health

Government supporting preventative health care

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Although it has been a while since we last posted a blog, today’s news is something we are really excited about so had to share it! The Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, has today (5th November 2018) laid out his long-term vision for the NHS and the country’s health. His plan will centre around encouraging people to take more responsibility for their own health as well as employers the responsibility for their employees.

"It's about helping them make better choices, giving them all the support we can, because we know taking the tough decisions is never easy"

He said on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 that 4-5ths ot what happens with our health, happens outside of hospital. You can also read via the BBC News that Mr. Hancock, in an essential readjustment, stated, "In the UK, we are spending £97bn of public money on treating disease and only £8bn preventing it across the UK. You don't have to be an economist to see those numbers don't stack up.".

Equally, when we know that 75% of people in the UK (3 out of 4 of us) will suffer needlessly or die prematurely because of unhealthy lifestyle choices, you don’t need to be an NHS professional to know that changes need to be made in preventative community health.

The NHS ‘Five Year Forward View’ recognised a need for prevention. However Matt Hancock now highlights the need for a change of culture and method of delivering, with a substantial shift onto focus on community. This is because the NHS can only play a small part when it comes to health that is so inextricably linked to social determinants, including social isolation and poverty.

There has been a lot of talk about the need for prevention, but up until now very little has been done on a national scale due to limited resources.

Because our health is so largely impacted by making better choices, Intentional Health firmly believes the church can play a crucial role in loving their neighbours as themselves as it promotes supportive communities, provides encouragement, and loves compassionately in their local communities.

Intentional Health trains, equips and resources local church volunteers to run an inspirational10-session community programme providing facts, frameworks and friendships that encourage a step by step journey towards improved health and wellbeing.

Each session explores simple swaps and sows tiny seeds that impact areas of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and lead to healthier lifestyle habits.

People leave with a renewed sense of whole person health and wellbeing that is achievable, lasting and life-giving.

These programmes are placed-based and peer-led to ensure they are person centred, and that each person attending is able to get the most out of the programme content.

That is why today’s news is a real breath of fresh air for us at Intentional Health as it reiterates the need for whole-person healthcare which the person themselves is able to direct and effect, and is something a number of churches in the UK have been doing for a number of years. We aim to equip these amazing volunteers to do this in accordance with the NHS principles and using the tools comprised in Making Every Contact Count (MECC) guidance.

We do this because we believe...

Every Body Matters

We’d love you to join us, if you want to know more about the work of Intentional Health click here.


If you want to start on your journey towards being more intentional about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below, to help start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

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Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have learned to have a more flexible mindset and how this has improved your life.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner, Angel or Prayer Warrior - and want to partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities click on the links above or contact us.

Working from Rest

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Another more personal blog again this week, about rest... I am writing this blog on Tuesday 17th April.

Last night I delivered our coach family devotional - this is a monthly 30-minute webinar that all of the Intentional Health coaches and volunteers can be part of if they want. During these sessions, we explore some of the Intentional Health programme content and remind ourselves that we are part of something bigger.

Most importantly for us - because we are faith-based but not biased and believe God has invited us into His plan - We also use this time to share what we feel He is saying to us, both individually, and corporately.

Yesterday's particular session was all about the importance of rest - using the scripture Matthew 11: 28-30 as a starting point - Many of our readers will know it well.

During the session, Gareth and I explored how we aim to create a healthy rhythm of working out of rest, rather than rest as recovery from our work.

I explained how for us here at Intentional Health right now, we happen to be in a season in the fast lane, where it isn't easy to rest - there is just so much to do, and only a few hands to do it!

Whether you believe in God or not, you'll probably agree that rest is something that as a society we can often struggle with.

Our world is filled with hustle and bustle.  We reward busyness as if always working, striving, and achieving were the true marks of a life well-lived.  We elevate those who have given everything to gain success. To be tired is to be weak. To be in need is to fail. To rest instead of work is to be lazy or selfish. We can become focused on ourselves, thinking that unless we work ourselves to the bone, nothing of value will be accomplished. I was encouraged to read an article last week that suggests this culture might be starting to change in the workplace, but I suspect this won't be the norm for a very long time!

