Learning from a Toddler


Photocredit:Alexander Dummer

This past week, I have been reflecting on a recent discussion with a friend about how Intentional Health is in a ‘toddler’ phase:

No longer in its infancy, discovering how to stand on its own two feet and walking unsteadily with small, baby steps, whilst at the same time, often wanting to run on way ahead of what it is capable of!

As I watched a toddler play over the weekend, I was reminded of just how much joy there is in this toddling phase of life.

Everything is seen as a huge adventure playground; an opportunity to learn and discover new things, and of course, to ‘get it wrong’. Thankfully, because a toddler’s centre of gravity is still low down, ‘falling over’ isn’t too traumatic! In fact, it is a normal part of life and something adults usually make a game of and celebrate to encourage more baby steps!

I then thought about how different ‘getting it wrong’ or ‘falling over’ can be in later life, and about how it is not readily celebrated because the expectation is that we “really ought to have learned and grown up by now”.

As a result, our worldview changes and instead of being full of joy and learning in our baby steps, we end up feeling shame, inadequacy and ridicule.

We give up trying new things, for fear of failing and instead, we listen to lies about how we are not good enough, clever enough, rich enough, patient enough, generous enough, disciplined enough, certainly not as good as them, the list goes on…

We believe these lies and accept that it might be best to stay safe, in our comfort zone, believe 'they' know best and just do nothing.  After all, it is much easier to do nothing, because doing something, anything requires ownership, humility and effort on my part, and that often requires courage!

Of course, it is true and healthy to put away our childish ways and grow up.  And growing up also requires an acceptance that we are not perfect, we will probably make mistakes and will definitely  ‘fall over’ if we try and walk before we can run.

I would also argue that it is good to remember we can’t always expect to get something ‘right’ straight off or have knowledge or mastery if we have never understood or experienced it before.  Does that mean it is better to do nothing, to not take any steps, rather than try and get it wrong? That doesn’t require much courage.

When I listen to lies about how I might not ‘be enough’, I become trapped in my shame, fear and focused on my inadequacies.

Negativity and lies paralyse me. Lies cause me to not take any baby steps and certainly do not motivate me to change! Listening to lies also means I miss out on opportunities to grow, learn something new, overcome life's obstacles and really live life to the full.

When I see friends, family, colleagues become paralysed or give up from listening to these lies and ‘falling over’ in shame and fear, I have a unique opportunity to be even more courageous. I can challenge those lies on their behalf, by encouraging them to celebrate just how many baby steps they have taken and call out the amazing and good things about each of us… of which there is always more 'good' than we might dare to believe!

A toddler has very little shame and fear, learns lots and has an abundance of joy!

Shame and fear will cripple us of our joy and make it really hard for us to make any progress, grow or develop. I wonder if this is because instead of taking ownership for the tiny steps we are able to take - we become paralysed in accepting the lie that we probably are not enough, which leads us to settle and give up.

This week, I am going to choose to focus on what it might look like to grow up, to take full responsibility and ownership of any areas of my life I can control, let go of the things I can’t and become a little more courageous in taking a few more baby steps. Will you join me?

I believe that only then, will we be ready to make the changes that lead to a life of joy, a life in all its fullness and celebrate all that we have learned and achieved so far! 

This week at Intentional Health we have taken more toddler steps and launched our new website! It is not perfect and there are some things that still aren’t quite working properly yet, but we are getting it out - so please bear with us, and encourage us as we learn and develop something new!

Everything in moderation?


Photo Credit:Scott Webb

Ok, so not everything might be good in moderation, but taking a break and not being obsessive or extreme about our health might be healthy once in a while!

August is a traditional time for holidays, and holidays can traditionally mean good food, wine, lazing around and re-connecting with friends and family.  Any healthy eating and drinking, routines and making time for exercise can easily go out of the window. If we are not careful, we can end up feeling guilty and ashamed for overindulging- which can lead to comfort eating and a negative spiral of healthy habits later on.

Here at Intentional Health, we see holidays as a healthy break from the "norm" that can help us be more intentional later.

By enjoying some holiday foods and relaxation, especially if it is combined with extended times reconnecting with family and friends, we can really appreciate and enjoy the "treats". If we don't have Cornish pasties, fish and chips and ice-cream every day, then why not intentionally enjoy them on a trip to the sea-side? After all, they taste so much better there!

We don't need to over-indulge to appreciate them, and we may realise that these treats, which may have previously made up a large part of our staple diet, are not part of our norm anymore. If that's you, make sure take a moment to appreciate just how far you have come on your journey!

Being intentional about a holiday might just mean that before you go, you put a date in your diary to reflect on which healthy habits or behaviours you might like to focus on and revisit when you get back.

