Category Archives: Wellbeing

Podcasts: Part One (Wellness)

coffee-1128140_1280(Photo Source: Pixabay)

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see quite regularly on my stories that I’m posting about podcasts. I listen to them on my daily commute, around the house when I’m cleaning or when I’m on a solo gym session or run. They play a huge role in my life and in one of my recent posts when I talk about personal development tools (which I’ll link right here) I note that podcasts are one of those tools for improving yourself.

This post is Part One of Four for my podcast series; this post will concentrate on the wellbeing conversation, Part Two will focus on the more in-depth conversations of chat, Part Three will be miscellaneous podcast series that don’t fit the other categories and Part Four will be hand picking some of my favourite podcast episodes. 

We can use podcasts for many reasons and for me; I use them to listen to those I follow online for a more in-depth conversation, to indulge my interests and lifestyle choices more and to further develop myself. 

There are many podcast applications out there both on Android and Apple but for me, I use Podbean which I’ve been using for a few years now. It’s a really handy app that facilitates loads of podcasts so I can have them all in one place and it even tells me which ones I’ve played already played. However, Spotify have been adding more podcasts to their platform so the ideal situation would be to move all my listening to there but at the minute, I do like keeping that separate for my music. 

her-rules-radio-support-and-inspiration-to-help-wo(Photo Source: Her Rules Radio)

Her Rules Radio 

Alex’s podcast was one of the first podcasts I ever listened to before when it was called “The Crave Cast” so I’ve been a huge fan of Alex’s message and philosophy for such a long time. Her podcast is mainly focusing on wellness but she talks about a range of topics including self-love, cravings, sex, relationships and personal growth. What I really love about Alex’s podcast is that I can feel connected to any episode even including the episodes that wouldn’t necessarily fit to my lifestyle; there are episodes concentrating on pregnancy and others that look at money, two topics I have thought about but not necessarily something I am solely looking at in my life at the minute. In terms of guests, Alex talks with authors, dietitians and wellness experts (to name a few) as well as hosting solo shows too. I love when podcasters host their own solo shows because especially if you don’t know the host, those solo shows give you a better insight into who they are as a person especially when they’re having to talk on their own for an extended period of time. 

Chasing Joy(Photo Source: The Chasing Podcast)

The Chasing Joy Podcast 

I can’t remember how I was first introduced to Georgie Morley but I have been in love with her podcasts ever since. Her podcasts are focused on sharing “meaningful conversations about wellness that will bring energy and joy into your life”. She covers absolutely everything from diet culture, body acceptance, self-awareness, creativity and manifestation; that’s naming only a few subjects, there are so many! No two podcasts are the same from Georgie and very much like Alex, she hosts her own solo episodes too, which adds a balance. I’d recommend Georgie’s podcast if you’re interested in a more in-depth look into the wellness world but you’re not sure where to start. 

Coffee Talk(Photo Source: Kalyn’s Coffee Talk)

Kalyn’s Coffee Talk 

If you don’t know Kalyn Nicholson, she’s been a YouTuber for quite a number of years but more recently, she has started her own podcast which I was so excited about. Having moved away from beauty YouTubers in the last few years, Kalyn has moved from the beauty side into the wellness, spiritual and motivational side of the platform so her content is absolutely perfect for me. I was genuinely really happy to see her start a podcast because she has one of those voices that you could listen to all day (plus she’s Canadian and who doesn’t love a Canadian accent?) and even though we’re around the same age, it’s comforting knowing you are listening to someone who has been through a similar experience as you or is opening up about their struggles and how they moved through them. As I mentioned, Kalyn is new to the podcast game so she doesn’t have lots of episodes yet but some of her episodes include subjects like the truth of social media, being a beginner, putting too much pressure on yourself and learning how to trust yourself. Kalyn records her podcasts on her own but that doesn’t take away from the content that she creates, she’s a very easy listen even on her own. 

