Enjoying The Holiday Season

During this time of year it is easy to get stressed out by all of the additional pressures that go hand in hand with the holiday season. And, because of this, you will likely have seen article after article talking about the best ways to beat that festive stress. Continue reading Enjoying The Holiday Season

Self-Care Sunday – Emotional Eating

As you all know, self-care is one of my favourite things to talk about AND is also something that I consistently work to make a part of my own life. In fact, I’m so sure about the power of self-care that it’s the focus of my upcoming book – Recharge: A Year of Self-Care to Focus on You.

In order to celebrate the launch of my book I am going to be sharing one topic from the book every Sunday for 12 weeks. This is something that I got started with last week, and you may have caught the video on YouTube!

For those of you who missed it, the first topic that I wanted to explore with you was Emotional Eating.

Emotional eating is something that we are all surely sometimes guilty of! Everyone does it – myself included – but it is important that we recognise this behaviour in ourselves and that we work to overcome the source of our issues.

The way in which many of us live, with packed out schedules, stressful jobs and so many things to keep on top of, means that turning to food for comfort is often easy to do. It can feel as though food is the only thing that will fill the void after a long day, and most of us will know already which our go-to foods are!

As I discussed in my first video in my Self-Care Sunday series, the most important thing when it comes to emotional eating is to acknowledge your feelings. When you know that you are eating to soothe your emotions, make a conscious effort to understand your feelings in this moment. Listen to these thoughts and don’t beat yourself up for feeling this way. This can help you to develop a deeper understanding as to why you are engaging in this behaviour.

Creating healthy habits in regards to your eating, and breaking away from any negativity that exists within your relationship to food, is the best way to move forwards and away from emotional eating.

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!

Winter Immune System Health

As the winter season begins to settle in it becomes all the more important that we pay attention to the health of our immune systems. Consciously supporting your immune system should be seen as giving yourself a helping hand to stay healthy through the winter, and always close to the top of your priority list! 

There are several small things that you can do to give this aspect of your health a boost, and doing so can not only protect your body from illness, but will also help you to maintain your positive mood. When we begin to get ill our happiness can suffer, and this can lead to increased levels of stress as we struggle to find the energy and the motivation to get things done. This can become a cyclic problem as higher levels of stress can further compromise the immune system!

Get to Bed

Getting enough sleep can sometimes feel impossible. We all have our different reasons for not always getting an adequate amount of good quality sleep at night – but whatever your reason, it is important for the health of your immune system that you work to resolve the problem.

You can try going to bed earlier, avoiding caffeine or other dietary stimulants in the evening, meditating before bed and creating a more peaceful sleeping environment for yourself.

Eat for Digestive Health

The health of your digestive system is closely connected to your immune system function, and this is something I discussed in my previous article on Gut Health and your Diet.

Cutting out highly processed foods and those that are high in sugar is a great place to start. Additionally, taking a daily probiotic can help to encourage the presence of good bacteria in the gut.

Want to learn more about how eating more plant-based foods can enhance your health in other ways too? Click here now to check out my starter guide!

Pay Attention to Vitamin D

Vitamin D is most commonly known for its role is protecting bone health, but it is also important for the health of your immune system. Your body naturally creates vitamin D from the sun, and getting outside into the sunshine is a simple way to make sure you are producing enough. However, this can become a problem during the winter months due to the grey weather and shorter days.

Fortunately, many foods are fortified with vitamin D and it also occurs naturally in quite a range of foods. Therefore making the extra effort to include vitamin D rich produce during the colder months will help to keep your immune system functioning properly.

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 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 Improve Your Sleep Cycle

If you caught my blog post last week then you will have discovered just how important it is to have an optimum sleep cycle. This is unfortunately not something all of us enjoy, but there are ways to improve the quantity and quality of the sleep that you are having!

Set an Alarm

Your alarm clock is more commonly used to wake you up in the morning, but you can also set your alarm to remind yourself to go to bed. Having a bedtime may sound like something better suited to children, but as adults we can benefit greatly for inviting this kind of routine into our lives. If you get to bed at a reasonable time, then you are much more likely to sleep for longer. You should also then of course set an alarm to wake you in the morning, and try to resist the urge to snooze it when it goes off. Falling back to sleep and then waking again between snoozes can actually leave you feeling groggier and more reluctant to get up and start your day!

Be Conscious of Your Diet

Consuming alcohol or caffeine in the second half of the day can play a part in disrupting your sleep cycle. You may find that these things prevent you from falling asleep with ease, and can also cause you to wake up multiple times during the night. Furthermore, alcohol can continue to have a negative impact on your mood and how you feel physically the following day.

Create the Right Environment

The place in which you sleep can influence how easy it is for you to fall asleep, and also the quality of sleep that you enjoy during the night. The majority of people find it easier to sleep well in the dark, and also in a room that is comfortably warm, but not overly so. If it is impossible for you to sleep in an entirely dark room, then consider investing in a comfortable eye mask. Similarly, if it is not possible to keep your bedroom at an optimum temperature during the night then acquire some suitable clothes for sleeping.

