Remote working tips: How to shift your mindset to make it work

An increasing number of companies are asking that their employees shift to remote working in the “Delay” phase of the Coronavirus. So how can we go about creating the right mental office when working remotely?

Maybe you’ve already experienced short stints of occasional windows of home working. Or perhaps with the Coronavirus the concept of remote working is completely new to you.

The bottom line is, we don’t know how long we will all be remote working for, which adds an extra level of complexity to the whole notion of home working.

Parents will face a particularly unique challenge if and when schools close, as they struggle to find time to squeeze in work and possibly home school, should they decide to go down that route. In this post, we share our remote working tips, and insights into how you can shift your mindset to make it work.

The challenges of remote working

The ability to master certain skills to successfully work from home is vital. This will all feed into our ability to be more productive, meet tight deadlines, and manage emails.

Dealing with setbacks and scheduling enough sleep when you literally take your work home with you are just some of the challenges of working in isolation.

The other thing to remember is our bodies are programmed to be cautious of change, such as a new environment.

Tune into your rhythms

When remote working, try to tune into your biological rhythms and work when you feel most energetic — whilst trying to strike a happy balance between regular clock time and personal “rhythmic time”.

Having a ticking clock on the wall is not helpful as it puts more weight on linear time. This may be helpful to make deadlines but can stifle creativity.

Give yourself permission to employ both methods of time and value each. You should also start work sessions with the big creative tasks when you’re most energised and attend to emails and finer detail later.

Carve out your space

A successful home office has a lot to do with understanding the challenges of working on your own. Creating a designated pleasant space is the easy bit; embracing the right mindset is the real challenge, along with a comfy chair.

Once it’s established that you’re home all the time, friends and family start to ask if you “could do them a favour in the middle of the day.” Which is why, if you want to successfully work from home, you need to declare war on distractions.

Setting up a home office and being disciplined enough to work from home is not as straightforward as getting an ergonomic chair and a “do not disturb” sign. It is important to set aside a specific space in your home that will serve as your office. If you are blessed enough to already have an actual home office, that is great.

Shared living spaces can get noisy, so if your workspace isn’t isolated from common areas – we recommend getting some noise-cancelling headphones to signal to others that you’re not to be disturbed and to avoid getting drawn into conversations that are going to distract you while you’re on deadline.

If not, a good home office can be as simple as the kitchen table or the flexible corner of a room as long as you can focus on the task and limit distractions, acknowledging that there’ll be plenty of them.

Not only will this help you get into the right mindset when your workday begins, but, it will help you to leave your work behind when you need to switch gears and focus on your family life or personal time.

Have the right attitude

In order to work effectively on your own, there can be no doubt that self-motivation is the key to productivity when remote working. No matter how great you think working from home is or how beautiful a space you create, to be successful in any home business you must still find a way to discuss your ideas with others.

Having clear expectations from your boss and team – and clear communication with them and knowing exactly what’s expected of you – is vital. Remember, this is still a real job – just because you can lounge around in your pjs doesn’t mean you actually should!

The psychological effects of working from home

Within the first few months of your work-to-home transition, you’ll notice to start feeling emotionally and mentally fried, since there is no physical separation between work and home. You might hold a Type A personality that just stays in go mode. You might tune out or disengage from your family because replaying in your mind a difficult client call you had that day or rehearsing the conference call you’re going to be facilitating the next day.

You might soon realize missing the psychological and emotional closure you had experienced at the office when shutting down the computer, turning off the light, and heading home for the day. By setting aside an official office space in your home, you can make it a point to shut down shop physically and psychologically once your workday is done.

Establishing your working hours

One of the biggest factors is how your perception of time may change. In the corporate world you’re expected to turn up “on time”, head off for lunch between 1pm and 2pm, then “clock off” in time to catch the right bus or train. This highly regulated scaling of time is a relatively new phenomenon. In the past we managed time according to the seasons or daylight hours. Our working days were governed by nature as opposed to trains, buses and “office hours”.

Setting a defined work schedule will help you while transitioning to home office. Because your office is so convenient and located literally a few steps away from your bedroom, you may be tempted to maximise time by popping in before everyone is awake to check a few emails, or, hopping online after dinner to finish up a quick proposal, or staying online until midnight so you could finish up etc..Before you know it you’re working 12-15 hours a day during the workweek and several hours on most weekends.

