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!

Self-Care Sunday – What’s Your Passion?

The latest topic in my Self-Care Sunday series is all about discovering for yourself what your passions are! This is the sixth week in the series and you can check out the previous videos below.

What’s Your Passion?

Knowing what it is you want to do with yourself, with your time, and with your life, can be quite an overwhelming thought process.

The first step is to find out what you are passionate about and to begin exploring these ideas. You may find that several things come to mind, or that you have to spend some time contemplating what these things are. This is something that there is no need to rush through, and it’s fine to let this evolve naturally over time.

Once you have a clearer idea of the things that you enjoy, the things that you love, and the things you take pleasure in, then you can find ways to make these things a more integral part of your life.

The Power of Positivity

Creating and maintaining a positive mindset is a fantastic step in working towards finding, believing in and building your passions. An optimistic outlook will help you to stay focused on the goals that you set for yourself. This itself is a difficult concept for some people! 

There is no one quick fix when it comes to embracing positivity. It is something that has to be developed in a number of different ways and considered regularly. Ask yourself often if the decisions that you are making are going to serve to enhance your happiness and your positivity, and if not then it’s time to re-evaluate your choices.

Find, Believe, Build

In the following video I talk more on the topic of finding, believing in and building your passions! 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!

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 – Rebuilding Self-Esteem

I can’t believe we are in week four of my Self-Care Sunday series already! If you haven’t caught my videos from the previous weeks yet then you can check them out below:

The latest topic in my Self-Care Sunday series is all about Rebuilding Self-Esteem and Becoming More Optimistic.

This can be a difficult topic for many people – myself included. It is often something that we try not to think about because it can be a scary thing to explore – but it is super important to do so if you want to live your happiest life as your best self!

Toxic Relationships

When I took the time to figure out what was causing the most harm to my self-esteem, I discovered that my toxic relationships were at the top of the list!

Although identifying this as a leading reason for your low self-esteem might not be a difficult process, actually working to resolve the negativity in these relationships – or walking away from them entirely – is not always so simple.

The chances are that if you have been dealing with toxic relationships for a long time that you are also probably not used to putting yourself first. However, this is something that you absolutely have to do if you are to rebuild your self-esteem and become more optimistic.

Resolving Negativity

Attempting to resolve negativity in your toxic relationships can sometimes be achieved through open and honest communication. Express your unhappiness to the person in question, let them know how their behaviour makes you feel, and express what your boundaries and needs are. If this person can’t understand or respect what you are asking of them, then it might be time to walk away from this relationship.

In the following video I talk more on the topic of Rebuilding Your Self-Esteem! 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!

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!

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 Make Time for Yourself

Wishing for extra hours in the day is certainly not a new concept and many of us are often left wondering where the time goes! With such busy schedules and such limited time to fit it all in, the idea of finding additional time for yourself may often seem laughable, and even verging on impossible! 

There is certainly nothing wrong with being organised, but if it seems like every moment of your life is scheduled and accounted for, then you may actually be doing more harm than good. If this sounds like you, then taking a step back, and giving yourself permission to just be, could be the best decision you can make.

Starting The Day

A lot of discussions around being more time efficient centre around the morning routine. How you start your day is often seen as a benchmark as to how successful the rest of your day will be. However, putting too much emphasis on the first few hours of the day can actually cause unnecessary stress that you then take with you into the rest of the day.

The way in which you find it best to start the day is of course individual to you! If you feel inspired to meditate, do yoga or cook a healthy breakfast for yourself from scratch, then certainly you can benefit from these things, but don’t beat yourself up if you do not feel motivated to do so!

Trying to cram too much into the beginning of the day can leave you feeling overwhelmed and then less able to make time for yourself during the remainder of the day!

Re-evaluate Your Routine

You may find that having a routine helps you to commit to doing the things that you need to do. However, it is important to take into consideration that no two days are ever going to be the same. It is often impossible to predict what your life and your mind will have in store for you. By this I mean, events may occur that throw your schedule off, and that your mood can fluctuate from one day to the next, making certain things seem harder to accomplish.

For these reasons, it is important not to overload your days with scheduled activities and commitments. Of course there are going to be things that you need to do, but there is no harm in spreading these activities out, and in doing so you will naturally create a larger amount of time for yourself within each individual day.

Understand Your Importance

Making time for yourself is a super simple but seriously underrated form of self-care! If you are someone who spends a great deal of time caring for others then you may have forgotten how important your own health, happiness and time is!

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!

Living a Life of Mindfulness

If you often feel like you are making your way through life on autopilot then you are certainly not alone! With busy, repetitive schedules it is completely normal to start feeling as though you are just going through the motions. A good way to discover if this is true to you is to try and remember your day at the end of it. How much of your day can you actually recall and how much of it were you simply not present for as you powered through on autopilot?