Personally, I recognise that I am naturally more of a 'human-do-er' rather than a human being, and confess that I also find that it isn't easy to stop and rest when I am so blessed and get to do something I really love every day!

So after the session last night, I pretty much went straight to bed, reflecting on what we'd just been talking about, and to try and rest.

I noticed that this rest felt more like I was in recovery mode, in response to a great - but busy week, rather than a rest to help me bring my best self and work into the next day.

When I woke this morning - I realised that I have been guilty of talking more about rest than I have been practising resting!

So, (prepare yourself!)  I made the decision to write this blog post today (Tuesday) and schedule it for Monday week (probably when you are reading it now) and to let you know that I am going to take a few weeks resting from our weekly blog, at least until after my Windsor trip.

That way, I can have a season of rest, and so can you from reading this!

A few people have previously mentioned they could write something for our Monday blog- and if they do, we can easily schedule that whilst I'm away, but I'm making this commitment to rest because it's right for me now, and because, as far as it possible for me, I want to always work from a place of rest, rather than because others can 'hold the fort'.

And as I begin to practice what I'm preaching, I hope that I may also inspire you to lay something down too - even something small for a short season?

When I return in a few weeks, I hope and expect to be able to bring my very best work from a restored rhythm of 'working from a place of rest' again :)

Thanks for your understanding. Niky :)

Photo Credit: Ilham Rahmansyah


If you want to start on your journey towards being more intentional about your health and think about how you might work from a place of rest, then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below, to help start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

rest If you are interested in helping us improve the lives of 1000 beneficiaries by 2020 and want to support Intentional Health so that we can share the workload and 'work from rest' more, please click here to find out about how you can become an Angel.  

Changing the world...

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I'm hoping you won't mind if today, I invite you into my a bit of my world... I used to laugh at my good friend Annie, who would frequently tease me saying she was convinced that one day, I was going to change the world.

I think she'd only say this because of my passion to help everybody, but what I soon learned - was that to change the world, I first had to change my world.

I was never going to be able to help others, inspire others, or challenge the status quo around me, until I had learned to change the hardest person in the world for me to change: the person in the mirror!

Over recent years, I have learned a lot, and I believe, as I've become more intentional about my own health and wellbeing habits and behaviours, I have started to change my world.

Learning to invest in myself, learning to look after my health and wellbeing, learning to say no, have all been incredibly tough lessons, and lessons that I repeatedly re-learn and get to practice, almost on a daily basis. But I'm also really appreciative and genuinely grateful for the help and support of others - outside of me - to come alongside, encourage, to grow me and to challenge me too.

Many of you probably know that here at Intentional Health, we are on a mission to help 1000 people benefit from our transformational lifestyle health programme by the end of 2020. Our 10-session community programme - delivered exclusively by local church volunteers for the benefit of anyone in the community, unpacks many of the topics we explore here on the blog. In particular, ways to improve our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing.

Intentional Health is place-based by location: delivered in existing local communities and is place-based by common interests; it is uniquely delivered by church partners and volunteers for the benefit and purpose of being accessible to everyone in the locally

We believe this model ensures maximum volunteer engagement, relieves the need for clinical health specialists (thus reducing the pressure on the overstretched NHS), and aligns with evidence that shows peer-support is more successful in long term behaviour change.

And whilst it is highly unlikely that I, personally, am going to be able to change the whole world, we can help and equip an army of volunteer coaches come alongside 1000 people in communities, and perhaps inspire them to make healthier choices by understanding that they also have a choice about changing aspects of their own worlds.

To continue to do this well as Intentional Health grows, I know I will need to continue to invest and grow my own personal leadership skills too.

