Self care…is it something that you love or roll your eyes at?
It’s a bit of a buzz phrase at the moment, but what does self care mean to you? A lot of the time we view it as something EXTRA. Something more that you have to add in to your days. And now I know what you’re thinking…I don’t have any extra time to give!
I totally get it, but a message from a friend last week really got me thinking. She messaged me and said ‘Ami, I know you’re always talking about self care and how important it is, but I’ve never really taken it on board because I’ve been so busy with the kids. Today, I’ve taken some time for myself and it’s so nice. I’m so calm and relaxed. It really got me thinking, I haven’t done this for so long I forgot how good it feels. So it’s not what can I add in, it’s what have I NOT been doing for myself lately.’
Wow. How powerful!
For a moment, list out all of the things, big and small, that you consider self care for you. It can be anything from making a cup of tea in the morning, gardening, doing a puzzle, painting, having a warm bath, washing your hair, moisturising your body, putting on your favourite song or playlist, going shopping, moving your body, getting to a gym class, having coffee with a friend or even taking yourself on a weekend away with your friends.
You can see there are SO many different things we can classify as self care. And it’s so individual. What are the things that make you feel like you? It’s the things that put a smile on your face or give you that nice relaxed feeling where nothing else matters in that moment. You are present.
Now that you have your list (hopefully written out on some paper!) have a think about the last time you did any of these. And now the important question…
What have you not been doing for yourself? What has life gotten in the way of?
In that list, even if its something as simple as going to sushi train by yourself to sit and enjoy lunch for 15 minutes, what have you neglected?
With your list, pick with easiest or the one or 2 you are most drawn to. How can you add them into your days? Choose an action you can take within the next 48 hours. And when you are doing it, be present. Notice how you feel. Is this something you want to feel more of? And how can you feel like this more often?
What we put into our bodies has a direct impact on it. The quality and the amount of food is going to have an impact how on we feel, how much energy we will have and some foods will even effect our moods and productivity.
Think of your body like a car. If you do not put fuel into your car it breaks down and if you put the wrong fuel in your car it won’t work very well and over time do some damage.
This is basically what happens when we put foods into our bodies that aren’t very nutrient rich or support good health.
So clearly we can see that what we put into our bodies has a direct impact on it.
I know, you’re probably saying ‘but I just love chocolate so much or I just love eating all the foods’ haha and that’s ok, hell I LOVE EATING ALL THE FOODS TO!
Life really is about balance.
However key word being balance.
Yes we are going to have celebrations, social outings and all round just good times that may not always have the best foods on offer for us but bringing our awareness back to the fact that caring for our ourselves means caring for our bodies and caring about what we put into it is key.
Here are some things to think about:1. Your environment will have an impact on your food choices.
Meaning if you are out with friends socialising it’s likely you may make food choices that aren’t the best. This is ok, like we said balance is key. Think about what you will do the next day or the week following even to improve and find balance.
I am sure you realise that stress will often result in food consumption that isn’t always the best choice. However our brain never does anything without a positive intention. So eating chips and chocolate or drinking a couple of glasses of wine after a stressful day at work is your brains positive intention to help you feel better.
Just realise in that moment that that is why you drank that wine or ate that chocolate and ask yourself what would be a more supportive way for you to care for yourself and your body in response to stress.
3. Lack of sleep
I am sure you know that lack of sleep will affect your energy and productivity so if you are lacking sleep then this is the most important time to fuel your body with high energy foods.
Fruits in the form of juices or smoothies is a great option, consuming foods that aren’t too heavy on your digestive system can also help as well.
When you are lacking energy and a spring in your step, it’s likely that you’re going to make unsupportive food choices.
SO! When we care enough about our bodies we will fuel it with the foods we know are going to support it majority of the time.
This doesn’t mean you have to give up wine and chocolate, it just means be aware of what kind of an impact that fuel is having on your body on the inside.
