Wellness Community at its Best – WellNow Walks

WellNow Walks

I really wanted to grow a real-life community around the core values of WellNow. Healthy nutrition and lifestyle leading to greater overall health is well recognised. But the importance of support and accountability is also an integral factor in succeeding with any behaviour change. So creating a community of like-minded people made complete sense.

Photo credit for this and main group photo: Sinead Andrews

I wanted this community to be in-person. As beneficial as technology has been in remaining connected through the pandemic, the energy created by meeting in person cannot be replicated. This is how WellNow Walks came about as an idea.

The first WellNow Walks was held on May 28th with a strong turnout, for a 7.30am start on a Saturday morning. We couldn’t have got a nicer day for it. Clear blue skies, sunshine and little or no breeze. After a brief welcome chat we kicked off down the pier.

What I liked about it was the ease with which you could move around talking to different people. There were a number of people who came solo, not knowing anyone. Others who came in small groups, some of whom I knew and others I didn’t. The lovely thing was how everyone immediately got chatting. Before we knew it we had done the pier and back. We went on to the 40ft at which point we stopped to take in the gorgeous day and how quiet it still was. The pauses in the walk allowed everyone to re-group and maybe chat to someone you hadn’t spoken to.

When we got back to the start of the pier most of the group grabbed a quick coffee and chatted before heading off at about 9am.

Photo credit: Sinead Andrews

“Such a lovely start to the day. Great to have some time for myself before kids activities kicked in! Lovely too to meet lots of different people.” – WellNow Walks participant

And some more lovely feedback:

“Thanks so much for organising the event, Suzanne. A really great start to the day. Everyone was so friendly and there was a great atmosphere. I’d definitely be interested in doing it again.” – WellNow Walks participant

The energy on the day and the feedback afterwards was so positive that I have decided to run the next WellNow Walks on Saturday June 25th. It will be the same walk as before, starting at 7.30am at the start of the East pier in Dun Laoghaire. I’d love to see you there. Click on the image below to sign up.

WellNow Walks

5 Easy ways to energise yourself post-covid

5 ways to Re-energise

Marking the two year anniversary of the first covid lockdown, the three kids and I had our own turn with covid. This was on the back of what felt like a long winter. Or should that be a long two years of pandemic life. We were happy that it wasn’t too bad, and were thankful for many things (vaccines being one!), but it still managed to knock the energy out of us in a way I wasn’t quite expecting. I wanted to focus on ways to re-energise yourself post-covid, not just for me, but to help as many people out of this fog as possible.

Coming out of the haze of that has made me have to dig deep for energy and tap into as much personal resilience as I can. I want to feel my energy soar again and feel joy and excitement. Something I think has been lacking for some time now for most people.

I’m taking a health coaching approach for myself to tackle this need for self-care. Just to clarify, I don’t have long covid, I’m merely feeling wiped out from two tough years topped off with a (mild) dose of covid. These 5 easy ways to re-energise yourself post-covid should help me and I’m working on each of them. I figured they could help you too, so here they are:

Re-energise post covid listen to your body
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

1. Listen to your body

At some point in the day that works for you, sit for at least 5 minutes and do a quick body scan. See how you’re feeling. Are you tense, in pain, tired or generally lacking energy? Is your mind racing, or is your body tired? Or both? Don’t ignore the signs your body is giving you. If you’re tired, try to lie down even for 10 minutes before it feels debilitating. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, see what tasks you can cut down on even temporarily. Also, see who you can ask for help from. Don’t endure hardship if it is avoidable because you will hit the wall eventually.

2. Rest

If you are feeling tired, try to schedule in small breaks frequently. And if you need it, take longer lie-downs, especially if you are recovering from any ill-health. If you still feel tired, the first thing I would suggest is talking to your doctor to rule out any medical issues. Then, assuming all is ok, try to look at the next three points and they should help regain energy – nourish, movement and connection.

A rest of some kind in the morning and afternoon will help your body recover from the exertion of your normal daily routine and your energy will grow. If you feel you need a sleep, try to do this before lunch time so as not to impact your night’s sleep. You may only need to do this for a few days, but for some it might take a little longer.

If you are back working in an office, you most likely won’t have somewhere to lie-down. So, try to switch off and take a break where you can. If you’re hybrid working or working from home, you will have more flexibility on this front. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to your manager and fill them in on where you’re at. There’s no point in working through because ultimately it will catch up on you and you will take longer to recover.

