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.

Goals for 2022

Things we’re going to START and STOP in 2022

2022 is the year to say goodbye to New Year’s Resolutions and say hello to Start and Stop Lists. We’ve identified a way for you to achieve your goals and make this year the best one yet!

A start and stop list is very similar to your run of the mill new year’s resolutions and they both have the same strategy in mind – to help you achieve your goals. January is the perfect time to stop and reflect on the year that just passed. Think about the highs and the lows and take note of exactly what you want to change to have a better new year. 

What is a stop and start list? 

It’s as simple as it sounds. A stop and start list is all the things you’re going to stop doing or accepting in 2022 and all the things you’re going to start doing to have a better year. 

Before creating this list, take a moment to sit back and reflect on everything that happened in 2021 – the good, the bad and everything in between. 

Think about the things you’d like to stop doing going forward, some things you’d like to begin doing and what you’d like to continue to do. 

Then create your list of everything you’d to;

START:  What will you START doing to be more effective and accomplish your goals?

STOP:  What will you STOP doing to free up time, resources and create greater focus? What will you stop letting affect you or keep you from achieving your goals? 

CONTINUE: What will you CONTINUE doing that’s working well and serving you and the life you’re creating?

New Goals

Some things to stop and start in 2022 

What to stop 

Procrastinating – It’s so much easier to put things off and get to it later but procrastinating only leads to more stress and is a hindrance to you achieving your goals. 

Comparing yourself to others – Social media has given us a snapshot into everyone’s seemingly perfect and fun lives. Remember this is a heavily filtered peak into a very small portion of someone’s true reality.

Putting off trying new things – Ever wanted to try yoga or start a journal or go mountain biking but talked yourself out of it? 2022 is the year to do at least one new thing and stick to it! 

Regularly binge-watching tv series – Honestly, this is more of a note to self but it’s a good thing for all of us to stop doing. Netflix has given us all the opportunity to binge-watch multiple series on end but this year, try to restrict how much tv you’re watching and still your time with some more productive or meaningful.

Filling all your free time with social media – If you really think about how much time you waste mindlessly scrolling through TikTok or Instagram, it’s actually quite scary. Maybe think of setting a limit on when or how often you can go on any form of social media in a day. You’ll probably find that you have a lot more time in your day.

What to start 

Looking after yourself and putting yourself first – Self-care is your top priority in 2022 because if you aren’t properly taking care of yourself, you can’t help those around you and you’ll struggle to achieve your goals. 

Making a list of goals and sticking to themNow, this isn’t a new year’s resolution like “I will start going to the gym”. These are specific things you want to achieve that will help you become a better you and get you to where you want to be in life. Thus your fitness goal would be something more specific like; “I will go to the gym 3 times a week before work”. 

Prioristing your health – If you don’t live a very active life, find some form of physical activity you love doing and make it a habit. Think about the nutrients you’re consuming and how you can eat better for your body. Consider eliminating unhealthy habits like smoking and ordering too much takeout. 

A new hobby – Make it a fun mission to do something new this year whether it’s painting, running or journaling. There are so many new things to try out there and it’s a great way to fall in love with this year. 

Planning for the future – When you’re thinking of the goals you’d like to achieve this year, start thinking about how these goals will help you get to where you want to be in the future. Work towards that promotion you’ve been thinking about, plan a budget that will help you save as much as possible for a future trip or to buy a house.  

 

Explore: 5 simple habits to improve your health and investments

Things to continue 

Taking care of yourself – You deserve to be loved by yourself first. Spend time with yourself and spoil yourself! 

Working towards your dream job – Don’t just talk about the dream job you want, continue working at making that dream a reality. 

Loving the people around you – The people in your life have helped you get to where you are, continue to show them the love and appreciation you have for them. 

Being kind to yourself – The year is going to have its ups and downs. It’s important for you to give yourself a break when things get tough. You’re doing the best you can. 

 

Just saying “2022 is going to be my year” won’t make it so. You have to actively work at making this the best year for you. There are some things you need to leave behind in 2021 and some things you have to push yourself to start doing this year. These are only a few of our suggestions, make your stop and start list personal to you and your goals. You’ll be surprised at what you can achieve in 2022.

Christmas Lunch

6 Simple tips to avoid overeating this festive season

The holiday season is upon us and with all the fun festivities comes an abundance of delicious food! It’s definitely the time to indulge a little bit but there can also be too much of a good thing. Our top tips will have you loving the festive food without bingeing. 

In many households, a good holiday season is often associated with an abundance of food from large meals to snacks and desserts. We become accustomed to thinking that it’s perfectly fine to overeat during December and we’ll get back to our healthy ways in January. But many of us start the new year feeling lethargic, bloated and just uncomfortable. 

As much as we love good food, delicious drinks and great company, there really can be too much of a good thing. You don’t want to binge and overindulge to the point where you feel ill or unhappy. 

Our tips will ensure you enjoy all the festivities without feeling the need to binge or overeat. Sound a little impossible? Keep reading, we’ve got you!

Something important to keep in mind

Please remember that this is not the time of year to think about a diet or feel bad about yourself or nitpick at every single thing you’re putting into your body. 

