10 Things to Feed your SOUL

Winter time… it’s so easy to fall into the cosy trap of hibernation when the wind is howling, the rain pouring and the temperature plummets.. but we so often neglect the simple things that we take for granted in the summer months, and wonder why we feel flat halfway through the coldest part of the year.

So here’s 10 things you can do that will feed your soul and help you feel shiny and bright again:

1. Breathe:  I often joke that ‘breathing is one of my favourite things, and I try to do it every day’ – but have you noticed how you are breathing? Chances are if you’re feeling a little stressed, tired, or just generally under the weather  your breath will be shallow and in the top of your chest.

So now just for a few minutes: stop, take slow, deep nourishing breaths down into your stomach.. do this for even 5 minutes a day and your mind will feel clearer, you will feel calmer and everything will be a little easier. Breath nourishes you, so make sure you bring your attention to this and you will be deliciously surprised at how you feel.

 

2. Drink plenty of water: this is easier in summer because the heat encourages us to hydrate – but your body doesn’t stop needing water in winter. There are two great ways to ensure that you are hydrating in winter, first – start your day with a room temperature glass of water, with half a lemon. (room temp is best, because otherwise its a shock to your digestive system.) The lemon is refreshing, and contains natural enzymes, antioxidants and vitamins to start your day right. Secondly: keep a bottle of water on your desk or near your workspace and work through this during the day. (tip: you can set a reminder in your calendar or phone each hour to remind you to drink water – I use a fitbit and they have a great silent vibrating alarm)

 

3. Cut down (or stop) the alcohol: this is a tough one when it’s a stormy night and you feel like curling up with a big glass of red wine.. but winter is probably one of the more easy times to do an alcohol detox than the summer months (less bbq’s and parties etc) When I do this, I start off with a week, then another week – and just see how long I can go. After about two weeks you will really notice a difference, feeing brighter, lighter – and surprisingly feeling less like reaching for the vino on auto-pilot.

 

4. Read a book: when was the last time you sat down and read a book, just for the sheer pleasure of it? Books take us away to a whole new world and the are a delicious way to nourish the mind. If you’re not a fiction fan, how about an auto-biography of someone you really admire? Or perhaps a self-help book on a topic you have been interested in for a while…?

 

5. Play some music: I’ve recently succumbed to the wonderful world of spotify.. and my musical universe has expanded again.. for around $12 a month you can listen to as many songs you like of any and all genres. You can quickly and easily create playlists that suit your mood. My three favourites are my “Latin Groove Mix” – “Dance Around The House Mix” and “Sing Along in the Shower Mix”. If you have a favourite CD, put this on and dance around your living room.. the music and the movement will get your endorphins going wild… sing and dance like no one is watching…

 

6. Move your body: one of the FIRST things to go in winter is exercise.. for some reason it just becomes easier to make up excuses not to get out and move your body, but it’s more important than ever to keep this up. Can you walk to work in the mornings? Take a walk during your lunch break? Not everyone is a gym bunny but your body will love you if you get moving! If you’re worried about wet and cold weather, invest in a shower proof jacket, a cap and a headband (or some earmuffs!) so you can brave the elements without catching a chill. (There are also lots of free apps to track your progress, or you can invest in a pedometer, fitbit or other wearable device that will track your progress and encourage you to keep moving…)

 

7. Take a bath: ok, not everyone has a bath – but you can recreate that feeling of bliss and relaxation with candles, your favourite music playing and a wonderful body wash even in the shower. If you do have a bath though: get amongst. Take your time. Put some bubbles in there. Make a bubble mohawk. Go crazy. Then take the time to moisturise yourself with your favourite lotions from top to toe – it’s too easy to skip this in winter as we hide our bods away! Take the time, nourish your skin, and bask in the resulting glow.

 

8. Nourish yourself from the inside out with fab food choices: if in doubt, always eat seasonal! Seasonal produce isn’t treated with the same chemicals for long distance travel and transport as fresh local produce. (If you want to know which foods contain the most/ and the least chemicals, you can get a free .pdf guide here) as tempting as it is to revert to comfort food in the chilly months, aim for a diet rich in seasonal veg and you will feel cleaner, and more energised. NB: Juicing isn’t just a summer thing! Some of the best fruit/ veg for juicing grows well in winter (i.e. beetroot) and this is a great way to ensure you are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals that your winter body craves.

 

9. Try something new: have you always wanted to try rock climbing? Learn to knit? Wanted to learn the secrets to fabulous french cuisine – but just been too nervous to try? There is no time like winter to pick up a class or start a new hobby. If you want to learn how to paint with watercolours, or to make jewellery and you don’t want to leave the house – order supplies online, and do some serious youtube research to get you on your way. You’ll be warm, dry, learning something new and adding to your repertoire of mad skills in no time at all.

 

10. Plan a holiday: whether you want to hire a house by a beach and take a winter escape filled with stormy beach walks, pop over to Waiheke Island for a weekend of vineyards and feasting, to Queenstown for snowboarding and skiing – or even if you want to leave the cold and wet behind you and jet off to a tropical island for 5 days, winter is a GREAT time to stop, relax and breathe. Because we go for so long without public holidays/ bank holidays over winter its really important that you schedule some down time to recharge your batteries in your favourite way possible.

