A good amount of sleep is essential for good physical and mental health, but many of us struggle to get enough. Below are a few tips to help you get enough:
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Do you ever have these random nagging feelings that everyone else has life figured out and you don’t? That everyone has a better job than you, they always look great and you don’t, that they are having more fun in life than you? These ‘random nagging feelings’ aren’t as random as we think. There is a good chance that they have popped up after you’ve chatted to your parents about how their best friend’s kid has just got the best job and bought them some amazing gift or that you have been scrolling through social media and comparing everyone’s ‘Best bits show reel’ to your boring every day. You may have even be taught to compare yourself to others to make you more competitive and motivate you. But constantly comparing yourself really doesn’t work.
Why comparing ourselves doesn’t work.
As already highlighted when you compare yourself to what someone else chooses to share with the world you are usually sharing your weaknesses with their strengths, not many people are out there on Instagram sharing their nitty gritty. That’s obviously going to make you feel that you aren’t doing great. What does that do to your mood? Does it put you in a great ‘go getter’ mood? No, it makes you feel like shit and looking for a quick way to change that mood (e.g. buy something, eat something whatever). Even if the situation occurs where you come off better in the comparison, it is only a short term boost to your ego, the feeling of “At least I am doing better than Miss Jones” can easily be crushed when Miss Jones updates her status to say she has a fabulous new job, leaving you feeling even worse than before (“Oh great, even Miss Jones is doing better than me now”). This will lead you to resent any success that Miss Jones or anyone else in your life has. This will only serve to stunt your personal growth, because when we cheer others on, they cheer us on in return.
Ways to stop comparing yourself to others:
Noticing that you are doing it is the first step. Maybe you’re scrolling through social media and you think “why am I not doing that” or “why do I not look like that”. Just notice it. You are comparing yourself and you know it isn’t good for you.
Discover your triggers when you start noticing that you are comparing yourself with others, ask what has made you do that, is it a certain person? A certain situation? A certain page on social media? Start to research yourself, keep a notebook, list when you have found yourself comparing yourself to others, what made you do that, how the thing that triggered you made you feel negative and why feeling that way is a waste of your time.
Redecorate your surroundings I don’t mean paint your living room here. But address those triggers! A page on social media pushes you to compare – click unfollow! Same with people on friends lists. If someone in your life triggers you to compare yourself, that’s where it becomes a bit more difficult. Attempt to let them know how it affects you.
Be OK with who and where you are right now We are not rolling the end credits right now, this is not the end of your journey, you can have goals and still be grateful for who and where you are.
Practice gratitude keeping a gratitude journal can really ground you and make you aware of just how important you are to the world and the people around you.
Have you ever had that feeling of sheer panic of having a Facebook notification pop up that someone has tagged you in a photo? It seems ridiculous to some, but for me and many other women that I have spoken to over the years that notification was enough to make your heart rate increase and your chest tighten.
But why do so many of us hate photos so much? Why do we hate the thought of the people we know seeing an unflattering snap of ourselves? After all most of the people on our social media know us, they already know what we look like? What are the reasons for us not accepting ourselves in photographs?
Firstly, other people may know what we look like but we don’t, the image we most often see of ourselves in a mirror is inverted, the same goes for selfies, it just isn’t the same as what we’d see in a photograph that someone else would take of us. We really aren’t used to seeing ourselves as we really appear, so the image of ourselves in a photo someone else has taken is going to look not quite right to ourselves.
Secondly, like me, you have probably participated in decades of negative
self-talk, where we have told ourselves that how we look isn’t good enough and therefore it never is.
So that covers what could make you hate pictures of yourself, but what can help you to start accepting yourself in photographs?
Just a heads up, it may take some time. If you have spent years being heavily critical of how you look in photos, chances are that this won’t be an overnight fix. But here are some things that can help you find acceptance.
Happy new year!
The biggest sign of us entering a new year is that adverts for yummy treats have been replaced with ads for protein shakes and weight loss programs.
It's a weird ritual we all go through every year, enjoy yourself in December but be sure to shame and guilt yourself about it in January.
I've spent so many December's not moving very much (It's bloody cold) and eating until I felt uncomfortable, then writing myself a grueling regime for January and by the 3rd week either burning out , feeling more rubbish about myself than before or both.