This time of the year is for you to focus on your loved ones, think about the year that you just thrived through (yes, we say thrived because even if you don’t think so, you’ve accomplished SO much this year) and it’s a time to have FUN! 

But while you’re loving life and finally getting the relaxation you deserve, don’t let your health take a backseat. Even though we fully support you living it up and indulging here and there, you still need to have some form of control over what you’re consuming. 

This is why we’ve highlighted some simple ways to avoid bingeing and overeating this festive season. 

Explore: How to practice mindful and intuitive eating during the holidays.

Tips to avoid the festive binge

Think about it like this – rather have 1 mince pie in one afternoon instead of 4. It’s small changes like this that will easily keep you from bingeing and feeling bleh.

  1. Ever thought about a festive food goal? 

Now, we know this may sound a little restrictive but it doesn’t have to be. When we say a festive food goal, we mean something like choosing to have one sugary treat a day. This could be one chocolate from your advent calendar or one serving of dessert. You choose what your treat is but just make sure it’s only one a day (while still keeping tip 3 in mind).   

This way you won’t be eating multiple treats with no sense of control. We know the mindset of “Ugh, it’s Christmas” or “But it’s the holidays” is tempting to use as an excuse to eat whatever you want but by setting small food goals for the festive season, you’ll feel better and it will be better for you in the long run. 

 

Christmas Feast

2. Eat smart and plan ahead

If you’re going out to a party or meeting up with friends, eat a nutritious snack before heading out. This will ensure that you’re not starving when you get to where you’re going so you’ll be less inclined to over-order or overeat.

 

If you’re going to your aunt’s house and you know that she’s not a big veggie eater, offer to bring a  dish and make a nutritious veggie bake. This way you have a little control over the nutrients you’re giving your body. 

There are little adjustments you can make by simply planning ahead. 

3. Think about those portions

Now this is the trickiest tip of them all! Restricting the amount of peppermint crisp tart that you’re quite literally drooling over, is no easy feat. 

But this is one of the easiest things for you to do. When dishing up for yourself, rather go for a little less, if you’re still hungry, you can still go for seconds but you’ll probably find that your eyes are always a little bigger than your stomach. 

You’ll find that if you have a smaller portion of each food offered at a meal and wait 10 minutes after eating, you’ll actually be satisfied. And you’ll have a little extra space for dessert too!

 

Discover: Simple holiday exercises 

4. Don’t forget your veggies 

It’s so easy to immediately pile all the roasted potatoes on your plate or the different assortments of bread and before you know it, there’s no room for veggies or salad. 

Make sure you’re still eating enough veggies. Veggies keep you fuller for longer and will keep you from sneaking to the fridge for a midnight snack later. 

5. Be mindful 

Actually think about all that you’re eating. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the food that surrounds you but really think about what you want and what will serve your body. Eat slowly and think about how you feel. Remain in tune with your body, it will tell you what you need and even if your mind is yelling “more!”, your body is probably begging you to stop so pay attention.  

6. Be kind to yourself 

Like we mentioned, this is an amazing time of the year and it’s not the time to be hard on yourself. But you really don’t want to feel uncomfortable or unhappy so by simply being more mindful and having a tiny bit of self-control, you’ll go into the new year feeling refreshed and satisfied! 

Related: 8 Health hacks to stay healthy and fit this festive season

We’re not even going to lie to you, this blog has us thinking about those mince pies and delicious meals that await us so we’ll leave you with this – you deserve this break, you deserve the treats and delicious food and you deserve the time with your loved ones so enjoy it to the fullest! 

Just remember to pace yourself, think about what your body needs and be kind to yourself because you deserve it!

Happy holidays from all of us at WellBe & Co!

Gratitude

Planting positivity – what you need to know about the art of gratitude

In a world as unpredictable and crazy as ours, it’s easy to forget to be grateful. We go about living our lives the same way each day but did you know that actively practising the art of gratitude can change your life? 

Actively expressing gratitude has been proven to improve levels of anxiety, depression, stress and it changes your way of thinking where you no longer dwell on the negative but start to focus on the good in your life. However, having an attitude of gratitude is more than just saying “thank you”. 

What is the art of gratitude? 

The art of gratitude goes hand in hand with living a more mindful life. When you focus on being mindful, you are trying to be more present in all that you do. By being more present, you slow down your daily routine and you’re more cognizant of your life and the people around you.  

When you practise the art of gratitude, you also slow down and focus on the good in your life and the good in the people you surround yourself with. 

The art of gratitude, at its core, is simply living a happy and fulfilling life. It’s where you regularly take the time to be thankful for all that you have, to thank those around you and share in the abundance of life. The more you do this, the more good you start to attract and by just practising gratitude, you are planting the first seed of positivity. 

Related: Living With Gratitude: How To Make Every Day Count

How to practise the art of gratitude 

This isn’t a difficult task. There are no major changes you need to make. The main thing is to slow your day down and focus on what you have to be thankful for. You can do this by;

Journaling 

Create a gratitude journal, nothing fancy, a notebook will do just fine. 

Every morning or every evening, hide your phone away for a little while and sit in a calm and happy space (my favourite is outside on the patio with a cup of Rooibos tea). Now take the time to reflect on your life, the people in it, your achievements and write down a list of things to be grateful for. 

