Positive Emotions.

During my coaching training we completed modules on positive psychology. Standard psychology = broken people need fixing. Positive psychology = focusing on the positive aspects of human life and how to enhance them. The world definitely has a need for both but 2020 has highlighted to me so far that there is a special need for positive psychology in the general population at the moment. So far this year has been scary to say the least, a lot has happened, a lot IS happening and it is easy to get sucked into a downward spiral of worry and fear. 

Broaden and build theory suggests that emotions are very functional. Where negative emotions serve a purpose by limiting our thoughts and behaviours allowing us to act more decidedly in times of stress, positive emotions broaden and build our conscious awareness. When you are in a bad mood, you are very closed off & stuck in negative thought patterns. When you are in a good mood you are more curious, sociable, creative & healthier. You become better at problem solving and are able to persevere longer at tougher tasks. More importantly right now, your immune system works better!

On a personal level, we should be looking to nourish and increase positive emotions in order to get the above benefits, but also on a company level. For any business, big or small, i fully believe in the importance of looking after the mental health and overall well-being of your employees. In coaching we look at each person as a whole. We understand that in order to feel satisfied, fulfilled and happy, one must have balance in key areas of their life. If one of your team members is not performing well, instead of focusing on their current lack of achievement, have you thought about the possibility of something outside of work that might be affecting their performance? If they feel unfulfilled in life, the negative feelings and thoughts will seep through in to their work life. If they are having trouble at home, or if they are having health issues, the same thing will happen. When our lives feel balanced and fulfilled, we can increase positive emotions and in turn improve our lives even more creating an upward spiral.

A meta analysis study by Lyubomirsky, King & Diener in 2005 on positive emotions shows that positive emotions have the following results within a company – 

  • Lower turnover at work.
  • Better reports of customer service.
  • Better supervision evaluations.
  • Lower emotional exhaustion.
  • Higher job satisfaction.
  • Better organisational citizenship behaviour.
  • Fewer work absences.
  • More social club involvement.
  • More volunteerism.
  • Perceived by others as being friendlier more assertive and more confident,
  • Higher annual salaries,
  • Higher longevity.
  • Lower incidence of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Faster recovery from illness or injury.
  • More likely to resolve conflict through collaboration.
  • Increased motivation.
  • Better decision making efficiency.

I have just provided you 17 good reasons to work on interventions to help increase positive emotions in yourself and in your employees.

Business hats to one side though, couldn’t we all use a little more of this? I know my anxiety has started to creep up on me the past few weeks and with the current COVID-19 pandemic i know i can’t be the only one. From the fires across Australia devastating the native wildlife, to multiple deaths & tragedies, now countries going in to lock down due to the coronavirus, what a year so far. I think of myself as a very positive and open minded person and i tend not to get worried or sucked in to things that we have no control over, but even so i can’t help but feel overwhelmed at how the year has started. 

So this post is just as much for me as it is for you. Whether you apply this just to yourself, or if you are in a position where you can apply this to your company and employees, let’s look at some interventions to increase positivity and get ourselves into that upwards spiral.

We’ve all heard of ‘name 3 things your grateful for’, right? I want to take it a step further. 

Although studies show that naming 3 things your grateful for each day does in fact increase positivity, they also show that people tend not to stick to the practice after the study has ended. It just doesn’t feel worthwhile enough for people to continue long term. In coaching, we focus on creating long lasting habits so i’m going to suggest gratitude to you, but in a slightly different format. 

At the end of each day, instead of naming 3 things your grateful for, i want you to think about it in a bit more detail. Keep a journal of this and ask yourself questions that focus on the positives such as – 

  • Who supported me today?
  • What were today’s successes?
  • What did i do well today?
  • What did others do well today?
  • What was the highlight of my day?

Keep this up for at least 1 month, it should only take a few minutes each night, you will be surprised at how much you notice. Make sure to leave your journal somewhere you will see it each night so that you don’t forget. It might also be helpful to think of a trigger such as brushing your teeth before bed or getting changed in to your PJ’s, so you know when i get changed in to my PJ’s each night i will take a few minutes to write my journal. This is a great way to integrate it into your routine and form a new habit. 

If you are in a business environment, you could also do this as a team at the end of each work day. Ask your team to reflect on these questions and write them down, either individually or as a group. 

This is such a small step and will only take a few minutes each day, you have read the amazing effects of increasing positive emotions, we could all use a little boost right now i’m sure, so let’s all do this together. Let’s start today!

 

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References – 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/positive-psychology

Practicing Positive Psychology Coaching – Robert Biswas-Diener.

 

 

1 year Cancer free.

It has been exactly 1 year since I got the all clear and what an amazing year it has been. I completed my coaching diploma, started my yoga teacher training course and most importantly I completely transformed in so many ways.

