Self-Care Sunday – What’s Your Passion?

The latest topic in my Self-Care Sunday series is all about discovering for yourself what your passions are! This is the sixth week in the series and you can check out the previous videos below.

What’s Your Passion?

Knowing what it is you want to do with yourself, with your time, and with your life, can be quite an overwhelming thought process.

The first step is to find out what you are passionate about and to begin exploring these ideas. You may find that several things come to mind, or that you have to spend some time contemplating what these things are. This is something that there is no need to rush through, and it’s fine to let this evolve naturally over time.

Once you have a clearer idea of the things that you enjoy, the things that you love, and the things you take pleasure in, then you can find ways to make these things a more integral part of your life.

The Power of Positivity

Creating and maintaining a positive mindset is a fantastic step in working towards finding, believing in and building your passions. An optimistic outlook will help you to stay focused on the goals that you set for yourself. This itself is a difficult concept for some people! 

There is no one quick fix when it comes to embracing positivity. It is something that has to be developed in a number of different ways and considered regularly. Ask yourself often if the decisions that you are making are going to serve to enhance your happiness and your positivity, and if not then it’s time to re-evaluate your choices.

Find, Believe, Build

In the following video I talk more on the topic of finding, believing in and building your passions! Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel whilst you’re there so you can be automatically alerted about future videos in my Self-Care Sunday series!

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we move towards the end of 2017!

How to Overcome Disappointment

Disappointment is something that some of us may experience more regularly, or feel more deeply than others, but it is true to say that it will of course feature in all of our lives at some point. Continue reading How to Overcome Disappointment

Alternatives to Meditation

The benefits of regular meditation are seriously not to be overlooked! It can help to combat stress, soothe anxieties and aid your mind in the process of dealing with emotions and past experiences – to name just a few great benefits. But it is true to say that traditional meditation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea…

If you find it hard to partake in meditation then there is no reason that you need to miss out on the benefits of this mood enhancing activity. Maybe you find it difficult to sit still for extended periods of time, or perhaps you struggle to create or find an environment that is conducive to this peaceful practice.

The key to enjoying the benefits of meditation, without necessarily engaging in a seated, eyes closed meditative practice, is to quieten your mind, focus on your breathing and simplify your thought process. This is something that you can do absolutely everywhere, and in any moment – you do not need to put time aside to spend a few moments doing these things.

Incorporating basic meditation concepts into your day is an easy way to enjoy the benefits without engaging in the actual practice. For example, when you are walking to work, take a few minutes to clear your mind, breathe deeply in and out, and bring your focus to concentrate solely on your breathing. As thoughts about your day try to invade this process, acknowledge them and then release them from your mind to bring your attention back to your breathing. Doing this each morning before you reach the office can help you to start your day with a relaxed and peaceful mindset.

Paying attention to your breathing throughout your day helps to settle the mind similarly to how meditation would. Breathing deeply from the very bottom of your lungs is the way to enjoy this – in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Try to keep your shoulders loose and do not let any tension build up in any part of your body while you are doing this. This is something that you can do regularly during your day for between two and ten minutes each time. You will soon notice that you are more prone to breathe in a deep way naturally, thereby better enabling your mind to tackle anxiety and keep stress at bay!

This month on my wellness for women community website we are talking about the best ways to avert anxiety! You can click here to join us now and start on your journey to a happier, healthier version of yourself!

Anxiety and your Diet

Choosing which food we will nourish our bodies with is among the most important decisions that we will make each day. With our dietary choices we have the potential to either heal or harm ourselves, and this is particularly true when it comes to anxiety.

Research has shown that certain foods can exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety, whereas other foods have the potential to combat and ease these feelings. If anxiety is something that is affecting your life in some way then taking notice of the following tips could go a long way to helping you overcome it!

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that has been shown to have a positive effect on reducing stress. It is a precursor to serotonin, which is extremely beneficial for promoting feelings of calm and happiness.

Tryptophan naturally occurs in several plant-based foods, most notably in bananas, oats, peanut butter and sesame seeds.