Some examples could be; your furry companion, your health, the job you have or even that you made it out of bed that day (this is a very important one if you’re going through a tough time). 

You can list as many things as you want to but we recommend at least listing 3-5.   

Saying thank you

This sounds obvious but have you ever held a door open for someone or let them into your lane during heavy traffic and not been thanked? It’s not the best feeling. 

Now you don’t have to throw a parade for every person that does something nice but simply acknowledging that someone helped you goes a very long way. Take the time to actively thank those who have made your day a little easier. 

If you have a friend or family member who has been a ray of sunshine in your life recently, send them some flowers or even a text letting them know that they’re appreciated. 

Making others feel good has a direct response to how you feel. 

Having daily affirmations 

You can use your gratitude journal or simply do this in front of the mirror but as much as you’re grateful for all that you have, you need to be equally grateful for all that you are. 

Some self-love can drastically change your perceptions and feelings. Be thankful that you are here, that you are an incredible person, a good friend and someone who is valued. 

In the same way that you’d take some time to write in your journal what you’re grateful for, take the time to pause and be grateful that you are you.

Meditating

Similar to being mindful, meditation and focusing on your breathing is a great way to practise being grateful. 

During mindful meditation, you are focused on the present moment without any judgement and often during this time while you focus on your breathing you think of a word or a phrase like peace or happiness. With the art of gratitude though, you can focus on what you are grateful for and let those beautiful thoughts manifest in your subconscious. 

Take a look at how to master meditation here

Planting Gratitude

How planting positivity can change your life 

Planting seeds of positivity and letting them flourish into multiple facets of gratitude can transform your life in a variety of ways. Listed below are some of those ways; 

Gratitude shifts your focus

You begin to see the positive rather than the negative and as you begin to master the art of gratitude, the negative in your life won’t have a great hold over you and you will navigate your way through it better. 

Being grateful makes you feel happier

The more grateful you are, the more you start to realise how good your life actually is. 

You’ll be less materialistic

This doesn’t mean that you won’t have the drive to acquire all that you want in life but you won’t be as focused on getting the next best thing. You’ll be satisfied and grateful for what you have been blessed with. 

You’ll be less likely to experience burnout

As you use mindfulness and the art of gratitude to navigate your way through life, you’ll begin to live a slower-paced life that will feel more manageable. You’ll begin to prioritise important tasks and work through them in a much calmer manner.

You’ll improve your physical health

You’ll start to sleep better and feel more in tune with your body and its needs, encouraging you to be more physically active (through yoga, going for walks etc) and have more time to focus on your and your needs. 

You’ll begin to develop patience, humility and wisdom

As you slow down and focus on the good in your life, you’ll begin to feel more at peace and more inclined to enjoy the smaller things in life and all it has to offer. 

The art of gratitude is another way of practicing self-love and getting more out of this life. Life gets busy and with all that we have faced during the pandemic, it is so important to actively seek the sprouts of positivity all around you.

Career growth

How to Bloom Where You Are & Succeed

By Jessica Brownlee

Even if you feel your life circumstances are less than desirable right now, you can choose to bloom anyway!

It can easily feel like life is throwing you some pretty nasty surprises, or just keeps dealing you a rotten hand of cards. While you can’t change certain things and just need to play the cards you are dealt, you can in the midst of less than ideal situations choose to make the best of your circumstances and bloom anyway.

With spring in the air a popular mexican proverb comes to mind, “they tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds”. You may have had a particularly difficult past few months, I think most of South Africa and the Global population has faced some sort of challenges, and naturally on some days it feels like we are a little seed buried deep in the dark soil. One thing we don’t want is for you to be all cavalier and ooze toxic positivity about your challenges, because they do matter. What you feel and what you’ve been through matter. But with Spring upon us we want to encourage you and help you find ways to leverage your enduring human spirit, boost your mood and bloom in the midst of it. 

Just like a wildflower blooming in the spring, you too will go through stages. Getting to a place of happiness, satisfaction and genuine optimism is a process. As Wellbe, we want to share some tools and tips with you to help you bloom and attract what you desire in life. Just like that wildflower you walked past in the park or the one growing in the cracks of the paving outside your office, it all starts with a little seed. Here are some practical little seeds for you to plant to allow yourself to bloom:

Bloom where you are

Shift your mindset

Too often we think that happiness or fulfillment will be attained if we can just get there or do this or be more like that. We want to challenge you to acknowledge that you already have everything you need to be happier, more content and to fulfill your potential. Perhaps this spring you need a mindset shift, from scarcity to abundance. A scarcity mindset is rooted in the belief that there is not enough. For example, you may believe you do not have enough time, money, resources, work and opportunities to achieve your goals or be more content. But the truth is that your inability to see the abundance around you is what is limiting you. You need to try shift to an abundance mindset, one which focuses on surplus rather than limits. By focusing on abundance, or what you have enough of, you will feel calmer, be more resilient and set yourself up to bloom. Next time you find yourself dwelling on what you do not have enough of, shift to focusing on what you do in fact have plenty of and see how your life changes.

Tune in to your physical health

It is almost impossible to live your best life if you are feeling under the weather and lacking vitality. You can truly thrive by tuning into your physical health and your physical needs, as much as you do your emotional or social needs. Remember managing your physical health may look very different to your friends. Try new things and focus on what works for you, if it’s a daily walk over HITT or eating more carbs than fats, do that. Get back to basics focusing on balancing blood sugar, moving and sleeping. Our bodies are all unique and it is never a one size fits all.