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The Minimalists Podcast 

I wasn’t too sure what category to put this podcast into because minimalism deals with every aspect of your life but I thought it fitted well within wellbeing. Ryan and Joshua host the Minimalist Podcast which started after their successful first book launch and before their first feature length documentary, “Minimalism” which covers all aspects of minimalism. This includes education, religion, hobbies, collections, mental balance and parenting. Again, just like Georgie’s podcast, there are so many subjects Ryan and Joshua cover that you can deep dive into any of them. I’m not a huge fan of their live podcasts; I prefer listening to a studio environment podcast but that’s personal preference for me but in those, they have much more of an audience connection than they do in their regular sessions (obviously because they don’t have an audience in the studio) so if that’s something that interests you, then I would check those out. Minimalism is something that seems quite scary to people and these guys do a perfect job in breaking down the barriers to helping you understand it more. 

Thank you so much for reading today’s post; as I mentioned at the beginning, I love podcasts but I’m always looking for new ones to listen to so if you listen to any wellness based series’ that I haven’t talked about, please let me know. New podcasts are my favourite thing to explore these days. Thank you again and have a great day!

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Why I Stepped Away From Yoga.

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Yoga is such a special journey for some people and it’s become a constant release in my life that has been there for me during the good times and the bad times. Today I’m talking about how I feel about the practice at the minute, why I stepped away and how I’m slowly incorporating it back into my life again.

Monday nights were yoga nights for me. I went almost religiously for a few years, I then took a few months break and then I suddenly went back for a few months every Monday evening. I practiced in a studio that was a twenty second walk away from work so it was easy for me to get changed in work and head straight there. I have a blog post about Monday Syndrome and while I didn’t dread Monday’s too much, it was nice knowing I had something to look forward to that evening.

My mental health had slowly started to slip again at the beginning of the year but I continued to practice but the more my mental process slipped, the less I enjoyed the class. Yoga is about so many more elements than the body, and physically, I was connected. I could move with the teacher and the rest of the class without too many slip ups and considering where I started a few years ago, I had made amazing progress. However, I was too stuck in my own head and it was hard letting go for an hour when I couldn’t hear anything apart from my own thoughts. I often described it as being stuck in a box and having every negative thought and anything bad someone has ever said to you, being with you inside this box. You can’t escape it and the noise gets louder.

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I was no longer getting the true benefits of yoga and I had to make a decision. Did I continue paying for a class that through the fault of no-one, I was struggling to enjoy or did I take a break from the practice until I got my headspace back in check? For a while, I made the decision to slow down my practice from once a week to once a month with a special class that my teacher had set up focusing on learning more about the teachings of yoga. I fell in love with the concept but my mind still wouldn’t shut off.

From practicing once a week to once a month was a difficult change because while I’m not religious, it was something I done that felt very similar to a religious teaching, but I thought it might help me emotionally connect again and I really tried hard for a few months. I loved changing my routine because it meant jumping on the bus on a Sunday afternoon, picking up a tea at one of my favourite coffee shops and then having a short walk to the community centre where the class took place. I loved that it was on a Sunday afternoon because I liked starting fresh for the new work week. My headspace was very much the same for these classes and I struggled to focus on anything in the class, to the point where I couldn’t hear the silence during relaxation. I felt like I could hear my own thoughts and again, they were too loud.

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Comparision is a funny thing, isn’t it? I follow some wonderful yoga teachers online and I love watching their videos talking about their classes, their own journey or how they have combated their mental health journey with a yoga practice and I feel jealous. I’m jealous that I had to step back from yoga because my head wasn’t right but yoga works for them to correct their headspace. I almost question what is wrong with me but I know that everyone goes through their own journey with mental health but sometimes you can’t help but wonder, what is it about me? Am I doing something wrong? I try and not look at other people in that light because I know you shouldn’t compare your chapter one to someone’s chapter twenty. We all go through different points in our own lives and to compare yourself to others, it won’t even give you that little piece of relief you’re looking for. We’re all guilty of it but it’s learning more about self-awareness that will help you not go down that route so often.

