If you came crashing into 2018 already working towards your goals and instigating big positive changes then you may find now that your energy and enthusiasm is lacking a little! The same might also be true of your energy levels at the moment if you had a slow start to the year, and have found it difficult to get motivated. Continue reading Fighting Fatigue for Endless Energy
During this time of year it is easy to get stressed out by all of the additional pressures that go hand in hand with the holiday season. And, because of this, you will likely have seen article after article talking about the best ways to beat that festive stress. Continue reading Enjoying The Holiday Season
The latest topic in my Self-Care Sunday series is all about alleviating anxiety. This is the fifth week and you can check out the previous videos below!
- Week One – Emotional Eating
- Week Two – Managing Stress
- Week Three – Digital Detox
- Week Four – Rebuilding Self Esteem
Causes of Anxiety
There are many reasons why you may experience anxiety – and the degree to which it prevents you from going about your day can also vary. Addressing underlying issues and past negative experiences can be extremely helpful for working to resolve the sources of anxiety, and it can also be helpful to look to your diet.
Caffeine is one of the most prominent dietary contributors to feelings of anxiety. As a stimulant it can quickly cause feelings of anxiety, or exacerbate existing feelings of anxiety. Also, it can sometimes be easy to mistake the way that caffeine makes you feel for anxiety – as it may increase your heart rate and cause feelings of restlessness.
Some people use alcohol in order to alleviate feelings of anxiety, but doing so can actually become a difficult cycle to get out of. Although drinking alcohol can temporarily soothe these feelings, they will likely surface again once the alcohol leaves your system – causing increased levels of anxiety to return.
When you drink alcohol you are disrupting the natural balance of chemicals in your brain, and this can lead to depression and addiction.
Studies have suggested that the presence of sugar in your system can affect how well your body and brain can cope with stress. Although sugar itself does not seem to cause the onset of anxiety, it can make symptoms worse and cause you to feel worse than you would otherwise during an anxious moment.
Furthermore, if you regularly consume sugar and then go without it, your body can actually experience withdrawal which may involve feelings of anxiety.
Taking a close look at your diet and making the conscious decision to remove problem foods can go a long way to helping alleviate your anxiety.
In the following video I talk more on the topic of Alleviating Anxiety! 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!
Also, 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!
Staying on top of your health is super important if you are to help to lower your risk of illness and maintain your energy levels. You may initially think that this is quite difficult to do, especially given the large amounts of conflicting advice in regards to health and wellness. However, there are some key things that you can look out for! Continue reading Spotting the Signs of Ill Health
As with anything else, alcohol is something that should be enjoyed in moderation. And, the negative health effects of not heeding this advice can soon become apparent!
The number of people choosing to drink less, or not drink at all, is on the rise – which is of course great for the health of the nation! And for those of us who don’t necessarily want to drink alcohol, but still enjoy the pleasure of having a beer, there is an ever-impressive range of alcohol-free beers available!
Stats show that drinking habits in the UK have experienced a change in the last 15 years, with alcohol consumption dropping by a massive 26% between 2002 and 2012! (Source).
Heineken have recently released their very own alcohol free beer, Heineken 0.0 and it is rapidly becoming a favourite amongst those abstaining. Made with the same high quality brewing process as their regular creations, the alcohol is then gently removed afterwards, leaving a slightly fruity taste with the usual malty flavour. I was able to attend the launch of Heineken 0.0 in Barcelona during the Grand Prix and it was heaven to sit on the beach and drink this delicious beer!
So what are the health benefits of choosing the alcohol-free version of your drink of choice?
Well first of all, of course, there’s the calorie count. Non-alcoholic beers contain roughly half the calories of their alcoholic counterparts, making them a better option for those watching their weight. The new alcohol free Heineken 0.0, for example, has just 69 calories per bottle.
Secondly, drinking alcohol dehydrates your body, and your skin will be the most noticeable thing that pays the price for this! When you drink regularly, you will be depriving your skin of the vitamins and minerals it needs to look its best. You will probably have noticed that your face in particular looks puffy and dry after a night out!
Your body will benefit in many ways from sobriety, but your mind will also be much clearer and free of brain fuzz! What’s more is your memory will of course not be affected on a night out when you opt for a zero alcohol drink!
If you caught my blog post last week then you will have discovered just how important it is to have an optimum sleep cycle. This is unfortunately not something all of us enjoy, but there are ways to improve the quantity and quality of the sleep that you are having!