Be Proactive about your goals

All too often we get caught up in the here and now and we neglect to take actionable steps towards our future desires. An important part of feeling content, and blooming where you are, is deliberately working towards something meaningful for you. In fact, psychologists call this the happiness of excellence, it is kind of happiness that comes from the pursuit of something great. Find something that you want to work towards whether it is a fitness journey, a personal growth goal, redecorating your patio or replanting your garden or a new skill for your career and take proactive and measured actions towards it.

Build your social connections

Joy is increased when it is shared. You cannot bloom, grow and thrive without healthy and fulfilling social connections. By genuinely bonding and connecting with others you are meeting many important basic human needs. Take time this spring to spend some quality time with one or two people who build you up. Do something nice for someone else and enjoy their feelings of joy and gratitude. When life is challenging it is easy to focus inwards, but by focusing outwards you are allowing yourself better perspective on your challenges and sharing the load.

Take time to do the work and get to know yourself

Often we are motivated and content when we are doing things in alignment to our core values and interests. Take some time this spring, before genuine silly season sets in, to explore your strengths, values and what makes you truly happy. You could spend time doing a journal, a vision board, speak to a trusted advisor or just set time aside to reflect on who you are and why you value yourself. Getting in touch with yourself can be immensely rewarding, build your self-esteem and enhance every area of your life, as you genuinely come to know what you want.

Perhaps when working through these tips and tools you can identify a few more little seeds that you can plant or habits you can water that will bring you more contentment, joy and thriving, right where you are. Spring has sprung, take the new season and the warmer weather as inspiration to start fresh and live a more fulfilled life. 

 

 


 

About Jessica Brownlee

Jessica is an industrial and organizational psychologist specializing in learning, leadership, talent, neuroscience and wellness. A self-proclaimed wellness geek, Jessica writes The Humble Humanologist blog to inspire, motivate and uplift others on their work and wellness journey. She is her own boss, running a consulting company, Psychology360 (www.psychology360.org) and consults globally to some of the leading organizations. Jessica also strives to find balance and is an avid yogi and yoga teacher (who is yet to master a hand stand).

Instagram: @thehumblehumanologist

Facebook: Psychology360

Website: www.psychology360.org

Female Health Checks

5 Important Health Checks Every Woman Should Do

As women, we are in between trying to balance careers, children, families, social lives and so on. And because of how busy life gets, it can be hard to remember to look after your own health on top of it all.

This is why creating healthy habits for yourself through eating healthily, exercising and meditation is so crucial because you need the energy and ability to tackle your everyday. Over and above creating healthy habits, it’s also very important to ensure that you have regular health checks. The reason why health checks are so important is that they can improve your quality of life, prevent complications and detect potential problems early, which can ultimately save your life in the long run.

So the question is: What health checks should you be getting?

Female Health Checks

1. Pap Smears

As you enter adulthood you should be going to get regular Pap Smears. According to WebMD you should go for the test “every 3 years from ages 21 to 65”. The purpose of this exam is to test for cervical cancer in women. It can also reveal changes in your cervical cells that may turn into cancer later.

2. Mammograms

A mammogram is a screening for breast cancer. It involves compressing the breast between plates so that X-ray images can be captured. According to nationalbreastcancer.org “women 40 and older should have mammograms every 1 or 2 years”.

3. Blood pressure

Having regular blood pressure tests should happen throughout your life. According to heart.org, “blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range”. To maintain a healthy blood pressure range you need to follow a healthy diet and incorporate regular exercise into your life.

4. Skin examination

Regular at home skin examinations should happen every month. You need to start getting in the habit of scanning your skin for any new moles or start pointing out changes to existing moles as they can be an early sign of skin cancer. According to cancer.orgfinding it early when it’s small and has not spread, makes skin cancer much easier to treat”. If you have a family history of skin cancer it’s best to go for regular check ups with your doctor or dermatologist.

5. Dental checks

From the moment you get your first tooth and through your whole life you should be going for regular checks with your dentist. According to nhs.uk “people with good oral health will probably need to attend only once every 12 to 24 months, but those with more problems will need check-ups more often”. This way you can spot early signs of decay and any other problems.

 

Self Care

There’s more to self-care than you think

We hear words like self-care and self-love a lot lately. These words are thrown around so often that they begin to lose their meaning and we start to feel overwhelmed with what we’re supposed to do. 

Is self-care eating that extra-large slab of chocolate you’ve been eyeing or is it taking a day off of work to recharge? Let’s unpack what self-care really is, the different types of self-care and why it’s so important to actively practise self-care every day. 

What is self-care?

Self-care is far more than you may have originally thought. It’s not overindulgence, it’s not about being selfish and ignoring all your responsibilities, there’s a little more to it. Self-care is about taking care of yourself holistically

It’s looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally so that you are healthy in mind, body and soul to accomplish everything you need to and so that you can dominate each day.  

In order to achieve optimal self-care, there are 5 types of self-care that you should focus on. 