Just as conventional workplaces have basic hours of operation, it is important for you, your family, your colleagues, clients and vendors to establish when you will be workingand when you won’t. Of course this will vary greatly depending on the work you are doing, number of hours per week that you are working, the level of accessibility you need to have for your family and/or your work.

Having a work schedule and trying to stick to it helps to establish a healthier separation between work and life. Set office hours and be sure to create a time slot for each of the day’s activities. This helps with communicating to others when your work-time and play-time is. If you have small children you may need to schedule your work around their naps, homeschooling and another caregiver’s schedule, so that you can have a good chunk of time to work uninterrupted.

Getting away from your desk

It’s much harder to shut down for the day when your “office” is where you live. There’s no night-time cleaning crew that comes to empty out the trash to signal that you’ve been burning the midnight oil.

You have to decide when to call it quits for the day. Because sooner or later, trying to jam in another task at the end of the day can rob you of your sanity.

Limit the number of times you check e-mail. You might find yourself constantly checking e-mail because you’re worried about being out of the loop—but while it’s important to stay connected, spending too much time on e-mail might distract you from more important tasks.

Which is why it’s important to make stepping away from your desk a regular habit. Whether it’s a short walk, a trip to the gym, or taking an afternoon yoga class, exercise can help keep your mind sharp when you work from home. It also helps you strike the perfect work-life balance.

Remember the 3 pillars of work life balance which are:

Rest – it’s your job to shut down for the day. Set an alarm to tell you when to stop.

Exercise – take a walk in the middle of the day to clear your mind.

Social – working from home can feel isolating. If self-isolating atm from the virus then the option is to schedule a virtual weekly video call with your team or friends etc.

Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, built a healthy eating habit while working for The New York Times. His approach was unconventional in that it started with chocolate.

Chocolate triggers reward centers in your brain and makes you want to do things you normally procrastinate on. You can use the same exact principle to make exercise a habit. Watch the video below to see how you can put it into action as you work from home:

Setting proper expectations with your family

Take some time to really think about what you are going to need to be successful in your work during this period, what you are going to be able to realistically accomplish in your home, and then sit down to discuss the expectations accordingly with your family.

Are there particular times when you cannot be disturbed? What is an acceptable volume level for the house when you are working? What is off-limits while you are working?

Everyone has their assumptions about how this work at home arrangement is going to pan out, and unfortunately, they can sometimes be quite different.

Your other half may have some misguided expectations about what your home is going to look like or what sort of food would be cooking for dinner once you have started to work from home. You’ll probably have to explain to them that in this particular situation, your day hasn’t changed at all that drastically. Read: pretty much consumed with work the majority of the day and when you have a few extra moments between calls or tasks, they are usually spent reconnecting with yourself or kids.

Sit down and discuss what the expectations are, what you could realistically accomplish, and make some adjustments. Communicate your work schedule to friends and family that you’re working and ask them not to call you unless it is urgent. Make your office hours known and clear to the family, and make sure they respect your working hours. Don’t be afraid to defend your work time. Some will think that since you work from home, you can do whatever you like.

Our nationwide shift towards remote working is going to be a great challenge as we try to juggle the needs of work, family, homeschooling and self-care. As one of the great social experiments of our times under the watch of the Coronavirus, we hope you find these remote working tips useful. We will be posting more remote working tips on our Self Love Today LinkedIn page over the period so be sure to follow us there.


Staying positive in difficult times

Life is very strange right now. As the UK heads into the “Delay” phase of its Coronavirus action plan, there might be many times when you feel it’s hard to stay positive. With so much uncertainty, how can we stay positive no matter what comes our way? Here we share our tips for staying positive no matter how life events may turn out over the coming months.

Don’t confuse quitting with letting go

Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for you, try to trust your judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives. It’s important at times like these to surround yourself in a network of healthy relationships. Try using the following mantra [1] to help support you in this, which goes:

I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!  

Make it make a good day

Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Try to be pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement – instead try to be more involved in constructing your life. You can do this by working to make the changes you need to feel better in tough times like these rather than wishing your feelings away.

