How to recharge and eliminate what’s sapping your energy

Author: Words We Write

How to recharge and eliminate what’s sapping your energy

We’re reaching the end of the year and this is usually when we start to feel drained, unmotivated and simply exhausted. Finish this year strong by using these simple ways to recharge both your body and mind. 

Have you ever tried using your phone with less than 15% battery? Your apps are slow, your phone freezes, and it can cause a lot of frustration.  Well, humans are pretty similar. 

When your battery is low, it’s difficult to do even basic tasks at your best. Silly mistakes are easily made, and it can begin to take a toll on your mental health. This is why it is so important to create habits that help recharge you inside and out. 

Things that might be draining you 

It’s not only towards the end of the year that you can feel depleted. This can happen at any time when you’re constantly surrounded by or engaging in things that drain your energy. 

These are just some of the things that could be sapping your energy;

1. Too many processed foods 

We’re all pretty aware that too much processed food isn’t doing us any good. This time of the year is go, go, go so it might be easier to grab a takeaway or snack on some crisps rather than prepare something. 

And there’s nothing wrong with that… in moderation. Grabbing something convenient in a time crunch is perfectly fine, the problem comes in when you make it a habit.

2. Too little sleep 

We often underestimate how important our sleep schedule is. Whether you aren’t sleeping due to stress, trying to meet deadlines or anything in between, it is vital that you prioritise at least 8 hours of sleep a night. 

3.  Toxic relationships 

Having people around you who demand from you and that don’t lift you up is exhausting. Take note of who you’re spending your time with and how you feel afterwards. 

4. Clutter and disorganisation 

Trying to find things or remember where you left things is tiring and draining. It’s easy for things to get cluttered when you’re busy or feeling overwhelmed but take some time to clear out your space, it will do wonders for your mental state. 

5. Lack of exercise 

We bet you don’t get tired of hearing this one. But yes, lack of physical activity actually drains you. Being active gets those endorphins racing and re-energises you but find activities you actually enjoy. 

6. Your own attitude 

If you wake up every morning thinking “ugh, I’m so tired”, “I really don’t want to do this” or “I’m over this day already” then you are preparing yourself for a really draining day. 

Your mind and your attitude are very powerful, and the thoughts you put out there are what you will experience. Try making a conscious effort to change your attitude when things are tough. 

Habits that will recharge you 

Apart from changing the things we mentioned above, there are a few things you can do that will recharge your body and mind. It’s a great idea to try to make these simple things regular habits in your life.

1. Live mindfully

Don’t just go through the motions in life. Think about everything you’re doing, what you want to achieve, and what you already have achieved. There is so much more to life than just getting through it. 

Take a look at this awesome blog on mindfulness for a deeper understanding. 

2.Take a break from technology 

The online world is a massive energy drainer. From being inundated with world news to comparing your life to a stranger’s, you can physically feel the light being zapped right out of you. 

Set a date once a week or twice a month when you limit your social media usage or stop using it completely for a day or week. Whatever feels right for you but we highly recommend this. 

3. Create manageable to-do lists

This time of the year is manic, and it can leave you feeling completely depleted. Rather than trying to keep up with everything, create to-do lists that you’ll be able to keep up with. 

By doing this, you can share your energy across these tasks rather than trying to take on everything all at once. 

4. Prioritise fun 

Life is busy, there is almost too much to get done in a single day. Often, we focus on the work aspects and family commitments and fun falls by the wayside. 

Start scheduling time for fun into your days, whatever that may be. Fun takes on many forms, from going for a walk to visiting a friend or reading a book. 

5. Spend time outdoors

Fresh air and some sunshine do wonders to recharge your body and soul. Try to spend at least 10 – 15 minutes outside each day. Use this time to silence your mind, be mindful and take a breath. 

6. Be thankful 

Life is just as beautiful as it is chaotic. When you’re run down, it’s difficult to see the positive, but it’s so important to sit back and reflect on all the good you have in your life. 

You can even write down everything you’re grateful for so that you see it in front of you. By being cognisant of what is good, you will start to fill your energy levels with positivity and in turn, re-energising yourself. 

 

Mental Health in South Africa

The role of the Work Environment plays in your mental health

October is Mental Health Awareness Month in South Africa. This is not to be taken lightly, as South Africa is in a mental health crisis. Without even including statistics on those living with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder among others, the prevalence of anxiety, depression and substance use challenges in the South African context is sitting at one in six according to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG). 40% of people living with HIV in South Africa have a diagnosable mental disorder. Dr Eugene Ellers a South African Psychiatrist believes that up to 6 million South Africans live with post-traumatic stress disorder. This research speaks to statistics in South Africa prior to the lockdown and pandemic.

We are a country plagued by generational trauma from a violent and oppressive political regime in our past, poverty, unemployment, inequality, racism, economic woes, lack of service delivery, load shedding, crime, gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS, and xenophobia in our present. Consensus is that Covid-19, lockdowns and the pandemic have had profound effects on the mental illness faced by people in South Africa.

The World Health Organisation has determined that South Africans have had a 36.4% increase in anxiety disorder as well as a 38.7% increase in major depressive disorders since the pandemic. As mental health goes into decline and mental illness becomes a crisis, so does the prevalence of suicide increase and become a growing reality as a last resort for those who have nowhere else to turn. Suicide is the fourth most common cause of death among young people worldwide. Companies like Instagram try to hide the increase in suicide among young people, as a result of, using their platform. We need awareness about this reality, as the more we deny the problem, the less we talk about it. The less we talk about it, the greater the stigma. This will take a greater toll on people’s lives, deepening the crisis we will have on our hands. 