Therefore, you cannot imagine how grateful and excited I am to tell you that, thanks to a generous 90% bursary from Allchurches Trust,  in 2 weeks time, I will be attending the Windsor Leadership - Emerging Strategic Leaders programme.

I expect I will meet some incredible people, learn more from others perspectives and experiences in their worlds and operational cultures, as well as have time to develop my own wisdom and insight to make good decisions at difficult times. I'm also just a little bit excited about spending a week living inside the castle grounds, two weeks before the Royal wedding!

As I pray for an open mind, an open heart and enthusiastically wait to see how this opportunity will help change my world, I also pray that you will receive an opportunity to change one thing that could a make a difference for you and your world today too.


If you are interested in helping us improve the lives of 1000 beneficiaries by 2020, or supporting me personally along my Intentional Health leadership journey, you can invest via a one off gift or monthly donations at www.give.net/intentionalhealth 

Photo Credit: Kyle Glenn


If you want to keep up to date with how I get on over the next few weeks, then Sign up here to receive these blogs via a weekly email. You'll also receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook - just clicking here to register. 

If you want to start your journey towards being more intentional about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below, to help start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

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Opportunities vs Obligation

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Have you have noticed how frequently we are presented with opportunities? Temptations, distractions and offers that are just "too good to miss" are almost as persistent in our lives today, as the wet, cold, winter has been! Although, I'm sure you were as blessed as I was to finally feel the warmth of sunshine this weekend :)

But I heard someone say something this week that made me stop dead in my tracks and compelled me to write about it here!

"Opportunities do not equal obligations".

Often, I assume opportunities are good, and that I would be foolish to say no! I know I've mentioned FOMO before, but I don't think I'd really considered that opportunities can also present themselves  in the form of temptations.

Temptations such as...

  • left-over easter eggs when you are trying to eat healthily;
  • distractions from the work required, such as exam revision or having quiet times;
  • bargains that have to be bought because they are just "too good to be true"
  • or even the duvet covers that compel you to stay in your warm comfortable bed when you know you really need to get up and get active....

Temptations are all opportunities too - but opportunities don't make them obligations! - ie - I don't have to say yes to them - I still have a choice to overcome them!

I appreciate overcoming these opportunities is not as easy as it seems! Not only does it require us to be intentional - but it requires courage too.

  • It takes courage to say no - It's uncomfortable to say no - we don't like disappointing others, and we want others to like us! Sometimes, it's easy to believe the lie that saying 'no' could jeopardise this.
  • It takes courage to identify which opportunities may be harmful - This can be hard because this often this means being honest and saying no to ourselves about things we don't really want to say no to! Giving up instant gratification, comfort or denying oneself of pleasure. However, it's worth remembering that refusing to say no here, can eventually cost more in the long run.
  • It takes courage to identify and focus on which opportunities will be helpful - The problem occurs here when so many things could be helpful, saying yes to every opportunity could end up diluting the impact of the one or two really good opportunities.

This is a problem because being consistent with just these one or two opportunities at a time could make the biggest difference.

By being intentional about saying no to many things, will most likely mean you can say yes to a few things well.

So this week - if you find yourself faced feeling obligated, why not use that as a God given opportunity to give yourself some time to consider that opportunities do not always equal obligation, and remember that being intentional is as much about elimination as it is addition!


unsplash-logoGreta Punch

If you want to start on your journey towards being more intentional to living a healthier, happier life, then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below.

Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here  

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have said no to opportunities that ended up leading to a better outcome in the long run.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church PartnerAngel or Prayer Warrior - and want to partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities click on the links above or contact us

New Beginnings

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This past weekend we've been celebrating Easter! For many, Easter is a time of Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs.  For us, the reason for Easter is to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  This year, we've managed to combine the two and been blessed to celebrate Easter with friends in style, - who also happen to have the cutest bunnies!

Last summer, we were very intentional and booked cheap flights, which meant on Friday we flew "up north" for the long-awaited weekend (I've just nipped out for a brief moment to write this blog!).

