What does "wellbeing" mean to me in 2018?
As I sit at my desk on the 4th January 2018, I'm overwhelmed by the number of Facebook and Instagram posts exclaiming "New Year, New You!", "Get Fit Quick" or better yet,"Now is the time to get into shape for summer". Ahhhhh! I appreciate that a new year is a great moment to reevaluate what's important to us and think about how we can better improve our health. However, the regimes, diets, the 'dos and don'ts', gym membership offers and the overwhelming need to get our bodies back into shape quickly after the festive excess is just too much and, quite frankly, I'm sick of it! Only a few years ago, I'd enter a new year believing a 'new me' was what I needed to achieve - a slimmer body, a new wardrobe, a new diet.....and so it went on. All those thoughts only made me unhappy, stressed and, quite frankly reaching for the wine and biscuits! I think we'd all agree that health and happiness is important to us but how can we set realistic and achievable goals in the new year that are centred on us as individuals? Goals that focus on our wellbeing as a whole like our personal needs, our family and work commitments, our time pressures, our physical and emotional wellbeing, our financial goals.... I could go on. My point is this: setting goals that are personal to you allows you to be 100% in control of them - there's no pressure - you commit to them so that they just become a way of life and unfold effortlessly into your world as the days and months pass far more easily than Beyonce's maple syrup diet (give me a break!), or regular gym visits.
Since I was introduced to DoTERRA less than eight months ago, I have very quickly realised that health and happiness are things we can achieve when we truly tune into our bodies and listen to what it needs on a daily basis. Since doing this, I have been more and more empowered with knowledge & tools to get sustainable results without really trying. Now, for the first time in my life, I've welcomed in a New Year with goals that I'm excited about and know I can achieve.
Here are my goals that I wanted to share with you in the hope that they may make you think twice about forking out for that gym membership or slimming club just because the advert tells you that it's the "fast route to achieving your goals". Sometimes the simplest of goals can have the most significant results.
I wrote these goals by simply tuning into my body and asking what it needed more of and what it was lacking and here we are....
More Sleep & Yoga
"Ha, Ha!! Good luck with that", I hear you fellow Mums cry! Just hear me out....
Firstly, sleep has never been my best friend. I'm not a natural napper - even when my babies were born, I never napped in the day to catch up on sleep. I find it very difficult to switch off and if I wake in the night then it can sometimes take me hours to get back to sleep again.
Secondly, I'm a mother to two young children so sleep feels like it's on hold for the next 18 years. To set a 'sleep more' goal makes me want to laugh in my own face! However, I know sleep is incredibly important to my health, particularly my mental wellbeing, having been through a particularly difficult 18 months with my son's ability to survive on little to no sleep at night! Therefore, this is a top priority for me to focus on in 2018.
Meditation, particularly Mindfulness, helps me to switch off quickly. I tend to work into the early hours of the morning most nights but then I go to bed wired and alert and spend the best part of the night running through my to do list for the next day! I've practiced mindfulness and I teach relaxation techniques in my Surrey Hypnobirthing classes yet I have failed to call on them myself.
My goal each evening is to finish work, get ready for bed and give myself 20 minutes of dedicated meditation to fully shut down before I turn off the lights to sleep. I will also use mindfulness throughout the day too. For example, if I'm out in the park with the children I will aim to find five minutes to focus on my breathing and be fully in the moment, or I'll focus on my breathing (breathing in positivity and breathing out negativity) whilst at a red traffic light or waiting for the kettle to boil, or I'll put affirmations up in the house that will remind me to take 60 seconds to inwardly focus on my body and be present within myself. Little pockets of time can be found throughout the day.
I'm also going to get myself booked on to a Yoga and Meditation Course with Reigate Dance Studio this year. Two things I'm very passionate about but I've not been making the time for. My mother has talked about starting yoga for years so I've said we should do it together. Going with someone makes it a lot easier to commit yourself. Perhaps you could start a course or class that you've wanted to do for a while but have always made excuses for but this time invite a friend to do it with you. It gives you the time to do something for you, plus you're making time to see a friend. Winner!
I can honestly say that I spent far too much time on my phone last year. I try never to use it around the children but it's hard when you're running a business and looking after two little people full time. That said, I've really felt that spending too much time on social media, getting caught up in what the world wants me to believe and think, can make me lose touch with who I am as an individual and the person and mother I am striving be. I'm terrible for getting into bed and catching up on social media before I turn the lights off. Two minutes very quickly turns into 20 minutes and before I know it, I've missed out on precious shut eye!
