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. 

Benefits of office culture

How to positively lead change in the workplace

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

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

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

The role of leadership in organizational change

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

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

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

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

Positive benefits of change in the workplace.

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

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

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

  • Have a vision and innovative approach

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

  • Effective communication:

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

  • Lead authentically:

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

  • Celebrate small wins:

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

  • Be proactive about change: 

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

  • Collaborate and include employees in change:

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

  • Find change agents and champions: 

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

  • Foster psychological safety:

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

  • Create mechanisms for support and feedback:

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

  • Reinforce job security:

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

Conclusion

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

Work Balance

Balance, Routine and You in 2022

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

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

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

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

The importance of finding balance and joy at work

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

The Psychology of Routine and Balance

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

Tips to cultivating a balance in your organization

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

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

Tips to Create your Own Work Life Balance

Accept that it is a balance, not perfection

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

Plan and take control of your career

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

Clarify your priorities

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

Make your health your focus

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

Don’t be afraid to unplug

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

Set clear boundaries

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

Overeating

Binge eating and restoring balance: The expert’s guide to balanced eating

Did you know that there’s a difference between bingeing every now and then and an actual binge eating disorder? The term ‘binge eating’ is thrown around often but there’s so much more you need to understand.

Many people complain about their relationship with food and attribute this to binge eating. There are different types of binge eating though. There’s the Friday night binge after a long, hard week where you just need some takeaways, a dessert, chips, some choccies and maybe even a couple of biscuits. 

Then there’s the more serious side to binge eating. Binge eating disorder (BED) is a type of feeding and eating disorder that’s now recognised as an official diagnosis. 

Everyone has experienced some form of binge eating but that doesn’t always mean you have BED. Let’s take a deeper look into this. 

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

What is binge eating? 

Binge eating is when you eat even when you aren’t hungry and continue to eat until the point where you are over-full or feel physically ill. 

Binge eating can be something you experience periodically but it can also turn into a disorder where in addition to eating large amounts of food in excess and to the point of discomfort, you also feel out of control when eating and have a sense of shame or guilt.

Binge eating more often can have serious implications on your health and wellness and it’s important to restore a sense of balance to your relationship with food. 

The psychology behind binge eating 

Bingeing behaviours extend beyond food. Bingeing can include eating, drinking, shopping and more and all types of binge behaviours actually have similar causes. 

According to clinical psychologists, bingeing helps people deal with their negative emotions that they can’t deal with rationally.  

Many of us have had a moment of self-indulgence when things just feel too tough but when does the occasional overindulgence become an actual problem? 

Well, according to clinical psychologists, bingeing can become a full-fledged disorder when characterised by feelings of powerlessness, secrecy, shame and isolation. 

When you start to feel that you need to hide away and binge in private or you need to schedule your binges around work and social plans, then you may need to dive a little deeper into why you’re doing this and figure out whether or not you need to ask for some help. 

Related: Are you an emotional overeater? Here are 5 ways to help you overcome it

Why do we feel the need to binge? 

There are a variety of reasons why you may seek comfort in binge eating. Some of these can be;

Psychological

As we mentioned above, feelings of unhappiness, frustration and the like can be “numbed” by binge eating, even if for a limited time.

Sadly though, what often happens is the pain and guilt in the aftermath of a binge can trigger stress which may lead to another binge and the cycle can continue. 

Explore: Managing stress and how to make it work for you 

Chemical

You know that feeling of euphoria after biting into a delicious meal or dessert? Binge eating can give you a similar chemical reaction. 

Often people overindulge because it feels great (until they begin to feel guilty). Our brains release the feel-good neurotransmitter of dopamine in high quantities when we eat something that brings us joy.

You can imagine what happens next. Once your brain gives you that euphoric feeling during a binge, that feeling can become a physical addiction. You’re then more likely to binge more often because you crave that same rush of chemicals.

Sociocultural

Society can be tough and cause feelings of self-consciousness and like you aren’t good enough. The need to fit in can lead to bingeing in many different forms. 

Managing the guilt around (binge) eating

The guilt associated with a binge can be crippling. And it can feel like it’s impossible to get over. 