 

Self-care Tips

Different forms of self-care 

1. Physical 

The first step to self-care is looking after your body. Now, this doesn’t mean working out for 2 hours 5 days a week. It just means that you will make healthier choices so that your body can run efficiently. 

It’s important to remember that there is a connection between your mind and your body. In order for your mind to be healthy, your body needs to be healthy too and vice versa. 

To be physically healthy, you need to make conscious decisions about the food you’re eating, how much sleep you’re getting and the physical activities you love.  

If you’re new to physical exercise, give these tips a try at home!

2. Social 

This is often something we don’t think about as self-care but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear how important social self-care is. 

This involves having healthy relationships with friends and family. It can be easy to let close relationships slip, life gets busy and it can be exhausting trying to keep up. This is made even more difficult by a pandemic that limits your social interaction. 

It’s important to set aside time to maintain your relationships. Take a couple of minutes out of your day to check in with your friends, set up a video call or meet for coffee (when it’s safe to do so). There’s no right or wrong amount of time to spend with friends and family but it’s important to nurture these relationships. 

3. Mental 

Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical wellbeing. Just like you exercise your body, you need to exercise your mind. 

Mental self-care includes doing things that keep your mind active. Find things you love to do like reading or even downloading apps that focus on keeping you mentally fit. 

Another way to take care of yourself mentally is by journaling. You can start by writing what you’re grateful for each day and some self-affirmations. This will help you develop a healthy inner dialogue. 

4. Spiritual 

Spiritual self-care is unique to everyone but it definitely aids in your self-care process. It involves finding something that helps you develop a deeper sense of meaning and connection with the universe. 

You can do this by meditating, focusing on your religion and praying or discovering your own spirituality.

5. Emotional 

Your emotional self-care is so important. It is vital to find ways to handle difficult and uncomfortable feelings and emotions. 

Do you feel your emotions or do you have a habit of ignoring them? Confronting your emotions is necessary for your overall self-care so they don’t fester into something far worse. 

Find ways to process your feelings by maybe chatting to a friend you trust, going to therapy or writing your feelings in a notebook every day so you can process what you went through that day. Have a look at how you can live a more positive life here

Why is self-care so important?

As we said, self-care is not laying on the couch all day binge-watching series, self-care is putting your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing above everything else. 

We live fast-paced lives and it’s so easy to lose yourself in the hustle and bustle so you really need to slow it down. Start living a more meaningful life and be more cognisant of what you’re feeling every day and make sure you are actively looking after yourself.  You deserve it!

This is a life we should fall in love with not simply begrudgingly go through it.

Toxic Relationship

How to recognize a toxic relationship and practice self-care?

Sometimes you need a little help recognizing when something isn’t good for you, especially when emotions are involved. Here are some red flags that your relationship might be toxic and how you can care for yourself

As human beings we are wired for connection, we come into this world ready to connect. Relationships are such an important part of the human condition we tend to take them for granted. We all have an inherent desire to connect with others. Relationships are the glue that holds us together during stressful times, add meaning to our life, create stability, increase our emotional stability, allow us to learn and grow, give us a way to understand ourselves and add to our feelings of meaning in life. 

Healthy relationships are vital to having healthy emotional and mental health, just as toxic relationships can erode our sense of wellbeing. In fact, poor social connection and loneliness can be as detrimental to your life expectancy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. So while you are focusing on eating well, moving well, practicing self-care and pursuing a health work life balance, you could be undoing all your hard work by staying in a toxic relationship. 

The thing is it is not always easy to recognize when a relationship is toxic, especially with emotions involved. And relationships always have a context you need to negotiate and a dynamic you need to understand. A healthy or toxic relationship can be with a significant other, a family member, authority figure, work colleague or friend. A toxic relationship can be familial, friendly, romantic or professional. As part of being well, we at Wellbe want to encourage you to practice self-care in all facets of your life, including your relationships. 

What is a toxic relationship?

A toxic relationship is any relationship which results in either party feeling unsupported, experiencing excessive negative implications and conflict and where one party seeks to undermine the other. Disrespect is usually a key feature. Yes, every relationship will go through ups and downs but what makes a toxic relationship different is that the negative impact outweighs the positive, causing emotional, physical and mental harm to either person. When one person in the relationship consistently undermines or harms the other, whether it is intentional or not, a relationship can be considered toxic. In fact, you may realize you are perpetuating the toxic behaviors without even being aware. Often times a toxic relationship may not even be a fault of either person, but rather because of an incompatible pairing. For example, a people pleaser might end up with someone who is stronger and more controlling, causing a toxic situation where the one person consistently sacrifices their needs to gain the approval of the other.

The other thing is, people who are toxic in a relationship may have very good reason to be, but that does not make the relationship ok. Essentially despite the cards you have been dealt, there are things you need to let go. Often times those who are abusive, toxic or bully others are modelling this toxic behavior on past experiences they have had. Sometimes the toxic individual is someone with mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression or past trauma. Perhaps, the person on the receiving end of the toxic behavior will have experienced it in their childhood, causing them to accept the same themes as acceptable in their later relationships.

It is important to note that a toxic relationship may be an abusive relationship. And abuse is never ok. If you suspect your relationship is abusive you should reach out to someone you trust or get professional help. 

Toxic Relationship

What are the red flags of a toxic relationship?

