Guest Post – How To Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle With A Super Hectic Schedule

Guest Post – How To Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle With A Super Hectic Schedule

Following a healthy routine and balanced diet can be challenging when you have a super busy life. When life feels overwhelming it is often our health and sleeping patterns that are first to be put on the back burner, and a healthy lifestyle can seem impossible to follow. However, you no longer have to worry because we have compiled a few tips that will help you follow a healthy lifestyle, even with all the busyness and work throughout the day.

These simple tricks will make a big impact in the longer term. We have made sure to put your convenience first. So read and follow these 8 tips to start a better and healthier routine today:

Wake up early and eat your breakfast:  Say you have a 9am meeting at work. Waking at 8:30 and rushing through your morning is the worst thing you can do as you will probably end up skipping breakfast. It’s also important to remember that not eating breakfast on a regular basis actually increases your risk of obesity and diabetes. To start your day in a healthy way, wake up at least 2 hours before you need to be at work. Move your body, eat a healthy breakfast and get prepared for your day.

Be prepared:  Taking time to meal plan each week can make a huge difference to your stress levels. Plan out your meals, make sure you have the ingredients you need and do as much meal prepping in advance as you can. This will also decrease the chance of you choosing unhealthy snacks, skipping meals or grabbing take-aways.

One thing at a time:  Just eat when you are eating and sleep with no distractions. Put work and technology away when eating meals, and at least an hour before going to bed.

Socialise your lunch:  Socialising at lunch is linked to increased happiness and pleasure, as well as better mental health. It is also a beautiful distraction from work and the to-do lists on your mind. Organise to have lunch with a friend or your partner at least once a week.

Drink lots of water:  Stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you and make sure you drink at least 2 litres of water each day.

Take time out for meditation:  Meditation not only improves your mental health and emotional wellness, but it also significantly reduces stress.

Enjoy the weekends:  Make sure you take a break on weekends to spend time with friends, family and even just yourself. You will not only feel better for it, but also more energised for the coming week.

When you adopt these healthy habits on a regular basis they will make you feel happier, healthier and more energised. They will also help you maintain a healthy lifestyle even when life is busy!

Professional Bio:

Beth MartelThis post was written by Beth Martel. She is a mother of two, a medical professional and a humanitarian. She blogs at HealthyRecharge.com

10 Tips For Drinking More Water & 6 Delicious Infused Water Recipes

10 Tips For Drinking More Water & 6 Delicious Infused Water Recipes

Last week I shared with you the affects not drinking enough water has on you physically and mentally.  If you haven’t read that post you can do so here.  Many of us struggle to drink enough water each day.  We either forget to drink or we get bored with sipping on plain water all the time.  So today I am sharing ten simple tips to help you drink more, plus six delicious infused water recipes that make drinking water more appealing.

My top ten tips to help you drink more water during the day are:

  • Buy a pretty water bottle or a bottle with an inspiring message written on it.  Keep it with you throughout the day and sip from it regularly.
  • Every time you return to your desk during the day take a long drink of water.
  • Set an alarm on your phone.
  • For every non-water beverage you drink, consume 1-2 glasses of water.
  • Add drinking a glass of water to your morning and evening skin care regime.
  • Keep a bottle of water beside you bed.  Take a sip if you wake during the night.  First thing in the morning take a long drink.  This will help activate your internal organs for the day ahead.
  • Drink a glass of water before you have a shower.  This also helps lower your blood pressure.
  • Drink during and after exercise.
  • Spice it up!

 

Infused Water Recipes

 

If you find plain water boring then spicing it up with fruits and vegetable is a great way to add flavour.  My top favourite recipes are:

Berry Infused Water:
6 cups of cold water
1 cup of raspberries
1 cup of blueberries
Chill in the refrigerator for 2-8 hours (more time = more flavour)

Orange-Kiwi Infused Water:
2 cups of water
2 cups of ice
1 orange, sliced
2 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced

Lemon-Cucumber Infused Water:
2 cups of water
2 cups of ice
1 lemon, sliced
10 thin slices of cucumber

Cucumber-Mint Water:
2 cups of chilled water
1/2 a cucumber
1/2 a lemon
3 strawberries
Fresh mint

Strawberry, Lemon & Grapefruit Detox Water:
Pitcher of iced water
1/4 cup of strawberries
1 sliced lemon
1 sliced grapefruit

Lemon, Lime & Cucumber Detox Water:
Pitcher of iced water
1 sliced lemon
1 sliced lime
1/2 a sliced cucumber

It’s now up to you to make a commitment to drink more water during the day.  Not only is it great for your body, skin and hair but your mind will love you for it too.

