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  • Mindful February

    I really love the concept of mindfulness. I love the idea of being in the moment, paying attention to what is going on around you in the current moment, and not thinking too far forward or dwelling on the past.

    I have dabbled with using different guided mindfulness or meditation apps. Many of these I have really enjoyed, but I have struggled to sustain a regular practice, or develop a regular habit. I find that as soon as I get busy or become overwhelmed, I drop my meditation practice. Even though intuitively I know this is exactly when I need it most!

    Towards the end of last year, I even spent about a thousand bucks on a Vedic meditation course (which I absolutely loved) but still after a few weeks I fell of the wagon of regular practice (I again got too busy to practice, oh the irony).

    However, as our busy-ness cranks up (especially as we adjust to our new routines for the year), I decided I really wanted to develop the habit of daily meditation. So instead of Feb-Fast (because I actually love a glass if wine here and there), I am committing to a daily practice for the month of Feb, and already I am blown away by the benefits.

    Benefits of daily meditation practice

    1. I yell at my kids less
    2. I have more energy and feel more calm at the same time
    3. I am more in flow
    4. I am not sweating the small stuff
    5. I am nicer to my husband
    6. I am making better choices about what I eat and how much I drink
    7. I am sleeping better
    8. I am showing my kids how valuable this practice is (and teaching them to use mindfulness techniques – we love the Smiling Mind app)
    9. I am much less anxious / less overwhelmed about how much I have to do.
    10. I am not racing from one thing to the next. In fact, I am making choices that are better for my family, rather than saying yes to everything and compromising what would work best for us.

    So if you, like me, feel like you “should” be practicing more mindfulness, or you are keen to develop a mindfulness or meditation practice but you just haven’t got time 😉 then my advice is to just do it. Keep trying. One day it will make sense, feel right, and when you start noticing the benefits you won’t look back.

    Chloe xx

  • Wellbeing — May 11, 2017
    5 Tips to support your health & wellbeing this Autumn

    As the days shorten here in Australia, the deciduous trees are changing colour and are letting go of their leaves, as the air is cool & crisp, we are invited to let go. Let go of the idea of an eternal summer, of the idea of a daily outdoor yoga practice, and of letting go of what no longer serves us. Releasing what is old and no longer applicable, to make way for the new. This requires us to pull in, to become more inward focused. It does not mean to become static and stale. Yoga asana practice, or any type of mindful movement is still necessary to keep the body’s systems functioning and to stay healthy.

    It is modification that is required. More time to be still. More time to reflect. More time in meditation. More being, less doing. Autumn reminds us of our own cycles of creating and letting go.

    1. Let go

    What came to mind as you read this paragraph? What is your idea of letting go? There is no right or wrong answer. It is your choice, your life. Your letting go. It can be a thought, a habit, a life stage, a thing or a person. Write it down. Then let it go.

    2. Meditate

    Sitting, standing, lying down; simply be with yourself. Slow down, notice your breath. Notice sounds around you. Let this last for a few breaths, minutes or longer. Again, no right or wrong. Being, instead of doing is the key here. If you’d like some guidance, use an app like Insight Timer for some immediate support.

    3. Eat what’s in season

    Cooked foods, soups, stews, warming and lightly spiced foods. Herbal teas, warm lemon water with ghee or coconut oil, root vegetables and nuts.

    4. Sunshine, Fresh Air, Sleep

    I know, that’s 3 in one. Getting more sleep, by going to bed early is the key here. Can you be asleep by 10pm? Adjust to the new cycle of wintertime, close down your eyes early. Let the lungs fill with fresh air as often as possible. Catch some sunshine too.

    5. Yoga poses for the lungs and large intestines

    Any yoga poses that work your belly, think boat-pose, leg pumps, twists, low and high plank. Shoulder-stand with cycling legs. Down-dog to up-dog and back. Keep it moving. Sun salutations and fish-pose. And everyone’s favourite our supine eagle-pose as a twist and a curl.

     

    With best wishes for a healthy & vibrant Autumn.

    Sincerely,

    Bettina Pfannkuch
    Yoga Instructor – The Art of Balance

  • Just eat real food

    Do you sometimes find yourself eating mindlessly? Staring into the fridge and picking anything, even when you’re not hungry?  Whether we eat food that is nutritious and fresh, or highly processed, or something in-between – not many of us seriously consider the long-term impact of taking a ‘quick and easy’ approach to food.

    Focusing on whole food and real food is all about changing the conversation, away from calories and diets, to understanding that what our bodies need is food that is fresh and whole. It’s about focusing on the nutrient content above all else. The concept seems so simple that you have to wonder if it can be that easy.