It’s amazing how when you get a life changing diagnosis every other worry you had becomes obsolete. That person in work who annoys you. That project your behind on. Any conflict with your significant other. Money worries. Self limiting beliefs. Everything else just disappears and you suddenly realise how it wasn’t really important in the first place. Suddenly you realise that the only thing that ever mattered was your health.

This is something that has really changed my perspective on the world. In the years leading up to this I suffered with auto-immunity and arthritis so I already knew that if your suffering with a chronic condition and with chronic pain it takes over completely and can be so hard to get into the right headspace to break free from the cage of being trapped within your condition. Being diagnosed with cancer allowed me to break free from that cycle.

From the date of my first surgery, through my diagnosis, getting the all clear, getting the ‘not actually all clear’, to a second surgery and the final all clear it all happened so fast and was such a whirlwind experience. I can’t even begin to put in to words the pain and deep soul felt sobs that happened during that time. Every single second of every day I was praying to God to heal me of this and visualising the outcome that I wanted and thanking him for all of the blessings in my life so far. I realised during this time of uncertainty that the things that would usually bother me suddenly didn’t bother me any more. In work, at home, in general – if something happened that would usually cause me to get stressed out, I just accepted it and moved on, it didn’t matter.

After getting the all clear this shift in perspective really stayed with me and because of this I began a complete transformation into a happier, healthier and more free version of myself. I realised the things that truly matter and let the things go that didn’t. Of course i’m only human and slip back in to worry and anxious thoughts from time to time, don’t we all? But i’m very quick to recognise it now and bring myself back in to a more positive and uplifting mindset. This change in mindset not only helped me achieve freedom from anxiety and my self limiting beliefs, but on a physical level I feel better than I have done in years. I actually forget some days that I have an autoimmune disease at all, i’m too busy loving every minute of life and thanking God that I am healthy enough to live it. I still suffer with chronic pain but I am no longer consumed by it. I still have an autoimmune disease but the autoimmune disease no longer has me.

This past year has been amazing for me and I know that this is just the beginning. I have always wanted to help people become better versions of themselves and help them to improve their mental, physical & spiritual wellbeing. After living and breathing such a transformation myself I now know that the rest of my life will be devoted to helping others achieve the same kind of freedom in any way that they need it. I am here to serve.

What is self care and why do we need reminders?

Self care seems to be becoming a bit of a trend at the moment & this is one trend i am 100% on board with. One thing i have noticed though is that i see a lot of self care hashtags and promotion, but not a lot of information or detail explaining why self care is so important, or why some people struggle with self care.

Self care is something that has to be learned and is not an ‘automatic instinct’ like one might think. Your self care habits are often learned from adults in your family growing up and this can cause quite a lot of issues. If you are coming from an abusive household, self care will be so far down on your list of priorities that it could even be completely non existent. By abusive i don’t just mean physical abuse, i also refer to neglect, mental abuse, emotional abuse, manipulation, narcissistic abuse and all other types. Some people might not even be aware that they have suffered abuse, it can be so subtle and sneaky that many adult children of abusive families will suffer without ever realising why or without ever realising that what happened to them was wrong. This can also happen as an adult in abusive / codependent relationships. When in an abusive relationship often the abused will be trying so hard to keep the other person happy or to meet their partners needs that they will completely forget about their own self care and eventually end up a broken shell of the person they once where.

But lack of self care doesn’t always come from this. There are many people who come from happy households, have loving families & have never been in an abusive relationship, but they also struggle with self care. Maybe their loving parents were working long hours throughout their childhood to support them, but this left little room for support growing up and little time to observe and learn about SC. Maybe they are motivated and want to do well in work and progress their career, so they think that by focusing all of their time and energy on education and work they will improve their lives and get that job position they have always wanted. Maybe they have low self esteem and so SC is not something they actually care about.

To some people this might come so naturally that when they see ‘self care’ posts, or ‘tips on self care’ articles they might wonder, why would anyone need tips on that? But the truth is that it does not come naturally to us all & there are many different reasons why one might struggle with SC.

I myself struggled a lot with SC up until the age of 22/23 when i ended up in counselling and psychotherapy for other reasons. I genuinely didn’t know that SC was an issue for me until i’m sat in the chair face to face with my therapist and she asks me ‘what have you done for yourself this week?’. Well i didn’t know what to say or how to answer her. I didn’t even really know what she was asking me. We talked and talked and she was asking me a lot of questions like ‘when was the last time you pampered yourself, when was the last time you had a massage, when was the last time you had a hot bath and read a book, when was the last time you had your hair done, when was the last time you had a girls night or a movie night, when was the last time you cooked yourself a really nice meal, what’s your daily routine like?’ Most importantly.. and this is the one that changed my life in a massive way was she asked me ‘when was the last time you said no?’

Try this little exercise –

Step 1 – Fold an A4 piece of paper in half length ways. On the left side, make a list of all of the things you have done for others this week. Such as, giving somebody a lift, helping a colleague with a difficult task, collecting something for your partner on your way home, helping get your younger siblings ready and off to school, a few hours overtime to help out at work. Anything at all that you have done for others, add it to your list.

