How to transform your week, on a Sunday…

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

If you speak to my nearest and dearest, you’ll already know I’m dedicated to what my husband calls ‘the Sunday sulk’ – which surfaces without welcome (and without fail) every Sunday afternoon.  But, over time, I’ve managed to combat any feelings of Monday morning dread by focussing on productivity, rather than negativity.  If you want to streamline your Sunday and transform your whole week in the process, here’s how to hit the ground running…

  • Devote some time to gratitude – you may already have an established daily gratitude practise in motion, but if not, setting aside some time on a Sunday for reflection can completely transform your mindset.  To begin, simply grab a piece of paper and a pencil and write down three things you are feeling grateful for in that moment.  And don’t overthink it!  No matter how simple the thought, feeling grateful will instantly help any negativity to melt away.
  • Plan your weekly workouts – one thing I like to do on a Sunday to get myself organised (besides meal prep) is to sit down with my weekly calendar and book in my workouts.  By locking in the sessions I want to commit to for the week ahead, I feel like my head is already in the game and I’m less likely to find a last minute excuse to ditch them.
  • Tick off some life admin – part of the reason so many of us dread Mondays is that we feel the weekend always goes by far too quickly without any time to tick off those niggling tasks on our to-do lists.  So, to combat this, aim to tick off at least one of those mundane tasks you’ve been putting off.  It could be taking that bag of secondhand clothes to the charity bin, cleaning the shower or sorting out your hard-drives – big or small, the sense of accomplishment that follows will set in motion a week of productivity.
  • Get inspired – whether there’s a book you’ve been wanting to get stuck into, a blog post you’ve been meaning to read, or a course you’ve wanted to look into, spend a little of your Sunday doing some self-care homework to get you inspired.  Just challenging your mind to think creatively and spending some time looking at how you can broaden your horizons beyond the mundane 9-5 can set you up or a calmer, clearer Monday.

x A

New beginnings + goal setting…

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Happy New Year LUXE-lovers!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas break and are feeling refreshed and ready to give this year all you’ve got.  It’s been a while since I posted on the blog, but I have to admit, a semi digital detox over the holidays was just what I needed.  In so many ways 2016 felt like the year that would never end and for me, there were as many incredible highs as earth-shattering lows.  So while it’s tempting to sprint off into 2017, it’s important to sit back and mindfully reflect on the last 12 months before setting some new goals and intentions for the year ahead!

I’ve always found the process of goal setting incredibly helpful, but I truly believe that when reflecting on those goals, it’s important to acknowledge them with an open mind.  While you may not have achieved everything you set out to on January 1, every success, failure or new path taken should be seen as an opportunity for growth – and it’s these lessons which are important to carry into a new year.

With that in mind, here’s a quick guide on how you can map out your year from a goal setting perspective.  Whether you want to categorise your goals into different segments of your life – for example, health, career and personal – or simply bunch them together in one long list, I promise these three simple tips will see you on the path to success.

  • Specific + Realistic – if nothing else, it’s vital your goals are both specific and realistic in order to stay on track.  Anything too vague and you’ll feel less likely to commit so be clear, be succinct and get right to the point.
  • Measurable + Attainable – next, you need to ensure that each goal is measurable so that you can actively create a timeline you can follow in order to achieve that goal.  This in turn will also make your goal feel more attainable as you begin to clearly picture your path to success.
  • Prioritise + Focus – the final point to note is that no matter how many goals or intentions you set for yourself, you MUST prioritise.  You might have a handful of goals you wish to realise in the short term, whereas others may roll towards the end of the year or even into next year.  That’s okay!  Just be clear about which goals you want to achieve first and you will naturally feel more focussed.  Having too many challenges on your plate at once will only leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Here’s to a beautiful 2017!

x A

 

How to slow down…

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Our world is moving at a faster pace than ever before and I for one, sometimes find it hard to gain traction.  Slowing down is not something I do well at all,  but without pausing for reflection, life can become overwhelming and stress and anxiety levels can seem out of our control.  We need to learn to absorb the present moment without any thought for the past or anxiety about the future.  Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but here are a few tried and tested methods which might help you…

