
If you were to rate your satisfaction in each area out of 10, what would that look like? Shade in your wheel to correspond with your rating.
Think about each area from both sides. For example, I might rate my diet & fitness a 6/10 because although I eat very healthy 80% of the time, my fitness levels have dropped as I have prioritised other areas of my life.
Look at your wheel, the inner shaded wheel you have created and ask yourself, how confident would I feel using this wheel on my car? If the answer is not very confident maybe you can make some changes to those certain areas of your life to ensure a smoother ride.
It is not about having the perfectly rounded wheel, it is about bringing your awareness to your wellness as a whole and improving it by looking at specific areas.
It is about changing the direction of your wellness, a direction of which you are steering and not being led.
As wellness is an ever-evolving journey for everyone you could do this exercise 100 times over and have different insights each time. I have often done this and thought, I am not satisfied with that area of my life, I am going to make a conscious effort to see that person more or do this less. In bringing our attention and awareness to an area you could bump a 5/10 to an 8/10 and make a huge change to our overall wellness in a matter of minutes.
Other times the change might be a bigger lifestyle change that we may need to seek help with and or set goals accordingly.
As I said, it starts with awareness. So, bring your attention to all of the important parts of your life, give it some honest, non-judgemental thought. The wheel should not be a tool you use to beat yourself up that you haven’t got your life perfectly balanced (Let’s be honest, who does?). It is a tool that acts as a starting point from which you can consciously improve your health and well-being.
We are the only ones who can take control of our wellness and change it for the better, we just need to make that choice.
Are you ready to take control of your health and wellness and change it for the better?
Where will you start?
Making the right food choices is somewhat of a mine field these days. It seems that every article and advertisement is telling us conflicting information. It is hard to know who to believe or what to do to ensure our nutritional needs are being met. We also have so much access to information ourselves that every second person has an opinion on what is best for you and your body.
This new age of information serves as a double-edged sword. We are more informed than ever before in relation to food and diet however it is often information overload which confuses rather than helps us.
Diets, food and nutrients are constantly being researched, reviewed and updated that we shouldn’t take anything as gospel. How long did we believe that ‘low fat’ was good for us only to realise that the information from those studies was misinterpreted to suit the needs of those in certain food industry’s that would benefit the most? Remember that food is a product at the end of the day and there to make a profit, not all research, marketing and advertisement is for your health benefit. It is more likely there to ensure you buy their product over another. This includes the superfoods and the health foods, which is another multimillion euro industry.
As we try to make a conscious effort to make better, more informed choices about the food we put in our bodies and the food we feed our children, here a few tips that I think are useful.
- Observe and bring your awareness to your diet.
What are you eating or not eating? If you were to keep a diary for 3-5 days (including the weekend) of what you ate and how you felt afterwards you probably wouldn’t need a qualified nutritional therapist to tell you where you might be going wrong. Seeing your diet written down on paper is a great way of seeing patterns in your eating habits and how the food you are eating is making you feel. If you do need direction and guidance from a coach or therapist they will have an excellent starting point to begin working from, with you.
2. Keep it simple
You don’t need to change everything in the one day. Adding in new healthy habits one at a time will ensure that these habits last in the long run. When you decide to make positive changes to your diet there are more things at play than just your decision to do so. Hormones, stress levels, blood sugar balance, sleep patterns and life in general will test your new way of eating. A healthier eating plan doesn’t have to be restrictive, by adding in new healthy habits you will be surprised at how quickly you notice the positive changes to how you feel. You have most likely being eating a certain way for many years, it will take time to change those deeply ingrained habits. What small change could you make for the next week to start a new healthy habit?
3. Eat more whole foods
The Wholly Grail is all about looking at things as a whole and embracing the fact that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Eating foods in their whole form will ensure we get as much of the nutritional quality as possible form them. Nature provides the perfect balance of vitamins and minerals within the whole food that we need because it is so infinitely knowledgeable and synced so that everything has a purpose. The minute we start to change or process the food we are losing some of its nutritional quality. How often do you eat food in its natural state? How much of your food shop is packaged or processed? How much fresh produce are you consuming?
4. Ask some questions…
Are you influenced totally by fancy packaging or clever labelling? Have you ever stopped to look at the back of the packet and see what ingredients are in the products you are putting into your trolley? We are so vigilant with the fuel we put into our car or creams we put on our face but often we don’t question the list of ingredients that is on our favourite foods. You may be surprised at the amount of additional ingredients that are present, that you firstly cannot pronounce and secondly have no idea what they are or what they do to your body.
5. Eat more vegetables
No one can deny that vegetable intake is paramount to a healthy diet. Vegetables are loaded with all the nutrients and minerals that our bodies need in abundance to thrive. As vegetarianism, Veganism and plant based diets are hitting the headlines as the new go-to diet, there is a multitude of recipes and suggestions to incorporate more veggies into your diet. Low in calories and high in nutritional value, I think vegetables are the catalyst to a healthier life. As a veggie loving vegan, myself I will be posting lots of tried and tested recipes that will help you and your children to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Can you think of one way you could incorporate an extra portion of vegetables into your diet each day?
The holy grail, a cup or a chalice of magic and miraculous qualities and power that can provide anything from eternal happiness or youth to infinite abundance of wealth and riches. This much sought after chalice took starring role in many a tale and quest for centuries across Europe…Read More...