Step 2 – Now on the right side of the paper, i want you to make a list of all of the things you have done for yourself this week. Such as, a hot bubble bath with candles, saying no to working late because you were tired, asking for help with something if you need it, cooking your favourite meal instead of everyone else’s favourite meals, trying out a face mask and soaking your feet, reading a novel.

Step 3 – Now compare both sides of the paper. Are they even? Remember that although it is important to help others when you can & it feels nice to give and to do things for your loved ones. It is is even more important to help yourself & to ask for help if you need it. Let others do things for you sometimes, but most of all do nice things for yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so ensure that your own cup is full before doing things for others so that your not left running on empty. Find a good balance between giving to others & also letting them return the favour and give/help you.

Self care doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be big, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Sometimes self care can be ‘treating yourself’ but sometimes self care can be the simple daily things that we sometimes forget to do when we are feeling down, such as washing our hair or drinking water.

See below my go to list of self care options/reminders, let me know if you have any other ideas that i can add to the list –

  • Hot bubble bath with salts & essential oils.
  • Epsom salt foot soak.
  • Clay face mask & skin care routine.
  • Say NO to things you do not want.
  • Switch your phone off and stay off social media.
  • Read a good book (not a self help book – get lost in a novel).
  • Buying fresh socks & pyjamas.
  • Have a hot chocolate with cream.
  • Cook your favourite meal.
  • Meal prep.
  • Ask for help !
  • Put some music on, sing, dance & be playful.
  • A walk in nature.
  • Go to bed early. SLEEP is the best medicine.
  • Meditate.
  • Yoga.
  • Talk to someone. A friend, a colleague, a pet, a therapist.
  • Write / journal. There’s nothing better than getting it all off your chest.
  • Floatation therapy. This one is my absolute favourite.
  • A cup of herbal tea. Drink it mindfully.
  • Watch your favourite childhood movie.
  • Pamper yourself at home.
  • Get a massage.
  • Wash your hair, cut your nails, moisturise your body.
  • Put some music on and do your chores / clean. This sounds like a weird one, but for me personally i always feel great when everything is clean and tidy and the chores are finished. However if you are already worn out and drained, the chores can wait.
  • Reassess your priorities.
  • Throw out that ‘to do list’.
  • Go to the gym or exercise at home.
  • Drink water.
  • Breathe. Take a few mindful deep breathes, practice some pranayama.
  • Get a reiki treatment, or even try taking the reiki level one course so you can give yourself reiki.
  • Watch or listen to something funny (The Ricky Gervais Podcast is my go-to).
  • Take yourself for a nice day out / meal / or weekend trip.

There are so many ways to practice self care and a lot of people won’t need a list or reminders. I need them. I often get caught up in work / my career & doing things for others and forget to take time out for me. So this post is for you, whoever needs it, but also a little reminder for me so i can check back regularly and make sure i am ticking a few things off this list. Now take some time out and celebrate you, you deserve it.

 

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Life after diagnosis.

In 2018 I was diagnosed with autoimmunity (PsA), neuropathy & skin cancer.

I went through months of harsh medications that destroyed my immune system & left me weak & fatigued. I lay awake through endless nights of chronic physical & emotional pain. I watched my strength disappear, I watched my health deteriorate. I went from squatting 100kgs to being unable to hold a cup in one hand, unable to hold a pen, crying because I couldn’t hold my key properly to open the door. I’d get off the train from work and run home so I could climb in to bed and cry, my head and neck (aside from everything else) were in so much pain I couldn’t do anything else. I went on holiday weekends and spent the full time locked in the bathroom of the hotel coughing & crying.

I went from being the healthiest person I knew, to being the unhealthiest. How dare my body betray me like this? After all of the clean eating, workouts, yoga, years of no alcohol. Why me?

I stopped writing my blog… who wants to read a ‘health & fitness blog’ from a girl who can’t walk to the end of the street without feeling like she was going to collapse?

But guess what?

In 2018 I empowered myself by learning about my disease. I read books, I read peer reviewed scientific studies, I listened to podcasts, I changed my mindset. I came off my medications & started taking only herbal & natural supplements. I got my arthritis under control, I made progress with my neuropathy, and most importantly.. I beat cancer !

Whilst dealing with all this I was promoted to customer support team leader, and passed my probation with flying colours. I got back in to a regular gym routine & started practicing yoga again. I started to build my strength back up. I studied to become a personal trainer, passed my exams & got my qualifications ! I moved house.. and then I moved house again.. into a beautiful little apartment with my caring & supportive boyfriend. I didn’t just survive, I thrived.

The reason I’m sharing is not to get sympathy.. I don’t need it. The reason I’m sharing is to give others hope that there is life after diagnosis & to teach others about the battles of chronic disease. To show others that your mindset is absolutely everything.

