Why Meditation should be your new wellness hobby!

To continue our Wellness Wednesday focus, I’ve listed my top reasons meditation should be your
next wellness hobby!

Goodbye Stress

The main reason most people turn to meditation is a way to relieve stress. It allows us to be more
controlled with our emotions and the way we choose to react to certain situations. Controlling our
emotions is a key factor to being successful in our career and our personal lives as it allows us to act
in a more skilful and thought out way even when under pressure. The more we practice mediation,
the more we gain control and allow our mind to take time to observe and reflect on our actions

It makes us more successful people

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “A clean room equals a clear mind”, well a clear mind = a successful
person. Meditation helps us clear our thoughts and focus on our goals. Due to the fact that
meditation reduces stress and alleviates anxiety, this keeps us from a brain overload. When we have
too much stress or feel heightened in some way we don’t think clearly which in turn affects our
productivity.
However, when our brains are allowed to analyse and act calmly then we effectively rewire our
brains with stronger connections which allow us to solve problems quickly. Meditation gives us
dedicated time to just breathe, allowing improvement in brain functionality and smarter decision
making!

Get some shut eye

Meditation also helps us to sleep better! If you’ve read our previous post on sleep being beneficial to
performance, then you’ll know how much sleep matters to our overall health and fitness. Studies
have shown meditation can even help those with insomnia as it allows dedicated time away from
our habitual routine of trying to get to sleep to calm the body without the pressure of having to
sleep.

Meditation improves your waistline

Researches have found that those of us that use meditation techniques or take time each day to
meditate, reduce the risk of stress eating. Stress eating or unconscious eating can become a very
unhealthy way of dealing with stress. Those tested in a controlled study were found to eat in a more
mindful way and studies showed those who meditated vs. those who didn’t not only had better
stress levels over all, they reduced the amount of abdominal fat.

For those of us that need time for peace of mind, my advice would be Find a Mantra that works for
you! Maybe its a quote that inspires you to be creative or think creatively, maybe it’s a single
thought you’d like to focus on – using a mantra in meditation is an affective way to achieve focus
and achieve goals.

Some fantastic apps for meditation would be:
Headspace – Committed to advancing the field of mindfulness through clinically validated research
Calm - which teaches meditation and mindful movement
Insight Timer - which has over 12, 000 videos and music to help you gain your meditation goals

Appendix
Research into stress eating and meditation: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobe/2011/651936/


De- Clutter your life and make space for you!

De-cluttering your life or your environment such as your home or office space is the new biggest trend. De-cluttering or simplifying your environment is said to help you feel more calm controlled, and if we’re talking about work space more energised and focused.

There are many ways you could go about de-cluttering, my advice would be to complete short and simple tasks over a few weeks so you don’t become overwhelmed.

The whole purpose of our 30 day programme is to get you great results and this only happens if  you have set yourself up to succeed. If your life is in a bit of a mess, then adding more to your plate is just setting you up to fail. A great rule going forwards now is don’t start a task unless you have time to complete it.

So how do you start the process of de-cluttering and set yourself up for success?

Below are five suggestions to get things started…

  1. Chuck out those Just in case items!

We’ve all got those “just in case items” whether its and outfit in your wardrobe that you’ve been trying to convince yourself will be fashionable again one day! Or the draw full of old mobile phone chargers. Get rid of them!

There’s a great saying that clutter is just indecision, make a clear decision to either keep it or get rid of it – On a positive note, that old outfit may make someone else very happy and there are plenty of online companies willing to pay for old mobile phones.

 

2. The 30 day Box Test

This is a popular and simple de-cluttering task, you place all your kitchen or office items into a cardboard box. When you’ve used an item, you place it back in the draw where it lives. Anything left in the box at the end of 30 days will be the things that you don’t really need and should be included in your trip to the local charity shop.

3. A box A Week – A Room A week

Think of the key living areas of your home. This task is designed for by the end of the 4 weeks for not only help you feel clutter free but for others to notice your home is more clutter free. Do you have too many books piled up on your bookcase that you can’t actually see what books you have. Leave a box in a room of choice for a week, when you have 10 free minutes add items you no longer use. At the end of each week move on to a different room and continue the task until you have de-cluttered all of your living spaces.

4. The six month Hanger test

This de-cluttering task lasts longer than the 30 day challenge, but I guarantee it will reduce the stress of getting dressed. Now nicknamed the Oprah Winfrey hanger experiment as she gave fame to the de-cluttering wardrobe task. You start by hanging all pieces on your hanger in the reverse direction. Once you’ve warn an item you place it onto the hanger in the correct direction. After 6 months you’ll have a good understanding of what you wear and what you don’t. – Donate the unworn close to charity.

