Stop over-thinking, it’s wasted energy

overthinking2

I am an over-thinker. There, I’ve said it. I spend too much time thinking things through to make a decision that I could have made in a much quicker time period, and without all the worry and anxiety that I put myself through (just ask my husband who is usually on the receiving end of this over-thinking!).

I’ve had lots of time to think lately, having the luxury of being away from the usual stressful workplace. But, for someone who usually over-thinks things, I’m surprised at how logical I am managing to be, and how my levels of procrastination are dipping (only slightly, it’s not a miracle).

93700-over-thinking-kills-happinessI’ve worked out that if you over-think, you just create negative energy which is wasted on worrying about things that may never happen. And it kills your happiness. It doesn’t mean I don’t worry about things anymore, I just tend to focus a bit more on the situation, analyse and make a quicker decision.

What I have found myself doing more of, is having conversations with myself about why I feel negative or worried about something, and trying to turn it around. It’s a bit like my blog about Blue Monday – don’t let yourself be dragged down by the negatives and turn your thought process on its head. And I’ve got into the habit of asking myself the following questions when I feel worried or anxious about a situation:

  1. Why do I feel worried about it?
  2. Who has control of the situation?
  3. What can I do about it at this present moment?
  4. What would make me feel better about it?

Usually by answering these questions I can put it into perspective and talk myself into not letting it take over my day. The key thing is about control, and taking that back. Realise that you are the only one who can control your life and the decisions you make, and stop worrying about what other people think.

It really is an attitude that I feel good about adopting, and it’s making a difference. Stop worrying and enjoy life.

Be someone’s sunshine

I know my last post was about looking after number one, but once you have that under control and a priority, you know you can look out for others. Isn’t it a great feeling when you make someone else smile?

sunshineBeing there for someone, no matter how small the task, will always make you feel good. Humans are wired to love others and naturally look to support. It can be something as small as grabbing an extra coffee for a colleague on your way into the office, or looking after your friends children for an hour so she can have a break. Or it can be buying a loved one that really special gift they have been coveting for a while. All of those things will most definitely make you feel good about them and about yourself. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

I love the saying ‘Be someone else’s sunshine when their skies are grey’. It reminds me to think about others and look out for people who may be struggling. And it makes me smile to think that I could actually help someone. Don’t you love it when someone comes to you for advice? It demonstrates to you that they value your opinion, and think you could help them, which in turn should make you feel good.

It happened to me last week and I recall feeling really honoured that my friend was asking for advice, and that I felt I could actually make a difference, even if I was just re-affirming their own thoughts. If it turns out you can help them, then that’s a bonus and you both come away feeling good – creating sunshine all round!

So go on, have a look around and see who could do with your sunshine in their grey day!

Look after Number 1

I was having a chat to someone yesterday who was frustrated about feeling unwell for some time, catching every sickness bug going round, not being able to get out for a run or go to the gym, and generally not having time for themselves. This had tipped over into her feeling like she hadn’t been able to look after her children as well as she wanted, and felt like she was letting them down.124226

As we chatted, it came out that she had stopped watching what she was eating – sometimes just grabbing an unhealthy snack, and  having takeaway a few times a week, couldn’t be bothered to put make-up on some days, and was generally not looking after herself. So she was in this vicious cycle of not feeling great, but not doing anything for herself to make herself feel good.
And it got me thinking – you can’t be there for other people or look out for others if you don’t look after Number 1 – YOURSELF!

If you look after yourself, and be the best most healthy person you can be, you set a good example, create positive vibes, feel good and therefore can look out for others. It’s so important to value yourself and look after yourself. YOU are responsible for your own health, well being and happiness – remember that.

Think about the safety briefing on an aeroplane flight – they always tell you to sort your own oxygen mask before you help others, including children. You’re no use to anyone else if you can’t look after yourself.

Be selfish – it really matters!

 

Blue Monday…pah!