I accomplished so much last year while simultaneously wondering if I was going to die. I believed in mind over matter anyway, but last year reinforced my beliefs beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Last year completely broke me… physically.. but nothing can break me mentally. Not anymore, that ship has sailed.

I am living proof that when life fucks you over, you CAN come back stronger.

I prayed to God every day to make me strong. Oh boy did he deliver. A few years ago he gave me panic attacks, anxiety disorder & disassociation. I overcame them all & became very mentally strong through that process. Then last year he gave me arthritis, autoimmunity, neuropathy & cancer.. I became even stronger.

This will be my first post of my ‘new but old’ blog. I want to share my journey & show that with the right mindset, YOU can do anything. I’ll share details of my health struggles, how they effect me daily, things I have tried & tested that have helped with the pain. Things that lesson my symptoms, things that make them worse. Yoga practices, workouts, recipes. Some of the old stuff, and some of the new stuff, some of the good stuff, and some of the bad stuff. Hopefully this will also be a place that will ease the suffering of others with autoimmunity by reminding them that they are not alone & allow others to come along on our journey learning more about it themselves.

2018 was a sucky year but sure as hell did I kick it’s ass. Here’s to 2019 !

 

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A blessing in disguise.

It has been such a tough year for me being unable to train for the most part due to being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (PsA), but at the same time this year has made me so much stronger. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Last year I was training because I hated the way my body looked, I was so critical of myself and so hard on myself, and even though I was shredded to death I just wasn’t happy with my physique. I was obsessed with every little detail of my diet and training, and my life was consumed by it. Don’t get me wrong, i was really enjoying it all, but i was also creating a very toxic place in my own mind from being so hard on myself and never feeling satisfied with my progress.

After rapid onset of my disease in July last year, and very quickly getting to a point where my arthritis was so bad I couldn’t even hold my phone, walk properly, or hold a pen, i somehow managing to pull myself around and manage the pain and come off my medications (i’ll post more about how i did this later). I am finally feeling good and I have been back training for the past 7 weeks consistently, my strength and shape are both coming back quicker than I could have imagined and this time round I am training because I LOVE my body and I am amazed at what it can do.

The gym was my whole life, i had a fitness blog for crying out loud, and God took it away from me for a very long time, but it taught me to train for the right reasons and to be so grateful to be able to exercise.

I used to squat 100k and be upset because I hit a plateau, now after not training for almost a year I’m squatting half of that , and I AM SO GRATEFUL, every 50k squat I’m like fuck yeah my body is amazing to be able to do this considering my disease. Every single rep feels like a blessing, every single workout is a tiny miracle.

I have also realized that a few days off from the gym won’t kill me, and neither will a burger or a cocktail. 1 year of not training properly and being sick, yet my shape still looks tops, am I shredded to the bone? No. But am I happy with my body ? YES ! I am looking to improve my physique again, but I am also very happy with where I am at right now. I’m happy in my own skin.

To some people having a life changing and chronic disease might seem like the end of the world. To me, this is just the beginning.

Thank you, for the lessons.

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To blessed to be stressed.

If you follow my instagram & snapchat you will know already that the past few months i have been really struggling with joint pain. I don’t know where it came from but it started back in July, it came on so suddenly and very quickly spread throughout all of my joints and has continued to get worse and worse.

For the first few weeks i thought i had just very coincidentally injured both of my knees at exactly the same time. I stopped squatting & deadlifting immediately thinking that i maybe had runners knee or something like that and i just carried on with some light stretches and mobility exercises for my knees for a few weeks. I was so confused as to how i could have injured them both in the first place as my squat/deadlift form is always spot on and i couldn’t remember any incident where i might have hurt them both but if i hadn’t injured them then why could i barely walk?

A few weeks in and unable to train legs i was just focusing on my upper body exercises. I didn’t want to go crazy and over train upper body so i was just sticking to my usual exercises and one day in the gym when doing tricep dips i started getting such bad elbow pain. I stopped the exercise straight away as i know tricep dips can be quite notorious for elbow pain. I did think it was a bit weird though as i have been doing tricep dips for years with no pain. Never mind i’d just pick another exercise for a few weeks instead.

Well that was it, from that point on i was like an old woman. I can’t believe how fast something like this can spread but from the first bout of knee pain it only took about 8 weeks until all of my joints were in constant agony. I started having to get the bus in the mornings as i was unable to walk my usual 15km a day, the pain and stiffness in my knees and ankles was so unbearable. Going to the gym i was doing my best to keep the muscles firing and keep my strength but its so disheartening having to use machine weights all the time instead of being able to squat/bench/deadlift etc.

Some days it would be so bad that i couldn’t even hold my phone or a book in front of me as my wrist would be to sore to hold it. Waking up in the morning my joints would be so stiff and painful that i would have to spend 20 minutes just moving about and doing some light stretching before i could even get down the stairs.

