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February Blues

So my friends at Sweaty Betty asked me if I would share my top ten tips to beat the February blues. It is a cold long month so I wanted to share this with you today in case you feel you need a little spirit lift! I hope you like it!

10 tips to beat the February Blues

January may be over (did anyone really go dry?), but February is here and with it comes the cold. Valentine’s Day or not, we feel this month needs a bit of brightness, so alongside our new collection of bright palm prints we’ve teamed up with life coach Jacqueline Hurst for her top tips on fighting the February blues, unless it’s wearing them of course.
1. Stop trying to be perfect, it makes us feel inferior and desperate to change; no one is perfect and mistakes are normal. As soon as you let go of this mentality, life will become much simpler.
2. Grab a friend. It’s no longer January, so veganuary and a detox is no longer an excuse to hibernate. Beat any grey weather blues by meeting up with a friend, this doesn’t have to include wine – you can workout together, go for coffee or even a walk. Schedule in time with your good friends, these are the people who are guaranteed to make you feel automatically better.
3. Breathe easy. Banish any blues as it’s time to focus on breathing correctly. Transformational Breath is an active exercise that uses the breath to release tension within the body. Unlike other techniques, Transformational Breath demands no pause between inhale and exhale. And, on an emotional level, the emphasis is on outpouring rather than control.
4. Have your own back. Other people will judge you but who cares? Take a deep breath, accept they have an opinion on what you are doing, and then consider whether it’s worth taking into account.
5. Try something new. New year’s resolutions didn’t pan out in January? Why not start in February. Instead of something diet and exercise based, I recommend learning a new skill. Always wanted to cook? garden? read that novel? Now’s the time to try it, the sense of achievement is sure to brighten up any February blues.
6. Love is in the air. Valentine’s Daydoesn’t have to mean cards, presents and the latest Fifty Shades movie. Why not show some self love – run a bath, light some candles and read a good book, you’ll thank yourself later.
7. A month of acceptance. Why not throw aside any annoyances this month and accept that we can’t change other people. Acceptance is the answer, no matter how much we wish someone would act differently.
8. Be mindful. It’s been the buzzword in the wellness industry for a while now and I can not recommend meditation enough for conquering any grey days. Try the app Headspace for a starter, or I love Will Williams (he even offers free taster sessions all around London). Plus, 20 minutes of vedic meditation is equal to about 3 hours sleep, meaning you’ll feel refreshed and relaxed.
9. Work it out. One way to guarantee endorphin’s is to you guessed it, exercise. Your sofa and bed may look appealing when it’s cold, but lay out your kit the night before and make that morning class or run. You are guaranteed to feel better when you’ve moved, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.
10. Don’t think the worst. The worst that could possibly happen might not be that bad, look at bad opportunities and negative days as a chance to learn. If we’re willing to consider this possibility, we may find opportunity in that “horrible” thing.
Jacqueline Hurst is a master life coach and clinical hypnotherapist. She has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network, The Sunday Times, Harpers Baazar and The Daily Telegraph. Jacqueline is also the founder of the Life Class, an online personal course for self development.   See the full article on Sweaty Betty’s blog here

The Wellness Report

Many of you will know Matches Fashion is one of my very favourite shops and it was an honour once again to be interviewed by my good friend Eve Kalinik for their Wellness Report. The interview is about being healthy in your body through a healthy mind.  If February means you are already loosing your will then have a read of this article to help you get your mojo back.

The new year brings with it the eager promise of self-improvement. Do resolutions such as going to the gym, quitting sugar, cutting down on alcohol or taking more time out sound familiar? While all of these can bring positive changes, many of us have forgotten about good intentions within a matter of months, or even weeks. Fast-paced lifestyles mean we often expect a quick fix or a magic pill. But what if the secret to ‘new year, new you’ was a simple resolution: ‘know yourself’? I caught up with Jacqueline Hurst, a life coach and hypnotherapist, to discuss how to make positive life changes. Plus, discover three key lessons in creating change that lasts.

Start as you mean to go on

Eve Kalinik: ‘Yes, it is about tuning into yourself. We tend to be in this “add on” culture, searching for the next new super food, supplement or diet, when really it is about stripping it back. If you just bring it back to basics and start eating foods in their most natural state without labels, boxes or bags then you won’t go far wrong. I dissuade clients from diets and haphazard elimination of food groups, as these rarely work and can leave you nutritionally depleted.’

Jacqueline Hurst: ‘Unless you get your mind right, the outcome won’t be what you want it to be. Change your mindset – if you come from a place of love you will get a lot more done rather than aggressively cutting things out. If you put restrictions on people they will automatically want to rebel, so it is important to pull it back and think about where you are coming from – health and self-love over restriction and pressure.’

Cut out the noise

JH: ‘These messages will only pull on your insecurities if you let them. If you are in the right kind of headspace, you can see those images and think positively about them rather than beating yourself up. You have a choice to look at social media or magazine images and compare yourself. Or you can look at it and think, “Wow, she looks great and obviously worked hard for that.” It doesn’t have to affect you, if you change your outlook.’

