So what does selfcare really mean?

Selfcare is something that only you can provide for yourself and is by far the most important ingredient for true wellness.

  • It means showing up for yourself every single day.
  • It means taking the time to work on yourself instead of avoiding yourself.

In 2017, we saw words like selfcare, authenticity and mindfulness often being overused, yet very misunderstood.

Saying and doing are very different things. Having struggled with my own mental health and addictions for 20 years, words like selfcare, authenticity and mindfulness are sacred words upon which the solid foundation of a strong and healthy lifestyle is built.

Real self care is about valuing yourself enough to treat yourself with respect and kindness. It’s about understanding that there are no prizes in life for being a sacrificial lamb, and understanding that when you give to yourself first, you have so much more to give to others, so it’s a true win win. Just think about aeroplanes when they ask you to put on your own mask first before helping others.

I agree that selfcare can be difficult sometimes because it asks us to be present and deal with life as it happens instead of pretending everything is fine. Very often we wear a mask for the outside world when our world inside is crumbling. But it is only through facing the very things that scare us can we have real change and peace in our hearts and minds.

selfcare, mindfulness, thoughts, intentions, authenticity,

Selfcare means finding and following our passion and purpose. It means being strong and aligning with our true values and ethos instead of merging with the masses and losing our way. When we practice authentic selfcare, we work with our mind and transform it to create a better life not only for ourselves but also for those around us.

Selfcare awakens our authentic self and allows us to live out our true calling and not one mapped out for us by others. However its needs ingredients like consistency, awareness, mindfulness, love, kindness, gratitude and daily practice to be transformed into a way of living that continuously delivers miracles to us daily.

When we practice living like this, we experience a shift in perception, which encourages us to be kinder and more loving to both others and ourselves.

LIFE IS A JOURNEY

As individuals we never stop growing, learning and evolving till the day we die. When we do, problems happen. One of the biggest learnings I have had so far is that you can either consciously choose to live life to the fullest, or you can do what I did for years and walk around dead. There are so many people in the world today who are alive but dead.

 

I became stagnant in different areas of my life and stunted my growth. Very often, as human beings, we have a goal in life such as leaving college and getting a good job or getting married and having kids. What can happen when we achieve these things is that we become complacent and dare I say even lazy. We have now hit our target and so we stop trying and sit back to enjoy the ride. I did this for years as I reached goals I thought ‘that’s it fantastic life will now take care of me’ but I learnt the hard way that it simply doesn’t work like that. You get out of life what you put into it and every time you get to a place where you feel comfortable, it’s time to push further and grow more.

 

This is how you stay alive, excited, curious, connected and adventurous. When you live this way, you are happening to life and life is not happening to you. When you become stagnant, life happens to you. This is when you become a victim.

 

I used to be a victim! Nothing was ever my fault. It was always someone else’s. If I didn’t book a big job it was my agents’ fault, my sisters’, boyfriends’ or whoever was lucky enough to be standing to close to me at the time. If I missed work because I was out drinking, it was the fault of the people I was with, not mine.

 

It’s hard to take responsibility, it’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and see aspects of yourself that are not so appetizing.

 

selfcare, mindfulness, thoughts, intentions, authenticity,

Responsibility and selfcare go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Self-respect and selfcare go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other and boundaries and selfcare go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other.

I learned all of this the hard way. I had no self-respect; little or no boundaries and I never took responsibility for my behavior even when it meant I was hurting others.

Addiction will strip you bare. It will chew you up and spit you out. It will lie to you and for the small moment that you think it relieves your pain, it will give you more and multiply it by four each time.

Facing and feeling the issues and problems that life presents to us heal pain. It doesn’t work by turning your cheek and running the other way. I know because I did this for most of my adult life. Avoiding pushes those experiences and feelings down further. You push them down so hard and far you think you are clever and that they are gone forever but one day they will bubble back to the surface and what do you then?

They will present themselves in all sorts of ways through illness, depression, anger and rage. Just think of it like a bottle of coke that you have been shaking for years. Now just imagine when the cap comes off, the mess it makes. Does it not make sense to feel and deal as we go along so that the mess doesn’t get so overwhelming?

Now I’m well aware that life is complex and each one of us has our own journey. Some people are given the tools to cope and some are not. I had none and mental health is certainly not a topic that was ever spoken about when I was young. Mental health issues and addictions bring shame and guilt into a family and that cycle can only be broken when each one of us accepts that no one is perfect and we need more understanding, support and compassion.

Shame, blame and guilt are deeply ingrained in Irish culture, primarily a hangover of the control the Catholic Church had for so long. When you have been reared like this, it’s hard to break the cycle and break free.

Part of practicing selfcare means being genuinely kind and compassionate towards yourself and when guilt has been your comfort zone, the shift to love can take time.