Staying positive

Keep the past in the past

Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. Try not to spend much time pining for the good ol’ days – instead focusing on making new memories now.

Resist the urge to use the negative pulls from the past for self-flagellation or unproductive regret. Instead, foster productive regret [2] where lessons learned are used as stepping stones towards a better future.

Be grateful

The most positive people are the most grateful people. They don’t focus on the potholes in their lives. Instead, switch your mind to focusing on the pot of gold that awaits you every day. Notice the new smells, sights, feelings and experiences that bring you joy – by doing this you will see life as a treasure chest full of wonder rather than something to be endured.

Be energized by possibilities

Ever caught yourself focusing on what you can’t do, not what you can do? Now try switching that around and see how you feel.

Know this – there isn’t a perfect solution to every problem, but instead there are many solutions and possibilities. Don’t be afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin your wheels expecting things to be different this time.

Positive people refuse to be like Charlie Brown [3] expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football away from him!

Ditch the fear

Did you know that people defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life? That’s because, while proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things.

Instead, realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life [4]. Have confidence that you can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, and cultivate a strong belief in your personal resilience.

Smile

When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and those smiles are contagious. And here’s the great thing – the more people spend time with positive people, the more they tend to smile too!

Even in tough times, try to see the see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humour – even when it is about yourself. You can still have a high degree of self-respect, without taking yourself too seriously!

Communicate

Confident communication [5] is the only way to connect with others in everyday life, esepcially in challenging times like these. When the world if fuelled by high emotion, try to avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and don’t let someone else’s blow up give you a reason to react in kind.

This doesn’t mean you have to be a walk over. The rub is – you can still react calmly to a situation without being pushed around…although it does take practice!

Remember not to own problems that belong to someone else.

Make room for pain and sadness

One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time. Being sad [6], angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life.

How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions?

Being positive isn’t about running from the gamut of emotions, but instead accepting that part of the healing process is to allow yourself to experience all types of feelings, not only happy ones. That said, all of this should be done with always holding hope [7] that there is light at the end of the darkness.

Be empowered

We all want to be empowered, and a surefire way of feeling empowered is by seeking out the support of others who are supportive and safe.

Limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner. Know your basic human rights, and resist the urge to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

How about you? How many of the above do you personally find in yourself? We hope sharing the above qualities which you can cultivate in yourself will help you through these uncertain times. For more information about how our mindset workshops can support your employees, get in touch at info@selflove.today. Wishing you all well in keeping positive!

References

1. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/level-up-your-communicationin-relationships-with-these-7-tips.html

2. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/there-are-no-do-overs-but-there-aresecond-chances.html

3. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/be-lovable-without-turning-into-charliebrown.html

4. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/11-essential-habits-for-success.html

5. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/enhancing-productivity-bycommunicating-effectively.html

6. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/why-sadness-is-your-friend.html

7. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/20-inspirational-quotes-tobrighten-your-day.html

8. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/63-ways-to-build-self-confidence.html


get a better night's sleep

How to get a better night’s sleep

Do you get enough quality sleep each night? Do you find yourself horizontal on the sofa trying to convince yourself it’s time to go to bed? Or are you working late into the night, possibly even taking your laptop to bed with you? Maybe you’ve been wondering recently how to get a better night’s sleep?

The physiological impact sleep deprivation has on our bodies can greatly affect our health and wellbeing, not to mention our performance at work and productivity, making it vital we prioritise good quality sleep in our daily routines.

It has been said that cutting one hour off your sleep each night for a week will result in your body reacting as though it has pulled an all-nighter. The effects over time are weakening of the immune system as well as diminished cognitive function meaning we are less able to think, learn and remember. It also affects our alertness, decision making abilities, problem solving and reaction times.

One of the issues I work on with my clients is sleep disturbance and I also used to swing between insomnia and chronic fatigue, so I know first-hand what’s it’s like to really struggle with quality of sleep. I became so desperate that I’d try any suggestion or old wives tale that I heard about to get a better night’s sleep.

At one stage many, many years ago, a GP even prescribed me sleeping pills to try to get a better night’s sleep, but they just offered me a temporary state of being unconscious without the refreshing feeling of being recharged after a good night’s sleep.

