habits

Holidays & Burnout

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Having been hugely blessed by a week paid for and with family in the Portuguese sunshine, I realised just how much I benefit from an Intentional Rest.

I also recognised again how easily burnout could become a real issue.

You see, burnout isn't something you see coming - it silently creeps up on you, until one day, it renders you feeling helpless, disillusioned and completely exhausted.  Just like many of the other lifestyle diseases we regularly refer to!

Before you take a deep breath, please don't worry! I wasn't anywhere near that point of no return, but intentionally taking a step back and resting I can see habits that have crept in that would slowly and surely be pointing me in that general direction. Habits such as working late, not switching off, not being fully present or available for family and friends and wanting to spend too much time on my laptop (I love my laptop - for both work and play!) 

Unhelpful habits such as;

  • Working late or long hours
  • Not properly switching off or relaxing
  • Eating at my desk or on the run
  • Not being fully present or available for family and friends
  • Wanting to spend too much time on my laptop (I love my laptop - for both work and play!) 

But getting away from the tech for a week made me appreciated just how tired I actually was - without really realising it. 

If I'm honest, I was a little unsure about going away to start with,  but what surprised me the most was how quickly and how much I appreciated the quiet and time to zone out.

A dear friend and one of the Intentional Health team had been thoughtful and sent me a colour-in postcard to relax and unwind. You can see what I did in the image above - and I loved creating it! There is no doubt that having a supportive team, who both encouraged me to go away 'laptop free' and really forget all about work for the week, and who also who demonstrated they were more than capable of running the show without me, was a huge undeserved blessing - a real dose of Grace!  (Thank you, team! ;-)

Why not be intentional this summer about some or all of these Helpful habits too;

  • Eat well
  • Sleep
  • Relax & unwind
  • Exercise
  • Connect with others and
  • Take a few short or even extended breaks.

I highly recommend it, and so does our team ;-) 

Next week we'll be at the Creationfest! - Do come and say hello if you are in Cornwall!

The place in the middle...

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Have you ever been there? You start so well... and then you reach that place in the middle... the place where you have come too far to go back, but not quite far enough to see the end in sight?

Starting diet's or healthy eating plans, exercise plans, thinking more positive thoughts, investing in relationships, starting learning a new skill, or developing a habit of quiet times or devotionals... just to name a few.

We enthusiastically start something new, but then our energy and enthusiasm run's out and the novelty wears off. At this point, we haven't quite established the necessary habits to make this new way is the "normal way" we do things, and the pull calls loudly to slip up, give up, or stop trying.

That is why this place is also the best place to ensure we have sufficient external support - or 'scaffolding' as we like to call it here at Intentional Health.

Scaffolding can be sharing our goals with a buddy, setting consequences in place if we don't fulfil our intentions, removing temptations and putting ourselves in the way of good things.

Deciding ahead of time and setting up scaffolding before we start out on making changes to our lifestyle, is what being Intentional about our health is really all about.

Nothing worth having comes quickly or easily. It requires intentionality and Grit.

Grit and resilience are found in this place in the middle. reconciling this time in the middle makes the end destination so much more worthwhile.

As we reach this place in the middle stage halfway through our 20-webinar series, I'm choosing to be thankful to be in that place in the middle. I have you as scaffolding to support and encourage me through as I begin to see a glimpse of the end in sight in 4 weeks time. So I'm intentionally staying focused on the goal and I am hugely grateful for your constant encouragements, even when you can't make the sessions live.

This week we have 3 webinars, and I'm also really grateful and excited to be doing the first one with the lovely Tonya at 10 am today. We'll be exploring how reading food labels can help us be more intentional about our health and wellbeing!

It's not too late for you to join us live, or for the replay; you just need to register by clicking here.

Then on Tuesday evening, Tom and I will be looking at being Intentional about our meal planning, before Tom and Gareth explore how to be intentionally healthy when drinking alcohol on Thursday.

If you'd like to join us at any of these webinars, either live or via the replay, please register below.

Mon 26th June 10:00 (BST) Reading Food Labels https://app.webinarjam.net/register/35515/0c53b443...

Tues 27th June 19:30 (BST) Meal Planninghttps://app.webinarjam.net/register/35515/cdaf8758...

Thur 29th June 19:30 (BST) Health & Alcohol https://app.webinarjam.net/register/35515/25c7c183...