Men in South Africa are four times as likely as women to commit suicide, however more women are diagnosed with depression than men and that is not to say that women are more depressed, just that women are seeking help more than men, according to SADAG. South Africa has 23 suicides every day and 20 attempted suicides. That is one per hour. We have the third-highest suicide rate in Africa, according to the World Health Organisation. Suicide is the leading cause of death in young South Africans aged 15 to 29. It has been found that 70 percent of people who commit suicide have a mental illness. 75% of people globally will not seek help for their mental illness. The South African Medical Research Council has examined the statistics on suicide from a demographic perspective finding that white men are most likely to commit suicide followed by African men, Indian men and Coloured men. In terms of women it is White females, followed by Indian females, Coloured women and then Black females with the lowest rates.  

These are staggering figures pointing to a mental health crisis in South Africa. Although we have touched on the contributing factors such as unemployment to the mental health crisis, there are other citizens in the population who are actively employed. These people are just as likely to be suffering from mental illness due to many of the factors plaguing the South African psyche, however one differentiating factor is their ability to work and earn a living. Is the workplace a salve for mental illness, or is it yet another factor dragging us down?

The workplace can be a double-edged sword – contributing potentially to both mental wellness and mental ill health. Let’s look at the factors contributing to each side of the coin.

When work helps us thrive:

Being employed, doing work and earning a living can be a circumstance under which people will thrive. It is a resource financially and socially, our work feeds our identity, it boosts our self-esteem, self-efficacy and gives us a sense of purpose. 

When work has a dark side:

On the other hand, the workplace, the work we do, and the benefits associated may be found lacking and contribute to mental illness in the population. This could be through poor working conditions, toxic workplace cultures, remuneration and benefits that are found wanting and over identification with work – making work the central organising factor in our lives leaving no space for any other areas of our lives to thrive. 

We spend 80% of our lives working. This is why organisations, workplaces, and roles need to be better equipped to provide the kinds of environments that lead to thriving and deriving healthy benefits from work. Organisations that are not paying attention to mental health are failing to see the changes and disruptions brought on by Covid requiring more attention to mental health, the clear need for mental health interventions, and are waiting in vain for the world to return to normal. These organisations will get left behind. They are failing to change and attend to the real and pressing societal focus on mental health (Ratangee, 2021). 

The workplace, due to the amount of time we spend there and its nature, exposes us to stress. When we are exposed to stress, we can develop mental illness and that in turn breeds more stress which impacts further the intensity of our mental illness, and on it goes in a cycle. It is critical that as individuals we manage our resilience and stress and also that organisations and workplaces put steps in place to mitigate the stress impact, paying real attention to mental health. Organisations must deliver resources to employees that deal with stress management and employee mental health and wellbeing. This is non-negotiable. 

Reach out to Wellbe and Company today to put these steps in place that your employees critically need. 

We are here to re-imagine wellness in the workplace. We are a corporate wellness consultancy that uses workplace initiatives to improve employee health, organisational well-being and overall corporate culture. We’re on a mission to inspire change and instil a culture of health and wellness in daily corporate life, while improving team productivity and business performance along the way.  

We are here to partner with you to address the critical need of fostering resilience in your workforce to mitigate the effects of the mental health crisis in the workplace. Our services to address this includes: stress management and mental health interventions, wellness days, employee counselling and support, and executive wellness amongst others. 

Contact us today to ensure you have the resources in place that your employees want and need.

 

Practical ways to prioritise your mental health that will change your quality of life.

Practical ways to prioritise your mental health that will change your quality of life 

As we near the end of the year, you may be feeling run down and burnt out. It’s important to take care of your mental health during this time – and always. 

Ever heard the saying “health is wealth”? Possibly one of the most accurate statements out there. And of course, your mental health forms part of your overall health. How much have you been prioritising your mental health? 

As the year draws to a close, exhaustion and burnout come creeping in. Make sure you’re focusing on your mental health now, and always. If you feel like you do prioritise your mental health but then can’t actually think of how or you feel like you just don’t have the time to focus on your mental health, keep reading. 

There are simple and practical ways to prioritise your mental health that will change your quality of life without taking too much thought or time. 

The importance of mental health 

When we think about our health, we usually think about our physical health and what we should do to improve it. This is most likely because you see and feel when your physical health isn’t where it should be. And others can see any changes in your physical health and make comments about it.

Your mental health is less noticeable to you and those around you. It’s easy to make excuses about why you feel a certain way than to face it straight on. 

Mental health is vital as it impacts every area of your life. The importance of good mental health ripples into everything you do, think or say. 

Some benefits of taking care of your mental health can include:

  • Improved mood
  • Reduced levels of anxiety
  • An enhanced sense of inner peace
  • Ability to think more clearly
  • Improved relationships
  • Increased self-esteem

Simple ways to prioritise your mental health

We promised some pretty spectacular and easy ways to prioritise your mental health and we promise, these won’t disappoint. 

Prioritising your mental health doesn’t always mean taking days off of work or seeking therapy (although, these are some pretty great things to do when you need it). There are some things you can do every day that won’t impact your daily life but will have a massive impact on your mental health.

Often, prioritising your mental health can come in the form of a little self-care and doing things that put you first for a few minutes a day. Doing these things won’t magically improve your mental health but over time, you’ll start to notice the positive effects these new habits will have. 

30-minutes of daily exercise

Just a disclaimer here: If you HATE exercise, and absolutely detest it, forcing yourself to do it every day is not going to help your mental health. 

We get that exercise isn’t for everyone. But with that being said, we highly advise that you find some form of movement that you love be it dancing, walking, or stretching. There are ways to exercise other than going to the gym or running for 30 mins straight. 