I had to find another solution to get a better night’s sleep and so I’d like to share with you my top tips on what I have found to work for me personally. As with many things, we are all individual and unique, however you might find a few of these tips work for you too.

There is very seldom just one magic thing that fixes everything, and so what I have found is that a combination of things is what has helped me get a better night’s sleep. None of the following tips seem to work on their own, however put together, and I’m sound asleep, waking refreshed in the morning.

Electronic devices off

Switch your mobile phone to flight mode and silent at least half an hour before bedtime, for me it’s an hour before. The reason is that the blue light emitted by your mobile phone screen stimulates your brain in a way to be awake and alert, disrupting melatonin production.

This is obviously a problem if you’re wanting to relax and enter a sleep state and so it takes much longer to reach the specific brainwaves for optimal sleep if you’ve been staring at your screen until late at night. The same goes for tv and other electronic devices such as laptops and tablets. If you’re going to read, it needs to be a proper book or one of the old style kindles with no backlight.

A dark bedroom

A dark bedroom is best and so you want to turn everything off that emits any sort of light, getting the room as dark as possible. Even the very small red light of your tv in standby mode can affect your brain, telling it to be alert. Proper lined curtains and blackout blinds really are worth it when it comes to getting a better night’s sleep!  

Dimmed lights

It’s only with the invention of the lightbulb that we have been staying up later at night as our ancestors would have been in bed not long after the sun went down. These new LED light bulbs are great, however most of them are blue light that will disrupt melatonin production, and they are incredibly bright, therefore telling our brains to be active and alert.

You can get special light bulbs that are termed “red light”, or I suggest using dimmers or side lamps to light your home in the evenings. You can also get motion sensor floor lights to light your way to the bathroom if you need to get up in the middle of the night, so you don’t feel interrogated by bright lights as you stumble through.

Proper pyjamas

Did you know that the clothes we wear send messages to our brains? If you go to bed wearing anything you have done exercise in, you’re telling your brain to get the body ready for a workout. You then curl up in your bed but your brain is saying “Hey, I thought we were going to do exercise?” and so takes much longer to reach a proper sleep state.

The bedroom is not an office

Leave all work and office related stuff out of the bedroom so your brain can associate your bed with rest. So many of us sit up in bed with our laptops catching up on work, or even sending that quick email from our mobile phones before lights out. Perhaps even reading through any sort of printed work material like reports, manuals and training guides.

This can lead the brain to associating the bed and bedroom with work, so when you put your head on your pillow, your brain is fired up ready to be active and alert for cognitive function. You’re definitely going to be counting sheep!

Lavender essential oil

Every night I rub a little bit of lavender essential oil on my temples and jaw as it has relaxing and mild sedative properties. It’s suggested to dilute it with a carrier oil, avoiding the eyes, and a little goes a long way with just one or two drops needed due to it being so concentrated.

It’s very important to get a good quality brand as there are many synthetic products out there that have zero of the plant’s benefits, they just smell nice. I use the brand doTERRA but I’ve heard that Young Living and Tisserand are also pretty good. You can even put a drop on your pillow or use it in a cold water diffuser while you sleep.

A few other tips to mention briefly on getting a better night’s sleep are to stop drinking caffeine from the early afternoon onwards, keep your room temperature cool as heat can disrupt your sleep, and try to go to bed at the same time each night to establish a routine.

Guided meditations can be hugely beneficial in relaxing the body and mind, preparing you for a peaceful sleep and so look out for the Sleep Meditation I’ve specially recorded for you below.

We hope you found these insights useful. For more information about how our sleep health workshops can support your employees, get in touch at info@selflove.today. Wishing you sweet dreams tonight!

Sleep Meditation

Sleep Meditation on the Insight Timer App:

https://insighttimer.com/lizfindlay/guided-meditations/amethyst-crystal-sleep-meditation

About Liz Findlay

Liz Findlay is a corporate wellness coach at Self Love Today specialising in holistic wellness, sleep health, meditation and stress relief. She also practices at Liz Findlay Animal Healing (& People Too).


cultivating resilience

Cultivating resilience in uncertain times: Part two

Welcome to the the second part of our series on cultivating resilience in uncertain times. If you missed the first part, then catch up here. In this article, we share our insights on how you can develop healthy coping skills and nurture your resilient human spirit. These are both elements that will help to bolster your resilience in times of doubt like these.

