A Trip To The Country

Day 20 – get in to nature.

We are lucky to have amazing nature here in Scotland, breath taking scenery, rolling green hills, beautiful coastlines.

Get away from the city, for the day or if you can overnight and take some of it in. The natural energy levels in the country are so much calmer than in the city which are good for your natural energy balance levels.

You can get some really good deals on Groupon and Living Social for overnight stays up north or down near the borders.

Within an hour of Glasgow we can get to the beach or to the hills.

The day after the Moonwalk I went to visit my friend Ros down in East Ayrshire, it’s beautiful down there, we ended up taking the dog out a walk, we went down to Lock Doon and then to the Gallaway Forest, being in the country and around nature has a natural calming effect.

Any time I go down south to work, it reminds me of how small Glasgow is and how close everything is. I appreciate that more and more.

Even in the city and close surrounding areas we have loads of parks, some of them very under used.

If you work Monday to Friday and are inside all week, make a plan to get out this weekend. If you work near a park, take the time at lunchtime to get out and go for a walk – if it’s raining make sure you have a brolly and waterproof jacket in preparation for tomorrow.

Even a 10 minute walk in the fresh air does you the world of good.

Getting in to the country is something that has been prescribed to me to help me reduce the stress in my life and help with my digestive system.

It’s something to try.

Jen x

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I finally got this meditation thing

Day 2 we are going to meditate, if you already regularly do, fantastic. If you do it sporadically or not at all, it’s time to get it in to our routine every day.

This took me a bit of practice to get used to doing but once you get it, it starts to get easier, but like exercise when you stop it gets hard to get back in to. Think about your brain as a muscle that needs exercised.

There are loads of great apps, free downloads, youtube video’s to take you through guided meditation. There are also loads of groups on meetup that you can go along to group meditation.

The benefits of meditation are even been taken on by the NHS who have it in their mental health programmes. There are some schools that are introducing it too. You might sometimes see it as Mindfulness, this is a form of meditation.

It is amazing how taking the time to focus on your breathing, getting oxygen in to the body, in to the muscles and organs helps them work efficiently and it lets you clear your head.

I am not going to lie, it took ages for me to be able to sit and stop thinking, but it does happen. I have one of the busiest and noisiest heads (which we probably all think ours is worse than anyone else’s) and like with everything practice does make it easier.

Every time I closed my eyes a thought would jump in to my head of something I needed to do. I had to get a notepad handy so that I could write the stuff down just to calm my brain.

Give it a go, find an app or programme that works for you and take some time out. It can be anything from just a couple of minutes to 60 minute classes. The more you practice it the quicker you will relax and the shorter the time you will need to do it.

I know people that take regular 30 second meditations that just let them reset their brain and get their breathing back under control (when you are stressed you will take really shallow breaths)

Did you do your letter yesterday?

Let me know how you get on with your meditation

Jen x

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We All Need A Holiday

You NEED your holidays and time off…

It doesn’t matter how much you love your job, you need time out to refresh the batteries and come back with new ideas, a new lease of life and focus.

I am really guilty of this, it’s now nearly the end of June and this is me taking my first proper time off since the start of the year!

I can feel it and my body is showing signs of stress too… My eczema has flared up, dark circles under my eyes and I am more forgetful than usual.

I also had some tests recently because my skin flare ups are inconsistent and the results of them coming back, my stomach acid is low which is making me nutrient deficient and more sensitive to foods that I have a low tolerance for…

The most likely cause? Stress!

Perfect timing for me that I am heading off on holiday today.

Bit of sightseeing, bit of lying on the beach doing nothing but listening to good music and reading… Of course there is a music festival or 2 happening that I am going to but the day times will be all about doing not much.

I have been recommended to add in walks in the country, yoga and meditation to my weekly routine which will be added in when I get back to my schedule and it will be in my diary to remind me so it becomes part of the routine.

How are you feeling generally? Are you getting any skin break outs? It could be spots, eczema, psoriasis etc. Are you bloated after eating?

These are all symptoms that could be a sign you need some time out…

If you don’t have anything booked to go away, schedule in some time off, take yourself away for the day, get along to a low intensity, low impact class, download some guided meditation and go exploring the countryside, breathing in the fresh air…

Have a happy stress free day

Jen x

 

 

 

Look At The Horizon

Look up at the horizon…

How much of your day do you spend with your head tipped forward looking down?

At your keyboard / laptop when you are sitting at your desk? Walking down the street looking down at the ground, in shop windows or at your phone?