Find something you love and do it for 30 minutes a day. Physical exercise releases feel-good endorphins and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being.

Conscious breathwork 

If you struggle with anxiety, conscious breathing exercises are a must. 

When you feel your anxiety levels begin to rise, take a step back and focus on your breathing. Close your eyes and think about how you are breathing without changing it. Then begin to take deep breaths noting how they feel as they enter and leave your body. 

Alternate between shallow and deep breaths while consciously thinking about the air entering and leaving your body. 

If you are unable to do this level of breath work then simply close your eyes and breathe in for 5 seconds and release for 5 seconds. Do this a few times and you take note of how it feels. 

Feed your brain

What you eat influences your brain chemistry and your gut health. Recent studies have shown that your gut acts as a “second brain”. This means that your gut can trigger an emotional shift. The gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system that trigger mood changes and may contribute to mental health disorders.

Make sure you’re:

  • Reducing foods that are processed or high in sugar
  • Taking prebiotics and probiotics or eating more fermented foods 
  • Checking if you have food intolerances and removing them from your diet
  • Eating more fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods 
  • Consuming a high-fibre diet

7- 8 hours of high-quality sleep

The length and quality of your sleep highly impact how your mind and body function. High-quality sleep enables better thinking, learning and memory. 

Having a low quality of sleep can worsen mental health disorders including depression and anxiety. 

Make sure you prioritise your sleep by:

  • Having a consistent “bedtime”
  • Not being on your mobile devices directly before you sleep
  • Not watching TV directly before you sleep 

Daily mindfulness or meditation and rest 

Your mind is a powerful tool. Make sure you’re giving it the rest it deserves. 

Practice mindfulness or meditation by:

  • Finding a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or disturbed
  • Starting with a 2-minute meditation and building up to 5, 10, or 20 minutes each time you do it
  • Setting a time of day (morning or before bed) to meditate every day
  • Trialling different meditation techniques to determine which style works best for you

Resting your mind gives you a break from the hustle and bustle of the world around you. It is important to “switch off” for a few minutes a day. But this doesn’t mean scrolling endlessly through Tik Toks or bingeing a series. You need to focus, be mindful and release your mind of any thoughts. 

These are some simple and practical ways that you can put yourself first and prioritise your mental health.

 

Spring Cleaning: It’s time to clean up your digital clutter.

September means spring is here! Spring brings in the possibility of new beginnings and of course, spring cleaning. Now, we’re not here to tell you to clean your cupboards or disinfect your fridge. We’re focusing on spring cleaning your digital clutter. 

Digital clutter? Yup, you read that right. Many people don’t realise how messy and overwhelming their digital space is. 

Just like in your home, things in your digital space pile up, become out of date, get lost, are no longer needed or need some TLC.

Let’s dive right into how you can give your digital clutter a spring clean. 

Related: How to build better habits (That will actually stick)

Top tips for decluttering your digital space

From your laptop to your phone, you spend the majority of your day on some type of mobile device. Even though you’re using these devices multiple times a day, you might not realise how cluttered they’ve become. Here’s how you can fix that. 

Maintenance 

    1. Delete unused apps 

You may have downloaded an app that you used once and never touched again. Go through your phone and laptop to see if you have any apps that you don’t use. Delete all the apps you haven’t visited in the last month. 

Trust us, you don’t need them. 

2. Update your devices

Now that you’ve gotten rid of all unnecessary apps, update your devices. Make sure you update the operating system as well as the apps you use. 

3. Remove unnecessary information

If you have saved credit cards or old documents in your storage that you no longer use – remove them. Take a look at your saved passwords and remove the ones you no longer use. 

Lastly, clean out your old emails, files and downloads. And remember to empty your trash when you’re done. 

4.Back up your files

When you’re spring cleaning, it’s important to make sure that you’ve backed up the files of everything you want to keep. It can be easy to accidentally delete something you never intended to.

Use a cloud storage site or an external hard drive to safely store all your important goodies. 

Read: Things we’re going to START and STOP

Refresh

    1. Mailing lists 

Have a look at the emails you’re subscribed to and unsubscribe from everything that no longer serves you. 

2. Delete, delete, delete 

Remove old photos, videos and even contacts that you no longer need. Are we the only ones with hundreds of screenshots of things we thought we’d need? 

3. Decide what no longer serves you 

As you’re spring cleaning your digital space, make conscious decisions about what you really need and don’t need. 

If you’re removing apps that are no longer valuable to you, are there apps you need that would serve you more? For example, is it time to remove the many games you have on your phone and perhaps get a time management tool if that’s something you’re struggling with. 

4. Update your security software 

This is mostly for your laptop but it is one of the most vital steps. Do you have antivirus and security software on your device? If you don’t, make sure you get one. And if you do, make sure it’s still running optimally and be sure to set up automatic checks and updates. 

Viruses and malware can destroy all the information on your digital devices so it’s better to be safe!

5.Make a change

While you’re at it why not give your devices a new look and feel? Update your wallpapers and screensavers. Go from light mode to dark. Recatagorise your apps into helpful folders. 

Find ways to make your digital space more inviting, calmer and a soothing place to be. 

Explore: Everyday hacks to keep you calm and focused for a busy day

Social media 

In a realm of its own, we decided to leave social media until last. Social media platforms are where most of us spend our time so it’s important that we clean them up every now and then. 