Healthy coping skills

Self-care practices build our reserves and give us the mental and physical energy to cope when things get tough. Think of it like this – investing time and energy to build healthy self-care practices is like investing money in the bank so that it is there when you need to draw on it.

In times of stress, carving out time to care of yourself is even more important – even though often it’s the first thing we let fall to the wayside.

You can cultivate healthy coping skills by including some of the self-care practices we outline below in your life.

  • Surrounding yourself with trusted friends and advisors
  • Using humour where possible
  • Practising deep breathing
  • Learning to observe your emotions,

Typically, when people stop using healthy coping mechanisms, they start using unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drinking, smoking or drugs. These unhealthy coping mechanisms can create more problems than the issues they are trying to resolve.

If you find yourself turning to these unhealthy coping mechanisms, it’s an important sign you need to amp up your self-care practices and start using some of your healthier coping skills.

The importance of self-care in cultivating resilience

Self-care means maintaining your energy reserves by regularly taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental needs. This is essential to staying healthy and strong in an enduring way.

Take a moment to consider how many of the following self-care practices you currently make time for in your life? Are you happy with the amount of self-care in your life? Or perhaps do you need to make time for more self-care?

  • Exercise
  • Breathing
  • Meditation/mindfulness
  • Eating healthily
  • Taking time to relax
  • Devoting time to your spiritual practice of choice
  • Keeping a positive mindset
  • Spending time with loves ones
  • Setting appropriate boundaries
  • Participating in activities that lift you up instead of holding you back
  • Sleep!

Maintaining equanimity

Equanimity can be defined as “evenness of mind” or “mental composure.” Ideally, you want to be able to maintain a state of mental calmness, even in the midst of challenging situations.

The ability to maintain equanimity is something you can cultivate through practices like meditation, breathing, mindfulness, and yoga.

True equanimity is found in learning to ride the waves of life with a sense of openness and curiosity – all of which are key in cultivating a resilient mindset.

Doing so requires learning to manage your emotional states and maintain a healthy connection between body and mind. This can be hard for some people to do at first, which is where practices like meditation, mindfulness, breathing and yoga come in.

Support and connection with others

Having a support system and a healthy connection with others can really be an important factor when cultivating resilience. Knowing you have people you can lean on for support and that you can reach out to them—both in good times and in moments when you need help—is essential for thriving in times of adversity.

Having people in your life you can trust can provide a tremendous sense of courage and freedom to step outside your comfort zone and try new things. Moreover, a healthy community provides a sense of security and comfort in an uncertain world.

Sometimes, individuals want to only be the person who helps other people, but it is also extremely important to be someone who is authentic and vulnerable about the times when you need help.

When you are honest about your reality, you open the door for others to be vulnerable and authentic as well. This is the place where true connection occurs.

Remember – there is tremendous freedom in being honest and being able to both give and receive help.

Having a proactive world view

Though it can be easy to feel like a powerless victim in a massive, often violent and confusing world, there is one thing you can affect: your perspective and state of mind. No one can take this away from you.

You may not be able to change situations, but you always have the ability to change how you respond to situations. It is important to be deeply grounded in your own personal truths while at the same time having psychological flexibility to adapt to changes that are constantly arising.

A balance between the two can help you feel that you are safe in yourself and that you also have the ability to adapt and adjust in the face of new information. When you combine that with a sense of perseverance and determination, you can completely change the way you approach adversity in your life.

Having a positive sense of self

Unfortunately, many people pin their identities on their outside persona, which is a vulnerable place to put one’s sense of self-worth. For example, if someone ties her self-worth to her career, a professional setback could destroy her sense of self-worth.

Cultivating a healthy sense of self requires actively learning to listen to and loving yourself. Having a healthy sense of self-worth is built upon understanding who you are on the inside, having a connection with yourself, and spending regular time cultivating that connection through activities like meditation and mindfulness.

The resilient human spirit

When a baby comes out of the womb, the baby already knows how to nurse. This is a survival instinct that is carried through genetic material. Be mindful of the fact there are universal principles to strengthen resilience that span centuries, continents, and cultures.

