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

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

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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