Is your Well-Being Thriving?
My name is Fiona and I’m the founder of Thriving. My aim for Thriving is to empower others to seek wellness within and find peace of mind.
Wellness is a subjective experience that involves moving towards optimal physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. In Ireland, the growing interest in being well is a response to the enormous evidence of our ill-health.
I’ve written 10 simple tips for wellness, to support each aspect of being well. These changes are simple, because I believe in simple sustainable changes that you can maintain.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.“ - Lao Tse
So this week, are you able to incorporate one new wellness tip into your life?
THRIVING's 10 simple wellness tips:
1. Drink more water
Yes we have all heard it, but it is really important because our bodies are 70% water and our discs are more than 90%.
How can drinking more water benefit you?
- Water increases energy! If you frequently feel tired or fatigued, it may be due to inadequate intake of water, as fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration.
- Water builds stronger muscles. Lean muscle contains over 70% water and muscles are more prone to cramping when they aren’t properly hydrated, as they don’t get the electrolytes they need to maintain balance.
- Water sends nutrients to your brain! 85% of the brain is water that helps feed and cushion it.
- Aids in digestion- Digestion of solid foods can only happen with the help of large amounts of water.
- Metabolizes fat. Proper water intake helps your kidneys and liver function at their peak and this reduces the amount of fat deposits in the body. Your kidneys need water to remove toxins, waste and salt from the blood. When you don't have enough water, the liver takes over some of the work of the kidneys and therefore isn't able to metabolize excess fat.
- Remove toxins and waste.
How can you change your water habits?
- Buy a reusable water bottle and sip it throughout the day! This will help you become aware of how much water you are actually drinking each day.
- Try some herbal teas- I would recommend Pukka herbal teas.
Need more support?
- ‘Water Drink Reminder’ is a useful app to help you track your intake.
2. Belly breathing
Belly breathing is also referred to as ‘diaphragmatic breathing’ or ‘abdominal breathing’. This is the kind of breathing that fills your abdomen and slows your racing hormones and allows your body to calm down. One of the amazing benefits of belly breathing is its ability to help you relax – almost instantly.
It's quite easy once you get the hang of it:
- Putting one hand on your chest and one on your stomach.
- Inhale through the nose and feel your stomach push against your hand as air fills the deepest point in your lungs. Your tummy should expand long before your chest moves. Try to keep your chest as still as possible.
- Exhale through your lips while tightening your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward.
Need more support?
- 'My Calm Beat' is a great App to help you retrain your breathing.
3. Make your journey to work a moment for you. Listen to classical, meditative or soothing music
Are you on a packed and crowded morning train? Are you struggling to find space on the Luas? The stressful morning commute can put even the most of 'zen' of us in a bad humour.
We can’t change the morning rush, the packed buses, the crazy traffic, or even worse, the delayed trains…but we can change how we feel during them!
Starting your day off right by listening to soothing, meditative (not if driving!) or classical music on your way to work or college, can relieve stress and support your attitude for the day.
Need more support?
- 'Headspace' is a great mindfulness program that can be used via phone app or online.
4. Spend time in Nature
In proving mother's old adage: 'You need some fresh air', the negative ions abundant in nature or natural settings have a pronounced anti-depressant effect. Ions are charged particles in the air.
Aim to get into nature for 30 minutes each day. Use part of your lunch break to go for a walk, especially if there is nearby park! Dedicate at least 10 minutes of your lunch break to walking. Not only will it help you to be active, but it can also help you relieve stress.
What are the natural benefits of fresh air?
- Being outside triggers feelings of peace, relaxation, and happiness
- Boosts your energy levels naturally
- Disperses airborne bacteria that thrive in indoor environments
- Promotes more oxygen intake
- Helps the lungs expel toxins more effectively
- Meditation outside improves mental clarity and critical thinking
5. Spend more time with the people you love
Arrange that catch up and bond with the people that make you feel good! This can help you to relieve stress, laugh more and relax—all of which can help increase your well-being.
Make time for your loved ones, by scheduling it in. One way to do this successfully is to find common goals you both might have, and spend your time together working on reaching those goals –accomplishing two things at the same time and make it easier to find time to spend together.
An example would be working out together, walking the pets together, trying new things together, or scheduling the kids’ play dates with each other.
Spending more time with the people you love is beneficial to your mental well-being, as well as your relationships.
6. Write a daily gratitude list
Keep it simple- write down three things you are grateful for each day.
The human brain is designed to remember things that go wrong rather than right. This is a survival mechanism and ensures that you don’t make the same mistake over and over again, which may be life-threatening if you live near tigers. But, if you don’t live in the jungle, focusing on the negative is a problem.
