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Celebrating...

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We would like to dedicate today's post to celebrate with the 40,000 walkers, runners, joggers and movers who took part in the biggest ever Great Run Day yesterday in Manchester.


Simplyhealth's 'Great Run Day' is their celebration of running, jogging, walking, or simply moving together. 'The day to walk a little further, jog a little longer and inspire those around you to get active' is a key part of Simplyhealth’s #millionsmoving campaignSimplyhealth want to inspire individuals, families and communities to simply move more.

We like that! We also like celebrating our successes and inspiring healthy communities! 

Did you know that Celebrating our successes can be motivational for us to try new things and overcome challenges in other areas too?

You may have read in a previous blog, one of our trustees, Jo and her husband Phil, have been encouraged and inspired by our recent series of webinars and signed up to take part in the Great North Run yesterday.

Jo was right at the start of her running journey, running her very first non-stop mile (with her daughter, Eloïse),  which was a huge achievement for her as she'd never run before.

Her husband, Phil, ran the full half marathon (in a personal best time!) and amazingly raised over £2,500 for Scunthorpe Baptist Church and their Foodbank Christmas appeal.

If that wasn't enough to celebrate, there were around 40,000 people, just like Phil and Jo, who also ran. Some for the first, and some for the umpteenth time. Some took part for fitness, some for the pure joy, some for personal reasons and some just because they like a challenge! Many also raised money for charities that are close to their heart. All of them challenged themselves to move more.

For everyone who; walked; ran or used any other means of moving more, we at Intentional Health would like to applaud you, celebrate with you, and dedicate this blog to you today!

We also pray that no matter how much your bodies ache right now, that your mental and emotional health and wellbeing will be elated with the pure sense of achievement in being part of something bigger than you.

We'd also like to take a moment and celebrate with other people, like Sarah, who this week, shared with us how she has been out for two runs last week - not as part of the Great Run, but just to be more intentional about her health and wellbeing. Sarah is one of our inspirational Intentional Health coaches and we are being part of her scaffolding. She is being a fantastic role model and living out some of the Intentional Health messages that our 10 session programme explores.

Well done to Sarah, Phil, Jo, Eloïse and the 40,000+ others who took part yesterday or have been more intentional about their health and wellbeing in the past week.


If you'd like to take part next years Great Run, then why not be intentional and sign up today to Simplyhealth's reminder service to receive an email as soon as the 2018 ballot opens.

If you'd like to find out more about running an Intentional Health programme in your community, then get in touch here.

If running is just not your thing, then why not find something else to challenge yourself that helps you move more or connect with someone in your community. And if you let us know; like Jo, Phil and Sarah have; then when you've completed it, we will celebrate with you too!

Hi, I’m Jo and I hate running...

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Today's post is from one of our Trustee's Jo, sharing her three biggest takeaways from the recent Intentional Health webinars... Hi, I’m Jo and I hate running.

At school, I would get out of PE whenever I could and walk the cross country course each year (most probably) causing my house to lose the sports cup yet again!

Fortunately, my daughter didn’t inherit my genes. She loves all sport and is very competitive. For the past few years, she has been pleading with me to run a Race for Life with her like her friend and her mum. I have been very good at making my excuses.

Last year my husband ran the Great North Run and we all went to support him. As part of the weekend, they also hold a Mini Great North Run for children the day before. Last year we watched it and this year my daughter is signed up to take part. As she is only 8 she needs an adult with her. To try and earn some Mummy points I agreed to run it with her. It's only one mile! What could possibly go wrong?

For this week’s blog, I want to tell you my 3 takeaways of how the recent Intentional Health webinars have helped me.

1. Set a Goal So I have my goal. On the 9th of September, I will be running one mile with my daughter. Now if you remember I hate running. I don’t run. I do anything I can to get out of running.

In May this year, I had a realisation that the Mini Great North Run will be full of loving (sporty) parents running one mile with their children as a little warm-up for their big 13.1 miles the following day. They probably won’t even break out into a sweat. Now I had two choices – hand over the mantle to my husband or start some training. I’d made a promise to my daughter so I got training.

For those of you like me who don’t run I’d really recommend a great little podcast. NHS Couch to 5k. The first week all I had to do was run for one minute then walk for one minute and this repeated 8 times. I struggled and I mean really struggled. My legs hurt, I couldn’t breathe but I did it!

The first week all I had to do was run for one minute then walk for one minute and this repeated 8 times. I struggled and I mean really struggled. My legs hurt, I couldn’t breathe but I did it!