3. Nourish

Eating a balanced diet, full of a variety of vegetables and lots of fibre will give you the right kind of energy your body needs to stay healthy and well. I always love the idea of “eating a rainbow” of fruit and veg, but also think about trying to get 30 different fruit and veg into your meals across a week as a goal. When it comes to protein, aim for lean and organic if possible. Reducing red meat is good to consider, and including oily fish is also helpful. If you are vegetarian or vegan, make sure you are eating the right amount of protein to keep healthy and energised. Staying hydrated has such a positive impact on energy too. You can talk to your health care provider about whether supplements might be right for you.

Re-energise yourself with gentle movement
Photo by Dane Wetton on Unsplash

4. Move – gently

We all know that exercise is good for us, but when we are feeling properly exhausted it can be the last thing we can face. It’s ok to take a break from it for a short time from exercise. But try to incorporate gentle movement to ease you back into it and help your mental health too. Walking is such a great way to do this, and it gives you fresh air too. Also, practising yoga can be a relaxing way to move your body in a way that it needs. And Pilates is a great way to build strength back into your body.

Re-energise yourself through connection with others
Photo by Kitera Dent on Unsplash

5. Connect

Surrounding ourselves with people who energise us and lift us up is a great way to build our resilience and start to feel like ourselves again. Meeting people when you feel low can sometimes feel challenging, but the right people can really give us a  boost. Consider who you think will make you feel good. You can also limit your connections to a small group of people for a little while, maybe meeting one at a time. You could meet for a walk and this helps to have a cut-off to the meeting too. Setting these boundaries helps to keep you feeling in control and will limit a feeling of overwhelm. Meeting new people can also invigorate you, so consider joining a club or group that will expose you to like-minded people.

Having a crossover of any of the above will really help too. For example, joining a yoga class will help you mind/body connection, but also help by surrounding yourself with new people. An outdoor yoga class will get you some great self-care points. Planning your approach with some thought can maximise the return on your time and get you back to feeling yourself soon.

These points are all suggestions to approaching getting out of the post-covid period (or living with covid) funk that so many of us are feeling and help to boost our resilience. I hope some of these suggestions work for you. If you feel you need a bit more help or guidance creating a plan that works for you, get in touch. I can book you in for a free discovery call to see if 1:1 coaching is the right fit for you.

Suzanne Leyden Health Coach Contact
Drop me a line to arrange your free discovery call at suzanne@thewellnowco.com

Feature image Photo by Katie Moum on Unsplash

Newstalk Lunchtime Live: 5 Top Super Foods in season

5 Top Super Foods Lunchtime-Live_Andrea_Gilligan_Suzanne_Leyden_The_WellNow_Co

By Suzanne Leyden

Last week I was asked to give my 5 top super foods and discuss them with Andrea Gilligan on Newstalk’s Lunchtime Live. You may have missed our chat so I thought I’d do a post on the topic of our conversation.

‘Super Foods’ as a concept is an interesting idea. To me ‘super foods’ is really a marketing term for nutritionally dense foods, so can be applied to a huge range of foods. There is a sense of being fad-ish, something I don’t usually buy into.

5 Top Super Foods

However, it got me focussing on what food groups are the best in terms of nutrient density. So, I thought I’d cover my top 5 ‘super foods’, or groups of foods, for this time of year as the following (and in no particular order):

  1. Leafy greens – spinach, butterhead lettuce – High in Vitamin A, C and calcium. Also source of fibre. – aim to have a handful with most lunch and dinner. Add to soups, currys and stews and have as salad (and breakfast If possible – smoothies, with eggs)
  1. Cruciferous veg – Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower – Source of fibre, vitamins A&C, phytonutrients. Thought to help reduce the incidence of cancer. Cauliflower is about ¼ protein so great for vegetarians, vegans and those looking to cut back on meat consumption.
  1. Wholegrains – oats, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat/grain – Complex carbohydrates, high in fibre (soluble & insoluble) – great for gut health, balancing blood sugar, keeping you feeling full for longer. Suggestions: Swap pasta, rice and bread for brown versions. Try other grains. Have fun. Be experimental.
  1. Nuts & seeds – almonds, hazelnut, walnut and chia, flax, sunflower…. – source of protein, healthy fats, fibre – great for gut, skin and hair – calorie dense so be careful not to over-consume – Suggestions: add to breakfast oats, salads, have as a snack, baking etc.
5 Top Super Foods
Photo by v2osk on Unsplash
  1. Legumes – kidney beans, black & red beans, soybeans, peas, chickpeas, lentils – Great source of protein so good for vegetarians and vegans, complex carbs, high fibre – Add to currys, stews, soups and salads