    • Take the opportunity to refresh your presence: Change up your bio, get a new profile picture, or archive some of your posts that you no longer like.
    • Review your privacy and security settings: Accounts are constantly getting hacked. Make sure your accounts are properly protected with a password you remember. 
    • Unfollow accounts that no longer serve you: Go through your “following” list and unfollow the accounts that offer you no value or people who make you feel bad about your life. Social media shouldn’t be a place that is overwhelming and hurtful. The great thing is that you have COMPLETE control over your own social media. 
    • Ask yourself the following: Do my social media accounts reflect who I am? Do they add value? Are they negatively impacting my life? These are important questions to ask to figure out whether you should maybe relook at your entire online presence, or perhaps take a break from the social media space.

We spend so much of our time on our devices and online, make sure you’re spending just as much time making them a safe, stress-free space!

Period Power

Period Power: How to tailor your workouts to your menstrual cycle.

Have you ever noticed how one week you can power through an entire workout easily, and then the next you’re struggling through it? This could be due to what phase of your menstrual cycle you’re in.

Did you know that the term “menstrual cycle” doesn’t only refer to when you’re on your period? It actually refers to
the various phases that your body goes through throughout the month.
 

Every phase that you go through has an impact on your energy levels, hormones and even your motivation. But there are some fabulous ways for you to maximise your workouts by tailoring them to your cycle.

Little PSA before we get into it, this isn’t going to be one of those blogs that tell you to put the chocolate down and make sure you train every day of your menstrual cycle. A little bit of indulgence and self-love can be the best thing for you during your time of the month. 

But if you’re looking for ways to keep active and get the endorphins flowing, then we’ve got the best tips for you.

Everything you need to know about menstrual cycles

Most of us have experienced a complete menstrual cycle but do we understand them and what our bodies are going
through? Let’s take a look.
 

Generally, a healthy menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, varying here and there from person to person. Some cycles range from 23 to 35 days, it all depends on your body. The first day of your period is the start of your menstrual cycle, followed by the next 27 days until you begin your next period. The start of one period and the start of the next count
as a complete menstrual cycle.

Every cycle is unique, but they all have the same phases:

    Menstrual phase

    Follicular phase

    Ovulation

    Luteal phase

 These phases make up each full month of your menstrual cycle, and every phase comes with its own side effects.

The cycle breakdown

The menstrual phase is from when your period starts until it ends (this can be from about 3-7 days, but this can vary). During this phase, your oestrogen and progesterone hormone levels decrease.

Next begins the follicular phase, which starts on day one of your period and continues until ovulation, which is usually about 16 days. During this phase, the follicle-stimulating hormone is released. Once the follicular phase is complete, your ovulation will begin. During ovulation, the luteinizing hormone is released in response to the follicular phase’s rise in oestrogen levels. You may notice your body temperature increase during this phase.

And then lastly you’ll enter the luteal phase where there is a rise in progesterone and a slight increase in oestrogen levels (the complete opposite of what happens during the menstrual phase). As this phase ends, these hormones will decrease. This is when you’ll experience all those fun PMS symptoms like bloating, headaches and cravings (trying out every product in the Chuckles range probably sounds like the best idea right about now). 

Training and your period

Some weeks you feel on top of the world, some weeks you’re exhausted or feel weak. This is all due to the change in your hormones throughout the month. Sometimes, working out is the absolute last thing you feel like doing.

Any form of exercise can have a small or big impact on your menstrual cycle, depending on how your body reacts to physical activity. Everyone reacts differently, and some have a more severe reaction to their hormone change than others. 

What many don’t know though is that you can maximise your workouts by simply going with your flow. According to various studies, you can adjust your exercise routine to your cycle. By doing the right workouts at the right time of the
month, you’ll still smash your workouts throughout the month.

How to maximise your workouts

As we’ve mentioned, your hormone levels change throughout your menstrual cycle which in turn makes you feel strong, tired, energetic or moody – it all depends on the phase of your cycle.

The beginning phases

Firstly, high-five for even thinking of doing a workout while on your period because it can be tough. 

This stage of your cycle (when you’re on your period) is when your progesterone and oestrogen are at their lowest. This may cause your energy levels to decrease, and your emotions could go a little wild. Make sure you listen to your body during this phase and see what it needs and what you feel like doing. 

 If you’re really struggling with your energy or motivation, try doing slower forms of workouts like going for a walk, doing yoga or even just hopping on the treadmill for a little. By doing low-impact activities, you’ll still increase your endorphins and keep your body moving (which can often help alleviate any cramps you experience).

 If you feel like doing something more, though, strength training is a fabulous option during this phase. Some studies indicate that strength workouts during the follicular phase (days 1-14 of your cycle) can result in higher muscle strength compared to when you train during the luteal phase (days 15-28 of your cycle).

The middle phase

When you’re halfway through your menstrual cycle (during ovulation), you might find your energy levels increase as your oestrogen and testosterone levels increase again. The ideal time to focus on high-intensity workouts and even some heavyweight training.

This is the time to take full advantage of your strength and energy!

The final phase

Lastly, you’ll enter into the luteal phase, which will cause your progesterone levels to rise while your oestrogen
decreases. To be very honest, this is the most problematic time of the month, as this is when you begin experiencing the majority of your PMS symptoms.  

The couch and Netflix are going to start calling your name, and the gym will seem like a very distant memory. But don’t give up on your physical health completely. 

Opt for shorter workouts, low intensity, or keep your workouts the same but use lighter weights for fewer reps. Be
realistic about what your body needs, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not performing at your best.

Exercise is not the epitome of looking after yourself, though. Self-care is a holistic journey which includes eating nutritious meals that are satisfying and filling. 

Menstrual cycles are a frustrating but equally wonderful part of our lives, don’t let them take over, though. 

Make your flow work for you, and remember to put your needs and your wellbeing above all else.

