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It’s been a while since hygge was so on trend you couldn’t move for bumping into a scented candle or a chunky knit throw – but trend or no trend, for me hygge is a concept I love so much I’m always thinking of ways to bring more of those hygge vibes into my life. Of course as we’re now in autumn here in the northern hemisphere, i.e peak hygge season, I thought I’d share some of the simple ways I’m keeping the hygge flowing in my life. A couple of weeks ago I blogged about intentional living and being more hygge is something I do try and put intention into – I love feeling hyggelig! The hygge ‘trend’ seemed to gravitate towards the material elements and things you can buy like cushions, candles and throws – and while those things can help create hygge atmosphere hygge is about so much more than just spending money on another throw. Here are some of the ways I’m bringing hygge into my life this season… 5 forgotten ways to bring hygge home this season Create traditions by celebrating seasonal days Today is the autumn equinox and over the next couple of months we have Halloween and Bonfire night here in the UK and Thanksgiving for my Americian friends. While many of us do celebrate these days already, now might be a nice time to think about how we can create new traditions around some of these seasonal days. Today for the equinox, Finley and I are going to collect some of the newly fallen leaves on the way home from school and do some painting / print making, maybe using apples too. We’ve got some lentil soup we cooked up at the weekend for dinner and we’ll read some autumn poems too. Earlier in the year I did treat myself to a scented candle and kept it until the equinox to light it. It’s not a lot, but creating a tradition around those things is super hygge. For Halloween we’re going to forest school for an activity and seeing friends, then we’ll dance around the house to a halloween playlist while trick or treaters visit – this is what we did last year and it will be lovely to keep the tradition going! RELATED POST: HOW TO HYGGE – 20 WAYS TO FEEL GOOD IN AUTUMN AND WINTER Plan cosy meet ups with friends As the nights draw in and the weather worsens, it can be easy to not see friends quite as much as you did over the summer. Why not plan some evenings in? One of my friends is running a book + gin party in October, you could have a board games night or plan a bonfire party. Connection with others is one of the forgotten elements of hygge I feel, so don’t forget to think of ways to get together with friends and family. Find TV box sets to watch One of my favourite things to do at this time of year is find a good seasonal TV show to watch on an evening with my husband. Last year we loved watching Sabrina on Netflix, the year before Stranger Things – it was just so perfect for the time of year. I’m especially looking forward to Good Place season 4 starting soon! Plan some ‘slow’ meals to cook One of the things I love about autumn is all the fruit and veg that’s in season right now. I’ve been raiding my cook books and planning out some new meals to make the most of the ingredients now. Planning a meal that maybe takes a little while longer to cook – something you can tend to over an hour or so brings in some slow living vibes as well as being delicious! RELATED POST: HYGGE ESSENTIALS FOR WINTER Have a hygge day each week If you can, why not try and have a hygge day each week? I like to try and have a Sunday for this (doubled up as self care Sunday too!) where I have a slow day, sometimes we might do something as a family like a trip to the woods or the Quayside market, then come home, cook a nice big slow meal as above and stick a movie on. Then I try and have a bath and plan out the rest of the week. I’ll often light a candle during the day, close the blinds and just snuggle down with my family, its bliss! I’d love to know if you’re still a hygge fan and how you’re bring hygge into your life this season – let me know in the comments!   ↓ Pin it for later ↓ Laura Agar Wilson is a wellbeing coach and business mentor who helps overwhelmed women live a life of more intention via planning, routines and seasonal living. Follow Follow Follow Follow Follow Get your self care sorted join my list and get the free ultimate self care kit *IMPORTANT* Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and get your free guide! Name Email Subscribe The post Hygge Revisited: 5 forgotten ways to bring hygge home this season appeared first on Wholeheartedly Laura. ..read more
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I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for a while, because when I think of what it means to be ‘wholehearted’ – intentional living is a big part of this! However, I know intentional living is a bit of a meaningless phrase sometimes. I don’t think many of us wake up thinking ‘gosh I must be more intentional today!’ What we do tend to think are things like, ‘I need to get my shit together’, ‘I’m fed up of feeling knackered all the time’, ‘I feel like I’m living on a hamster wheel’. Or maybe even, ‘I’m not that happy’. These are some of the thoughts I’ve had where intentional living was the answer that helped ‘fixed’ those things. For me it’s about taking command of what your life looks like and the direction it’s going in. Perhaps it’s easier to think of the difference between living by default v living by design. When I live by default my diet isn’t as good as it could be, I just react to everything rather than be proactive, I feel directionless, I spend too much and I feel really tired. When I’m able to put just a couple of things in place in my life to create more intention, so much changes for the better. These are a couple of practices that really help me live more intentionally: Having a routine As I’ll talk about in a moment, being intentional all the time uses up a lot of mental energy. When our mental load is already huge, it makes it even more likely that we’ll live by default. Having good routines in place help you ‘hack’ your default. When you find a routine that works and flows with your life it requires a lot less effort. The more you do it, the less effort it requires, so getting at least a good morning and evening routine down can make a huge difference. I also try and have a Sunday routine of planning meals and getting laundry done that is also really helpful for