(Note: In summer we would look at berries and tomatoes as nutrient dense also)

Balanced Approach

The balanced approach I would take to ensure a nutritionally rich diet are to consider this holistic approach when shopping and preparing food. Here are some top tips to achieve this:

  • Shop in-season
  • Shop local
  • Consume a wide variety of foods, particularly wholefoods – fruit and veg, wholegrains
  • Organic is best if it’s within budget – Environmental Working Group (EWG) have the ‘Clean 15’ and ‘Dirty Dozen’
  • Frozen foods are a good option – say berries and peas for year round use
  • Balance the macro-nutrients – carbs, proteins, healthy fats
  • Keep refined sugar and saturated fats to a minimum
  • Fish are a great source of protein and healthy fats
  • Live bio yoghurt is a great source of probiotics so good for your gut
  • Stay hydrated

Outcomes

There are so many positive outcomes to eating a balanced, whole foods, nutritionally rich diet with good portion control. Here are some of the stand out ones that are possibly more easily achieved than you might think:

  • Balanced blood sugar – consistency in energy levels
  • Balanced hormones – helps with mood, skin and hair
  • Healthy gut – impacts brain health
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improves functionality of the many systems of the body

Next Steps

If refining and planning how you can improve what, and how, you eat is something you are looking to tackle right now, drop me a line at suzanne@thewellnowco.com to arrange your free discovery call with me. Sometimes all we need it to set aside the time, have the relevant info and throw in some focus and you would be amazed what you can achieve.

Suzanne Leyden Health Coach Contact
Book your Free Discovery Call with Suzanne today.

3 Easy Steps to Meal Planning

The WellNow Co Meal Planning

By Suzanne Leyden

As a skill meal planning may not be regarded as sexy. But it has incredible qualities that shine through and make it very desirable. What other activity can offer a combination of improving your time management, reducing stress, improving nutritional intake, cost effectiveness and is sustainable too? I mean come on, surely we should all give it a try.

The problem so many people have is that they are short on time in the first place. When it comes to meal planning people sometimes think they want to be handed a finished meal plan and that’s the extent of it. For guaranteed success, however, the reality is different. There is a bit of work involved up front but the pay-off, already outlined, is well worth it.

It really is the starting point of taking control of your health, your way, entirely on your terms. It has the best chance of succeeding this way. If it doesn’t work for you straight away, you’ve invested in it personally so you know how to go about tweaking it so that you can revise it to work for you.

The three things you need to approach meal planning for success are:

The WellNow Co Meal Planning
Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

THE WHY

Set the right goals so that you stay motivated and on-track. Being clear of your objective in terms of meal planning is the recipe to success. Is there an underlying reason you want to get meal planning from a nutrition perspective? Maybe you want to eat more healthily, become more sustainable by incorporating in-season ingredients into your daily meals or you might simply want to improve the habits of your family. It could be that you want to manage your weight better, increase your energy or reduce your household costs. Knowing your why is critical to your success. It’s important to spend a bit of time asking yourself ‘why meal planning?’ because it’s when things start to falter you can remind yourself of this and get motivated to stick with it.

The WellNow Co Meal Planning
Photo by S’well on Unsplash

THE WHAT

Once you understand the outcome you want to achieve then you can have this as a focus when you are choosing your meals. Get informed as much as you can in terms of nutritional needs for your circumstances. Learning more about reading food labels may be something to consider. There will undoubtedly be taste considerations that need to be addressed also. Decide how you want to address these. You may want to push the introduction of a wider variety of vegetables into your weekly diet, or your children’s diet. This can be incorporated into your plan. You are in control.

THE HOW

Having the most appropriate tools for you is key. An approach or template or format that you can relate to and can make work for you is the first step. Then you need to make the plan work for your schedule and circumstances. Knowing the limitations and boundaries to your schedule and the people who will be impacted by your meal plan will allow you to tailor and tweak the plan to optimize success. Don’t plan to overhaul your entire diet in one go. Take on small changes and allow yourself time to bed them down and succeed at them before moving on to the next. Start with X number of dinners a week, or choose which meal to address so that it suits your needs right now. Your shopping then can become streamlined to avoid waste and maximize nutrition, maybe even taking into account what’s in season.