    In today’s society when there is literally a new weight loss plan every day, it’s no wonder we’re all totally confused about what we should be putting in our bodies for optimal health.
    Just Eat Real Food.

    By changing the approach away from strict rules about what you can and can’t eat, to making it a priority to choose foods that nourish and support your body, we can take a lot of the stress out of what to eat.

    Here are some ideas to help you make a transition to eating real food;

    • When you get a craving, instead of reaching for the first available option, think about what your body needs. There may be a more nutritious option that is just as easy and accessible – but not yet habit. It may also be worth asking yourself whether you’re eating for distraction, or in responss to emotions. Perhaps taking a walk or speaking to a friend will fill the gap for now.
    • Buy fresh wherever possible. We know that buying organic is the ideal – however this simply isn’t practical for many of us. Getting a load of fresh fruit and vegetables at the start of the week is a great way of making sure you something nutritious and easy at the ready for snacks and meals.
    • Be flexible. Life does not run to a 7-day meal plan – despite your good intentions. Eat whole, real nutritious food most of the time, and then if you do have an occasion or a dinner where you let loose a little – so be it. It’s what happens most of the time that matters.
    • Plan ahead. Think about what you need so you don’t waste it, buy in bulk when you can (nuts, seeds etc. are a good example), and use your freezer to maximise the use out of any real produce that you buy.
    • Try and steer clear of processed foods and processed sugars. Keep a stock of healthy snack options like fruit, veggies, nuts and natural yoghurt. It’s normally the in-between meals where we find ourselves reaching for the quick options.

    If you’re serious about making good decisions for your health, and the health of your family – then eating real food should be a priority. If you make one or two nutritious decisions today – who knows what will happen tomorrow!

    Eat well xx

  • Wellbeing — April 1, 2017
    5 ways to build self-confidence

    (Thanks to the great team at Live Your Legend)

    At The Fit Mother we love this article because it reminds us all that in order to grow and experience new adventures in life – we need to give ourselves a break and be kind in the process. In which area of your life do you need to build a little extra self-confidence?

    1. Adopt a beginner’s mindset

    When you first embark on learning a new skill or doing something you’ve never done before, you will be at the beginning of your journey and other people will be ahead of you on the journey (hence the saying “Don’t compare your Chapter 1 to someone else’s Chapter 20”!).
    Adopting a beginner’s mindset is absolutely crucial to ensure that you keep on showing up. Give yourself a break! Accept you are a beginner and know that you will fall down. The key is to keep on getting back up again.

    2. Practice consistently

    Building competence takes practice—there are simply no shortcuts. After all, there are no Olympic athletes who turn up to their events without having diligently practiced and trained for the years (many, many years) preceding.

    If you want to build confidence in an area, it’s only practice that will get you there (a.k.a. building competence).

    3. Set small milestones and goals

    As the saying goes: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The same goes for building competence and confidence. It’s important to have the end goal or result in mind, but often this can be super overwhelming when you are just getting started on learning a new skill or making a change. Set yourself small milestones and goals along the way.
    By proving to yourself that you can get stuff done, you’ll prove to yourself what you’re capable of achieving. They don’t have to be big goals; they can even be things like writing a blog post or trying your hand at event planning by organizing a friend’s birthday party.

    4. Understand your talents and non-talents

    As we’ve spoken about already, think for a moment of something you have never attempted before: book writing, bungee jumping, teaching, science, playing soccer. How is it that you know you don’t have a strength or weakness in this area if you have never tried? Well… you don’t!

    Likewise, the only reason you know you have an alleged weakness or strength is that you have tried something and you discovered you either excel in that area or not.

    Taking these things back to their key state: you have natural talents or non-talents in particular areas. It is only when you “lean in” on a talent that you create a strength and when you “lean in” on a non-talent that you create a weakness.

    Everyone has strengths and talents. What are yours? Often we can build competence and confidence faster if we focus on utilizing our talents and building on our already existing strengths. Recognize what you’re already good at and trying to build on those things instead of only improve your weaknesses.

    Plus, understanding your talents and non-talents then puts the power back in your court to choose where you focus your time.

    5. Don’t forget to look back

    Sometimes it can be easy to focus on what you haven’t accomplished yet and forget about how far you have come. Focusing on the milestones you have achieved, big or small, can help you gain perspective on all your talents and abilities.

    Keep a list of the things you have achieved along the way, whether it’s getting a good mark on an exam or even learning to ride a bike. Keep this list close and add to it when you do something you’re proud of.

    So remember, the next time you embark on something entirely new, know that those feelings of lacking self-confidence are not personal to you—they are completely normal and required as you start out on your journey. Have some compassion for yourself and make sure you get yourself supported during that process by like-minded people who will encourage you along the way.

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