If you have any other tips for helping you to drink more water I’d love to hear them.  And if you have a favourite infused water recipe please share it with me in the comments below.  I’m always on the look out for more ways to make water more appetising.  

Yours in Healing & Health,

Nicola

PS.  If you know someone who would love to read this post please feel free to share it with them.<

How Not Drinking Enough Water Affects You Physically

How Not Drinking Enough Water Affects You Physically

Water makes up two-thirds of our body and plays a major role in how our body functions. It lubricates our joints, keeps our skin healthy, facilitates digestion and keeps our cells functioning at an optimal level. So how do you know if you aren’t drinking enough water each day?

The body only has to loose 1-2% of it’s entire water content before it begins to affect how you and your body performs. Some of the physical signs that you might be suffering from mild to moderate dehydration include:

  • Headaches
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry skin
  • Dizziness or light headedness
  • Constipation
  • Decreased energy
  • Low mood
  • Feeling lousy about life
  • Difficulty concentrating

The body looses between four to nine cups of water a day just through our normal bodily functions. Our brains, kidneys, various glands and hormones work together to monitor the delicate balance between how much water we are loosing and how much we are taking in. So how do they do this?

It starts with the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the gland in your brain responsible for regulating your body temperature. It also triggers the process that balances the fluid in your body.

When the hypothalamus detects that there is not enough water in your blood it releases an anti-diuretic hormone. This then tells your kidney to take out less water from your blood. The result? You pee less and your urine is more concentrated and darker in colour. At this point your brain will tell you that you are thirsty. Once you drink some water the water levels in your blood return to normal.

So what happens if you don’t drink enough water? Basically your cells can’t function at their optimal level because your systems have to work too hard. You end up feeling fatigued and lethargic. Your blood volume drops, your blood pressure decreases and your heart rate increases. Doesn’t sound good, does it?

The amount of water you need to consume each day varies. It depends on what you eat and drink, the climate you live in and your activity level. So how do you know how much to drink?

You have probably heard that you need to drink two litres or 8 glasses of water a day. This is a good starting point but if you tune in to your body it will signal to you when you need to drink. If you feel thirsty, it’s your body’s way of saying it needs to be replenished. If your urine doesn’t look like lemonade, you’re not drinking enough. It’s as simple as that.

If you struggle with drinking enough water each day just know you aren’t alone. Like anything it takes practice and dedication to stick to a daily practice. But with time it will become easier.

Next week I’m going to be sharing tips on how to make sure you drink enough water each day. As well as some recipes to make drinking water that more appealing and easier. To make sure you don’t miss that post make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter by clicking here and I will send it straight to your inbox.

So if you think your brain fog, lethargy or mood swings may be related to dehydration it is up to you to make a commitment to listen to your body and drink when it tells you it is thirsty. It’s a pretty simple thing to do. But are you listening?

Yours in Healing & Health,

Nicola

PS. If you have a friend that you think would love to read this article please feel free to share it with them.

Interview with Kerrie Bannister – Women’s Counsellor : Therapist

Interview with Kerrie Bannister – Women’s Counsellor : Therapist

Kerrie Bannister is a women’s counsellor from Sydney.  Through her work she aims to provide women with the space to explore their struggles, to have the opportunity to understand themselves and what is truly important to them.  She believes that these discoveries can then pave the way for living in the world in a way that is meaningful and authentic, and in line with our own values and belief systems.

I love this interview with Kerrie.  Her answers to my questions were honest and insightful.  Kerrie and I both hope you enjoy this interview as much as we love bringing it to you.

For my readers who may not know you I’d love for you to start by telling us who you are, what you do and how you are making a big impact in the world right now.