Vitamin B

There is much research to suggest a connection between the various B vitamins and the mood. In fact, a deficiency in any of the B vitamins can lead to a low mood, anxiety and even depression.

Eating a range of foods that contain B vitamins is the best way to enjoy the many benefits of this vitamin group. Good foods to include are leafy green vegetables, oranges, nuts, spirulina, watermelon, spinach, rice and legumes.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates often get a bad rep in the wellness world, but they are actually great for increasing serotonin production. Whole grain carbohydrates are the best choice and you should make an effort to avoid processed carbs, such as white rice and white bread.

When you eat whole grain carbohydrates it takes a while for your body to break them down, and this means that sugar is being released into the bloodstream relatively slowly. This is great for consistent energy levels as well as consistent mood.

The best things to include are brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole-wheat pasta and legumes.

Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to dietary choices that encourage feelings of anxiety!

Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and energy drinks, are often favoured for the quick burst of energy that they can provide, but after the high comes the inevitable crash – and this can impact your mood as well as your energy levels! Furthermore, studies have shown that the presence of caffeine can actually inhibit serotonin production. This can quickly cause you to be more prone to feelings of irritability, anxiety and depression!

This month on my wellness for women community website we are talking about the best ways to avert anxiety! You can click here to join us now and start on your journey to a happier, healthier version of yourself!

Meditation and Happiness

Meditation is an incredibly powerful tool for processing emotions, alleviating stress and also for boosting happiness. The latter of these concepts may not be one that you have connected to meditation before, but with regular meditation you are highly likely to soon feel your happiness grow.

Happiness & Relaxation

When you spend an ample amount of time in a state of meditation you are likely to feel lighter, more relaxed and more equipped to deal with the day afterwards. When you partake in this activity regularly, this feeling of preparedness for your day and ability to deal with all life has to throw at you will start to become your normal attitude.

As the days, weeks, months etc pass where you continue to meditate regularly, you are going to notice that not only are you happier before your sessions, but also that your happiness is visibly boosted afterwards. One of the greatest things about this is that you can then extend this happiness and positivity to those around you.

Rewire Your Brain

So, what is it about meditation that increases our potential to find this happiness and also to hold onto it? When you meditate you are actually helping to rewire your brain to be able to better handle your emotions and to retain balance and clarity in all areas of your life. Far from being a quick and temporary fix, this will be a long term concept that you can continue to work on and expand. All you have to do to keep this glow going is to persist with your meditation practice, and also make an effort to develop your practice in a variety of ways.

Developing Your Meditation

You can develop your meditation by working to do so for longer periods of time, and also to focus more clearly on addressing specific issues that you are aware of. For example, if you have concerns about your self-esteem, or you know that you are not loving yourself as you deserve to be loved, then spending time working on these things during your meditation can help you to progress in a well-rounded way.

This is something that can be done endlessly as you address the different aspects of yourself that you want to work on, and then revisit them again after a period of time!

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we keep moving through 2017!

Is Your Sleep Cycle Causing You Harm?

Getting a full eight hours of undisturbed sleep every night is something that many of us are aware that we need to do, but the reality is that it is not always achievable!

There are many reasons why you might not get enough sleep – or enough good quality sleep. This could be because of a busy schedule that keeps you up late, a young child that wakes during the night, or perhaps disturbances from other sources, such as noisy neighbours!

Whatever the reason for a poor sleep cycle, it is important to address and work to resolve the problem in order to preserve and boost your health. The following issues can quickly appear when you are sleep deprived, and can lead to further health issues.

Fatigue

Fatigue can often be accompanied by a short temper and a lack of focus, which can quickly cause problems during your day! Being fatigued can also become a safety issue as your ability to drive and complete other tasks will become impaired.

Obesity

Studies have shown that those who sleep less tend to be at a higher risk of obesity. It has been suggested that this is because there is a higher presence of leptin when a person is sleep deprived. Leptin is the chemical that makes you feel full. Sleep deprivation also causes increased levels of ghrelin, which is the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger.

