The thought of ‘starving myself’ is unappealing. I’m sure you feel the same. However with all the discussion about intermittent fasting (IF) I’ve been excitedly drawn to the idea and in the past week have been experimenting (while doing my gentle cleanse). ‘What’s taken me SO long?’ I hear you say.
Hmmm thoughts like, how do I do it? I’d starve myself! I’ll get it wrong, It’s not for me etc etc!
Yet across the world in different cultures, some form of fasting has been practiced for spiritual and religious reasons for centuries. Touted as a way to refocus the mind and body, sometimes lasting 24 hours or more. Then go back a few hundred thousand years and fasting was a part of our day to day existence. It’s in our DNA.
An ancient practice or way of life that’s become the ‘new thing’ and in our world of abundance and over consumption of food perhaps for good reason.
If you have or you’ve been interested like me, here’s what I’ve discovered, but first… what exactly is it and what is autophagy?!
Traditionally a fast is not eating food for consecutive days or even weeks. Intermittent fasting however, involves not eating food for just 12 to 16 hours a day and reducing the window of time you eat to an 8 to 12 hour period. That’s it.
The ideal timeframe for health benefits seems to be 16 hours.
The benefits to be gained are when fasting happens consistently over a longer period of time i.e. no quick fix (sorry)!
• promotes healthy weight
• improves blood sugar
• helps a healthy heart
• reduces inflammation
• reduces appetite
• protects cognitive (brain) health
• helps fight stress-induced cravings
“Intermittent fasting is hypothesised to influence metabolic regulation via effects on (a) circadian biology, (b) the gut microbiome, and (c) modifiable lifestyle behaviours, such as sleep. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28715993
It simplifies a healthy lifestyle by reducing the food choices we need to make every day. As a Mum this is especially attractive!
Abstaining from food for longer than normal means we give the body a break from constant digestion, more time for rest and repair.
It’s easy. Intermittent fasting is straightforward. It doesn’t require any extra thought to menu planning or long shopping lists.
It kickstarts ketosis. A state that happens when we no longer have glucose to use as a fuel and we resort to burning fat for fuel so ‘retraining’ our systems to burn fat stores for fuel – our natural state. (as Naomi Whittle, Author & CEO says – “it is nature’s reset button”)
How it works.
One of the most exciting ways is a process called autophagy.
If you haven’t come across this term, in Greek auto means ‘self’ and phagy means ‘to eat’. Autophagy refers to a self-eating process within our cells that encourages the proliferation of new, healthy cells.
‘Fasting is a crucial component that ultimately controls inflammation in the body and activates autophagy’ ~ Yoshinori Ohsumi, 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Imagine, as our bodies aren’t working on digesting so much food, they get the chance to tend to cellular functions. Functions that include removing waste and toxins from the body. It gives our digestive system and body a chance to rest and repair. In doing this it takes ‘stress’ off the bodies important functions.
Without food, insulin levels in the blood decrease and can keep the body sensitive to insulin, which gives better blood sugar control. With blood sugars being managed better, and the stress on the body reduced, the body can then start to burn fat.
Hence it’s easy to see how IF helps with;
• Weight management and consequently
• Better sleep (and all that goes along with these improvements)!
Note: enjoying nutrient rich drinks in the fasting timeframe, especially mineral rich drinks and some healthy fats, such as bone broth may assist the fasting benefits.
It may not be for everyone.
It seems that if our hormones need some love and attention or there are other imbalances, fasting may backfire e.g. I’ve worked with clients who fast and after losing weight initially their energy and weight can plateau. As soon as they introduce smaller more regular meals, their energy increases and sleep improves.
Support your liver and kidneys well before fasting. This is important. If our detox pathways are clogged, not detoxing efficiently we don’t want toxins recirculating throughout the body causing unwanted trouble.
And if you have trouble metabolising fats then it may be important to start very gently e.g. a 12-hour window of fasting rather than 16 hours and see how you feel.
We are all bio-individual and while something may work for one it may not work for another at a particular time and place. Listen to your body and do what’s right for you and always consult with your health practitioner.
One more thing, food and the preparation of food in our homes has magical qualities in how it brings us together and nourishes us. It’s important we always continue enjoying food in this way and the love, thought and preparation that goes into sharing it with those around us.
It takes time. While the lure of immediate weight loss is attractive, it’s not healthy. Far better to do it gradually and IF seems to have the good results when done over a longer period of time and while still enjoying a nutrient rich, real food diet, without ‘empty’ calories.