2. Scaffolding Now after that first week I was ready to give up. I was struggling to run for one minute, how was I ever going to reach a mile? My husband knew I was running but I also told some other close friends of my plans. It would be very easy to give up if just my husband knew but letting my friends down would be a different story.

Each week I would message my friends to tell them when I was intending to go for a run. I would then have great delight in sending them a sweaty picture of myself having completed it. I stated this right at the beginning of my training when I was only running for one minute at a time, so no major distances but each time I was accountable to them as well as myself. Some mornings I really didn’t want to go and could have very easily made an excuse not to, however, I had to run otherwise I would also be having to make excuses to my friends as to why I hadn’t gone. In return, my friends would also tell me of their intentional plans to exercise and send equally sweaty and embarrassing photos back!

3. What happens when things go wrong? Couch to 5k works by increasing your running time by a short amount each week. The first few weeks went really well. Then one week I really struggled with the increased running time. I spoke to someone who is a personal trainer and she reassured me that a lot of factors can influence your running and if I was really struggling to just repeat a week. As it happened I then came down with a nasty virus that knocked me out for 10 days.

I’d now had two weeks out from running and before the virus was only up to running for about 5 minutes, I was still very far off my goal of one mile. I now had two choices. Give up and hand the mantle over to my husband or carry on. Remember in place I have:

My goal – To run one mile with my daughter

My Scaffolding – My friends who know my goal and have been cheering me on and asking how my running is going.

So I put on my trainers again and repeated the week that I had previously struggled with.

I’m really pleased to be able to tell you that with less than a month to go I am now able to run continuously for one mile.

My goal in September is fast approaching. So what else have I done? I have promised some local friends that I will run a muddy 5k with them in 2018 – my next goal.

Do I now like running? No.

Do I look forward to running? No.

Have I noticed benefits to my running? Yes.

I feel generally fitter, I don’t struggle walking up hills as much as I did before and a lovely pair of trousers I bought two years ago finally fit!

 


If you’ve found this helpful or inspiring we'd love to hear from you, or if you've got any other topic suggestions! – please get in touch here.

You can also download our FREE Intentional Health journey workbook by clicking the picture below to help get you started on your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

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Everything in moderation?

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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

Intentional Health Survey

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I am always still blown away by the frequent encouraging emails and people who come up to me and say how much this blog helps or impacts them, and how much they look forward to Mondays! Thank you!

I wouldn't still be writing this if it wasn't helpful or being read, so thank you for being part of such a great group :)

To better serve you, I'd love to take this opportunity to invite you, as one of our faithful readers, to fill out a very short survey about what you would like to be covered.

You can do that by clicking here

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScmjei68mQVsOa2TBWiOLQzhY9UfjmMtQUJcvmBhZsn23Mk8w/viewform?usp=sf_link


I am also growing the team at the moment and on the lookout for a few new guest bloggers - if you would like to feature, please do get email niky@intentionalhealth.uk


We continue our webinar series this week with our "managing stress and worry-time" webinar

on Saturday 13th May at 5 pm (BST),

Register for our How to Intentionally manage Worrying webinar by clicking here

https://app.webinarjam.net/register/35515/4cdde85dfc

If you know you can't make it live, you can still register to receive the replay!

Please share this with those friends of yours who are always worrying! you could transform their lives!!

This week I will have a stand at the National ELIM conference, - please come and say hello if you are attending, and I'll see you on

I look forward to reading your survey thoughts, and I'll see you on Saturday 13th May at 5 pm for our next webinar!

Til next time,

Niky & team

The Middle Finger!

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This week we continue with our handful of ideas to improve our health and wellbeing... although we might need to be a little careful today as we move along and think about our 'middle' finger!…

(just for clarity again, I'm referring to the tallest finger that stands right in the middle alongside all of our other fingers)

I’m hoping this doesn’t happen often to you, and assuming that you wouldn’t dream of doing that to anyone else either, but if someone has ever stuck their 'middle finger' up at you - how did it make you feel?

Or, have you ever noticed how…

Trying to bend our middle finger (in towards the palm of the hand whilst keeping the actual finger straight) impacts on adjacent fingers and causes them to bend too?
Or how your fists clench when you are angry?
Or if you sit with your palms facing up it is much harder to be cross with someone? 

If you’ve ever noticed any of these, you'll probably appreciate that we are affected by others, and that we ourselves are connected.

Noticing we are connected is all well and good, but what does it have to do with our health and wellbeing?