So today is being billed as ‘Blue Monday’, mainly by the media and anyone else who wants to breed negativity. Apparently we are all feeling really miserable by now for a number of reasons:

  • Christmas is over
  • Most people haven’t been paid since Christmas and won’t be for another couple of weeks, so we’re all broke
  • Christmas credit card spend hits our bills round about now
  • It’s cold outside
  • We’ve given up on New Year Resolutions

and there’s more I’m sure….blue-monday
So, essentially we have a choice – we could  listen to all that depressing negativity, or we can use today as a day of reflection and turning things on their head.

  • So Christmas is over – get over it, there will be another one. Think of other events that are coming up and write them down so you can look forward to them.
  • It’s a while until pay day. Work out what money you have left and look at what things you can do for free until the end of the month. Use today to rally friends and plan a get together at home and have a cheap catch-up. Get planning!
  • We have bills – get them all out, write down what debt you have, and work out how to repay them. Being honest with yourself and getting it all out in the open will make you feel better than hiding those bills.
  • It’s January, it’s meant to be cold, and will be for a few more months yet so get used to it. Think of things you can do in the weather and wear dress appropriately. Get outdoors for a few minutes each day for fresh air and sunlight – get your Vitamin D. I promise you it will make you feel better.
  • So you may have had a wobble with your resolutions. Don’t worry, don’t beat yourself up and most definitely DON’T GIVE UP! Think again about why you’re doing it and re-prioritise yourself. Read my blog about resolutions to re-focus yourself.

Be stubborn and kick those negative vibes been thrown about by the media today into touch. Don’t let yourself believe it – re-focus, be positive, count your blessings, and enjoy your life!

 

 

Change – embrace or resist?

change-ahead

‘Change is as good as a rest’ – how many times have you heard this? And how much do you really believe it…….

Having gone through some significant changes in my life recently, I’ve really thought about this statement a few times. I am a big believer that change is good for us, and that we should embrace it, but I am also one of those people who is naturally stubborn and doesn’t like to be ‘forced’ into doing something. For example, I am a natural early riser and have been known to go out for a run at 5 am in the morning, just because I was awake. But I struggle with the thought of having to get up early because someone else is demanding it, for example getting up for an early meeting.

stubborn-5So I am therefore naturally very stubborn when change is imposed on me and it doesn’t just happen seamlessly. Which means I tend to resist to a certain point, even though I want to embrace.

I was having a tough moment with a change this week and made myself re-evaluate the situation and work out what I could do to make it work. I realised I had a choice:

  1. I could continue to get annoyed, frustrated, upset, angry and sometimes tearful that this was happening and I didn’t feel like I could do anything about it; or,
  2. I could work out what is was that was bugging me about the change, and try to find some solutions – and maybe the solutions involved reversing the change, but at least it would be a solution.

opportunityaheadI’m still working through the solutions, but I feel much calmer about the situation in question and I think that comes down to control. If I feel I don’t have control of something (and not in a control freak kind of way), then I don’t feel like I can make things right. Support for change is also very important, and I for one need to know that if I ask for support it is there.

Change is constant and will happen for the rest of our lives, so we need to make sure we have the coping mechanisms in place now, and look on it as an opportunity. We all cope differently with change, so don’t compare yourself to others. I know some people who just have a ‘crack on and accept it’ attitude which works very well for them, but not for others like me who need to evaluate, analyse and come up with our own approach.

Stop giving yourself a hard time, and embrace all the change life has to offer.

Retox, don’t detox!

We spend most of December overindulging with all the foods and drinks we try to eat in moderation throughout the rest of the year. And sure, we enjoy that period of having glasses of sparkle and wine whilst out socialising, enjoying them with canapes, snacks, cheese and sweet treats. Not to mention the boxes of chocolates that seem to be lying around everywhere – at home, in the office, even in shops at the counter, and I even saw them at the gym! Why do we think to is acceptable to eat so many of those little chocolate delights in one go throughout December?