It’s so weird because the pain seems to move around the joints and the pain doesn’t always feel the same.  Sometimes it feels like a pulling pain, sometimes it feels like burning, sometimes my hands or fingers will go completely numb, pins and needles, shooting pains, throbbing sensations. Some days is worse than others. On the days where the pain feels a little less i have been trying to get some light workouts in just to keep active and keep the muscles firing but at this stage i’m just fed up of not being able to exercise properly without being in extreme pain.

Anyway the Dr doesn’t seem to have a clue what can be going on. My blood tests came back absolutely fine. I know finding out your bloods are fine should be good news but for me i was  upset as it meant i was no further forward with finding out what is causing this. I was hoping something would come back in the bloods and the Dr would just say ok take this or do this and in a few weeks you’ll be grand. But no such luck. I’m back at the Drs tomorrow and i’m also waiting on an appointment to see a rheumatologist so i’m crossing my fingers that we get somewhere.

This post might come across as me having a bit of a moan but i promise it’s the opposite. The reason i’m writing this is because what is the point in being a blogger if your not going to be honest and share the bad times as well as the good? This past few months have been very tough on me physically, but mentally i am still in top form. I learned a long time ago that there’s no point stressing about things you have no control over. This is one of those things. It is what it is, i just have to take it on the chin and work through it whatever it may be. Luckily i have amazing friends around me who have been keeping me positive and looking after me when i need minding. To blessed to be stressed.

 

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Carb Cravings & Binge Eating – How to stop them.

People often ask me why i am so strict with my eating. The amount of times a week i hear ‘live a little’ or ‘treat yourself’ when i say no to a chocolate bar, or when we have cakes in work and i say no. I know where people are coming from and that they have good intentions but there is a method to my madness, i promise.

I often tell people that from my own personal experiences i have found when it comes to diet it really is all or nothing for me. A few years ago i really struggled with my eating and went through an awful ‘binge and restrict’ cycle for many months before i finally got to the root of it and got back in control. I think it’s pretty self explanatory but for those who don’t know it’s where you binge eat uncontrollably and then feel so guilty afterwards that you seriously restrict your diet to compensate in the following days or exercise excessively to make up for it. Obviously from restricting calories so low and upping the exercise your body is not getting the energy and nutrients it needs and you seriously crave carbs… which is when you find the fastest digesting sugary carbs possible and binge again – repeat repeat repeat! It’s a viscous cycle.

Anyway like i said thankfully i got to the bottom of my food related anxieties. I started to learn as much as i could about nutrition so that i could eat healthily and make sure my body was getting all the nutrients it needed and work my diet efficiently around my lifestyle and training.

Now a lot of this is of course a mental battle. However the main thing that i found helped me to get out of this cycle and stop those insane carb cravings was by eliminating simple/refined sugars from my diet and only consuming natural sugars with a low GI index.

I’m going to keep this as simple as possible. 

There are three main types of carbohydrates –  sugars, starches and fibres. Some carbs are ‘simple’ and some carbs are ‘complex’.

Simple carbs are easily and quickly digested by the body. Because of the structure of simple carbs and because of the way they are digested they cause the blood sugar levels to spike. Your pancreas then releases a hormone called insulin which is what tells your cells to absorb the sugar from your blood. This then causes a dramatic drop in blood sugar levels. Research has shown that when our blood sugar levels drop dramatically we lose our ability to control our desire to eat. Our body will crave the fastest source of carbs we can get and unfortunately the fastest digesting carbs are usually the unhealthy ones such as cakes and sweets.

Complex carbs as you might be able to get from the name have a more complex structure. This means that it takes the body a lot longer to break them down and digest them. Complex carbs usually have a lower GI which means that a lower amount of sugar will get released at a steady pace. This provides you with a longer, steadier and much more effective flow of energy (as opposed to the sugar rush and sugar drop of simple carbs).

Now do you see why i say no to the cakes and sweets? I’m not being boring i’m being smart. I know that if i have that cake my blood sugar will spike and drop. Then i will be craving more unhealthy carbs and go for more simple sugars… binge and restrict. So i choose to say no and keep my blood sugar levels steady. It’s actually a lot easier than you would think. The first week or two is usually the hardest as you are still craving the simple sugars because you have been eating them recently. But it is very surprising how little you will actually crave unhealthy foods/sugars once you have managed to get your blood sugar levels under control. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving it a try for a few weeks.

So how do i do it?

Choose foods low in sugars.

Throw out the refined sugars. Say no to breads, fizzy drinks, biscuits, energy drinks, cakes, sweets, pasta.

Say yes to vegetables, fruit, oats, sweet potato, beans, lentils, muesli.

