Self-Care Sunday – Digital Detox

The latest topic in my Self-Care Sunday series is that of learning to digitally detox! This is something that is becoming increasingly necessary in the age of social media domination in which we live.

Studies have shown that the average digital device user can check theirs as many as 85 times a day. This can often add up to an unbelievable daily amount of five hours! Often we use our devices for short bursts of time, such as sending a message, making a phone call or searching for information. However, many people also often spend extended periods of time browsing the internet on their devices, playing online games, and engaging in other digital activities. Although this can sometimes seem relaxing, we are really increasing our dependence on our devices and paying less attention to our real life relationships, pursuits and responsibilities. 

There are many reasons why it may be super necessary for you to go on an extended digital  detox, but also it is something that you can do regularly for short periods of time. Leaving your devices alone for a whole day is a great way to disconnect and get your time back, but you can also try scheduling periods during the day where you go without them. This could be 30 minutes, an hour, two hours or maybe more…the point is that you are disconnecting from technology and focusing your time and attention on other things. 

In the following video I share a tried and tested method for encouraging yourself and those around you to detox regularly from digital devices. You can do the activity that I discuss at home when you are with your family, and also when you are out with friends or co-workers.

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!

Life Hacks for Optimum Health

If you are someone who finds it hard to keep their own health at the top of their priority list then you are certainly not alone. With busy schedules and limited time to get everything done, there is often simply not enough hours in the day to adequately meet our own needs when it comes to exercise, nutrition and self-care.

Finding simple and efficient ways to stay healthy can go a long way to making your days more manageable. Read on for my favourite three ways to do so! Embracing these concepts as a standard part of your life and your routine won’t take much effort or adjusting to, and could really help to boost your health! Which, in turn, can boost your happiness!

Get an App!

Using apps to track your health and fitness is an easy way to stay on top of your progress as well as your general health. This is a particularly good way to keep a food diary, or to record your activity in the gym. It is also simple and advisable to track your steps with a digital pedometer. This will help you to make sure that you get a decent amount of exercise during the day. 10,000 steps a day is a great goal!

Ditch the BPA!

Buying plastic disposable bottles for your water is not only bad for the environment, but can also be damaging to your health! BPA is found in hard plastics, such as those used for bottled water, and is also in some food packaging. When you are exposed to it regularly it can interact with the hormones in your body, causing disruption to their natural production and function. Get yourself a BPA-free bottle and keep refilling it during the day!

Walk, Run, Cycle!

Always driving from A to B is a surefire way to sabotage your own health. If it’s possible for you to walk everywhere during your day then do so! If the distance between the places you need to go are too great then get yourself a bike! There is such a wide variety of cycle gear available these days that you can keep yourself dry and comfortable regardless of the weather! You may think that you are not fit enough to cycle and to you I would say that this is not something to worry about! Start at your own pace and build up to cycling longer distances. You will more than likely be surprised at how quickly your fitness improves. 

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!

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!

Relax and Recharge Without Spending a Penny

There are few, if any, people who exist in the modern day world who are able to totally avoid stress. With busy work schedules, chaotic family lives and personal relationships to maintain, finding time for yourself can seem near impossible. The increasing average use of technology is another factor that adds to the invasion and interruption of our private time. As our lives get crazier so too grows the need to break away from the chaos and find ways to relax and recharge. Spending a small fortune on a beach getaway, or flying to a remote retreat in the middle of nowhere, are both great options but potentially not financially viable for the majority of people to do on a regular basis.

So for those of us that want to bring the harmony back into our lives without breaking the bank, here are some simple but effective ideas!

Turn it off!

Checking your phone every 20 minutes or so has become a regular action for so many people. Add to that, that large numbers of people have to be hooked to their computer for several hours during the working day and that adds up to a lot of screen time. Technology is continuously making it easier for us to be distracted by the endless amusement and communication that is possible on the internet. However, this constant stream of information and interactions is undoubtedly quite addictive and also massively time consuming. Make sure you have a break from all technology during the day. Your lunch break at work is a great time to do so. Switch your phone off, step away from the computer and go for a walk.

Breathe!

Taking time to focus on your breathing is a great way to mentally detox. During your day try to find a quiet space and take ten deep breaths in and out. Keep your mind clear or repeat a motivational mantra to yourself. You can then return to your tasks armed with a fresh sense of calm.

Mediate!

Meditation, similar to breathing exercises, allows you to understand yourself in the present moment and remove external stresses from your mind. Even just ten minutes of meditation a day can help you to relax and recharge.

Get going!

Exercising is one of the best ways to clear your mind and also to boost happiness and motivation. There are endless forms of exercise that you can do for free, either in the home or outside. It’s best to choose an exercise that you’re comfortable with in order to prevent additional stress. Pushing your body too hard won’t be of any use to your mental state. Going for a walk, doing yoga or cycling are light exercises that are also highly enjoyable.

Incorporating all of the above into your daily routine will help to keep stress levels low whilst also keeping you full of motivation. Of course the occasional break from your routine will also be great for recharging your batteries but there’s no reason why you can’t stay on top of your stress without spending a penny!