Right now, my mental health isn’t on the right track but that’s something that I know the reasons behind and it’s going to take some time for me to become stronger again. I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone when it comes to yoga; I went to a yoga workshop last month with the co-founder of my yoga organisation I have been practicing with since the beginning of my journey and while I didn’t feel like I was “completely there” in the workshop, I feel connected to a certain extent and I was more than happy with that. More recently, I went to a kundalini yoga workshop at a studio closer to home and while I had never experienced that type of class, it was an interesting concept and I would be open to trying it out again. Like the other class, sometimes I wasn’t completely connected but I was for the majority of the time, so mentally, I am getting there, even if it is at a slower rate than I would like.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post, it was another personal one for me and I quite like sharing these ones. I don’t share every single detail on why I feel the way I do but that’s a decision that I am more comfortable with. I hope it was an enjoyable read and if you were able to relate to it, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Entrepreneurs and Mental Health: Michaela Pontiki

I’m back this week with another interview facilitated by FPComms with the wonderful Michaela Pontiki as part of my Entrepreneurs and Mental Health series. If you missed my interview last week with Latoya Lovell, I’ll link it right here. 

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(Photo Credit: Mi Business Mag)

First of all, for those who don’t know, can you tell me who you are and a little about your background in your career so far? 

I am Michaela Pontiki, the founder of Arapina bakery. I am an architect with a Masters in sustainable design and having worked in both industries, I decided to start my own business in the food & beverage sector.

Can you tell me the philosophy behind “Arapina“? 

We are an award winning Healthy Lifestyle Bakery, based on Mediterranean cooking, offering free from and low in options to a sophisticated clientele. We are here to offer food to those who suffer from various intolerances and or have physical or mental diseases. We believe that food can be your medicine.

There is so much information out there, especially online, about food. Do you think that there is too much information that people are overwhelmed when it comes to making the right food choices, especially if they are being told conflicting information? 

Definitely, companies are fighting for their own reputation and companies get it wrong a lot of the times, especially in today’s world when masses can be easily influenced by TV commercials and social medias platforms. And they get it wrong because they either don’t have the right information themselves or purposefully manipulating concepts for the sake of their personal profit. Either way is unacceptable and one should cross referenced sources of information that is readily available out there.

We talk a lot about super foods but unfortunately, we know that if people are overwhelmed, the benefits of certain foods may not be important because they may not know what information to trust. So, I want to know two of your favourite meals that not only have the nutritional benefits that your mind and body love but are a joy for you to make too? 

I don’t have much time in my hands so I need to be creative and seek easiness with my meals. So quick breakfast is natural greek yogurt, with organic blueberries, raw almonds, honey and cinnamon. Second best is almost any type of grilled fish with a vegetable ratatouille next to it.

Why should entrepreneurs be thinking more about the food they eat? I know that I’m guilty of saying “Oh I don’t have time to eat, I’m too busy” and I’m not even an entrepreneur. Talk to us about the remarkable impact food can have on our minds as well as our bodies. 

Imagine you own a fast car, but every time you try to speed up, the car does not accelerate to the level you want it to simply because the fuel you are putting to it is of poor quality. It is exactly the same with ones body. You want to “run”, physically and mentally but you probably can’t simply because you have not taken care your body and mind. One cannot fulfil their full potential with an underperforming fuel which in this case is food.

What do you think of the “busy” excuse? Is there such a thing? By saying this, are we not making ourselves a priority? 

It is a fact that we live in a society that keeps us busy and activated, so in a way yes, we are busy, but I would say that it is more of a matter of priorities, and that applies on many aspects of our lives. When we fail to call our friends, spend time with our family or not properly plan our meals, it simply means that this task is not high up on our priority list, because I am sure the same person would find the time to watch the new series on Netflix if this is what he/she would value more. So it is a matter of changing your mentality to change your priorities to help your body.

I can only imagine the pressure that you are under having your own business, do you think that that is something quite a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with? 

There are different types of businesses, businesses with different demands as well as businesses with different starting points. If we had to generalize business is not easy and yes, the pressures are high when running one.

For you, what is the difference between being stressed while starting your own business and your mental health slipping? 

Stress can be activating or stress can be destabilizing. It really depends on the space you allow stress to occupy in your life, the grade of stress you are suffering from and the way you approach stress itself. Sometimes it is a fine line between stress and mental health slipping.

If someone is finding it hard balancing their mental health while running their own business, what tips would you give them? What do you do when you are in their situation? 

Quit business, life is more important.

Finally, if anyone would like to find out any more information about you and the work you do, where can they go to do so? 

Follow us on our social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) and keep an eye for podcasts and more interviews. If you are lacking this physical contact as most of us are in today’s world, come down to the bakery and ask for Michaela (by appointment only).