Make smart choices. For example most rices have a very high GI so i would stay clear of them. However white basmati rice has a GI of 52 which makes it a really good option IN SMALL PORTIONS. Berries have a lot less sugar than bananas. Now i’m not saying don’t eat bananas, as i personally eat one every day, but what i’m saying is if you have already most of your sugars for today then opt for the berries over the banana later on.

Always exercise portion control. Try eating smaller amounts more regularly during the day for a steady release of energy. This will also stop you from getting really hungry between meals and then getting cravings.

Remember that just because something is a ‘natural’ sugar doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Fruit is very nutritious but at the end of the day it is still sugar. So again.. portion control. I stick to two portions of fruit a day usually.

You can check out the GI of your food online, there are so many websites but i will include a link for one at the bottom of this article.

Try and keep your overall sugar consumption as low as possible. I personally eat between 20-30g of sugar a day and no higher. THIS INCLUDES NATURAL SUGARS. If you eat 2000 calories a day it is recommended you eat less than 50g of sugar a day.

A good way to keep track of how much sugar your eating as well as overall calories and nutrients is to download an app to input your meals. The one i use is myfitnesspal. Of course this is not necessary all of the time but it is really handy to use at first until you get a general idea of what your foods contain. This will also give you a shocker if your not used to counting calories, it can be a real eye opener when you find out how many calories are in some of your favourite go to foods.

Eat enough fibre. Fibre slows the absorption of sugar and therefore helps regulate blood sugar levels. This is why even though some fruits have a high GI they are still a good option because fruits are very nutrient dense and also full of fibre.

And last but not least. Believe that you can do it! If you fall off the wagon and eat some sugary foods or if you do find yourself in the middle of a binge don’t beat your self up about it. As soon as you realise you have slipped up again just stop what you are doing and take a few conscious breaths. Make note of where you went wrong and start again.. and again.. and again.. until you get it right. Nobody said it was easy, but it is worth it.

If it makes you feel any better i fell off that wagon more times than you could possibly imagine before i finally got it right, i still do from time to time. The power is in the return. Keep trying as many times as it takes and remember YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

Love and light.

 

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My First Float.

 

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If you read my previous blog post you will know that for my 25th birthday i was heading over to Kildare for the day to experience my first ever float session in a sensory deprivation tank.

I went to Sli Beatha in Naas, Co. Kildare and was not disappointed. The whole experience from start to finish was absolutely wonderful, so much so that i decided to pay for two further sessions so i can go again in the next few weeks.

First of all i would highly recommend going to Sli Beatha Float House if you are going to try floating. If you don’t live in Naas don’t be put off by having to travel as i promise it is worth it. I got the 126 bus from the Happeny Bridge in Dublin city centre which took roughly 40 minutes & it was only 10 euros for a return ticket. The bus dropped me right outside just across the road from the Float House (ask the bus driver to tell you when your at the stop before the post office in Naas and get off there).

The whole place was very beautiful inside and felt very relaxing & ‘spa’ like. Laura was very welcoming and made me feel very comfortable right away. I was sat down in a little cosy area to watch a video about how the tank works & a few need to know things. I was then given some earbuds to keep & offered a bottle of water and then Laura took me upstairs to my private float room.

I have to say the full place from top to bottom was absolutely gleaming and spotless, such a beautiful space throughout and lovely decor & a calming atmosphere. Laura took me in the float room and explained everything to me and showed me where everything was and how to use the tank and then she left me to enjoy.

I was delighted that in your private float room you have absolutely everything provided for you so you don’t have to bring anything at all. A lovely fresh towel and a turbie towel for your hair are provided, plus you have your own shower in the room for before and after the float. I quickly had my pre float shower, put my earbuds in place and climbed into the tank.

I was a little bit nervous about doing it as i have had a terrible fear of drowning for the past 10 years ever since one of my friends i went to school with sadly drowned. I used to be quite a strong swimmer up until that happened but afterwards i would have nightmares every night for years to come and wake up in floods of tears every night. After that the fear of drowning was just to overwhelming for me that it took me 8 years before i would get back in the water again. I’m glad to say that i finally came to peace with it and started learning to swim again at the age of 24. Better late than never right?

I was surprised when i climbed in at how bouyant I was. Relief rushed over me straight away as i realised theres no possible way i could drown in here, i could barely even sit on the bottom to get in place thats how floaty it was in there. I pulled the top of the tank dow completely straight away as although i had been a bit worried before about drowning or feeling claustrophobic those fears were now gone. I floated so easily and comfortably and the tank was so big that i just wasn’t worried at all now.

For the first 10 minutes of the float they play some beautiful calming music directly into the tank & the light in the tank is still on. The light is like a beautiful pastel mood light with really warm glowing colours, enough to light up the tank inside but not bright enough to kill the mood, just right. You can turn the light off yourself when you get in if you like but since it was my first time i kept it on for now. Laura had advised me that when i get in the light will automatically turn off after 5 minutes and that the the music would fade away and turn off after 10 minutes. For the first minute or two i was just finding my most comfortable position to float in which was with my arms up by the side of my head instead of by my sides. I had a little bit of anxiety worrying about being able to breathe properly in here and was worried would i freak out when the light and music turned off so i decided just to concentrate on my breath. I practice pranayama breathing techniques regularly so i just focused on a techique i know to calm the nervous system & relax .