Personally, at the end of the week I’ve enjoyed a renewed energy, clarity of thought and calmness. I love my gentle cleanse and do it a couple of times a year. This time I did it with my hubby which was a really great experience and more enjoyable. Just until this Sunday the 13th of February, 2019 you can download the cleanse manual for free here and join me on a LIVE call as I walk you through it for even better outcomes.
And now I’m looking forward to experimenting more with IF and seeing how it works best for me. If you’ve fasted before or done my cleanse let me know how it went? I’d love to hear.
https://www.naomiwhittel.com, ‘Glow 15’
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bAkvnvX0W8 Yoshinori Ohsumi
‘Is giving up the carbs’ something you’ve committed to? Are you feeling an extra need for carbs with the change of seasons & maybe feeling guilty?
Cutting back or giving up carbs is something we know we need to do BUT… in reality is hard! (Especially those sneaky mid afternoon chocolate fixes)?!
Carbohydrate (carb) cravings might feel like;
So how do we kick these cravings and live a little more?…
Great. So how do we do that?!
Firstly let’s look at blood sugars.
We understand how simple carbs can send our blood sugars on a crazy rollercoaster ride – you know the ones i.e. pasta, rice, pizza, bread, biscuits, generally highly refined and processed foods and grains that the body can use quickly for fuel.
This conversation with my son and analogy about twigs v logs will help.
Twigs v logs.
I’m not sure how the conversation started. We were sitting at the family dinner table when our youngest stated he wanted to eat more pasta and pizza because it was good for him?!
He was ‘fishing’ for a bite that’s for sure. I reckon he got a bit more than he could chew!!
Stay with me because this might help your family too.
About to jump up and down and correct his misguidance, I caught myself and kept quiet for a moment (not so easy to do)!
With my hubby’s support, I explained …
It’s like keeping a good fire burning.
To make a good fire what do we use? ‘Logs and twigs’.
What gets it started, by making it burn fast and hot? Twigs.
So what makes the fire burn steadier and for longer? ‘logs’.
What happens if we used just twigs and no logs? ‘We need to keep adding twigs constantly’!
So there are 3 types of energy our bodies use for fuel; fats, carbs and protein (macro nutrients).
Fats and protein are like the logs – add them to the fire, or our metabolism and they give us good, sustaining, steady energy for a longer time.
Simple carbohydrate is like the twigs. When added to the fire (or our metabolic system) alone, they’re burnt up super quickly. We need to add more and more twigs to the fire to keep it alight!
It’s an over-simplified analogy of energy production but he totally got this. And maybe it’ll help you and your family too.
So getting back to our blood sugars. It’s like the twigs.
The twigs burn quickly, and quickly need to be replenished to stop the fire going out. It’s the same for us. Eating a lot of simple carbohydrates means we need to keep replenishing the fire. If we don’t, our blood sugars swing and cravings kick in (we need energy). It’s almost always leading to excess energy and fat storage i.e. weight gain.
Eat more sustaining fuel i.e. protein and fats and our blood sugars are more stable, (this doesn’t necessarily apply to type 1 diabetics).
An interesting fact about these sources of energy is that fats and protein are essential to our diet. We need to get these energy sources from our food. Carbohydrate on the other hand is non-essential i.e. our body metabolises (makes) glucose (a product of carbohydrate) from fats and protein as and when required. Carbohydrate therefore is a non-essential dietary fuel – i.e. we actually don’t need much in our diet.
Secondly, what’s driving the craving?
Let’s assume you’ve stabilised your blood sugars but you’re still guiltily reaching for the bowl of pasta or slice of cake! Stop. Before eating the cake, take a moment to think about WHY you’re reaching for it? Is it boredom, tiredness, stress, lack of movement, self care, time outside, the need for comfort etc? Or is there a microbiome imbalance driving the need for simple carbohydrates & create further imbalance? This article, ‘parasites, the silent epidemic‘ might help answer this for you.
When we crave foods, it’s more likely there is a deeper spiritual or emotional need not being met. To help identify this though we need awareness and we can only have awareness if we stop, slow down and take a moment to notice or feel what it is our bodies are really asking for?
Thirdly, is it seasonal?
Through the winter months and the transitioning of the seasons, we can naturally crave more comforting, heartier or starchier foods. It may be that your body needs a few more of these whole foods and complex carbs such as basmati rice, sweet potato, quinoa and other unprocessed, gluten free whole foods. At times women (and our hormones) can especially benefit from adding more of these foods into the day. If this resonates for you, perhaps experiment and see how you feel.