Being connected means that if we focus excessively on one aspect of our mind body or soul, it can be at the expense of another.

Taking even the healthiest of behaviours to the extreme could leave us vulnerable to becoming obsessed or addicted by the behaviour itself, or can even set us up for failure.  For example focusing excessively on eating only healthy foods, could end up compromising our ability to be flexible, cope with circumstances where we have no control, and negatively affect our sanity, or emotional wellbeing.

If your January intentions are not quite working out as you had hoped or thought, do you see it as a failure or a reason to give up? If so, why not try and be compassionate with yourself, because you’ll probably find yourself in a better position to keep going or try again if you do.

If on the other hand you live the rest of the week condemning yourself, or just giving up, you are much more likely to find yourself reverting right back to the comfort habits you were probably trying to change in the first place.

Something we use as a rule of thumb on our Intentional Health community programme, is to ask ourselves "how might we help a friend through a similar situation"?

So in referring back to our handful of ways this week - try and avoid any extreme thinking, especially the kind of exclusive “middle finger” extreme thinking that leads us to offend others!

Instead remember that we are whole person beings, designed to be in relationships, standing alongside others but each also interconnected and amazingly created, and that every part of our health and wellbeing benefits from being given a 'manicure' of grace and compassion once in a while!


If you want to take ownership and 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, please share it so others can benefit too!

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The 'Pointy' finger!

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Last week we started looking at a handful of ways to be healthy and started with the thumb.

This week we are moving on to the pointy finger!

For clarification - I’m referring to the pointy finger as the finger we use to point towards others.

It can seem like we are pointing to others when we look to them and expect them to help fix, or do something for us. It can also apply when we think it is entirely their fault that we are in this situation. And whilst there may be a degree of truth in that at times, we can easily forget that when we point, there are at least three fingers pointing back at us!

The truth is that there are often 3 versions of the same situation;

  • My version,
  • Their version
  • The truth (often a combination of bits of both of the above)

Pointing, blaming, or expecting others to do something that we are meant to be owning or taking at least part responsibility for ourselves, can result in disappointment, frustration, mixed emotions, confusion, and a genuinely poor level of health and wellbeing.

Here are some examples (taken from the new year quiz!) of when you might be pointing the finger expecting others to do something.  See if you can identify with any of these* situations and fill in your blanks…..

*Someone/something else…..

  • …..  never puts the lid back on and it makes me cross.
  • The …..  never makes it easy for me to spend more time in the garden so I never get round to planting my herbs.
  • ….. needs to make a phone call before I can…..
  • The….. washing/ironing/cleaning/cooking/phone calls/kids/….. needs doing before I can make time to …..
  • He left the….. And I couldn’t…..
  • When  …..   then I’ll be able to …..
  • The temptation to …..  is always there and I can't resist.

OK, so those are just a few scenarios that you may or may not be able to relate to, and whilst they may even be truth, it might be helpful in reducing your stresses and improving your wellbeing to look at the three fingers pointing back at us when we are pointing the finger at others or our circumstances.

Owning what's in our responsibility rather than looking to others to fix us is key to making changes, and is a critical part of our emotional health and wellbeing.

No matter how much we want other people to help us along our journey, or help us solve our problems we are never going to make any change unless we start with looking in the mirror.

Change or transformation starts only when we acknowledge the need for change. 

And that also applies to those we see who we believe need to change, but don’t see it in themselves.

You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Understanding what our responsibility is and what it is not, what is in our control and not someone elses responsibility, and then excepting that and owning that, is the key to being emotionally healthy.

Admittedly, this is hard and requires humility.

In pointing to others we need to also look at the 3 fingers pointing back to us, and be open to the fact that we might not always be right, that our way might not be the only way of thinking, or that we might even be wrong.

This is hard, requires vulnerability and not something many of us are used to or encouraged to do. However, from someone who is learning to be more open to this, I have learned it is incredibility liberating to not have to always be in control, my relationships with others improve and it’s great for my health and wellbeing.

So this week if you find yourself getting annoyed because nobody understands you, take responsibility for your part in that, and try and explain again in a different way.

Or take a moment and try and understand what it is they don't understand so you can explain it again from a different perspective if it seems really obvious to you.

Accept that whilst others can help us, it is only when we take responsibility and take the first step of our own lives that we can begin to see transformation.

God has given us all a living body and we are better in community when we have support and encouragement. But we can’t expect that to happen until after we have taken ownership.