EK: ‘As women, we have a lot of pressure to keep it all together. But this is where we tend to overcomplicate things, particularly when it comes to food. And it is not about being 100% perfect all the time. If you make positive informed decisions about what you are eating, how you are exercising or the way you perceive situations most of the time, then that’s a good thing. Be mindful and realistic in the way you approach this, then you won’t beat yourself up so much or revert to old habits.’

Take a holistic approach

EK: ‘We have to think of ourselves as a whole entity rather than compartmentalising. The whole body influences the whole body. Around 90% of our serotonin (happy hormone) production is in the gut, so mental clarity, focus and ultimately happiness comes not just from the mind but the gut as well. Health and wellbeing is always multi-layered, but once you tap into what makes you tick you can see things change quickly.’

JH: ‘It is also about giving your body a break when it needs it and having that true connection of mind and body. Knowing yourself can help you get the life you really want.’

Read the full article here


Control Your Tech

As many of you are aware matchesfashion.com is one of my favourate shops in the world! Their shops are amazing and their online Wellness Report is one of my go-to’s for all the latest on fashion, wellness, travel and so much more.  I always love working with them and this week they gave me a call to ask if I would write an article for them about technology and how we can use it to balance our mind.  This was a great article to write and I hope you like it…

As a life coach, I spend a lot of my time talking about switching off, unplugging and generally taking a break from technology. One of my favourite sayings is: ‘Anything will work again once it’s been unplugged for a little while, including you.’ We live in a 24/7 world where we are constantly connected, and yet if we do not learn how to be in charge of our tech, it can take total charge of us. Many of us are unable to switch off and we blame technology for our anxiety to ‘keep up’, although it isn’t the technology that is to blame. We just haven’t mastered it. I like to think of technology like a puppy that you have to train to work with you, not against you. In other words, you set the rules and the boundaries, not the other way around. It is always up to us to choose how ‘connected’ we want to be with a little conscious thinking. This year, resolve to take control of your tech and be calmer in the process.

Meditate

Why not start with an app that makes you re-connect, instead of disconnect? A great place to start for calm and clarity is Headspace (headspace.com). It’s a meditation app you simply download and listen to for 10 minutes every day. The benefits of meditation reportedly include higher energy, more focus and greater productivity, leading to a calmer state of mind. Production of the stress hormone cortisol is decreased, meaning the body is able to deal with stress better when it does occur. Seventy-five per cent of insomniacs who started a daily meditation programme were able to fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, while 60% of anxiety-prone people showed marked improvements in anxiety levels after six to nine months. In short, it brings a little peace in a busy world.

COMMUNICATE

Relying on convenient voiceless communication, such as messaging apps, can mean that subtle nuances get lost and relationships can become more detached over time. Messages can be misconstrued and ‘read receipts’ can lead to feelings of rejection if they are not responded to with expedience. Our wellbeing is based on human connection and face-to-face interaction, so even if physical contact is not possible, video-calling apps such as FaceTime or Skype will help nurture that human connection, and thus counter feelings of loneliness or isolation.

REST

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day boosts the body’s circadian rhythm and promotes good-quality sleep. It’s like brain training for the conscious and the subconscious. The bedroom is one place where switching off your tech is always a good idea – blue light, from mobile phones and other devices, boosts attention, which is counter-productive at night time and can lead to anxiety, insomnia and poor-quality sleep. But you can use your tech to your advantage – which is where the iPhone comes in. Apple’s new ‘bedtime’ function will help you keep your daily routine on track. You simply answer a few simple questions to set up a recurring wake-up alarm and a reminder when it’s bedtime.

REBALANCE

Place a firm focus on your mental health for 2017, no matter how busy you feel. If you are struggling with relationships or want to learn how to live a happier, more conscious life, you can make time in even the tightest of schedules with an online course, such as The Life Class (thelifeclass.com). Even five minutes’ training on your journey to work each day will make a real difference over time. It is about arming your mind with the tools and techniques to rid yourself of perceived barriers and start living a happy, fulfilled life.

Jacqueline Hurst is a life coach and founder of The Life Class, and is based in London (jacquelinehurst.com)

Read the full article on Matches Fashion here


Vision Board's (for real)

Did you see my interview on Get The Gloss about Vision Board’s?  I know some of you might think it’s not for you but, have a read of this first and then decide…

FORGET MAKING A LIST OF ALL THE THINGS YOU NEED TO GIVE UP- A VISION BOARD IS THE MOST POSITIVE WAY TO KICKSTART THE NEW YEAR. HERE’S WHY, AND HOW, A VISION BOARD COULD BE A NEW YEAR GAMECHANGER…