Again, a massive thank you to Nicola from FPComms for facilitating this interview and to the wonderful Michaela for taking time out of her day to answer my questions. I also got sent the most gorgeous chocolate covered almonds and bergamot preserve from the Arapina Bakery, so thank you so much for the treats!

 

Entrepreneurs and Mental Health: Latoya Lovell

As a society, it’s very clear we are talking more about mental health which for me, I couldn’t be happier about. With May being known as Mental Health Awareness Month, FPComms got in touch with me to see if I wanted to interview two entrepreneurs who champion the topic of mental health. Over the next two Sunday’s, I’ll be posting two interviews I conducted with two entrepreneurs. First up is Latoya Lovell! 

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If you’re not familiar with Latoya, she is an influencer, a soon-to-be novelist and a freelance writer from London. She has a new book coming out towards the end of 2019 which uses her experiences of her depression to bring her villain characters to life. She tells us where you can find her on social media at the end of the interview so I hope you enjoy!

(Disclaimer: As a warning before reading on, depression is one of the topics discussed and there could be a number of triggering words for some, so please take caution before reading.)

First of all, for those who don’t know, can you tell me who you are and a little about your background in your career so far? 

I started doing interviews for a magazine called We Are Collision and after realising how much I liked media working for them, I decided to master the Media Industry.

I believe you went through a stage of depression, in as much detail or as little as you would like, can you tell us about this? What’s your story with depression?

After a few years of working in the media industry I started to feel like I was letting people down when things went wrong. I was in a bad situationship with a male friend and when we stopped talking to me, he said it was because I disappointed him. At the time I never realised it was a trigger word for myself but it made me feel like I was disappointing everyone. I convinced myself I was going to disappoint my son and so I decided he would be better off without me. I wanted to complete suicide and I went and got my hair done and wrote a letter to him and sent messages to everyone saying goodbye. I left the salon and when I arrived home, my friend was sitting on my stairs waiting on me. She collected my son from school and looked after me for several days. We identified what I wanted to do over those several days and it also made me realise my triggers.

After this experience, you started to write your own series of books. Now, I know that they aren’t released yet but can you give us a sneak peek on what the first one is about and an insight into some of the characters? 

The book is based upon myself and my 2 best friends. We are a diverse bunch and I wanted to highlight how 3 different women from different cultural backgrounds still loved and embraced each other. How women empower each other but I decided to make us 16 with superpowers. I realized by showing the lead characters as how me and my friends look I could show younger girls that being natural is fine.

Did you find it healing writing about these experiences or did you find that initially it was hard having to look back to the battle you were fighting at that time?  

I actually used the book to write about how I wish my life had progressed with certain situations. Like I never spoke to my Biological Father before he passed but in the first chapter, there is a letter to myself from him. I guess it’s what I would’ve liked him to say to me but now I realise that even that isn’t needed because I am ok.

Social media plays a large part in many of our lives now, how much do you choose to share online? Do you share the positive and the negative, or do you still struggle (like many of us) to find that correct balance? 

Before I was someone who only wanted to highlight the positive because I believe in focusing on solutions. However, recently I have decided to show the negative but how I follow through to my solutions in hopes that people may use tools I am suggesting and it will help them live a better life mentally.

What do you do as a form of self-care when you start to notice that your mental health isn’t as balanced as you would like? 

First, I look at my environment and whether I am allowing the wrong people or putting myself into the wrong situations and I withdraw. As someone who likes to please sometimes, it is hard to say no but my mental health has to come first.

I have also learned how to do things alone like go to restaurants or the cinema things I would never have done before because I cared too much that people would judge me.

Lastly, I do activities that I know will release endorphins like exercise or eating chocolate because sometimes the little things really help.

How important has it been for you to be open and honest about your mental health with your children?  

My son now understands that I am human too and I make mistakes. However, in my household I say it’s like a job so he still understands that there are certain behaviours that are still not acceptable to a boss. I also try and show him that it is not an excuse, it is something to survive from and grow from. Mental Health will only stop us if we allow it.

For a parent or guardian who is currently experiencing their own mental health problem at the minute or have come out the other side, what advice would you have for them in order to be able to be open with their own children? 