Theodore Roosevelt once said that comparison is the thief of joy. However it is a well-ingrained, fundamental, human tendency to refer to other people on how to think, feel and act in situations. There are definitely some evolutionary benefits – imagine sending out the worst spear thrower to hunt down that week’s meal. But with the emergence of social media and the growing comparison of ourselves to snapshots of people’s ‘perfect’ lives, is it doing more damage than good?
We have just passed the halfway mark of the year, which is an awesome time to be looking at everything from the year so far and the rest of the year to come. However it can be easy to look at what others are doing in their lives and get stuck focusing all the things you thought you ‘should’ have done by now, or all the things you still have to do (more on that here). It is easy to waste time and energy scrolling through Instagram or Facebook feeds and comparing to other people’s lives (believe me I am guilty of this too). But this mindset and practice only serves to put focus on the wrong person, deprives us of feeling joy, and is a breeding ground for resentment.
So, what to do about it?
The first step, as always, is to become aware that you are doing it, so really noticing what areas of your life you are comparing to others. From there we can shift our actions to use comparison FOR us.
We can use comparison for us?
As I mentioned earlier, comparison is typically seen as a negative thing, and when we look at the impacts of social media we can understand why. However there are always exceptions, and comparison can be a really useful tool to dream for our future and to set goals for ourselves. We may not notice it, but we regularly use comparison for social coordination, language and problem solving, decision making and perception – all of which can be extremely beneficial. So let’s switch how we perceive comparison and look at it in a positive light.
How you can use comparison to benefit you!
Compare up – follow people who fit in with your beliefs/values and what you realistically want out of your life. Use them to inspire you vs comparing them to your perceived shortcomings. For example there is no point comparing living in a house with your family, to someone who works and travels in a van (unless you actually want to move into a van and travel around…in which case go for it!).
Switch jealousy for appreciation – when you get that pang of jealousy, practice breaking that down and changing it to appreciation or admiration. We should celebrate everyone’s wins!
Compare against yourself – look at your growth and how far you have come. Focusing on our improvements and lessons actually leads to happiness!
At the end of the day it all comes down to choice. We choose to compare ourselves to others, so we can choose who we want to influence us, and how we want to be influenced. I highly recommend going into your social media and doing a big clean-up-cull of the people/pages you are following. If they don’t inspire you or line up with where you want to be, then delete them!
And on a final note, your active journaling challenge for today is this:
How am I going to use comparison to benefit me?
Not sure what active journaling is or how to do it? Or just want a brush up? You can check out the low down in this blog article we wrote about it here.
If the words overwhelmed or stressed comes to mind when someone asks how your day is going, I have a concept to teach you. And it’s all got to do with masculine and feminine energy.
You may have heard of the masculine and feminine energies before, but if you’re anything like me, I first assumed that they were to do with Men and Women.
I’ve got news for you! And once I learned about the different energies properly, I have been able to be more aware of how I feel and really focus on understanding why I feel overwhelmed, also reduce stress and overwhelm quicker!
You know those days when you’re go-go-go. From the minute your feet hit the ground getting out of bed you’re up getting ready, rushing out the door, taking calls, organising your life, organising everyone else’s life, it’s one thing to the next. Then the day is ending, you’re home making dinner, still have things on the day’s list that you didn’t get done and you haven’t had a minute to yourself all day. That is the masculine energy.
The energies actually have nothing to do with male and female. It is simply their different characteristics.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the masculine energy certainly has it’s strengths. It helps us to plan, to be organised, to stay motivated and to get things done. It helps us through the hardest of days.
But too much time spent with the masculine energy running through can lead to irritability, overwhelm and stress. Snapping at those closest to you simply because it’s been a big day.
On the other hand, we have the feminine energy. When the energy in your body is flowing freely. There is an openess – to conversations, to ideas, to plans. You feel light and carefree.
You know when your favourite song comes on the radio and you’re in the car by yourself? It turns into your own private party – the music is up, you’re singing at the top of your lungs and after the song has finished you feel light. There’s a smile on your face and life feels good. That is the feminine energy.