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 Handle Your Hormones

Mood swings can strike at any time and although there are certain common likely causes, it is something that can’t always be managed in the same way.

What Are Mood Swings

Your mood swings may be characterised by a variety of things, such as unexplained crying or unjustified irritability. It is important to remember that although your emotions may seem out of proportion, your feelings in each moment are still valid and true, and there is no need to beat yourself up about this!

Diet & Gut Health

A hormonal imbalance is a likely cause when it comes to mood swings, and this can be handled by addressing your lifestyle and making positive changes where necessary. This will largely be in relation to your diet. Your diet can impact your emotions in several ways, and it will also have an impact on the health of your gut. Your gut health is linked to your mood, and it is important to play close attention to this aspect of your overall health. The bacteria in your intestines will influence your hormones, and this of course will then impact your mood. So, a large presence of good bacteria will go a long way to helping!

Blood Sugar Levels

Keeping your blood sugar levels consistent is one of the best ways to keep your mood from fluctuating. You may think that skipping a meal will help you to lose weight, or save you time if you have a busy schedule. But doing so can actually wreak havoc with your hormones and leave you feeling annoyed, fatigued and generally unhappy. Fortunately, you can keep your blood sugar levels up by regularly eating nutritious foods, and avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks!

Sleep & Stress

In addition to your diet, certain lifestyle factors such as sleep will also influence your hormones and therefore your mood. When you do not get enough sleep your body will produce excess levels of cortisol – the stress hormone. This will put unnecessary stress on your adrenal glands, and can cause your serotonin levels to drop. Serotonin is super important for keeping your mood up, and you should always try to get between seven and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. If you have trouble getting to sleep, or find that you are often waking in the night, then you may find some relief by drinking soothing herbal teas before you go to bed.

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 Persist with Positivity

As we come towards the end of January, it can be easy to place less importance on the resolutions and goals that you felt were super important at the beginning of the year.

You may already have a solid idea of what it is you want to achieve this year. However, you may also not yet be so aware of where 2017 will take you. Whichever of these situations sounds more true to your own experience, the key to moving forwards is to enable your own positivity.

Positive thinking is a concept that can bring an abundance of happiness into your life, and isn’t something that you should ignore! Often you may feel as though your happiness comes to you naturally, and on other occasions it can be harder to find the source of these positive feelings. This is why knowing how to create a positive mindset for yourself in any situation is beneficial for every aspect of your life.

Meditation

Making time for conscious positivity every day is one of the best ways to ensure that it doesn’t leave your life. For example, spend a short period of time practicing meditation and focusing on all of the great things in your life that you are grateful for. These can be small things, or brief interactions with people that left you feeling good. They can also be larger ideas and tangible things that you are proud of.

Positive Affirmations

Repeating positive affirmations to yourself during the day is also a great way to encourage a continuos positive mindset. Using positive affirmations can seriously help to re-route negative thought patterns and help you to avoid dwelling on past problems, thereby allowing positivity to persist.

Self-Care

Self-care can take many forms. It is an amazing way to keep a smile on your face and peace in your mind. Small acts of self-care may involve making an effort every morning to have a routine that readies you for the day, taking time to be by yourself in nature, or having periods away from technology and the general noise of modern day life.

Incorporating all of the aforementioned concepts into your life will help you to create the happiness you want for yourself. There is no limit to how this positivity can grow and impact you and those around you!

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!

Bring Meaning to Meditation

Finding ways to focus your meditation is a great way to keep your practice fresh and to continue to get the most benefit from this time. When you sit down to meditate with a purpose, you are actually focusing your mind on the things you want to achieve as opposed to giving your mind the potential to wonder.

Only when your meditation has a purpose will you be able to find real power in what you are doing. As you continue to address this purpose in each session you will be able to deepen your experience and unlock thoughts and feelings that are connected to this purpose.

Meditating on forgiveness is a common purpose for this practice. When someone in your life has done something that negatively affects you this is often cause for unhappy emotions. Even if this person has sincerely apologised to you, there may be some residual feelings of resentment on your part. It is important to address these feelings instead of just pretending that your relationship with this person has completely returned to normal. In order to meditate on forgiveness you must sit in your usual position and then envision the person in front of you. As you take a deep breath in imagine what you want to say to them and as you breathe out say it to them with meaning. Repeat this sequence several times and then end your last breath out with a finalising forgiving statement such as, “I truly forgive you”.

Another worthwhile purpose for meditation is your own self-love and self-worth. This is a great time to use any affirmations that you adopt regularly and is also a good time to come up with new ones. Remember that the point of this type of meditation is to build your confidence in yourself. Choose short but meaningful affirmations, say them in your mind as you breathe in and then feel this thought flow through your entire body as you breathe out. You can either do this with the same affirmation over and over again, or have several in mind that you can go through in turn. It is important that you really try to feel connected to each affirmation as you use it and believe each one as you say it.

Focusing your meditation in these ways can help to bring a greater sense of peace and well-being into your life and allows you to make the most of your meditation time.