Set an Alarm
Your alarm clock is more commonly used to wake you up in the morning, but you can also set your alarm to remind yourself to go to bed. Having a bedtime may sound like something better suited to children, but as adults we can benefit greatly for inviting this kind of routine into our lives. If you get to bed at a reasonable time, then you are much more likely to sleep for longer. You should also then of course set an alarm to wake you in the morning, and try to resist the urge to snooze it when it goes off. Falling back to sleep and then waking again between snoozes can actually leave you feeling groggier and more reluctant to get up and start your day!
Be Conscious of Your Diet
Consuming alcohol or caffeine in the second half of the day can play a part in disrupting your sleep cycle. You may find that these things prevent you from falling asleep with ease, and can also cause you to wake up multiple times during the night. Furthermore, alcohol can continue to have a negative impact on your mood and how you feel physically the following day.
Create the Right Environment
The place in which you sleep can influence how easy it is for you to fall asleep, and also the quality of sleep that you enjoy during the night. The majority of people find it easier to sleep well in the dark, and also in a room that is comfortably warm, but not overly so. If it is impossible for you to sleep in an entirely dark room, then consider investing in a comfortable eye mask. Similarly, if it is not possible to keep your bedroom at an optimum temperature during the night then acquire some suitable clothes for sleeping.
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!
In our modern society, judging ourselves and our bodies is something that comes incredibly naturally to a lot of people. Both men and women are afflicted by this problem and it can lead to equally damaging behaviours in both sexes. There are countless companies cashing in on this by selling diet pills, make-up and endless creams and lotions to reverse ageing and perfect our skin. And it’s not only the pharmacuetical and cosmetic companies exacerbating this issue. The high street shops and fashion retailers who tell us which clothes to buy in order to look skinny and fashionable are also adding to this problem.
This lack of self confidence can soon lead to greater problems, such as social or general anxiety, which can really hinder your day to day life. Anxiety can make even the smallest, easiest of tasks seem complicated and impossible which then often causes people to avoid certain situations altogether. Attempts to self-medicate this anxiety away can also commonly lead to drug and alcohol dependance as a few drinks to power through a social occasion develops into a habbit. People who lack self-confidence are often the best at pretending, but having to do so can be incredibly exhausting.
When you are able to let your authentic self present itself, free of the disguises and tricks you have used to keep it hidden, then you will find that you’re able to move through the world with much greater ease than before. Self-confidence, alongside self-love, is the key to a free existence where dependance on the validation of others simply does not exist. Learning to love your natural form – hair, skin, emotions, fears and every aspect of the package – is the biggest step you can take towards living a life of happiness. Embracing the flaws and understanding that it is these flaws which make you who you are, is essential in building a confidence so true that no make-up advert or ignorant opinion can leave even the slightest of dents in it.
This of course isn’t something that’s going to happen in a day, or in any unreasonably small pocket of time. It is a process that must be approached with complete honesty and an unrelenting willingness to change. As your fake exterior is peeled away, your true self-confident self will emerge and never look back!
It’s that time of year again when we’re all being bombarded with advice on how to avoid over-indulging in party food and booze. Although being told to ‘stop at two is great in theory, when we get into the festive spirit it’s easy to postpone our good intentions.
When it comes to alcohol it really pays to have the facts so that you know what you’re putting in your body and what the consequences of that will be. We all know that beer is full of bad fats and is high in calories, but do we all know what the better options really are?
Vodka with Soda
One of the most low calorie drinks you can choose is a vodka with soda. There is approximately 95 calories in 1.5 ounces of vodka. Soda water is totally calorie free!
When drinking tequila, always look on the label to check it is 100% Agave. Real Mexican tequila is required by law to only be made from the blue Weber agave plant. When tequila is made in the U.S it can contain up to 49% other liquids, which will usually be sugary alcohols – this is something to be avoided! When made in Mexico, this drink will be gluten free, sugar free and low in carbohydrates. Tequila experts will tell you that a shot after dinner can aid with digestion and also that when drank in moderation can help to lower bad cholesterol levels. A single serving of tequila contains approximately 97 calories.
Japanese rice wine, known as sake is made from fermented rice and is usually around 16% alcohol. Sake contains selenium which is a mineral with antioxidant properties. Several health conditions have been linked to low selenium levels. Drinking rice wine is known to be better for your stomach than the majority of other alcohols, especially if you already suffer from a digestive condition.