Living life in this way is the exact opposite of living a life of mindfulness. It is living a life of habit and unconscious actions because you have become bored or exhausted by your routine. When you exist in this way you will find that you spend a lot of time focusing your conscious thoughts on the past or the future, as opposed to engaging in the present moment. This will usually take the form of regretting moments from the past and worrying about the future.

So, how can you break this cyclic way of living to turn auto-pilot off and live a life of mindfulness?

The answer that I am going to offer you may seem incredibly simplistic but I can assure you it works! And that answer is to make a conscious effort to bring your attention into each and every moment. If you are not paying attention to your life as you live it then how can you possibly expect to feel satisfied and fulfilled by life?

You may feel as though you have too many mundane tasks to complete during the day to want to be continuously present, but that is the mistake that causes this mindlessness to seep into other areas of your life. By trying to conduct every moment with awareness and intention you will be much better equipped to be in control of your thoughts and your actions. You will rule your emotions and you will approach each new day with a positive attitude.

As each and every interaction and situation unfolds and develops during your day, make an effort to pay attention to it and deal with it as it is happening. Resist the urge to make judgements and always work to find resolutions. When you do so you will be less likely to have an emotional backlog at the end of each day that could prevent you being present in the following one!

My online e-learning portal will soon have a new course dedicated to self-love, letting go and happiness which are all concepts that can help us to understand our passions! Head to the Flexi Foodie Academy soon to sign up and Like my Facebook page to be the first to know when it comes out!

How to Overcome Self-Criticism

Learning to deal with the negativity of other people can be tricky but it often pales in comparison to trying to deal with the criticism we hand out to ourselves. We all have constant thoughts and feelings throughout the day but who can honestly say that the majority of these are positive? Hearing affirming statements of support and encouragement from other people can do a great deal of good to our confidence and the same is true of the things we tell ourselves.

The inner struggles of each person are of course different depending on their circumstances and aims in life, however, there are several things that are true for many people. These common self-criticisms are usually in relation to career progress, family life and self-image. Even the slightest incident or comment from somebody else might prompt us to start doubting ourselves in massive ways and it is also true that we begin these thought processes by ourselves with no outside influence!

Negative thoughts are not only distracting but can also be incredibly damaging to our self-esteem. So how can we overcome this negativity and move towards a happier and healthier sense of self? First of all, it helps to identify what you are feeling and to say it out loud to yourself. When these thoughts are trapped inside your mind they can quickly spiral into something worse. Saying it out loud helps to isolate the feeling and make it seem much less intense. You can then flip your statement around. For instance you can turn, “I have not accomplished what I wanted to at work today” into, “I tried my best to be productive today and tomorrow will be better”.

Secondly it is also beneficial to try and trace your negative thought back to its source. Try to figure out if someone in your life makes you feel that way or if there are certain behaviours that you indulge in that encourage these thoughts. Once you have a better idea of why these thoughts are occurring in your mind you will be better equipped to deal with them.

Finally, try to remember instances where you have previously overcome negativity and moved towards productivity. Remembering these times will help to boost your confidence and push any fears to the back of your mind! It is important to give yourself credit for your accomplishments instead of only concentrating on the things that have gone wrong!

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.

How to Make the Most of Meditation

In my previous blog post, How to Make Time for Meditation, I discussed the best ways to begin on your journey of meditation and how to avoid some of the common excuses people find to avoid meditation. If you followed my advice and are now incorporating this relaxing practice into your everyday life then congratulations! I am absolutely positive that you will have already begun to experience the many benefits of doing so. Even though getting started is usually the hardest part, it can also be tricky to continue with your practice, especially when our stressful modern day lives get in the way.

To help you continue to get the most out of your meditation time, I have compiled the following tips! These are things that I always keep in mind when I am meditating and find that they help me to stay focused on my goals!

Your posture is incredibly important. Your spine should always be straight with your head up and facing forwards. When you start to slump you will soon notice that your mind starts to wander. A good way to achieve proper posture is to imagine your head is connected with the sky and aim to keep it there!

Some people prefer to meditate with their eyes closed, however, it is often a good idea to keep them open. When your eyes are closed, your thoughts are more likely to drift to other things. Instead of trying to focus your gaze on a specific place in the room, just let your eyes settle naturally and try not to pay too much attention to whatever happens to be in your line of sight.

Similarly to yoga, it is important to pay attention to your breathing when you are meditating. When you are focusing on your breathing you will find yourself anchored in the present and your mind will be easier to settle. There’s no need to force your breath to be a certain pace, just let it come in and out naturally! When rogue thoughts enter your mind, bring your focus back to your breathing and these thoughts will soon evaporate from your conscious.

Finally, although there is an abundance of amazing music to meditate to, choosing to do so in silence is best for being fully focused on your meditation. Silence can be incredibly healing whereas music can often be quite distracting. Even just 10 – 20 minutes of silent meditation everyday will help you to get in touch with your emotions and better equip you to deal with the day. Regular practice of this kind for an extended period of time will help you to build a solid foundation for more intense meditation in the future!