Stay Well This Winter

With the colder weather comes the all too common cold. Every year I get at least one cold – that means a  sniffy noses and a tickly cough. It’s such a nuisance. So this year I am going all out to avoid this and here’s how:

  1. Go to bed a little earlier

Being well rested allows your body to be in at its best which is exactly what it needs when it is fighting off cold and flu

  1. Wash your pillow regularly

Where you lay your head at night is one of the places which contain the most amounts of germs and bacteria. Keep this clean by giving it a hot wash on a regular basis to keep those germs at bay

  1. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly

We all neglect hand washing at some stage but ensuring you get rid of those germs can be there difference between getting ill and staying healthy

  1. Exercise

Not only does it keep you fit but it can also help your immunity. Getting the blood pumping around your body and helping your body to get stronger in turn helps its immune system

  1. Wrap up warm

This may be a simple piece of advice but so many of us don’t wrap up. Dust of that hat, scarf and gloves set and wrap up this winter.

 

So join me in keeping on top form this winter without falling ill, ready to enjoy all the festivities this season has to offer.

A Stress Free Festive Season

The busiest time of the year is just around the corner. Does this thought fill you with dread? It doesn’t have to! This year I am determined to have a stress free Christmas and so should you, they don’t call it the most wonderful time of the year for nothing! Follow our top tips for having a stress free season.

  1. Remember you can say no

    Feeling overwhelmed and tires is not enjoyable for anyone especially at Christmas. You can still spend time with people all through the year, you do not have to fit everything in to the festive period.

  2. Make lists

    The best way to make sure that no-one and nothing is forgotten is to write everything down, from to do lists to shopping lists. Having clear lists always helps you manage the busy period.

  3. Start early

    The shops do this, so why can’t you? Get ahead of the game so you can enjoy the Christmas period without the stress and worry.

  4. Don’t overindulge

    Look to escape that guilty feeling by knowing your limits. Don’t load the cupboards with naughty treats that you bought for guests but actually end up keeping for yourself. People will still enjoy your company without piles of food!

  5. Keep it simple

    Do you say the words “we’ll just have a quiet one this year” and it never ends up that way? Make a plan and stick to it – know what you can handle and don’t exceed this!

So get yourself ahead of the game in time to actually enjoy Christmas! Spend time with friends and family and don’t forget your me time – Christmas is a time for you as well!

Can power naps actually help improve your day?

We’ve all heard the phrase, you snooze you lose right? But what if power naps could actually help you to get through your day? Lose of sleep or not enough sleep can have major impacts on your ability to focus and make the right decisions. With so many of us working longer hours and trying to fit so much more into the short space of 24 hours a nap throughout the day is a growing necessity.

Try and include a Power nap in your daily routine, the benefits could include:

  1. Helping you focus – just a short power nap can help improve your alertness which therefore can help you to feel a lot more confident about the decisions you are making.
  2. Relax you – being over tired and cranky is not the best attitude to have towards your day. Take a short nap when you feel those frustration levels rising to help you chill out and face everything with a fresh attitude.
  3. Fix a bad night’s sleep – we all have those restless nights where we just cannot nod off. If this happens and you don’t have the luxury of being able to have a lie in, a power nap is a life saver. Just 40 winks and you could feel refreshed and revitalised.

How long should I nap for?

10-20 minutes – just enough to revitalise you after a busy day, the pick me up your body might need to help you concentrate on the next task at hand.

20-30 minutes – clears your mind and allows you release stress. When you wake up you will be able to face the same issues but hopefully with a more positive solution

70 – 90 minutes – the perfect fix for if you have had a bad night’s sleep but have a busy day ahead.  Great for when you need that second wind to carry you through the rest of the day.

 

So why not try it! Fit a power nap into your day and see if you notice a difference in your concentration levels! Happy napping!

Getting into Meditation

Meditation is great for those looking to find that peace and quiet they have been craving. So many celebrities and gurus swear by it, so I thought it was about time I gave it a go. The truth is, finding that time in your busy schedule to sit in silence is nearly impossible but forcing myself to do this really has allowed me to clear my mind and my thoughts.

How do I meditate?

  1. Sit tall

Posture really is key. Sit on a level ground with a straight back and your eyes closed. But make sure you are comfortable; otherwise you will not want to carry on

  1. Relax your body

We carry so much tension around with us without even realising. This is the perfect opportunity to release all of this.

  1. Concentrate on your breathing.

This may sound a little odd to begin with but it really helps you relax yourself. Focusing on one thing allows you to let go of all the other thoughts running through your mind, so you can truly relax.