 

 

 

Habits

How to build better habits (That will actually stick)

Have you ever tried to build a new habit but by week 2, you’ve almost forgotten this habit existed? You’re not alone. We’ve got some impressive tips on how you can build better habits that you’ll actually stick to. 

Building habits is sometimes akin to your “New Year’s Resolutions”. It sounds good in theory but in the back of your mind, you already know that these new habits probably won’t last. 

It doesn’t have to be that way though. We’ve used some of the principles from Atomic Habits by James Clear to identify the best possible strategy for building better habits. 

Why building healthy habits is important 

Good habits are essential to a healthy life. They can make it easier for you to achieve and maintain a great and healthy lifestyle. 

Habits are often confused with goals or even a routine. Goals are aspirations you have that you’d like to achieve in a certain amount of time. Habits are things you do every day that contribute to the life you want to live. 

The difference between a habit and a routine is your awareness. Habits and routines are both repeated actions but habits run on autopilot while routines are intentional. 

Routines need active practice or they’ll eventually die out but habits occur with very little thought. 

Think about it like this, if you want to start journaling every morning, you have to intentionally make the effort to do it but if you have started the habit of smoking, lighting a cigarette first thing in the morning is done on autopilot. 

A habit then becomes a routine that is done frequently and automatically. Small changes make a massive difference over some time. 

This is why you need to create good habits rather than fall into the ease of unhealthy habits.  

6 valuable principles from Atomic Habits 

Atomic Habits shares some invaluable tips on how to create habits that are sustainable and that will serve you best in the long run. We picked out 5 of the top principles from this book. 

1. Don’t focus on goals, focus on systems of change

Rather than solely focusing on the goals you want to achieve, think about HOW you’re going to achieve them. 

Think about it, many successful people have the same goals. Olympic runners all want to win the same race but only one can actually win. And it’s about what that one runner had to do before that moment to have the ability to win. 

The same can be applied to your life. Think about the goals you have but focus on what you’re going to do every single day to reach those goals. If you don’t have the correct systems in place, you will never achieve what you set out to.  

2. Motivation is overrated. Environment often matters more

You aren’t always going to be motivated to do a particular thing. But if you create an environment that encourages productivity and has visual cues that trigger healthy habits, you’re more likely to be successful. 

You should also do your best to avoid negative temptations within your space and create specific areas for specific purposes so that you’re able to get the most out of your habits. 

3. Join a group 

We are a specifies that loves to feel connected and seek approval from like-minded individuals. 

A great thing you can do is join a group that exhibits the same traits that you want to emulate. People do well when surrounded by successful individuals that we wish to be like. 

Pro tip: Habit tracking (you can use a calendar or a journal) and accountability partners are wonderful ways to create good habits or stop unhealthy ones.

4. Focus on repetitions

To master something, you simply need to START. 

Aiming for perfection right out the gate almost always leads to failure. Rather focus on repetitive behaviours. You’ll notice that the more you do something, the better you become. 

Focus on making your habits quick and easy in the beginning. Don’t do it for longer than 2 minutes. Once you have gotten into the habit (see what we did there?) of doing the action, you can then focus on optimising it or increasing the time you spend on it. 

5. Make good choices automatic and unhealthy choices difficult

The best way to create healthy habits is to make them as simple and easy as possible so that you don’t even have to think about it. 

So for example, buy a large water bottle and set reminders to drink water every few hours. Remove the TV from your bedroom so you don’t stay up all night watching your favourite series. 

Setting reminders and making healthy things easy for you is the best way to form habits. Making unhealthy things difficult for you to do is the best way to break bad habits.   

6. Embrace feeling bored 

Habits that become everyday routines can start to feel mundane and boring. Don’t fall into the trap of changing things up! 

Welcome the feelings of boredom and stick to something even when you’re not in the mood to do it. The greatest threat to success is often thought to be failure but it’s actually boredom. 

Go back to number 1 and remember that it is the journey and not the destination that you need to focus on!

Remember that a habit is created over a period of time and your main focus should be never giving up!

Building Confidence

The how-to guide on building up your self-confidence

Have you ever found yourself feeling like you’ve seriously lost your mojo? Well… Same. That’s why we’ve come up with the ultimate guide for you to find your confidence again! 

Feeling down in the dumps and like things just aren’t going your way can have a ripple effect. When one thing hasn’t worked out and then another and another, it can quickly pile up until you’re left feeling completely defeated.

Once you’re in a bad headspace, it can be pretty difficult to pull yourself out of it and focus on all the things that are amazing in your life and all things that you’re great at. 

We know it can be tough sometimes but this ultimate guide will have you hyping yourself up again in no time!

Why it’s important to focus on your confidence 

Having self-confidence gives you the ability to take on the day and kick butt! 

When you’re confident, you are more likely to move forward with people, relationships and opportunities. You won’t second guess yourself and move away from potential experiences. 

And when things don’t work out the first time, your confidence will propel you to try again. 

How to hype yourself up  

1.Be kind to yourself 

First things first, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re allowed to have days where things don’t seem to be going the way you want them to. It’s okay to have a day where things honestly just suck. 

BUT, just give yourself that one day. Then get back to being the amazing, strong and motivated person you are! 

Remember to change your inner dialogue to celebrate yourself rather than tearing yourself down. 

2. Create a to-do list 

When you’re in a funk, simply doing things can seem too difficult. Start your days with a to-do list. The list can include things like “do laundry” or “write in my journal” rather than just work items. 

Your to-do list can evolve into a little schedule for the day. You’ll be amazed at how motivating it is to cross things off the list as you go about your day. This will also help you establish a maintainable routine and give you control of your life.

3. Get active 

Don’t get us wrong, getting active doesn’t mean you need to sign up for a gym contract and start working out 6 times a week. 