Til next time,

Niky & Team

May Day Confessions


I really hope you are having or plan to have a relaxing day off today!(assuming you are reading this on Bank Holiday Monday!)!

I have a confession to make - I am writing this on Thursday afternoon - because I'm going away for a relaxing weekend with family and friends! :[)

BUT - this isn't going to be any ordinary weekend because I'm going to be leaving my laptop at home!!! (Gasp!!!!)

Many of you know how much I love what I do with Intentional Health  

I believe there's a saying that says something like ...

"If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life"

- Well - that is me! - I am so blessed to do what I love almost every day! (Ok - I'll admit that I don't love bookkeeping! - but apart from that... ;[) )

BUT at times- if I look honestly in the mirror, I am probably bordering on workaholicism (is that a word?) - which isn't healthy.

More than that, my family and friends also suffer when they never see me (and really, I love them even more!)

So this weekend, I am setting myself the challenge that from Friday midday - Tuesday 9 am I am going to have some work free and laptop free time!

(is it ok for me to admit I'm a little nervous about this?)

To keep yourselves amused whilst we are away, you could;

1) Watch our introductory webinar replays by clicking on the links below... 

Webinar 1 - Why be intentional?

Webinar 2 - Ready to Change?

2) Let us know what future webinar topics you would like us to explore in our future webinars 

So far we have had requests for; reducing stress and worry, Managing willpower and habits Getting more sleep Reading food labels

You can email to let us know your requests! (though please don't expect a reply until next week!)

3) Think about becoming an Intentional Health Angel and supporting us each month with a one-off or small regular monthly donation 

You can do that or find out more by clicking here

or visiting

(That way, we can appoint an extra member to our team, and I can spend some normal relaxing and much needed time with my family and friends)

Please let me know which option you go for, and if you are interested, I'll let you know how I get on this weekend next Monday!

Have a great rest of the week!

Niky & Team

I'm sorry...


This week, things didn't quite work out as I had hoped, planned or expected. I am so sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen, in fact, I've tried really hard for this is not to happen. Possibly even too hard. And before you ask, yes; trying too hard is a thing; you can try too hard and end up spoiling or ruining some things - resulting in the exact opposite of what you intended!.

I am talking firstly about the coffee plant that I blogged about earlier this year.

After trying to both remember and get into a new habit of watering the plant almost every day, I am sorry to say the plant is sick, and I am not sure if it will survive…

It turns out coffee plants are not meant to be watered every day after all.

Judging by the dying leaves and stalks, I don’t think their roots like to be swimming in a cup of brown water. I think I literally drowned this one. I'm sorry.

I’m also sorry because today was the day I had planned I would be officially inviting you to sign up to join our very first webinar on Wednesday, or signing up to watch the replay later in the week if you couldn't make it live.

However, due to various reasons, and subsequent technical issues during our first practice session last Wednesday (yes - we even tried to practice the webinar! We are taking it that seriously!!) things are not quite as ready as I had planned to launch the webinars for this week.

It also turns out there is an awful lot of unseen work that goes into webinars!

I could have decided to try and keep to my schedule, but I know I would have ended up stressed and putting myself under enormous and unrealistic time pressures.

I figured this could be potentially detrimental to my mental health, as well as that of my surrounding family and friends who would have to put up with a more stressed version of me! And also, you wouldn’t get my best work!

So instead, I reframed my thoughts by thinking this would instead be the perfect opportunity to accept and acknowledge that I am only human and I would be better off changing my plans and expectations.

Reframing these two disappointments of my own, have reminded me that we can still learn something when things to don’t quite go as we hope or plan.

This reframing mindset can be particularly helpful for our mental health and wellbeing, particularly when it comes to our resilience!

MIND define resilience as “the ability to cope with life’s challenges and to adapt to adversity”.

That is, our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don't go quite as planned or as we expect.

This is really important because it helps us maintain our wellbeing in the difficult or stressful circumstances we all face from time to time, and can prevent us developing unhealthy mental health habits or conditions including anxiety and depression.

Reframing our negative thoughts can be really helpful in this.

People with resilient habits don't tend to wallow, dwell or ruminate on failures. Instead, they accept or acknowledge the situation, choose to learn from their mistakes, and then move forward by thinking more positive thoughts instead.

Being more resilient improves our wellbeing and means we can..

  1. Bounce back much quicker from disappointments and challenges, whilst remaining calm and peaceful
  2. Let go of the things (or people, or circumstances) that we are not directly responsible for, rather than try and “fix” them.
  3. Choose to respond or interact better with those people around us that may have been involved (or sometimes even the cause of) our disappointments or frustrations
  4. See that sometimes we might be trying too hard to be perfect, and it might be helpful to be more lighthearted and not take ourselves too seriously
  5. Accept that although we may get things “wrong” in the eyes of some, “wrong” may actually just be “different” - and "different" is ok!