getting on top of the week before it starts! A routine doesn’t have to be complicated, it can just include a few key things that help you feel good or make the day flow better. Start by bullet pointing out your most ideal and realistic routine then you have an idea of how you’d like it to flow, like this: Get up Breakfast + coffee Get showered and dressed 5 minutes journalling / days to do list Get kids ready Leave the house Planning I’ve always been a planner, I don’t know how I’d function without it! But planning only works if it works for you – that’s why a lot of planners and systems haven’t worked for me until I created my own system based on what I needed to plan for to make my life feel better. I like to plan at the start of a new month and more widely each quarter when the seasons shift – this is another great tip because how we feel and what we have going on should shift and flow with the season outside. By giving myself time to plan I can listen to myself and what I need to feel good and then figure out a way to include that in my life. Questions I often ask myself are: What’s working? What’s not working? What needs to change? Something that came up for me this month was the need to reduce my mental load in new ways so I was able to think of ways to implement changes to support that. I also think about activities I’d really like to do this month or season and then plan them in, as well as thinking ahead to events, parties, birthdays, school stuff that has a ‘job’ attached to it like buying a gift and card so those things are planned for and not just panicked about on the day they happen! (which is default for me!) Planning doesn’t have to be this big deal, it can be as simple as sitting with a notebook and a cuppa for 30 minutes or as elaborate as spending a day with a journal, candles and tarot cards – I’ve done and do both depending on how I feel. The important thing is to have this way of checking in with yourself on a regular basis. Having a vision Finally, another area that really helps me live more intentionally is having a ‘vision’ for how I’d like my life to look and feel. I know what my version of success looks like, how I’d ideally like to spend my days and a rough idea of what I’m aiming for in my future. I love creating a secret board on Pinterest to inspire this. When I reflect on this vision when I’m planning each month it helps me take small tiny steps in the right direction, or to tweak something about how I’m living day to day to bring it more in line with my vision. For example, my vision includes regular yoga so this month I bought a pregnancy class pass and challenged myself to get to class most weekends! Mental load + brain bandwidth Something I’ve struggled with lately and something I’m seeing more and more women talking about is our mental load. In the past I’ve often talked about our brain bandwidth (a big topic in my Mindset Makeover Course) because we need to have some spare mental energy available to do some of these things and live more intentionally. Finding more mental energy is a post in itself, and the points above like routines and planning definitely help, but what I’ve found helpful is starting by looking at the things that happen each week that annoy me. This included multiple trips to the supermarket because I hadn’t planned out meals very well so I started doing online grocery shopping and planned out some meals and a ‘strategy’ for having ingredients in that can easily be made into different meals. Just that one thing has freed up so much mental space for me! One of the ways you could negatively approach intentional living is by getting too hung up on the ‘control’ element. None of us can control exactly what our lives look like – we all have a multitude of factors that play into it. The way I like to think of it is, we can’t choose the clay we’re given but we can choose how we mould it. I guess that’s why I quite like the term lifestyle design even if it does sound a bit wankerish! I’d love to know your take on intentional living. Is this a term you’ve heard before? Do you think you’d benefit from it? Let me know in the comments! ↓ Pin it for later ↓ Laura Agar Wilson is a wellbeing coach and business mentor who helps overwhelmed women live a life of more intention via planning, routines and seasonal living. Follow Follow Follow Follow Follow Get your self care sorted join my list and get the free ultimate self care kit *IMPORTANT* Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and get your free guide! Name Email Subscribe The post How to live with more intention appeared first on Wholeheartedly Laura. ..read more
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As the summer comes to an end with a new season on the horizon, it can be a really good time to check in with yourself and make some changes and tweaks to your routines. I’ll be honest, our summer morning routine has been a bit all over the place which isn’t really that bad when you think of the change of pace that comes for the holidays – at least for us! But as the summer draws to a close I’m starting to think about a new morning routine for our family especially as Finley will be starting school in a few days time. In partnership with Lizi’s Granola’s I’m sharing a few tips to get you started with summer self care, especially if the idea of it leaves you feeling overwhelmed! I should add before I get into my ideas for a new morning routine that I do recognise I have the privilege of being able to work from home and therefore have the mornings free before Finley starts school. But I think a lot of these ideas can be tweaked to make things easier for you even if you have little time in the morning – the whole idea of a morning routine is that you’re setting yourself up for a better day. If it’s stressing you out then it’s not the right routine! Have 5 minutes of quiet time I know this can be challenging if you have kids and have no help in the morning, but finding just a couple of minutes of time to be still before the chaos of the day starts can be really helpful. Maybe this is while you’re in the shower. Hot tip – try meditating while you’re in there, chakra meditations where you imagine water cleansing them can work really well in the shower. Avoid your phone  This is something I really need to work on myself, but getting out of the habit of reaching for your phone the second you open your eyes is really going to be helpful for