So in summary HOW do we manage cravings?
13 ways to kick the cravings.
The body is complex and there is a lot to consider other than food alone in the production of energy and to curb cravings, (something I go into far more detail in my 21 day foundational program, ‘Get-up & GLOW with Kate‘)
Commonly these 12 ideas make a great difference;
Cravings can infact be an invitation to continue our personal evolution to becoming the best version of ourselves.
Try any one of the above for 2 – 4 days and the cravings will pass. As you nourish your mind and body more deeply, blood sugars will begin to stabilise and your mood improve as your body returns to balance or homeostasis.
Making change and new choices is more enjoyable and successful with community, knowledge and accountability. If you’re looking for a super quick reset grab my free copy of A Gentle Cleanse and register for my upcoming call! Grab it and register here.
Or for more lasting lifestyle unleveling join me in my next round of Get-up and Glow! Where we go into this topic in more detail and create new healthFUL habits for life. We start on the 30th of August for 21 days to inner and outer radiance. It’s our foundational detox program. You can join me through this link!
And, ‘never give up because great things take time’.
Along with the excitement and busyness of this time of year there’s a potential danger ahead!
In fact it might already be ‘weighing’ you down…
Unfortunately those healthier choices you’ve been enjoying and worked hard at, may start to go by the wayside (or is that weighside), leaving you bereft and a few too many kilo’s heavier.
That’s not how you want to start a New Year!
So how in the world do you stay on track while STILL enjoying this special time of year?
… By feeling good.
It’s not about denial or deprivation. No way. It IS about how you FEEL about your choices, and, feeling good within yourself.
You might be thinking, ‘hmmm… easier said than done!’
It’s true but my 12 simple tactics make it easily said and done.
1. Rather than do … be.
Rather than busily or distractedly eating and drinking try being more in the moment e.g. sipping your drink slowly, chewing mindfully – taste and think about it – challenge yourself to being fully engaged in conversation at the same time.
Being more present and aware means we absorb our food better, feel full quicker and consequently eat less. And most importantly have far more engaging interactions with friends and family – win, win, win.
2. Stay hydrated + Wedge.
If you’re having a drink, remember to wedge in a glass of water in between drinks and remember how good you’re going to feel tomorrow. Stay well hydrated with good quality water – always.
3. Fuel up.
When you’re going out take time to fuel up with good wholesome food throughout the day or prior to going out. You’ll be less hungry and won’t feel the need to fill up on foods you know don’t work for you. And you’re going to feel good the next day. For lots of quick snacks and great ideas visit my website https://www.katebarnes.com.au
4. Stock the pantry.
You’ll be on the go, shopping for holidays and festivities, finishing up work commitments and going out. Keep the pantry, fridge and freezer stocked with essentials so you can create healthy food choices quickly and easily.
5. Commit to activities that make you feel good first thing in the morning.
When we do this we immediately put our mind in the right space and feel more in control, making good choices easier.
Other choices that will lift our vibe and strengthen our mind;
6. Resting or napping.
7. Getting quality sleep.
8. Spending time outside and in the sunshine.
9. Guarding time.
Time is our most valuable asset especially at this time of year, question choices. Do we really need to attend that event? or go shopping at that time? clean those windows now? Question your choices, say ‘no thank you’ when you can, we understand.
If you feel your body is going to need a vitality boost there are a couple of supplements that can help manage stress and deplete when we’re busy e.g. a good quality magnesium, b vitamins, vitamin c or msm (natural sulphur). Always check with your health practitioner before supplementing.
Using essential oils such as frankincense, vetiver and serenity can also be great for getting us out of our busy minds and into our bodies.
11. Stressing less.
Then if sticking to ‘the plan’ is stressing you then please try not to. It’s so much more important to thoroughly enjoy the choices you make and the special time you have catching up with family and friends.
No guilt or regret – those feelings are worse than that bowl of christmas pud or that extra glass of champers!
When we’re busy it’s easy not to. However it’s possibly the best and quickest hack to feeling good. Remember to breathe – deeply.
It’s easy to neglect these fundamental ‘feel good’ choices when there’s lots on, yet it’s actually the most important time to commit to them.
These simple choices will position your mind in a way that makes it easier to cope with stressors and/or self sabotage when they come to play and in many ways are inevitable at this time of year.