When you hear the term toxic relationship, your mind probably jumps to a situation which is violent, abusive or involves harassment. The truth is most toxic relationships are subtler. Sometimes the warning signs can be missed and we end up staying in them for longer than we should, compromising our wellbeing. Here are some red flags to look out for in your relationships.

How does the relationship make you feel?

Reflect on how a relationship makes you feel, if any of the below describe how you feel most of the time in a relationship it may indicate it is toxic:

  • Consistent unhappiness: any relationship which makes you feel anxious, sad, frustrated or angry could be toxic.
  • Negative shifts in your mental health, personality or self-esteem: any relationship which makes you feel depressed, anxious, perpetuates an eating disorder, makes you feel worth less than you did previously or causes you to change and withdraw from your usual personality.
  •  Negative impact on other relationships or how you spend free time: any relationship which causes you to withdraw from relationships that usually bring you joy or if your relationship makes you feel guilty for pursuing things which usually give you joy. 
  • Feelings of guilt: if another person consistently makes you feel guilty or ashamed of who you are, what you enjoy or your lifestyle it may be toxic.
  • A worse version of you: if you find that you are becoming a version of yourself you no longer like and consistently display your worst character traits, it’s time to consider whether this relationship is healthy.
  • Drains your energy: sometimes after spending time with certain people we feel drained and exhausted, often avoiding that person if we can. This is a telltale sign that the energy in the relationship is likely toxic. 

Do you recognize any of these toxic behaviors?

Perhaps it is easier to identify a toxic relationship by looking out for behavioral red flags. The toxic relationship could be characterized by of the following patterns of behavior:

  • The other person only calls you or spends time with you when they need something
  • Time spent together is always focused on them or conversation centers around what they want to talk about
  • They put you down or make fun at your expense in front of others
  • You always leave time spent with them feeling negative, drained or worse about yourself
  • They are aggressively competitive towards you, often jealous and controlling
  • They bring drama into your life and behave in a way that makes you uncomfortable
  • They often disrespect you, forget to include you or exclude you from things
  • They gaslight you, making you question your feelings or perspectives
  • You have to walk on eggshells around them

How to practice self-care when you are in a toxic relationship

Depending on who the relationship is with, it can be very difficult to resolve, fix or end the toxic relationship. We want to encourage you, that part of caring for yourself is finding a happy medium between having healthy boundaries, healthy self-esteem and having healthy relationships. In fact, there is never a situation where it is ok to compromise caring for yourself to meet someone else’s needs. It brings to mind the lyric from a Jason Gladwin song that goes, “I set myself on fire to keep you warm”, and that is not ok. 

It is important to remember that there is a difference between toxic relationships and abusive relationships. There is never an excuse for an abusive relationship. If your relationship is drastically impacting your self-esteem, isolating you or causing severe physical and mental distress, we recommend you contact a professional and seek help. 

In a toxic relationship, whether you can fix the relationship or not, actually depends on both of you. The other person must also be willing to change and heal the toxic patterns. Here are some things you can do to ensure you take care of yourself:

  • Accept responsibility for your part in the relationship and letting the toxic behaviors become a pattern. 
  • Set healthy boundaries by recognizing when things make you uncomfortable or feel bad a make a point pushing back.
  • Learn to be assertive in a polite and kind manner letting the other person know when they are doing something you do not want to accept.
  • Don’t dwell on the past, start to focus on building new and positive patterns in your relationship.
  • Find support through a friend, support group or even therapy as sometimes you just need someone to encourage you and figure out why you let yourself get into this toxic pattern in the first place.
  • Practice healthy communication with a focus on how you speak to one another, tone of voice and your body language.
  • Heal individually to heal the relationship together, as we mentioned there is usually a reason people act the way they do and sometimes you need heal yourself before you can function in a healthy way in a relationship.

A word from WellBe&Co 

Through the sharing of knowledge and experience, we want to help build communities, organizations and individuals become the most optimal version of themselves, both physically, emotionally and mentally.  

Your health is your wealth so make lasting changes, one habit at a time.

The WellBe Team

Boost your Career

Does your career need a boost or is it more than that?

We’ve all felt like we’re stuck in a rut at some point. Be it in our personal lives or professionally, there are times where you feel that you need more or simply that something needs to change. Navigating these feelings can be difficult though.

How do you determine if it’s time for a promotion or even a new job? How do you know if you’re burnt out and need to focus more on your personal happiness? Feeling the need for change is one thing but knowing why and what changes to make is vital.

There are many reasons why we feel this way so we’re going to dive into ways you can understand what you’re feeling and figure out what you need to do. 

Struggling professionally

Ever spent a work day feeling miserable, annoyed at everyone and constantly wondering “why am I even doing this?” If you’ve ever felt anything like this, it might be time to consider the following:

It’s a good idea to upskill

These are just a few signs that it’s time to add some new skills to your repertoire;  

  1. People are being promoted around you 
  2. You find yourself getting bored easily 
  3. You’re constantly asking others for help with your tasks 

You might be sitting here and thinking but how is learning a new skill going to change anything? 

Upskilling yourself gives you the opportunity to branch out into something new and interesting while giving you the chance to add a new level of value to your company. Learning something new or mastering something you already know will give you a new sense of purpose and reignite your passion in the workplace. It is also never a bad idea to invest in yourself and learning new skills is the best way to do that.