Next time you find yourself looking to someone else, are frustrated that someone else isn’t getting it try and remember that as you point the finger at them, there are at least 3 pointing back at you!

Serenity prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

whether you believe in God or not, excepting what you can change and surrendering what you can’t,  and having wisdom to understand the difference is incredibly helpful for your emotional health well-being.


If you want to take ownership and 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 get you started on your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

And as always, if you found this post helpful, please share it so others can benefit too!

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A handful of ways to be more intentional...

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Thanks again to all those who took time to fill in our new year resolution quiz - we had a range of specific answers that I managed to sort into 5 key areas - Which, for the purpose of this post, I'm thinking of as 5 fingers on a hand!  

If you filled out the quiz you might recognise some of examples, as I've used your resolutions... see if you can spot yours..

... starting with the ‘thumb’…

Ever noticed that it’s easier to say no to someone else when you’ve already made plans? 

Or more to the point - ever noticed it’s much harder to say no to someone else when you haven’t already made plans, even when you really could do without any extra commitments? 

Understanding this principle is critical to being Intentional about your health and wellbeing, and to do things that are important to you.

The good news is this principle isn't just applicable to improved health and wellbeing, it easily transfers to all aspects of our life.

Understanding today's aspect of being intentional can make all the difference in saying ‘no’ to anything because you've already given something important the ‘thumbs’ up! 

This can be helpful whether you are trying to; Avoid sugary snacks, Drink more water, Want to take time to pray more, Exercise regularly or or even run a marathon with your daughter.

It is equally applicable if you want to spend more time at home resting and replenishing yourself, so that you aren’t exhausted and can give your best self to your friends and family.

Whatever our challenges are, it can be hard to justify being intentional and putting these important things first - and I’ll let you into the secret why…. 

The consequences of all of these important choices are realised in the future.

Where-as the donut calling your name, your friend knocking on the door asking you to come round for coffee, trying to squeeze one more thing on your to do list before picking the kids up from school, the office telling you they need a paper signed quickly or to attend another meeting this evening, are all seemingly urgent - they need doing today - need a response now demanding immediate urgent attention.

So here's the principle...

Unless we have a compelling reason to remember the important future - our present self will always respond to the urgent demands of today ahead of the future demands of tomorrow

To overcome our present self - or to exercise self control, we need to understand and resolve to remember "why our future-self is more important" 

When we really appreciate our "why" we recognise; 

  • •I am the only mum, dad, husband, wife, daughter, son [fill in the blank] version of me that my family has (we are all important to someone - even when we don’t feel like it)
  • That I only get one body, and in the long run it needs less sugar and more water and healthy nutrients to last longer and work effectively
  • That the benefits of scheduling in regular exercise to keep my heart healthy or run that marathon with my daughter will be a significant achievement for both of us, strengthen our relationship and bring us closer together …
  • When we include rest and balance in our day to day it’s easier to retain peace and be more patient and less grumpy with those closest to us (who we rarely save our best behaviour for!)…

Suddenly everyone benefits. - Even my friend who wants to off-load will appreciate a more rested and present version of me, than a frazzled or frenzied one!

When we compromise on any of this, it’s the most important people that tend to lose out.

That’s why we NEED to say ‘no’ to other non urgent but important things. even if we feel guilty for saying ‘no’ to others.

In doing this we are effectively acknowledging that we have already said ‘yes’ - or given the "thumbs- up" to something that's really important in the future - and it's also really important today.

Here’s an invite to a practical 30 day challenge to help you understand a little of how this works:

  1. Take 5 minutes to think and decide today one good intentional lifestyle choice that is important and WHY this is important to you? (The key is one thing at a time. It could be something as simple as drinking more water, or staying home a set number of nights a week) - What are you giving a thumbs up to? write this down.
  2. Next, imagining yourself in one month's time - how you want to see yourself and think about what might get in the way of this one thing. You may well have some short term pain for a long term gain.
  3. Think about how bad you could feel if nothing had changed, particularly if you’d let the most important people down. 
  4. Think about how you could live that month over again to make it the best ever.
  5. And finally schedule in the family time, rest time, exercise time, drinking water time… whatever it takes to make sure your intentions are in your life and calendar for the next 30 days. You could even add alerts to remind you if you're using your phone! 

Then keep these intentions front and centre and guard them as if your life depends on it for 30 days!

Please let us know how you get on in being intentional!.. We are right there with you - giving you the thumbs up!


The content from these short posts are taken from our Intentional Health Programme. Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about joining one of these community programmes.

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