starting the day in a much calmer and less reactive way. Check in with your to do list I keep a bit of a running to-do list and checking in with it each morning helps me stay organised and not miss anything important. Get outside if you can While we’re still in the last warmth of the summer, why not take your breakfast outside? Being in nature is proven to support your wellbeing and is such a nice way to start the day. Have a good healthy breakfast! Over the summer we’ve been loving granola with milk and fruit or yoghurt, chia puddings or smoothies. Having some quick nutritious options that don’t need a lot of prep can make busy mornings a little less stressful. One of the reasons I’ve been enjoying Lizi’s Granola as it’s easy to have breakfast ready very quickly. If you’re concerned about sugar, Lizi’s have a delicious low sugar option too. Practice gratitude Finally a nice thing to add to your morning routine is practicing gratitude. This can be as simple as writing a list of three things in a journal or notebook that you’re appreciating today. Putting this focus on the good things helps you start the day in a more positive frame of mind. How do you approach your morning routine? Would you try any of these tips? For more hints, tips and inspiration head over to Lizi’s Facebook and Lizi’s Instagram pages and like their page. *Post in partnership with Lizi’s Granola’s Laura Agar Wilson is a wellbeing coach and business mentor who helps overwhelmed women live a life of more intention via planning, routines and seasonal living. Follow Follow Follow Follow Follow Get your self care sorted join my list and get the free ultimate self care kit *IMPORTANT* Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and get your free guide! Name Email Subscribe The post Refreshing your summer morning routine (AD) appeared first on Wholeheartedly Laura. ..read more
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If you’re anything like me, the summer in my head, is often quite different to summer in reality. I imagine long sunny days having fun adventures with Finley, barbecues, lots of downtime and paddling pool fun. But in reality it’s less fun adventures in the sun and more desperately trying to entertain a 4 year old while it chucks it down with rain outside! As I said in my how to make summer a whole lot better post, summer is a time for many of us when our routines are thrown out of whack. If you have kids there’s a whole other level of stuff to consider as well. Some of us may find we have less time and more to deal with as September approaches. Whatever summer looks like for you, taking just a little bit of time to be intentional about how you’re going to take care of yourself over the season can make a real difference to your wellbeing – and that in turn having a positive knock on effect for others. In partnership with Lizi’s Granola’s I’m sharing a few tips to get you started with summer self care, especially if the idea of it leaves you feeling overwhelmed! Check in with yourself I believe that self care is extremely individual, what you need right now might be totally different to what someone else needs. That’s why my first tip is to just find 5 minutes to check in with yourself. I really like journaling as a tool that anchors everything in place. I have a notebook by my bed so I can take that time either before bed or when I wake up. Just asking yourself what you need to feel good – or asking yourself what isn’t working right now – can give you so much insight into what you can do for self care. Then the trick is to keep it really simple – what’s one thing you can do for yourself? Maybe it’s going out for a walk on your own, having a nice quiet bath or making yourself a nourishing smoothie when all the fish and chips are leaving you feeling bloated! Start your day off right Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you get up at 5am! But whatever time you get up, starting the day off right can make a big difference whatever the season. For me, this includes trying to have some quiet time in the morning – often with a big bowl of my favourite Lizi’s Granola with berries and a cup of coffee in bed while James get’s Fin sorted downstairs. I love spending time with my little boy, but on the days when it’s just me and him, having that little bit of time to myself really helps me be more patient and present for the rest of the day! Get outside I know the British summer is notoriously unpredictable but before the nights draw in, getting your fill of nature can have a real positive impact on your wellbeing. It’s even been shown in studies that there’s a scientifically significant increase in people’s health and happiness when more time is spent outside connecting with nature. In an ideal world it would be brilliant if we could do it all year round, but if like me you’re more of a fair weather person, getting outside over the summer might be just what you need to recharge your batteries in advance of the colder, darker weather coming up. If you’re doing more with the kids over summer, getting them outside too is just as good for their health and wellbeing. Find ‘sites of mutual appreciation’ – basically places where the kids enjoy themselves and you also get a self care boost at the same time. The beach ticks all those boxes for me! Remember, the kids can’t ‘bounce off the walls’ if there’s no walls! Eat plenty of fresh foods Summer is the time of berries and fresh raw salads and veggies. Before they go out of season why not experiment with smoothies and salads? Many kids enjoy making these things too – smoothies made really thick like ice cream are perfect eaten out of the bowl, topped with some Lizi’s Granola of course! To keep this simple I just try and make sure I pick up a couple of punnets of berries that are on offer and some veggies such as cucumber, lettuce and peppers and then work them into meals each week. Berries are packed with antioxidants and are low sugar so really are the perfect healthy summer food! Be more aware of all the good things you’re doing Something I find with a lot of the women I work with is that they don’t recognise the things they are doing to take care of themselves and constantly feel like they’re failing or not doing enough. Our brains are really good at focusing on the negative and ‘not enoughness’. A little thing that helps me is keeping a list of positive aspects – basically a list of the positive things you