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

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!

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!

Yoga and Mental Health

It is an unfortunate fact that the importance of your physical health is often placed above your mental health. This is a damaging attitude that is sadly quite prevalent in our society today! Taking the time to care for yourself in emotional and spiritual ways can often bring more benefits to your life then that gym session that you always prioritise!

The great thing about practicing yoga is that doing so can boost both your physical and mental health, strengthening the body whilst it also soothes the mind. With a regular yoga practice, especially one that incorporates aspects of meditation, you will soon notice that you are better equipped to heal yourself emotionally and to enhance your self-esteem and confidence.

Alleviating Anxiety

One of the most exciting ways that yoga can benefit your mental health is by helping to alleviate anxiety. When you practice yoga regularly you will notice that you are in a more relaxed state during your day to day activities. This will make you less prone to anxiety, and will also enable you to deal with it better in the moments when it does present itself. This is largely concerned with the breathing techniques that you will engage with during each yoga session.

Love Yourself

Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you will ever be a part of. When you embrace yoga as a regular feature in your life, you will naturally pay greater attention to this relationship, and begin to address any issues that may be present. As yoga goes hand in hand with healthy eating and additional exercise and relaxation practices, you will also naturally begin to place a greater emphasis on treating your body with more love and respect.

Become Aware of Yourself

During a relaxing yoga practice you will be guided through the process of becoming more aware of your physical presence. This can quickly help you to recognise areas of tension where energy may be blocked in your body. Only when you are aware of this can you truly work to resolve it and allow the flow of energy through your body to improve. As well as benefiting your emotional well-being, this can also help your body to function better, thereby improving your physical health.

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!

Nutrition for Tackling Stress

The foods that you choose to consume will have an impact on how well your mind is equipped to deal with stress! There are also of course many other factors, such as the hours that you work and your home-life. However, nourishing your body with the vitamins and minerals that it needs will go a long way to helping you stay happy and relaxed.

Vitamin B

When we are stressed out our vitamin B stores become depleted and this can affect the function of our neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals that communicate information around the brain. Therefore, eating a diet that is rich in B vitamins will help to ensure that our health does not suffer when stress does strike.

Nuts are an optimum source of B vitamins and also contain beneficial levels of healthy fat. Regularly eating a range of raw, unsalted nuts can also help to keep your cholesterol down and combat inflammation in the body.

An adequate presence of vitamin B12 in the body is essential for combatting stress, as well as keeping energy levels up. Your energy levels can have an impact on your stress levels if you have a lot to get done without the energy stores to do so! Taking a B12 supplement is a good idea if you follow a plant-based diet as it does not generally occur naturally in these foods.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential component of mood management and can help to keep stress down whilst also boosting the immune system. Certain studies have shown that a person’s blood pressure will return to normal quicker if that person were to consume vitamin C before completing a stressful task. Oranges are one of the most popular sources of vitamin C, but it can be found at beneficial levels in many fruits and vegetables.

Magnesium

The presence of magnesium in the body is also essential for tackling stress. Low levels of magnesium can lead to fatigue, as well as headaches and other visible signs of stress. Leafy green vegetables are a fantastic source of magnesium and you should try to get several servings throughout the day.

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 enter 2017!

The Journey From Fat to Fit

Self-image is a very powerful idea. How you look and feel about yourself can dictate a lot of things you do. It influences how you interact with people and your surroundings. Positive reinforcement of self-image can give you a lot of benefits and mostly, for yourself.

Fat-to-Fit-Infographic

To learn more about this infographic and how you can journey from fat to fit, visit the Garage Gym Planner website!

Simple Changes for Increased Energy

Having more energy is something that many of us dream of. With demanding work schedules and a long list of everyday pressures, finding the energy to keep going till bedtime can sometimes feel impossible. Not having enough energy to make it through the day can not only mean that certain things don’t get done, but it can also be detrimental to your mood. When you don’t have the motivation to do the things you want, this can quickly affect your happiness and leave you feeling low. Some people try to rely on caffeine and other stimulants to keep themselves going, but this will only lead to dependancy and other ill-health effects. In fact, they could leave you feeling worse than you did before.

So, how can you keep your energy levels up without resorting to non-natural options?

First of all, even it it seems like you just don’t have the time, try to always have a period of relaxation during each day. During this time you can do whatever it is that you consider to be relaxing. Go for a walk, read a book, have a nap etc. This is your time and it will help to refresh your mind and re-energise your body to continue with the day.

Secondly, exercise is important. You may think that exercise will drain your energy and therefore you avoid it. But exercising regularly will actually raise your energy levels as well as improve your mood and boost your stamina. Even as little as 30 minutes, three times a week could help to get you on track. Yoga is a great choice because it also promotes relaxation while you exercise.

In addition to the the things you have to do, try to make time for the things you like to do. Feeling in control of your day is essential to keep your energy and your mood on track. So if you need to take some time to have some fun then give yourself this treat.