SOLUTION FOR YOU

To really get you in gear and help you bed down meal planning into your weekly routine then this online programme is for you. ‘3-Steps to Meal Planning for Health’ is The WellNow Co.’s video led online programme full of tools and information to get you meal planning like a pro. Check it out now, you won’t regret it.

THE WELLNOW CO 3 STEPS TO MEAL PLANNING FOR HEALTH
The WellNow Co’s ‘3-Steps to Meal Planning for Health

Featured Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

Planning: 3 Simple Ways to Positively Impact Your Health

3 Simple Ways to Positively Impact Your Health

By Suzanne Leyden

Planning doesn’t necessarily conjure up motivational whoops of joy, but it is a key component to success. If improving your health and wellbeing is something you are looking to succeed in then read on.

These 3 simple ways to positively impact your health are achievable and accessible for everyone through planning. A simple notebook as a journal can do the trick. You don’t need online tools, or spreadsheets, although some people find them useful and can act as an added motivator. These 3 simple points are practical and can really help set you up to succeed.

  1. Write It Down

Did you know that you are 42% more likely to succeed at something if you write it down? According to a goal-setting study led by Dr. Gail Matthews, Psychology Professor this was the result. Writing down goals helps you get clarity on what you want to achieve. It also allows you to explore ideas and themes that come to you, that might be a passing thought if you didn’t write it down. It is a really simple and effective tool for self-exploration.

Some people address their written goals twice a day, some monthly and others annually. Whatever your approach, the goals can start broad but they should be broken down into realistic and achievable steps on the path you carve out for your success. Applying S.M.A.R.T. criteria to you goals will get you setting the bullseye goals for you to succeed with. That is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound.

For instance, Mary wants to get fit. She sets this as her goal. But how is she planning to do this? She’ll run. Ok. When? 3 times a week. Which days? And what times? Monday lunchtime is good, because she works from home that day and can shower after. Wednesday evening suits because her husband can put the kids to bed that night. And Saturday morning before breakfast works well because the kids sleep a little late. This now feels like a tangible and realistic plan.

  1. Create Clear Structure

So, now you have the main idea of what it is you want to achieve. The next thing you need is to figure out how you’re going to get from where you are now to where you want to be. For this, you need to apply a clear structure. Look at what essential steps need to be achieved in order to get you to where you want to be. Create a timeline for achieving these smaller steps. Some of the milestones may be done at the same time, whereas some may have to be done sequentially. Once you establish this clear structure it will act as a motivational tool in itself. You will see that it is achievable, how long it can take and now you just need to follow the steps to get there to stay on track.

Let’s go back to Mary and see how we can apply this. She has now been really clear about when she will go for her run. But what about a bigger picture. What’s the aim of her goal? She says she wants more energy. She also wants to feel stronger. This is great. So initially she will run short distances. She has decided that she will run for 30 minutes each time, regardless of distance. She knows this is realistic, and that she ultimately wants to comfortably run 5km in 30 minutes.

  1. Make It Measurable

By creating this clear structure you have made your path to success measurable. As you succeed with the small steps you can tick them off as you go. This is a great way to stay motivated, particularly if you are managing big changes or long periods of time. You can decide to celebrate at certain milestones, or when you reach your endpoint. You are in the driving seat and make the choices to stay on the path to your success. By making it measurable you can track your progress and stay motivated until the end.

Again, hi Mary! It might take Mary 10 weeks to run 5km in 30 minutes. So what are the milestones she can reach in the meantime to keep her motivated for all that time? One could be a distance she would like to cover by the end of each week. 2km the first week and so on. As she is starting out she may not be able to run continuously for 30 minutes. It will be a combination of walking and running or jogging. Another milestone could be to be able to jog continuously for 30 minutes without walking. This should overlap one of the weeks with her distance milestone. Then she just needs to focus on her distance as the measurable piece.

So Mary reaches her goal of getting fit by running 5km in 30 minutes. Depending on how well Mary gets on with her plan, she may decide she is happy that she’s achieved her goal and this becomes her routine for years. Equally, she might decide that she would like to set herself some more goals. She wants to enter 5km races in her area to keep her motivated. She may also want to start extending the distance to 10km and increase the time she runs for.