The journal is simply a daily record of things in your life that you’re grateful for. By reflecting on what made you grateful at the end of each day, research has found that levels of gratitude increase and people feel significantly happier.
What are my tips for writing a gratitude list?
- Go for depth over breadth. Elaborate in detail about a particular thing for which you are grateful for, instead of a superficial list of many things.
- Get personal. Focusing on people to whom you are grateful, rather than only things.
- Make it a habit to appreciate all you have and the important people in your life.
7. Meditate for 10 minutes a day
Find a way to meditate that works for you and fit 10 minutes into your daily life. Meditation is your daily check-in with yourself.
Some people like guided meditation, mindfulness, Heart Rhythm Meditation (HRM), silent meditation or mantra meditation. But I believe the best meditation is the meditation that works for you, at this stage in your life.
I practise mantra yoga meditation, which is mantra meditation. Japa yoga is an ancient practice involving the repetition of a mantra.
Deepak Chopra explains the power of mantra;
“As you repeat the mantra, it creates a mental vibration that allows the mind to experience deeper levels of awareness. As you meditate, the mantra becomes increasingly abstract and indistinct, until you’re finally led into the field of pure consciousness from which the vibration arose.
Repetition of the mantra helps you disconnect from the thoughts filling your mind so that perhaps you may slip into the gap between thoughts. The mantra is a tool to support your meditation practice. Mantras can be viewed as ancient power words with subtle intentions that help us connect to spirit, the source of everything in the universe.”
Do you want to find a meditation class or need more support?
- Attend a Meditation class in Dublin.
- Download the 'Headspace' app which is a guide to Meditation & Mindfulness
8. Eat breakfast—it truly is the most important meal of the day
Wellness and nutrition meet at breakfast – it’s your first and best chance to fuel your body and mind to perform all day. breakfast revs up the body after a night's sleep, giving us energy and nutrients to face the day.
As we sleep, chemicals in our bodies are at work digesting food from the previous night. By morning, we are ready to "break the fast" after a stretch of not eating. The blood sugar (glucose) we need to power our muscles and brains is normally low when we wake up, and breakfast helps replenish it.
Remember to 'eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper'.
Here are some breakfast ideas:
- 2 poached eggs with grilled tomato
- A bowl of porridge, topped with mixed berries and flaxseeds
- 2 eggs, smoked salmon with mushrooms and ½ an avocado
- Vanilla Chia Pudding
One of my favourite breakfasts is Vanilla Chia Pudding, this can be made for 3 days and kept ready in the fridge!
Vanilla Chia Pudding:
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup vanilla greek yogurt or soy yogurt
- 1 tablespoons of honey, if desired
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup strawberries chopped
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup raspberrie
- 1/4 cup almonds sliced
- In a medium bowl, gently whisk the almond milk, yogurt, and one tablespoon of honey until blended.
- Taste the mixture and add more honey if more sweetness is desired.
- Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes.
- Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled.
- Cover and refrigerate another 30 minutes, or until thickened to desired consistency.
- Stir the pudding and divide into 4 bowls or glasses; mound the berries and almonds on top and serve. Can be made up to 3 days in advance.
9. Add two extra serving of vegetables per day
Why are vegetables and fruit so important?
- They are rich in fibre, which is important for providing satisfaction, for healthy digestion and to help prevent conditions ranging from constipation to bowel cancer.
- They contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, such as folate, beta-carotene (which the body uses to make vitamin A), potassium and vitamin C, just to name a few.
- They are packed with antioxidants that help stop free radicals attacking our cells, causing damage that can lead to health problems such as heart disease, stroke and cancer.
- They’re usually low in kilojoules and they fill us up, so they can help us control our weight. They’re also low in fat, unless it is added during preparation.
- They are whole foods that, unless processed, have nothing else added (ie. fat, sugar, salt, additives, preservatives).
10. Sleep 8 hours
Make sleep a priority! Yep good old sleep, I’m sure you have heard this well-being tip plenty of times. We all know sleep is important, but sometimes watching just one more Netflix show can sometimes feel more fun than winding down!
So it’s important to make going to bed as a tranquil time for loving you. For me, I burn sage, put some lavender on my pillow and light some candles as I write my gratitude list. It’s my time to check in with myself and to allow me space to get sleepy!
What are my top simple tips for better sleep?
- Stick to a sleep schedule, even on weekends.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual.
- Exercise daily.
- Check to see if your bedroom is at the ideal temperature, sound and light.
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Beware of hidden sleep stealers, like alcohol and caffeine.
- Turn off electronics before bed.
Now we have reached the end of Thriving's 10 simple wellness tips. There is a summary below, which you can download now! I'd recommend trying to add one new tip to your life each week.
Want to get in touch? I'd love to hear from you! Let me how you are getting on with adding simple, sustainable changes to your life. Fiona x