  1. Calm your mind.

Control your thoughts. Stop stressing about what you need to cook for dinner or which of the kids have forgotten their PE kits and focus on the now, the silent and calm experience you are creating for yourself.

There are no set times for when or for how long you should meditate for. The best way to start is little and often. But be sure to not push it on to the back burner. Make this a part of your “me time” and you really will start to feel peace and tranquillity if only for two minutes a day!

Mindfulness

We live in 24/7 world where we are all rushing on to the next thing we have to do or the next place we have to be and it is exhausting. Mindfulness allows us to be present at that moment in time, something which is a rarity today.

The idea of being present in that very moment and being aware of everyone and everything around you allows us to understand ourselves even more and helps calm our minds and our anxieties.

Mindfulness takes time and practise but there are a few simple steps which can help you on your way to mindfulness:

  1. Focus on your breathing. Breathing is the key to relaxation, slow down your breathing and control it. Breathe in for 6 seconds, hold for 2 seconds and exhale for 8. Slowing down your breathing and gaining back that control is perfect for just before an interview, presentation or situation that causes anxiety.
  2. Be non-judgemental. Remind yourself that not everything needs a response or negative thought. Sometimes the best thing to do is just to let things be and carry on with your own thoughts and feelings.
  3. Be mindful of others. Be present in a conversation, really engage yourself and listen to whoever you are speaking to. Being there will really help you enjoy and experience the company and opinions of others.
  4. Go for a walk. It may sound simple and obvious but it really does help. Taking a walk can help relief stress and boost your mood which is perfect after a hectic day.

Mindfulness brings all of your attention and awareness to your surroundings. It allows you to really connect with your feelings and with yourself which can help with anxiety and stress, something which we all suffer with!

Do you feel tired all the time?

The most frustrating situation is knowing that you got the recommended 8 hours of sleep but are still struggling to get out of bed in the morning. But that tired feeling which lingers can be due to more than just your sleeping patterns, the habits we have or the things we do or do not also play an important role in that tired feeling which lingers all day.

  1. You’re eating the wrong foods – so many of us snack on the wrong types of food which do not fuel our bodies in the best way. Our body relies on carbohydrates for energy, but today’s diet includes refined and processed carbs which eats up all of your energy in the long run.

 

  1. You are low in iron – your body needs iron to make red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. A lack of iron can cause a strain on your body so it is vital you you’re your iron levels at a healthy rate. You can get iron through meat, nuts and dark leafy green vegetables.

 

  1. You’re not drinking enough water – the recommended allowance is 2 litres of water per day. But the reality of it is, the majority of us do not drink enough water. Dehydration caused fatigue as it decreased the volume of blood in your body making your heart work harder. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to keep drinking throughout the day.

 

Fight that fatigue and keep your body on top form to help you keep yourself happy and healthy. Make sure you follow these three top tips and see if you notice a reduce in your fatigue throughout the day.

Overcoming your barriers

September is always the perfect time to reset your goals and set yourself new challenges. But sometimes, you get to this time of the year and you realise you are still struggling with the things you planned to overcome back in January. Frustrating, right? You tried your best, but for some unknown reason the same hurdles are still there. Instead of giving up, we are taking a different approach to the same challenges.

 

  1. Revaluate your goals – are you being realistic? The worst thing you can do is set yourself up for failure. Take a look at your goals and ask yourself, as these really achievable? Reset your goals and make them something you can actually work towards.
  2. Focus on the positive – look how far you have come since setting your goals, don’t allow the fact that you have not achieved them yet deter your motivation to try again
  3. Work out a strategy and write it down – figure out how you can work towards these goals and create a plan, a tick chart, anything that allows you to see that you are on track and that keeps you motivated
  4. Push yourself – don’t limit yourself, challenge yourself and get out of that comfort zone. It may seem frightening at first, but the sense of pride and achievement once you have completed it will definitely be worth it!
  5. Be persistent – things don’t always go smoothly the first time round and that’s ok! The most important thing is that you have tried and that you will keep trying until you succeed, perseverance is always key!

 

I hope these handy tips have helped to inspire you to continue going with your goals and targets or even set new ones! Just remember, change takes time, so whether it takes you a month or a year keep at it and overcome those barriers!

How a Good Morning can make a Great Day !