In recent years we’ve been hearing more and more how a glass of red wine a night is actually quite good for you. Not only does it help you to relax after a stressful day, but it also contains iron, potassium, magnesium and a range of antioxidants. One of these antioxidants, called resveratrol, is known to lower bad cholesterol levels whilst also helping to protect against blood clots.
Potato vodka, as the name would suggest, is made using potatoes instead of the usual grains. It is almost impossible to tell the difference in taste. As with grain vodka, potato vodka has antibacterial properties and is astringent in nature meaning it can keep the skin and hair healthy. The differences between the two are that the potato version is gluten free, sugar free and also has a lower carbohydrate count. That means you can enjoy it in moderation without worrying as much about the adverse health effects.
When it comes to mixers to drink your drinks with, it is best to avoid high sugar, high calorie options. Opt instead for fresh fruit juice (that you can make at home) or even blended vegetables such as cucumber, carrot or avocado. If you want to sweeten up your drink then it’s always a good idea to use a squirt of organic honey – but don’t over do it! Also, if you’re in a bar and it’s therefore not possible to make the drink yourself, then the best options are gluten free beers and ciders, a red wine or champagne. Try to avoid mixed drinks and liqueurs as they are usually crammed with refined sugar!
As the events of New Years Eve inevitably get placed in the memory bank of 2013, most of us are looking forward to the year to come with a positive attitude. The resolutions that we didn’t quite manage to fulfil at the beginning of last year are fresh on our minds again. More often than not, people fail to stick to the promises they make themselves at the start of a new year. If you don’t want to be part of this statistic in 2014 then it’s time to truly make a change!
Your diet plays a huge part in many other aspects of everyday life and changing your attitude to the foods you consume can help get other aspects of your life on track. Before you begin looking to make dietary changes, it’s a good idea to really analyse your goals. In doing this, it helps to be very precise about what you want to achieve. Let’s take a look at some typical New Year’s resolutions as an example.
1) I want to lose weight! This is a great one but make sure you pick a figure! How much weight do you want to lose? What number do you want the scales to display when you look down at them in two months? Six months? A year?
2) I want to drink less alcohol! This is also a great decision and your body will thank you for it. However, it’s better to have a measurable objective that you can strive towards. Will you only drink at weekends? Or special occasions? Or perhaps not at all! If you are only going to drink at special occasions then how many units will you attempt to stick to?
Once you have a concise list of your New Year’s resolutions, make a few copies and pin them up. Ensure they are in places where you will see a list at least once a day. By reminding yourself of your goals you will always keep them fresh in your mind and you will be more likely to apply them to everyday decisions. This will also help you to avoid the negative influences of other people who might be keen to lead you astray.
Next, it’s time to make some lifestyle changes. This is especially important if you have fitness ambitions in mind. Your energy levels are massively affected by the foods you eat and the amount of sleep you enjoy. Try to get at least seven hours of undisturbed sleep every night and ensure a wholegrain or protein rich breakfast is on the agenda in the morning. As lunch time hunger sets in, consider a plant based option that will also give you a healthy dose of essential fats. Perhaps an avocado and cashew nut salad prepared the night before. Eating well throughout the day will give you more opportunity to eat more carbohydrate dense foods in the evenings – guilt free! Steamed vegetables served with brown rice provides a satisfying and nutritious meal or perhaps opt for a wholegrain pasta dish.
Making some time before breakfast to meditate will relax you for the day ahead by providing you with the focus and perspective that you need to keep on track with your goals. Meditation can be practiced at any point throughout the day but I strongly recommend a brief session in the morning. Meditation is also useful for relaxing in the evenings and can help you better digest the events of your day, thereby putting you in a more peaceful state that will aid a good night’s sleep. Another good practice for the evenings is to write a page or so about what has happened in your day. This can be a comprehensive diary of your thoughts, feelings and actions or it can be just a few simple lines to remember your day. In doing so you can address any issues you have encountered during the day after you’ve had some time to reflect on them.
It’s important that you are honest with yourself during the whole process. Any setbacks that may occur are just that – setbacks, they are not a reason to give up entirely! It is perfectly okay to readjust the timeframe of your goals if you feel like you are getting behind. Following these simple steps will help you to avoid falling into the trap of reaching the beginning of 2015 and starting from scratch with the same resolutions!
Click here for some professional nutrition advice to help you with your positive changes!