So the big question is how often are you balancing between the two? Are you more in the masculine, rigid energy? Or the feminine, go-with-the-flow energy?
The trick is to evoke the masculine when necessary, but also have a good list in your mind of activities you can do that get you into that flow state. By being able to call on these, you can actively recognise when stress or overwhelm is coming up for you and move through it quicker.
Do you want to look back on your life in ten, twenty, thirty years and wonder, ‘what if I had done….x,y,z’? Fear can hold us back from taking chances so i’m here to teach you how to stop that elusive fear of success. Wait. Fear of success?
You have probably heard of the fear of failure. But to say ‘I am scared of success’ sounds counter intuitive. However we see this phenomenon happening! And the scariest part is that we are often unaware that we sabotage ourselves from succeeding.
So what exactly is the fear of success?
It boils down to having fear about what success represents to you. This may include receiving extra attention, change, judgement, fear of the unknown etc. And this in turn can manifest as subconscious blocks such as procrastination and self-sabotage.
How exactly does this happen?
Very simply, the emotions that arise from success can be confused or associated with emotions that we have felt during a previous trauma. Think about it. The physiological reactions that we have for fear and excitement are very similar – sweaty palms, butterflies in our stomach, quickened breath, an increased heart rate – that typical flight or fight response. If we have been through enough trauma then we start associating those feelings with fear and anxiety rather than excitement, so it makes sense that you would then try to avoid situations where these come up, including during moments of success.
Fear of success can also be linked to fear of change: Think about it, success is a risk! It requires undergoing change and stepping into foreign territory, and this is generally associated with anxiety. Which is totally normal! Our brain is designed to keep us safe and change is a huge unknown. When we have a blend of anxiety AND excitement, it is a green light to go. But if we are feeling more anxiety and less excitement, then it makes sense that we would have blocks about succeeding!
Other fears that can arise with success include: fear of selling out, fear of not coping, fear of becoming someone else and fear of your own potential. All related to our self-perception and self-confidence.
So how do you know if you have fear of success, or if it is something else?
Listed below are some signs/behaviours of success-fearing people. Now keep in mind that these alone aren’t necessarily a fear of success. But if you find yourself regularly displaying these patterns then I suggest taking a deeper look into the underlying emotions and thought processes that go on behind those actions. For example if you:
don’t complete your projects, and/or you have so many that you don’t focus on any in great depth
talk about what you are going to do more than doing it
get distracted easily and are addicted to procrastination
are a perfectionist
second guess yourself regularly
limit yourself in your personal projects/career/relationships
often get to the brink of success and everything starts going wrong
So what can you do?
First up, if you feel fear rising up, make sure you are being honest with yourself and work out whether whatever you are doing is something that you actually want to do! You may just be feeling this way because you are going against your true self. However if this is truly something that you want to succeed at then the next part is identifying how that fear comes up (either in hindsight or in the moment). What were you thinking that made brought up resistance? Were you about to take action on something? This can sometimes be the hardest part.
Once we catch this we can start to work on ourselves and flip the switch on that self talk. (If this sounds like something you want to work on then reach out to us). I guarantee you are unique and you can bring something beautiful into this world that no one else can so let’s practice this now. Read this out loud – “I am amazing. I am successful. And I can do whatever I put my mind to”. Next time you catch yourself holding back from succeeding, tell yourself this!
PLUS if you notice that you do this in the moment. You can always try the ‘5 Second Rule’ and take action to get that ego out of the way long enough to get it done!
True this is sometimes easier said then done. So you may also need to add some pain and pleasure motivation to get your butt into gear. Which leads me into our active journaling question for today:
What is the worst that could happen and what is the best that could happen? Would it be more foolish to attempt and not succeed, or not attempt and never know?
