THE GREATEST JOURNEY IS THE ONE WITHIN…

Have you ever wondered what it would take to make the changes in your life that would bring you more peace and happiness?


julblogFor me it was on April 16th2014 – I set out on a journey that would change my life forever – I didn’t realize this until I arrived home 2 months later.

I arrived in St Jean Pied de Port in France, crossed the Pyrenees and walked the 800km Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across northern Spain in 38 days.

And you may ask“what is a pilgrimage” – A pilgrimage is a ritual journey with a purpose. The pilgrim knows that life giving challenges will emerge. A pilgrimage is not a vacation; it is a transformational journey during which significant change takes place. New insights are given. Deeper understanding is attained. On return, life is seen with different eyes. Nothing will ever be quite the same again.

(The Camino de Santiago is a World Heritage site and the first pilgrimage dates back to the 9th Century.)

My purpose was to test my own resiliency on all levels – physically, mentally and spiritually – and yes they did get tested as I carried my 12kg backpack, walked between 18-30km daily and stayed in albergues (basic accommodation for pilgrims with bunk beds – the largest being 183 beds in a large monastery).

Each day you get up, put everything you own in your backpack and walk and then walk some more until you find a village that will be the final destination for the day.

It was an incredible experience. The freedom to wake up each day and walk through beautiful nature and stunning landscapes, meet new friends from all parts of the world, and explore corners of my mind I’ve never had time to explore.

Walking 24+ km everyday the mind has plenty of time for introspection, deep thought and questioning. And it was a perfect time to get to know myself better and what is really important in life.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

How well do you know yourself – I mean really know yourself?

Along the way I learnt so many invaluable life lessons – how much happiness I found in living simply and how much simplicity can be found in accepting the circumstances that surrounded me every day.

On a daily basis we can complicate our lives with having too much “stuff”, trying to fit too much into a day, not being able to say “NO”, being constantly busy and then feeling guilty for all of the above.

Since my return from the Camino I have been on a mission to simplify my life.

Simplicity brings balance, freedom, and joy.

If you would like to experience more of this, here are just a few things you might like to try:

  • Identify what’s most important to you – who and what do you value?Write a list of what is most important in your life and focus on spending more time and energy on that.
  • Review your diary and time commitments – it is easy to keep adding more into our daily and weekly schedule – take a good look at what you could eliminate or delegate.
  • De-clutter – yes we’ve heard it before but have you done it? It feels like a weight has been lifted as I have gone through room-by-room letting go of “stuff” that I no longer need to hang on to.
  • Minimise technology and screen time – log off Facebook, turn off the mobile phone and enjoy some quiet time without distractions. Being connected 24/7 creates stress and busyness; decide each day to have time without TV, phones and internet and notice how peaceful and joyful life can be.
  • Get rid of negative thoughts – stop beating yourself up for not ”being more” “achieving more” or “doing more”. Switch your thoughts to being grateful for who you are and what you have.

In essence simplicity means getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value.

Enjoy living simply…

Julie

10 TIPS FOR AN EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY NEW YEAR

It’s hard to believe the first month or the year is over! I don’t know about you but I had a great Christmas and holiday break and also overindulged in all the festive goodies, and along with that all my usual routines and rituals went out the window.

So in January as I was getting focused and clarifying my goals for the year I noticed how sluggish I felt and my motivation was lagging a little.

I knew exactly what to do to get back on track and I am now feeling energised and motivated again.

Firstly I started my daily rituals – meditation, exercise, affirmations, gratitude and planning for a successful day. And next, time to let go of those indulgences and back into healthy eating.

Even though its now February, some clients are saying they are still trying to get motivated and energised. If you can relate to this holiday dilemma I thought you would enjoy and benefit from this article I found by Kristina Puga, here are her top tips to re-energise yourself…

10 tips for an emotionally healthy new year

It’s a brand new year, and you are anxious to start 2013 with vigor, but there’s a small problem – you’re feeling sluggish after about a month straight of holiday parties, drinking, and not eating right.

She says emotional health and energy are intrinsically tied to your overall, as well as what you eat.

“People are so overwhelmed with so many diets, they don’t realize processed food is making them ill,” says Puig, whose own doctor gave her antidepressants before she learned it was processed foods and sugar which were making her feel anxious and unwell.

Puig recommends doing one change a week to improve your physical and emotional health.

Here are her 10 tips to an emotionally healthy year:


1. The most important thing to do first is detox. —
Cut out sugar, processed foods and alcohol from your diet for a good month, at least. They are depressants, physically and mentally; they suppress your immune system. Puig recommends Stevia if you need a sweetener, as it’s ‘s not going to harbour any sort of side effects like other sweeteners do. Certainly, if you can keep this up as a lifestyle, even better.