are doing. It might just be acknowledging that you got outside to the park today, that you choose a salad instead of a pasty for lunch and that you got to bed at a reasonable hour. All of these things ‘count’ but so often we dismiss them or even forget about them as little signs that we are doing something proactive to look after ourselves. Try it yourself – just make a list on paper or even in your head at the end of the day or week and see what little wins you can celebrate. I hope these tips have been helpful! I’d love to know what self care looks like for you over the summer. If it’s something you struggle with hopefully these tips will give you a few ideas of where to start! For more hints, tips and inspiration head over to Lizi’s Facebook and Lizi’s Instagram pages and like their page. *Post in partnership with Lizi’s Granola’s Laura Agar Wilson is a wellbeing coach and business mentor who helps overwhelmed women live a life of more intention via planning, routines and seasonal living. Follow Follow Follow Follow Follow Get your self care sorted join my list and get the free ultimate self care kit *IMPORTANT* Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and get your free guide! Name Email Subscribe The post Self Care for the summertime (AD) appeared first on Wholeheartedly Laura. ..read more
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*post contains affiliate links It’s been a long time since I posted a recipe! To be honest, after writing two recipe books (1,2) I found myself totally reciped out. Add that to being a new mum for the last few years and I have to admit, my passion and interest in food just disappeared.  But over the last few months (minus the last 3 months when I’ve been in the first trimester pregnant with number 2!) I’ve been enjoying getting creative in the kitchen again. Food really is amazing, it can do so much to heal our bodies and even our emotional health too. After being at war with food for such a long time, I found a lot of peace in actually not caring all that much about food at all. As I said however, I am finding my love of food (all food, not just ‘healthy’ food) coming back and I’m excited to share some new recipes here on the blog as and when I feel called. I do have quite an extensive library of recipes I’ve posted over the last few years all of which can be found in my recipes index here. But today I have something special for you! This isn’t a brand new recipe, I’d shared this in one of my journals and an older membership I ran a little while ago, but since it’s such a regular in my kitchen, and a favourite for most people who have tried it, I felt like the time had come to set it free in a blog post! This is a vegan recipe, not because I’m vegan, but simply because this is actually the kind of food I love to eat the most. You could replace the chickpeas and lentils with chicken if you really wanted to.  I’ve also called this a Nut Butter Curry because I’ve made it with both peanut butter and almond butter – I can imagine it would also taste great with cashew butter too (in which case hold the maple syrup as I think cashew butter would be sweet enough). Vegan Nut Butter Curry 2019-08-05 11:34:19 Serves 2 Print Ingredients 1 onion 4 cloves of garlic 1 inch piece of ginger 2 tablespoons garam masala 1/4 cup / 4 Tbsp of nut butter of your choice 1 can of coconut milk (refrigerated for an hour) 1 red pepper 1 400g tin chickpeas 1 400g tin of cooked green lentils 1 Tbsp soy sauce 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey if not concerned with keeping it vegan) Fresh coriander Instructions Peel the onion, garlic and ginger and blitz together in a small food processor or nutri bullet type blender (alternatively finely chop) Heat 1 Tbsp of oil over a medium heat in a large pan. Add the garam masala and stir while it toasts for 3-4 minutes. Then add the onion, garlic and ginger paste and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes. Open the can of coconut milk without shaking it. Add the peanut butter to the pan followed by the thick coconut milk from the top of the can, and just a splash of the water left in the can. Combine and let in simmer while you finely slice the pepper and drain the beans and lentils. Add the pepper to the pan, followed by the beans 5 minutes later. Add the soy, honey and a large bunch of fresh chopped coriander Serve with rice, more veg or naans. By Laura Agar Wilson Wholeheartedly Laura https://wholeheartedlylaura.com/ I’d love to know what you think! Are you a curry fan? Would you give this recipe a try? Which nut butter would you use? ↓ Pin it for later ↓ Laura Agar Wilson is a wellbeing coach and business mentor who helps overwhelmed women live a life of more intention via planning, routines and seasonal living. Follow Follow Follow Follow Follow Get your self care sorted join my list and get the free ultimate self care kit *IMPORTANT* Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and get your free guide! Name Email Subscribe The post Vegan Nut Butter Curry Recipe appeared first on Wholeheartedly Laura. ..read more
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So the official British summer time is here, and in typical fashion it’s chucking it down with rain as I type this! But whatever the weather, the summer is a time when a lot of us have a change of routine, take time off for holidays and simply want to make the most of the good weather we do experience. This summer is very different for me as it’s the first time I’ve had Finley off for the 6 weeks holidays. We have him in holiday club two days a week and with my parents another day so I have 3 days to work, and then have the rest of the week and weekend to enjoy with him. I’ve been super aware that 6 weeks can fly by, and I really want to make the most of the summer and enjoy the time I have with Fin before he starts school.  