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Anyway, by the beginning of January, I for one feel a bit sugared out and lethargic, mainly because I have over-indulged. Yes, I kept up with my exercise routine, but like many others I used it as an excuse to allow the indulgence…….Anyway, it means that for a lot of us we have depleted our bodies of the vitamins and nutrients is needs and we need to work on getting the balance back.

image2-2So many people talk about January as being a bit of a detox, with many giving something up for the month (dry January etc.). I like to think of it more as a ‘retox’ month – getting those vitamins, minerals and nutrients back into my system. I’m working on:

  • Upping my juices (natural, home-made and full of fruit and veg);
  • Increasing my water intake (this also keeps me full);
  • Cooking healthy fresh (easy) meals – my favourite being poached eggs, avocado and spinach, full of Vitamin B, Iron and Vitamin D;
  • Reducing my refined sugar intake, so swapping sweets for fruit and nuts; and,
  • Getting outdoors everyday, regardless of the weather.

It’s not always easy, but the results are worth it – clearer skin, more energy, better focus and generally feeling healthier. So give it a go – think about the changes you are making as positive introductions to your body and lifestyle, rather than depriving yourself. And don’t deprive yourself – we all need a treat now and then 🙂

Retox, don’t detox!

The power of beetroot!

My husband is a keen gardener and we have a fantastic allotment and kitchen garden where we grow a vast array of vegetables and fruits. It has been a real eye-opener to see what we can grow, how much we can harvest, and what I can do with it all. I’ve really enjoyed having the freedom to try new recipes and ideas with lots of different vegetables.

image1-3One veg we have had huge success with is beetroot – the vegetable that has so many benefits, tastes great, can be used in so many different ways, yet not a lot of people eat it. I’ve made chocolate brownies, rich tasty juices (I have one of these to kick-start my morning every day), salads, coleslaw, houmous, cakes, beetballs….the list is endless. This week we picked a few from the allotment and I made the most delicious beetroot and goats cheese tart – see below for the recipe details. This tasted so good as a hot dinner choice, and even better the next day as a cold leftover with salad – I will definitely be making this again!
I’m guilty of thinking of beetroot as that pickled stuff in a jar that my Dad got out at Christmas, or had with his crackers occasionally. I never really tasted it as a youngster, or wanted to! But now, having grown it and researched it, and tried so many recipes with it, I can see how versatile, healthy, and nutritious it is – and it has so many health benefits.

Beetroot is a good source of iron and naturally occurring folic acid, so therefore is great for getting your daily intake (which most of us struggle with). It also contains nitrates, betaine, magnesium and other antioxidants.

Other research has shown that beetroot can support lowering blood pressure and even prevent dementia. And one that I am super impressed with is – it boosts exercise performance, which is why we see so many exercisers drinking its juice before,during and after exercise.

beetroot-glovesSo, go on, give it a try – eat it, drink it, and reap the benefits. Oh, and
why not try baking or cooking it in a different way, like a cake 🙂

Oh, and useful tip – wear gloves when handling it!

Let me know what you do, and if you enjoy it.

 

 

Recipe details – Beetroot, spinach and feta cheese tart:

1 tablespoon Olive Oilimage3
1 red onion, diced
500g peeled and grated beetroot
3 tablespoon white wine vinegar
3 tablespoon water
small knob butter
375g all-butter puff pastry
1 medium egg
200ml creme fraiche
200g feta cheese
two large handfuls spinach
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
handful of olives, chopped

Heat oven to 220 degrees C. Heat oil in pan and fry the onion until softened. Add beetroot, vinegar, butter and water. Cook over low heat for 5-10 mins, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has evaporated. Set aside.

Roll out pastry, place on an oiled baking sheet and score line approx. 1.5 cm from edge. Brush with egg and score again. Cook in oven for 10 mins until golden and raised. Remove and press down with your hands on the centre.

Spread spinach leaves and tomatoes on pastry. Add creme fraiche to the beetroot mix and spread on top of spinach. Add feta cheese and olives on top and bake for 5 mins until cheese has melted.

Serve and enjoy!