Even better, you can use online courses from sites like Udemy that offer cost-effective options for you to expand your skillset. And you don’t even have to leave the house!

 

Career Success

Should you be asking for a raise or promotion? 

Knowing when and how to ask for a raise or promotion isn’t easy but these are a couple of signs that indicate it really is time to ask. 

  1. You killed your performance review 
  2. You’ve upskilled yourself and can now be considered as overqualified for your current position
  3. You’ve taken on  more responsibilities at work 

Asking for a raise or a promotion is a little daunting and can feel like an impossible task. There is definitely a lot that should be considered before doing so. According to this Forbes article, there are 5 major things you should think about before you make your request.

What stands out from that article is that preparation is key! Make sure you can adequately show why you deserve the raise or promotion, understand what your role is worth and know how to position yourself correctly to show the value you can add. 

Maybe it’s time for a new job 

It is so disheartening when you feel like you’re giving your all to a job that is giving nothing back to you. We spend the majority of our lives at work so when it’s not enjoyable, life as a whole can feel pretty ‘meh’. There are many reasons to find a new job, a few of them are;

  1. You’re often bored.
  2. It’s a toxic work environment
  3. It’s starting to impact your mental health
  4. You are constantly being overlooked for any promotional opportunities 

Always remember that your happiness, mental health and goals come before any job. If you are not satisfied in your current company or position then move onto bigger and better opportunities. 

Start off by really thinking about what you want and then begin browsing job listings on LinkedIn. This article by Balance Careers has some really great tips on how to get started! Starting a new job is often quite scary but the thrill of boosting your career is just SO worth it.

It’s personal 

You might find that you’re feeling really unmotivated and miserable at work but it has nothing to do with your company, your job role or anything work-related. This is when you have to really be mindful and understand where these feelings are coming from. 

Creating the elusive work-life balance can be a struggle and the fear of burnout is real. This is why it is so important for you to set boundaries within the workplace. You’ll find that once you begin to prioritise yourself, your goals and your mental health, everything falls into place. 

These are some of the best ways to overcome personal struggles that are impacting you professionally; 

  1. Begin each day on a positive note – a positive mindset can change everything!
  2. Be aware of imposter syndrome and how this is affecting you. Read more about imposter syndrome here. 
  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Perfection doesn’t exist so simply do the best you can.

Most importantly though, be patient with yourself and be kind to yourself. Life is difficult and we often feel endless pressure to be the best (thanks, Social Media). Simply take each day as it comes and make sure you’re doing the necessary work to keep bettering yourself.  

Whether you are struggling personally or professionally, it is time to make a change and take ownership of your own life. You’ve got this!

Boost your career

How to be professionally successful and feel it

By Jessica Brownlee

What is professional success, how can you get it and how to boost your feelings of accomplishment?

We all have goals and desires, things we want to achieve, work towards and aspire to. For many, being successful in their profession means reaching a goal, accomplishing something, achieving a level of status or expertise in their profession or just feeling good at what they do. The thing about being successful is not only about the things you measure and see but how you feel about those things. 

Success is a very personal thing, and sometimes despite what it looks like to others we just don’t feel successful. And how you define and see your success is important. It influences your drive, motivation, your choices, priorities and ultimately what you pursue. So it kind of makes sense that to be successful and feel successful, you need to first know what success is to you.

Another secret of professional success is that success generally begets successes. When you feel like you have achieved something noteworthy, your reward center in your brain is activated, releasing all those feel good hormones, which in turn re-energizes, motivates and inspires you towards more success seeking behavior. 

Clarifying your perception on professional success

Professional success really is personal, relative and contextual. Often the problem with our current mindsets and definitions of success is that we are subconsciously influenced by society and adopt external perspectives on what we define as our professional success. In fact, it is naïve to believe you have reached your current perception of success objectively and independently. For example, the unrealistic comparisons we make with others’ career posts on linkedin or any social media platforms makes us feel that perhaps we are not achieving at the level of others. Sometimes these unrealistic comparisons mean we see our peer group as earning more, achieving more and getting more status than us on a frequent basis, eroding our feelings of success.

Your current physical and mental state can also make you feel unsuccessful. Our body’s energy levels impact our decision making. Numerous studies have shown that your physical body shapes your mind. A hungry, tired or depleted person is more likely to come to a negative assessment of their professional success than someone who is rested and experiencing balanced blood sugar. Similarly, someone who is pessimistic or in a negative frame of mind, perhaps from sustained stress at work or the pandemic, is more likely to not feel successful than a person who is in mentally healthy space.  

Another thing to consider is how you are measuring your success, you may use measures of success which are stacked against you, making you feel like a failure again and again. What do we mean by this? A great example is you might be measuring your success purely on your annual income instead of your work life balance. So you earn less than your friend in their job but they work at least 60 hours a week compared to your 40. Similarly, research by Lean In shows women are less likely to receive a promotion to manager than men, which implies if you are a woman measuring your success by an increase in seniority of position instead of an increase in your expertise or achievements, you will feel unsuccessful despite the odds being stacked against you and your professional performance. 