Illness

If a poor sleep cycle is a consistent problem then your immune system will soon become compromised and your overall health will suffer. This can contribute to the onset of relatively small health problems, such as a cough or cold, but can also lead to much more significant issues over time, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The risk of developing diabetes appears to be particularly prevalent in those who regularly sleep for less than five hours each night.  This is thought to be because a lack of sleep changes the way that the body processes glucose.

If you are aware that your sleep cycle is becoming damaging to your health, and your life in general, then it is important to take steps to improve the length and quality of the sleep that you enjoy. This is something that I will be discussing in a blog post next week, so check back soon!

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we keep moving through 2017!

Healthy Festive Food

Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions that people make. And, it is no coincidence that this is a common idea following the festive season! Many of us use this time of year as a great excuse to cast our healthy eating ambitions aside and indulge instead!

The burst of new diets and exercise regimes in January are of course great for improving health. However, if you want to avoid having to make a dramatic change to your eating habits or activity levels in the New Year, then the best idea is to eat healthily during the festive season. That way you will have no extra weight to contend with and can start 2017 with a more positive focus!

Although Christmas is undoubtedly a time of year when there is an abundance of high sugar and high calorie foods everywhere, it is also a great time of year to experiment with healthy cooking.

Plant-Based Alternatives

Keeping meat off the table is a good way to avoid the unhealthier aspects of the festive season. And, it is super simple to create plant-based alternatives to traditional meat dishes! If you have never made a Nut Roast at home before then you are definitely missing out on a delicious plant-based meal that is also incredibly good for you. There are several amazing recipes online that you can also customise yourself to make it more to your taste.

Eat Your Veggies

With all of the meals you cook or attend during the Christmas season, there is no excuse not to pile your plate high with veggies! If you are cooking yourself at home then make sure you grill or boil your vegetables in order to keep them as healthy as possible, and avoid using too much oil or salt. You can never cook too many vegetables at Christmas as anything left over can be used to make a vegetable mash the next day!

Healthy Desserts

Creating alternative healthy desserts, instead of snacking on pre-made mince pies and Christmas puddings, is a great way to avoid over-doing it. This is also a great way to sneak some superfoods into your dessert options, such as by making my Banoffee Pudding or my Lentil Brownies!

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey this Christmas!

Selflessness and Self-Care

There are many different ways to practice self-care and it is something that I advocate we should all include in our daily routines. When you make the time to allow self-care into your life, you are choosing to love yourself, meet your own needs and put your health and happiness first – as you should!

There are several self-care acts that you are probably already familiar with, such as meditating, giving yourself a compliment or spending some time in the sun. However, there are also much more radical acts of self-care that not everyone will think to try!

Acts of selflessness are actually acts of self-care and I’m going to explain why this is!

When you act in a selfless way you are choosing to put someone else’s needs over your own, even if just for a short period of time. You are showing kindness, compassion and a willingness to reach out to someone else. This can really help you to appreciate all that you already have in life and encourage you to be more appreciative of your own blessings.

Getting involved in the various community projects that undoubtedly exist where you live is a great way to start to practice this selflessness. This is also an easy way to meet new and interesting people who will surely bring even more positivity into your life. Getting involved in community projects is also a good way to have fun and to engage in new experiences – both of which are certainly acts of self-care as they contribute to your confidence and sense of self-worth.

Expressing selflessness through random acts of kindness to strangers is another great way to care for others as well as yourself! Buy some lunch for a homeless person, give some money to a charity collector on the street or compliment a stranger. However you choose to demonstrate this kindness, the only thing that is important is that it is a genuine act of selflessness for no other reason.

When you begin to make it a habit to act in this way, you will find that kindness finds its way into your life in abundance. This will encourage greater feelings of self-love in yourself and will motivate you to continue with your routine of self-care.

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and self-care is a HUGE part of this!