My golden rule is to treat yourself as you would a best friend. Every time you say something mean, ask yourself ‘would I say that to a friend’. Our words have real power and negative self-talk lowers our energy and vibration.

selfcare, mindfulness, thoughts, intentions, authenticity,I also believe mindfulness is one of the most important daily practices and something that is not optional anymore. We need to consciously include mindful moments in our lives because the digital age has now removed the ones we had naturally. We have become wired and tired and need to bring more mindfulness in to help calm and control both our body and mind.

Overall selfcare enables you to find your way among the masses, to find your way home to your true self. After all it’s an inside out world regardless of what the illusion of this world would have you think.

So why should you do this and practice selfcare?

Because you are unique. You are the only you on the whole earth and you are a unique expression of our creator’s love.

So don’t ever expect to be like anyone else. Just be you. Your beautiful bright, bold and unique self.

BOOK NOW FOR TICKETS TO MY FULL 360 EVENTS – A FULL DAY OF WELLBEING

Do you ever wonder why you continue to attract the same types of partners? Or, is the same problem showing up in all your intimate relationships?

Relationships Article Annie 2

So many people claim they are “bad at relationships” but the question they need to ask themselves is, what attempts are they making to tend to them? It’s fair to say I am bad at long distance running because I have never brought awareness to why I keep getting injured at the six-mile stage to change some of the bad habits I have picked up over the years. The same is also true for intimate relationships, until you develop a loving relationship with yourself and pay attention to what is going on beyond the superficial, you will unfortunately continue to repeat these same patterns. Ask yourself, where your “injuries” show up in your intimate relationships and be honest with yourself. To engage in a healthy intimate relationship you must develop self-awareness and a range of skills to prepare you for love and the maintenance of it. The idea that love is an action can be quite startling for some, because it is in stark contrast to the social expectation we have picked up about dating, romance, intimate relationships and marriage our whole lives.

For many years I was the person complaining about my inability to attract a healthy intimate relationship but doing nothing to tend to what was actually going on. It was too painful to look inwards at my own behaviours and much easier to highlight all that was wrong with the guys I was meeting. After a particularly bad break up I decided to reach out and seek support but I discovered it was impossible to find the kind of tailored service I was looking for. Back then there was no such thing as Relationship Coaching. Once I had done all the necessary personal work to heal and attract only healthy intimate love I decided to set up my own relationship coaching practice. I didn’t want others to go through what I did. When I think back to those years, although they were so transformative they were lonely, especially when all around me were people who appeared to “have it all”. At that time, I identified those markers to be; a man, career, baby. For me now, “having it all” thankfully means something entirely different and much more in line with who I am rather than fitting a societal “norm”. Understand yourself, honour your needs and take care of your emotional self rather than waiting for prince or princess charming to come along and take care of all your woes. By far it’s a much surer bet.

It is important to mention that domestic abuse differs from a “bad, unhealthy or disconnected relationship”. In a healthy relationship or even one going badly or ending – neither individual fears the other or is controlled by the other. Domestic abuse doesn’t always have to mean physical violence but it can be part of the abuse.

Contact Women’s Aid if you feel unsafe or confused in your relationship. 1800 341 900 National Freephone Helpline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Research has shown that making changes in your diet, lifestyle and reducing exposure to toxins can boost fertility for both you and your partner and also reduce the risk of miscarriage. 

Three months is the optimum period of time for these changes to take effect because it takes approximately three months for the follicles on the ovaries to develop before one is mature enough to release an egg at ovulation. Although as a woman you cannot change the number of eggs you have (ovarian reserve), you can certainly change their quality and this is the important point. By improving the quality of your eggs, you are increasing your chances of conceiving naturally and also preventing a miscarriage. If you are going for an assisted conception technique, like IUI, IVF or ICSI, you will also want your eggs to be as healthy as possible so as to give the technique the best chance of success.

Many women I see in the clinic are told that they have ‘old’ eggs and that there is nothing wrong with the IVF technology, the problem is with them.  That is devastating terminology and it is true that the eggs in a woman of 35 are older than when she was 20 but as long as she is ovulating it is possible to change the quality of those eggs to either give her the chance of conceiving naturally or achieving success on an IVF cycle with her own eggs. 

With men, it also takes at least three months for a new batch of sperm cells to mature, ready to be ejaculated. Men produce sperm all their lives so it is always possible to not only improve the quality but also the quantity of sperm by making certain lifestyle and nutritional changes. 

Although it goes without saying that a healthy diet is crucial to a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby, many people are unaware of the fact that what you eat may affect your ability to conceive.   Also you want to avoid the three main fertility busters; caffeine, alcohol and smoking as they have all been linked to an increased risk of infertility in men and women.