I’ve been thinking about how I can be intentional about how I spend this time, and in partnership with Lizi’s Granola’s I’m sharing some tips on how you can plan a summer that’s a whole lot better! Write a summer bucket list I love writing lists of things I want to do or experience each season and summer is no different! I’ve thought about activities I can do with Finley solo, with friends and with James as well as just things I’d like to do as a bit of self care for me. I’ve also looked at lots of blog posts which list out ideas for events happening locally, as well as ideas for indoors and outdoors play so I always have something I can do to enjoy time with Fin no matter the weather. A few of the things on our summer bucket list are: A trip to the beach with fish and chips and ice cream Having a day in the garden with the paddling pool out (weather dependant of course!) Visiting the forest to paddle in the stream and have a picnic A visit to a farm  Taking the day off for my birthday in August! What’s on your summer bucket list? Creating a new routine For most of us, especially if we have kids, the summer can present a totally new routine to what we’re used to. Having a holiday or time off can have a similar effect. I actually think the change in routine is really nice, but at the same time I tend to struggle a bit when I don’t have at least a bit of a pattern to my days. Plus having some kind of routine helps Finley as well. Consider what routine would be helpful for you over the summer. What would make things run more smoothly and makes things more enjoyable? For me, having some kind of morning routine really helps. It can be soooo tempting to stay in bed but I know that having a regular wake up time for us all helps avoid nightmare bedtimes (for the 4 year old!) later in the day. Then having a predictable routine leading to when we either head out for the day or walk to holiday club has been useful in making sure we’re all ready on time and don’t have too many meltdowns in the process! Another part of building a routine for me has been around exercise. I find that exercise is the thing I do that’s extra reliant on having a routine in place. When my routine goes out the window, so does my exercise! Having a bit of a routine around when I’m going to move my body helps me stay healthy and happy over the summer. Getting organised I know that getting organised doesn’t sound all that fun but hear me out! When you’re organised over the summer (and in fact any time) it makes everything flow so much more easily so you can spend more time having fun and less time feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Some things you can organise for more summer flow: Meal planning – You can go the whole way with a structured plan and recipes you’d like to make or if you prefer to do this lighty, just write a list of seasonal ingredients you can use to make a few simple meals. If you’re a granola fan, Lizi’s has recipe ideas on their blog.  Your schedule – this taps back into having a summer bucket list and what I’ve found is that when you can get activities and things booked in and sorted in advance you feel a lot less stressed out about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to spend your time. I try to find a balance with this as I don’t like feeling over scheduled, but just having a couple of things booked in over the summer helps me relax a bit! Any life admin tasks that need completing over the summer – as I have a little one starting school in September I have a long list of things like buying school shoes and uniforms, filling in paperwork, sending a thank you gift to his nursery etc. I’ve been trying to get a head start on as much of this stuff as possible so that I’m not leaving it until the last minute at the end of the summer. It puts my mind at rest just knowing I’m on top of things. Basically if you can get some of these things done at the start of the summer you can kick back and relax for the rest of it! There’s a few of my tips for planning a wonderful summer! I’d love to know how you’re planning your summer, what’s on your summer bucket list? Let me know in the comments! For more hints, tips and inspiration head over to Lizi’s Facebook and Lizi’s Instagram pages and like their page. *Post in partnership with Lizi’s Granola’s Laura Agar Wilson is a wellbeing coach and business mentor who helps overwhelmed women live a life of more intention via planning, routines and seasonal living. Follow Follow Follow Follow Follow Get your self care sorted join my list and get the free ultimate self care kit *IMPORTANT* Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and get your free guide! Name Email Subscribe The post Planning a summer that’s a whole lot better (AD) appeared first on Wholeheartedly Laura. ..read more
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I'm Laura Agar Wilson. I'm a Mum, coffee addict and Hygge lover. I help women remember that they are enough. F I N D  O U T  M O R E > > CATEGORIES SELF CARE SPIRITUALITY MINDSET LIFESTYLE BUSINESS + BLOGGING RECIPES AS SEEN IN At the start of the year I decided that I wanted my word for 2019 to be Flow. To me, that word represents ease, slowness, abundance, trust and creativity. It’s certainly something I’ve been focusing on so far and I’ve been able to make small tweaks to my life so that I get to feel more of those experiences. Especially important to me has been a feeling of slowness. Slow living has become a little bit of a buzzword. I’ll often picture perfectly rustic interiors with a copy of Kinfolk on a beautifully styled minimal coffee table. But just as self care isn’t just bubble baths and painting your nails and hygge isn’t just hot drinks, candles and blankets, slow living is so much more – and nope it’s not just about doing things more slowly either! I came to slow living because I craved spaciousness in my life. When I’m busy and all my time is used up I feel frazzled, stressed out and completely un-present. I see some other Mum’s who have jam packed schedules for themselves and their kids – and while there’s absolutely zero judgement from me, that is 100% not the way I want my life or my kids lives to look like. As much as it’s about having a better relationship with time, slow living for me is also about my energy. I can be super focused and productive, but often I’ll do this in a frantic hyper involved way that totally exhausts me. It took me ages to realise that I was working in this way and actually how much it was affecting me negatively. So over the past few months I’ve been trying to live more of a slow, intentional life. But what does slow living actually look like? Well I think it’s going to look different for everyone, but I wanted to share a little bit about how it looks for me to hopefully inspire you and give you some ideas! Walking Instead of taking the car, I try and walk more. It’s a simple switch, and for us where we have most things in easy walking distance like grocery shops, Finley’s