We have a few problems here.

  1. You are putting a lot of strain on your neck
  2. You are at much higher risk of getting a hump back
  3. You are in your stress physiology more than you need to be
  4. You constantly have a double chin (harsh I know, but for 99% of us it’s true)

Notice how often today you sit up and take notice of what is going on around, look up and out at the horizon. The further out you look the more upright you will be, opening you up more, letting you breathe properly and relax a bit.

I know that we are busy and have a never ending To Do list to get through and sometimes we need to be heads down to get shit done, but we also need to breathe and feel better to help us concentrate more.

Take time to have a look at the scenery, people watch, at night look at the stars and the moon (if you can see anything through the clouds).

Being aware of your surroundings helps put things in to perspective, we are just tiny little things on this planet and it lets you see and appreciate lovely things…

Take notice of the world around you this weekend

Have a good one (and hope there is good weather on Saturday night, I am doing the moonwalk in Edinburgh!)

Jen x

 

A Change In Attitude

We care far to much about what other people think about us, say about or to us…

Time to develop a ‘fuck it’ attitude – there is a brilliant series of books available on Amazon titled that F**k It (click on the title to link you through) If you are just doing a search, make sure the search is in Amazon and not Google… I have no idea what will appear on your screen through that search! And probably don’t search on your works computer…

To stress less you need to focus your time and energy in to doing the things that make you happy. This is not a new philosophy I am bringing to you… I am all about doing what makes me happy. Yes, there are times that I need to do housework, but that gives me a clean house and clean clothes. And yes, I need to sit at a computer for a few hours, but that lets me get my message to you… These things don’t stress me out.

The other day I deleted my Facebook app off my phone. I found myself passing time scrolling through the timeline, unmotivated, getting annoyed so I deleted it. I can still access it through the online option on my phone but that doesn’t give me notifications… I don’t miss it, I check it less and I have stopped wasting so much time and I don’t feel stressed about it.

To stress less you need to stop caring about what other people think of you. If you are being a good person, not harming anyone or anything, doing the things you love, then it is really none of your business what other people think of you.

Follow your dreams, they are your dreams no one else’s meaning they don’t have an opinion.

If you are always people pleasing you are not you pleasing. If people don’t like you, who cares, there are lots who do.

If people drain you, or make you feel down or bad about yourself, stop talking to them… It doesn’t need to be a dramatic fall out, it’s just you not making a call or sending a text or arranging to meet up with them. Don’t give them space in your head.

Delete all things that have a negative impact on your day. I know it sounds simple, and it is simple. Things only get complicated when you choose to make them that way.

I hope these tips in how to have a less stressed life have helped this week.

Have a lovely weekend

Jen x

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Eat Well Stress Less

Food can also play a bit part in stress. What you eat can stress you and stress can make you overeat or under eat depending on how you react to things.

Starting with eating to help reduce the amount of stress in your body…

Avoiding processed foods, these are often high in salt and or sugar and send your blood pressure and blood sugar levels off the scale meaning that your body has to work really hard and bringing the levels back to normal.

Making sure that you have enough magnesium, zinc and omega 3 oils in your diet are really important.

Magnesium rich foods include bananas, dark leafy green veg, nuts, seeds, avocado and dark chocolate. You do only absorb about 14% of the magnesium available in the food so having an eposom salts bath or getting a magnesium spray to apply to your skin is a good way to boost the magnesium, your body takes on about 80% through the skin.

Zinc rich foods include meat, eggs, legumes, and oysters.

Omega 3 oils are found in your oily fish: tuna (not canned), salmon, sardines, mussels, trout, krill, sea algae, flaxseed and chia seeds.

You can supplement with these but I would recommend that if you are on any medication that you speak with your Dr first, and then when buying supplement make sure that they are a good quality brand, especially with the fish oils (if you would like recommended brands please get in touch with me and I can point you in the right direction) but eating whole foods is always your best first step.

Allowing yourself to have the occasional treat is good for your stress levels too. Knowing that you are looking forward to cake and coffee with your friend to have a catch up is a great way to de-stress.

Remember, as soon as you tell yourself that you are not allowed or that you are depriving yourself of something you start to get stressed about it. Treats are just that, not rewards or punishments.

When you eat, you should feel satisfied, full, energised and nourished… If you are still hungry, leave it 20mins then have something else, if you feel sluggish, bloated, sleepy or guilty then you might want to look at what you are eating and see what small changes you can make to make it a better meal for you.

