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

Stress and Physical Health

This month within my wellness for women community – Truly Julie – we are talking about different sources of stress and how we can eliminate the impact these stresses have on our lives. This is of course an extensive concept, and one that surely affects all of us to some degree!! Continue reading Stress and Physical Health

Winter Immune System Health

As the winter season begins to settle in it becomes all the more important that we pay attention to the health of our immune systems. Consciously supporting your immune system should be seen as giving yourself a helping hand to stay healthy through the winter, and always close to the top of your priority list! 

There are several small things that you can do to give this aspect of your health a boost, and doing so can not only protect your body from illness, but will also help you to maintain your positive mood. When we begin to get ill our happiness can suffer, and this can lead to increased levels of stress as we struggle to find the energy and the motivation to get things done. This can become a cyclic problem as higher levels of stress can further compromise the immune system!

Get to Bed

Getting enough sleep can sometimes feel impossible. We all have our different reasons for not always getting an adequate amount of good quality sleep at night – but whatever your reason, it is important for the health of your immune system that you work to resolve the problem.

You can try going to bed earlier, avoiding caffeine or other dietary stimulants in the evening, meditating before bed and creating a more peaceful sleeping environment for yourself.

Eat for Digestive Health

The health of your digestive system is closely connected to your immune system function, and this is something I discussed in my previous article on Gut Health and your Diet.

Cutting out highly processed foods and those that are high in sugar is a great place to start. Additionally, taking a daily probiotic can help to encourage the presence of good bacteria in the gut.

Want to learn more about how eating more plant-based foods can enhance your health in other ways too? Click here now to check out my starter guide!

Pay Attention to Vitamin D

Vitamin D is most commonly known for its role is protecting bone health, but it is also important for the health of your immune system. Your body naturally creates vitamin D from the sun, and getting outside into the sunshine is a simple way to make sure you are producing enough. However, this can become a problem during the winter months due to the grey weather and shorter days.

Fortunately, many foods are fortified with vitamin D and it also occurs naturally in quite a range of foods. Therefore making the extra effort to include vitamin D rich produce during the colder months will help to keep your immune system functioning properly.

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 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!

How To Improve Your Sleep Cycle

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!

How to Handle Your Hormones

Mood swings can strike at any time and although there are certain common likely causes, it is something that can’t always be managed in the same way.

What Are Mood Swings

Your mood swings may be characterised by a variety of things, such as unexplained crying or unjustified irritability. It is important to remember that although your emotions may seem out of proportion, your feelings in each moment are still valid and true, and there is no need to beat yourself up about this!

Diet & Gut Health

A hormonal imbalance is a likely cause when it comes to mood swings, and this can be handled by addressing your lifestyle and making positive changes where necessary. This will largely be in relation to your diet. Your diet can impact your emotions in several ways, and it will also have an impact on the health of your gut. Your gut health is linked to your mood, and it is important to play close attention to this aspect of your overall health. The bacteria in your intestines will influence your hormones, and this of course will then impact your mood. So, a large presence of good bacteria will go a long way to helping!

Blood Sugar Levels

Keeping your blood sugar levels consistent is one of the best ways to keep your mood from fluctuating. You may think that skipping a meal will help you to lose weight, or save you time if you have a busy schedule. But doing so can actually wreak havoc with your hormones and leave you feeling annoyed, fatigued and generally unhappy. Fortunately, you can keep your blood sugar levels up by regularly eating nutritious foods, and avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks!

Sleep & Stress

In addition to your diet, certain lifestyle factors such as sleep will also influence your hormones and therefore your mood. When you do not get enough sleep your body will produce excess levels of cortisol – the stress hormone. This will put unnecessary stress on your adrenal glands, and can cause your serotonin levels to drop. Serotonin is super important for keeping your mood up, and you should always try to get between seven and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. If you have trouble getting to sleep, or find that you are often waking in the night, then you may find some relief by drinking soothing herbal teas before you go to bed.

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 Have a Calm Christmas

Christmas can be a particularly chaotic and stressful time of year for many people. With families to prepare gifts and meals for, social engagements to attend, plus the usual work and life commitments that still have to be met, the pressures can soon add up. The added duties that many of us take on at this time of year can sometimes make the festivities seem more of a burden than a pleasure – and this is the opposite of what our Christmas celebrations should be about!

December is a wonderful time to come together with your friends and family and shouldn’t be a source of stress for anyone! If you are beginning to lose sight of that already this year then there are a few things you can do to bring the enjoyment back and have a peaceful and happy Christmas!

First of all, do not over-exert yourself. It is always nice to be invited to parties and Christmas dinners, however you are not obliged to go to all of them if you simply don’t have the time or energy. With so much to do at this time of year, nobody is going to be offended if you politely decline an invitation.

Secondly, adequately planning ahead for any get-togethers that you may be organising or contributing to will help to alleviate any last minute panic. If you do not have the time to cook then it’s of course completely fine to buy pre-made food for your guests. Alternatively, you can go to a restaurant or cafe, which will also help you to avoid any clean-up at home.

Making the time to care for yourself at this time of year is especially important if you know that you are prone to stress and anxiety. It may be extra hard to find the time to check in with yourself but it is important that you do so in order to stay on top of your feelings. Aim to include at least ten minutes of meditation and deep breathing once a day in a quiet and solitary space.

If you do not have many people to share the festive season with, or many events to attend, then Christmas can still become quite stressful. Many people feel as though there is an expectation of what Christmas should be like, and if your experience doesn’t meet this expectation then your mood may suffer as a result. If this sounds like you, then it is extra important to care for yourself and also to reach out to anybody that you do feel you are close to. Make an extra effort to eat well, exercise often and to keep your mind occupied throughout the day with positivity. Utilising positive affirmations can be particularly effective here as you work to affirm your happiness, confidence and sense of self!

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!

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!