These principles are a part of people’s individual and collective histories and can be found in human physiology and throughout societies.

While you may have been immersed in these elements your entire life, you can strengthen your resilience by understanding this inheritance that has been passed down through the ages and that still provides support today.

Instinct

Instinct plays an important role in dealing with adversity. Your instincts involve your inborn behaviours, thought patterns, and ways of being that are not learned.

When a problem arises, for many people, their perception of the problem is the biggest obstacle. People know how to deal with adversity, but they may have forgotten or have narrowed their perspective to such a degree that they can’t see the big picture.

When you calm your brain down and learn to be present and mindful in the moment, you can learn to connect with a deeper instinct of how you are feeling and how those around you are feeling as well. The natural answer of what you need to do in each moment is always present if you are able to get perspective and listen for the answer.

Deep listening

The Australian Aboriginals have a word, dadirri, that translates as “deep listening.” It’s based upon the notion that people are constantly trying to create balance and harmony both inside themselves and in the surrounding world.

The Aboriginals practice dadirri both as a meditation and as an approach to ordinary interactions in daily life, constantly aiming to bring balance between the inner world and outer world.

When the Aboriginals have a problem, they listen for the answer. When they perceive illness or emotional upset in themselves, another person, or the world around them, they look for where they are not connecting with the whole to discover where disharmony or unease is occurring. They then listen for how they can help bring balance to the situation and let their actions reflect this.

Here’s something to try: Next time you feel an overwhelming sense of adversity – as in current times – rather than being swept up in the chaos around you, instead try listening for the answer.

We hope you found these insights useful. For more information about how our resilience workshops can support your employees, get in touch at info@selflove.today


Cultivating resilience in uncertain times: Part one

With concerns growing over the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, there is a huge amount of uncertainty in these times. You may not only be concerned about your own health and that of those around you but also your job security, procedures at your workplace and so on. It’s likely you’ve felt uneasy, frustrated, anxious or even down about the recent turn of events.

In these times, cultivating resilience can be a helpful strategy. In our two-part guide to cultivating resilience, we outline the steps you can take to cultivate resilience to help you both in the workplace and all other aspects of your life in these unpredictable times.

What is resilience?

Resilience can be defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Our resilience, or capacity to bounce back and even thrive in pressured times, is critical in workplaces today, especially in these uncertain times.

With higher workloads, declining resources, frequent change, and now the new threat of the Coronavirus – together with the hectic pace of personal lives, resilience is key to keeping your head above water.

While strategies to build resilience have long been of interest in the arenas of parenting, education and disaster recovery, less focus has been placed on how these ideas can be translated into building resilient workplaces.

However, with recent events – first Brexit, now the Coronavirus – cultivating resilience in the workplace has never been more important.

The benefits of cultivating resilience in the workplace

Resilient people are more optimistic, adaptable and independent. They are also better at solving problems and have sound levels of self-control.

Meanwhile, resilient teams have similar characteristics, and find it easier to rebound from setbacks and adapt to change and pressure. All of these characteristics can be developed with the right know-how.

The role of core values

Core values are the bedrock of resilience. If you haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about what your core values are, try doing so. It can help to spend time really feeling why these values matter as well as how they are brought to life through your actions.

Living close to your core values can be a very clarifying and strengthening experience. It can also make life easier. Then next time you are faced with a big decision, you can use your core values as a touchstone: Which choice best honours your core values?

Core values can also help you define your purpose in life. They can empower the roles you play in life, whether as a parent, a community member, or an employee.

Finding meaning in adversity

Viewing adversity as an opportunity is what takes people out of the victim mentality and empowers them to be survivors and makers of change.

Traumas in life are defined by a loss of control or a shattering of one’s former paradigm. This may be how you are feeling with the current global state of affairs. However, struggles can force you to engage with life’s most important questions. Your suffering can make you compassionate and give you the opportunity to care and feel deeply.

Try sitting with a belief that instead of life happening to you, life is happening for you. Welcoming alleviates suffering and the most resilient among us find a way to fight by embracing the uncertainty or adversity we might be facing. As humans, we are programmed to fight against adversity, instead, try accepting the battle.