But it’s important to keep your body moving. Physical activity is good for both your body and mind. Start by going for daily walks to get yourself out of the house. Or take a moment to do a home workout (depending on the weather, you could do this outside too). 

Find ways to move your body in ways that work for you!

Discover: The importance of gut health – plus the best and worst foods for your gut

4. Stop comparing yourself to others 

Do you, boo! Comparison is the thief of joy and with social media, comparing yourself to others is inevitable. 

Don’t focus on what others look like, what they’re doing or where they’re going. Focus on yourself and your own progress. Every individual is on their own path but at the end of the day, life is a journey, not a race. You have time to do all the things you want to do. 

If necessary, unfollow those that you compare yourself to on social media and work on being genuinely happy for those around you when they achieve things. 

5. Create the ultimate ‘hype’ playlist

This is our favourite step!
If you’re having one of those days when things just aren’t going your way, use your hype playlist to bring you out of your funk. 

Lizzo has some incredible hype tracks and so does NF if you prefer rap. Find the songs that make you feel invincible and play them as loud as you can and on repeat. Maybe even bust a move while you’re at it!

Explore: Everyday hacks to keep you calm and focused for a busy day 

6. New look, new you!

Get that new haircut you’ve been mulling over or treat yourself to new hair colour or highlights. Maybe add something new to your wardrobe or try out a new look. 

When your confidence is low, changing up your physical appearance and seeing yourself in a new light can really help. Building on your inner self-esteem is often complemented by a revamp of your appearance. 

The combination of working on yourself inside and out will catapult you into a whole new direction!

7. Be your own hype man/woman

Don’t wait around for people to tell you that you’re doing a great job. Tell yourself! Be your own hype man especially when it feels like no one else is going to hype you up. 

You’ve got this, you know you do!

Here’s the thing…

We have very little control over how others see us or what they think and say about us. But you can change your own narrative on how you see yourself and how you talk to yourself and there’s no better time than when you’re feeling less than great about yourself. 

The only thing we have control over is ourselves and often, others treat us the way we carry ourselves. We attract situations that mimic our beliefs about ourselves and what we think we deserve. If you truly want the life you crave, it starts with seeing yourself for who you are and who you want to be. It’s about the baby steps you take that lead you to exactly where you want to be. 

Change Your Life

How to change negative habits for healthy ones

by Katey Kerr-Peterson

Negative habits can creep into our lives and our routine, and before we know it they become part of our default behaviour. Often we know better than to make that extra cup of coffee, stay up late watching TV, engage in office gossip, or make unhealthy food choices. But we struggle to do better and know exactly how to turn our good intentions into our reality. 

We are all only human, and can’t be expected to make perfect choices everytime. But if you are honest with yourself, and know there are some positive shifts you would like to make for your own physical and mental well-being, then read on. As Magaret Moore, co-director of the Institute of Coaching at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital puts it – ‘engaging in habit changes for self-improvement is key to vitality and well-being at all ages’!

The good news is that you are the author of your life. Your life is made up of the choices you make, and you have the power and ability to bring about positive change. Change begins with you and you can start  today.

Here are our 7 steps to change unhealthy habits:

Identify the habit(s) you want to change

It all starts with awareness. Take the time to review the areas of your life as an observer, and notice the behaviour you want to shift. It can be anything from wanting to spend less time on social media, to engaging in more positive self talk, or even prioritizing physical health through more regular excercise. Be kind to yourself during this process. There is no need to feel ashamed, or to beat yourself up for not being where you want to be. Jot down a few of the changes you wish to make, and be proud of yourself for taking this first and important step towards change. 

Identify your triggers

Every action is initiated by a trigger. For example, if you’re standing in front of the fridge looking to eat yet another snack, pause to notice why you’re there/what has triggered you being there. Are you really hungry, or are you actually enjoying taking a small mental break from work? If you’re constantly reaching for your phone to surf social media, what causes this impulse – are you simply bored and looking for some entertainment? Becoming aware of your triggers can help you pause before you act, and you may find it easier to consider other, more positive, options.

Replace the negative habit for a better one

In this above example, instead of reaching for more food, you could opt to drink a large glass of water instead, or walk outside for a 10 minute mental break. Instead of scrolling through Instagram, try engage with a colleague in the office. These simple shifts will make you feel more energized, focused and connected, which are all hugely beneficial. Ask yourself – how do I really want to feel, and what (better) choice can I make to take a step towards this?

Change the narrative

Instead of justifying your negative habit, try and flip the script of you inner dialogue. For example, instead of pouring that extra glass of wine, or eating an unhealthy dessert saying ‘I deserve it, it’s been a stressful week’. Affirm to yourself ‘I love feeling in control of my health. I love feeling good, and right now I am satisfied just as I am’. It may feel un-natural at first, but when you start to feel good, it will get easier to shift to the healthier choice, and you will enjoy a positive cycle of thinking – feeling – and being.

Visualise

See yourself throwing away the twisp or buying healthy food or waking up early. Whatever the bad habit is that you are looking to break, visualize yourself conquering it, smiling, and enjoying feeling good. By holding this new identity in your imagination, the easier it will be to show up as him/her – bringing you closer to your ultimate goal.

Small steps are still progress

Let go of the ‘all or nothing” mindset. If you set out to do 1 hour of exercise, but have a work deadline that you need to prioritize – set aside 15 minutes to workout. You will feel less guilty about skipping it all together, and will reap the positive effects from reinforcing the habit regardless. Small steps in the right direction, is still progress.