At the outset of Mary’s planning she could not have foreseen how she might do with achieving her fitness goal. It’s important to remember that there are so many moving elements to all goals we set, that we need to allow ourselves the flexibility to adapt and change to suit our current set of circumstances.

A really important aspect of setting goals and knowing we’ve achieved them is that ability to stop doing them for a period of time – say a holiday – but have the confidence we can return to doing them with ease after the break from them.

Create Your Own Plan

You can create your own plan as you can see from above. Remember to celebrate your wins. Decide what you will do to mark it when you’re at the planning stage so you have another motivator to get you across the line. It could be a spa pamper, or a meal with friends or something specifically related to what you are doing – Mary might choose some fancy new running shorts!

Taking the time to do all this planning properly from the outset is key to having the best results. So, don’t rush this. Do take advantage of your enthusiasm, but stay realistic. You could also choose to have a friend as your ‘accountability buddy’ which helps particularly well in the early days of forming new behaviour patterns. Or you might choose to work with a health coach to really get you to where you want to be. I’d love to hear what your goals are and how you plan to achieve them. Drop me a line at suzanne@thewellnowco.com and let me know.

Feature Photo by S Migaj on Unsplash

Suzanne Leyden Health Coach Contact

5 Ways To Stay Motivated and Succeed with your Goals

By Suzanne Leyden, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Coach and owner of The WellNow Co.

Establishing your goals is key to success, but how do we stay motivated and succeed to achieve these goals? This is such a common pain area for people trying to make changes in their life, regardless of the area they are working on – health, nutrition, lifestyle, career, fitness.  Any gym can attest to that with the sign-up levels in January being through the roof, and by June the attendance rates dropping out.  So, assuming the goals are set, let’s explore motivation in a little more detail. These 5 ways to stay motivated and succeed with your goals will help you to stay on track and achieve whatever you want to.

1. Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation

There are two key types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic.  Extrinsic is the external factors that feed into motivation – for instance, pay for your job, a promotion, the gold medal at the end of the race, the meal at the end of cooking…. you get the idea! These are all good for motivation and really help with achieving goals, but can often fall short of setting you up for 100% success.  Intrinsic motivation on the other hand are all the internal factors that motivate us.  We need to look inward to establish what these are.  You must really love and get joy from your job to be successful at carrying it out, you must want to run to get up at 6am and hit the road – new trainers and a 10k run in three weeks may not be enough.  And what happens after the 10k run, do you need to find another race?  Are you enjoying running?  Why are you running?  Is it for long term health benefits?  Is it for increased energy? Is it for the aesthetic benefits it brings? Is it a combination of all of these?  Is it a part of a bigger picture?  Only you can answer these questions and everyone will answer them differently.

2. Establishing what works for you

What we are attempting to do is set our goals and stick to them.  To begin with we can examine a few elements, which you may already know the answer to.  What motivates you now?  Is there something that you previously thought was a difficult thing to achieve but you now do it without thinking and with success?  What has worked for you in the past?  Have you achieved something that you had to commit to for a long period of time?  What common elements are there with these things?  What are your strengths that stand out when it comes to completing difficult challenges?  Look at your positive attributes that you can use to achieve things and recognise them, and congratulate yourself on them.

3. Your Vision

Setting a vision is a really effective tool for motivation and goal setting.  This can be part of your self-exploration at the goal setting stage and is such a powerful tool when looking to stay motivated. We want to know what we are working towards, so spending time outdoors with your friends and family might be a vision you come up with for yourself.  When you are struggling to peel yourself off the couch to go for a walk or run you can use this vision to help motivate you to that vision of living your best life.

4. Your Goals

Your goals in themselves will act as motivators.  And if set out correctly and broken down into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound) action steps will help you stay motivated.  Using your vision and other coaching tools can help you to establish what these goals might be.  For instance, a lot of people feel they want to lose weight.  This very often is not their actual goal when they do some self-exploration.  They may find that they need more balance in their life, they need more fun and leisure and connection.  So, by arranging active, fun things to do with friends may make them happier in themselves and take the focus off weight being an issue.  They may inadvertently get in better shape by setting these positive goals for themselves too.

5. Support & Accountability

We are all ultimately the only person that we are accountable to.  However, introducing change in our lives can be challenging when we are already busy working and living.  This is when getting the support of those people close to us can really make the difference – partner, family, friends or colleagues are ideal candidates.  You can share elements or all of what you are setting out to achieve and explain how they can help you, “if I say I’m going for a run every Tuesday and Thursday evening, don’t let me sit watching TV eating biscuits, encourage me to go out if I’m struggling”.  Once they have an idea of how they can be useful and why, they will generally really buy into your plan and help and encourage you to succeed and stay on track.