In the second part in our resilience series, we share how to cultivate healthy coping skills and a resilient human spirit. In the meantime we hope you found these insights useful. For more information about how our resilience workshops can support your employees, get in touch at info@selflove.today


A quick guide to reducing your salt intake for better health

Have you ever thought about reducing your salt intake or the impact that too much salt may be having on your health? Most of us consume too much salt – or sodium – in our diets. But why is that an issue? Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure and lead to other health problems like increasing your risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease.

The fact is, there is a lot of hidden sodium in many of the foods we eat on a daily basis, and often where we least expect it. Some of the biggest culprits include purchased soups, frozen meals, processed meats, cheese, breads and cereals. So what can you do about it?

As part of National Nutrition Month and Salt Awareness Week, we take a closer look at how much salt we actually need on a daily basis, and how you can go about reducing your salt intake so that it doesn’t exceed it.

How much salt?

Even though salt contains some very important minerals that the body needs, as with everything it’s all about moderation.

Try to limit sodium intake to 1,500 to 2,300 mg per day, the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt, which is enough for the important role is plays in our bodies regulating blood pressure, acid-base balance, and within the nervous system and muscle tissues.

The bottom line is that excessive consumption in the long term can undermine the beneficial role salt has to play in our bodies.

Tips for reducing salt intake in your diet

Here we share some simple tips for reducing salt in your diet to ensure that your consumption falls within the daily recommended amount:

· Avoid processed or pre-packaged foods. As mentioned above, processed foods like canned soups or frozen dinners contain hidden sodium that quickly surpasses the recommended limit.

· With that said, always read the labels of packaged food. Be mindful of the fact that labels on packaged foods bought at the supermarket usually indicate the amount of sodium – not salt – so that’s what you need to look out for. So for example, 1g sodium = 2.5g salt. You can multiply the sodium value by 2.5 to work out how much salt a food contains. Choose low-salt or reduced-sodium products, including breakfast cereals.

· Be careful when eating out. Most restaurant and fast food meals are loaded with sodium. Some offer lower-sodium choices or you can ask for your meal to be made without salt. Most gravy and sauces are loaded with salt, so ask for it to be served on the side.

· Cut back on salty snacks such as potato chips, nuts, and pretzels. Opt for fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned vegetables instead.

· Slowly reduce the salt in your diet to give your taste buds time to adjust. Do not add salt to food without tasting and keep the salt shaker off the table to avoid bad salt habits. When cooking use spices, onion, garlic and pepper to make your food more flavourful instead.

We hope you found these tips for reducing your salt intake for Salt Awareness Week useful. For more information about how our nutrition workshops can support your employees, get in touch at info@selflove.today


Dietary fibre: How to eat smarter at work

This month is National Nutrition Month and to mark it we wanted to shine a light on something in the field of nutrition that might not be known for being sexy but is hugely important in our diets – dietary fibre.

Why is fibre so important?

Fibre helps to keep our digestive system healthy and helps to prevent constipation. Dietary fibre bulks up stools, makes stools softer and easier to pass and makes waste move through the digestive tract more quickly, enabling us to be more efficient at eliminating toxins from our systems.

In a nutshell, fibre helps you:

  • Feel fuller for longer (therefore helping us to snack on naughties less!)
  • Improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels
  • Pevent diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even bowel cancer
  • Feed the good bacteria in your large intensities
  • Remove toxins from our bodies more quickly

Are you lacking in dietary fibre?

In the UK most people do not eat enough fibre (the average intake is 17.2/day for women and 20.1g/day for men). The recommended average intake for adults is 30g per day. You can see where this is headed…

Concerned that your diet is lacking in fibre? If you are experiencing any of the below, you might very well be:

  • Constipation/loose stools/irregular bowel movements
  • Feeling hungry after meals
  • High cholesterol
  • Low energy and/or disturbed sleep

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” —Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin The Physiology of Taste

Boosting your energy levels at work with dietary fibre

Here we share our tips for boosting your energy levels at work throughout the day, powered up by fibre!

Eat a high-fibre breakfast at home

Having a high-fibre breaking in the morning this can make all the difference between feeling like zero or hero, and will be a solid start to attaining your daily 40 grams of fibre. Think options like overnight oats topped with berries, wholegrain toast spread with nut butter and sliced bananas or a fibre packed smoothie whizzing up berries, kiwi fruit, chia seeds and your choice of milk.