I want to leave you today with a little story about me and about how I used to practice this self sabotaging behaviour. Occasionally I still catch myself but each time it gets easier to overcome it. I used to tell myself that mediocre was OK because where I was at was enough and I wasn’t stepping on anyone’s toes. After all, I didn’t have to deal with rejection or failure if I was controlling when and where I was giving up. But now I realise that the real failure is not living up to my potential. Not showing up with the gifts I have been given. And that drives me to (slowly but surely) work on overcoming anxiety and caring what everyone else’s perception of me is. At the end of the day I am the only one I have to live with for the rest of my life and I want to be extraordinary!
“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”
Not sure what active journaling is or how to do it? Or just want a brush up? You can check out the low down in this blog article we wrote about it here.
We talk about the benefits of a morning routine but what about the benefits of a nightly routine?!
Your night time routine is as important as your morning routine and creating a nightly routine that suits you can help your day run smoother!
Have you ever had things you know you could do the night before that would help make the next day be easier or run a little smoother?
Done them and felt the benefits of how much more organised you felt?
Have you ever not done them and found yourself rushing around in the morning like a chicken with it’s head cut off?
You’ve probably done both!
If you have then you’ll know how good it feels when you follow a nightly routine and how it can help you set up for the next day but if you haven’t then check out some of the benefits a nightly routine can have!
Benefits of creating a nightly routine:
1 – Relaxed mind knowing that all you have to do in the morning is follow your morning routine and get on with your day.
2 – Relaxed body in that it prepares your body for sleep so you can unwind and be more restful.
3 – Better quality of sleep because you’re not worrying about the millions of things you have to get prepared in the morning.
4 – More organised knowing you’ve prepared all that you need for the moment so things will run a little smoother in the morning.
5 – Some studies have shown that your brain will be sharper and more active through out the day and help you be more productive!
What’s involved in a nightly routine?
There are many things you could be doing for a nightly routine but it’s important that you create the one that suits you and your lifestyle the best.
Sometimes it can be a little tough coming home from a long day of work where you’ve probably felt stressed and all you want to do is smash down some food and head to bed to watch Netflix until you fall asleep. Hey if that works for you then it works for you!
However there could also be other things that you could do that would help you thrive!
Nightly Routine Activities:
Taking a hot bubble bath or hot warm shower
Turning electronic devices off 30 minutes before bed
Reading for 20 minutes
Preparing what you need for the following day whether it be food, clothes, books or things for work
Listening to a sleep meditation audio
Journalling and practicing gratitude
A stretch routine and more!
These are just some of the things you could do. Make it your own, create whatever you like.
There are literally so many things you could do but the important thing is to create a routine that suits your lifestyle, time and how you feel after a big day so you’re more likely to complete it!
As Emotional Intelligence coaches, we not only help people feel less overwhelmed with how they feel, we also help provide the tools and techniques people need to thrive in all areas of their lives!
It is coming up to plastic free July, so what a perfect opportunity to spread information that I am super passionate about, and talk to you about changes you can make in your own home towards a more sustainable lifestyle…
Before I get ahead of myself though. What does being sustainable even mean? It seems like everyone is throwing around the need to live sustainably. So what it is all about? Why it is so important? And just how can you start making a positive change today?
What is sustainability and sustainable living?
It boils down to being able to provide for our needs today, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability encompases environmental, economical and social factors (this blog will mainly be focusing on working towards environmental sustainability). It is possible to live in such a way that we can leave a beautiful planet for generations to come. But if that is our ideal outcome then things have got to change!
Why is change necessary?
With the dawn of the industrial and technological revolution we had some amazing advances, but we are now starting to see the real impacts that this has left on our environment. Here are some fun? stats for ya!
40% of all plastic produced is single use
Almost 10% of our rubbish in landfill is packaging.
8 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean each year
It is estimated that around 100,000marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris
1 Billion coffee cups are used in Australia each year. Because these can’t be recycled (yep you read that correctly), that averages out to 50,000 cups binned ever half an hour!
