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 Self-Love Will Change Your Life

Following my recent post on Taking the Time to Learn to Love Yourself, I thought it’d be an encouraging next step to have a look at how the people who have achieved this live differently to the rest! In the last post I discussed how an open mind and the desire to learn more about yourself and the world around you can change your life and your outlook. But how does that influence other areas of our existence? When you shift from negativity to self-love, what are the real changes that you can expect to start seeing?

Well, first of all, as you start to really listen to your emotions you’ll find that you’re much better equipped to deal with them. Instead of holding them in until you explode, you’ll let them out as and when they occur – resulting in a much calmer attitude and greater peace of mind. This means that when something negative does happen you’ll be able to accept responsibility and resolve the situation, or you’ll be much more capable of not blaming the source of this negativity, working instead to find a solution.

People who have love for themselves are much more at ease spending time alone than others. This fear of being alone can stem from many places and unpleasant experiences. It is essential to overcome these fears and understand that in your own company is a great place to be. Making time to be alone is just as important as spending time with those who encourage and support us. Use this time to partake in an activity or some relaxing meditation instead of wasting it in front of the television or anything equally mind numbing. The point is to be aware of yourself and the time you’re spending with yourself. It’s a great step on a bigger journey of self-discovery. When you do spend time with other people, you’ll notice that you’re less tolerant of toxic relationships and more inclined to form new bonds with other people who know how to love themselves.

When you have truly learnt to love yourself you’ll notice that your need to enjoy your creative pursuits and hobbies will be much greater. You’ll find time to do the things that you enjoy and this in turn will continue to add to your sense of self love. Absolutely everyone is passionate about something and discovering what it is that makes you happy, and then feeding that passion, will enable your happiness to grow and grow.

Mastering the art of self-love could easily cause your life to move in an entirely new direction as you seek the career you always wanted or embark upon the relationship you’ve always deserved. It’s a journey that might seem difficult to grasp at first but inevitably always one worth making!

Stress Management and Your Diet

In order for our nervous system to truly relax, so do we! If we don’t, our stress can destroy our health.  The body is CLEVER. When your body feels danger (like being attacked by a woolly bear or being screamed at by your boos) – the part of the brain that controls fear doesn’t know the difference.  And so our repair mechanisms within the body that kill cancer cells, fight infections and yes, my favourite, slow the ageing process, shut down during periods of stress.  And how many of us are actually stressed all day long……?!

Eating the right foods plays a huge part in managing stress levels and is one of the easiest ways to manage your stress. Eating wholesome and healthy foods will boost serotonin levels which calms the brain. Health foods also build up the immune system and lowers blood pressure which both contribute towards your stress levels. If any of the following seven points ring true for you then you are more than likely stressed and need to re-evaluate your diet.

stress_management_and_your_diet1.   You have backaches and headaches.

If your cortisol levels stay high over a period of time, you probably have adrenal fatigue which increases the body’s sensitivity to pain – back pain, muscle pain and even headaches.

2.   Your sleep is broken or you simply can’t sleep well.

At night is when we’re supposed to allow our bodies to relax and restore, but if your cortisol levels are too high, you end up tossing and turning all night and feel tired again the next day.  OR hands up if you do sleep well but you still wake up tired?  If so, those high levels of cortisol are depleting the adrenal glands which in turn predisposes you to chronic fatigue.

3.   You’re gaining weight.stress_management_and_your_diet

Even if you’re eating well and exercising, you can’t seem to shift the weight and/or you’re gaining it around your belly.  Yup, once again that’s cortisol.  It tends to make you thick around the middle and store those last 5 pounds…. even if you’re doing everything right!

4.   You always seem to catch ‘the’ cold that’s going around.

Your body’s immune system is deactivated with too much cortisol and that in turns leaves you prone to infections and colds.

stress_management_and_your_diet5. You crave the ‘bad’ foods.

Yup, this one too!  That nasty cortisol raises your blood sugar, then the high glucose levels raise your insulin levels which in turn drops your blood sugar!  So, you’re back to craving the ‘bad’ foods over and over again.

 6. Your gut goes nuts.

The stress hormone cortisol heightens the sensitivity in your gastrointestinal system. So things like heartburn, cramps, constipation, feeling sick or diarrhoea are a result of too much cortisol.

7.   You feel blue.

Unfortunately, high levels of cortisol reduce the production of serotonin and before you know it, you’re feeling gloomy.

So, if any of these sounds like your life you need to take a close look at the foods you are eating on a daily basis. Try to make gradual changes to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole foods and raw foods such as nuts into your diet. Steering well clear of processed foods will also help you manage your stress and should be the first step you take!

Once you have your diet under control, you will soon notice your energy levels go up whilst your stress levels decrease!