  • Breathe – if nothing else, taking a deep breath just to collect your thoughts and calm your heart rate is vital, especially if you’re someone who struggles to get to sleep at night because your mind won’t stop racing.  If this sounds like you then try is the 4-7-8 breathing technique developed by Dr Andrew Weil.  Some people even claim it can help you fall asleep in just 60 seconds!  To try it for yourself, simply inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds then exhale for 8 seconds through your mouth…and repeat.
  • Tackle one task at a time – multi-tasking in the workplace is sometimes unavoidable,  but wherever possible, it’s important to try and focus on one task at a time.  By giving your full attention to a project it’s far more likely to be done properly the first time, even if it takes a little longer.  If your attention is being pulled in ten different directions at once however, inevitably the quality of your work is likely to suffer.
  • Disconnect – while technology is a gift, it can also be a curse and with so many of us connected to our smartphones and available 24/7, we never truly get the opportunity to disconnect and switch our brains off.  It may not be realistic to walk in the door at night and switch off your iPhone, but try to enjoy your dinner without the distraction of social media or the TV blaring in the background.  And, if nothing else, make sure you turn off your devices in the bedroom to help promote restful sleep.

x A

 

 

Is your weekend making you ‘fat’?

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

If you often jump on the scales on a Monday morning and wonder why the numbers just won’t budge, it may all be down to how you’re spending your weekends. Here’s a few habits you might be guilty of…

  • Sleeping in – unfortunately, no matter how tired you think you feel from a long week at work, it’s a myth that you can simply ‘catch-up’ on sleep during the weekend. In fact, those extra hours in bed will only leave your metabolism feeling sluggish and come Monday morning, you’re likely to feel even sleepier. While you don’t have to bound out of bed at 5:30am on Saturday like you do Monday to Friday, try to wake within 30-60 minutes of your usual schedule and fuel up with a nutritious brekkie soon after to help you feel more alert.
  • #SUNDAYBRUNCH – everyone loves a foodie Instagram snap and while Sunday brunch might be the highlight of your weekend, in reality, big café brekkie’s are often laden with extra calories. To avoid derailing your diet on your brunch outing, try to be mindful of your food choices. Avoid pancakes, Turkish toast and chunky slices of banana bread and instead, opt for natural muesli, fresh vegetables juices and eggs with mushrooms, avocado and spinach.
  • Alcohol – I’m not suggesting you ditch the booze forever, but it’s important to acknowledge that if you have a weight loss goal in mind, all your hard work can be undone with a single bottle of wine. If it’s feasible, try to have a few alcohol-free weekends when you can, but if you must drink, skip the sugary cocktails and opt for vodka with fresh lime and soda or a couple of glasses of tasty red wine.

How to…stop hating Mondays

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

As humans, we can’t be blamed for that small twinge of anxiety that comes as Sunday draws to a close – especially if you’ve just enjoyed a fabulous weekend.  But Mondays don’t have to be the source of dread and panic, it’s all about learning to make the most of your weekend and balancing relaxation with productivity.  I’m defintely guilty of  trying to jam too much into my weekend, feeling that my downtime should be better spent getting life admin ticked off.  But sometimes it’s just as important (if not more so), to chill out and just do nothing.

To make Monday a little less stressful, there are a few things you can do on a Sunday to streamline your week and whether you have half an hour or three hours to dedicate to your Monday ‘prep-time’, you’ll feel a lot more cool, calm and collected and ready to take on the week if you can get yourself organised.

  • Do your groceries and plan your meals – it may be geeky and oh so unexciting, but trust me, if you write yourself a grocery list and plan your meals for the week, you’ll feel like you have ticked major goals.  Plus, by doing your groceries in the weekend, you’ll miss that mad dash to the supermarket after work where you stare blankly at the meat aisle, picking up whatever dregs are left for yet another boring stir-fry.  One of the best bits about meal planning too is that you can plan dishes which give you a good dose of leftovers, aka lunch the next day.  Win, win!
  • Plan your outfits – we put so much thought into what we eat, but when it comes to our wardrobes, we forget how stressful it can be deciding what to wear.  There is literally nothing worse than staring into your closet on a Monday morning, running late and having no inspiration as to what to put on.  So, to be more prepared, look at your diary for the week ahead and note if there are any work commitments or social engagements which require you to put a little more effort into your look and plan your outfits accordingly.  Then (and most importantly) make sure all your favourites are clean, pressed and ready to go!
  • Declutter – with more and more research suggesting that decluttering is a wonder drug for both our physical and mental health, a simple way to get your thoughts in order is to have a quick declutter session on a Sunday.  Don’t go mad and decide to completely rearrange your apartment, but pick something small like the pantry or a cupboard in your bathroom and clean, toss and tidy.  The simple act of decluttering your own space literally lightens your mental load, giving you a clear head – just what you need on a Monday morning!