These are some of our tips that should help you manage the feelings of guilt: 

Spot your “should”s and “shouldn’t”s

Start paying attention to how often your inner dialogue includes the words should or shouldn’t. How many times do you say “I shouldn’t eat that” or “I should be doing that”? The second you start saying I should or I shouldn’t, you’re immediately making yourself feel guilty.

Be more mindful

Actually think about what you’re eating and how much. It’s so easy to get caught up in your feelings and trying to find a quick fix but really think about what you want and what will serve your mind and 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.

Unfollow accounts on social media that are triggering

Social media can be a very triggering environment. From “what I eat in a day” posts to the never-ending posts about hustle culture, it can leave you feeling less than adequate. 

Unfollow accounts that trigger negative emotions in you and cause you to use binge eating as a coping mechanism. 

Talk to yourself like you’re talking to a friend

Be kind. You’re your own worst critic and we can be so hard on ourselves. Change the thoughts you have about yourself. Think to yourself, “would I say this to one of my best friends?”, if the answer is no then why would you talk to yourself like that?

Building a balanced relationship with food

This isn’t an easy thing to do. Many of us struggle with food. Whether we’re worried about gaining weight or if something is healthy or not, our minds are constantly dissecting food. 

When you feel the urge to binge, take a step back and acknowledge how you’re feeling, as difficult as it may be. Truly think about why you feel the need to eat right now. Consider questions like;

  • Am I hungry?
  • How will this make me feel later? 
  • Does this serve what I am trying to achieve? 
  • Do I need to eat or am I trying to hide my feelings? 

The best thing you can do is be conscious about what you’re doing and why. If you feel like you’re really struggling, please never feel ashamed to reach out for help. 

Working during the festive season

How to stay focused and motivated before and during silly season

This time of the year is difficult. We’re tired, it’s been a long year and December leave feels like it’s just out of reach. Staying motivated and focused on your work can sometimes feel impossible but we’re here to tell you that you can do it! You’re nearly there and our expert tips will keep you going as we approach the silly season.

You know that feeling on a Thursday where you’re impatiently waiting for Friday to come so that you can finally let your hair down for the weekend? November is basically the Thursday of the year where you’re eagerly waiting for December to come around the corner. And as we creep past November and into December the impatience grows as your leave days near. 

Staying focused on everyday tasks and getting your work done is next to impossible when you’re thinking of an upcoming holiday or what to get your loved ones for Christmas or all the food that’s in store. We could go on and on but let’s get to the point. We’ve identified some fantastic tips to keep you focused and motivated to get through the last stretch of this year. 

Explore: How To Be Professionally Successful And Feel It

How to stay motivated and focused 

Goals, goals, goals

You’ve definitely heard this one before but setting achievable goals is one of the best ways to remain motivated. 

Get out a notebook and write down the goals you’d like to achieve before the end of the year. The trick is to be as specific as possible as well as realistic. You could write goals like meeting all your deadlines before going on leave or wrapping up your final projects (write down exactly what each task is and maybe include the dates you would like them to be completed by). 

Be realistic in your goals though, don’t try to squeeze in working towards getting a promotion if you haven’t had the conversation with your manager or worked towards that goal throughout the year. If you write down goals that are unreachable, you’ll end up feeling deflated and demotivated. 

Related: Everyday Hacks To Keep You Calm And Focused For A Busy Day

Don’t be hard on yourself 

It’s been a long year… Scratch that, it’s been a long 2 years! You’re tired (you aren’t alone in that) and you desperately need a break. There is a reason it’s recommended to take a certain amount of leave in a year – we need and deserve it. 

If you’re struggling to get through the last few weeks, that’s okay. But make sure that you’re still doing the best that you can to achieve the final goals you’ve set. If your best right now is 60%, then do that but keep going. 

Discover: How to manage your stress and make it work for you 

Festive season motivation

Find ways to re-energise 

When you begin to feel your motivation begin to drain, think of ways that will pick your energy back up. Make sure it’s something you enjoy doing though, otherwise, you’re just going to feel as depleted. 