nursery and the Library, it’s a no brainer! I find that just the act of walking calms me and stops me feeling so rushed and frantic. Planting a garden The biggest thing I’ve done this year for myself is plant a garden. I’d always wanted a garden and was really excited when we moved into our current home which has a sizable outdoor space. However it was really overgrown and difficult to manage, but finally, this year we’ve made some headway and I now have several pots (including home grown strawberries!) and a flower bed. I’ve spent so much time outside just tending to the plants it’s been a really great way to relax. Take more breaks Working for myself and from home, I can very easily get into one of those hyper focused work sessions that leave me exhausted afterwards. The good thing is I can still be productive without doing that! What I’ve found helpful is taking proper breaks, preferably outside or going for a walk, is so helpful. These days being pregnant, I sometimes also need an afternoon nap or to just finish early. That’s really helping me feel more relaxed. Slower mornings Last year I became aware that full on busy mornings set me up for a day of stress. Until this week, Finley had been starting nursery at 7.30, so we’d be up at 6 and then getting ready to start the day. What I had been doing was showering after the nursery run, so that I could sit down and have a cup of tea before we left. Thankfully as of now, Finley won’t be starting anywhere until 9ish which means more blissful slow mornings! I’m planning to figure out what a morning routine might look like for us with this later start time but I’m really excited because I know it’s going to be so much more chill – well I hope so, he is a 4 year old after all and I’m sure the school run is not going to be problem free! Reevaluating my relationship with my phone I’ll start by being honest and saying this is something I still struggle with and is certainly a work in progress. Being on my phone less is so helpful in being more present and feeling more slow. What I find personally is that I need to replace my phone use with something – and for me what tends to work best is books or magazines. We have a library a short walk from our house so I have no excuses not to use it for reading material. At the same time I try and give myself a big dose of kindness when it comes to my phone, I do actually use it for some really positive things like meditation apps, journalling and staying organised. Plus sometimes a good scroll through Pinterest is good for my soul! As with everything it’s getting the balance right. Being organised When I’m not organised I get that hectic anxious feeling – basically the opposite of the spaciousness I’d like to feel! I end up having to run extra errands, spend more money and generally waste more time – so being organised is really important to me. I do this in different ways, sitting down and planning out the week, meal planning when I can, having reminders set in my Google Calendar and now that Finley will be starting school soon I’m going to get a family wall calendar for the kitchen too. Decluttering Over the past couple of years James and I have slowly been getting a better handle on our ‘stuff’. We’ve decluttered so much I’m almost embarrassed by how much we had! Of course it’s all been sold on or gone to charity shops, but the experience has taught me a lot about what we bring into the house and its purpose. Alongside decluttering we’ve also been changing up the furniture we use so that it better fits our space, and looks more beautiful. When we moved in 3 years ago after doing some renovations I now realise I bought a lot of stuff without really thinking it out, and in hindsight they just didn’t work for us. It’s been a slow process but we’re free of a lot of clutter and have a much more beautiful and functional environment. It’s nowhere near the ‘slow living aesthetic’ but it’s a much calmer place to be, with much more physical space. Appreciating the little things One of the easiest things I found in my quest for a slower life is simply appreciating the little things. The way the morning light illuminates the hallway, the way Finley’s skin feels, the pleasure of making a morning cup of coffee, watching the birds in the garden. Really noticing these things and saying to myself, ‘I appreciate this’ has been such a tiny but significant thing in helping me slow the heck down and enjoy life more! This is what slow living is looking like for me at the moment, but as with anything, just because this is what it looks like for me, doesn’t mean it should look like this for you. Listen to what your soul is craving. For me it was this spaciousness in life where I keep things much more simple. Had you heard about slow living before? What does slow living look like for you? Join the regular newsletter and get access to the free 5 day Mindset Course Thanks for requesting access to The Library! Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and I'll send you the link straight out! Name Email join the free course The post Discovering Slow Living appeared first on Wholeheartedly Laura. ..read more
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I'm Laura Agar Wilson. I'm a Mum, coffee addict and Hygge lover. I help women remember that they are enough. F I N D  O U T  M O R E > > CATEGORIES SELF CARE SPIRITUALITY MINDSET LIFESTYLE BUSINESS + BLOGGING RECIPES AS SEEN IN Hey everyone, I’m delighted to share that I’m pregnant! I’m due in January and this will be our second child. We had Finley almost 5 years ago, he’s so excited to be a big brother! We struggled to get pregnant with Finley because I wasn’t cycling due to my disordered relationship with food and exercise and coming off the pill after 10 years. Thankfully this time it was much easier! We wanted to wait this long for a few reasons, firstly, we wanted to wait until Finley was settled in school so that it wouldn’t be quite the same financial strain as having two children in nursery. I also felt I just needed this time to recover properly from the first time round. Some of you might remember that Finley’s first few weeks we’re very hard for us due to his premature birth and heart defect. Plus he was a terrible sleeper for years, I’ve just been so depleted I knew that trying much sooner wouldn’t have been good for me. I also really like the age gap we’ll have, it does seem to be bigger than most families but I