New Year’s resolutions may mean well, but there’s something about writing down a list of all the things you need to stop, improve, start doing or temporarily give up that feels more than a little ‘fun sponge’, and I know that almost immediately after I’ve written such a list, I’m tempted to rebel against it, just because. In short, new year’s resolutions rarely provide the motivation or positivity required to really spark change and make you feel excited for the months to come. How about if, instead, we put our hopes and goals out there in a more intuitive, creative and galvanizing way? Enter the vision board.
What is a vision board?
Essentially it’s whatever you want it to be (vague I know), but the basic concept involves making an image and text ‘collage’ for the year ahead. The idea is to combine imagery and writing that both captures your imagination and represents how you want to feel, where you want to go and what you’d like to achieve in the coming year. Clinical Hypnotherapist and Master Life Coach Jacqueline Hurst has a few tips on getting started:
“Grab a pile of magazines, personal photos or any pictures that appeal to you and represent what you want to attract, and start working on your board organically. Don’t overplan or overthink it, just let the ideas come to you as you go. If you see something and are inspired by it, put it down! Tear things out, don’t censor yourself and really go for it.”
Why should I make one?
Before you write off the vision board as a teenage art project, it might be worth considering that the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and many an Olympic athlete use vision boards to mentally map out their aims and ambitions, not to mention get to the bottom of what it is they actually want (a list of resolutions can be remarkably impersonal; a patchwork of imagery and curated text can be much more revealing). Jacqueline makes the case for getting busy with the Pritt Stick:
“A vision board is a manifestation of your real intentions and desires. I truly believe that if you’re putting it out there into the universe with passion, it’ll come back to you. A vision board is a tangible reflection of what you want in your life, and the more you meditate on this, the more you’ll believe in yourself and your purpose, and the more you’ll achieve. A vision board can create a positive belief system that’s very powerful. Whenever you look at it you’ll be reminded of what you’re going for.”
What are the main advantages of making vision boards over New Year’s resolutions?
Jacqueline emphasises that it’s all about the energy:
“I think that a vision board is a totally different thing to a New Year’s resolution. By making a vision board you’re channelling positive energy and taking action towards getting towards your goals even in the process of making it.”
“I first came across tools such as vision boards during my training in Miami, and I’ve got to admit I was skeptical about the idea of expressing your aspirations in this way and getting something back, but I’ve seen it work so many times, with people’s lives aligning themselves with their vision boards and positive affirmations to such a degree that you really couldn’t make it up. I’ve seen it work in my own life, and if I have clients coming to me with their vision boards, or ideas for one, and I say go for it. It’s not necessarily something I discuss all the time or would ‘prescribe’, as it’s a very personal activity, but there’s no doubt that it works and can be so important for positive visualisation.”
“Take the case of injured athletes. A vision board channels positive energy; even if they’re out of action physically, they’re still playing the game in their mind, so their positive outlook means that they’re still winning when they return to their sport, despite the physical setback.”
Should I make a vision board for different aspects of my life?
It’s very much up to you, but Jacqueline recommends adding everything to the one board, as life can be difficult to ‘categorise’, and one element will almost always have an impact on another. Also don’t get too overwhelmed by very long-term goals- stick to a year to make your board as motivating as possible, plus you’ll be able to reflect on it more easily afterwards. Don’t worry about what your board looks like (no GCSE art teacher to burst your bubble here); as long as you ‘feel’ it, it’s doing what it needs to do.
Should I edit it throughout the year?
Jacqueline thinks that there’s power in leaving your vision board once it’s complete; you’ve put it out there and can mull over what’s on there as the year goes by. Display it somewhere you’ll see it regularly and it’ll inspire you to take action to achieve your intentions throughout the day, week, month and year. You’ll find that you move towards your goals more subconsciously than if you’d jotted down a strict list, which is freeing and exhilarating.
I like the idea of a vision board, but I’m not sure I’ve got the time to make one…
First off, Jacqueline highlights that compiling a vision board is a really fun experience:
“I made one last year, and it was a really enjoyable afternoon. I got a load of different types of magazines, took some time for myself, sat down and thought about it and put it together as I wanted it. I’ve just looked back on it and it’s almost spooky how much of it I actually made happen. It’s such a compelling tool, but don’t forget that it’s a lot of fun too.”
“If sitting down and cutting and pasting isn’t an option, I don’t see why you can’t create a vision board on Pinterest too, as long as you’re looking at it regularly. If you’re an avid Pinterest user, go for it. Wherever you’ll take it in and source inspiration from it, do it there.”
I want a million pounds by next year. Can a vision board make it happen?
Well, yes, but in a way you need to show your ‘working out’. A vision board isn’t a wish list, but a positive catalyst for action. It doesn’t need to be logical or ‘sensible’, but it does need to impel you to work towards what it is you’re aiming for in different areas of your life. Add what genuinely excites you, rather than what you think you ‘ought’ to be aiming for or stereotypical ‘milestones’. Having an image in your mind helps you picture vividly where you’d like to be in a way that rule-like resolutions might not, and no two vision boards will ever be the same, which takes the competitive element or prospect of failure out of the equation. A vision board is all about adding colour and energy to your life, and in the end concrete achievement is a bonus.
Will you be creating a vision board? Let us know your ideas by tweeting @GetTheGloss
Follow Jacqueline on Instagram @jhurstcoaching and find out more about her Life Class here
You can read the full article here