My goal for this year is to have a no phone-rule in the bedroom. Once I'm in my restful zone, it's phones off until morning. It's all about protecting my calm place so I associate it with all things sleep and peace. If my children are in my bedroom, I'll seize the moment - climb into bed and cuddle, play, tickle and laugh. No amount of social media makes me as happy as being 100% with my children.
"It is in the quiet moments we create that true intuition can speak to our hearts.” —Emily Wright
I've been reading a wonderful book recently called The Power of Gratitude, which encourages me to ask myself how I'm feeling each morning. Some mornings I wake up feeling really happy and full of energy. Other mornings I can feel exhausted, frustrated and demotivated. When I recognise those feelings it makes it a lot easier to address them. I can then tune into my body and really focus on what it needs to correct itself. I'll turn to my doTERRA essential oils to support the chemical imbalance in my body. For example, these are just some of the oils I use for achieving my goals on an emotional level:
doTERRA Balance delivers a sense of balance and tranquility to my mind and body.
doTERRA Motivatepromotes feelings of confidence, courage, and belief.
doTERRA Serenity I apply one to two drops to my hands or in my AromaLove diffuser necklace and inhale throughout the day to help reduce worry from life's daily stressors. I also role this on my feet (and my children's) at night to support a good night's sleep.
doTERRA InTunegives me a sense of harmony and focus.
doTERRA Peace enables me to let go of worries and gives a sense of calm, peace and tranquillity. My children respond well to this oil when they are overtired and emotional. It settles them so quickly.
doTERRA Cheerboosts my happiness and positivity when I'm feeling down.
Practising gratitude has a positive impact on the brain and changes the way we feel about the world – and each other.
Gratitude extends far beyond the ritual of sharing gifts or saying thank you. It is a form of recognition – a way of appreciating the kindness, beauty and wonder that life has to offer. Gratitude connects us to one another and to the world we live in. It increases our wish to nurture, help and protect one another – and increases our sense of belonging. This year I really want to keep a gratitude journal. Each day I'll write one or two things that I'm grateful for and use some of the meditations from the book to end my day on a grateful note.
I want to challenge myself to try new things and achieve goals I've never thought I could. Personal growth and development occur when you step outside your comfort zone. I've printed this quote and it's now up in my office as a reminder everyday to take chances and go for it!
More Time For Friends
I don't think I'm alone when I say that since having children, I've not seen my friends as much as I used to. It's hard balancing motherhood and friendships (that is a whole other blog post!) and since having my son, I've neglected this element of my life that is incredibly important to me. My goal this year is to pick up the phone more and simply catch up with friends. I'll aim to ring two friends a week no matter what I'm doing or how little news I have. I won't necessarily wait for that quiet moment when the children are finally in bed to make a call either. I could quite easily stick my headphones into my phone and make a call whilst cooking the children's lunch, walking to the park or doing the food shop. If it's a five minute "hi, how are you. Just checking in..." then at least I'm staying connected and my friends know I'm thinking about them.
Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 focused on the link between relationships and mental health - a topic that deserves much more attention than it gets. I've been reading a lot recently on the huge impact that social connections and social capital can have on our mental well-being and our ability to survive major challenges. Whereas isolation and loneliness are a significant factor in triggering anxiety and depression and, perhaps surprisingly, can also have a negative effect on physical health and longevity equal to that of smoking or obesity, being part of a supportive social network can lead to better mental and physical health for many people. Put simply, social networks have value.
I've never felt more passionate about this subject since becoming a mother. For many, motherhood can be lonely and isolating...and wonderful and magical all at once. It's an overwhelming time in a woman's life. Finding my support network has been my lifeline over the last three years. However, I'm guilty of not making enough time for the people I love outside of motherhood and I want to address this in 2018.
For all of us our relationships are a valuable resource that can sustain us through difficult times as well as bringing us happiness in our daily lives.
So, there you have it. My goals for 2018. I'd love to hear what your goals are for the days, weeks and months ahead. What's important to you? What do you love to do? What makes you happy? What do you need more of? Don't forget to make your goals personal to you. One tip I'll share is to say your goals out loud. Do this, and you're more likely to achieve them. Share them with a friend, share them in a comment below....share them everywhere!
So, here's to a healthy and happy 2018! I'm ready for you!