Having four cups of coffee or any caffeinated drink a day makes it 26% less likely that a woman will conceive and drinking only 2 cups of coffee a day is associated with a 25% increased risk of miscarriage. And problems with sperm health are connected with increased coffee intake.

Alcohol will also make it more difficult to get pregnant with only just three alcoholic drinks or more a week. The same is true for male fertility and alcohol will also block the body’s ability to absorb fertility boosting nutrients like zinc.

A woman is twice as likely to get pregnant if she doesn’t smoke compared to a woman who does. And smoking is linked to 5,000 miscarriages per year.

Chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage DNA in sperm which can make it harder to conceive because fertilisation can’t take place or if it is does, it can increase the risk of a miscarriage as nature will always work on survival of the fittest.   

Stress for both the man and woman can affect fertility and this needs to be addressed.

If a couple has a combination of four negative lifestyle factors (including tea/coffee, smoking and alcohol) it can take them seven times longer to get pregnant.

As well as looking at what you eat and drink there is now a great deal of scientific knowledge about the use of nutritional supplements and their beneficial effects on both male and female fertility.   The most important nutrients for fertility are zinc, folic acid, selenium, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamin C, omega 3 fatty acids for you and your partner plus two amino acids, arginine and carnitine specifically for boosting male fertility.  In my clinics we test for nutritional deficiencies and supplement to correct those deficiencies where necessary.  I also use NHP’s Fertility Support for Women and Fertility Support for Men available from good health food shops.

The aim is also to make sure you are a healthy weight.  Women are most fertile when they are neither too thin nor too heavy. You need at least 18% body fat to ovulate and the best chance of conceiving is when 20-25% of the body mass is fat tissue. On the other hand, the menstrual cycle can be disrupted by too much fat, which affects oestrogen levels. Being 25% over your ideal weight can stop ovulation. It’s important for the man to keep his eye on his weight too as there is an increased risk of infertility or poor sperm quality and quantity in men who are overweight or obese.

Don’t miss this opportunity to come and see Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD, the UK’s leading nutritionist specialising in women’s health. You will find out how to use food, vitamins and minerals to increase your energy, eliminate mood swings, improve your memory, reduce stress and lose weight without dieting.

Dr Marilyn Glenville will be visiting Ireland from October 24th to 26th in Dublin, Galway & Cork.

For more information please visit: https://balanceyourhormonesnaturally.eventbrite.ie   

Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD is the UK’s leading nutritionist specialising in women’s health.  She is the Former President of the Food and Health Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine and the author of a number of internationally bestselling books including Getting Pregnant Faster.  Dr Glenville runs clinics in Dublin, Galway, Cork and Kilkenny, for more information see www.glenvillenutrition.ie.

So your stressful life has contributed to sleeping issues? You have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue or all at the very least the symptoms seem to fit. Your energy levels have dropped off significantly over the years and it’s especially problematic during afternoons.

 

Fatigued Coffee

The best remedy combines B-vitamins, magnesium, adaptogenic herbs and critical amino acids like GABA. However, there is no such thing as adrenal fatigue. Unless you have Addison’s disease, your adrenal glands are working as intended. It’s the signaling upstream that is the problem.

Adrenal glands don’t excessively secrete cortisol to the point where they can’t produce unless damaged. This is the finding by the vast majority of scientific research. So why do adrenal fatigue support formulations work? It’s because the effective formulas are resetting the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA axis) just as the vitamins, minerals and herbs previously mentioned.

Why is this distinction important? If only your cortisol levels are tested a patient can get a false negative for “adrenal fatigue” or worse. Then the patient is given cortisol that might exacerbate the situation. This is one more reason to always choose well-formulated herbal based supplements rather than synthetic stimulating or suppressing cortisol drugs.

Cortisol plays a critical role in sleep, stress and inflammation. Our cortisol levels should be highest when we first awake so we are alert and then it tapers off quickly. When perceived stress or chronic inflammation occurs, cortisol secretion is initiated. During times of stress it boosts our system in a threatening situation. Where there is chronic inflammation, cortisol reduces the inflammatory response to protect us from the aging process. Unfortunately sleep is interrupted when cortisol is secreted anytime other than early in the day.

There are four triggers causing HPA axis imbalance between these three glands mistakenly referred to as, “adrenal fatigue,” according to Dr. Thomas Guilliams, an expert the field of Molecular Immunology.

  1. Perceived stress.
  2. Inflammation primarily in the gut caused by small bacteria or candida overgrowth.
  3. Sugar dysregulation.
  4. Circadian dysregulation.