To be honest, we give children a false perception of an adult and then when they go into the real world, sometimes they are not prepared. I try to make sure my son knows what the world is really like because otherwise he could fall into the trap I fell into and feel not good enough.

Finally, if anyone would like to find out any more information about you and the work you do, where can they go to do so? 

@LatoyaLovl on all the socials and www.latoyalovell.co.uk

Thank you so much to Nicola from FPComms for facilitating this interview with the lovely Latoya and thank you again to Latoya Lovell for taking the time out of her day to answer my questions.

Meditation May: A Month of Meditation

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With the start of a brand-new month (Yes, I’m very much into that cliché) I wanted to set myself a challenge outside my three-month goals (which I will link here) and I thought a daily practice with meditation would be perfect so that’s what today’s post is focused on. 

Meditation was a daily practice for me for quite a few months but as my mental health deteriorated, I no longer reached for my guided meditations and this also included my yoga practice. I went to a yoga class religiously on Monday evenings after work and it was fantastic then gradually I started to only practice once a month. The fact of the matter is when my head gets in a bad place, I’m so stuck in my own head that I can no longer feel the benefits of yoga. When I describe this feeling to people, I often describe I like this:  

Imagine you are on a hamster wheel going round and round but at the same time, you’re stuck in a box that you can’t get out of. Every negative thought and every negative thing that has ever been said to you is in the box and you can’t get out, you have to stand there. (If you’ve ever watched the Crystal Maze, imagine all the paper money in the dome that the contestants have to catch, are the thoughts and the words.)

Unsurprisingly it’s a very hard trap to get out of so I had to step back from yoga especially until I get my head and mindset back on track. I’m getting there but it’s still off track sometimes. Gradually over the last few days I have been getting into evening meditations again but I want to take it one step further and give myself that boost to do it daily so that’s where Meditation May comes from. 

Back in January, one of my favourite bloggers Madison started up a meditation challenge on her YouTube channel and Facebook group and it was so comforting to have a support group there who you could open up to about your meditation difficulties. I really enjoyed that challenge and while I didn’t manage to meditate every single day, I got very close. This is another part of my inspiration behind Meditation May because I noticed a massive difference in January with Madison’s challenge. 

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My plan for the month is very simple; I want to practice meditation for ten minutes a day every day and for the first two weeks I’m not going to push myself to practice twice a day, I’ll build that up over time. I’m planning on keeping a journal on the experience to note down what meditation I use, how long for, how I feel before and after and if there is a particular emotion I’m trying to work alongside. At the end of the month, I’ll be posting those journal entries to see how much of a difference it really made and how the month went overall. 

Over the month, I’ll be posting on my Instagram and my Twitter too and I’ll be using #MeditationMay as the hashtag. I’m sure I’m not the only one to be practicing this idea so I’m not claiming it as mine but if you fancy seeing some “live” progress, you know where I’ll be. With the Spring Clean season around too, I’m hoping that this will help me along the “fresh mindset” element of the new Spring time. 

Thank you so much for reading today’s post. Quite a light one today but it’s always good to start the month off nice and light. 

My Reverse To-Do List.

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Today I wanted to talk about something  I do when I struggle with my mental health. It’s not for everyone; it won’t work for everyone and it might not even sound like your cup of tea, but that’s okay too. This is just what I do to try and get myself back on track if I’m feeling a very heavy mental struggle, I call it the “reverse to-do list”.

What’s a reverse to-do list?

For me, this is a list that I write down everything I do throughout the day, except I don’t do it all in one go like a normal list. I write it down as I’ve finished the task. The reason for this is because when you write it down when you have finally finished the task, you’re celebrating a little win each time whereas if you write a large list of what needs done that day, it can become overwhelming and de-motivating.

Over the last few months, I have began to have very depressive episodes and if you know me or even just follow me on social media, you’ll know I like to be productive and plan activities, especially over the weekend. However, when a depressive episode hits, even getting out of bed is a struggle. (I haven’t been diagnosed with depression but having done my research on symptoms and signs, as well as mentally living and feeling the way I do sometimes, that’s why I call them depressive episodes.)