Resolutions

So my gorgeous friend, the wonderful Madeline Shaw asked me if I would write a piece for her blog on how to set new years resolutions for a happy and healthy 2017. It was of course my pleasure. Take a read of the article here and don’t foget to check out her amazing website full of yummy recipes…

Setting New Year’s Resolutions for a Happy and Healthy 2017

Deciding what goals to set can be a little tricky so Jacquline Hurst, a Life Coach, public speaker, therapist, and founder of The Life Class has kindly written some ideas for setting new year’s resolutions for a happy and healthy 2017!
New Year’s Resolutions are always a great way to start the year on the right foot. The one imperative to remember about making resolutions is to make them fun and realistic and not heavy and stressful!
Making resolutions doesn’t have to be about drastic changes and major life overhauls, it can be just one change that is small and simple.  When you set your resolutions it is good to remember that any journey begins with a single step so even a baby step, is a step.  It is also good to remember that no skilled sailor became skilled overnight and that working towards a goal can take time so please be kind and patient with yourself as you work through what it is you want to change.
Setting new year’s resolutions also does not have to be focussed only on the outside. It could be that you want to change something from the inside and gain a happier state of mind. Being a life coach I believe that a happy mind = a happy life so here are my top 7 ideas for some new year’s resolutions this 2017!

1. Love and accept yourself – fully

I truly believe if we learn to accept the good and bad parts of ourselves life becomes much more enjoyable.  I always tell my clients that “acceptance is always the answer to the problem”!  Once you find out who you really are inside, you can begin to accept and love yourself fully.  Once you truly love yourself from the inside what other people think becomes less of an issue.  A great new years resolution would be to learn to love yourself and accept yourself this year. It is the best work you can do for yourself and is the key to the door of a happy life.

2. Live for you

A huge part of many of my client’s lives are taken up by taking care of everyone else leaving them no time for themselves. It is no wonder they are exhausted and stressed out. In my opinion when it gets like this, it is important to check your motives and reasons for doing things for example, are you saying yes to people because you are worried that they might not like you if you say no?  A good resolution this year would be to remember that you cannot make everyone in your life happy and to try to begin to make the best decision for yourself (first) instead of others, you will see how life gets easier (and a lot less stressful!).

3. Quit Comparing

We live in a society where all we really get to see are people’s highlight reels and not necessarily the truth.  Social media is full of six packs, idyllic beach scenes, yachts, perfect pets and immaculate fashion styling.  The thing is, it’s very likely that this isn’t real every day life for the person you are looking at.  It is so important to remember that we all have ups, downs and struggles in life just like everyone else and yet no one is posting about that stuff! A good resolution this year would be to remind yourself that comparing your life to others is a total waste of your own time, you will find that you will choose to stop, effortlessly.

4. Don’t compromise too much

Compromise is required in pretty much all relationships because we are all different and have different wants, needs and desires. Compromise is a good thing most of the time if the compromising is equal on both sides. The problem occurs if you give up your wants and needs the majority of the time in any one relationship, whether it be with a friend, lover, family member etc.,. A good resolution here would be to evaluate all any relationships that feel tough and decide if it is really healthy for you to be a part of it or, what you might need to do differently to recalibrate the compromising.

5.  Soul food

I really do believe that we are all born with something that we are amazing at. Whatever your passion, or whatever you enjoy in life, make a resolution to feed your soul with what inspires you. Inspire means in-spirit and you will know when you are doing something you feel inspired by because your spirit lifts. If you are not sure what your passion is then start to try new things and find different activities until you find a few that give you that feeling of real happiness inside. As Dr Wayne Dyer once said ‘don’t die with your music still inside you’.  Make a resolution to start to feed your soul.

6. Travel!

Traveling creates a sense of freedom and opens your eyes to how big the world really is.  Whenever I sit on a plane and look down and see the tiny houses it is always a reminder of vast and great the universe is. It helps to remind me of the ‘big picture’.  Travelling also helps to open your mind to different cultures, ways of life, landscapes, animals – we can learn so much just by changing location!  Make a resolution to travel more, to open up your world and see more of this wonderful planet.

7. Worry less

I teach my clients that worry is a feeling, created by a thought.  Once we realise that worrying will not change our outcome, we can begin to accept whatever is going to happen.  No amount of worry is going to help you, it can only ever hold you back. Worrying doesn’t make you better.  Make a resolution to consciously start thinking about what you are thinking about to change the negative thoughts that are creating the worry into happier thoughts that start to create the calm.
These are such great ideas from Jacqueline, thank you so much for writing your tips on setting New Year’s resolutions for a happy and healthy 2017! You can find out more information about Jacqueline on her website The Life Class.
See the full article here


Smart Mind Smart Life

So, part two of the Smart Mind Smart Life Plan hit the Telegraph yesterday and if you missed it you can see it here. Don’t forget if you missed part one, it’s on the blog too so just check in and it’s there. Enjoy!