I’m a woman who’s becoming more and more comfortable in her own skin the older she’s getting (fast approaching 50)! I’m very fortunate to live and work in a beautiful part of Australia; the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I enjoy walking the nearby beaches, dabbling in anything creative, having lots of time on my own (yes, you could call me an introvert) as well as with my husband and now grown up family and beautiful grandsons. In the working world I’m an emotionally focused therapist running a private practice for women. How am I making a big impact in the world? I hope through one therapeutic relationship at a time! I believe the healing of one person has the power to create a ripple effect through their life and connections and out into wider community.

Can you tell us a little bit more about how you became to be a counsellor and how your own journey inspires you to do the work that you do?

As is often the case with counsellors, it began with my own experience sitting in the counselling room in the client’s chair. I remember a curious part of me observing the process and thinking “I could do this… I want to do this”. Admittedly, there was resistance for a couple of years as I knew that it would require committing to the difficult work of self-discovery which I was a little afraid to do. However, once I embarked upon it, that journey in itself is what continually inspires me to do this work. Through my own process I now know firsthand the difference it makes to understand what has impacted me, what formed those old inner beliefs about myself and the healing that can take place when you are able to move out from under those often damaging influences. Seeing this process unfold for my clients also encourages me and keeps me committed to this work.

I know that you take an emotionally focused approach in your work. Can you explain to us what that means and how this looks in your client sessions?

As it suggests, an emotionally focused approach always holds at its centre the individual’s emotional experience. It’s about learning how to heed our emotions as information; helping us to understand and recognise what is important to us, what our needs are and how to meet them. Rather than focusing on changing cognitive responses, the emphasis is on increasing emotional awareness. This means helping the client tune in to their reactions and responses; what it feels like, where it sits in their body, finding ways to express what has happened or is happening for them. This allows clients the opportunity to work through their experiences in a safe way which brings with it the possibility for relief and change.

You also do a lot of creative work with your clients. I’d love for you to tell us a little more about this.

The majority of the work unfolds through verbal exploration, however, bringing in creative elements often allows the process to open even further. Sometimes it can be hard to put into words an experience, an emotion or a sensation in the body. In these instances, with the client’s permission, I may invite them to explore it in other ways. This could be through means such as drawing, writing or using objects to represent a feeling or a part of themselves. It brings a sense of play and curiousity into the exploration and can help provide relief around painful emotions as well as deepen self-understanding.

What do you believe the ‘key’ to self-healing is?

Carl Rogers said “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change”. I believe a pivotal key is the development of self-compassion; to be able to view oneself with kindness and understanding, to be able to acknowledge the painfulness of our experiences and offer ourselves comfort and support. It’s being able to metaphorically scoop up that little person who lives inside each one of us, hug them tight and tell them that we love them. And for that little person to believe it.

If you could give my readers, who may be just starting out on their own self-healing journey, one piece of advice what would it be?

Take a moment to acknowledge how courageous you are being! Moving toward healing can be slow, hard work – be patient and gentle with yourself along the way.

What truly inspires you in both your life and your work?

How incredibly brave people are! I sit in awe at the courage I see in my counselling room; the courage and spirit that enables a person to keep on their journey toward healing, their refusal to give up.

And if my readers would love to connect with you and support you in the work you do, where is the best place for them to start?

Take a visit to my website, www.kerriebannister.com.au where you will find more information about my practice as well as my blog The She Room. Feel free to pass my information onto others and, of course, if you live in Sydney and are looking for a counsellor, please contact me – I’d love to work with you.

Professional Bio:

Kerrie BannisterKerrie operates a women’s counselling practice in Dee Why on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, providing a safe space for women to explore their struggles; to have the opportunity to understand themselves and what is truly important to them.

As an emotionally focused therapist, she has experience working with a range of diverse concerns including anxiety, depression, abuse, childhood trauma, relationship issues and life transitions. Kerrie is passionate about working alongside women; providing the space, support, guidance and safety necessary to move towards a stronger, healthier life.
www.kerriebannister.com.au

How To Start Meditating & Four Guided Meditations I Recommend

How To Start Meditating & Four Guided Meditations I Recommend

Last week on the blog I shared with you how and why meditation works. If you haven’t read that post then I would recommended you read it first. You can do so by clicking here.

This week I am talking about how to start meditating. I am also going to link to four guided meditation albums that I recommend.

Committing to a regular meditation practice is the first thing I ask my clients to do. Meditation has many physical and emotional benefits. I won’t go into all these now as I have covered them in previous posts.