 

 

Some tips – making that resolution

Happy New Year all! I hope 2017 brings you health, happiness and lots of good luck.

new-year-resolution-finances-2017-getty_largeI am not really a fan of New Year Resolutions, preferring to take stock of my life and my approach as I go through the year, and make changes as I feel I need them. However, I know a lot of people feel inspired to change at the start of e new year, and often see the end of one year as the best time to make a positive statement of change. So, how do you make that resolution statement and actually make it work?  Here’s some tips that work for me when I’m making a change:

Keep it simple
Don’t go overboard and try to change too much at once, because all you’re doing is setting yourself up to fail. Maybe try one small change and see how you go – you can always make more changes as you go through the year.

Choose something achievable
There’s no point in giving yourself a goal that is too far out of your reach. Starting as a size 20 and setting a goal of being a size 8 in two months is just not going to happen, and will inevitably mean you give up sooner. Start small and build. That way you can also reward yourself each time to get to a goal.

resolutions1-712x378Make a statement
You might not want to tell people what you’re doing, but consider it. By making a statement about what you want to change you will be further committing yourself, and you can always ask for their help. If you don’t want to tell people – write it down and put it somewhere you can see it every day.

Do it for you – and ask yourself why
This one is important. There is no point changing something for someone else, you have to do it for yourself. It may be that they get the positive impact of your change, but you have to have yourself in mind when you’re doing it, and you have to be clear why you are making the change – what benefit will it bring?

Focus
Get yourself organised, plan how you can support yourself through the changes you’re making, and remove anything that is going to get in the way. And be positive – remember why you’re making the change and keep going!

And finally, don’t give up! If you have a slip up, don’t worry and throw all your hard work away. Just think about what happened and how you can avoid it again, remind yourself why you’re doing it, look at how far you have come, and move on.

Good Luck – let me know how you get on!

Get outdoors, but stay safe!

We’ve had some pretty rubbish weather in the UK this week, with a lot of frost and fog. This morning was particularly foggy and slippery out there, and when I looked out of the window I wasn’t really up for a run, but knowing how good it makes me feel, and how I need the time for myself, I pushed myself out the door. Not before I made sure I was visible though!

I’ve seen so many runners on dark evenings or in bad weather, like today, out there in poorly chosen clothing. It may give you a good silhouette (black is slimming as we know), and hide all those lumps and bumps, but dressing in black in poor visibility is just silly, and can be dangerous. So, I made sure I was hi-vis in my choice of running gear, and was confident I could get on with my run and people could see me. I also sent the husband out in a hi-vis vest 🙂

So even though I didn’t fancy it, the run was so refreshing, gave me time to think, and has set me up for the day. It has also made me feel a little bit better about the over-indulgence which I have enjoyed over the last few days……

So go on, don’t use the weather as an excuse – get out of the central heating, away from the TV and get some fresh air and exercise. I guarantee you it will make you feel better! Just make sure you stay safe and visible.

 

 

 

Approach life like a child

I’m learning a lot at the moment, as I take more time to think about things and step back from the demands of a full time career. Spending every day with two small children is a real joy, and although it can be full on and sometimes a little ‘groundhog day’, I  think we can take a lot from the way children approach life.

My little girl has just learnt to walk (here comes the fun!), and is busy following her toddler brother around at full speed! Just watching her over the last few weeks has made me think we could all do with adopting her approach – she would stand, and fall, get up,…… stand, and fall, get up ……stand, and fall over and over again. And yes whilst there were tears some of the time, in the main she just got on with it until she was successful. And she was so pleased with her self when she managed a few steps and was applauded by others.

As adults I think we tend to give up much more easily than we did as a child. Some of that comes from self confidence and being beaten down over the years, but we really should remind ourselves of our abilities and strength to succeed more often.

Children also throw 100% into tasks, and will keep doing things until they succeed, even if it is really dull. Sometimes, once they have achieved it they just move on and don’t do it again – proving it really is about just being able to do it. They are full of enthusiasm and vigour when they try something, and do so with a smile (most of the time!).

So I am going to try and approach those dull, hard, have-to-be-done tasks with a child’s attitude – and see how I get on! Watch this space…….