While this topic deserves a deeper dive, the important takeaway is that the HPA axis includes a set of neurotransmitters with self-regulating feedback loops. When the body isn’t in balanced, the pathways either no longer result in cortisol secretion or the cells become cortisol insensitive like a diabetic in the presence of too much insulin. This is the body’s system of checks and balances.

To address the four triggers, incorporate stress-reducing behaviors like meditation, yoga, essential oils and supplements. Begin by reducing inflammation in the gut by eating a healthy diet reducing sugar and eliminating rancid vegetable oils. Try to get outside and take in natural light and stay away from your computer screen late at night.

Qualified therapists use their extensive knowledge of Anatomy and Physiology to carry out Massage treatments. The massage is the manipulation of the soft body tissue that is used to enhance a person’s health and well- being.

Massage Beach Lady

Most of you will remember when you were younger and perhaps fell or hurt yourself, having your Mother or Father hold you, or rub the injured part of the body, “to make it feel better”. Touch is a huge part of healing in general and Massage is one form of healing as well as being a relaxation and stress relieving treatment.

There are many different types of Massage and each one works in its own unique way. For example:

Aromatherapy: The therapist uses essential oils and it is the oil as well as the massage technique that’s work with the individual to relieve stress, provide relaxation etc.
Sports Massage: Will usually be concentrated on a particular part of the body that is causing a problem.

Holistic Massage: Your therapist will first sit down with you and discuss your Lifestyle in detail, then they will run through a questionnaire to determine if a Massage is suitable for you or not. They will discuss your Lifestyle with you and suggest numerous ways that you can improve or change things to make your Life better, this combined with the Massage will have a more effective outcome.

Massage is suitable for most people but there are certain contraindications when a person should not have a Massage. It is advisable, particularly if you have a Medical condition to first get advice or written permission from your Doctor or discuss this with your Therapist before booking an appointment.

Some Contraindications:

  • Fever.
  • Cardio Vascular conditions.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Contagious diseases.
  • Recent surgery.

Some people are unsure how the treatment is carried out and often have some undue concerns. Before the Massage begins the therapist will leave you to undress in private then you will lay down on a plinth or massage table. During the Massage you will be discreetly covered by towels or a cover and only the part of the body that is being massaged will be exposed as the therapist begins to oil your body and begin the treatment.

The Massage relaxes muscle tissue, which diminishes tightness or tension in the muscle. It improves circulation pushing oxygen into cells and helps to eliminates any toxins or waste from the body. There are several benefits to be gained from having regular Massage treatments. Massage can help to relieve chronic pain and having a therapeutic Massage can enhance your overall sense of wellness.

Massage Towel

Some of the many Benefits:

  • Improves lymphatic drainage.
  • It enhances your joint mobility.
  • Relieves muscle tension and stiffness.
  • By helping you to relax, and unwind.
  • Relieves headaches.
  • Reduces anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Back, and neck pain.
  • And much more.

When Massage relieves stress, it helps the body, as a whole. It will also increase your self-esteem, help you to relax and bring clarity to a troubled mind. It has so many benefits on an emotional and physical level. It is appropriate for adults and children alike and is also suitable for pregnant women. (unless otherwise advised by a doctor)
It is so much more than “Just a massage”, it is a whole life change with wide spread benefits.

Working with and learning about firstly natural skincare products; secondly discovering professional and natural makeup, it was only natural to complete the triangle with natural fragrances.

Over the past few years, I have lost interest in dousing myself in the usual front runners of perfumes and opted for more natural and subtle fragrances. I suppose the main reasons for my change of heart would be:

  1. The amount of synthetic ingredients perfumes can contain.
  1. They can be so over powering to the senses (ever been knocked sideways by a stranger passing you who has most obviously bathed in a bottle of Eau de Parfum?).
  1. Photosensitivity: I have met far too many women with strong pigmentation on their necks where they have sprayed perfume for years for it to have only reacted to UV and damaged the skin.

Shopping for and discovering natural perfumes has awakened my senses in the best way possible and has me enjoying spritzing liberally once again. Natural perfumes simply use organic plant alcohols with 2 or 3 essential oils. Essential oils are classified as base, middle or top notes which classifies the staying power of a scent: base notes linger, top notes will disappear more quickly. Many citrus notes are top; some floral and herbs middle; base notes can be more woody, pungent. Oils have synergy so there is usually a mix of notes in a perfume.

What I love about the simple formulas is people’s reaction on smelling a scent: it stirs an emotion and takes them back to a memory of something or someone. The obvious benefit of natural perfume is the organic agriculture behind the ingredients and the non- use or need of any synthetics. Our skin absorbs so much of what we apply to it (and how many products do we apply a day?), and one must take into account what we also breathe in when we spray perfumes.

The staying power of a natural fragrance will never be as strong or as long lasting as the synthetics, but then again, spraying onto the pulses and hair and enjoying the scent won’t be so damaging to our health or the environment so I’m quite happy about a little re-spray half way through my day!