Be prepared and I hope you … feel good!
What one, simple choice that you know is right for you, can you commit to? The one thing that’s non negotiable because it makes you feel good and you’re going to enter the New Year feeling healthy, happy and light – mind and body!
‘If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath’
~ Amit Ray
We’ve all heard it or said it, more often in a state of worry, frustration, anger, or to calm the kids or our nearest and dearest…
‘take a breathe’
It’s only been in the past couple of years I’ve realised HOW potent this simple act is.
You may be thinking, ‘Of course, it’s automatic, it’s the basis of life, what more?’
It’s just that.
Breathing is so automatic and instinctual it’s easy to take this healing force of nature for granted.
When was the last time you took a moment to really notice HOW you breathe?…
Take a moment now.
Do you breathe through your nose or through your mouth? Does your tummy or does your chest raise when you breathe? Do you have a shallow or deep breathe? Is your breathe long or short? How often do you sigh or yawn? Then, for those of you with children, how do your children breathe?
Your answers will give you clues as to whether your breathe is optimising or diminishing your wellbeing. (And if you or your children have difficulty breathing optimally and haven’t explored a root cause, perhaps see a health practitioner who can help).
Among many healing attributes our breathe also helps us tolerate stress, improve our brain function and increase our energy reserves.
Movement is the mechanism, the essence of who we are as human beings and our moving breathe helps enable this essential mechanism.
In Hindu, prana refers to breathe & ‘life force’.
We know this but it’s easy to neglect our breathe, yet our breathe may be the missing link to very simply managing our full & often stressful lives.
When I learnt that shallow breathing from the chest and mouth breathing initiates the sympathetic nervous system i.e. the fight and flight or stress response and that deep, diaphragmatic breathe or through the nostrils initiates the parasympathetic nervous system i.e. rest and digest – I started paying close attention.
Can it be that simple? Yes.
If we allow it, how we breathe has the power to mitigate stress in an instant. It can bring us into the present moment, quieten our minds, give objectivity to our thoughts, change our state of mind and importantly allow us to enjoy & sense each precious moment.
A friend and colleague, Silvia Gonzalez-Quinones at the fabulous, Be Alive Physiotherapy has this analogy,
‘Our breathe is the gateway to the nervous system’. It’s true.
When 90% of illness can relate to stress (in its many different forms), a quick hack to reset our nerves (& stress) can be the golden ticket.
When our nervous system is balanced i.e. in homeostasis, our health and wellbeing elevates. We;
In doses, stress is good for us, however in todays world it can be unrelenting. For example;
Along with other emotional and mental stressors, these can all place stress on our body at any one time. So if we can manage stressors that can easily be controlled / managed in any given moment, it’s worth doing.
Three quick 30 second stress hacks using the breathe…
1. 3 deep breathes.
Take 3 long, deep breathes through your nostrils, into your diaphragm, (so it distends), and with each breathe lasting approximately 10 seconds e.g. in for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, out for 3 seconds.
2. The 4-7-8 breathing exercise by Dr Andrew Weil:
3. While doing an activity on ‘auto-pilot’ try to come back into the present moment by focusing on HOW you breathe. Long, slow, deep breathes through the nose, into the tummy and out e.g. next time you’re driving, walking, listening to the kids, in a meeting, packing lunch boxes, folding washing etc.
Try one now. Choose one of the three above and give it a go.
Then importantly, when you finish take 5 seconds to notice how you FEEL. What do you notice?
Other ideas that take a bit longer and I love;
There are lots more. If this feels right and you know it can help, make it happen, it can take 30 seconds and feels great.
“When we breathe, we feel. When we feel we heal”
I remember when I thought I didn’t have time for anything but a quick lunch of cheese and tomato on toast with a pinch of S&P!
It was when the kids were younger, my energy was lagging, immunity low and get up and go sadly lacking. That’s when I knew I had to change my ways…
I was skipping the essentials.
It’s easy to do, yet skipping essential nutrients is a BIG mistake, especially when life is full and we’re raising our families. Yet this is commonly the time bad habits become a new normal. Running on not much more than adrenaline, we can cope… for a year or two.
Until one day that tired, lack lustre feeling includes:
Nutrients that are essential, are essential because we can only get them from our food. For our bodies to function, these essential nutrients – are essential!
It seems obvious, but I see too many people skipping the essentials or not getting enough in the food they’re eating or they assume is ‘healthy’, and it’s not.