Success breeds success

Once you start succeeding in the smaller goals then this will motivate you in itself.  So, go for the low hanging fruit in terms of what you can achieve.  This is all about feeling positive and staying positive.  Keep the goals realistic and watch yourself flourish.

As health coaches, these are things we work on with individuals and groups to really help them succeed with the goals that they want to achieve for themselves.  There are many tools and techniques that work well to pull this together for the individual to live their best life.

Suzanne Leyden Health Coach Contact

Featured Image by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

7-Steps to Success: Goal Setting

The WellNow Co Goal Setting

By Suzanne Leyden, Nutrition Health & Wellness Coach and Owner of The WellNow Co

New Year’s resolutions – you either love them or hate them. Either way, 80% of of people fail to stick with their planned changes. But it doesn’t have to be the case if you approach the changes you want to make in a smart way. With these 7-steps to success, goal setting can really help to set you up for creating the change you want and experiencing the wellness transformation you are looking for. In fact it’s a perfect example of proper self-care.

1. EXPLORE

Self-exploration is fundamental to setting goals and achieving a successful outcome. Consider every aspect of your life from health, career, finances, relationships and social or fun time! Is there an area that stands out to you as needing some attention? If so, then this is where your focus should be initially. 

2. PERSONALISE

It’s also important to be true to yourself when setting goals and make sure that whatever you are setting out to do is personal to you and is in line with your values. Figuring out your ‘Why?’ will help you with always working with your purpose and core values at the heart of it. 

Warning: Don’t look to social media and set goals you think you should be doing, do what you want to be doing for you.

3. VISUALISE

How would you like to be living so that you are really thriving in all aspects of your life, rather than just surviving? Take time to really think about this and etch that vision into your mind. Now look at what your life is currently like today compared to the vision you have just set. Look at where you want to get to and what you might need to change in order to get there.

4. FOCUS

Once you’ve identified the areas to focus on, you can start setting small, achievable goals that are going to help move you from where you are today to where you want to be. It’s a case of taking brand areas of focus and chunking them down to attainable changes.

5. READINESS FOR CHANGE

Observing your readiness for change in any of the focus areas, and also the smaller, more specific changes, is key to success. Take the low hanging fruit, the easy wins. This will set you up for success. And we know success breeds success. There’s no point in starting with the most challenging change. Once you have a few wins under your belt, your confidence will be up and you will find more change possible.

6. S.M.A.R.T

How many people decide on January 1st that they are ‘going to get fit this year!’? This is a well-intended goal for many people but it’s too broad and without structure, making it easy to fob off or push out to ‘next week’. So if we took the goal of ‘getting fit this year’ and put it through the S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound) test it might change to something like ‘I’m going to run 5km every Monday and Thursday evening and sign up to a 10km race in June this year.’

7. SUPPORT & ACCOUNTABILITY

Making any change is hard, even if you know it’s leading to a positive outcome. Going for a run every Monday and Thursday evening can be very difficult in the winter months, after a long day at work, refereeing kids at bath time and Netflix calling, but if you have a friend to run with or a partner encouraging you to go, you’re much more likely to succeed. It might be that you find an accountability buddy, or group, it may depend on what the task at hand is. But we know for sure, that together is better.

Everyone’s individuality should be catered for. Making changes right now may not be right for you. Although, one small change now that brings you closer to your overall goal is a great start. Just remember that one step at a time is all you need.

Suzanne Leyden Health Coach Contact

Featured image: Photo by Meritt Thomas on Unsplash

Starting your successful wellness transformation: Self-Exploration

The WellNow Co Self Exploration

By Suzanne Leyden, Nutrition Health & Wellness Coach and Owner of The WellNow Co

Health and Wellness is a hot topic at the moment. Many of us are trying to improve our health in some way, whether it’s to have more energy, manage weight, improve our sleep or bring more balance into our work and home lives. But where and how do we start our journey to better health? With so much advice being bombarded at us about the latest health trends, it can be confusing to know what is actually right for us. Eating kale and quinoa night and day is hardly inspiring or necessary for most of us! Starting your wellness transformation with self-exploration is a solid start to achieving your ultimate health goals.