There have been controversial ingredients used by perfumeries in the past, and still possibly today, such as musks which are derived barbarically from deer and civet cats. The argument here is obviously that that is a natural derivative but I think the earth offers us enough notes in plants to leave the animals out of it. With synthetic perfumes, you just don’t always know what exactly is in them so isn’t it easier to read a label of transparency, understand it and know what you’re wearing is good for you… body and mind!

When it comes to ingredients I just can’t deny how lovely it is to read such a simple and short list:

  • Alcohol (plant)
  • Cornflower Water
  • Labdanum
  • Patchouli
  • Clary Sage (Pure Patchouli perfume Acorelle)
  • All ingredients from organic farming made from organic ingredients

Just this 2017, V.Claire Natural Cosmetics introduced natural perfumes, Acorelle.

Acorelle

There are 9 perfumes divided in effects of Energizing, Balancing and Soothing… Let your senses guide you to your favourite!

For this weeks #WellnessWednesday features Brendan Courtney, he is many things but primarily a dear friend with one of the biggest hearts I know.

As a Broadcaster, Fashion Designer, Writer & Entrepreneur his work has touched many lives in different ways. This year his authored doc for RTE1 “We need to talk about Dad” has shaken the government to change the law around care in the community. As well as a change maker he is one of my favourite designers and alongside Sonia Lennon they have just launched their new www.lennoncourtney.com collection in Dunnes Stores.

He is the editor at large for (online female lifestyle platform) frockadvisor. He was recently listed as “The most influential (fashion) journalist on Twitter” by the Murray Index.

We first met back in “The Clothes Show” days where he was responsible for the return of the BBC Show which he produced and presented for a number years.

However today I want to know how he balances it all so I asked him to do my #WellnessWednesday quiz and heres what we found out:

 

  1. How would you describe your lifestyle?

Reasonably healthy! I try and be good to myself but do slip into naughty treats occasionally.

  1. What’s your favorite food? Naughty or nice.

Thai curry ! Or anything Italian.

  1. Do you exercise and if so what do you do to keep fit?

Yes, I was actually a fitness instructor in a previous life so I run, do yoga and indulge myself with a personal trainer twice a week.

  1. How do you find balance in your day-to- day life?

I try to meditate as often as I can, and consider everything I put in my mouth.

  1. How do you manage stress in your life? Do you meditate?

Yes, I found meditation 20 years ago when I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. A brilliant Ozzie women called Pauline McKinnon wrote “In stillness conquer fear” – that became my mantra.

  1. People often set goals or intentions as they go through life. Is this something you do?

Yes of course, every 3 months and revise them and do them every day.

  1. How do you unwind after a busy day?

A walk with the dog, a movie or a glass of red wine (opey!).

  1. It’s the weekend, what do you do for fun?

We do Animal Flow every Sunday (It’s like intense YOGA), I see my family and maybe meet friends for dinner, or we go away!

  1. What’s your top health tip for our readers?

Well being feels better then anything, so learn that treating your self is not chocolate or fags, but putting nice stuff in your body, change your mind set and the worlds your oyster!

  1. Finish the sentence – Being complete for me means…

…being happy and that happiness comes from within, no one thing or person can make you happy, just you.

To keep up with the latest from Brendan follow him below:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

My first book Minding Mum is all about understanding that self-care is not selfish in fact it’s probably the most selfless thing you can do.

I learnt this lesson the hard way after I had my son James who is now just nearly six. I completely neglected my own needs post birth and was certainly not Minding Mum. I pushed myself way too hard, didn’t eat properly and it came at a huge cost to both myself and my son as I became very ill with postnatal depression. What I have realized the past seven years on my wellness journey is that if our own tank is empty we have no strength and energy to give to others.

Minding mum, book, author, be complete, family, parenting, mums, gill books, self care

SELFCARE

Once I started to value myself enough to eat well, exercise, talk kindly to myself and practice daily happiness habits I began to understand the power of self care. I learnt what it truly means not only for ourselves but for those we love.

I now have more time (believe it or not), patience, energy and vitality for James since Minding Mum. Practicing self-care does not mean you are shirking your responsibilities. In fact as a parent there is no better way to instill confidence and self-esteem into your kids than to be a healthy and happy role model.

I know the first thing mums say is that they have no time for Minding Mum and since they have had their children they can’t even go to the bathroom alone anymore. The only time I have had a shower alone without 20 questions is when I’m away.

I was an impossibly stubborn Mum and thought this too. However when I was unwell I found it incredibly difficult to get dressed most days and knew something had to change. There is real power in self care and even more power in taking small steps to get there.