 

So don’t let yourself fall into a rut.. any one of the above suggestions will give you the fabulous wee boost you didn’t even realise you needed. Nourish your soul and be kind to yourself no matter what time of year and you will find yourself sparkling in the winter darkness.

 

Change: and the important business of being AUTHENTIC

‘Death & Taxes are the only constant in life’ – or so the saying goes.. I’d disagree a little and say that change is the true constant.

Even though I haven’t felt like I have grown/been challenged in a professional sense for some time, theres certainly been a evolution of my spirit and my outlook on life.

I remember back to when I first undertook Coach training, born out of an incredibly deep-seated desire to help people – yet I was so afraid that people wouldn’t take me seriously, or value what I had to offer, that I became so focussed on people perceiving me as professional, and that overtook my real aspects of value:

The ability to empathise

My intuition

My spirituality 

Genuine desire to connect and to help

My (very) cheeky sense of humour

This spilled into my ‘day job’ too, and for so long I was focussed on proving myself, being ‘outcome focussed’ – ‘committed to delivery’ and all those typical phrases we throw around in HR. I wasn’t true to myself and being so utterly focussed on one aspect of your personality is stifling.

A couple of years ago, I got a new boss.. this woman was everything that had been lacking up till that point, she was warm, honest, genuinely looked out for my team and I, had my back, and not to mention had a wicked sense of humour to boot! So for the first time in a long time, I felt as though I could in turn be myself.. and my sense of humour and enjoyment of my job increased exponentially as a result.

When people are genuine and authentic – it encourages others to be authentic in return.

Women in the workplace can feel threatened by other women, they often feel like they need to overcompensate, or even put others down and bully them to make themselves look better.. and it’s damaging. A lot of the behaviour is false, two-faced and downright mean.

We are not robots. We have emotions, feelings – and more often than not, when we are in tune with these aspects of ourselves, and being our full, true, authentic selves – we thrive.

I’ve realised that I have very little energy, time or interest in collaborating with people who insist on playing this game. And through that realisation, and my ongoing desire to be authentic in what I do, I’ve bought authentic people into my life – we can’t avoid the bullies all the time at work, but we can decide how much energy and thought we spend on them.

So as I continue to move towards my passions with greater velocity, I look back with an increasingly clear head about where I am in my life – professionally, personally, mentally, emotionally and spirituality – and I’m proud to say that its been my hard work and determination, combined with an attitude of gratitude for some pretty special people in my life, that has allowed this change… 10 years ago I would have never shared my thoughts and emotions in such a public way, but if by sharing myself and being authentic allows others the grace to do this to, then that will be the most rewarding part of all.

 

Sound-bites from Mr Brand

Love this clip – Russell Brand has been speaking publicly about meditation and spirituality in the past couple of months, and I really like what he has to say.. it resonates with my Reiki Journey. He still manages to have the humour in there but he’s saying some pretty powerful stuff.

‘We are by our nature, spiritual people, if we don’t have access to spirituality, we suffer as individuals, and society suffers… within ourselves there’s an infinite capacity for connection with all things”

Interested to hear more, and I’m loving how much those around me are sharing these types of clips and talking about this.

Link to clip here.

 

Say YES

www.storypeople.com

Brian Andreas is a talented chap, with the ability to condense an incredible amount of emotion and imagery into just a few short sentences. This one is a recent favourite of mine – and resonates deeply.

 

The Invitation – Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon… I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful to be realistic to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

ORANGE | Sacral Chakra (chakra explorations)

My Reiki journey has involved a reconnection with energy, and therefore the body’s main energy points (Chakras) that began when I first delved into yoga many years ago…. Whilst most people would think it logical to start at the crown chakra and work their way through the body/ top down etc, I’m taking a holistic view…

I’ve been slightly obsessed with the colour orange for some time now, and if we look at this with the concept of synchronicity in mind, it feels right to explore the connections and associated meanings of this colour – apparently this is where my journey begins!
Orange – “the color of adventure and social communication”
Power colour / stimulates enthusiasm and creativity / associated with healing / curiosity and learning / optimistic / uplifting / promotes conversation and social interaction / frees the spirit / encourages self respect and respect of others

The colour of the Sacral Chakra, chakra two, located on the abdomen just below the naval.

“This chakra often offers us the opportunity to lessen our “control issues” and find a balance in our lives, teaching us to recognize that acceptance and rejection are not the only options in our relationships.

The process of making changes in our life stream through our personal choices is a product of second chakra energy. A well-functioning second chakra helps one to maintain a healthy yin-yang existence.”

 

So it turns out that this is the perfect colour and chakra for me to be focussing on in this moment in time, in my current process of making some major changes in my life in the quest for balance.

 

orange chakra

 

 

Remembering to stay awake

Ironically after a 11.5 hour day at work, where I was so caught up in the NOISE and BUSYNESS of my working life, it took a kindness to remind me that I am in charge of my mental and emotional state.

 

Taxi-ing home this evening, my head full of busy-thoughts and busily tapping away at my iPhone, I tipped my lovely taxi driver (we don’t tip in NZ but I always round up my total) when he leaned over and said to me “have you seen the moon?”

 

“Oh yes! The super moon? It’s beautiful” I replied.

 

“My daughter told me that this moon happens only every two years, and even if you can’t see it because of the clouds, it still up there shining”

 

…….

Still puts a smile on my face now, hours later… And just the little reminder that I needed. Even you’re busy being BUSY… life is there waiting for you to pay attention.