These are a few of our ideas for a pick-me-up:

  • Take a coffee break – step away from your desk and take a break with a delicious cup of coffee or tea and be mindful as you re-energise
  • Go for a long walk
  • Make time for a workout – sometimes getting your endorphins flowing is the best thing for you
  • Meditate 
  • Take regular breaks throughout your day – sitting down and working for 4 hours straight will start to wear you down. Take 10 minute breaks every 30 – 60 minutes. 

Have fun!

This can be the best time of the year filled with so much love and excitement as we all work towards the end of the year. Even though it can be a very busy time filled with deadlines and preparing for December, remember to enjoy every minute of it. 

When you have a positive attitude towards things, you’re more likely to want to do it rather than feeling loathed to do it. 

Try to maintain balance between work and your personal life as you navigate your way through the final weeks of the year.

Teamwork makes the dream work 

If you’re really feeling exhausted, remember that you aren’t alone. Reach out to a colleague to help you meet your deadlines or to a loved one if there are personal tasks you’re struggling to make time for. 

Working together helps us feel motivated and will lighten the load you may feel. You could also form a little group at work where you do activities together or go on breaks together to help one another remain focused and motivated on finishing the year strong.

Read: How To Bloom Where You Are and Succeed

The end is near

Try to keep in mind that your well-deserved break is right in front of you. This is your final push until you get that much-needed break. 

When you remind yourself that you have to remain motivated for only a short while longer, you may feel more inclined to keep going without feeling like you may drown. 

This time of the year can feel both exhausting and exhilarating so we understand that your focus and motivation may be starting to dwindle. But you’ve got this! This is your little reminder that it’s the final stretch and with the right goals in mind, you can finish this year strong!

Mental health check

Checking in: Mental health check-in tips and when to see a specialist

The last couple of years have been draining on everyone. We have all gone through a pandemic, life readjustments and navigated unprecedented circumstances. It’s only natural to sometimes feel like you’re overwhelmed or out of control. There are few things in this life that we have control over but it is so important that you check in on yourself.

We easily think of asking our loved ones how they’re doing and if they’re okay but we rarely check in on ourselves and our own mental health. This is a mini check-in guide to show you how to do daily check-ins with yourself and we’ll highlight if it may be a better idea to seek some professional advice. 

What is a mental health check-in?

Have you ever been worried about a friend and decided to give them a call to see how they’re doing? 

Well, a mental health check-in works the same but you’re asking yourself how you’re doing. It’s all about taking a moment in every day to reflect on how you’re feeling physically, emotionally and mentally. There are various ways to do a mental health check-in and it’s best to find what works for you. Some people prefer to sit back with a cup of coffee while sitting outside and taking a moment to themselves while others prefer to sit with a journal and write everything out. 

We’ve outlined a few things you can do to check in on yourself. 

Mental health check

Mental health check-in tips

Important questions to ask yourself

When you’re doing a mental health check-in, it is ideal to find some time in your day where you can be completely mindful and have enough time to truly reflect. 

You could spare a few minutes on your lunch break or on your way home, any time where you are on your own and can concentrate on your own needs. Once you have found the time, think about what you would like to ask yourself. Here are a few of our suggestions;

  1. How am I feeling today, really? Both physically and mentally.
  2. What’s taking up most of my headspace right now?
  3. What was my last full meal, and have I been drinking enough water?
  4. How have I been sleeping?
  5. Have I been doing any physical activities lately?
  6. What did I do today that made me feel good?
  7. What’s something I can do today that would be good for me?
  8. What’s something I’m looking forward to in the next few days?
  9. What am I grateful for right now?

There are many other questions you can ask yourself but these questions will give you a sense of how you are doing. Are you stressed? Have you been looking after yourself physically? All of this contributes to your mental health and by asking and answering these questions honestly, you will be more cognisant of how you’re actually managing.

For some more tips on how to be truly present, give this article a read.

Keep a journal 

If asking yourself these questions doesn’t really work for you then try writing it down in a personal journal. You can set aside some time in the morning where you write down your daily affirmations (these are positive thoughts about yourself and your life), your goals and what you’re grateful for

Keeping a daily journal will help you set your intentions for the day and help you start the day on a positive note. You can also use the journal to outline your feelings or challenges you faced that day with possible solutions to help you the next day. 