BABYSTEPS

Rome wasn’t built in a day and sometimes we need to relearn or learn in my case to like ourselves and value ourselves. The small changes I have made over the past few years have led me on a path of true wellness. Not only that I have discovered the true contentment I have always craved but never been able to find. After I had James I stopped placing my worth in external things like property, boyfriends and job status but I started to look within and face my fears.

It’s been a rocky road and some days I’ve felt brave and others scared but every day I have been giving life my best shot. I am now living an anxiety and depression free life, which is something I never thought, would be possible. I have daily happiness habits and if you scroll through Facebook for 10 minutes you can do this too.

TIPS FOR MINDING MUM:

  1. THANK YOU

Say thank you every morning as you wake and keep a gratitude diary. This should take no more than 3 minutes each day. Recent research from Harvard happiness researcher and author Shawn Achor says that if you pick 3 different things each day that you are grateful for not only does it help your optimism but also it actually rewires our brain. This is one of the most powerful tools I use daily and this habit helped to drag me out of some dark times. Sometimes we can become too focused on what is going wrong and miss everything that is going right!

Minding mum, gratitude, book, author, be complete, family, parenting, mums, gill books, self care

2. FIND YOUR WELLNESS FORMULA

We’re all different which is the beauty of life and what’s works for one will not work for another so have fun and find a formula that works for you. In life we tend to focus on just one area at a time like diet or exercise but what I have found is that a little of everything is better than a lot of one thing to help you find that balance. (PG 23 in my book)

Minding mum, gratitude, book, author, be complete, family, parenting, mums, gill books, self care3. EAT REAL FOOD

We’ve made food very complicated and there are thousands of diets out there now. My advice is keeping it simple so eat fresh wholefoods. Remove the word diet for your life, as they simply don’t work! Steer clear of processed foods and ease up on sugar. Stay on the outskirts of the supermarkets (usually where fresh produce is) cook and freeze for the week if you are short on time and try to eat a variety of colour.

Minding mum, gratitude, book, author, be complete, family, parenting, mums, liz cook charts, gill books, self care

4. KEEP HYDRATED

You will never realise how bad you feel until you start to feel good, and hydration or dehydration can be the cause of so many illnesses [so too much hydration could make you sick too?]. For the past fifteen years I have started my day with lemon water. It all started at a photo-shoot one day, when my skin was bad as I suffered with adult acne. A make-up artist told me that drinking warm lemon water every morning would help. It is something that I have done ever since and since studying nutrition I have come to realise that the benefits are far greater than I could have ever imagined.

So my first tip for hydration is to wake up your body with a glass of warm water and lemon each day. This will kick start your digestive system and metabolism. It’s small changes like this that will make a massive difference to your health. Just think of how dehydrated you are after a night’s sleep. Does it not make sense to drink fluids first before putting more food in? When I take a break from drinking warm lemon water in the morning I really notice the difference in how efficient my digestive system is and I also notice a difference in my energy levels.

Minding mum, gratitude, book, author, be complete, family, parenting, mums, gill books, self care

LEMONS

Lemons are great because they contain bioflavonoids, potassium and Vitamin C. Bioflavonoids are super antioxidants that contribute to good heart health and have powerful anti-carcinogens. Potassium stimulates the brain as well as helping keep your blood pressure under control and the antioxidants from the Vitamin C will really help your skin (healing, especially after a C-section). Vitamin C is required to produce collagen, a protein that plays a critical role in the structure of our bodies. Collagen is the framework for our skin and our bones and without it, we would quite literally fall apart. Vitamin C also aids the absorption of iron and if you live in a big city just look at Vitamin C as a giant fire extinguisher for all the pollution and nasty toxins out there.

TOP TIP: Get more water into your day by keeping a bottle with you all the time and by drinking herbal teas (caffeine is a diuretic). Eat your water by including water-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet, like cucumber and watermelon.

5. CATCH NEGATIVE THOUGHTS AND SWITCH THEM TO MORE POSITIVE ONES

This sounds easy but some of us are in a pattern of consistent negative thinking without even realizing it and it’s a habit that we can break with practice. I use my STOP- CATCH – CHANGE formula which is Stop your negative thought, catch it and change it to a positive one. This might seem unnatural and hard in the beginning but it becomes easier with time. I use it to catch negative thoughts about myself, others, work and life in general. Building good self-esteem means appreciating yourself and treating yourself with compassion.

6. FIND AN EXERCISE YOU ACTUALLY LIKE

Fitness is meant to be fun and if it’s not for you then try something new. Life is hard enough without dreading our exercise class or the gym. There are 100’s of options to keep moving and keep fit. I get bored so I switch it up all the time from yoga to Pilates and the gym. You need to feel good about what you are doing as our body, mind and spirit are all connected.

