Overcoming Obstacles to Happiness

Having high and often unrealistic expectations of yourself is a common human experience, and is something that can be difficult to overcome. Placing this level of expectation upon yourself is especially easily done when you are seeking genuine happiness and positivity. Continue reading Overcoming Obstacles to Happiness

Fighting Fatigue for Endless Energy

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

Yoga Flow at Dusk

Practicing yoga in the evening is a fantastic way to reset your stress levels and invite some peace and relaxation into your mind.

Any of us may have a bad day for any number of reasons and it is important to accept that this is going to happen from time to time. The important thing is how you choose to deal with this negativity, and whether you allow it to follow you into the next day.

Ending each day by hitting the yoga mat is an incredible way to release negativity. Doing so can set you up for a good night’s sleep followed by a peaceful and positive morning.

Yoga for Relaxation

When you engage in a regular yoga practice you are likely to notice that your stress levels decrease, anxiety is experienced less frequently (or to a lesser degree) and also that you generally feel more at peace during your days. But, why is this?

As you flow through a yoga session you are going to naturally clear your mind of worries and concerns as you concentrate on the activity at hand. Also, as you move through the poses, you will be encouraging the flow of blood around your body and releasing tension from the muscles.

The deliberate and conscious way in which you breathe whilst practicing yoga is key to the relaxation benefits that you will enjoy! So, be sure to pay attention to your breath, especially during the moments when you are holding each pose.

Meditation

A normal yoga session will often involve periods of meditation, which has been shown to seriously aid stress release and support a positive frame of mind. When you make time to meditate daily – even for a short amount of time – then you are giving yourself permission to solely focus on yourself and your emotions. This is an incredibly powerful thing to do and can help you to connect to yourself.

The following video demonstrates a sequence I created to guide you through a 30 minute daily flow. You can really practice this at any time of the day, but I believe it is especially useful in the evenings! If you enjoy this video then be sure to head over to my YouTube channel for more!

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!

Self-Care Sunday – Alleviating Anxiety

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!

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

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.

Alcohol

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.

Sugar

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.

Your Diet

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!

Self-Care Sunday – Managing Stress

As I shared with you last week, self-care is one of my favourite things to talk about AND is also something that I consistently work to make a part of my own life. In fact, I’m so sure about the power of self-care that it’s the focus of my upcoming book – Recharge: A Year of Self-Care to Focus on You.

In order to celebrate the launch of my book I am going to be sharing one topic from the book every Sunday for 12 weeks. This is something that I got started with two weeks ago, and you may have caught the first video on YouTube!

Last week as part of my Self-Care Sunday series I was talking about Managing Stress.

Managing your stress levels is an imperative part of living a happy and healthy life. When you let stress get the better of you then your health can suffer the knock on effect and your happiness will also be harder to maintain. You may find that your ability to focus and concentrate is impeded, and that your relationships with other people become more difficult to manage. It is also normal that your anxiety levels will increase!

An important part of overcoming your stress is to create the positive mindset that you want for yourself. So, instead of telling yourself and everyone else that you are stressed out, try to say that you are powering through and that you are getting on top of all that you need to do!

In the following video I share some of my insights into living a stress-free life and also talk you through a super simple breathing technique that you can do to combat present moment stress! You can do this anytime, anywhere AND nobody around you even needs to know that you are doing it! This means that you can bring back some calm into your mind and into your day regardless of the situation that you are currently in.

I have put together a downloadable PDF for you to look at alongside this video, and you can click here to enter your email address and receive this download!

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!

Gut Health and Your Diet

In recent years there has been an emergence of research that has shown just how important the health of the gut is! When your digestive system isn’t doing its thing, all other areas of your health can soon become compromised. Continue reading Gut Health and Your Diet

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!

Simple Self-Care

We all know that our own self-care and wellness should be at the top of our priority list. However, how often is this actually the case? Many of us seem to believe that we have to seriously set time aside from our normal daily routine to embrace wellness practices – but this is simply not true!

It actually takes minimal effort to incorporate certain self-care activities into your schedule, and they will soon become second nature – requiring no forethought at all! When you reach this point you will notice that you are more likely to feel relaxed and focused during your days.

Breathing

Breathing is seriously under-rated as a tool for stress relief and can be used anywhere at any time to rebalance your thoughts and your emotions. A simple technique to start is to stop whatever it is that you are doing, close your eyes and begin breathing deeply and slowly. Count each breath in and try not to allow any thoughts, anxieties or feelings to enter your mind. At this moment, counting your breaths is the only thing that you need to concern yourself with and everything else can take a back seat. Try to reach at least 20 breaths each time you do this, and if you have the time then go on for longer! Even if you do not feel particularly stressed out then I suggest you do this several times a day.

Detox Digitally

You are probably already aware of how much stress your digital devices cause you. Constantly checking messages and scrolling through your various social media feeds can not only be quite time consuming, but also emotionally draining. If it’s not possible for you to go the day without your smart phone, then at least try to have extended periods away from it. Make sure you always turn it off before bedtime and do not take it to bed with you!

Ritual Teatime

Having a time set aside for drinking herbal tea and reflecting on your day is a great way to unwind and care for yourself in the evening. You can use this time to enjoy your favourite brew whilst you process the events of the day just passed. Turning this into a mini ceremony by yourself helps your mind to appreciate the importance of this time spent alone caring for yourself.

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!

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!