7 Simple Strategies to Staying Well

Dun Laoghaire harbour

As a busy working parent, I can totally relate to the struggle of juggling it all. Then throw a pandemic and homeschooling into the mix and there’s a perfect recipe for overwhelm and all the different ways that can play out for you. I’ve pulled together 7 simple strategies to staying well and feeling good to help you feel and manage the juggle a little better.

I thought I’d share some of my strategies with you for managing some areas that may be causing stress. None of this may be rocket science, but that’s the beauty of it. Sometimes we just need reminding of these simple things, and permission to do them. 

Start by asking yourself how you’re feeling and whether you could tweak your habits and routine to make you feel less stressed, more energised and more productive both at work and for you and your family. Then take a look at the suggestions below and see which ones might just be doable over the next week for you. Maybe just pick one or two to start with if that works for you. Or maybe you’re more gung-ho and want to change lots all at once. Changing behaviour is very individual so just be sure that ‘you do you!’. Take or leave as you wish:

  1. Take regular breaks that involve moving your body and settling your mind – if tight on time, then a few stretches and a few mins of box breathing can benefit hugely.
  2. Coffee has been a lifeline for me over the last year. I’m not joking! But it can play havoc with your body and mind, we know this. So, reducing your intake to 1-2 cups a day, and trying to limit to before lunchtime is best. This will have a positive impact on your sleep too.
  3. Stay hydrated – this is one I have to consciously do because otherwise distraction gets in my way. My trick to consuming my 2 litres per day is to fill my stainless steel water bottle in the morning (or even the night before so it’s to hand while I’m getting ready for the day), and drink some with my breakfast and then the bottle follows me to my desk and on my breaks, refilling it frequently. I can accurately tell how much I’ve had. It’s a game changer to be properly hydrated.
  4. Set clear boundaries, if you can. This is a tricky one. But as much as you can, delineate between working and not working. And similarly with homeschooling, whatever the duration that works for you, set a clear time for it. Have the phone off and focus on the task at hand.
  5. Have healthy snacks to hand. It’s not to say you can’t have something unhealthy to eat, but to opt for a healthy treat will stand to you, your energy and mood so much better than a raft of highly processed sugary ‘treats’. You can download WellNow’s Snack Recipes and Ideas for some inspiration.
  6. Stay connected. Talk to at least one friend or non-work related person every day, eve for just a few minutes. It may be to have a laugh, vent or just simply to say hi. It will keep your spirits lifted in this tough time.
  7. Journal – putting down on paper how you feel can offer a great release. You can also track your small changes in nutrition or movement and how your feeling so you can see your improvements or when you might need to tweak how you’re approaching something.
WellNow Chocolate Powerballs Recipe

As I said, there’s nothing revelationary here, but keeping things simple is just fine. I hope something here helps you feel a little better than before. 

Stay safe and stay well.

Suzanne

xx

5 SIMPLE WAYS TO OPTIMISE YOUR FAMILY’S HEALTH DURING THE PANDEMIC

Virtual Family Health Coaching Package

Silver linings are few and far between at the moment. We all now know first hand how hard living through a pandemic is. And while the pressures are very individual, nobody has escaped some form of hardship. However, the silver linings may be the best prize we get out of the situation.

What is undeniably true, is that the pandemic has given us the opportunity and the time to focus on ourselves and our family, enjoy the outdoors and nature more and to put in place the necessary routines to ensure that we come out of this in a healthier and happier place. So, let’s grab that silver lining and run with it.

1. Review Your Eating Habits

While many of us are at home trying to work and homeschool, feeling like we are not nailing either, it can be a great time to look inward at our family’s eating habits. Increasing awareness around what we eat, how much we eat and when we eat it can be really helpful to improving our families’ health through nutrition. Keep a food diary over a few days with as much detail as possible and be as honest as you can. Then review it and see where you can cut back or change anything. Some things to look for:

  1. Are you eating enough fruit and veg? Don’t worry, most people don’t. So consider where you can squeeze in a few more portions each day.
  2. Nearly everyone puts the blinkers on around their snack consumption. Be really honest about what you’ve eaten each day – yes, that third biscuit counts! You may need to look at decreasing sugary treats.
  3. From a health, environmental and cost perspective many of us need to consider reducing the amount of meat we eat (if you’re not vegan or vegetarian). Think about eating more plant based foods or vegetarian options.
  4. Fibre is such an important aspect of our gut health and the western diet is naturally low in it. Increase fibre by replacing white with brown – bread/rice/pasta
  5. Hydrate – It’s difficult to remember to keep our water intake at the optimum level regardless of time of year. Use a water bottle and fill it at the start of the day, and refill it throughout the day until you have reached your goal of approximately 2 litres.
Healthy eating the WellNow Co