HOLISTIC APPROACH

The first step, before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, is to take a step back and look at your life in a holistic way. This is what we call self-exploration and is fundamental to setting goals and achieving a successful outcome. 

Consider every aspect of your life from health, career, finances, relationships and social or fun time! Is there an area that stands out to you as needing some attention? If so, then this is where your focus should be initially. 

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

SELF-AWARENESS

Very often I see clients who have a goal to lose weight but with a bit of questioning and digging, they are actually very stressed at work or not spending enough time doing what they love. Once these issues have been addressed, their lives are more in balance and weight becomes naturally easier to manage. This is a very effective self-awareness tool but just the beginning of the process, really.

VISUALISATION

Next is to create a vision of your ideal life. How would you like to be living so that you are really thriving in all aspects of your life, rather than just surviving? Give yourself some time to really think about this and etch that vision into your mind. Now look at what your life is currently like today compared to the vision you have just set. You might find you are closer than you think to your vision or there might be big strides to be made in order to start living your best life. Either way, there are bound to be things that you will need to change or improve to bring about a positive shift. 

Photo by Matthew Sleeper from Unsplash

SMALL STEPS

Once you’ve identified the areas to focus on, you can start setting small and achievable goals that are going to help move you along the scale from where you are today to where you want to be. It might very well be to include more kale and quinoa into your diet but at least you know the reason you’re doing this…it’s to help you achieve a specific health goal for you.

HEALTH COACHING

This is just a flavour for some of the coaching tools and techniques I use when working with my health coaching clients and will hopefully help you to get some clarity on where to begin when considering your own health and wellness. It can be daunting working through this process alone and a little bit of guidance and support can make a huge difference when it comes to achieving success so if you would like to find out more about our online programmes or our one-to-one coaching services, get in touch today.

Suzanne Leyden Health Coach Contact

Featured image credit: Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

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5 Top Tips for Beating Overwhelm at Christmas

WellNow Christmas Overwhelm

By Suzanne Leyden, Nutrition Health & Wellness Coach and Owner of The WellNow Co

Overwhelm at Christmas, and throughout the rest of the year, is rife. We are all wrapping things up for the end of year and planning things for next year, organising Christmas and all that it entails. There’s rarely a moment for yourself, but you’ve never needed a break more. So what can we do about it?

There’s no point in pretending to be having a ball and actually not enjoying a moment of it (possibly like our gorgeous fur-baby ;-)), and becoming exhausted from it all. This feeling of burnout can lead to low mood, irritability, exhaustion and more. I don’t think any one of us is striving for that existence. Christmas should be about joy and family, gifting and eating, connecting and laughing. Make that the goal. Turn the stress upside-down and take back control. I’ll give you a few starter tips to get you on your way.

GAINING PERSPECTIVE

The first thing is to gain perspective. It’s essential to carve out a dedicated time (it may be just 5 or 10 minutes) to see what is important, and prioritise your list of to-do’s. It may be that some of the things weighing you down can be sorted within a a few minutes – like ordering an online food shop to arrive on the 23rd of December, which means you don’t need to think about that again until it arrives. Or popping to your local shops to get your nieces and nephews gifts in one fell swoop. Or sharing the workload that’s pushing you to breaking point with your team – sometimes just asking can get you very far. 

TAKING BACK CONTROL OF BALANCE

Whatever it is, you can approach taking back control of balance in your life in a similar way and here’s my approach:

  1. Write your full list of to-do’s.
  2. Group the list, if possible, into things that can be done together at the same time, or delegated, or pushed to the new year.
  3. Take the list and put the items one-by one into your calendar. This way you are no longer facing one long to-do list, but managing each day as it comes, hour by hour. 
  4. Work through your list without the overwhelm. And if you don’t get to an item on a particular day, you can re-schedule easily.
  5. While scheduling these items in, block out a few windows for yourself. They may only be a few minutes, or maybe you can manage an hour. There is no doubt, that with some clever scheduling there is definitely time for you that you can squeeze out of your day.

FINDING WELLBEING

Time management, organising and finding some time for yourself is an essential part of finding balance and wellbeing in an otherwise always-on, highway-to-burnout, overwhelming world.

Once you do get those regular time slots for you into your day, or week, then you need to figure out what to do with them. Hint: it’s not about spending that time doing things for other people. I’ll focus on that in my next post.

Suzanne Leyden Health Coach Contact