think for us it’s going to work well. Finley’s at an age now where he knows exactly what’s going on, he’s excited and I think he’ll be able to adjust to the change a lot better than when he was younger. The whole family is over the moon! So far (I’m 12 ½ weeks as I type) it hasn’t been too bad, I’ve definitely had worse nausea and tiredness this time round though. I had an early scan at 6 weeks because I was getting some one sided pain so we needed to rule out ectopic, but obviously all was well. I also have quite a bump on me already, I know you tend to show sooner with your second but it feels like my tummy muscles just gave up by 6 weeks! I’m also quite bloated a lot of the time too so I’ve been in my old maternity jeans for a few weeks now already. Might as well embrace it eh! I have had really bad food aversions though, for weeks all I’ve been able to eat is crisps, ice lollies and basically anything carb heavy. It’s really frustrating as I know eating that food is making me feel more tired but its been all I could stomach. I do seem to be feeling a little better recently but still get periods of feeling sick during the day. As Finley had his heart problem we’re under a special consultant, and I would be lying if I said I haven’t been worried about this baby having problems but ultimately there’s nothing we can do at this point, we just need to wait until we’ve had the scans basically. Compared to last time I’m way less anxious which is definitely a good thing! So yep, here we go again! I really want to enjoy this pregnancy as much as possible so now that I seem to be turning a corner with all the unpleasantness I’m trying to get as organised and intentional about things as I can – whilst also going with the flow – after all, ‘flow’ was my word for 2019! Anyone else having their second? Any other Mums with a 5 year age gap? Let me know your tips! Get your free resources for a more Wholehearted Life Thanks for requesting access to The Library! Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and I'll send you the link straight out! Name Email Access the library The post Life update: I’m pregnant! appeared first on Wholeheartedly Laura. ..read more
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I'm Laura Agar Wilson. I'm a Mum, coffee addict and Hygge lover. I help women remember that they are enough. F I N D  O U T  M O R E > > CATEGORIES SELF CARE SPIRITUALITY MINDSET LIFESTYLE BUSINESS + BLOGGING RECIPES AS SEEN IN Self care is all about taking care of ourselves and getting our needs met so that we’re able to thrive both physically and mentally. But so many of us struggle to really put ourselves first and do the things we need to keep ourselves well – as cheesy as it sounds, we really can’t pour from an empty cup. By making sure that we’re taking care of ourselves we’re better able to show up and care for others. This is most definitely true of self care and your mental health. Whether you feel your mental health issues are severe or more mild, you still deserve and need self care. What I’ve found in myself is by increasing my self care at the right time (i.e. when I first start to notice that something might not be right) I’m able to avoid things getting worse. I feel much more emotionally resilient when I have some kind of base level of self care in my life too. So what kind of things should you do to take care of your mental health? Well, I’m going to give you a list of ideas to inspire you! These are just a few of the things that have helped me when I’ve noticed my mood dipping or my anxiety increasing. Be mindful of your social media use Social media can sometimes be a place that connects you with others and offers you inspiration – but at the same time it can also be a shit show! At the moment I’m finding the news cycle really upsetting and while I don’t want to not be aware of what’s going on in the world, I needed to find a balance – coming of Twitter for a while has really helped. If social media makes you feel bad, take a break! See your Doctor If you feel like your mental health isn’t great then arranging a chat with your doctor is one of the best forms of self care. Seeing them doesn’t mean you’re going to get put on pills immediately – though remember, there’s absolutely no shame in taking them – they can make all the positive difference to your mental wellbeing. They can refer you for talking therapies, in some areas of the UK you’re even able to self refer too. Plus they should check over your general physical health, all of our health systems are connected and if you’re having an issue physically such as a thyroid problem, that can have knock on impact on your mental wellbeing too. Take a day off Sometimes a day off to stay in your Pj’s and get some rest is just what you need! If you’re feeling stressed with work or just exhausted, giving yourself a day off can be just what you need to feel replenished. Watch something funny I have a few TV shows and movies that I can watch again and again. As I can sometimes get a bit anxious and overstimulated, watching ‘comfort’ TV especially if it’s funny, is a brilliant form of self care for me. Get outside If you can, getting outside to get some fresh air and to get some gentle movement can really help you feel better in yourself. Connecting with nature has a proven positive impact on your mental wellbeing so building that into your week whenever you can is a great self care strategy. Arrange to see friends Seeing friends who you enjoy spending time with and who make you feel good can be a really helpful way to support your mental wellbeing. Maybe talking to them about how you’re feeling and what you’re experiencing will help, but sometimes even just having someone else there to have a conversation with can help stop your mind from ruminating on how you’re feeling. Eat something that makes you feel good What I eat can have a massive impact on my mental health. I really notice how super sugary or stodgy carbs make me feel tired and how too much caffeine can impact how anxious I feel. When I want to feel better, eating seasonal meals with lots of fruit and vegetables such as a salad or smoothie in summer and soup or stew in winter really helps. There’s something especially comforting about soup in the colder months! RELATED POST: My Self Care Routines and Rituals Talk or write about how you feel I know we’ve already covered seeing friends and going to the doctor, but just to say it again – talking about how you’re feeling can really help. Talking to others so they know you’re struggling also enables them to help take care of you so it’s a double whammy of good stuff! Asking for help with things you might currently be finding difficult is also a great move. If you find talking hard, try writing instead. Journaling to help you process difficult or uncomfortable emotions can be an amazing tool too. You don’t need a fancy notebook to do it in, sometimes a cheap lined pad works best as you’re able to write whatever needs to come out and you can just bin it afterwards if that feels better to you. Get the right amount of sleep When it comes to your mental wellbeing sleep is great, but getting the right amount of sleep is better. Too little can have a negative impact but getting too much can also be unhelpful. 