Adjust Your Attitude to Find Happiness

When it comes to seeking happiness it is important not to negate any of your emotional responses. Often we tell ourselves that feeling sad is not an acceptable state of mind because so many people have it worse. However, in doing so we are discounting our natural response to our current situation. It is important to remember that we have to sometimes be sad if we are to be happy in other moments! Understanding your emotions and allowing yourself to feel them is essential to working past any negative ones that occur and embracing the positive ones that surface.

Many people try to find happiness in making others happy. Although this is of course a great thing to do, it can often be to distract the person in question from dealing with their own emotions. If you are one of these people that spends a great deal of time worrying about everyone else, then you may start to find that you are missing out on your own joy. Although there are of course things you can do to increase the wellbeing of others, at the end of the day their happiness is their own making. You simply cannot force someone else to be happy and you cannot truly push them to reach this state of mind before they are ready. Similarly, you are responsible for your own happiness, even though you may get help from your loved ones along the way.

If you believe that there are currently obstacles to you reaching your happiest self, then ask yourself the following questions and try to determine if your attitude could use an adjustment!

First of all, are there things in your life that are causing you pain that you could work to let go of? Are there negative thought patterns that drive you to distraction when really you could embrace positivity and work to avoid them altogether? Are there people that you allow to influence your attitude in a detrimental way?

Instead of concentrating on the negative aspects of your life, make a list of all of the things that you are doing well and remind yourself of these things each and every day. By taking pride in the small moments of success that you achieve, you create a much bigger feeling of success that can boost your sense of happiness and general wellbeing.

Make sure you own each and every decision and choice that guides your life so that you never lose that feeling of being in control. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself. Take the time to care for yourself and not to let others get you down! Check in on your attitude to life and happiness regularly to ensure you remain on a positive and healthy track!

8 Essential Books for Health and Wellbeing

With such a wealth of information available when it comes to health and nutrition, it can be hard to know who to trust and what to believe. There are so many varying diets that claim to help you lose weight whilst also improving health and wellbeing that settling on just one can be complicated! I find the best way to avoid this is to devote the time to reading a good book on the topic. Consuming an entire book is a fantastic way to truly understand a topic and can inspire and motivate you to stick to your fitness and dietary aims!

The following books are some of my absolute favourites when it comes to discovering new and interesting things about health and wellbeing. These books have shaped my understanding of eating for optimum health and I absolutely can’t recommend them enough.

Plenish

plenish_bookThis book by Kara M.L Rosen teaches the reader all about juices that boost, cleanse and heal. Kara’s book teaches us all about how consuming fresh, raw juices will boost your nutrient count whilst also helping your system to detox. The book continues to explain how your health will benefit immensely, keeping sickness at bay. There’s more than 40 recipes in this book for various juice blends which will rapidly leave you feeling rejuvenated!

Honestly Healthy Cleansehonestly_healthy_cleanse_book

This book is written by Natasha Corrett and is a fantastic and creative introduction to healthy cooking. Natasha is a gourmet vegetarian chef and she has created a series of recipe plans that hep to guide the reader towards a healthier lifestyle. Her plans incorporate a number of different food types to make up a well-rounded approach to good foods. There’s over 100 recipes in this book which promote optimum nutrition and natural weight loss.

healing_with_whole_foods_bookHealing with Whole Foods

Paul Pitchford has put together this fantastic book which is not only used as a reference by students of acupuncture but also by those looking to find out more about Chinese medicine. There are over 300 recipes in this book, the majority of which are vegetarian, and focus on regeneration through diet. Pitchford has written this book with the intention of educating his readers in the areas of healing, awareness and peace.

Eating for Beautyeating_for_beauty_book

David Wolfe is one of America’s leading experts on nutrition and this book explains how a diet full of fresh produce is the best choice for everyone. Not only does the book teach how these foods can promote natural beauty but also how they can cleanse the system and nourish the body. Although this book is easy to follow, it does delve into some scientific explanations as to why the chemical processes from certain foods affect us in such a negative way.

healthy_at_100_bookHealthy at 100

This book by John Robbins shows us how our life span and our general health can be improved vastly through healthy eating. Within the book, Robbins explores several different cultures and how people within those cultures have reached old age through eating well. Countless people have already been inspired by this book which also encourages people to live life to the full and be as happy as possible while their health improves.

The Healing Path of Yogathe_healing_path_of_yoga_book

Nischala Joy Devi is the writer of this amazing book and is a known pioneer of yoga and natural healing. The book explains how yoga can reduce stress and the importance of doing so due to the dangerous effects it has on our lives. Devi uses the book as a platform to share her years of wisdom in yoga practice and teaches people how to take greater control of their lives.

big_book_of_yoga_bookThe Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga

This book is full of fantastic yoga poses which will stretch and tone your body while also building muscle and improving your stamina. This book not only demonstrates many of these poses to us but also explains why they can improve our health, boost our sex drives, help us to lose weight and also to cleanse our bodies and minds!

Loving Yourself to Great Healthloving_yourself_to_good_health_book

Louise Hay, Ahlea Khadro and Heather Dane have come together with this book to transform lives by encouraging people to create their dreams. The book combines several theories of letting go of the things that limit us whilst also focusing on nutrition and health.

These books are all available on my e-store so click the title link to buy them for yourself!