Working from Rest


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.  

Flight Path


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.


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

Whole-hearted health


As we referred to last week, our hearts are phenomenal and therefore we need to look after them.

They physically help us make sure we have years in our life, and they help us have life in our years!

Here are a few things we can do to keep our whole-hearts healthy…

Regular Physical activity

Regular physical activity helps flush any fatty deposits and prevents blockages, it also helps create muscle cells that are elastic which can expand and contract really well. In effect, every time we place our heart under a bit of controlled stress it responds by adapting to cope with the stress even better the next time. We know that our hearts can become unfit (and clogged) and this can lead to a heart episode so it is essential that we are physically active to protect the most important muscle in the body. For further health and advice about what physical activity is right for you, speak to your GP or visit the British Heart Foundation website

Eat a healthy balanced diet

Not all food is created equally!

There are foods that are high in unhealthy fats and sugars, that contain very little, or none of the essential nutrients our body needs. By eating the right foods, and in the right portions, we give our hearts (and the rest of our bodies) the best chance of getting all the nutrients it needs to work efficiently, and grow and repair new cells.

Be gracious with our words

As lovely as valentines day can be for many, it can also be a huge disappointment.

The Hollywood illusions of being cherished and at the centre of someone else's universe, for a brief moment in time, rarely materialises exactly as we imagine in the real world.

The gifts or cards we spent ages picking out may not be received with the same heart that they were sent, perhaps the words came out wrong or the dinner got burnt… So how about this Valentine’s day, we let our words show a little love and grace to others.

Look in the mirror

Remember how easy it can be to point the finger at others when 'they' get it wrong? It's also good to remember that there are 3 fingers pointing back at us! This applies even more so when we are kinder to others than we might be to ourselves! This week, think about where we could speak kindness over ourselves in the same way we might speak to a friend.

Connect with others

Connecting with others is one of the NHS' five ways to wellbeing.

We weren’t meant to live in isolation! Health evidence even says that loneliness is one of the main contributors to poor health and early death in the UK. On Valentine's day, any isolation we might feel is amplified, as we imagine everyone else in their "perfect" relationships.

If you find yourself on your own perhaps take that step to find someone else to hang out with and plan something fun. Not because you need them, but because they need you just as much.

Give to others

Giving is another of the 5 ways the NHS recognise to improve health and wellbeing.

God loves a cheerful giver, and giving to others out of a selfless place improves our own health and wellbeing no end. If you aren’t sure what to give? Have a think about who you are giving to and maybe consider their love languages.

We can give the gift of time, which is, of course, one of our most precious possessions!

It is always good to give kind words, a smile and encouragement to others, and although they might not cost any money - they do require intentionality. It is also good to remember that we can never go over budget with our good, and kind words!

Speaking of money: loving that too much isn't always great for your heart, so it is good to give some of that away too. (can I just take a moment to also say thank you to those Angels, who have given financially to Intentional Health supporting our journey in tackling health poverty through the church. And thank you to those for giving to us personally too ;-)

Greatest Love...

Finally, this Valentine’s day, let us remember that we are loved, and to have a healthy love and respect for ourselves as we love others too.

Photo Credit:

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As always, if you find this post helpful or inspiring, please share it so others can benefit too!

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One way you can love God, yourself and your neighbours too, is by becoming an Intentional Health Church PartnerAngel or Prayer Warrior - and partnering with us to prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities. 

Story Time


Photo Credit:Ben White

As it is National Storytelling Week (January 27th – February 3rd), we invite you to make yourself comfy for today's Intentional Health story time...

Once upon a time…..

….many years ago, there was a nasty outbreak of a disease called cholera. This disease caused many people to become physically sick, causing much suffering leading to many deaths.

It turned out that the disease was entirely preventable by not drinking contaminated water. Sadly, people didn’t know that this was the case and couldn’t make a choice to stop drinking the water because they didn’t know it was contaminated.

When John Snow, a local physician, figured out the source of the disease may have been from a contaminated water pump, the water pump handle was removed.

This simple act prevented people from unknowingly making a choice that was causing physical suffering and needless death. It was also instrumental in beginning public health policy in the UK. 

And so, after the pump handle was removed, everyone really did ‘live’… and we hope…“ happily ever after”.

The end.

… erm, not quite!…

I do wonder, how many people were a little grumpy at the inconvenience of having to get water from a different pump? They would probably have been blissfully unaware that this removal of choice was preventing them from suffering needlessly and premature death.

And I think about how today, many years later, people are still becoming sick and suffering needlessly because of unknowingly making unwise lifestyle choices.