It’s not intentional, often from habit, lack of time, lack of thought, fear of change, a lack of priority etc.
Yet, by making better choices we instantly start to FEEL so much better, our energy, our mood, our sleep. We gain time and our joi de vivre returns!
‘… when you know better, you can do better’
Load up on the essentials. It’s just one of my many energy hacks for busy mama’s. In this short video with Andrea Tegan at Wholehearted Family Health we discuss my top 5 hacks for more energy and importantly HOW to get around those behaviours that STOP us in our tracks. If you haven’t come across Andreas fabulous work, check it out at https://www.wholeheartedfamilyhealth.com. It’s THE wellness hub for busy mama’s.
Or maybe you’re thinking… ‘that sounds way too hard’ or ‘too time consuming’ or ‘I don’t have time right now’?
It’s not true.
Here’s the thing. You’re already taking time to make a choice or to prepare food, even if it is toast and cheese.
Think of it as ‘upgrading’ the choice you’re already making. Same amount of time, same thought power, different choice. You can do that.
The ideal food to eat is grown in a healthy soil and freshly picked, jam-packed full of nutrients and good bacteria. This isn’t always possible and that’s why farmers markets or deliveries are a great option.
Wherever possible choose organic foods that don’t carry a toxic burden and weigh you down even more.
If this all makes sense and you’re ready to make a change AND at the same time transform your energy and your wellbeing then join me in Get-up & Glow with Kate the ultimate vitality reset. We start on Monday, 3rd September (With our recorded pre – glow call this Friday 31st)!
It’s the gentle upgrade you’ve been looking for – no extra effort required. Plus you’ll enjoy weekly meal plans to help take away the ‘mental load’ about WHAT to eat for you & your family!
Spring is the perfect time to tend our inner garden, mind, body and soul, come and join me.
Have you heard this word before?
I hadn’t. Yet it’s important. It’s a word every mother, new mother and mother to be, needs to know.
The definition above doesn’t evoke too much interest. However… after chatting with Dr Oscar Serrallach recently, I learnt otherwise.
Dr Serrallach is an expert in post natal depletion and the author of the recently published book, ‘The Post Natal Depletion Cure – a complete guide to rebuilding your health and reclaiming your energy’. Through his work he is on a mission to revive motherhood.
Post natal depletion is a syndrome coined by Dr Serrallach that’s the common phenomenon of fatigue and exhaustion combined with ‘baby brain’ experienced by Mothers. It can last from anywhere between birth of the child, up to 7 – 10 years.
He believes post natal depletion may be affecting up to 50% of Mothers! A western phenomenon in epidemic proportions. It can happen when Matresence goes wrong.
I wrote about my own version of post natal depletion and what I experienced awhile ago.
Matresence can be as little as 4 – 6 weeks, often longer, following the birth of a child. It occurs over a window of time completely dedicated to bonding with our babies, feeding, nurturing, replenishing our bodies and honouring our transformation, ready for child rearing and creating a fulfilling transition into motherhood while discovering a new sense of self.
Dr Serrallach defines matresence as the transformation of becoming a mother.
The consequences of not honouring this process / transformation include feelings of depletion emotionally, physically and mentally, exhaustion and overwhelm.
Why isn’t Matresence part of our everyday vocabulary?
You’ll learn lots more in my chat with Oscar.
We also discuss:
This is a discussion for every Mother and Mother to be. I hope it helps mothers feel more at peace with their role and the incredible contribution they’re making to their families and their communities.
My mission is to nourish the hearts of women for a happier, healthier world (starting with myself and my family).
With new food and lifestyle choices and emotional support most of the women who come to me tired and overwhelmed start to feel better in as little as a week! All from the comfort of their own homes and with their families. My enriched mama programis for depleted mums. It is a perfect place to begin.
Along with Dr Serrallachs’ book which gives a big maternal hug with information that’s practical, reliable and has stood the test of time. A trustworthy hand-book for every mother, parent and mother to be.
If you are struggling – you are not alone. Please seek support from friends, family or health professionals. It is not a weakness or a sign of failure, it’s a necessity.
How we feel is real. When we feel we heal.
Yet this isn’t imaginary.
It’s our families reality and if it’s not yours already, it can be.
We recently had our first hospital visit with my 13 year old daughter for a broken finger.
We were asked to name our family Doctor. I gave the name of a friend as we don’t have a family Doctor.
Our children have had antibiotics once or twice when they were very little, they are 11 and 13.