The main problem people have with meditation is actually starting. Why? Because we think we don’t have enough time to fit it into our day. Or because we have kids and they don’t give us a minute’s peace. Or because we don’t think we are doing it right. Or we don’t know how to start. And even if we do start our pesky little ego pops up and keeps repeating these same excuses in our ear. So after a couple of days we stop. Sound familiar?

Before I explain how I was able to commit to a regular meditation practice I am going to dispel some of the above myths.

You don’t have time: You can’t find 10 minutes in your day? I challenge you to track how much time you spend on social media. Enough said.

You have kids: Great! Get them involved. Have a meditation mat somewhere where they usually play. Fill it with comfy cushions. Begin teaching them that this is the ‘quiet area’. Sit here while meditating and encourage them to join in. If they get up, climb all over you or wander off it doesn’t matter. My guess is that at some stage you will find them lying here when they feel like they need some quiet time. And just think how great it would be to teach your kids the benefits of meditation from an early age.

You don’t think you are doing it right: There’s a simple answer to this. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. You can count your breaths, listen to a guided meditation or just sit in stillness. Like everything it takes practice. My thoughts still wander off on their own journey sometimes. But the more I meditate the quicker I catch my mind doing this. And the faster I can bring myself back into the present moment. Just keep going. It does get easier with time.

How to start meditating and stick to it?

  • Choose a comfortable position: I either sit cross legged on my yoga mat or on a dining room chair. If you find sitting for that long too uncomfortable then you can lie down. Again there’s no right or wrong way.
  • Schedule it into your day: If you don’t schedule meditation into your day it won’t happen. Choose a time of day that suits you. I meditate in the morning right before I leave for work. You might find it easier to do during a lunch time, as soon as you get home from work or just before you go to bed. There’s no right or wrong time. You may need to put an alarm on your phone to remind you that it’s meditation time. That’s fine. Whatever works for you.
  • Use guided meditations: If you are anything like me your mind is full of chattering monkeys. I have tried just sitting in silence and concentrating on my breath but it didn’t work. So I gave up. One thing that kept me committed to a meditation practice is using guided meditations. I am going to be talking about what these are and how they work in a moment.
  • Start small: By this I mean start with committing to only 5-10 minutes a day. It’s just like running. If you have never run before you aren’t going to be able to go out and run for an hour. You start with five minutes and then increase it. It’s the same with meditation. One of the reasons we give up on something is that we set our goals too high. I always feel it’s better to start small and achieve something, than to start big and fail.
  • Commit: Nothing changes unless you do something different. And nothing works unless you do the work. My clients have heard me say this time and time again. Remember how you learnt to play the piano? You turned up every day and practiced. It’s the same with meditation.

So what are guided meditations?

Guided meditations are the easiest way to start meditating. It is where someone is speaking on top of tranquil music. They take you through the process step by step.

I find unguided meditations (or where I just have to sit in silence) difficult. With guided meditations I have something to focus on. Guided meditations also utilise imagination and visualisations which help reinforce positive change.

My favourite guided meditations include:

Breathe & Receive Meditation Album by Cassie Mendoza-Jones.

Breathe & Receive Meditation Album

This album includes seven chakra-inspired guided meditations that help you heal, balance and align. Each track is under ten minutes so it is easy to fit into your day (*this is an affiliate link but please know I use this album daily in my own meditation practice and love it!).

Meditate with Amelia by Amelia Harvey.

Meditate with Amelia

This album includes twelve guided meditations. They will help connect with your intuition, release limiting beliefs and clear energetic blockages. They will also help you find beautiful emotional balance, overflow with worthiness and more.

The Calm Collection by Kate James of Total Balance.

The Calm Collection

This album contains eight guided meditations to help you relax. It also includes a body scan and stress relief meditations. With this album you also receive a copy of Kate’s ’10 Steps to Calm’ eBook.

Guided Meditations for Inner Transformation by Connie Chapman.

Guided Meditations by Connie Chapman

These eight guided meditations help you create inner balance. They will also help you develop a deep sense of connection with yourself.

It’s now up to you to commit to a daily meditation practice. All the successful and happy people I know have a regular practice. There has to be a reason for that. Just remember that it is only 10 minutes a day. You just have to turn up and do the work. I’m positive you can do that.