It takes over 9 million trees, 5.7 billion gallons of water and the energy required to light 77,000 homes to produce ‘paper’ cups each year
Cycling 10 kilometres each way to work can save you about $1,700 in transport costs and 1,500 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions each year
It sure does make you think.
How can you make a difference?
Small. Actionable. Steps
Living sustainably, also requires sustainability (wait what?). By this I mean there is no point going through your whole life and changing everything all at once just to say you are living sustainably. At the end of the day when you are staring at your cupboard laden with food stuffs and working out what sustainable products you can replace them with, that is just going to get crazy overwhelming. Which (speaking from personal experience) only results in you sitting on the kitchen floor wondering where the hell you should actually start, let alone making a complete lifestyle change.
Rather, pick one small thing at a time that you can change. Nail that!
Then pick another to add in alongside the first and nail that.
Next thing you know a year has gone by and you are making lots of little changes that amount to a whole lot.
What are some examples of small things you can change today?
Change out your takeaway coffee cup for a keep cup
Refuse plastic straws in drinks (you could even carry around your own reusable bamboo one)
Start putting your food scraps aside for composting
Take reusable shopping bags (including produce bags) when you get your groceries
Reuse your jars and containers for other foods or to store household items (or even to pot some plants)
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
For those who have already started this journey but want some new ideas to play around with:
How do you feel when you think about the fact that we are half way through 2019?
6 months has passed since Christmas when we reflected back on what we achieved in 2018 and thought about what goals we wanted to set for 2019. How does that make you feel?
It’s around this time of year when we realise that life has gotten so busy. It’s been a while since we checked in with how we’re really feeling. So…how are you feeling? If your answer is overwhelmed and stressed it’s time to look at what you’ve been prioritising.
How far down are you on your own priority list over the last few weeks?
To help you to get more clear, you can ask yourself who or what you have been saying yes to that you wish you hadn’t. Is there certain people in your life that you say yes to? As the date gets closer you find yourself wishing you weren’t catching up. Maybe you’re saying yes to overtime at work more often. Or you’ve been choosing the ‘quick and easy’ option of fast food and junk snacks, knowing you’re going to regret it later.
How do you feel when you look at your calendar?
If it’s been too long in between ‘me time’ for yourself, or actually doing the things that really light you up, it’s time to start to politely decline some invites. This doesn’t mean you have to say no to everything. But it does mean that you can start thinking about yourself first and what you actually want to do. Before automatically saying yes to everything, think about if it’s really a yes in your mind. If it’s not, then it’s a ‘Thank you, but I’m busy.’
By re-prioritising yourself you are subconsciously telling yourself that you are important every time you put your choices first. You will have more time for the things that matter to you, and to start to achieve the goals you really want to reach by the end of 2019.
You know when your parents used to tell you ‘a clean house means a clean mind’… Well turns out they might have been onto something. According to recent findings, decluttering can boost both your physical and mental health!
A recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that our visual system has limited capacity, and having multiple visual stimuli results in competition for our attention. Basically, increased physical and visual clutter equals a decrease in focus on our task at hand. The study also found that the best way to minimise this was through a bottom up and top down approach. Ie focusing on tidying the space (bottom up) and setting goals to sit down and focus on a task (top down). This blog post primarily focuses on the bottom up approach, but for more info on effective goal setting you can learn our tried and tested method here.
Further studies in this area also found that having a cluttered house is correlated with an increase in depressed moods and fatigue, and higher levels of cortisol (our stress hormone). No wonder so many people are on board with Marie Kondo! Having clutter constantly around signals to our brain that there is still work to be done so our brains struggle to relax. Furthermore clutter can lead to overwhelm and procrastination which hugely impacts our creativity and productivity.
Good news is that this can be readily overcome!
My tips to you
1. Start small and focus on one room/space/area at a time
By starting small you minimise the risk of overwhelm. And if your space is really out of control, start by just doing one small area eg paperwork, dishes etc.