Eat well, stress less

Jen x

Sleep Better Stress Less

How did you sleep last night? It’s recommended that we get 7-8hours of sleep a night for optimal health, resetting the body and reducing stress.

I don’t know about you but I sleep a lot less in the summer than I do in the winter, I seem to wake up with the sun even with blackout curtains, I was not overly delighted on Sunday when I woke up at 452am, I did turn over and go back to sleep till my alarm went off at 630am.

I don’t usually turn back over because when I do and doze off for another hour I feel really groggy and a bit sluggish all day.

Waking up naturally without an alarm is the best way to make sure that you have had enough rest, unfortunately with our work schedules that isn’t always the case so we need to make sure that we get the best quality sleep that we can.

My tips for getting a good night sleep:

Have a night time blend or camomile tea about half an hour before bed.

Get your breakfast, lunch, bag, clothes all ready for tomorrow so you start the day organised.

Get to bed about 10pm, research has shown that any sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours after midnight.

Make sure that your room is cool, a cool room allows for a deeper sleep.

Have a tech free room if possible, if your phone is your alarm then put it on flight mode by 10pm at the latest.

Don’t use computers, laptops, tablets or watch TV an hour before going to bed, the blue light from the screens and monitors has been shown to disturb your sleep hormones making it harder to get to sleep.

Write your To Do list for the following day so you have cleared your head of work.

Write your gratitude journal – 3-5 things you have been grateful for that day. It can be anything from having time to chat with a friend, taking your dog for a walk, eating a really nice dinner, just anything that made you a bit happier that day. You can write the same thing every day if you need to, but when you start looking for things to be grateful for you will find you change and add to your list all the time.

Have a really nice sleeping environment – love your bed, have nice sheets, comfy jammies, whatever makes your night time space feel good.

When you wake in the morning you should feel like you are refreshed and ready to go.

Sleep better, stress less.

Jen x

Start to stress less

Yesterday I asked you to start to get a list together working out what stressed you and identifying the ones that freaked you out the most.

And, to start breathing… How did you find changing your breathing? I have never really been aware of how shallow my breathing was until I started looking in to stress and the additional problems it could cause.

So why are we looking at stress this week?

Many of us have created a monster in our world trying to be everything to everyone except to ourselves (you will be more aware of that after last weeks self-love tasks).

We have created our own stress by not learning to say no, and that doesn’t just mean that we have shit loads more work to do. There are a whole host of knock on effects too…

How is your sleep?

How is your eating? Do you regularly over or under eat?

Do you need coffee to get you going in the morning?

How is your libido?

How many days off from work do you take where you take proper time out?

Do you find that you often can’t think straight or are forgetful?

Be honest with these answers, if you are waking up tired, need stimulants to get you going, don’t even think about sex never mind have it, and are on call 24/7 and can’t remember the last time you had a full day off all to yourself, you are stressed.

On average we only take about 18 days holiday a year (and I know many that take a lot less than that). In France they take an average of 7 weeks holiday a year… How nice would that be, and they have 2 days a week off too.

We look to the other European countries and see how chilled they are, we envy their laid back lifestyle, lazy mornings, siestas, family dinners, coffee, wine, bread, cakes… Yet, we don’t follow their example, we wish for it, but do nothing about trying to get it. Instead we work an extra couple of hours here and there, through days off thinking we can have that lifestyle when we retire…

If we don’t die from stress related illness first…

So how do we improve where we are?

From your list yesterday you should have established what you can ditch and what you genuinely need to deal with.

Become a time nazi… I am not kidding here, schedule every single minute of your day and stick to it. If someone else can’t fit in to your available times then they don’t get any of your time. You don’t drop everything to do stuff for other people. Schedule your down time, switch your phone off, only have open on your computer what you need, don’t get distracted by social media, focus on the task and get it done. When that reminder pops up, you down tools, go for your walk / tea / lunch whatever and come back fresher and more focused ready to go. You will get a whole lot more done in your day, I promise.

We are taking this stress combating one step at a time. If you find that you waste a lot of time on your phone, delete the apps, consider getting a phone that just makes calls and sends texts. We do not need to be contacted 24/7.

Get organised… this is step 2 in reducing stress in your life.

Have a less stressed Tuesday

Jen x

 

 

 

What is it you are stressed about?

Last week we focused a lot on self-love, being kinder to yourself and liking yourself more, how did you get on with that?