Give yourself time

In our culture we want to see instant and immediate results. However lasting change takes time. Commit to the process, and offer self compassion when you slip up. Remember that everything in life is a choice, and every moment is a chance to choose again. Life is yours for the taking, so set your sights on your goals, and enjoy the journey on your way there.

Benefits of office culture

How to positively lead change in the workplace

Change is a constant in today’s work place but that doesn’t make it any easier for us humans to deal with. When facing change employees look to their leaders to see them through, and as leaders we have the opportunity to make change positive for our people. Workers may be loathed to leave the familiarity of their daily routine and comfort zone, and be hesitant or fearful that they will not be able to cope. It is with a positive attitude that leaders will persuade staff to embrace change and gain much.

“A LEADER IS ONE WHO KNOWS THE WAY, GOES THE WAY AND SHOWS THE WAY”-LAOTZU.

Change is complex and challenging but a work place that does not evolve cannot be competitive, successful or thrive. Change under the correct leadership can be the catalyst to innovation, improved organizational functionality, increased competitiveness, higher financial performance and greater customer satisfaction. For employees change under correct leadership can enhance skills development, performance and personal growth. Positive, innovative and visionary leadership result in sustainable change.

The role of leadership in organizational change

“OUR CHIEF WANT IS SOMEONE WHO WILL INSPIRE US TO BE WHAT WE KNOW WE COULD BE”-RALPH WALDO EMERSON.

More than ever, the role of leadership is of tantamount importance. Organizational leadership plays the   key role in the evolution and growth of a business. A good leader helps employees face and embrace the challenges of change, while working towards organizational goals in a worthy way.  The strategic role of a leader in change can include: allocation of resources; alignment; vision; deciding on the future focus of the business; gaining commitment and motivation from the team; and achieving sustainable growth. Successful change is reliant on effective and intelligent leadership. A leader’s foot prints should be everywhere.

Since 2019, COVID changed the way we live and work. Even without a global pandemic other organizational changes could be things such as different reporting lines, restructuring and changes in the number of employees. Many structural changes are being implemented as companies adopt a hybrid workplace where employees rotate in and out. This has, and will, transform a company’s culture, engagement and the way business gets done. Demographics have also changed with innovations in health care resulting in an increased multigenerational workforce. It is essential to adapt and be innovative in creating productive and united teams. There is also a focus and prioritization on diversity and inclusion in the workplace to combat discrimination and cultural bias.

Technological advances, changes in legislation, shifts in customer expectations and service, business decisions and diversification, all bring change that need to be responded to by leaders and their strategic initiatives. A “positive change strategy” results in rewards being reaped despite organizations being in uncharted waters.

Positive benefits of change in the workplace.

With change, you must anticipate that people are going to resist. As humans, we are wired to resist change, preferring the status quo, routine and a sense of security. A change results in psychological and physiological reactions in people. The unknown is uncomfortable, and our brains will tend to seek familiarity. If employees are not supported in change it can lead to demotivation, resistance, resentment, loss of talent, job insecurity and poor performance.

 It is the leader’s role to make, implement and drive successful change. Change can have a positive impact by adding value or transforming situations and people. Research indicates that an adaptable individual can flex their personality to continue to perform in a changing context. Adaptable employees can tap into the behaviours and mindsets needed to be both disciplined and creative, thoughtful and expressive, spontaneous and logical. These characteristics of being agile, flexible or versatile bring benefits not only to themselves, but also to the whole team. Critically studies show that adaptability is something that we can learn, develop and grow.

So what can you as a leader do to make your people, teams and business adaptable and flexible? Some key behaviours to implement successful change for leaders should be:

  • Have a vision and innovative approach

Having a clear vision of where the organization is heading, aligning the team and clearly mapping the destination clearly gives direction and motivation to your people to face and conquer the challenges of change.

  • Effective communication:

Communication is always key. Without clear communication and repetition of core messages, many will struggle to positively involve themselves in change. Communication elicits better employee engagement and relations. You need to communicate the WHAT and the WHY of the change.

  • Lead authentically:

To be truly authentic is to behave in a way so that needs are met. It’s a dance between staying true to values while being flexible and malleable. By leading with clarity and authenticity you can build a strong work culture and climate.

  • Celebrate small wins:

 Leaders who celebrate and appreciate goals achieved by their employees and subordinates motivate their teams. Frequently give recognition and rewards, to maintain enthusiasm and boost confidence.  

  • Be proactive about change: 

As a leader you have to always be fit for the future, the onus is on you to be a forward thinker. Develop a futuristic mindset that scans the horizon for change. One needs to be proactive and preempt the changes before they occur. Looking back and applying past experiences and predicting the future shifts will put you on the front foot. Keep current, fail fast when appropriate and recover quickly.  

  • Collaborate and include employees in change:

As a leader you need employees to trust and respect you so you can inspire and motivate. Scout out the innovative thinkers in the organization and collaborate with them including them in change plans. Empower the employees to act consistently with the new vision and help sustain commitment to it. Encourage them and adapt your strategy to suit your employee’s needs.

  • Find change agents and champions: 

Change agents can be internal such as managers or employees. It is the individual or group who takes the task of initiating and managing change in an organization. As a leader you need to identify change agents as they are vital to successful transformation. The following traits are desirable in change agents: experience, expertise, access, flexibility, representative characteristics, enthusiasm, organizational knowledge and influence

  • Foster psychological safety:

Leader-Member relationships are key to the success. Trust is earned and as leader you need to attract employees and subordinates. A supportive management style, not a dictative style, would give the desired result. Grow your empathy by putting yourself into other’s shoes. People working in psychological safe environments feel: included, accepted and respected. When people are respected they give more than their hands or the day to day grind, they are invested and give their minds and heads as well.