2. Set time aside to declutter and actually organise your space
Prioritise your time to get this done. At the end of the day your mental health is worth it!!
3. Actually organise your belongings and space.
What I mean by actually organising is don’t just move items around your house where they will eventually end up back where they started. Actually go through and reduce/reuse/recycle/donate etc. If you are struggling with this side of things then definitely look further into the Marie Kondo method or shoot us a message!
4. Make it fun
Pretty simple this one. If you increase the pleasure you will be more likely to do it. Involve your partner or family. Chuck on some upbeat music and make it a quality time
5. Maintain that room/space/area for at least a week (then try for two weeks, then a month)
Once it becomes a habit it will be way easier to maintain long term. Plus if you do a good job of it be proud of what you have accomplished. Tip: For extra accountability invite people over!
I just want to note that I am not saying you have to drop everything just to clean, there still needs to be that sense of prioritisation (goodness know I used to procrasti-clean instead of doing Uni assignments). But when you find that balance of keeping a tidy living space and regularly maintaining it, there are many benefits that will follow.
WARNING! Other benefits may include an sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which may result in more motivation to do work. It can also mean that you are more mindful when you do use your spaces and belongings!
And on that note here is your journaling prompt for today:
What small living/working space can I intentionally organise and clean this week to improve my mindset?
Not sure what active journaling is or how to do it? Or just want a brush up? You can check out the low down in this blog article we wrote about it here.
We all know it’s important to move our body and nourish it with the right foods.
So why is it that we know what we know but we just don’t do what know we should do?
If you are experiencing struggles around exercise and nutrition, if you catch yourself often saying “I have to go to the gym or I should be eating this carrot instead of this donut haha” then check out these 3 tips on how to start changing your mindset:
TIP 1: Get clear on what’s important to you!
Get really clear on your WHY!
Why do you want to eat well and move often? What will that bring you?
Useful tool to practice finding this out is the “5 why’s technique”.
This is simply where you ask yourself WHY 5 times and it is usually the 5th why that turns out to be the most important motivator for you!
Tie that 5th why to your exercise and nutrition so that every time you question yourself about why you started exercising and eating well in the first place, you’ll be able to remember why and you can see how it’s going to help you get to where you really want to be.
TIP 2: Become aware of the language you are using!
As I said earlier, if you are someone who says “I HAVE to go to the gym” or “I SHOULD really be eating a carrot instead of this donut” then this is actually a representation of what we coaches here at BU coaching teach as “Words or phrases that reinforce under responsibility”.
You don’t really want to go to the gym because if you did you’d say I WANT TO GO TO THE GYM or I WANT TO EAT THIS CARROT……. maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Donuts are pretty good haha!
In saying the words and phrases SHOULD, HAVE TO, NEED TO what you are actually doing is not taking responsibility for your actions and just reinforcing unsupportive habits.
Here are some empowering alternatives you can start using now:
Could be willing to
I get to (This is a great one)
TIP 3: GRATITUDE! THE BEST ONE!
When it comes to exercise and eating well, particularly if it’s for a certain goal or reason, sometimes our results take longer than expected and we can sometimes find ourselves getting frustrated and maybe even tempted to give up or quit.
To help you keep moving forward and keeping faith in yourself as well as the process, you can stop and take a minute to look at how far you’ve come so far and practice being grateful for them.
Asking yourself, what are the little things I have been doing consistently up until this point?
Can I be grateful for these?
Can I see that if I continue doing these little things that eventually they’ll lead to BIG and BEAUTIFUL things and I’ll start to see my results?
Here’s our method for practicing Gratitude:
Write 3 things you are grateful for for yourself and WHY
Write 3 things you are grateful for for someone else and WHY
And write 3 things you are grateful for about life and WHY
Practicing gratitude before going to bed of a night time is a good way to end you day and prime your mind for the next day.
Try on these tips over the next few weeks and notice how they change your behaviour and mindset.