Finally, it is essential to your continued good health and your energy levels that you aim to get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Give yourself a bedtime and do your best to stick to it. As you get into this routine your sleep cycle will improve and you will approach each day full of energy and motivation.

You may immediately think that you don’t have time to do any of the things I have suggested. If so, I want you to really evaluate how you spend your day. If you know that you spend time watching TV, surfing the internet, talking to your friends on the phone etc, then reallocate a portion of this time to the activities I have mentioned.

Incorporating these lifestyle tips with a nutrition plan will help to boost your efforts. Head to the Flexi Foodie Academy to find out how simple this can be!

Simple Suggestions to Beat Stress

Stress is something that I talk about quite regularly on my blog as I feel it is such an important thing to avoid if we are to maintain optimum health! The statistics as to how many people are seriously stressed out are pretty shocking, with a recent survey suggesting that as much as 80% of America is experiencing stress of some sort! Experts will now tell you that stress, especially stress caused by the workplace, is as bad for your health as second hand smoke is!

The detrimental effect that stress has on your long term mental health is quite serious but it can also extend to your physical health. The most common mental impacts are depression and anxiety whereas common physical complaints associated with stress include heart disease, digestive trouble and autoimmune problems.

If stress is something that you are all too familiar with then the idea of eradicating it or lessening its impact might sound absurd to you. However, before you resign yourself to this way of life forever, check out my following tips for finding some relief!

First of all, create a very practical yet reasonable to-do list for yourself. This should consist of just main tasks that you aim to achieve in the next few weeks. Don’t worry yourself more with long term plans that you want to work towards and similarly don’t concern yourself with the small things that don’t really matter. At the end of every day, take a moment to relax and consider the points on your list. If you find that they are no longer relevant then strike them off as not all of your plans need to be met! Also, of course, if you have achieved any tasks during the day then cross them off also. Try to keep the same list, with any additions, for a few weeks so that you can look back over time and see all that you have accomplished.

Secondly, the way you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. So instead of setting your alarm to get you up right before you have to be at work, set it a little earlier and give yourself time to enter the day slowly. As soon as you start to feel awake, stretch your arms and legs and think of three things that you are grateful for. This will help you to get going on a positive note and will also encourage you to show gratitude for those things during the day!

Mindful breathing is a great way to bring some focus back to your day and can be done in any place for any amount of time! When you start to feel the stress seeping in, take yourself to a quiet spot and do some deep breathing exercises with your eyes closed. Allow the calm to regain control and then attempt to continue with your day. If you find that this wasn’t enough to clear your mind then try taking a short walk outside away from other people.

Finally, a huge point of stress in the modern day world is the constant bombardment of technology and social media. If one of the first things you do in the morning is check your Facebook or Twitter feed then you are more than likely to see a scrolling list of other people’s ambitions and achievements. Looking at pictures of your friend’s babies and posts about their job promotions might be a great experience when you are in the right mood but it can also cause feelings of inadequacy to appear. Try to limit your social media use and focus on your own life away from the computer!

How to Embrace Body Positivity

A massive amount of people struggle with eating disorders and a driving factor behind this issue is a perceived negative body image. Struggling with the way you see your body is completely natural but you can overcome it! Being body positive all the time might seem like a challenge but when you take the time to re-evalute your relationship with your body then you can work towards this way of living!

Looking at yourself with more love is the key to improving your body image. You have to realise and accept that you are perfect the way you are. You must also understand that the body you may envision will not make you a happier person or improve other areas of your life. Take the time to notice things about yourself that you love, things about yourself that do make you happy. This in turn will encourage a healthier state of mind when it comes to thinking about your body. Spend time affirming these thoughts in your mind or even saying them out loud. Be sure not to allow negative thoughts to seep into this process and if they do then take a deep breath and get back on track!

We talk frequently about nourishing our bodies but it is absolutely true that our minds need nourishment too. Our minds are constantly taking in information from the things we see, the people we talk to and the sounds we hear. If this information is persistently positive than it is much easier to remain happy and confident. When we exist like this it is much easier to love ourselves and our bodies because positivity is being encouraged. When negative interactions appear during the day then the potential to extend this negativity to all of our thoughts becomes very real. Nourishing your mind in a constructive way and being sure to avoid destructive situations and people is essential in the journey to happiness. This in turn will help with your body image because this self-love will continue to grow.

If you regularly turn to exercise in an attempt to align your body with the way you think it should be then try substituting a workout session for a yoga lesson. Yoga teaches us relaxation and focus. It also teaches us that it is the journey which is important, not the end goal. Applying this thought process to your exercise regime will help you to apply it to every other part of your life. When you stop thinking of life in terms of milestones to reach and specific achievements that you have to accomplish then you can truly just enjoy the path you are taking.