Heads up for next week too; We have a series of morning webinars where again Tonya and I will be exploring Boundaries, Saying No and Communicating well.

Don't forget you can also easily watch the replays if you are intentional about signing up early, or even auto-sign up (using the blue button on the thank you page of the first webinar you register for!).


Where ever you are on your journey - get some scaffolding ready for the place in the middle and keep going! You are amazing, and the end is probably closer than you think!

Niky & Team


Photo by Wil Stewart on Unsplash

Did you notice the good or bad habits?

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If you watched the replay of last weeks webinar, you'll know that there are no such thing as good and bad habit loops, habit loops are just a pathway.

That's why it's good to put ourselves in the way of "good things"

because it is the triggers and cues, and associated behaviours that are good or bad, not the habits themselves. (although, healthy or unhealthy might be a more helpful way to describe them!)

If you haven't watched the replay and don't want to miss out, here's the link

https://app.webinarjam.net/replay/35515/26fd6d8791/0/0

Oh, and you'll want us to send you the accompanying worksheet beforehand if you want help trying to identify your own habits, you can do that by letting us know your email address - you can do that by clicking here.

https://app.convertkit.com/landing_pages/217810?v=6

And if you want to find out how best to change habits, you might want to join me and Gareth live on Tuesday 6th June 7:30 pm (BST), or watch the replay at your own convenience later.

Either way, you can register here!

https://app.webinarjam.net/register/35515/87a700819a

We love it when you join us live - it's really fun and interactive and we can answer your questions.

We also try and mention those of you who have helped us along the way, so it's good not to miss out on your moments of fame!

See you in the webinar?

Niky, Tom, Gareth & Team

Creating a habit of self control

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This week I have been really proud of my husband, Gareth. Since Christmas, he’s been on a ‘lifestyle change’ diet. He’s been focusing on being more self-controlled with his eating and drinking habits, and with his physical activity levels; and particularly be less controlled by his cravings and snacking between meals.

We recently bought him a new surfboard; he says it’s probably his last shortboard as he is getting older! So he wants to make sure he is as fit as possible to ride it well, and get the most out of it this summer.

Over the past couple of months, he has been intentional about getting enough rest, taking part in a regular physical activity routine, and avoided overeating and snacking between meals.  Don’t get me wrong, he isn’t bad most of the time; none of his behaviours are necessarily bad! But in the past, he has been tempted like many of us, to come home after a long hard day to raid the cupboards for snacks, or start with a large glass of wine and end up having half a bottle without realising!

He set himself goals and stuck them on the wall in the kitchen, and then each day he gave himself a tick on the elements he has been able to resist.

Each tick has been a little motivator for that day, but over the last six weeks or so, I’ve noticed his ability to resist temptation and be more self-controlled has increased exponentially.

Gareth has become more habitual at making healthy eating choices.

I have also noticed how this has spilt over into other areas of his life with his physical activity, and his increased work focus too!

Today, on a gloriously sunny day in Cornwall, he heads out feeling fitter and leaner as a result of the positive consequences of all his small self-controlled choices and now habits of being more self-controlled, and is off to surf his new surfboard for the first time this year! And I'm really proud of him :)

I think I can see an Intentional habit of surfing this summer being created before too long too!


We are running a series of webinars starting in a few weeks, including exploring exactly what habits are, and how best to create new ones. If you'd like to find out more then why not fill in your name and email address and you can be the first to find out more. FILL IN YOUR NAME AND EMAIL BELOW TO BE THE FIRST TO KNOW WHEN WE RELEASE THEM!


If you want to give or join in with the work of Intentional Health you can do so in 5 ways. Click on the links below for more info…

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3 tips to being more active...

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Following on from last week's blog, about how and why exercise or physical activity is a miracle cure, today we are looking at how active we should be and what being that active actually looks and feel like… Government recommendations to reap maximum benefits (keeping your heart healthy, reducing your risk of serious illness and strengthening muscles and bones) suggest that you should be moderately active for 150 minutes a week. This was previously commonly referred to as 5 x 30 mins, but now agree that being active enough for more than 10 minute bouts at a time all counts towards your 150 minutes a week.

Mention the word exercise to some and they will be ecstatic – they go stir crazy if they can’t don their trainers and pound the pavements.

