Learning From Last Year

Learning from past mistakes is something that does not come easily to everyone. Falling into patterns of negative choices can be second nature to many, and it can take a great effort to break this routine of cyclic behaviour. 

If you feel like 2016 was not a good year for you in terms of the choices that you made and the decisions that you regret, then 2017 can be the perfect opportunity to turn this negativity into something productive. Instead of dwelling on the consequences of these choices, see them as lessons learnt and a basis for self-discovery moving forwards. 

Mistakes are an inevitable part of the human experience, and something that absolutely everyone makes. Sometimes it may seem that you make more poor choices than those around you, however, you have to remember that not everyone is open and honest about the things in their life that they regret.

There is also much to be learnt from the good things that happened to you in 2016. Maybe you discovered a new hobby, made new friends or embarked upon a new career. When you invite something new into your life it helps you to understand more about yourself. It might show you that you have a skill or a talent that you were previously unaware of, or that you are seeking certain things in life.

The people that we choose to spend our time with will help to mould us and guide us through our own lives. This is why it is important that you surround yourself with positive, encouraging people who will nurture you emotionally. Making new friends, or starting new romantic relationships, can teach us a great deal about the love and kindness that we deserve – as well as about the abundance of our own emotional energy that we are willing to share and invest in others. Try to process any negative interactions you had with people last year and to understand the reasons for them. You can then release these experiences from your mind and have no restrictions as to how open you are to new connections this year.

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!

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!

A New Start for the New Year

As we approach 2017 you may be feeling nostalgic for all of the wonderful things that have happened in your life this year. You may also be keen for the year to draw to a close if it has been a difficult or challenging time for you.

The great thing about the New Year is that it is an opportunity to look at your life with fresh eyes and re-evaluate what is important to you. The New Year is a chance for change and a chance to truly forgive yourself for any mistakes made in the year that has just passed.

If you want to start 2017 on the right path to a year full of health, happiness and positivity then it is important to set intentions for the next 12 months. What is it you want to achieve and how are you going to support yourself to reach these goals?

Your aims for this upcoming year may be tangible things that can be worked towards, such as moving house or completing an educational course. Your aims may also be more personal to you and involve your relationship with yourself and those around you.

Whatever your aims are for 2017 it helps to clarify them out loud to yourself as you contemplate the best route to your goals.

It is always beneficial to have the support of those around you and sharing your goals and ambitions with your friends and family is a great idea. In doing so, you can also find out what their hopes are for the year ahead and offer them your support in accomplishing these things.

The key to successful change is to not take too much on at once and to consider your goals one at a time. Trying to do everything at once will inevitably leave you feeling overwhelmed, and then discourage you from wanting to continue with your positive change. There is no need to prioritise your intentions in order of importance as you will find you are more inclined to work towards certain things first. Take your own guidance and allow things to progress naturally.

There is no limit to what you can achieve for yourself in the next year with the right support and determination!

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!

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!

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!

Simple Steps to Supporting Happiness

I regularly talk on my blog about finding ways to work towards happiness and to sustain it once you have arrived at this beautiful destination. As well as meditation, exercise and all of the other wonderful techniques that I recommend, there are also much simpler things that you can do to promote your own sense of well-being.

The following suggestions are practically effortless concepts that you can make a note to embrace in all aspects of your life! In doing so, not only will you soon see the positivity in those around you, but you will also boost feelings of self-love, self-worth and happiness in yourself.

Reach Out

Knowing when to ask for help is one of the best ways to avoid letting stress take over as you can more easily share your concerns. People often shy away from asking for help as they see it as a sign of weakness in themselves. However, the truth is that we all need help sometimes, be it for small tasks or larger responsibilities. When you go to your friends or family for help you are actually also telling them that you trust them and that you value their input! This helps to firm the bonds of friendship and encourage honest communication. 

Own Your Independence

Being happy without a partner is where some people struggle. However, it is essential to remember that you do not need another person to be complete. If you are unhappy on your own then the presence of another person is only going to mask this unhappiness, not remedy it. For this reason (and more!) it is important to work on your own happiness as an individual before becoming part of a pair.

Seek Out Positivity

Seeing the good in other people can often be difficult, especially if the person in question has wronged you in some way. In some circumstances it can be easy to write certain people off as not having any good in them at all, but this is almost always never true! So, in instances where you are having negative feelings towards someone, make a mental note of their good qualities or fond memories you have of them. This will help you to process the situation with less sadness and hostility, giving you much more of a chance to preserve your own happiness.

These three simple concepts are often overlooked when people are contemplating their own happiness. Making an effort to reach out, own your independence and to seek out positivity in those around you will go a long way to improving your happiness.

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!

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!

Strawberry Cacao Ice Cream

This ice cream recipe is incredibly simple to make and will literally take you five minutes from start to finish (excluding the freezing of the bananas obviously)! I always like to have a stash of frozen bananas in my freezer so whenever the mood strikes – or one of my children asks – I can quickly whip up a batch of healthy ice cream.

Using raw cacao in ice cream is such an amazing way to make your dessert super healthy. Cacao beans come from the cacao tree, which is native to Mexico and Central America. Raw cacao generally has a nutty taste but can be quite bitter. Cacao beans are absolutely bursting with antioxidants, which as we know are essential in the fight against free radicals in the body. Cacao beans also contain a happy dose of iron, calcium and magnesium. The health benefits of consuming raw cacao regularly range from alleviating depression, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation.

Including a cup of strawberries in your ice cream recipe not only gives this dish a beautiful colour and luxurious flavour, but it also brings a wealth of nutrients to the dish. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as folate and fibre. Similarly to raw cacao, strawberries are bursting with antioxidants. Strawberries also contain an abundance of potassium. Potassium is essential for many functions in the body, not least of all balancing your electrolytes. Potassium also helps the muscles to function properly and works to keep your blood pressure at an optimum level by combatting the presence of sodium in the body. Just one serving of strawberries is enough to provide a daily dose of potassium – so my ice cream is the perfect answer!

To make enough for two people to pile their bowls high you will need the following ingredients:

2 frozen bananas (remove the peel, chop and then freeze overnight)
1 Tbsp. of raw cacao
1 tsp. of vanilla essence
1 cup of strawberries
200ml of almond milk
A squeeze of honey (or any other natural sweetener)

All you have to do is place the frozen bananas in your blender with the almond milk and then blitz until creamy. You can then add in the rest of the ingredients and blitz again for a few moments. Serve into two bowls and enjoy!

You can find a raspberry variation of this delicious recipe on my soon to be released second course on The Flexi Foodie Academy!