So an important starting point to boost your professional success and feel fulfilled is to clarify your perception. Awareness is key to achieving your success. A great way to do that is to reflect and build your understanding, try working through these example questions to craft a professional success vision for yourself:

  • What do I value about my work?
  • What do I value about myself at work?
  • What are my unique strengths I bring to the table?
  • What are deal breakers and dealmakers for me in my profession?
  • What am I proud of and why?

Boosting your professional success 

Now that you have insights into your perception of success, let us look at ways you can really be and feel successful. Maybe you find you’re doing everything you can to be professionally successful but you just do not feel successful. While some small mindset shifts and focus areas will ensure you’re more successful, half the reason you are pursuing professional success is to feel good about your work, yourself and what you can accomplish. Here are our top eight suggestions to boost your success, letting you really feel and live the successes you envision:

  1. Be aware of your strengths:

Being aware of your unique talents and strengths definitely allows you to seek out and identify opportunities where you can leverage these. You can also make sure you develop the areas of yourself to compliment your strengths and grow your success.

  1. Assume responsibility:

A major difference between mediocre and successful people is assuming responsibility. It is not about taking things personally but rather taking responsibility for the part you play, in both positive and negative happenings and assuming responsibility for all your actions.

  1. Set stretching goals and standards:

That is the thing about being successful, it requires you to reach a little higher and try a little harder. You need to take time every now and then, perhaps quarterly, to assess how far you’ve come and what you could do to raise your standards. As we always say, there is no learning without a little stretch, just like you cannot build fitness without effort.

  1. Know your personal brand:

You will need to know your personal brand. Just like companies are spending time and money on differentiating themselves with their brand, so too do you need to brand yourself as a professional. Your work and professionalism is your brand and you need to ensure it is desirable, consistent and aligned to your professional goals.

  1. Build networks and relationships:

Just as important to what you know is who you know. Not only can networks and connections open doors for you, you will also need human to human support in your professional sphere. Think collaboration, brainstorming or just some positive affirmations from those you work with.

  1. Be curious and learning obsessed

You’ve heard it a million times, but that doesn’t make it old hat – change is the only constant. You cannot stay on top of your game and be successful unless you constantly unlearn, relearn and innovate. Seek new skills, experiences and opportunities in everything.

  1. Be aware of imposter syndrome

According to Harvard, Imposter syndrome affects high achievers more. It is the feelings of self-doubt you get around your abilities and feeling like a fraud at work, like you do not deserve to be there and despite evidence to the contrary that you are not competent. Knowing when imposter syndrome is creeping in can help you keep it in check.

  1. Be Well

As we mentioned, your success is contextual and affected by your environment. Make sure you look after yourself both physically and mentally to give yourself the best shot at being successful.

Boost your career

Boosting that successful feeling

We all know that feeling of achieving something we have been striving towards. While you are pursuing this super successful profession and achieving goals left, right and center, it is important to make sure your success is sustainable. Sure success, like anything, happens in peaks and valleys. There will be times when all the hard work you’ve put in will culminate in a successful project or some noteworthy accomplishment and recognition. And in other instances you might feel like you are stagnant without progress. It is important to boost your successful feelings and remain motivated and engaged in your pursuit, after all good things take time and effort.

Specific brain chemicals are responsible for some of those positive, good vibes we feel when we achieve something. Dopamine, which makes us feel really good, is highest when we are about to achieve a goal rather than when we actually achieve it. The expectation of success triggers a good feeling, releasing energy and renewed attention as well as the tendency to seek things out. You can encourage this feel good moment even more so by stopping once in a while and reflecting on the progress you’ve made and how far you’ve come. Savor that moment just before you knock the ball out of the park. 

Spend time reflecting and taking stock of your successes. In society today we are so wired to look towards the next big thing, we often forget to pause and notice what we have just accomplished. Make a habit of consciously pausing on the high points of your professional journey and remembering them often. If this feels too prideful for you why not try it as a gratitude journal. 

Finally, and we cannot stress this enough, celebrate the small and big wins. Just like running a few seconds faster per kilometer is you moving towards your next pb so is your boss asking you to take the lead on a meeting or trusting you with a decision. It is easy to only focus on the big things, and forget the incremental small wins which are additive to and crucial in our successes. Celebrate these small wins with a personal reward, a humble brag to a close friend or just mentally appreciating them. After all, you need to be your biggest supporter.

A word from Wellbe and Jessica 

Through sharing knowledge and experience, we want to help you become your most successful self. In your professional success we believe you can help us build more successful communities, organizations and people. Because when we are the optimal version of ourselves, both physically, emotionally and mentally, then we all thrive.  

Your health is your wealth so make lasting changes, one habit at a time.

The WellBe Team


 

About Jessica Brownlee

Jessica is an industrial and organizational psychologist specializing in learning, leadership, talent, neuroscience and wellness. A self-proclaimed wellness geek, Jessica writes The Humble Humanologist blog to inspire, motivate and uplift others on their work and wellness journey. She is her own boss, running a consulting company, Psychology360 (www.psychology360.org) and consults globally to some of the leading organizations. Jessica also strives to find balance and is an avid yogi and yoga teacher (who is yet to master a hand stand).

Instagram: @thehumblehumanologist

Facebook: Psychology360

Website: www.psychology360.org