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.

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.

 

Exercise

Maximise your workouts by tailoring it to your menstrual cycle

Your menstrual cycle plus exercise can often equal misery, right? Everything your body is going through is enough on its own, who wants to add exercise to that equation? We’ve all been there at one time or another but there are definitely some perks to exercising while you’re on your period. 

Now, this isn’t going to be one of those blogs that tells you to put the chocolate down and make sure you workout every day of your menstrual cycle. We completely understand that a little bit of indulgence and rest can be the best thing for you during your time of the month. But if you still want to exercise and get your endorphins flowing, then keep reading! We are diving into everything you should know about exercising while on your period.  

A little bit about menstrual cycles

Before we get into it, let’s briefly discuss menstrual cycles.  

Generally, a full menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, with a little bit of wiggle room. Some cycles can range from 23 to 35 days. 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 counting as a complete cycle.

Every menstrual cycle is unique but they all have the same phases – the menstrual phase, follicular phase, ovulation and the luteal phase. 

These phases make up each complete month of your menstrual cycle and they can make you feel differently throughout the month. 

The menstrual phase is from when your period starts to when it ends and your estrogen and progesterone hormone levels decrease during this time. It usually lasts for about 3-7 days but it can vary. This begins the follicular phase which starts on day one of your period and continues until ovulation and it’s usually about 16 days. During this phase, the follicle-stimulating hormone is released. 

During ovulation, the luteinizing hormone is released in response to the follicular phase’s rise in estrogen 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 estrogen levels and then as this phase ends, these hormones will decrease. This is when you’ll experience all those fun PMS symptoms like bloating, headaches and cravings (large Cadbury bar anyone?).  

How does working out affect your period (and vice versa)?  

While you’re on your period, your body and hormones often feel like they’re going through the most! 

Any form of exercise can have subtle or extreme influences on your menstrual cycle depending on how your body reacts to physical activity. Your body is controlled by your hormones and physical activity can impact your hormone levels which is why your period can affect the way you workout. 

Want to know a secret though? You can maximise your workouts by simply going with your flow. According to Women’s Health advisory board member Stacy T. Sims, PhD, you can tailor your exercise routine to your cycle and you can find a way to perform at your best throughout the month.

 

Exercise

How to maximise my workouts 

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

Your menstrual cycle causes your hormone levels to change throughout the month which in turn makes you feel stronger, more tired or moody depending on the time of your cycle. 

In the beginning

During the beginning stages of your cycle (this is when you’re on your period), your progesterone and estrogen are at their lowest which can cause a dip in energy levels and cause your emotions to go a little haywire. This is a great time to really listen to your body and see what it feels like doing. 

If you’re really struggling then do a slower form of workouts like going for a walk, doing yoga or even just hopping on the treadmill. This will keep your body moving, increase your endorphins and you should be feeling a lot better once you’re done. 

If you’re up to it though, you should try and include some strength training in your workouts. Research has shown that strength training during the follicular phase (days 1-14 of your cycle) results in increases in muscle strength compared to training in the luteal phase (days 15-28 of your cycle).

The sweet middle spot

During the middle of your menstrual cycle (this is usually during ovulation), you might find your energy levels increasing as your estrogen and testosterone levels increase again. This is the best time for high-intensity workouts and possibly even some heavyweight training. It’s time to take full advantage of your power! 

The end is near

And then finally you’ll move into the luteal phase. This is when your progesterone levels rise and your estrogen decreases. To be quite honest, this is the most problematic time of the month and this is when you begin experiencing the majority of your PMS symptoms.   

This is probably when you’re going to feel like sitting on the couch working through your watch list on Netflix rather than working out at the gym. But don’t give up on your physical health! 

Try to go for shorter workouts or keep your workouts the same but use lighter weights and less intensity. Be realistic about what your body is going through and don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not performing at your best. 

Menstrual cycles can be frustrating but equally wonderful. They give you the opportunity to fully embrace yourself and all that you’re capable of. It’s just about making your flow work for you. 

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.