7. MY TOP BEAUTY TIPS ARE

Keep it simple and keep it real. Make up should be used to highlight your features and I’m definitely a “less is more” girl. From a health perspective I have also started to use more natural and paraben free products after all, a lot of the chemicals in our beauty products are absorbed by our skin and enter into our bloodstream.

When I was recovering from depression and anxiety I started to understand that the products we use disrupt our endocrine system and our hormones, which is all related to mental health. (CouleurCaramel.ie and Phyts are great brands) Try switching up your deodorants to a more natural alternative too. It’s the cumulative effect of all the products that causes the problems as our bodies are actually very good at detoxing naturally but they just can’t cope with being overloaded with environmental toxins, product toxins, bad food and a bad lifestyle!

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8. ALWAYS CLEAN YOUR SKIN PROPERLY AND WASH YOUR PILLOW CASE REGULARLY

I have suffered from adult acne so my rule with my pillow is

SLEEP-TURN-SLEEP-WASH

So you sleep on one side, then turn it over the following night and sleep on the opposite side, and then wash it. It’s simple and effective.

9. USE YOUR BREATH

Stress is our biggest killer these days and using mindfulness and meditation can help. Its simple, if you can breathe you can meditate. Our breath is our most powerful asset yet it is the most underused resource we have and its free and available all the time. As a busy mum you can feel overwhelmed quite often and very often just taking a moment to stop and breathe can make all the difference.

Stop, breathe and be

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10. STOP JUDGING AND START SUPPORTING

I have one rule and that’s always try and be there for another mum who needs you. All mums are working mums whether you stay at home or go out to work. There is no ideal situation as each one of us are completely different. To create a good work/life balance you need to do what’s right for you. There is a full chapter on PND (post natal depression) in the book, which is honest and offers great tips on asking for help and helping yourself!

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There are many more tips in my book ‘Minding Mum’ which you can buy here which you can buy here.

Welcome to #MummyMondays where I will be teaming up with The Stork Box to bring you some great articles over the next few weeks on preparing for a new baby but first let me introduce you to this dynamic duo sisters Sophie Cafolla and Dr Vicky O’Dwyer

The Stork Box is a new and exciting Irish company specializing in products for Mum and Baby, including a prepacked maternity hospital bag, helping parents get ready for their new arrival and a range of Gift Boxes, which friends and family can ship directly to the recipient. Brought to you by sister duo, both of whom are Mums themselves, Sophie Cafolla, a sponsorship and marketing consultant and Dr Vicky O’Dwyer, a Doctor who has worked in Obstetrics and Gynecology for the last 11 years. I met with the girls to find out their story and what led them to create The Stork Box….

“This got us thinking about our own experiences” according to Sophie, “When I was preparing my bag I didn’t start to do it until I was about 34 weeks pregnant, I was working, tired and totally overwhelmed by the number of things I needed to get. I couldn’t find anywhere that sold all the essentials together, or even better, somewhere online that you could order in one go and have it shipped to you. So we thought, why not create a box which contains the essentials for both Mum and Baby! With Vicky’s professional knowledge and both of our personal experiences it seemed like a good fit!”

The duo wanted to create a service that takes the time and stress out of preparing your maternity hospital bag, while also providing the very best products to help make the hospital stay as comfortable as possible for expectant parents. Vicky admitted they have added a few extra touches to really treat new Mums too. “We have included a Social and Personal magazine in the Mum bag as well as a Just Eat gift voucher, I know I would of loved to have ordered a meal online one of the first few days I was home, we were far too tired and consumed by our new arrival to cook!”.

Value is also important to The Stork Box; both the Mum bags and Baby bags are discounted, the Mum bag contents are worth €80 however the bag is sold at €65, and the Luxury Mum bag contents have a value of €125 but is sold at €100 and the Baby bag is worth €135 but sold at €120.

The Baby Bag has everything to make baby happy and comfortable in their first few days.
•    5 x Short Sleeved Baby Vests
•    5 x Long Sleeved Baby Grows
•    5 x Bibs
•    1 Hat
•    1 Set of Mitts
•    1 Cellular Cotton Blanket
•    Pampers Nappies (Pack of 24)
•    Cotton Wool Balls (100)
•    Mamia Newborn sensitive wipes (pack of 56)
•    Sudocrem Care & Protect (40gm)
€120

The storkbox,hospital bag,pregnancy,parenting,new baby,

In addition to the Maternity Box, the Stork range includes 3 Gift Boxes, the Newborn Stork Box, the Night Night Stork Box which plays on the bath, bottle, bed routine, a favourite of many Mums and the Playtime Stork Box. Each box contains a bonus gift for Mum, a unique selling point of the brand, “it is important not to forget about Mum!” says Sophie