After kick-starting your new exercise regime and your new approach to fitness last week there’s the million-dollar question: how do you encourage yourself to keep going?
Getting into the habit of exercise takes practice. So have faith and remember to keep your mind right.
Pre-plan exercise into your week. Work through the exercises in this programme and, in particular, work on your mind. This can prove trickier than the physical exercises, as our minds tend to resist change, and can conjure up any number of reasons for maintaining the status quo – even if that status quo is something with which you are not happy.
Taking the best care of yourself, through healthy lifestyle choices and enjoyable exercise, is the most rewarding form of preventative medicine there isAlice Hart-Davis
But here’s the thing. You and you alone are in charge of your mind, and with practice, you can adapt the way it thinks about anything – including exercise, and your approach to food.
Above all, act like a grown-up, and take responsibility. Taking the best care of yourself, through healthy lifestyle choices and enjoyable exercise, is the most rewarding form of preventative medicine there is. Keep your muscles strong, keep the range in your joints, move more efficiently and you will keep your body in shape and your mind sharp.
This week, our plan focuses on several top mind strategies for maintaining motivation, focus and interest, and gives you new exercises to stretch your capability once the basic exercises from last week start to seem easy. It also encourages you to think through any issues you might have with “emotional eating”.
As last week, the exercise expertise comes from personal trainer Christina Howells and the mind mastery from life coach Jacqueline Hurst.

Learn new ways to motivate yourself

It is essential to find a way to become passionate about exercise. It is so well worth it, and it’s the best natural way to enhance mood, reduce stress levels, build confidence and help fight depression. Creating a habit of exercise takes repetition, a little discipline to push past any initial resistance and a decision to commit to the process. Repetition builds a habit, and makes the new behaviour become a part of you.

  1. Make exercise a priority, and be consistent in what you do. Put your exercise sessions in your diary and regard them as important appointments that you need to keep, like an important business meeting. You have a duty of care towards yourself to stay as healthy as you can.
  2. Try pairing up and exercising with a friend. You are much less likely to bail out if you feel you are letting someone down.
  3. Create a workout playlist of music that motivates you and makes you want to move.
  4. Dress for success – get some workout clothes that you feel good in.
  5. Change your routines to avoid boredom, try new types of activities (again, take a friend with you).
  6. Be prepared for distractions and don’t think it’s “all or nothing”. If something gets in the way of your scheduled exercise session, then find a way to fit a shorter workout in instead. It is always better to do something than nothing (again, take a friend).
  7. Create “triggers” for exercise by planning sessions around another daily habit. Putting out your gym kit before you go to bed, to remind you to put it on, or take it with you in the morning, can do the trick (again, take a friend).
  8. Don’t overthink it. Just do it.

Focus on consistency, not results

Of course, you are working out for a reason, and hoping for visible changes in your body. But try to think of starting an exercise programme not as “six weeks to a new you” but as the first stage of your new lifestyle. It is good to have goals but it is really important not to become obsessed the results but rather learn to enjoy the process, be present in the moment and be grateful for the ability to be able to move your body freely.

Drop the comparisons

It’s never helpful. There will always be someone fitter, stronger, in better shape or better looking than you – perhaps in your gym, perhaps in your own family (and don’t get us started on the perils of social media, which could be designed to cause envy). These people are not you, and they don’t have your life, your body or your concerns. Comparing yourself to others will only create anxiety and lead to endless negative thoughts. So, compare and despair? Or move beyond this, focusing on your own self-worth? Your choice. It’s really difficult to drop the urge to score yourself against others, but once you can do it, you’ll find it is a liberation, like putting down a heavy burden.

Train smarter, not harder

If you have done the sort of exercise in the past that focused on duration/ the more the better, there may be a niggling voice at the back of your mind wondering whether short bouts of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and a few press ups and squats are really enough to get you fit. Tell that voice this: fitness is not about the time you put in or about beating yourself up. It’s about doing the sort of work that has been shown to give good results. Remind yourself that HIIT is a brilliant strategy and is proven to work for people of all ages and fitness levels. Remind yourself that bodyweight workouts not only make you move better, look better and feel better, but are also functional to life and daily activities.
Read the full article here


Get Fit In 17

So not a bad end to the year with a front page in The Telegraph Weekend section talking about how getting fit starts with the mind.  If you want a little taster of my tips on how-to read on and don’t miss next week for the second helping!

Planning to get fit in 2017? First you need to change the way you think

Sometimes, your approach to health and fitness needs a whole new mindset. Today is the day when we face up to our new year resolutions, particularly when it comes to our bodies. We will be different in 2017, we tell ourselves. We will be fitter, leaner, more effective in our lives.
This is usually something we do with a heavy heart and a sense of doom. Whatever our chosen route of diet or exercise, we’re pretty sure that it will be no fun, and that ultimately, as in other years, it just won’t work.
But this year, leave all that behind and embrace a new approach. The ‘Change your mind, change your body’ plan is not a diet-and-exercise programme. It’s a new-way-of-thinking programme. The only resolution you need make is to alter the way you think about your body and about exercise, and enjoy the results.