2. Time to delve into your nutrition-related pain points – Fussy eaters, food waste & overspending on food?

You are not alone if you find yourself whipping up two or three dinners for just one sitting in order to accommodate the different (fussy!) palates. Very often our children reject foods and we take the path of least resistance as we pick our battles carefully! Not only is this not sustainable for the busy working parent who is already stretched to their limits, but it’s not helping our child develop tastes and interests in other foods. It is also a huge source of food waste, and with food waste, there is money waste also.

Now is the time to help your kids really understand why we should eat a certain way and what the benefits to them are. By realizing they can enhance their learning ability, and their running speed from choosing the best foods for them is a good start. Empowering them is rewarded with buy-in from them. Broadening their food horizons is good for their health, your time, your wallet and the environment. Two effective activities to task them with are:

  1. Let them create their own meal plan for their lunches during the week. It helps taking the daily thinking out of it for parents and they can keep doing when they go back to school.
  2. Do an ‘Eat The Rainbow Challenge’ for the kids or the whole family. See how many portions of the different colours everyone eats across a week. This can highlight where increases or changes can be made to your eating habits, but done in a fun and engaging way.

3. Take the time for a Household Audit

Scrambling from week to week is no way to live. Most of us would like a calmer life to allow us to enjoy ourselves more and feel optimally productive. A really effective approach to improving how you run your home is to do a ‘Household Audit’. Three effective ways to make your household more efficient are:

  • Look at your household budget to help you to optimally understand and refine your spending.
  • Meal Planning and shopping list templates will help you reduce costs, waste and trips to the shops.
  • A review of your household cleaning and personal care products will allow for clarity. Should you buy certain products in bulk, reducing waste and costs. Could you look at buying a more environmentally clean product which is better for you personally but also the planet.
Organising bulk products to be more efficient and sustainable at home.

4. Think it, plan it, do it!

Each and every choice we make for ourselves has an impact on our health and how we feel. Some habits we have we know we want to change. Becoming aware of what we would like our life to ultimately look like and deciding what it will take to get there will help inform what new habits we want to form, and what old ones we want to lose.

Whether stress is a big factor in your life, or whether you want to increase your exercise and movement, or if poor sleep is impacting your life or your work/life balance is out of whack, establishing clear goals is critical to succeeding with positive behaviour change. A couple of ways to help figure out what your goal is, and the action steps to make it happen are:

  1. Ask yourself how you want the situation to look when you have succeeded in achieving your goal. Use this visualization to look realistically at what changes need to be made in order to get there.
  2. Write out the list of things that need to change to achieve your goal. This can be a long or short list depending on your circumstances and what the goal is. Then rate how ready you are to make each of the items on the list from 1-10. Choose the three top-rated steps that you are most ready to change first, and work your way down the list.

5. Find your pot of gold

The silver linings may end up being your pot of gold when the pandemic finally ends. Taking a simple approach with small steps of change we can look at our lives in terms of nutrition, lifestyle and how we want to change them. Tap into your positive thoughts to make it happen.

If you would like to make a change for either yourself or your family, The WellNow Co has a range of one-to-one virtual health coaching packages sessions. Alternatively, they have a range of Online Wellness Programmes available from meal planning to stress management. In addition, they also have Workplace Wellness packages available for corporate clients.

Have Yourself a Healthy Christmas with your leftovers: Turkey Bone Broth

The WellNow Co Turkey Bone Broth

Bone broth has had something of a resurgence in the last few years but it is essentially stock, which is made from boiling bones of turkey, chicken or beef or another healthy animal. And who doesn’t want to have a healthy Christmas to help counteract some of the indulgences we all have?! Bone broth is packed with nutrients that help to support immune and digestive health along with having lots of benefits for the skin, teeth, hair and bones. It’s so easy to make but does take time to boil. If you don’t have a slow cooker or the full 8 hours to be at home while it’s cooking, boil it for as long as you can.