Look at your feelings and behaviours

Has anything changed lately? Have you become impatient and snappy when you’re usually calm and reasonable? Take a look at if your feelings and behaviours that you perceive to be normal for you have changed. 

This goes hand-in-hand with asking yourself how you’re feeling but it’s important to take note of if anything has fundamentally changed with you and then you need to ask yourself why.

Assess your physical health 

Have you been sleeping enough? Are you drinking enough water? Are you getting in any physical activity? 

Your physical health impacts your mental health tremendously and if you have found that you aren’t feeling great mentally but you aren’t sure why, try assessing if you have let your physical health slip. 

A healthy body will help keep a healthy mind.

Don’t wait until things are really bad

Mental health isn’t always easy to talk about and more often than not, we’re quite hard on ourselves where we will say “You’re fine, it’s just a bad day” or “I need to just get over it”. Thinking you’re fine and trying to push how you’re truly feeling to the side can be dangerous to your overall mental health. 

Treat yourself the same way you’d treat a close friend. When someone you love is having a very hard time, you wouldn’t tell them to get over it, you’d offer advice or tell them to get help. So, why wouldn’t you do the same for yourself?

When to seek professional assistance 

Everyone has days where they feel low or depressed or even out of control. So much is happening in our lives every single day, it is normal to not feel 100% all of the time. This then begs the question, “how do I know if I need to see a specialist then?” 

Well, a good rule of thumb is, if your “low” or depressed mood lasts longer than a week or two or if you’re struggling to function at work, with your family or in your social life and if daily tasks seem unbearable, it would be in your best interest to seek out some help. 

Remember though, getting professional help does not make you weak, it takes a really strong person to admit that they need help. 

Over Eating Tips

Are you an emotional overeater? Here are 5 ways to help you overcome it

How often do you find yourself reaching for some comfort food when you’re feeling overwhelmed? It’s often an unconscious action where you’re having a bad day or work is stressful and a bowl of ice cream is just the thing to make you feel better. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Emotional overeating is more common than you may think. 

Even though eating while you’re feeling stressed, sad or overwhelmed can make you feel better in the moment, more often than not, you’ll find yourself feeling bloated and uncomfortable not long after. This leads to feelings of regret and can make you even more emotional. We’ve got some great ways to navigate through these feelings so you don’t need to rely on food.

What is emotional eating?

Emotional overeating is when you use food to soothe negative feelings and emotions you’re struggling with. It’s when you use food to fill your emotional needs instead of hunger. 

We’re talking about overeating though to the point where you feel uncomfortable and know you should have stopped. Reaching for some comfort food when you’re having a bad day is something completely different. A delicious pizza at the end of a disastrous day can be a pick me up but the problem comes in when you have the pizza, followed by some chocolate and then a couple of biscuits and so on because you’re trying so hard to fill the void your emotions have created. 

Related: Managing stress and how to make it work for you

The more regularly you use food to make yourself feel better, the more you rely on food for just that. You begin to fall into a pattern of eating whenever you feel bad which will not help you work through those emotions in a more therapeutic and healthy manner. 

Causes of emotional eating

Ever heard of the phrase “trying to fill the void”? In most instances, negative emotions can make you feel empty and food is a way to fill that void and create an illusion of “fullness”, making you feel better temporarily. 

When you’re an emotional overeater, this is more than likely due to you developing it as a coping mechanism instead of possibly reaching out to a loved one, using meditation or physical exercise or any other coping mechanism which will help you navigate negative emotions in a healthier way. 

The cycle of emotional eating

When emotional overeating becomes a pattern, it can turn into a vicious cycle that often feels like it will never end. 

It begins by feeling something upsetting or negative, reaching for food for comfort, overindulging to fill the void which leads you to feel powerless over food or uncomfortable and then you’re back to having negative feelings. 

Eating will make you feel good in the moment but at the end of the day, those feelings are still there.  

How to overcome emotional eating 

There are many ways to overcome emotional eating and it’s important for you to find something that suits you the best. If you feel that your emotional overeating is something you can’t handle or overcome on your own, it is always a good idea to reach out for professional advice. 