When the light turned off i was actually surprised as straight away the sense of being inside a tank just vanished. The floating sensation coupled with absolute darkness made me feel as if i was floating through a vast open space it was a very freeing and wonderful sensation. Any anxiety that i had felt previously completely disappeared, i did not feel enclosed or as if i was in a tank at all and it was absolutely pitch black in there i could not see a single thing. There were a few times throughout the float when i actually didn’t know if my eyes were open or closed as it made no difference either way. My neck & traps felt very achy and uncomfortable at first which i knew could happen from watching the video before hand. When there is no other sensation to focus on except your own body any aches or itches or rumbles just feel magnified times 10. Even though the aches in my neck were very prominent at first i was still extremely relaxed and comfortable and after the epsom salts in the tank started to soak in (about 20 minutes in) the muscle aches and tension eased away completely.

With the light switched off i got this indescribable feeling throughout my whole body like a mixture of relief and elation. I often struggle to calm myself or relax around other people & as i get older i become more and more introverted. The theme of my week so far had been ‘God please give me 5 minutes of peace and quiet before i lose my shit or have a panic attack’. When the music went silent in that tank i just though to myself FINALLY! Absolute silence and alone time, no distractions, nobody to have to make conversation with or answer to, no anxiety, no jobs to do or places to be, no rushing, just pure joyous bliss.

The next 50 minutes were absolutely wonderful i can’t even begin to describe. I realised a long time ago that even though anxiety is internal, for me my anxiety always revolves around other people. Always trying to people please, worrying about what other people are thinking, trying to make conversation to please other people even though i just want quiet, putting other peoples needs before my own, carrying other peoples worries as my own, fear of other people wanting to hurt me. I always find any social situation extremely draining and even though i will always be smiling and i truly do want to be there, it can just get a bit overwhelming for me at times. It was like getting some time alone in this tank to relax was an answer to my prayers. I honestly must have been radiating gratitude from every single inch of my body whilst i was in there for getting the chance to have this experience.

I let the good feelings flow in and the bad ones flow out and let my thoughts come and go exactly the same way. I didn’t try to control my thoughts or stop them or direct them, i just let them come and go without really fixating on them. Just being aware of what was drifting in and out. Being present and completely letting go of everything.

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For the majority of that 50 minutes i would completely forget where i was, i almost felt like i was in a dream or floating through the universe or just completely absorbed in consciousness. Actually i think the way to describe it would be all of those things at once.. i was awake but dreaming, floating through the universe, completely immersed in consciousness with no attachment to my physical body. It was such a beautiful and humbling experience that words do not do it justice. One thing that i was very happy about as for a while now i seemed to have ‘writers block’ and couldn’t seem to come up with things i wanted to write about any more. My thoughts became so crystal clear in that tank that the ideas just came flowing to me one after another, but gently and softly. There was never a rush of thoughts or a bombardment of thoughts. Infact i don’t know how it’s possible but i’m pretty sure the thoughts were gently flowing and coming to me but at the same time my head was completely clear and silent. Well one thing i have learned this far in life is that ANYTHING is possible. The mind is a complex and fascinating thing. All of the ideas that came flowing to me about writing and about my life seemed so perfect that it was as if God had just planted them there himself. At the same time though these thoughts and amazing ideas i was having weren’t like an epiphany. No. They were from inside me, i already had these thoughts but with the business of every day life and the outside noise it’s hard to make sense of your own thoughts or let them surface.

And then i felt grateful to myself. Grateful for following my guides, for following my intuition, i felt grateful for allowing myself this experience, grateful for me to listening to my body and practicing yoga, walking, for meditating, for allowing myself to heal, for my ayahuasca journey, for my journal. All of these things that i had brought into my life that are just for me. For taking care of myself, mind body and spirit. (Feeling nostalgic referencing back to my first ever blog post here). I promised myself in this moment that floating was going to become a regular part of my life from now on. As did yoga, meditation, journalling, so will floating. I made a comitment to myself right then to float once a month and give myself this time to let go of everything and allow myself to heal. From the inside out.

After my float was over i had a lovely hot shower in the float room before heading through to the dressing room to get myself together. I had brought towels and shampoos, brushes etc with me in my bag but it turns out none of them were needed. The shower had the loveliest smelling shampoo & conditioners of all time & the shower gel left me all silky smooth and smelling gorgeous after washing away all of the float salts – note, make sure to rinse out properly inside your ears just in case any salt water got in, as if it dries on your eardrum it could cause some discomfort. In the cutest dressing room ever there were loads of toiletries and amenities to choose from. Cleansers, moisturisers, body butters, argan oils, hair serums, deodorants, hair brushes, a selection of gorgeous perfumes, hair bobbles & clips, they literally had everything.