Getting out of bed in the morning can be the biggest chore of the day, but it has to be done! In fact, mornings really can influence your mood for the rest of the day. With September on the horizon, I am all about fresh starts and more importantly; fresh beginnings to the day. I am saying goodbye to those groggy mornings that turn into groggy days and hello to a bright and energetic morning routine.

  1. Don’t turn straight to technology

    Let your body wake up, stretch, open your eyes and take in your surroundings, don’t jump straight on your phone to see what you’ve missed out on over the course of the night, chances are you’ll be on it all day anyway!

  2. Set a goal for the day

    Be it practical or just a mindset that you want to follow for the day. Set a realistic target so you are ready and raring to start the day with the eager to meet your goals.

  3. Enjoy some alone time

    Just 5 minutes of me time whilst you’re getting ready in the morning really can help you be that little bit less irritable for the rest of the day. Respect the fact that you need a few moments to yourself and it a morning priority.

  4. Have a healthy breakfast

    They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it really is true. Starting your day on a full stomach sets both your mind and body up to be working at its peak to allow for a productive and successful day.

  5. Plan the night before

    There is nothing worse than rushing round in the early hours of the morning to make your lunch or print of those documents you need for a meeting, so don’t do it! Take 15 minutes before you go to bed to make sure that you have everything you need for the next day together in one place ready to pick up on your way out of the door.

Having a good morning doesn’t mean getting up at the crack of dawn, if you’re not a morning person , don’t stress, try these 5 handy tips and however early or late make your morning and your day a great one!

Are you a Night Time Nibbler?

One of the biggest habits we all seem to have is mindless or boredom snacking. We come home from a long day and put on the TV to unwind, but two hours in, we always seem to find ourselves back in the kitchen opening the cupboards or raiding the fridge, but the reality of the situation is that we aren’t even hungry. So why do we do it? Boredom is usually the answer. So how do we stop this? It makes all that little bit worse as we have been eating so healthily all day, then evening comes and it all goes out of the window. I am determined to put a stop to this and have been putting these five top tips into practise to stop my evening boredom snacking.

  1. Be aware of your habits

    Is there a certain time you reach for a snack? Perhaps it’s during a certain TV programme or a few hours after your dinner? Become aware of this and question yourself. Am I actually hungry or am I just eating of the sake of it? Before reaching for a snack, go and get yourself a glass of water, have a drink and wait 10 minutes, chances are you will have forgotten all about your snack cravings!

  2. Don’t fill your cupboards full of temptation

    Do you buy ‘treats’ that you say you’re going to share out over the course of the week and then just sit and eat them all in one sitting? The trick to avoid this is and to simply not buy these on your weekly shop. If they’re not there, then you can’t eat them!

  3.  Distract yourself

    Do you head to the kitchen at every ad break or raid the kitchen when there’s nothing on TV? Try something different, Facetime friends, flick through a magazine, water your plants, make a to-do list for the next week, whatever it takes to keep you out of the kitchen.

  4. Schedule your snacks

    Do you know you are going to want that sweet treat an hour after you have had your dinner? Regulate and schedule this, allowing yourself a regulated snacks prevents you overindulging and going for everything in sight.

    5.Don’t deprive yourself

    Trying to keep yourself on a strict diet is what can lead to stints of binge snacking. Allow yourself the odd treat every now and again, restricting yourself and forcing yourself to avoid certain foods can cause you to snack even heavier on them then you would if you just reduced your intake.

 

This weekend try out these five tips and gain control over your snacking again. Remember the key is balance, treat yourself every now and again to foods you enjoy, just don’t make a habit of it and before you know it; you will be the master of your cravings.

Courgetti with Peaches and Pumpkin Seed Pesto

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

For the pumpkin seed pesto:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 160 g raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 tbsp sea salt
  • 25g fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced

For the courgetti:

  • 225g courgetti or 2 courgettes
  • 2 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 100g porcini mushrooms
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

In a baking dish, combine the olive oil with pumpkin seeds and salt. Toast for 10 minutes in the oven, or until seeds are puffed up and golden, and let it cool slightly.

In a food processor, grind the pumpkin seeds until small breadcrumbs. Then add olive oil, basil, water, lemon juice and garlic. Blend until the mixture is a smooth paste. If you want it a little thinner, add more oil or lemon juice.

To make the courgetti noodles, use a spiral slicer to create about 5 cups of raw noodles from 2 courgettes or buy pre-made courgetti.

Sauté the porcini mushrooms for 5 minutes and seasons with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss your courgetti noodles with about 5 tablespoons of the pesto into the pan. Add the peach slices, and garnish with basil.