One Saturday I woke up at 7am because I wanted to be up early to get ready for the local parkrun that morning. Everytime I sat up, I had to lie back down because mentally, I was being pushed down. I tried and tried and I just couldn’t get up, I was still lying there at 11:30am and it was torture. Wanting to be productive, wanting to get on with your day but not having the mental strength, it was frustrating. So after a few hours of feeling like I couldn’t move, that’s where the idea of the reverse to-do list came in.

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If you’re not feeling great or you don’t want to put a lot of pressure on yourself, I would highly recommend trying to do this for yourself. The simplest tasks such as getting out of bed which are deemed as normal, can be quite overwhelming so you can even add that. Brushing your teeth, making a cup of tea, washing your face or even changing out of one pair of pajamas into a fresh new pair, is really all it takes.

Here’s an example of one of my reverse to do lists and because I started to write this list, I achieved more with my day surprisingly. This isn’t the case every time but on this particular day, I didn’t expect to change my bed clothes or meditate that evening.

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Obviously as a disclaimer, I’m not going to write pretty lists when I’m feeling like I can’t get out of bed. I write them on my phone, usually in my Evernote app and then later on that evening if I’m feeling better, I write them out neatly with my nice pens (Doing this is very therapeutic). It gives me a sense of accomplishment seeing that I was productive during the day, even if I felt like I wasn’t at first.

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I find this is something that really helps me and if you have anything else that I could do in addition to this, please let me know. I love trying out new techniques to see what works and what doesn’t (for me). Thank you for taking the time to read this! 

Three Intentions For Me (#4)

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Happy November everyone! Now that we have Halloween over us, I’m so ready to get in the Christmas spirit (Society is not letting me just yet though). I’m back with another monthly intentions where I not only look at goals for the coming month, but I also look back on intentions I set for myself the previous month. So before we get into this month’s intentions, let’s look at last month’s.

❤ Run further.

This intention was very broad but it was broad for a reason. I didn’t want to set myself a specific distance or time so if I only ran an extra 0.1K, I would have been happy. If you’ve been reading my blog, you would have seen my post about running further distances where I talk about running 9K. Yes, I ran 9K! (If you want to read the post, it’s right here) I’m so over the moon with that, and with my longer race coming up this month, I haven’t felt so worried about my ability to run the full 10K.

❤ Get back into my morning gym routine.

I didn’t do this to its full potential but I feel like I still got a win here. I wake up between 4:30am and 5:30am most work mornings and if I wasn’t going to the gym, I was still being productive. I stuck washing on, I had a relaxing breakfast, I was able to read in bed for half an hour and I can take my time getting ready for work. So yes, I only went to the gym in the very early morning a few times this week but I was able to take some time for myself in other ways, so it’s still a win (technically).

 Try a new recipe.

I tried a new recipe from Deliciously Ella’s second book “Deliciously Ella Every Day”. It was a lovely vegetable paella that I’ve taken into work to have for my lunch and it’s quite nice. I posted a photograph on Instagram of the meal so you’ll see it right here!

That’s really two out of three but I feel better for my more relaxed mornings so if I wanted to, I could say that’s three out of three. Now onto this month’s intentions…

 Organise my clothes.

I would say my wardrobe but most of my clothes don’t hang up. I would say I’m going through a style crisis, and when I say crisis, that means I currently struggle with my style and I’m trying to figure it out. I’m hoping to write a more in-depth post about this so this month I’m hoping to go through all my clothes; declutter, throw out, donate then gradually buy a few key pieces of clothing that I would like. Essentially, I want to have a capsule wardrobe but I can’t do this until I have a big clear out.

 Make a plan about savings.

Ideally in the New Year, I would love to put some money away each week or each month. In order to do this, I need to sit down (with myself), look at where I could be saving and what I could be putting it towards. I don’t think it will take me too long to do but I need to look beyond Christmas (when all the presents have been brought and the festivities are over) to give me a better overview on what is on the cards for my finances.

 Get better at time management.

Admittedly, my time management has seen a massive improvement over the last month but when I find myself get overwhelmed with a large amount of tasks, my anxiety tends to kick in and then procrastination then comes in pretty quickly after that. This month I want to try and work a plan for myself that will help my productivity while combating the overwhelm.

Thank you for reading this month’s intentions and make sure to check back at the start of next month! ☀️