  • Create mechanisms for support and feedback:

Throughout change make employees feel supported. Make time for open discussion of problem areas, things that are going well and honest questions. Offer formal coaching and access to counseling. Informal support may involve a cup of coffee, regular check ins, practice active listening and have an open door policy. Be available, be approachable. Effective feedback is critical and helps people grow, adapt, and become better versions of themselves within change.

  • Reinforce job security:

When things change people feel insecure, leaders must reassure them that their jobs are not under threat. Job security is knowing that your job is safe and having the assurance that you will be able to work in your current employment for the for seeable future. As an employer you can increase job security for employees. Encourage learning and development, upskilling, lead with pragmatism and resilience. 

Conclusion

If you are a leader that understands the need for and benefit of change and the value of your people, you will be the organization that stands above competition and you will succeed in the ever changing environment of business. Take bold steps and foster your ability to be an agent of change. This is an ever green skill you can develop for yourself and your organisation. 

Work Balance

Balance, Routine and You in 2022

Our tips to creating a sustainable work life balance and routine.

Work life balance is not just a nice to have, it is essential if you want a productive and happy life. And it is becoming even more important with the shift in work situations, the blurring of work and home boundaries, new expectations, always on culture, and increasing work pressure. Part of creating a balance for yourself and those you work with is knowing why work life balance is important, what it is and what is it not. 

Often times people think work life balance is simply time management, but time really is not the issue. Creating a balanced lifestyle is actually about feeling content in your work, decisions, priorities and life choices. At the heart of it, a work life balance requires you to be clear on your priorities, take control of your career and simplifying the rest. It truly is not something you find but rather create through consistent choices.

It is important to remember that work life balance really is different for everyone. Research suggests there are generational differences in what we see as balance, it is not something as simple as the hours spent in the office. Both men and women value work life balance, they just use different language to describe their ideal. When asked what balance would mean for them, women focus on words like balance and meaning, men will use words like priorities and impact. From an organizational perspective being an employer of choice would mean creating a culture that promotes sustainable work practices and demands, while encouraging a healthy and well life. Your talent is more likely to remain at work, be productive and engaged if they feel their company and the leaders support their needs for a meaningful, impactful and fulfilled life.

The importance of finding balance and joy at work

Finding a healthy balance between work and your personal life has a number of implications for an individual, team and organization’s wellbeing. A healthy work life balance will not only affect health but also relationships, team dynamics, productivity and performance. On an individual level, when a healthy balance is created, employees are less likely to suffer from burnout, chronic stress, poor mental health, physiological health issues like heart disease, hypertension or body pain, taking sick leave, fatigue and poor productivity. On an organizational and team level lacking a balance in your workplace culture could result in high rates of absenteeism, high staff turnover, presentism, disengagement, poor quality work and a lack of creativity.

The Psychology of Routine and Balance

When we think of routines, we often revert to thoughts of monotony and boredom, the same thing every day with the same people in the same place. A routine could mean doing a different job every day, travelling to a different country or meeting new people. It’s not about what your routine consists of, but a sequence of actions that you follow regularly with expected outcomes. Because as humans we are wired to see uncertainty as a risk, having a routine allows us to find flow, be more productive and effective. Routine almost acts as a protective factor in our day to day, allowing us to rather focus on what is important. That is why a routine is a good factor to include when you are striving to create balance, having a set of behaviors that supersede circumstances allows us to pool all our cognitive and emotional strength towards what is demanding in the moment, to use all our excess energy to balance our life demands.

Tips to cultivating a balance in your organization

As a leader in an organization it is important to ensure you support work life balance and a happy work environment through identifying what it means to your employees and incorporating this into your ways of work. Some tips for you as an organization and leader could be:

  • Set a good example and live the balance you want to instill
  • Flexible work arrangements that allow employees to work and give their best at work around the demands they may have at home
  • Letting staff work from home when it suits their role and requirements
  • Bringing balance into the office whether it be opportunities for exercise or healthy food choices
  • Creating a comfortable work environment where employees want to be
  • Encourage breaks in the work day 
  • Create a culture of switching off, leaving work at work
  • Speak about and educate your employees about the importance of their wellbeing

Tips to Create your Own Work Life Balance

Accept that it is a balance, not perfection

It is not about finding the perfect routine or schedule, but rather striving for a realistic balance. Some days might require you to be more focused on work, others on your personal commitments. Remember it is a balance you create over time, keep the bigger picture in mind. 

Plan and take control of your career

Working in a draining job or toxic environment will take a toll on your, no matter how hard you try to create a balance. You do not need to, and in fact it is probably impossible, to love every aspect of your jo but on the whole you should find some sort of reward in what you do.

Clarify your priorities

At some point you will need to realize you cannot be everything to everyone. If you find yourself in a cycle of burnout, over extending yourself and just never creating a balance – maybe it is time to simplify and figure out what it is that is important to you. Once you know what those few things are that give you meaning and impact in life you can distill your choices down to support them. 

Make your health your focus

Your physical, emotional and mental health are so important, in fact without your health it is impossible to experience any type of quality of life. Make sure that you include managing your health as part of your choices and routine in creating balance.

Don’t be afraid to unplug

Switching off and creating some distance from all the noise around us can allow us to hit refresh from time to time, we all need to decompress and give ourselves some down time. There is no nobility in being always on. 

Set clear boundaries

It can be important to clarify and reinforce your boundaries. When are you going to work? What hours are work calls and emails priority? When do you need to focus on the other parts of your life? Remaining consistent with your boundaries not only allows you to find a balance but also sets expectations and creates clarity for others. Consistency helpful for both you and those you work with.