The Mum bag, €65.00 (retail value €80), includes;
•    Phyto Shampoo (50ml)
•    Phyto Conditioner (50ml)
•    Uriage Shower Gel (200ml)
•    Deodorant (35ml)
•    Elave Daily Lip Balm (15ml)
•    Karite Hand Cream (30ml)
•    Uriage Thermal Water Spray (50ml)
•    Sample of Nia’s Just Balm – suitable for Mum & Baby (5ml)
•    Hair Bobble & Hair Clips
•    Mini Brush
•    2 Tooth Brushes – for Mum & Dad
•    Toothpaste (25ml)
•    Monochrome Notebook and Pen
•    Maternity Pads (10 pack)
•    Sample of Lanolin Nipple Cream
•    1 set of Disposable Breast Pads
•    Sample of Lansinoh’s Breastmilk Storage Bags
•    Social & Personal Magazine
•    Just Eat gift voucher €10

The Luxury Mum bag, €100 (retail value €125), includes everything from the Mum bag plus;
•    Payot Hand Cream (50ml) instead of Karite hand cream
•    Cleanse Off Mitt
•    Mustela Bust firming serum (75ml)
•    Mustela Stretch Marks Recovery Serum (75ml)

The storkbox,hospital bag,pregnancy,parenting,new baby,If that wasn’t enough to start with, Sophie has also developed her own baby clothing range, Mini Style Addict, which is included in The Stork Box Baby bag. Inspired by her daughter Sienna, the range includes baby vests and baby grows. The Mini Style Addict clothes are gender neutral, with a nod to the monochrome trend, a key look in baby and toddler fashion at the moment.

The girls stated they are committed to providing a service that grows with their audience; “we research, we invest our time and use our knowledge to find the best and most appropriate products for Mum and Baby. We have more exciting products coming to the range soon so be sure to keep an eye out!”. Keep an eye out for more to come from these two!

Check out Their website for more info

Some days just run like clockwork, things fall magically into place and you feel aligned and connected.

But then there are days you feel out of sync and have a run of bad luck and on these days it can be hard to stay positive and get back of track but fear not as I have some tips to share.

Anyone who follows me knows I’m a huge fan of living a positive lifestyle. That does not mean avoidance and seeing the world through rose tinted glasses. It means that I feel, deal, heal and get real.

I believe that tough times make us stronger and ultimately no one gets through life without some struggle or hardship, no matter who you are. We will all experience grief, failure, disappointment, heartache and much more at some stage throughout our lives but its how you bounce back from these times and what you learn from the experience that determines the person you will become in the future.

  1. THIS TOO SHALL PASS

Sometimes when we are in the middle of a crisis its hard to see a way out but things change every second, every minute of every day so I always find it comforting to think that no matter how bad you are feeling it will pass and things will get better.

 

  1. BREATHE

Our breath is one of our most powerful tools especially when we don’t know what to do. It calms the nervous system, lowers our blood pressure and according to yogis and ayurvedic medicine practitioners our breath is the carrier or prana, which means energy! So help to move that energy around your body by breathing better.

 

  1. BE KIND TO YOURSELF

No one needs help taking out the stick to beat ourselves with. Being unkind to ourselves is an all too familiar habit for a lot of people these days and does nothing but create a negative behavior pattern and lowers our energy and vibration. So use my golden rule: if you wouldn’t say it to your best friend then don’t say it to yourself.

[bctt tweet=”So use my golden rule: if you wouldn’t say it to your best friend then don’t say it to yourself.” username=”alicanavan”]

 

  1. PRACTISE GRATITUDE

Without a doubt, gratitude is my superpower that keeps me sane. It helps to ground me and no matter how bad things are gratitude helps me to see the miracles even when they are hidden. Start your day each day with gratitude by saying ‘Thank You” upon waking. Then choose 3 things you are grateful for and why and really feel into that energy of appreciation. When you consciously start your day in that energy, anything is possible.

[bctt tweet=”Without a doubt, gratitude is my superpower that keeps me sane.” username=”alicanavan”]

 

  1. KEEP GOING

No matter how much you want to give up you must keep going. Never throw in the towel no matter how much you feel like it. Life is a journey and what goes down must come up and vice versa. When you stop trying you become stagnant and life starts to happen to you as opposed to you happening to life. When this happens the victim mentality can creep in. I used to be a victim! Nothing was ever my fault. It was always someone else’s. If I didn’t book a big job it was my agents fault, my sisters, boyfriends or whoever was lucky enough to be standing to close to me at the time. If I missed work because I was out drinking it was the fault of the people I was with, not mine. So my message is just keep going and know that every morning is a chance to start again.

[bctt tweet=”No matter how much you want to give up you must keep going” username=”alicanavan”]