2. Start your day with a motivational quote. — Whether you stick them on your nightstand or your Facebook triggers something and changes your frame of mind. Puig says that’s one of the biggest things that have helped her, especially in becoming a motivator for others. You can subscribe to receive them daily in your email, or even download a free app for your smartphone.

3. Exercise — even if for as little as 10 minutes. — It releases endorphins, and they make you happy. Ideally, it is great to do first thing to kick start your day, but get it in whenever you can get it in. Even if you turn on your radio while making dinner, that’s better than not doing anything at all. If you enjoy running, swimming — whatever you enjoy doing, that’s what you should do in order to keep it up.

4. Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up. — It can be something as simple as wheat toast with peanut butter. This will set your energy and pace for the day — not just physical, but emotional energy, too. If you start your day by skipping breakfast, all you are doing is slowing down your metabolism and your emotional energy as well. If you are not hungry, that’s a huge sign that your metabolism has shut down and not working properly. Puig says it took her four months to get her metabolism working properly like a well-oiled machine. She says if you skip breakfast for long enough, you’re going to start storing fat in places you used to not store fat — this is a red flag.

5. Increase your Omega-3 intake. — This can be found in walnuts, avocados, olive oil and fish oil. Omega-3 helps with the brain, metabolism and helps you lose weight. Puig highly suggests fish oils before bed, as they will help you sleep and feel better. They also help people with depression, as they improve emotional energy.

6. Say “yes” to good carbs. — Make sure you have complex carbohydrates at breakfast, lunch and dinner. This includes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat bread – and then fit in your snacks with Omega-3s in between. You want to stagger it to keep your energy stable all day long. This is better than having a coffee and a doughnut for a midday snack, which will give you a sugar high and then crash. Puig maintains great energy the entire day by eating apple slices with natural almond butter, or avocado and sliced turkey roll-ups. As a national fitness competitor, she says she eats six to seven times a day — even Greek yoghurt and an ounce of crushed walnuts and honey before bed — which helps her sleep better and helps keep her metabolism up.

7. Drink a lot of water. — The key is drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 150 pounds you consuming 75 ounces of water. And drink more, if you are trying to lose weight. When people are tired, they think, ‘Let me eat a candy bar,’ but sometimes all they need is water. For every ounce of caffeinated beverage, you are taking away an ounce of water. It’s also great for your skin and relieves headaches.

8. Get rid of the deadweight friends. — Negative people can drag you down emotionally and be very draining. Determine who is anchoring you down, and your real friends pushing you forward. You have to take care of you first. Puig says she has had a better life after doing this and feels she’s setting an example to her four children. She says to surround yourself with positive people, because in this day and age no one is looking out for you but you.

9. Sleep. — So many people aren’t getting enough sleep and that affects their emotional well-being. Not many people know how to turn off the light and roll over anymore, causing them to burn out. Start turning the television off and putting your phone away an hour before bed. Puig says she has noticed her children unwind much better after doing this. She says it’s just a habit that most people have lost in this error of technology. Find something else to do to unwind like reading, meditating, or chatting with your spouse. Have some sort of routine to re-learn how to turn off the light and go to sleep.

10. Set short-term goals. — These help with emotional well-being. Puig says she lost 40 pounds in 2004, by setting short-term goals. She says making one change a week, such as doing pushups on her toes instead of her knees, helped her keep pushing herself.

by Kristina Puga

Let me know what you are doing differently to increase your energy and emotional health. I certainly know that incorporating these tips into my everyday routine does make a massive difference.

Enjoy starting the year off in a healthy and inspiring way.

SPRING CLEANING!

A great time for no excuses…

September is here and we are all coming out of hibernation, shedding our boots, fleece-lined coats and scarves for something a little lighter, creating a ‘spring in our step’ (well that does depend on the weather as it has been rather changeable lately).

In the light of this new found energy comes a sense of new beginnings, a time to address the old thoughts and beliefs about yourself and your life that you need to let go in order to move forward – an emotional spring-clean if you like.

This season is about making the decision to put yourself first…. Spring cleaning is about personal satisfaction, and a perfect time to refresh.  Cutting out the winter stodges (physically and mentally) together with planning – yes, we’ve heard it all before, your daily exercise routine – how ever small,  there really is nothing like getting the blood pumping through your veins and feeling invigorated.

Look around and ask yourself if your personal, home or workspace inspires you or whether it depresses you? If it’s the latter then replace that stagnant thought and items that bring you down with those positive items or thoughts that pick you up.  Design personal spaces that inspire you!  Set yourself manageable daily goals and take the first step in achieving them.