Give it a go, but if all else fails, pour yourself a glass of wine and put your feet up.  There’s always next weekend…

x A

To market, to market…

Market.JPG

On a cold and wet Saturday morning, the last thing you probably feel like doing is trudging to your local farmers’ market with a canvas bag slung over your arm.  But trust me, there are so many reasons why you should shop at your local market and none of them have anything to do with being a hipster…

  • Affordability – one of the most common misconceptions about shopping at farmers’ markets is that they are super expensive due to the organic produce on offer.  But in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth!  While organic produce is undoubtedly pricier than regular fruit and veg at your local supermarket, at the market, usually the opposite is true.  Recently, I managed to snap up a cauliflower for less than $3!  With most cauli’s costing at least $5-6 each these days, it’s fair to say I was chuffed with my find.
  • Seasonal produce – in supermarkets you’ll find that most fruit and vegetable varietites are available all year round because out of season produce is shipped internationally to feed us in the off season.  Not exactly what I’d call fresh.  At your local farmers’ market however, you’ll find that the only produce on offer is that which is in season, grown locally and transported straight from the farm to your plate – often on the same day!
  • Healthier – simply put, local produce is healthier as local farmers don’t use the same pesticides and chemicals that large scale commercial farms do.  Sure, your tomatoes might not be perfectly round or your apples might have a bruise here or there, but you also won’t be ingesting harmful chemicals.  Plus, because the produce is grown in healthy, chemical-free soil, the taste will be far richer than anything you’ll find at your supermarket.
  • Sense of community – the truth is, supporting local farmers is vital in ensuring that local businesses continue to thrive.  The price of organic produce would also come down across the board if more people turned their back on commercial supermarkets and shopped from their local market.

If you still need convincing however, then just remember, your local farmers’ market will also likely have a kick-ass coffee stand for you to check out!

x A

Should you meditate?

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

I must admit, I’m not someone who meditates daily…but I’d definitely like to be.  For a while there, I was dedicated, carving out 20 minutes regularly to sit alone with my thoughts and in all honesty, it made a huge difference.  I felt calm, focussed and more level headed.  But inevitably, life got in the way (as it does) and slowly my meditation practice fell by the wayside.  Now though, I feel it’s something I’m being drawn to again so I’ve set myself an intention to get back into it…watch this space!

If you’re someone who can relate – then here are a few reasons you might want to give meditation a try:

  • Stress relief – not only has meditation been scientifically proven to reduce stress levels, it has also been linked to lower incidences of depression and anxiety.
  • Self awareness – by sitting still for a few minutes a day in meditation, we are forcing ourselves to become more self aware.  Sure, at first, your mind might be racing with a million little thoughts, but the more you meditate the more self aware you become, acknowledging your innermost thoughts, feelings and desires.
  • Promotes mindfulness – essentially, mindfulness is the practice of being present.  Meditation teaches us to become more mindful by focussing our breath, focussing our thoughts and becoming more aware of the present moment, rather than worrying about what has happened in the past or what may (or may not) happen in the future.
  • Boosts creativity – meditating can also do wonders for our creativity by helping us to achieve clarity of thought and reach levels of our subconscious we may not have tapped into otherwise.  Cue, inspiration!
  • Promotes sleep – ask anyone who suffers from sleep deprivation and they will probably say that they are kept awake because they can’t stop their mind from racing.  Meditation however, can help to quieten your mind and in the process, promote deep, restful sleep.  If you are really struggling to focus, try listening to a guided meditation which will assist in drowning out that pesky inner voice.

x A

Magnesium 101…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Believe it or not, magnesium deficiency is incredibly common but it can be difficult to diagnose as it’s often not detected through a blood test.  Still, magnesium is essential to many of the body’s processes and if you are deficient, it can leave you feeling less than your best.

So, what does magnesium do?

  • Reduces muscle aches and cramping by speeding up muscle repair and recovery
  • Promotes detoxification
  • Helps fight diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity
  • Reduces symptoms of constipation
  • Boosts energy
  • Protects the brain from neurological damage and degeneration
  • Promotes sleep
  • Reduces symptoms of PMS

While there are oodles of magnesium supplements on the market these days, there are many ways to incorporate more of this magic mineral in your diet and I always recommend evaluating your nutrition before spending your hard earned cash on supplements.