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After i spent a slow & lazy 45 minutes drying my hair and getting myself together i took a seat on a cosy orange elephant chair and had a browse through the guest book. It was lovely to read the messages left by all of the people who had visited before me. So many people saying they had also had similar experiences to mine, joyous, calming, the feeling of connection and oneness. My personal favourites were ”it’s all connected” & ”ooh ahh sli beatha, ooh ahh sli beatha”. So anyways i left my own message in the guestbook thanking them for a wonderful experience and then i went down to the reception and paid for my next two floats to come. No hesitation there. I already can’t wait to go back and i will keep blogging about each floating experience and how it evolves for me.

Healing the mind body & soul, one float at a time.

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Recommended Podcasts.

Since I started video logging throughout the day I have been mentioning what podcasts I have been listening to and have had so many people messaging me directly to ask what podcasts I would recommend so I thought I would write a post with my favourite podcasts.

I listen to podcasts all day every day, when i’m getting ready, while i’m travelling to and from work, when i’m in the gym, when i’m writing for my blog, when i’m cleaning, basically as much as I possibly can. I think podcasts are such a great way to get new information, I love to be always learning about new things, always hearing different opinions, always expanding my knowledge on any subjects that interest me. Sometimes in today’s busy life it can be hard to sit down and read endless books on subjects that interest you but with podcasts you can listen to up to date discussions from experts in the industry while you go about your day to day business. This is why I love to listen to fitness and nutrition based podcasts to gain as much knowledge as possible. Of course it can’t always be learning all the time we’ve got to have that bit of laughter to, which is why I also have a few podcasts from comedians which I regularly listen to just for those real big belly laughs.

Here are a list of my favourite podcasts at the moment. I’m always chopping and changing what I listen to and these ones below are in no particular order, these are just the podcasts that I am currently listening to at the moment. There’s a good mixture in there so I’m sure there will be something for everyone!  Also if anybody has any podcast suggestions for me I am all ears I’d love to find some new ones so drop me a message if you know of any you think I might benefit from.

  1. Joe Rogan Experience – Definitely my favourite podcast at the moment, mainly because he has such a wide variety of different guests on the show and it is so regular that there is always something new and interesting to listen to. He always has guests on talking in depth about different areas of fitness and nutrition, psychedelics, spirituality, sports and so much more.
  2. Found My Fitness, Dr Rhonda Patrick – Nutrition and how it affects our health is one of my biggest interests. Dr Rhonda Patrick lays down the facts on her podcast with the ins and outs of nutrition and how it affects our health, diseases, cancer, ageing, basically how nutrition is the key to everything. She also talks a lot about different supplements/products/fasting techniques/fads etc to give the low down on each one and her educated opinion on them.
  3. Danny Lennon, Sigma Nutrition – All things fitness related, training and nutrition wise. Danny Lennon has guests who discuss at length different topics in relation to fat loss, physique athletes, competitive cutting, cutting for women, fat loss plateaus and so much more. For anyone interested in fitness and more specifically bodybuilding this is a great one to listen to.
  4. The Ricky Gervais Show – Now this one is purely for the laughs. We’ve all heard of Karl Pilkington An Idiot Abroad, right? Well rewind to how Ricky & Steve met Karl Pilkington was when Karl was producing their radio show XFM. They thought he was that hilarious that they decided to start a podcast just the 3 of them, that’s when The Ricky Gervais Show was born. No matter how many times I have listened to every single one of these I still laugh my head off so much every time, it never gets old.
  5. Duncan Trussell Family Hour – A mixture between the most fascinating of topics and rambles of randomness. Duncan is such a fascinating guy and he always talks about deeply spiritual subjects. His views on psychedelics, virtual reality and different dimensions are just a few of the reasons I love to listen to his podcast, also for the laughs of course.
  6. Skeptic Tank, Ari Shaffir – Ari is a regular guest on The Joe Rogan Experience which is how I got listening to his podcast. Such an interesting character and a little ‘out there’ as well as a good joker his podcast is always a good listen.
  7. The Church of Whats Happening Now, Joey Diaz – Another regular on The Joe Rogan Experience, Joey Diaz is absolutely hilarious and man has he lived a crazy life! Any and all of his stories have me rolling on the floor laughing, mostly just because of the animated and fiery way in which he tells them. Always a good listen and it always has me in knots laughing, listen to one podcast and you will see exactly what I mean by his story telling.
  8. The True Geordie Podcast – The main reason I listen to this podcast is because hearing a Geordie accent just gives me that familiar ‘home’ comfort feeling. But the guys on this podcast always cover up to date and interesting topics and of course the magpies regularly crop up and football in general, Geordies through and through.

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