High levels of wellbeing and resilience in a community don’t just lead to fewer mental health problems either. Good levels of wellbeing are also associated with:

  • Improved physical health
  • Reduced absence from work due to sickness
  • Improved learning and academic achievement
  • Reductions in risk-taking behaviours like smoking
  • Reduced mortality
  • Increased community involvement

The bad news is that I don’t think I will be able to resurrect the coffee plant.

The good news, is that, Lord willing, we will be rescheduling our first webinar for Wednesday 19th April at 7:30 pm GMT (15:30 EST) where we will be kicking off with a 30 minute introductory topic on why we would benefit from being intentional about our health and wellbeing, and what happens when we go with the flow.

I’d love for you to join us and you can do so by clicking on this link and registering here

These blogs contain a lot of information about what and why habits like resilience are beneficial to our health and wellbeing, but not always as much in the way of practical advice regarding how and when to be resilient.

These practical aspects are exactly the kind of tips and suggestions we will be covering in the live webinars with opportunities for you to ask questions.

If you haven’t already, please do sign up to our email list too as we will be sending specific topic invitations as the weeks continue through this webinar series we are running!

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The 'Wedding Ring' finger


As we continue with our handful of ideas series, this week we refer to our wedding ‘ring' finger!…

Just for clarity, I'm referring to the 4th finger that we would traditionally wear a wedding or engagement ring on.

This finger is known as the 'wedding ring’ finger because a long time ago, before scientist William Harvey [1578-1657] discovered how the circulation system actually worked, people generally believed that a vein connected the left hand directly to the heart. They viewed the physical heart as being closely connected to the this finger, and the emotion of love.

Back then they might not have fully known as we do today how the hearts biology and physiology worked, but they did recognised that our physical and emotional ‘parts’ are holistically connected.

Today, UCLA scientists are discovering that loneliness and isolation is toxic. Living with out meaningful relationships is literally breaking our hearts because it is associated with higher blood pressure and heart disease, which increase our risk of dying.

Researchers are trying to understand exactly how loneliness causes disease at the cellular level. Scientists are also finding that loneliness is far more than a psychological pain — it’s a biological wound that wreaks havoc on our cells.

Having deep and meaningful relationships is therefore good and healthy for our mind, body and soul.

That shouldn’t be a surprise because we were created to be in relationship and community and weren’t designed to be on our own. I’m not just referring to romantic or family relationships here - being in any supportive and edifying relationship is good.

But if that is the case, I wonder why do some people end up socially isolated and why don’t we spend more time in community and connecting with others?

Here are a few possible reasons ...

Our life circumstances may change and we suddenly find ourselves having no connected family, or friends.

We don’t have any natural opportunities to meet new friends - it require lots of courage to overcome that daunting feeling of potential rejection to go out on our own and meet new people.

Because there are times when being in relationship with someone, anyone, can just be hard.

Meeting others who might have different viewpoints, experiences and values to us can result in us unintentionally being offended or offending others. In our hurt we can allow our pride to take over and shut down, or withdraw, to avoid being hurt again.

Sometimes meaningful relationships can just feel like hard work, they require so much give and take, and cost so much energy. We can tell ourselves the lie that we'd be better off on our own and simply give up on trying.

I find it helpful to remember the “big picture” when bumping into people who see the world differently than I do.

The big picture is that we are better in relationship.

It helps me to think about and celebrate those things that we do have in common, and it’s also healthy to accept differences. When I keep an open heart I am often surprised about how much I can learn from some else’s experience and view points!

Perhaps today’s research could help us remember and motivate us to not give up on relationships and friendships. Perhaps it can help us to forgive others when they hurt us, not necessarily because they deserve it, but because it is better for our own health and wellbeing.

There is an uncomfortable and well known quote that says; 

un-forgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die."

That is probably because un-forgiveness kills our meaningful relationships, eats away at our soul and leads to isolation and loneliness.

So this week, rather than believe the lie that it would just be easier or we’d be better off on our own than in a relationship, why not instead be brave and think

“how can I be brave about meeting new people?" or "is there a new way I could meet people?” "are there any relationships that could be restored with a little forgiveness on my part?" "am I holding a grudge I need to let go of?"

If you are already in healthy meaningful relationships ask;

“how can I invest more into my meaningful relationships?” or even “can I give a hand to someone I know who might be feeling isolated?”

If we can do any of these, we could also be subsequently investing into our own holistically healthy heart.

If you're thinking about starting a journey to improve your health and wellbeing and want to invest in some meaningful relationships, then why not join almost 200 others and download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook Click on the picture below to help get you started on your journey towards living a healthier, happier life..

And as always, thanks to those who take the time to email and let me know how much the posts bless you and share it and if you've noticed any ways you are connected, we'd love to hear about it!

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