As a family we rarely get sick. Unusual in todays world, yet not lucky.
Conventional medicine is very effective at treating the symptom and the cause of disease, which lies in a ‘part’ of the body. However, there is more to the story…
There is something our bodies are exposed to emotionally or physically that triggers illness e.g. we might get a cold due to a low immunity:
Simple questions with complex answers, mental, emotional, physical and / or spiritual answers. Answers that in the long term foster longevity and vitality and can prevent illness, but can take longer to resolve.
Bugs are everywhere all the time. If we live a life of treating the bug or the symptom without treating the root cause or nourishing the body deeply and gently detoxifying, we are simply adding to the complexity of the issue, burying the clues deeper, making it harder and more complex to discover the root cause.
The earlier (younger) we support out bodies holistically, the easier and quicker our bodies respond and thrive.
We must look holistically at wellbeing. To manage not just the symptom, but the whole being, mind, body and soul, and discover the root cause.
The good news is, it’s’ not hard, infact, it may seem too simple to be true.
It begins in our homes, in our hearts and at our tables. With knowledge that’s stood the test of time which means… it’s free.
The challenge is…
It feels hard. Hard to;
Concerns that make it easier not to change or to opt for the quick fix instead.
It’s how we’ve been conditioned to act, without thinking twice, even though we know deep down, it’s not the answer.
It’s exactly what my clients learn about and overcome everyday, creating wellbeing from within their homes, simply, naturally, cost effectively, without overwhelm, confusion or conflict.
It’s why I created Our Happy Children – my online and LIVE short course.
If you’re sick and tired of going from Doctor to Doctor, Specialist to Specialist or want to know exactly what does work and you’re ready to discover food and lifestyle choices that give foundations for a well-being and prevent illness – Our Happy Children is for you and your family.
Doors close for 2018, this Saturday the 19th of May. Be quick.
You don’t want to miss this life changing program https://katebarnes.com.au/our-happy-children/
A word from participants:
The knowledge we have as women in regard to wellbeing and what it involves, directly affects not only the state of our own health and happiness, but the state of health in our children and in our families.
It is knowledge (wisdom) that for generations was handed down from one to the next and built upon as we evolved. Yet through more recent generations, this knowledge has been questioned and eroded, even dismissed and so much so, it’s now very difficult to know what is right and what is not?
Deep down, I believe we do know.
I see it in the women I work with who want to find the answers they know are there to help overcome their childrens health issues, who are suffering and who want to safeguard their future. I know because I’ve been there to. It feels hard to trust our inner voice, gently guiding us to take a road that’s less travelled, and the one we instinctively know is what our families need.
It’s an uncertainty that’s born from a modern, industrialised culture that’s taught us to rely on convenience for answers and to deflect responsibility for our own wellbeing to others, to the experts who ‘know better’. And often they do know better on a physical or theoretical sense, however, we cannot dismiss the incredible emotional connection and knowing we have as Mothers for our families needs.
‘The bond between mothers and their children is a spiritual force that can never be broken. Mothers know their children better than anyone else can or ever will… A mother’s gut instinct overrides all clinical systems set in place to diagnose children’ ~ Anthony William, Author, Medical Medium.
When we trust this knowing (our intuition or our ‘gut’) and we begin to be more curious, to ask questions, we find answers.
However, in our busy modern lives, we don’t have the time or space to listen to this maternal instinct, this inner knowing, let alone trust it. To trust what our families need.
Disconnected from this knowing leaves us feeling confused, overwhelmed or unsure.
There’s a great quote I heard a few years ago…
‘Our children are our future. Take care of our children, and the future takes care of itself’.
However I know now, this isn’t quite right. Rather – I’ve extended it to:
‘Our children are our future. Nourish the hearts of our women who nourish our children and the future takes care of itself’
As mothers and parents our energy is contagious. When we’re happy, they’re happy.
And this from the late Jim Rohn, Entrepreneur, Author and Motivational Speaker…
‘Your own self-development and wellbeing is the greatest gift you can give to your children. Not self sacrifice. Self development. Self sacrifice earns contempt. Self development and investment earns respect. The best contribution anyone can do for anyone else is their own personal development. If parents multiply their own personal value what will that do for their children? ‘
It’s not easy. I know. It’s work in progress – me too, (although we’re continually work in progress, a journey rather than a destination). Yet there’s lots of easy things we can do to learn to trust our intuition.
The first step is to gift ourselves space and time. To look after ourselves.