5. De-clutter your digital world

There are endless books and blogs claiming we all need less screen time more me time, and if we were to be honest with ourselves, we would probably all agree. It’s so easy to become distracted by phone notifications or an email pop up on our computer. Whether its work or in everyday life, the digital world is all consuming and we should all try and be conscious users.

The simplest task of all, which you could easily complete whilst reading this article is to turn off all social media notifications. This allows you to be a conscious user and participator of social media instead of being distracted during your run or workout.

Whilst we are on the subject of social media, who do you follow? Who do you like? I’m sure you have a few people that comes up in your feed that immediately affect your mood or simply don’t inspire you? Get rid of them! I de-clutter my social media every few months and it’s a good feeling. If you don’t want to delete them, just stop seeing their posts, I guarantee you’ll feel better for it. Don’t be a sheep – follow people who inspire you and make you feel more focused and creative.

I’m not telling you to go cold turkey on social media or screens, just be a conscious user and spend less time scrolling through news feeds and more time focusing on your true goals.

Clutter creeps up on us all be it real life items or digital overloads. Don’t spend time inventing ways to keep something for the sake of not making a decision. When we lead a less confused and simpler lifestyle we can focus on experiences and goals we want to achieve.

 

Try just one or maybe even all of the suggestions above for just 30 days and I guarantee you will feel better for it!


Mobility Monday - 30 Day Challenge

Mobility Monday

Let’s build some strong foundations!

This post forms part of our 30 Day Challenge. Our goal is to get you in the best possible physical and mental shape over the next 30 days. We want to encourage the good habits you are probably already aware of and introduce you to a few new ideas that we believe will change everything for you…

The big problem we see over and over again with transformation programmes is that people go from sitting on the sofa eating a bacon sandwich to starting a vegan diet and trying to run a marathon. Some people may succeed with this goal, but for the majority it’s just too big a lifestyle shift to be able to stick to!

We want you to succeed with this programme and so for the first few days we are going to take you through what may appear to be very basic steps – but bear with us, this is deliberate, we want you to succeed and so our goal is to give you a progressive programme rather than throwing you straight in at the deep end.

We want you to win day one and look forward to day two, three and four… This starts with improving your mobility.

If you are going to build a strong building then you need to develop solid foundations.

Most of us spend far too much time sat down rather than standing and as a result, our hips and ankles in particular don’t allow us to walk, run, squat, or even stand properly! So when we start to exercise our bodies simply aren’t able to do what we ask. We experience pain, injury and decide to head back to the sofa with the bacon sandwich – we’re not going to allow this to happen to you!

Step One on our 30 day challenge – Give some love to your hips and ankles by performing these two simple movements:

The Hip flexor stretch

Start by kneeling down on your back leg and bending your front leg at a 90-degree angle.

Squeeze your glutes on the back leg and draw your abs in tight. Once in this position, slightly shift body your body forward and hold this position.

 

 

 

 

A progression for this movement is to use a band to provide resistance.

Fix a resistance band to a sturdy object that is knee high or lower.

Step into the band with one leg and pull it upward as high as possible.

Walk back away from the anchor point of the ba

nd to create tension in the band and kneel down into a lunge position on the leg that has the band around it.

Keeping a good upright posture, squeeze the glutes on the back leg, draw your abs in tight and allow the band to gently pull the hips forward.

 

Ankle Mobility

Maintaining a good range of movement in your ankle is vital for optimal health and performance. This area can become a big problem for so many people and it is very common to see hamstring problems and even lower back issues as a result of a lack of movement in the ankles.

Try this simple movement to increase your current ankle mobility.

Step one leg up onto an elevated platform. Keep the pressure evenly distributed across your foot with both the heal and toes maintaining contact

Drive the shin towards the toes with the knee staying in line with the toes. Hold this position for a few seconds, draw the leg back and then drive the knee forwards once more trying to increase the range of movement. Repeat this four or five times on each leg.

If you have a history of ankle problems then you may really struggle with this movement. It may feel very restricted, there could be discomfort around the ankle ligaments or you may feel a deep stretch in the Achilles tendon. Everyone is different – but everyone will benefit from this movement!

 

As I said at the start, this may appear to be almost too easy for the first day of a body transformation programme, but trust me, these simple movements will make a huge difference to your posture and your movement. I would recommend that you aim to perform these movements most days, two minutes first thing in the morning will set you up for a great day ahead and your body will really thank you for it.

Now get moving today, walk whenever possible, spend as little time sat down as possible, eat well, keep hydrated and stay positive, the real fun starts tomorrow!