These 5 tips can help you navigate your way through your emotions and help you overcome overeating;

1. Understand the root cause 

This is no easy task but when you’re feeling down and feel the need to reach for food, you need to understand what’s causing that feeling. 

A bad day at work or fighting with a friend are temporary problems that you will overcome in time but if there are deeper issues that are causing you to feel stressed, overwhelmed or depressed, it is vital to dive deeper into the root cause of these feelings. 


We suggest reaching out to a loved one or a professional for some assistance because our tips may help you with overeating but if you haven’t dealt with your emotions, you’re only rectifying half of the whole problem. 

2. Ask yourself why you’re eating

When you find yourself reaching for a snack or taking a trip to the fridge, ask yourself if you’re actually hungry. Why do you feel the need to eat right now? 

It might be a good idea to rate your levels of hunger. After you’ve asked yourself if you’re hungry, rate how hungry you are on a scale of 1-5. If you rated your hunger between a 3 and 5, grab something nutritious to eat. Anything lower than a 3, maybe make a cup of tea instead. 

This will stop you from “mindlessly” eating at any given moment. 

3. Plan

If you know you’re an emotional overeater, plan for it. 

Rather than grabbing an entire packet of chips, fill some containers with nuts or fruit for example. Have an allocated amount of snacks as your go-to for when you feel like you need a little pick me up. 

You can see these as your emergency snack packs or as snacks for when you’re feeling a little bit peckish but the only way this will work is if you have some control over the number of snacks you are packaging. 

4. Practice mindful eating

Most of the time, the act of eating is done on autopilot. You’ll find yourself sitting down in front of a Netflix series chomping on your meal and before you know it, it’s finished and you can’t even really remember eating all of it. 

It might be a good idea to really think about when you’re feeling hungry and what you will eat to fulfil that hunger. Try to limit distractions like your phone or TV while you’re eating so you are mindful of what and how much you are eating. 

Really engage your senses while you eat and acknowledge the taste and smell of each bite. And try to slow down your eating by chewing for at least 20 seconds and pausing in between mouthfuls. This will help you realise when you are actually full so you don’t overeat.  

There is so much to living a mindful life, read up on the art of mindfulness here. 

5. Find other ways to cope 

Instead of always going to food when you’re feeling overwhelmed, try replacing it with a healthy coping mechanism. 

Where you can, try meditation instead or going for a walk. Physical activity has been proven to improve our moods as well. You can also take a look at the link between yoga and self-love for other ways to work through your emotions. 

Maybe even distract yourself by reaching out to someone you trust and talk through what you are feeling. 

Being a human being filled with emotions is difficult and we all do what we can to get by but sometimes we don’t realise that our coping mechanisms are more harmful than good. We hope our tips help you overcome your emotional overeating but always remember that reaching out for professional help is sometimes the best thing 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.

LOADED BAKED SWEET POTATO WEDGES

DIFFICULTY: EASY

TIME: 40 MINUTES
SERVES: 2-3

 

Sweet potatoes are loaded with gut friendly fibre as well as being an impressive source of immune-boosting Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
  • 500 g sweet potatoes, cleaned and wedged
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Toppings/sides:

  • Mashed avocado
  • Diced tomato and red onion
  • Plain Greek yoghurt + sour cream blend

LOADED BAKED SWEET POTATO WEDGES

METHOD

Preheat oven to 230 C. Scrub the sweet potatoes clean. Cut the potatoes into wedges – first, cut off the ends. Then, cut the potato in half. Cut each half in half, lengthwise. Finally, cut them into 4-5 wedges, lengthwise again. Rinse the wedges with cold water for 10-15 seconds and pat dry. In a large bowl, mix the oil with the seasonings. Toss the wedges with the seasoned oil, using your hands to coat each one. Spread them out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet that has been lightly greased. They should have ample room and not be touching. Bake them for 20 minutes. Flip them over and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Watch them closely those last few minutes, they should be dark golden brown, not black. Cool a bit and enjoy!

 

DOWNLOAD YOUR LOADED BAKED SWEET POTATO WEDGES RECIPE HERE