Try introducing one small thing to begin e.g. it could be as simple as getting up a little earlier to enjoy some quiet or a cup of tea. It could be taking 5 minutes to sit in the sunshine or 10 minutes to chat with a friend or it might be getting to bed a bit earlier. Or perhaps it’s chatting to yourself … more kindly. Whatever you decide, try it, experiment, be curious and when you hear that inner knowing, that excited feeling that comes with ‘knowing’ … Listen and Trust.
And if you know you’re serious about learning more about how to safeguard your families wellbeing – join me in one of my coaching programs or my very special program, Our Happy Children . A ground breaking, 4 week holistic education program for the whole family, no matter where you’re at or how busy you are. We start on the 21st of May, 2018 https://www.katebarnes.com.au/our-happy-children/
I love this time of year in Aus. the warmer weather, beach, friends, colleagues and family coming together, but… in reality the lead up to the big day or holidays is outright tiring and stressFULL.
It doesn’t need to be, we have a choice. I hope these 3 tips help ease the busyness and stress for a more relaxed, joyful and a touch more magical festive season.
One: Lower expectations
As much as you want to… It is physically impossible to do all you normally do in a day and week as well as prepare for a lovely, organised, calm and healthy Christmas.
Something gives. Usually our sense of humour and joy.
THE key for a relaxed Christmas is to reduce your expectations of yourself.
Especially as women, we are really good at taking it all on, but then place unnecessary pressure on ourselves (and our families) to achieve it all.
Being AWARE we have another choice, that it can be done differently or in a better way, is the first step. Awareness. Question the choices we’re making.
Decide on the basic tasks you absolutely need to complete for each day and perhaps one more bonus item.
For eg. Your list could look like this:
• Complete a load of washing
• Have healthy meals organised for you and your family
• Make sure everyone has made their beds and put dirty clothes in the laundry basket
• Any special requirements for school and/ or work are ready eg, permission slips signed, fundraiser dish prepared etc
Keep it simple. You’ll probably achieve more, fantastic or maybe you won’t, fantastic. But lower your expectations in the first place. It will work magic. Eradicate thoughts of ‘it’s giving in’ or ‘you’re a failure’. It’s keeping it real, keeping stress low, your precious energy high, your immunity strong, your hormones humming along happily and so much more.
Then the most important step, congratulate yourself for achieving these important tasks! And…if you can squeeze in one more task such as ordering some Christmas Gifts online or ordering your Christmas ham, writing 5 Christmas cards, shopping for two gifts etc – you are well on your way to achieving all you need to before Christmas but without the stress.
When we decrease the expectations we have of ourselves it actually frees us to achieve many other tasks, just by lightening the load on our minds, removing our often self imposed pressures (overwhelm) and allowing for a much more festive season.
It’s also wonderful to realise that the world (miraculously) keeps spinning even when we aren’t Superwomen!
Just the basics and one more thing, that’s all we need to do.
Two: Simplify and delegate.
This ties in with number 1 and deserves special mention. How often have you said to yourself, ‘I ate waayyy too much! We all know how easy it is to over indulge at Christmas and it can be quite stressful in the lead up, shopping, preparing and all that cooking! Cooking for family and friends is one of the most rewarding, festive and loving things I think we can do but not if it creates stress, or we feel terrible after over indulging or leaving all that delicious food – uneaten, wasted.
As you’re preparing your menu, question how much food you need and if it’s reeaally necessary? Cooking and preparing meals for family is an incredibly rewarding and loving act. However there can be a tendency to prepare way too much and then over indulge in way too much food and regret it later.
Take the stress away by keeping food simple or even sharing the preparation and planning amongst other family members. Most of the time there is no need for lots of food or to do it all yourself.
Stock up the pantry with loads of good things so you’ve always got something good on hand.
Batch cook a few favourite, healthy snacks and meals and pop them in the pantry, fridge or freezer for another time so you always have good food to go. Choose the quick and easy recipes that only take a few minutes and save loads of time later. Like this persian love bar or this chocolate slice. These egg pies or these delicious savoury breakfast muffins. So easy, so good.
… and of course, get family members to take care of some aspects – they actually want to be involved.
Three: Breathe, the ultimate gift.
A simple deep breathe has the power to reset our minds and bodies for an instant holiday. A conscious deep breathe stimulates our rest and digest response (the parasympathetic nervous system), brings us back into the present moment and de-clutters our busy minds.