I’d love to know if you have a regular meditation practice and how it has changed your life. Please share your experience with me in the comments below. And if you have a guided meditation that you love please share it as well. We’d love to hear what it is.

Yours in Healing & Health,

Nicola

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Meditation:  How & Why It Works

Meditation: How & Why It Works

Last week I shared my article on the mind-body connection is and how meditation can strengthen it. You can read it here if you missed it. But do you know how and why meditation works? If not, this post is for you.

To explain how meditation works I need to get scientific. Hang in there though, as I will keep my explanations as simple as possible.

Our brains aren’t static. The brain you were born with is not the same brain that you have today. It has been adapting and changing over the years. New pathways are created in response to our changing thoughts, feelings and experiences. This means we can train our brain to change by the way we think and mindful practices that we adopt.

To understand how meditation works you need to have a basic understanding of four key areas in the brain. These four areas are:

The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex: This area of the brain processes information related to self. It’s the part of the brain that ‘is all about you’. It causes you to over-analyse yourself, your relationship to others and your everyday life. It worrys, relives experiences and creates stories. It is also the area that causes you to take things too personally. In essence it is your subjective self.

The Lateral Pre-Frontal Cortex: This area is rational, logical and balanced. It assures you that your fears aren’t real and it helps you to not take things so personally. It is your objective self.

The Insula: This area monitors your body sensations. It is where you experience gut feelings from. It acts as a guide to how you react to what you sense in your body. If your Insula is on overdrive you are more likely to go into a panic if you wake with tingling in your arm. You think you are having a heart attack. If modulated you realise you just slept on it funny and the tingling will resolve in a minute or two.

The Amygdala: This area is responsible for fear and for the fight-or-fight response. When you hang out in Fear Town you hang out here. It is the part of your brain that initiates how you respond to stressors in your life.

Now we know what these four areas do, lets talk about what is going on in the brain of a person who doesn’t meditate. Strong pathways run between the Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex, the Insula and Amygdala. This means you are more likely to stress, worry, panic or overthink it. Or keep thinking about it!

For example, your boss leaves you a message on your phone asking you to call him on your day off. If the connections between these areas of you brain are strong you start creating a story about why. You might start panicking that you are going to get fired or that he is going to cut your hours.

It also means that the drunken monkeys who spend all day chattering away in your head tend to be louder. They tell you that you aren’t pretty enough or funny enough because that guy hasn’t text you.

Now lets talk about the pathways in the brain of someone who meditates daily (even if it’s just for 10 minutes).

What happens is simple. The strong connection between the Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex, Insula and Amygdala breaks down. The connection between the Lateral Pre-Fontal Cortex, the Insula and Amygdala then strengthens. It has also been proven that the Amygdala itself (or Fear Town) begins to shrink.

This is why people describe feeling less stressed, anxious and emotional when they meditate. The logical and rational brain modulates the areas of the brain setting off signals of fear.

Instead of thinking you will get fired when your boss calls, you return the call. You realise there is no point worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. You stop looking at your phone because you know that guy is at work and he said he’d call you in the evening.

In a nutshell you think and act calmer. Your mind is clearer and more focused. You concentrate better and you don’t feel so much like a crazy person!

For these changes to happen though you need to be meditating regularly. Just like any other skill you want to require you have to set aside time, be committed and practice. It’s just like learning to play the piano or speak a new language. You have to turn up, do the work and be patient.

Now have a greater understanding of how mediation works it is up to you to make a commitment. A commitment to becoming calmer and more rational. If you don’t think you have ten minutes in your day to meditate then I have a challenge for you. Track how much time you spend each day on social media. And if it’s more than ten minutes I won’t you to ask yourself the question, ‘What is going to make me feel better’?

If you have enjoyed this article please feel free to sign up to my weekly letter. Here I provide more tips and advice on how to feel better physically, decrease stress and prevent burnout so you have more time and energy to create a business and life you love. It’s easy to sign up. Just click here and fill in your details. You will also receive my free eBook, ‘Breathe, Feel and Ask’ as my way of saying thank you.

Yours in Healing and Health,

Nicola

PS. If you know anyone who you think would enjoy reading this post please share it with them. It may just be what they need to read right now.