I'm not going to tell you not to exercise or not to eat a little healthier if that is what you are happy to do but I am definitely not going to add to the many voices urging you to pay some sort of penance for having a nice Christmas. Take some time to figure out what you want for yourself and speak kindly to yourself!
I’m sure you have goals, most of us do, but are you really clear on what they are and how you will achieve them? How else will you know when you have arrived at your destination? This isn’t just writing out your SMART goals either, though we will cover that, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself to help you get clear on what your goals are, grab a pen and paper and scribble your answers down:
Tell me what you want, what you really, really want?
I am assuming you have a rough idea of your goal in your head. Now ask yourself honestly – Is it something you really want or is it something you think you should want, is it something you are passionate about or do you think it will make people respect you more? If getting stronger is your goal, is it because you want to feel powerful? Will it help you enjoy a better quality of life? Or have you seen ‘strong is the new skinny’ banded about so you feel as though it is something you ‘should’ want? If you only had 6 months to live would you still pursue this goal, would you feel as though it was worthwhile? Is it something you feel excited about? And why now? What has started the ball rolling with you wanting to achieve this goal?
What is the destination?
What will reaching your goal look and feel like? If your goal is to lose weight what does it specifically look like, it’s not just about losing weight surely? If it is, have a poo and walla, you have lost ‘weight’ congratulations your work here is done! But if it is about more than that – what is different about your life when your goal has been reached? Can you walk for longer, are you feeling more confident? Wearing different clothes? If your goal is not aesthetic related – say you want to get fitter – what are you doing when you’ve reached your goal? Walking upstairs without feeling breathless? Being able to do a pull up? Going on long bike rides comfortably? Running a marathon?
What will make it feel like “Yes, I’ve done it!” ?
Where are you starting your journey?
Is this the first time you have attempted this journey? Or like many of us when trying to reach goals, have you had a few false starts? If you have tried before and you didn’t make it, don’t be disheartened. Everything in life is trial and error and if you have had false starts you are in a very good place to assess what you have done in the past, what worked for you and what didn’t? Don’t let fear of failing again trap you in your comfort zone! What you have done so far to get to your goal? Don’t berate yourself if it is nothing, just start trying some things, learn what works for you!
Who am I?
What is your goal and does it fit with your values? Does it fit in with your priorities? Are you able to make the sacrifices such as getting up an hour earlier to workout or changing your diet, do you have the time to put in the work to make it happen? Are you willing to change and grow to make it happen?
Is my goal SMART?
Can anyone who looks at my goal know exactly what my goal is within 5 seconds? SMART goals are
Specific (Who, what, where, why)
Measurable (You should be able to track your progress)
Achievable (Goals should be challenging but not completely out of reach)
Relevant (Is the goal relevant? Does the result benefit you?)
Timed (You need a deadline)
Don’t get dragged down by over planning!
You have probably heard “ If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and while that is true some of us fall into the trap of over planning which can delay us from actually starting the journey to reach our goals. Map out your SMART goals and take action right away!
Do you believe you can do it?
When you think of the goal you have set, do you really believe it is possible? Lack of self belief will hinder you, expect to be successful. I’m not saying you aren’t going to have any doubts, some doubts are fine initially but you must believe that you’re going to succeed.
1)Take a break
Even if we are facing something very real, feeding your own panic only fuels intrusive and unhelpful thoughts and feelings. To gain a realistic perspective take breaks from social media and from googling news stories.
2)Take care of your mental and physical well-being.
In uncertain times it is quite easy to drink more alcohol than you normally would, so keep an eye on such things. Exercise, stretch, meditate and try to ensure you are getting enough sleep. (I write this as someone who uncharacteristically drank whisky on a week night last night and who had a very disturbed night’s sleep. I will do better this evening, chill evening, no booze and bed for me)
3)Find a way to chill out!
Try to do activities you enjoy or find new ones.
Make use of whatsapp, texts and the minutes you never use on your phone plan. Talk to people you trust about how you are feeling and don’t shame each other. We are all human and all have different ways of dealing with things
5)Eliminate feelings of helplessness
Don’t focus on what you can’t do but on what you can do. Focus on what you are able to control.
1) "Anthems" by Broccoli content is a collection of original manifestos, speeches, stories, poems and rallying cries written by exceptional women.
Being under 10 minutes each, it's great to start your day with, each podcast is themed with a word that you can use to focus in on and inspire you!