From December 3rd you can join us on a FREE 21 Day Happiness Challenge! This will take just ten minutes of your time each day and will help you to find the happiness you are seeking. Click here to register and get started!

How to be Happy

Happiness may often seem like a set destination that is far out of reach. However, it is possible for each of us to overcome our demons, outshine the sadness and find ways to become happier versions of ourselves.

There are many myths surrounding the concept of happiness that can be hard to shake. For example, many people believe that a large amount of money might make them happy, or that a life of leisure is the key to a lasting positive mood. Although these things may provide temporary feelings of pleasure, they are certainly unlikely to provide real and lasting happiness.

In order to truly bring happiness into our lives we must work to nourish our bodies and minds through moments of self-care. We must also make a commitment to be kind to ourselves and to forgive our past mistakes. Negativity weighing on the mind is a very real barrier to true happiness, and once you find ways to work through this negativity you can alter your mood in incredible ways!

When it comes to self-forgiveness, the key is to evaluate why you made these mistakes, or why you behaved in the way that you did, and then try to understand your reasoning for it. It is then important to think how you have changed since this time and how you would treat the situation differently if you were able to re-live it. Meditation is a very powerful tool for this and can really assist you in the process of letting go.

When it comes to self-care, the act of simply putting yourself first – even for just a few moments each day, can really help to boost your self-esteem and self-worth. Having time to yourself is incredibly useful when it comes to self-care and finding moments just for yourself throughout your day can help you on your journey to happiness. During these moments you can enjoy some quiet self-reflection, you can repeat a positive affirmation to yourself or you can take part in a larger self-care act, such as exercise or a massage – it’s entirely up to you as to what makes you feel good!

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier!

From December 3rd you can join us on a FREE 21 Day Happiness Challenge! This will take just ten minutes of your time each day and will help you to find the happiness you are seeking. Click here to register and get started!

How to Deal with Stress

Stress is often an unavoidable part of life. It is something that strikes during particularly trying times and helps us to recognise that something is difficult. Although the existence of stress is something that we can’t deny or avoid, there are ways that we can productively deal with stress to ensure that the impact it has on our lives is minimal.

Although stress is most likely something that you would rather live without, it is one of several negative emotions that give contrast to the positivity in our lives. Negative feelings, such as stress and fear, help us to understand how we feel about things, and they often also serve as warnings that we are not entirely comfortable with a situation or happy with ourselves.

Although I often advocate ways to deal with negative emotions and feelings, I would never advise someone to repress them entirely. This is because I believe it is important to embrace this side of yourself.

Stress can manifest in several different ways that can be quite individual to a person. You may find that for you it starts with a mild feeling of anxiety about a certain situation or person. This can then quickly develop into a larger concern that leaves you feeling depressed and reluctant to deal with the situation in question. The additional consequences of this could be that your sleep pattern is affected, your appetite changes and that your mood is prone to inconsistency as irritability sets in.

It can be difficult to manage stress because often it is connected to a potential future concern that you currently have no control over. It can also often just generally be connected to things outside of your control, and therefore there is little that you can do to mitigate this stress. If this is the case then the most effective thing that you can do is check in with yourself in regards to your feelings, and then try as best as you can to restore calm and a more usual frame of mind.

So, when you begin to feel stress take over, ask yourself the following questions:

“What is the absolute worst outcome of this situation?”

“Is there anything I can do in this moment to lessen the severity of the situation?”

“Why has this situation left me feeling like this?”

Once you know the answers to these questions, then you can begin to find a remedy to your predicament and alleviate the stress you are feeling. Often a fear of confrontation will prevent us from addressing our problems head on, leading us to unintentionally exaggerate the seriousness of an issue. When this is the case, simply being upfront and talking things out can bring some relief or allow a solution to present itself.

Some time spent in deep meditation is a great way to truly understand your feelings about your stress, and can also guide you towards resolution.

On my wellness for women website – Truly Julie – I share resources, advice and support that can help you deal with stress head on, as well as helping you to mentally prepare yourself for other sources of negativity!