For me, this winter has been a time of great reflection. Looking at what has been working well and the parts that are not working as I would like and what I would like to change. So changes are on the way as I set new goals and plans.

As a part of that process I have a professional organizer coming in to assist me to de-clutter my office and home so I am looking forward to spring cleaning my other world as I am also doing a spring clean of my inner world.

“A year from now you will wish you had started today”. ~ Karen Lamb

If you would like some inspiration and strategies to declutter and set new goals call me for a coaching session or join in our next Group Coaching/Mentoring Program starting in October.

CREATE A SENSE OF BALANCE

Work life balance – why is it that it always seems to elude us?

As you might have discovered, finding and maintaining the balance that suits you best is not always that straightforward.

For me this past month has been a particularly busy one, and a little out of balance at times, with a very full work schedule, preparing my 18-year-old son to go overseas for several months as well as my own preparation to travel to Europe next month.

Creating a sense of balance in your life requires constant attention and is definitely worth the effort because when we get out of balance we find stress begins to increase and have a negative effect in all areas of our life, especially our health.

I believe balance is about understanding what is important in your life, creating your priorities and then ensuring you are scheduling into your weekly plan your important priorities.

Here are a few tips to maintain life balance and wellbeing:
Time out for yourself – As much as your work and family takes priority in your life, it’s important that you schedule “me time”. Taking just one hour, once a week to do something for yourself can do wonders for your wellbeing – and your relationships and career will benefit too.
Look after your health – Stress is one of the biggest causes of poor health so your health should be a priority. If you’re not in top shape both mentally and physically, it will affect all areas of your life. Get enough sleep, eat regularly and choose healthy options, take time out for relaxation and exercise at least five times a week.
Consciously create balance – Do a monthly life balance self assessment to ensure you are meeting your needs in all areas of your life (see the ‘Wheel of Life’ tool on my website).
Manage your time – Plan your days and prioritise your time to ensure you are setting time aside for the important things in your life, your exercise, family time, hobbies, “me time” etc. If it’s not in your diary and you have not planned for it, it may not happen.

Enjoy creating more balance in your life….

CREATE A SENSE OF BALANCE

Work life balance – why is it that it always seems to elude us?

As you might have discovered, finding and maintaining the balance that suits you best is not always that straightforward.

For me this past month has been a particularly busy one, and a little out of balance at times, with a very full work schedule, preparing my 18-year-old son to go overseas for several months as well as my own preparation to travel to Europe next month.

Creating a sense of balance in your life requires constant attention and is definitely worth the effort because when we get out of balance we find stress begins to increase and have a negative effect in all areas of our life, especially our health.

I believe balance is about understanding what is important in your life, creating your priorities and then ensuring you are scheduling into your weekly plan your important priorities.

Here are a few tips to maintain life balance and wellbeing:

  • Time out for yourself – As much as your work and family takes priority in your life, it’s important that you schedule “me time”. Taking just one hour, once a week to do something for yourself can do wonders for your wellbeing – and your relationships and career will benefit too.
  • Look after your health – Stress is one of the biggest causes of poor health so your health should be a priority. If you’re not in top shape both mentally and physically, it will affect all areas of your life. Get enough sleep, eat regularly and choose healthy options, take time out for relaxation and exercise at least five times a week.
  • Consciously create balance – Do a monthly life balance self assessment to ensure you are meeting your needs in all areas of your life (see the ‘Wheel of Life’ tool on my website).
  • Manage your time – Plan your days and prioritise your time to ensure you are setting time aside for the important things in your life, your exercise, family time, hobbies, “me time” etc. If it’s not in your diary and you have not planned for it, it may not happen.

Enjoy creating more balance in your life….

☺ Julie

 

REFLECTION

As we begin a new year it is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and celebrate our successes and consider what improvements we would like to make as we plan for a positive and successful 2011.

It has been a full and exciting year for me and here are some of my learnings.

  • Every day we choose our attitudes and therefore our outcomes so make a choice to make every day the best it possibly can be (even when we are feeling challenged).
  • Be clear on what’s important to you. Know what your priorities are and what’s most important in your life so you can plan activities and have time to do the things that matter most.
  • Take time out for planning and reflection. When I got busy and didn’t make time to do my planning or reflection, I became busier and found myself getting off track. Reflection time allows us to stay on track and maintain a balance.
  • Keep your life in balance. I find this works best when I regularly have time to stop and reflect and look at areas of my life that I have been neglecting and set goals to change that.
  • Remember to have fun – sometimes when life gets so hectic we need to schedule in time for fun activities, it reduces stress and allows us to remember what life is really all about.
  • Be grateful – every day I affirm what I am grateful for in my life and it really does bring things into perspective and allows me to appreciate who I am and what I have in my life.