So far, we've enjoyed relaxed times of walking, rest, reflection, rich conversation, church fellowship, log burners, kids laughter, sport, shopping, bunnies - oh - and feasting on plenty of food - including Easter eggs - which were well especially well received after giving up chocolate for Lent!

We've not been constrained by time, the kids have played until they've dropped and we're enjoying every minute. Our conversations have included how we are so thankful for our family, friends and faith, for good health, healthy rhythms, healthy relationships and new beginnings.

This week, I'd like to suggest how good it is to remember that new beginnings don't just happen on Jan 1st!

New beginnings happen as winter turns to spring, one month rolls into the next and night turns to day.

We can be grateful for new seasons, times to start again, let go of the past and resurrect dreams.

New beginnings are also a great time to plan to be more intentional about anything.

For my husband, Gareth and I, we've decided when we get home, we are going to be intentional about getting back into our previous rhythm of early morning walks. We will no doubt continue many of our rich conversations, strengthen our relationship, all whilst starting the day with some active riverside walking as the sun rises a for a new day over our beautiful county.

So I'll finish today by asking what could you be more intentional about in this new season?


If you want to start on your journey towards being more intentional about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below, to help start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here  

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have learned to have a more flexible mindset and how this has improved your life.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner, Angel or Prayer Warrior - and want to partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities click on the links above or contact us

Flight Path

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Have you ever been heading in one direction, chatting away and suddenly found yourself somewhere unexpected?

You could ask yourself this question about a time you may have been merrily following the crowd, walking or driving on a motorway, OR you could ask this question in relation to your health and wellbeing.

Merrily going through life and suddenly realising you were overweight, are heading for burn-out, hate your job, addicted to your phone or have no relationship with your spouse and kids?

I believe, in the same way, that no-one ever sets out to find themselves in a different location than they intended,  no one sets out to become overweight, burnout, or starts a career they know won’t fulfil them. No-one intends for their phones to feel like an extra limb, for their job to rob them of their family, or to grow apart from the people they love the most. But it happens. More often than we would like.

The law of momentum goes something like... “everything will continue on its current path unless something else pulls or pushes it off that path” (Sorry if I’ve offended any physics experts with my naive explanation!).

This means, once we set out on a path, in theory, we should stay on that path indefinitely! That’s a little like what we see when we watch astronauts float around in space. So why don’t see that here on earth?

Because there are usually other forces at play at the same time. On earth, we have gravity which is a force that is always pulling us towards the ground. This may seem like a strange concept, but if we take a second to stop and think about it, we’ve learned to overcome it from only a few weeks old as we learn to hold the weight of our head up, and every day since, use our muscles to create counter forces that push and move us up and on when we need to.

Now, we simply take adjusting for gravity for granted - Can you think of the last time you stopped to think about the effect gravity was having as you went about your day?

We rarely notice many of the forces occurring every day that subtly distract and pull us off course, even by one degree. One tiny degree from 360 degrees off course might not seem like much, but if a rocket was launched into space only 1 degree off in its flight path, it could miss the moon by around 6,700km! That’s twice the diameter of the moon itself!

We tend to only notice the sudden effects of outside forces when they seem to come in suddenly, and from no-where, for example two cars coming from opposite directions in a head-on collision, a heart attack, type 2 diabetes or a cancer diagnosis, or we eventually notice the cumulative effect after a period of time.

The only way to prevent us from ending up somewhere we’d rather not is to stop and check our current “flight path”  regularly.

If you want to be intentional about anything, try doing these 5 steps!

  1. Start with the end in mind; Ask yourself, if you could move your life forward by 10 years, what would you want it to look like?
  2. Check your current co-ordinates; If you continue ‘going with the flow’, where you are currently heading?
  3. Is that where you intended to head?
  4. If there is a difference? Try and identify what force is pulling you off course and make adjustments accordingly.
  5. Rinse and repeat regularly.