Carry portable fibre-based foods with you

Or include them in your packed lunch if you take one enabling you to make enjoying quick fibre-rich meals at work easy. Here’s a list of the most portable fibre-based foods to get your off to a good start:

·       Raw veggies

·       Veggie or antipasto salad

·       Fresh fruit/fruit salad

·       Bean salad

·       Whole-grain salad (such as tabouli)

·       Pita pocket with hummus & veggies

·       Whole-wheat veggie sandwiches

·       Bean or veggie wraps

·       Canned beans

Not sure about the fibre content of foods? This Fiber Meter is a great app to keep handy.

Say no to temptation (we know it’s hard!)

The office is littered with tempting foods that have no fibre but are loaded with calories and additives that will make you unhappy. When a well-meaning colleague brings a big box of donuts – Stop, Challenge, and Choose. Quickly take a bite of an apple or a banana and feel that temptation fade.

Have a bank of quick and easy office foods you can have throughout the week

Many office kitchens leave a lot to be desired. However, these fibre quick-fixes are an easy addition to any workweek lunch, no matter how basic your office kitchen is and leave you feeling less hungry  in the run up to dinner:

·       High-fiber soups (lentil bean, vegetable, minestrone)

·       Baked sweet potato

·       Leftover brown rice with beans and veggies

·       Beans and salsa

·       Smoothie

·       Whole-grain sandwich, pita, or wrap – extra points for adding high fibre foods like carrots, tomatoes or peppers

·       Yogurt with fresh fruit

At the office party

There can be a lot of pressure to “submit” at company parties. If you can’t find any fibre and you want to be part of the party, just eat smaller portions and don’t feel guilty. Afterall, there will be other times for you to get your fibre.

The secret is to minimize your portions. Remember, a tiny portion carries the same flavour as a big bite. You can always take the edge off by eating a high-fibre food before the party, such as fresh fruit, veggies, or a big salad.

On the road

Things can often go wayward with business travel in the mix, with lots of eating out at restaurants where meals can be low ondietary fibre, so keep the tips above in mind. Here are some tips for ensuring adequate fibre intake when you’re on the road:  When flying, take food with you.

·       It’s easy to put something good in a resealable bag or container and slip it into your briefcase. Not only will it taste better than airplane food, it will also be more nutrient-dense.

·       Airports are full of unhealthy snacks: chocolate bars at the newsstands, aromatic cinnamon rolls, giant pretzels, ice cream. It’s like a carnival. But things are slowly changing, and if you pay attention you may notice healthy fibre foods are available also. This is a wonderful time to Stop, Challenge, Choose—go for something you find that is healthy, or pull out your portable fibre food.

·       When driving, plan ahead by doing a restaurant search for places that promise options by checking out their menus online. There’s always at least one high-fiber food on every menu at a restaurant, and some menus are simply loaded with them. That said, at a pinch, let the “home cooking” restaurant fix you a vegetable plate instead of going to that burger place or fried chicken joint. When you’re having a meal with a client or a group of colleagues, the temptation is to “join the crowd” when you order. This is a great time to— Stop – Challenge – Choose. Avoid buffets and beware of the bar. A cocktail while waiting to be seated can loosen your inhibitions and tempt you to order higher-calorie, low-fibre menu items.

·       Remember, the key to eating on the road is a high-fibre breakfast.

·       At breakfast, look out for porridge, muesli, and other healthy grain dishes. Add some fresh fruit and you’re off to a great start. Onwards and upwards!

·       If you haven’t eaten all day, you’re much more likely to overeat. Drink a glass of water when you first sit down, and another before you order. This will reduce feelings of hunger, and you’ll order less. Order a high-fibre starter, such as a salad, and eat it slowly before the rest of your meal arrives. You’ll feel full faster and you’ll eat less. When you no longer feel hungry, stop eating. Leave it on your plate or ask for a take-out container.

How to get more dietary fibre

Final thoughts

It can be a challenge in a hectic working day to think about your wellbeing, let alone your dietary fibre intake. The key here is making small but realistic changes that will reshape your habits in a sustainable way.

For more information about how our nutrition workshops can support your employees, get in touch at info@selflove.today.