It’s a great use of the turkey leftovers and will contribute to having a healthy Christmas by taking advantage of all the benefits of bone broth and being sustainable while you’re at it. It makes it really sustainable to use any meat to it’s fullest. And by freezing any stock you don’t use straight away, makes it the Christmas present that keeps on giving! I usually make a big soup and freeze in portions, and will add it to casserole and risotto when using up other leftovers too.


I have included the vegetables that I regularly use when making bone broth but like many of our recipes, you can mix this up, depending on what you have in stock (pardon the pun!).

Ingredients:
1 Turkey carcass (preferably organic)
1 onion cut in half
2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 litres of water (this might vary depending on the amount of bones and the size of your pot)
1 tsp dried turmeric
1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 springs thyme
Salt (preferably pink Himalayan) & pepper to season

Method:

  1. Place the turkey carcass into a large saucepan along with the onion, celery, carrots and garlic.
  2. Pour in enough water to almost cover the turkey (approx. 2 litres).
  3. Now add the turmeric, pepper, bay leaf, thyme and season with the salt and pepper.
  4. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a light simmer.
  5. Leave to simmer with the lid on for up to 8 hours to get all the goodness from the bones. The longer the better!
  6. Remove the turkey and veg so you’re just left with the liquid. I usually drain the liquid into a separate container using a large sieve to catch the carcass and veg.
  7. The stock can be used straight away or left to cool and frozen.

Note: The stock can be frozen in small containers or ice trays for use in dishes as and when you need it.

Supporting Our Immune System: Focus on Vitamin C

At the start of winter, we become conscious about how robust our immune system may be and look to how best to support it. This winter it’s even more critical. We need more than ever to ensure we keep as healthy and strong as possible in order to prevent unnecessary colds and flus which can be mistaken for the dreaded coronavirus. So what approach can we take ourselves in our day-to-day lives to best support our health?

IMMUNE SYSTEM

Our immune system is complex. In order to function well we need to approach looking after it in a balanced way. Healthy nutrition is really important, and the best approach for this is to eat a whole foods diet with plenty of lean protein. We also need to manage our stress levels as this can impact our immunity. Plenty of exercise, some or all of which could be done outside, along with getting our required amount of sleep, will help keep our immune system functioning at its best.

VITAMIN C

While there are numerous vitmains and minerals that help support the immune system, we focus on vitamin C here, as it is a well known supplement that is taken with a view to prevent colds and flus. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, meaning our body cannot produce it so we must consume it. It has multiple functions, including the formation and maintenance of collagen. So it’s also needed to give support and shape to the body (ligaments, skin, bloods vessels). It is used up in about 2 hours by the body and takes 3-4 hours to be gone from the blood. So consuming foods high in vitamin C regularly will ensure ongoing support. 

It is generally recommended that we consume about 600 – 1,200mg of vitamin C daily. This can be managed through a balanced diet and can be boosted by focusing on foods known to be high in vitamin C.

SOURCES

The best sources are fruit and vegetables. Vitamin C is quite unstable though and can easily be lost during cooking, especially when using sources high in water and then cooking in water. This is why steaming is often recommended as a way to prepare your vegetables. There is definitely less loss of nutrients this way.

Top food sources of Vitamin C

Eating local and in-season fruit and veg means you are getting these foods at their best in terms of nutrient values. It also means they are more abundant, and usually best value. In addition to this you are supporting local producers so you are helping to ensure a steady flow of the food production over time.

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VARIETY

While Vitamin C has been shown to stimulate the immune system, it is not stand alone and we need a range of essential nutrients to ensure good health. We need to focus on a healthy balanced diet, high in variety of fruit and veg, fibre, lean protein, healthy fats and generally take a whole foods approach to ensure we are optimizing the function of our body’s systems. By taking this approach we can avoid getting bogged down by the minutiae and get back to living a healthy and well life.

So there are many things we can do to support our immune system, many of which are small changes to our daily routine but can have a massively positive impact on our health and wellbeing. Consider taking on 1-3 small changes this week, and every week, to improve your health now.

If you’re looking to improve your meal planning to incorporate positive change, or you would like to manage your stress better, check out our online programmes and see which one is right for you. Or get in touch if you are interested in one-to-one health coaching.

Have You Heard of The Doctor’s Kitchen?

Dr. Rupy Aujla, aka The Doctor’s Kitchen, was in Dublin for WellFest 2018. He’s a forward-thinking, progressive GP in the UK and his thoughts on the complementary nature of nutrition and lifestyle with medicine are a breath of fresh air.

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