When we are busy, rushing from one thing to the next we instinctively breathe from our chest, this action automatically stimulates the stress response or the fight and flight response. Ancestrally this was our bodies clever way of preserving basic functions, however the stress response also depletes our energy, hampers digestion and oxygenation, disrupts sleep and so much more.
If we don’t take a moment here and there to de-stress we quickly arrive at Christmas tired, exhausted and irritable. We have a choice.
Try this super simple 30 second exercise – now.
1. Breathe slowly and deeply through your nose, mouth closed, and all the way into your diaphragm on a count of 4.
2. Fill up your diaphragm completely with air until you can’t take anymore in.
3. Relax your body and hold for 7 seconds.
4. Let it all out, through your mouth for a count of 8 seconds.
Repeat the above 2 or 3 times. How do you feel?
It can be easily done anywhere and anytime and give an instant reset.
‘When we breathe we feel. When we feel we heal’.
Christmas is such a special time for bringing family and friends together. It can also bring emotions bubbling to the surface. I hope you can celebrate the incredible gift that this time of year brings, that you can savour the heart warming magic of giving, receiving and connecting rather than falling into a mind trap of emotional depletion and physical heaviness and a smorgasboard of way too much food. And that you’ll need a health coach to help get you back on track with ; ) What choice will you make?
Now I’d love to hear from you and any other tips that work for you?
A big thank you to my co author Kylie McKinnon-Smith, Mother, Administration Consultant.
‘Change your thoughts and you change your world’ ~ Norman Vincent Peale
I’m lit up and inspired when people around me feel stronger, happier and healthier. When they’re kicking their health goals into their field of dreams and becoming better versions of themselves. Lucky for me I get to see it most days with my clients.
However getting there isn’t easy. It takes effort. Modern ‘food’ is so far removed from real food so of course its hard – really hard! Have you ever thought about what we call ‘food’ today and what we ate just 100 years ago? No wonder chronic disease surrounds us. Changing habits in our modern environment can be overwhelming with the mountainous volumes of information that’s out there and we have no idea of whats right or wrong and where to start or what to do next?!
Then the tried and tested excuses can creep in, ‘I don’t have time’, ‘when the kids are older’, ‘Shopping, kids, family commitments’, ‘I’m too old’! ‘I’m too overweight’, ‘I don’t have the energy’, ‘tomorrow’! The familiar list goes on. It’s so much easier to give in.
So HOW do we take action and move on out of the rut, the muddle, to bring our health alive?
I think this can help…
We take control of our mind.
We take action.
And… slowly we start to feel better and we want more of it. Keep going, small gains, consistency. And then someone we haven’t seen for a while says ‘WOW – you look great’! … and you know.
‘We’ being ‘you’ … There is nobody else or any thing else that can make us fit, healthy, happy or strong. Nobody. Only we (you) can do that.
We have competing priorities for our time and our energy. It does start with ONE thing though i.e. our mind.
Are you in control of your mind or is your mind in control of you?
Where do your priorities lie?
Family and children are our priorities, there is no doubt. Putting ourselves first is hard, especially with young children. Yet … when WE aren’t happy, healthy and firing on all cylinders, how can our children or our family be? And by putting ourselves last on the to-do list, is this the behaviour we want to role model to our children?
So let’s say you’re in control of your mind and you decide to put yourself first, you want to get fit, get healthy, happier, kickstart our energy, our eating habits etc. Then it’s important to think about what type of action we want to take.
1. Incremental action? New choices that are introduced gradually, step x step OR
2. Massive, dramatic, all at once, leave no prisoners type of action?
This week I’ve casually researched buddies, colleagues and clients to find out if there’s one type that’s more popular than the other – or not.
The consensus … it depends e.g;
All that said, when we WANT to elevate our wellbeing, it becomes a priority, no matter what … we put our MIND to it and change happens. We take responsibility. We take action. We get amazing results, for everyone around us.
And it usually feels great just starting e.g.
Start with whatever is enjoyable and works.
I work with people either one on one or in groups online such as my cleanse or replenish programs. My one on one programs involve incremental change, new choices introduced step x step (most of the time and depending on individual requirements). Whereas my online group programs involve massive, dramatic, all at once action.
Even though the approaches are different and cater for all requirements, both approaches have one thing in common, my clients have made the decision to take responsibility for their health. It’s the first and most important step.
It’s a mind shift. Make your wellbeing your lifestyle.
What one, simple action can you take to elevate your wellbeing today?