For others, the thought of moving in any direction makes their stomach turn!

For me personally, I used to get mum to write me notes to get out of PE as a child. Funny then that I ended up studying sport and exercise science at university and becoming a PE teacher for over 10 years!

Don’t get me wrong, given the choice I would probably still rather snuggle up on the sofa and not move for hours on end rather than get active! But I have learned how to make being active more of a part of my everyday life and… dare I say it, I actually even enjoy it now!

So here’s some of the things I’ve realised about physical activity…

1. Everybody else is not more active than me!

My husband and best friend are the “go stir crazy” types without exercise. This simply makes me feel completely inadequate when I compare myself to them and I wonder what the point is when I will never be able to keep up.

The truth is that the latest government research states that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 5 men are officially classed as inactive – that is, doing less than 30 minutes of activity a week!!

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This just proves to me that our western culture makes it very difficult for us to be active.

It’s no wonder we suffer from ‘hyper sitting disorder’ when the working day revolves around the computer, or ‘walking deficiency syndrome’ when we have so little time the convenience of the car for the school run or get to and from the office become all too easy and normal. Added to that, all of our labour saving devices such as washing machines, dishwashers cooking appliances do exactly what they are meant to – save us labouring or working!

And although this means we don’t have to be too hard on ourselves when we find it hard to be active, it shouldn’t mean we simply settle or accept this.

To combat these lack of opportunities to be inactive we have to be intentional about including physical activity into as many other parts of our day as possible.

We can do this by not worrying about what anyone else is or isn’t doing and starting small. By simply focusing consistently on one step at a time we can create healthy habits of being active. Getting off a stop earlier or parking the car at the furthest point from the supermarket door, suggesting walking work meetings or catching up with friends whenever possible, and taking the lift instead of the stairs will all help!

So next time you find yourself sat in traffic, waiting in line at the supermarket or standing in a lift, why not think about how you could be being more active in that time instead?

2. Exercise isn’t always about sport!

If you can remember being forced to wear the smelly under or oversized PE kit from the lost property box, dropping the ball whenever it was thrust at you at high speed – and never quite getting the ball over or in the net, then your enthusiasm for sport is probably, unsurprisingly – not exactly exuberant!

But getting active doesn’t have to be all about sport - it can include anything that gets you moving moderately;

where your heart rate is increased and you become slightly out of breath – usually leaving you with just enough breath to still hold a conversation but not quite have able to have a sing-a-long.

Think about gardening, vacuum cleaning or simply going for a walk. You might have to pick up the pace a little more to make sure your heart rate is increasing, and if you haven’t been active for some time, then starting to include 10 minute of vacuum cleaning before taking a break will be a real workout.

Why not set a timer and don’t stop until it beeps to get you started!! Do this a few times a week and all that activity will be adding up, plus you’ll have spotless carpets!!

3. Being active is so much easier in community.

Don’t get me wrong, one of the benefits of sport is that you get added health and wellbeing benefits from social interactions. But there are still plenty of other opportunities to be active in community without joining the local netball team, especially when you are just starting out and growing in confidence!

One of the best things you do might be to find a friend and motivate each other!

It is much easier to drag yourself off the sofa when you’ve arranged to meet a friend on the corner to go for a walk and you know they will be waiting for you!

You could also ask a friend to join a Pilates class and benefit from strengthening activities or join a dance group with your spouse to also benefit from quality time together. Research even suggests that walking in a green space or by water is proven to be even more beneficial for our whole person health and wellbeing. picture1

There are many ways to be more active once you’ve decided that it’s important enough and these could include; more active leisure, active transport, everyday activities, organised activities and family activities (see infographic above for ideas on these!)

The government also have many resources to help including the change for life website for kids and families and the couch to 5k app is great!

Personally for me, I’ve learned that my body is the only thing I’ve been given that is unique to me, and if I want to live life to the full I need to choose to not go with the flow and instead be intentional about looking after it.

There are probably going to be people who take being active to the extreme, which doesn’t always improve a whole person health.

However, creating a habit of moving more is one of the best ways I’ve learned to both include physical activity and actually begin to enjoy it, as well as intentionally keeping it part of my everyday lifestyle.

If you’ve found a way that helps you be more active we'd love to hear about it! – please share it by emailing here.


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