Take time out to plan and set goals for what is most important in your life and make this year a wonderful and meaningful one!

 

Is your vision clear?

Legendary coach John Wooden said, “Don’t mistake activity for achievement”. You may be busy from the moment your alarm goes off in the morning until the time your head hits the pillow at night, but are you accomplishing anything meaningful toward the fulfillment of your goals? Are you making forward progress, or are you just running in one place?

Last month we looked at creating new strategies for more effective time management. What I have found is that our lack of time and busyness is not always a reflection of the commitments we have in our life but can also be attributed to not having a clear vision for what we want to create in our future. We can be so busy doing “stuff” but it may not be moving us towards where we want to be in life and our happiness.

Do you know what you specifically want to achieve in the next 12 months and who you want to be?

To have balance in life it is important to have a clear written plan (your vision) and write what you want to achieve in each area of  your life.

Here is a challenge for those of you who would like to have less busyness and more life balance and peace.

Over the next week clarify exactly what you want in all 9 areas of your life:

  1. Financial
  2. Career/Business
  3. Family & home
  4. Health & fitness
  5. Relationships
  6. Social & fun
  7. Personal growth
  8. Mental resiliency – bouncing back from challenges
  9. Making a difference/contribution

Create a vibrant, crystal-clear image of your ideal life and write your vision in detail, and then set goals specific to enable you to achieve this vision. Follow this plan and notice how you become more productive and in control of your life and happiness.

If you want guidance in this area, check out the details of our next Group Coaching program.

Time is a state of mind

If you have been feeling “life is so busy, and there is never enough time in a day”, its time to look at how you are prioritizing your days.

Remembering that “attitude is everything” , so if we feel busy in our head that will be reflected in our outer life.

Sometimes we forget that we receive–every day–a gift that holds the potential of a million-dollar impact on our life.

That gift is 24 hours of time that you can spend however you choose for profit or for pleasure.

Effective time organisation provides no additional time, but it produces multiple benefits by helping you become aware of the time you maybe wasting so that you may use it more effectively.

I believe the most important objective of time organisation is to live a full and meaningful life in the present, by learning from the lessons of yesterday, and planning with positive expectation for tomorrow.

You control your own time, therefore to maintain a balance in life it is important to be very clear where you are going in life, have a vision and specific goals of how you are going to get there.

A few tips to be effective with your time:

  • Evaluate how you’re spending your time. Keep a diary of everything you do for three days to determine how you’re spending your time
  • Become clear whats really important in your life and prioritise your time with that in mind.
  • Have a clear vision for where you are going in your life and set purpose orientated life goals.
  • Keep your professional and personal schedules and priorities manageable and doable
  • At the beginning of each week prioritise the most important activities into your diary, ensuring this includes family time and time for yourself and fun activities
  • Learn to say no to nonessential tasks– Ask yourself, “Is this the wisest and best use of my time right now?”
  • And most important, have fun everyday!

Imagine having less stress and more peace and happiness

Have you ever noticed when two people in identical, high-stress situations, that one of them gets stressed out and the other one handles the situation with ease and grace?

It’s because of the different ways they internalize what’s going on.  Stress doesn’t exist in the outside world; it just exists inside your head.  It’s up to you which way you choose to perceive it.

Stress is an internal phenomenon.

And remember – stress is not good or bad.  It just IS.  We need a certain amount of stress to motivate us but we need to understand ourselves to know when “too much” is having an adverse effect on our mind and body.

Your reaction to stress can become a habit.  So, as the famous quote by Socrates, “Know thyself”, it is important to become aware of how you respond and react to situations and people so you can make positive changes.

The good news is you can change your habits.

So take charge and be your own boss – make a conscious choice to be happy, relaxed and stay positive by using these five strategies:(I guarantee that if you use them every day, they will make a massive positive difference in your life).

  1. Use the power of your choice – you have the ability to make choices.  Once you realize that you have a choice between being stressed or staying calm and relaxed, you can then create healthy new habits and alternatives to stress.
  2. Choose to create a new meaning about the person or event – your mind labels everything that happens to you, to reduce worry or stress, choose to make up a more positive meaning about the event or person.
  3. Understand what you can and cannot control. Once you accept the fact that you can’t control an event or person, you can take action to change yourself and your thoughts about the situation.
  4. See other viewpoints – imagine the situation if you were standing in the other persons’ shoes, how might you feel?
  5. Learn to let go. Perhaps the hardest of all skills.  One easy way to let go is to take a look around, observe someone else experiencing distress, step out of your world and step into theirs, and then help them.  It is amazing how much better you will feel.

Have a positive and productive week.