What about what I eat?

You are a grown-up. You have a pretty good idea of what you should be eating. You know that lean protein and vegetables are good for you. You also know that enjoying some cake, or a drink, with friends is a very important part of life. This plan is not about dieting; it’s about changing your mindset in regard to your body.
Choose your food thoughtfully and make sure you eat enough. If you eat too little while you increase the amount of exercise you do, your metabolism will slow down to conserve what fuel your body does have, your energy levels will dip, you will struggle to increase muscle tone and you won’t get the results you are after.

Change your mind: six think-smarter tricks

You may think the way your mind works has little to do with starting a new exercise regime. But these tricks are all crucial to your attitude towards exercise and healthy living, and that is the whole point of this plan. You need a different approach to this perennial problem because, as Einstein may or may not have said, insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome – in this case, starting another stringent but unsustainable diet-and-exercise regime in January, getting a short-term improvement, then sliding back to old habits before Easter. Change the way you think about exercise and you will be on the way to a long-term, sustainable lifestyle change which will be of immense benefit for your health and wellbeing, both physical and mental.

1. Learn to think ‘I can!’

As we get older, obviously, our bodies change. If we lose flexibility and strength, we tend to blame ageing and think that there is nothing we can do about it, so we don’t even try. But being fit and healthy has less to do with age and more to do with how we lead our lives. Whatever change you want to make in your life, you need to get your mind into the right place first. You may have heard the saying, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” It is very true.

2. Understand that you can always change the way you think – about anything

You may dispute this. You may think that it is the situation that you find yourself in – whether it is the car breaking down or your waistband being too tight – that dictates what you feel about things. But it doesn’t. It is your thoughts that do that. They’re the middle-man between any given situation and how you feel about it. And because you have control over your mind, you can always choose a different thought, and that will affect how you feel about things.
Yes, it can be tricky to change your thoughts about any given situation. You may not want to think differently – and it’s your choice. But once you realise that it’s what you are thinking that is causing you pain, you may be prepared to try it.
And in order to do it, your new thought has to be something you can believe, and something that makes you feel better than the old thought. But with practice, it can be done.

3. Realise what you need is love, not hate

Many people get into the habit of hating their body but – newsflash – you can’t actually hate yourself slimmer or fitter. Life is much easier, and change is easier, if you love your body. You may think that this an unlikely scenario, but go back to point 2 above. Begin by listing the good things about your body; start to appreciate it for the things it can do, rather than focusing on what it can’t, or what you don’t like. Find a spark of happiness and build on that. If you don’t like your body, it is because of cultural brainwashing. Why on earth would you hate your own body? It is you. Is it because it doesn’t look like an 18-year-old model? That is just a thought that your brain has made up. Thoughts like this are not solid truths. You can unpick them and replace them with better thoughts. It will take time, but once you appreciate where the problem lies – not with your body, but with your thoughts – you can start to change.

4. Challenge negative thoughts

As soon as you catch yourself thinking an unhelpful negative thought such as, “Oh, I couldn’t do that,” or “I could never find the time,” get in the habit of challenging it.
Why won’t an exercise plan work for you? Are you physically unable to move? Have you never got the time to try anything new? Try on some different thoughts, just for size. Could you try just the easy versions of the exercises here? Could you find a way to make time? Could you prioritise exercise over, say, watching television? Could you exercise while watching television? Think creatively, as if encouraging a reluctant friend rather than yourself.

5. Treat yourself kindly

Closely allied to your feelings about your body is the way that you talk to yourself (we all do, even if not out loud). What are the things you say to yourself? It’s all too common to be saying things like, “I’m useless, I’m overweight, I hate myself, I never stick to anything”; all negative, unkind sentiments. If your best friend was trying to make the changes to their life that you are contemplating now, wouldn’t you choose kinder words of encouragement and enthusiasm? “A new plan? That’s a great idea!” You get the drift.

6. Let go of your ego

You don’t have to leap in and try to do the hardest version of any exercise, then beat yourself up when you find it difficult. If you are trying to learn a new skill, like a new language, you know that you need to start at the beginning and put in regular practice to make progress. It’s the same here. If you want to learn to do a pull-up don’t just try it once, find it too difficult, then decide you “can’t” do it. Use a tactic called “regress to progress”. Pretend you are a complete beginner. Take a step back, try an easier adaptation and do what you can. When the simpler version of an exercise becomes easy, that is the time to move on to the next stage.
Remember: consult your doctor before starting a new exercise programme if you have any specific concerns regarding injuries or long-standing health issues.
Read the full article here


Quit The Pressure

The super cool blogger Jessica Harris from twentysixstyle.com gave me a call this week to discuss why we all put so much pressure on ourselves and asked me if I would write a piece for her blog on how to quit doing that. Of course, this is one of my favorite subjects because it is part of a very important self care routine that helps us become better.  Have a read of some of the article here (the full article is on the link below). I hope you like it x
HOW TO STOP PUTTING PRESSURE ON YOURSELF
We’re all feeling not good enough in one way or another and it’s not doing anything for our self esteem. So, I asked the wonderful life coach Jacqueline Hurst to put together some top tips to ease the pressure.