Here are some of the best magnesium boosting foods:

  • Spinach and dark leafy greens
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Bananas
  • Black beans
  • Almonds
  • Avocado

If you’re still not feeling spritely after adding more magnesium into your daily diet however, have a chat with a registered nutritionist or naturopath who will be able to recommend the best supplement for you.

x A

 

 

How to make the most of your weekend…

Weekend post

If you’re anything like me, you’re someone who lives for your weekend!  The grin you wake up with on a Monday morning is a reflection of the amazing two days you’ve just had and is motivation enough to get you through another busy working week.  In fact, you’re likely already checking out your weather app to plan next weekend’s adventures.

But, you might also be like me in the sense that you always give yourself a list as long as your arm of things you just have to get done this weekend.  Never mind the fact that you could probably tick a few things off your ‘to-do’ list during the week, you like to set yourself completely unattainable weekend goals such as…clean out your wardrobe, sell all unwanted clothes on eBay, prep every breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week, clean the house, make that vision board, catch up on work, visit friends and finish that book you’ve been reading for the last six months….when in reality, by Sunday, you’re horizontal on the couch feeling guilty about achieving nothing!

So, to help you combat the dreaded Sunday evening blues, here are some tips on how you can make the most of your weekend starting right now:

  • Keep your to-do list small – if there are a few things that you seriously have to get done over the weekend then write yourself a list but keep it short.  Prioritise and really ask yourself, what has to be done by Monday and can the rest of this list roll over?  Even if it’s something as trivial as doing the vacuuming, but leaving the bathroom clean for next weekend.  Nobody is going to know but you, so just relax.
  • Schedule in some time to do nothing – believe it or not, you don’t have to be on the go for the whole weekend and there is absolutely nothing wrong with sitting on the couch.  In our house, we have dedicated couch time, and from about 3pm on a Sunday afternoon we literally do nothing but relax.  It’s bliss.
  • Squeeze in some exercise – this doens’t mean your usual weekday routine of slogging it out at the gym.  Instead, make the most of the fact that you don’t have a schedule and take your workout outdoors.  Do some circuits in the park or go for a long walk and explore.  Too often people skip their workouts on the weekend as a ‘reward’ for working out during the week, but when you wake up on Monday feeling flat and lacking energy, what kind of reward is that really?
  • Set your intentions – I say to people time and time again that mindset is everything.  Whether you want to sign up for that course you’ve been looking at for months, lose those last five kilos or simply bring your lunch to work three days a week, spend a few minutes on Sunday sitting and reflecting on what you’d like to achieve and set some intentions for the week ahead.  Only you can make your dreams a reality and I promise, with positive thoughts, positive actions will follow.

x A

Pressing reset…

Daily grind

After an indulgent Christmas and New Year, most of us can relate to feeling a little ‘sloth-like’ as we try to get back into some sort of routine.  So, if you’re heading back to work this week and looking to press reset on your health, here are a few tips to get your nutrition in check…

  • Don’t make drastic changes – the worst thing you can do when embarking on a new health kick is to cut out multiple food groups from your diet and begin a strenuous exercise regime simultaneously.  If you’ve just spent the last two weeks relaxing, taking a break from the gym and indulging in foods you ordinarily wouldn’t, your body will feel stressed and freak out if all of a sudden you decide to do the complete opposite.  Instead, adopt one healthy habit at a time and ease yourself into it.  For example, this week that could mean starting your day with a green smoothie for breakfast.  If, and only if, you can stick to that for a week, then add another healthy habit the week after.  Remember, small steady changes now will equal big results later.
  • Hydrate – too many bubbles over Christmas has probably left you with a lingering hangover.  Alcohol is incredibly dehydrating, not to mention laced with sugar, so put down the wine and aim for a few sober weeks ahead.  Again, you don’t have to be crazy about it and commit to ‘Dry Jan’ or ‘Feb Fast’, but try to limit drinking to one or two days a week only and always drink in moderation.  The rest of the time, drink water…lots and lots of water.
  • Stick to a schedule – if, like me, you’re guilty of eating whenever the mood strikes you over the holidays, you could probably benefit from sticking to an eating schedule.  Over the holiday period, there are often so many social events that it’s easy to overeat, over-indulge or skip meals entirely.  But now that you’re back to the daily grind of the working week, try to stick to mealtimes – breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Make sure too that if you are exercising, you’re eating a protein rich meal within 60 minutes of your workout to reap the rewards of that afterburn!

x A