Being intentional about these steps will mean you can’t go too far off course before you notice, and can then choose to make adjustments.


If your flight path is off and you want to start on your journey towards being more intentional about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below.

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Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here  

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have learned to have a more flexible mindset and how this has improved your life.

Photo Credit : SpaceX

Confession time...

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Gareth and I have enjoyed watching Masterchef over the past few weeks for a bit of relaxing evening TV. We are not big TV watchers, preferring to watch films or box sets, but Masterchef has been especially welcome in these cold winter, and even snowy, evenings! We enjoy learning about new foods that we can barely pronounce, along with imaginative ways of cooking 'said' foods, and try and guess if we would like the hopeful candidate's creations.

However, I recently noticed that I was getting “the munchies” in the middle of the programme, despite having just eaten dinner, and have found it a real challenge to avoiding mindless snacking.

This urge to snack has been compounded by the creation of arguably the best flapjacks in the world, made by my son Lewi! I’ve even found myself saying that he can’t go on his games console if the flapjack tin is empty! (Oh the parenting shame!)

But I realised this week, after speaking to Mary Rose, (one of our amazing Intentional Health coaches) was that the combination of the cold dark evenings, seeing the food on the TV, and having flapjacks readily available in the house has been a perfect storm of temptation for me - to the extent that I realised recently had succumbed and eaten six, yes you read that right - six! flapjacks in one day.

I probably don't need to tell you that this is NOT an example of a healthy balanced diet!

Before you gasp too much - I already feel even more shame telling you, because Lewi & Gareth have both been reminding me that I’m meant to be setting an example of being Intentional about my health! (proof that they are learning too! ;-))

But I have chosen to be brave and confess my downfalls to you anyway because I recognise I’ve been succumbing to cravings rather than been eating from a place of genuine hunger.

Hunger is a healthy response to a biological need. It is our bodies way of letting us know we are running low on readily available fuel. It is harmful to our bodies if we ignore genuine hunger!

Cravings, on the other hand, are a response to a psychological or emotional need - I’m looking for the flapjacks to satisfy the cravings I’m getting from a combination of; the memories of how Good the flapjacks are, wanting comfort in the cold, dark evenings when I’m longing for summer, and watching and imagining tasting the Masterchef food.

Now, obviously, there is nothing wrong with watching Masterchef, and I can assure you there is nothing wrong with the little pieces of perfection that are rolled into Lewi’s flapjacks!

BUT - I know that putting myself in the way of both of these, at the same time, when I'm already cold and longing for warm summer evenings, will lead me straight into temptation. And the more I succumb to these temptations, feel bad that I've eaten more than I should and been a rubbish parent, the more likely I am to develop an unhealthy habit of comfort eating whilst watching TV!

Downward spiral here we come!

So, to counteract those cravings before they become habits, here's my plan!

  1. Confess to an accountable community! (That- by default of you reading this -is you!) You can ask me how many flapjacks I've had at any time. That is a compelling reason to not eat more flapjacks.
  2. Other than the flapjacks I’ve asked Lewi to make for the image on this blog (which I have then taken to share at our church weekend away), I am going to be restricting the number of baked goods I ask him to make, at least until after the Masterchef final!
  3. Whilst Masterchef is still on or I'm watching TV, I’m going to do the ironing, drink a glass of water, or prepare a healthier snack like some fresh fruit instead.

If you want to find out more about the difference between a hunger or craving, why not take our Hunger or Cravings Quiz - you can download a free quiz sheet here.


If you want to start on your journey towards being more intentional about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below, to help start your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

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Sign up to receive these blogs via a weekly email and receive a FREE "5 Steps towards a healthier lifestyle ebook by clicking here  

And as always, if you found this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too! and we'd love you to get in touch and share with us about any experiences about how you have learned to have a more flexible mindset and how this has improved your life.

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church PartnerAngel  or Prayer Warrior - and want to partner with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities click on the links above or contact us