2) The guilty feminist discusses topics that all 21st century feminists agree on while confessing their insecurities, hypocrisies and fears that undermine them.
As well as being incredibly funny, this highlights issues facing women today. Myself and one of my best friends definitely bonded over this podcast.
3) The MIBA podcast is hosted by Leona Burton and Estelle Keeber, two incredible women who grew a £250,000 women's business network in a year. A true definition of 'women supporting women' they speak to inspirational women who we can all learn from.
4) Championing women's voices presented by June Sarpong OBE features women from business, sport, entertainment and activism to learn how to inspire and support each other. It's a great and inspiring listen for any commute.
5) Sex with Emily. Emily is a sex and relationship expert. Every woman deserves to own their sexuality and while not just aimed at women, Emily's non judgemental and excellent advice can really give you the confidence to know and ask for what you want.
Yay, It's pancake day on Tuesday! (P.s these are not American style pancakes, but the style served to me as a kid, I am from Wales, they are more like crepes if you're American)
These are my 'Vegan Protein Pancakes'
What you need to do:
Serves 2 people, you get 2 pancakes each yippeeeeee.
1) Tabata Timer
There’s nothing more annoying than having to check your timer while trying to immerse yourself in a HIIT workout. This app is a lifesaver, it has a very basic interface which lets you easily input and start a workout in one click, it has different ‘bell’ sounds for work and rest, so there’s no need to look at your phone until your workout is done.
Basically it’s a nice, simple, easy to use app.
This is a great app to motivate you to walk more, it’s basically a step counter that converts your steps into ‘Sweatcoins’ and you can use them to buy or purchase discounts on fitness and nutrition related products. I’ve managed to get some lovely things on here, such as a simply cook pack, magazine subscriptions and healthy snack bars for my little one. It just runs in the background of your phone and your ‘sweatcoins’ build up fairly quickly. You can also pool your ‘sweatcoins’ with family and friends to use them to purchase expensive items such as holidays.
3) Zombies, Run!
Look, I know not everyone is a Zombie fan. But I literally hate running, I’m more of a weight lifting type of gal, but this app makes me want to run!!!
It’s more of a game than a fitness app, you run to a storyline, you can use your own playlist (I purposely created a ‘metal’ playlist as I felt this to be more Zombie friendly - LOL)
Each time you run you complete a mission and get to be the hero, collecting supplies as you go to grow your base.
The only downside is that I got very attached to some characters and ermmm well it’s a zombie game isn’t it, don’t mean to do spoilers, but there obviously will be casualties.
4) The Walk
From the same creators as Zombie, Run! So I was obviously going to like this one. For days when a run seems too much or you’d just rather a long walk instead.
If Zombies aren’t your thing you may also prefer this one.
Basically you’re given a package that could save the world and end up walking the equivalent of the length of the UK. It’s really fun if you like immersing yourself in a story and you want to make walking a bit more fun.
I love this app, it allows you to go to different gyms without being tied into a monthly membership. It’s also great if you are traveling.
Myself and my husband use it to have a cheap spa day (lots of gyms include gym, swim, sauna, steam rooms and even spa pools) Nuffield Health and Village are very lovely fitness centres to visit.
Firstly, What is a gratitude journal?
It's what it says on the tin. It's a diary in which you record things that you are grateful for.
So what are the benefits of physically writing down the things that you are grateful for?
1) It helps you to improve your self esteem.
Keeping a daily journal of things that you are grateful for , helps you to appreciate the things you have and appreciate all that you have achieved - no matter how big or small. It can help you zone in on your own life and to stop comparing yourself to others.
2) It can help you to become more positive in your daily life!
When you see all the things you love about your life in written form, you tend to spend less time and energy focusing on negative things that are out of your control. Becoming more optimistic and giving most of your energy to positive things can have an amazing impact on your life.
3) It helps you to banish self limiting beliefs.
What we expect from life is what tends to show up. If you constantly think "Things will always go wrong for me" the that is what you will keep zoning in on. You stop looking for and seeing the opportunities around you.
However, If you are constantly showing yourself evidence of all the awesome stuff that happens in your life, you will start to expect it, start to spot the opportunities and start taking them!
This Is me:
I’m Emma, I train women (Offline and Online) who may struggle with their confidence and self esteem. I believe that women need more options that suit different lifestyles and needs, some of us don't have time to stick to a rigid plan, some people are to scared to even set foot in a gym (I have been there).