This week I want us to look at ways we can reduce stress in our lives which should help with the self-love even more.

The first thing I would like you to do this week is have a think about the things that stress you out. Try not to think about them too much we don’t want to start the week wired, but we need to be aware of the stuff so we can work on reducing the stress or getting rid o it completely.

Today, have a think about the things that get you worked up the most. Make a list of them, number them on a scale of 0 – 10 where 0 is stressful but you enjoy and 10 is so stressful you keep avoiding it, even thinking about it makes you feel sick.

Then we need to look at the 10’s to break them down to work out what exactly is it that makes you feel stressed about the situation. Is there any way you can delegate it? If it’s dealing with a particular person, is there a way that you can deal with them less or find a way to not have to be in contact with them?

Quite often when you break things down to see what it is that stresses you out about it the problem isn’t as big as you originally thought…

One thing that I want you to remember to focus on all week is your breathing.

Notice how you breathe, if it’s shallow and just in to the top of your chest your stress levels are naturally going to be higher (your body doesn’t know that the shallow breathing is just you not taking a breath and releases your stress hormone cortisol).

When you breathe I want you to let your lungs expand as much as possible, let your ribs expand and your belly rise. Then slowly let the breath back out. Counting your breath in for 4 and out for 8 is a good exercise to practice – notice how calm you feel when you are counting your breaths.

Breathe calmly…

Jen x

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Eat, sleep, sweat and laugh

First thing. How did you go yesterday changing the way you wrote your To Do Lists? I powered through mine I was stoked at how much I got done. Every day the lists are getting done in the same way.

All too often you go to the doctor and walk out with a fist full of prescriptions to fix problems that the cause has not been identified.

2 years ago now, I had more visits to the doctor and hospital than I have had in my entire life.

My first visit they weren’t really sure what was wrong with me so gave me a 5 day course of antibiotics while I waited for blood tests.

Results came back that I had helicobacter pylori and was given another 7 days triple strength antibiotics along with anti-nausea and heartburn medication for the side effects of the antibiotics. That little cocktail knocked me out for 2 weeks.

3 months later I went through the similar symptoms, this time there was lymph nodes inflamed so more tests were done, this time nothing was showing up in the tests so was referred to haematology.

At no point did any of the Dr’s from my initial consultations ask me about my eating , sleeping, or lifestyle. It was only when I got to the consultant at the hospital (which was by that point 6 months down the line) that they asked.

Turns out my symptoms were all brought on by stress.

I wasn’t eating right. I wasn’t sleeping. I was doing too much exercise and having no down time with friends or family.

My prescription from the consultant?

Take some time off and have fun. Get good decent food in me and get 8 hours sleep a night.

What happened when I took that on board?

Lymph glands went down, helicobacter went dormant, dizziness and nausea stopped and I had energy to do stuff.

My body seems to work with the seasons. During these summer months I only get about 6 hours sleep a night but I don’t wake up exhausted.

In the winter I easily get 10hours if I don’t have a class to get up for.

When I am eating right everything works great. When I get lazy (because I am human and sometimes just can’t be bothered cooking) if it goes on for too long the helicobacter rears its head to remind me I need to get back on track.

Learning to listen to your body is so important to keep you healthy.

A few of my clients have taken on the 7 days no sugar challenge and the thing they have all come back to me with is how they notice the difference in their energy levels and mood.

When they were off the sugar they had loads of energy and there moods were pretty level. The first time they had some sugar the week after they felt lethargic and a bit depressed.

Most of us live in that cycle of lethargy and mood swings and how often do we reach for something sweet to get a boost of energy or when we are feeling down?

They are now at a point that if they are out and there are cake’s or desert they don’t feel that they need to have some just because they are there. They are quite happy to leave it, or if they feel like they do fancy a wee scone or desert they can take one and know that it’s not going to have a massive impact.

It is important to find out why it is you want certain foods and how to deal with situations and make changes to have a positive attitude and healthy relationship with food. It’s not easy, its hard work that just keeps on going. Every day and every week as you learn more about yourself it gets easier.

It’s about making lifestyle changes and understanding what is important to you. Do you want to be fat and unhealthy because you think you want cake or do you want to be healthy and happy knowing that you can have a bit of cake when you actually want it?

So in my humble opinion, exercise, food, sleep and laughter are the best medicines (not necessarily in that order).

Eat well, rest well, laugh a lot and sweat a bit to visit the doctor or the chemist less.

Jen x