1. SET REALISTIC GOALS
Stop giving yourself goals that are unrealistic. This pressure will ultimately make you go the other way! The GROW model is always a great tool here. What’s the Goal, Reality, Options and Will. That way you can break it down and make your goal happen without the added unnecessary pressure.
2. REALISE NO ONE IS PERFECT
Stop scrolling through Instagram and looking at perfect pictures thinking that’s that persons life. No one is going to upload a picture of the tough times or looking awful. Everyone has ups and downs so don’t use a picture to compare their outsides to your insides.
3. TALK TO YOURSELF LIKE YOU DO YOUR BEST FRIEND
Ultimately if you aren’t talking to yourself in the way you would anyone else then it’s not acceptable. Talk kindly to yourself. Negative self talk is harmful and unhelpful.
4. GO SLOW
We live in such a fast paced world and want everything now but remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Slow and steady is often a lot better than fast and furious (and missing the point!).
5. A SKILLED SAILOR NEVER BECAME SKILLED OVERNIGHT
Remember this sentence and it will stand you in good stead. Skill takes practice and patience so be kind, take the pressure off and remind yourself every day that doing even one thing towards your goal is helping your skill.

Read the full article on twentysixstyle.com here


Surviving Christmas!

My friends at Sweaty Betty asked me this week if I could share my top 7 tips to survive Christmas. Christmas can be a very stressful time of year for some, so if you are stressing about Christmas coming, you will love this short and to the point article! Enjoy.
7 Tips For Surviving Christmas
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but the combination of mince pies galore, gifting and extended family socialising can be on the stressful time. To stop any stress for the rest of December we have called upon life coach Jacqueline Hurst to help you navigate the festive season.
Schedule some you time. Making time for yourself is imperative over the Christmas season. There is always so much going on, so to stop yourself burning out make sure you schedule some time for a yoga class or a gentle walk.
Let it go. No I don’t mean watch Frozen for the 100th time this Christmas. If you’re finding yourself struggling in any way (the kids are misbehaving, the dog has pulled over the tree or your mum keeps calling) my top tip is to take a moment to call a friend and vent it out! Venting is a very good tactic to stop, breathe and proceed, you’ll find everything seems a lot calmer once you’ve spoken about it.
Just say no. Learning to say no isn’t as hard as it sounds and just remember you don’t have to go to every festive event just because it’s Christmas. Place your boundaries, embrace a night in and don’t be ashamed if you turn down that fifth glass of mulled wine, you don’t want to end up exhausted.
Make a change. We all have that one task we hate doing from peeling sprouts to wrapping gifts. My tip, tackle it in a new way as a fresh approach just might make a difference. For example, if you dread having to send out cards, split the list with someone to save time.
Drop unrealistic expectations this holiday and give yourself a break. Nothing is perfect in life, the mince pies might be slightly burnt, the wrapping paper may have teared slightly, you might have drunk a little more Baileys than you planned, be gentle with yourself and remember you are human!
Focus on what’s most important. This is a great time of year to focus on what’s most important to you. If you’re overwhelmed with dozens of cards to send out, ask yourself, which are the 10 most important? Then email the rest.
Remember to have fun!  We can get so wrapped up (excuse the pun) in making sure everyone else is happy that we can forget to enjoy ourselves. Don’t forget during this season to also share the joy.
Jacqueline Hurst is a master life coach and clinical hypnotherapist. She has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network, The Sunday Times, Harpers Baazar and The Daily Telegraph. Jacqueline is also the founder of the Life Class, an online personal course for self development. 