7-8 hours is usually the magic number but see what works for you and what makes you feel your best. If you’re dealing with depression you may be likely to sleep for too long leaving you feeling groggy. Try different sleep times, both in terms of how much total sleep you get and what time you go to bed to see what works best for you from a mental health perspective. Have a helpful routine I’m a big lover of having a good morning and evening routine – if you’re mental health is suffering, looking at what you do in the morning and before bed can help. Perhaps you need an earlier bedtime and maybe getting outside in the morning for a brief walk could really help. Building in some solid self care at these times gives you a lot of bang for your buck – the morning really sets you up for the day and the evening routine for a good sleep. Think time off your phone, eating a good breakfast, getting outside, meditating etc. Don’t try and do too much Depending on how you’re feeling, trying to do too much will backfire leaving you feeling worse and totally overwhelmed. Self care is only self care when it works. If you’re struggling with your mental health doing one small thing might be all you can manage, and you know what, that’s great! Little things all count and all add up. So be gentle with yourself, do what you can and let it build up from there. A few months ago when my anxiety was getting fairly bad, I found that reaching out and asking for help, drastically reducing my caffeine intake and little day to day things like relaxing watching my comfort TV and meditating really helped it reduce to the point where I don’t really experience it any more, at least not in the way I was then. Enjoy this post? Check out my free Ultimate Self Care Kit to help you get more self care in your life Remember that you deserve to take care of yourself – whatever that self care might look like for you. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. I’d love to know if you find any of these ideas helpful or if you try them out. What forms of self care do you find helpful for supporting your mental health? Join my newsletter and get the free 5 Day Mindset Course! Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and I'll send you the link straight out! Name Email Get it now The post Self care ideas to support your mental health appeared first on Wholeheartedly Laura. ..read more
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I'm Laura Agar Wilson. I'm a Mum, coffee addict and Hygge lover. I help women remember that they are enough. F I N D  O U T  M O R E > > CATEGORIES SELF CARE SPIRITUALITY MINDSET LIFESTYLE BUSINESS + BLOGGING RECIPES AS SEEN IN When you have a baby you know to expect the sleepless nights, the changing of dirty nappies and the taking 2 hours to get ready to go anywhere – but one thing I didn’t expect was the pelvic floor issues. I obviously knew that pushing out a baby (even a little 5lb 4 baby in my case!) was going to change my body, but I didn’t expect the pelvic floor weakness. Thankfully in my case it’s not too severe, and it wasn’t until I tried running again that I noticed things felt very different.  My pelvic floor issues have been around running, jumping, trampolining and sometimes coughing, which is super annoying and really hasn’t felt great. I also have a generally increased urge to go. I’m 36, but at any age really, you don’t want to be experiencing any kind of pelvic floor weakness if you can help it. I have of course tried doing kegel exercises, but I quite often forgot to do them – so when I was asked to try out the KEGEL ANGEL Automatic Pelvic Floor exerciser I was really excited to see what results I would get.  The pelvic floor exerciser works by sending small impulses into the pelvic floor muscles via a probe inserted into your vagina. Now I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about popping a probe up there, but I need not have worried. You just start off slow as you get used to the sensation. To use the exerciser you need to add your own 9 volt rectangular battery and have your own water based lubricant too. You connect the probe to the control unit, insert it and then select your programme. Then you can sit back and let it do it’s thing! I tried the programme for stress weakness which was 20 minutes so I just lie on the bed watching TV and let it do it’s thing. I’ve been using it consistently for 4 weeks so far and have noticed quite a bit of difference already – when I jump or run, I feel a lot stronger than I did before which is really promising. The exerciser can also support better sensation during sex and even help tone and firm your core muscles so it’s a winner all round! You can find out more about the KEGEL ANGEL Automatic Kegel Exerciser here. To get 10% off, use code LOVE10. The automatic exerciser isn’t suitable for use in pregnancy, but the Kegel Angel balls are – which is definitely handy for helping you take care of your pelvic floor before birth.  Vital Angel also offer a great menstrual cup too! For more information on all of the Vital Angel products, visit their website here. Have you ever had any issues with your pelvic floor? Would you try out the KEGEL ANGEL Automatic Kegel Exerciser? *post in collaboration with Vital Angel  Join my newsletter and get the free 5 Day Mindset Course! Please check your inbox to confirm your subscription and I'll send you the link straight out! Name Email Get it now The post Taking care of your pelvic floor with KEGEL ANGEL toner appeared first on Wholeheartedly Laura. ..read more

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