The NHS is struggling to treat and care for the people who are sick, and our fast-paced, convenience-culture means that we are not just dealing with physical sickness and diseases like coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancers…. but our mental and emotional health, as well as our spiritual health, is suffering too.

So here at Intentional Health, we are inviting volunteers from the local church to partner with us and help our communities understand how important it is to make healthy choices that lead to healthier habits, in order to live a healthy and happy life and avoid premature illness and death. We also know that people who are beginning to make habitually, healthy choices are best placed to help others make great habitual choices too.

We train and equip volunteers with all the public health information that helps us all make wise lifestyle choices and create healthy habits that can significantly improve our health and wellbeing.

We address whole person health and wellbeing topics through our 10 session programme. The 10 session programme explores physical health topics like food and physical activity, as well as considering habits, stress, worry, thoughts and feelings, boundaries, sleep and rest.

We are inviting volunteers from the local church to partner with us to deliver the message in their communities all over the nation, and because we come from a Christian perspective we also include exploring a little of our own spiritual health from this point of view too, although this part is optional and people from all faiths and none are very welcome to attend.

We hope that our programme, and this blog, inspires you to think about the informed and uninformed habits or choices you are making about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health today.

Unfortunately, we can’t remove the water pump handle of today’s convenience culture, but we hope we might inspire you to choose to drink the right water so that you can live ‘happily ever after’ too.I

If you would like to find out more about becoming an Intentional Health Church Partner with us and help prevent sickness, save lives and inspire healthy communities - Expressions of interest for our March training is now open.

If you want to start on your own journey towards making more informed and intentional choices about your health then why not download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below or attending a programme in your community. We'd love to help start you on your journey towards living a happy ever after life too.

Please share this post with others so it can benefit them too, and let us know how you are being more intentional about your health and wellbeing.

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Feel Like Giving Up?


Photo Credit :Lucy Trevatt

As we approach the January halfway point, I wonder how your new year resolutions, disciplines or goals are going? Are you making progress and celebrating your success along the way, or perhaps the novelty is beginning to wear thin and any changes are feeling hard? Have you been tempted to give up yet? If so, we want to encourage you today.  

Although making changes in life sounds relatively simple in theory:  ‘you stop/start doing something new’, in reality, and in practice, it is actually quite hard!

We are hard-wired to be efficient, to stay safe and to conserve energy.   Making change requires a lot of willpower, risk and effort.

Making changes to any existing habits, disciplines or routines, is not easy, but here are 3 things that might help in reaching goals or adopting new disciplines or resolutions for this year.

1 - Remember your ‘why’

Ask yourself “Why did I(start/stop/fill in the blank) in the first place?

Rarely does anyone attempt to make change lightly. It is usually only after something becomes so unbearable, or something else becomes so compelling, that we feel change is necessary.

Once we begin to make changes in the new and improved direction, the ‘unbearable’ can quickly become a distant memory, yet the ‘compelling’ still remains a long way off, despite all our efforts. It is then that it is often much easier to settle back into old routines and comfortable, safe old habits.

Going back to remind ourselves why we wanted to make any changes in the first place, can really help keep us motivated during this time, especially until the new behaviour becomes an unconscious habit.

2 - Create an environment of reminders

Once we have established our motives for change, putting meaningful reminders front and centre of our everyday activities is really important.

Things like; putting pictures of what ‘success’ might look like on our bathroom mirror to look at while teeth brushing, writing encouraging notes and sticking them on the fridge and make tally charts or scorecards to record every time we make small steps in the right direction, can all help.

Sharing our successes with others or inviting others to ask how we are getting on when we next see them can also help keep us accountable.

3 - Accept failure when it happens

Perfection is an illusion. Failure is inevitable, and never more so than if we have set ourselves the “perfect” picture of how we will change or how easy it might be.

If we chose to humble ourselves and accept that a degree of failure as a likely option, we can be intentional in exploring and creating a plan for how we will overcome those obstacles before we are faced with the potential reality.

If we aim for perfection, we don’t accept failure as an option, and it will be much harder to start (and therefore put ourselves at risk of failure) to achieve our goals in the first place, and we are more likely to give up altogether.

So this week, if you feel like giving up, please remember why you started, put reminders of that on your fridge, and when you mess up, remember that success only comes after you get up one more time than you failed! 

Keep pressing on and don’t give up!

If you've been thinking 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 - now is the best time for that too! ;-) 

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.

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 how you love to laugh.

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Did you notice the good or bad habits?


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

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.

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!

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