Dealing with Anger

The crew at Get The Gloss gave me a call this week to discuss how to handle anger. Anger is of course a natrual emotion and one we can all experience. The main thing is to be able to handle it easily and effortlessly and not let it get the better of you. I wanted to share a little glance of the article they have written and dont forget if you want to read the whole article just scroll to the bottom  for the link.
FROM SMALL TWEAKS TO GREAT STRIDES, WE ASKED A TRIO OF EXPERTS FOR THEIR TOP TIPS FOR TRANSFORMING ANGER FROM THE NEGATIVE TO THE POSITIVE AT HOME AND AT WORK
Are we getting angrier or are we just insufficiently equipped to manage our tempers? According to the experts, it’s a mixture of both. “It’s directly linked to the fact that we live in a culture that’s driven by fast food, fast internet, fast service and a ‘I want it now’ mentality,” explains Michael Fisher, founder and director of the British Association of Anger Management. “As a result, our capacity to actually remain tolerant and patient with others diminishes considerably.”
With degrees of anger varying greatly from a gentle fizzle to an all-out fire, how can we better manage our anger issues to turn them from something negative to something positive? From small tweaks to great strides, we asked a trio of experts for their words of wisdom.
TAKE A MOMENT TO CHOOSE
Anger is such a powerful emotion that it can often feel like it’s outside of your control. However, seeing flipping your lid as a choice rather than an inevitably can go some way to getting a handle on it. “Your thoughts create how you feel, so if anger is a feeling, it is therefore being created by a thought process,” says clinical hypnotherapist and life coach Jacqueline Hurst. “Anger comes from our thoughts – not from our mothers, fathers, sisters…and so getting our minds right is so important.”
In the moment, anger can feel anything but a choice, but Jacqueline points out that if we change our mindsets beforehand, then this can prove fruitful for whenever the fateful moment strikes. “If someone hoots at you when you’re reversing for example, it’s your choice to get angry or not, to think that he’s just having a bad day and move on. It’s your decision not theirs, so in this way, you get your own power back and gain control over it.” Her advice for interrupting the habit at the beginning? “First, stop and take a breath and then ask yourself how you can think about this differently – this is the biggest thing I’d say to someone for staying calm in a situation. Say, ‘It’s not my problem, it’s not about me.’ You can either stop and take a breath or wind yourself up more and make things worse.”
LOOK AT THE WIDER PICTURE
“Stop and look at the bigger picture,” recommends Michael Fisher. “Listen and remind yourself that it’s okay to have a different opinion and try not to take it personally,” he adds. Taking a quick time out can also prove effective for helping extinguish any instantaneous explosiveness that you’ll regret later. “If it doesn’t matter in 5 minutes, let it go,” says Michael.
Approaching anger from a reflective perspective also works well for separating the reasonable from the unreasonable says Anna Percy-Davis. “Try to understand where your anger is coming from,” she says. “Sometimes an issue or a personality in your workplace can make you upset and angry, but sometimes other issues perhaps in your personal life could be distressing you and this can seep into your working life and manifest itself as anger. Or perhaps it’s just a long established habit that you have developed that causes you to feel angry. The more you can understand where your anger is coming from, the more you can work on strategies to deal with it.”
Looking to your support network can also prove valuable too. “Spend time with people who make you feel good, confident and understood,” recommends Anna to help put everything back into perspective and reassure you that there’s more to life than this particularly heated moment.
WRITE IT DOWN
“Start an anger journal,” recommends Michael, if getting out of your head during times of turmoil is proving particularly difficult. “Buy yourself a blank notebook and start recording every time you feel angry. Write down the time, date, the situation itself, your thoughts and your behaviour ranked between 1 and 10 (10 being terrible) and then define your feelings associated with that. It’s more to do with not letting anger take up space in your head and transferring it from the internal to the external.”
BROACH THE SUBJECT SENSITIVELY BUT ASSERTIVELY
Want to help someone you know who has anger issues but unsure of how to broach the subject? You’re not alone. It can be intimidating, however letting them know sooner rather than later could be doing a greater service for all concerned in the long-term. “Just tell them,” says Michael. “You can try saying that you’re scared of their anger and that they need to sort themselves out. They will probably become defensive as it’s a sensitive subject and while you can’t overcome this, what you can do is recognise that they will get defensive and not take it personally. People are so intimidated by people who are angry that they end up pussyfooting around the subject, but the people who come to our programmes whose wives, children or bosses have told then enough is enough, or where the courts or the police have told them to sort it out wish that they’d been told earlier. It can be terrifying though, but it’s our responsibility to be able to be assertive and tell people how it is.”
If you’re particularly worried, just frame your language to best suit the person and situation by avoiding accusatory language and reinforcing the message that it’s being approached with transparency and the best of intentions. “Approach it gently and don’t point the finger,” suggests Jacqueline. “Perhaps say ‘I’ve noticed that you flair up and you don’t need to do this. I would love for you to help yourself as it can’t be enjoyable for you.’ Offer to talk about it.”
She adds, “It’s not about saying what they’re doing wrong. It’s about saying for example, ‘When you’re angry, I feel X e.g. scared’ and those sorts of things. Getting help is really important. None of us are perfect. It’s important to talk about it, and that’s what help is for. It’s not to be ashamed of.”
SEEK EXPERT HELP IF NEEDED
“If you are finding that you are experiencing a lot of anger in your working life and struggling to find the best ways to deal with it, it might be time to seek professional help – get a coach, therapist or counsellor,” suggests Anna. “They can help you work out how best to handle your anger – do you just need to find some better coping strategies or is it time to look for a new job?” Anna’s coaching sessions and work with the How to Academy are at hand to help, with her workshop ‘Success Strategies for Women in the Workplace’ on the 13th of March 2017 covering conflict and how to deal with difficult colleagues or bosses.
The British Association of Anger Management also runs a range of programmes and events to help, more information of which can be found here. Furthermore, Jacqueline’s online Life Class also provides a flexible option that you can do from the comfort of your own home. “It helps you to get your head right and better understand the beliefs that are painful to you,” she explains. “Becoming aware is really important for helping aid change and because it’s online, it works well if you don’t want to sit down in front of someone or want to do it in your own time. Changing the anger pattern and seeing how to do it yourself is a very powerful thing.”
Read the full article here