How to take back control of your life

It’s 10.59pm and I’ve been staring at my computer on what to write because I got caught up with blogging the “right way” and went into a big rabbit hole of self-doubt.

Can you relate?

Well this is my blog, so I can blog anyway I like and so I’ll just keep typing and hope for the best!

But it does bring me back to one of the regrets of the dying explored more deeply in a book written by Bronnie Ware, where they wished they had the courage to live a life true to themselves and not the life that others expected of them.

So imagine, you’ve come face to face with the knowing that you’re on your last days on earth and you hear yourself say “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

I want you to take a moment, close your eyes and imagine this scenario clearly.

Say these words out loud to really feel the gravity of these words.

Then come back.

Life, at least the way I know it is chaotic and busy with two little kids. It’s so easy for me to get swept away with the day to day life that the year can feel like it flew by. My mind constantly somewhere else other than right here in this moment.

That’s why bringing my attention to the breath, my senses, what I can see, feel, smell and hear helps bring me back to the here and now. Incorporating mindfulness helps me stay true to my compass.

Being mindful can give space in our day to get present to areas of our life that we want to honour.

What are our dreams, desires and aspirations that are deep within that has been supressed because we’re too consumed about what others might say or think?

Maybe you’re in a job that is literately destroying your soul but you stay because of the money, you could be in a toxic relationship but preserve because it’s not the “right time” to leave or you find yourself late at night loading your body with all the stuff that’s triggering you to have major health problems but stress is to debilitating that you need the quick fix just get through it.

You’re waiting for the right time to change, whether that time comes, who knows.

I don’t have the answers for you and that’s the most powerful thing about this because only you can create a life that is true to yourself.

How do you know when you’re not in control?

It just feels icky because everything is hard and not in flow.

I’m actually thinking about my client who told me last week that she’s feeling like she’s found her frequency! You can read more about her recent testimony she wrote half way through her health coaching program with me.

So coming back to reading this sentence again, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me” I really get that no one can live my life except me.

Who knows maybe in the future, we can transport our consciousness into another body but right now as far as I know, this mind, body and spirit has me at its command.

Exercise:

So I dare you to just explore perhaps in a journal this week, is to imagine yourself at the end of your life and start writing just a few things you regretted not doing on the left hand side.

Then on the right hand side of your journal, pick one and write small actionable steps to making some of those things a reality for you.

For example, maybe you always wanted to learn to speak Spanish, play the piano, write a book, get a tattoo, be on stage at a TEDx talk, go to uni in your 30’s or live in a tiny house.

What’s one thing you could do tomorrow that brings you that one step closer to making it a reality for you?

For more support on how you can use mindfulness to help you overcome the overwhelm and get present to designing a life without regret, join my 5 day challenge click here.

How to move forward when you’re overcome by fear

Today I had to get an x-ray for a tooth extraction. I had to remove any jewellery and wear a protective belt around my waist. 

The lady was really nice but I was so nervous about a machine radiating these energy wavelengths around my head that my mind started thinking about things like what if she makes a mistake and blows my head off!

Immediately I pressed the pause button, said “cancel” in my head and started to do some breathwork to calm myself down. It’s one of the five strategies I shared in my recent blog post about detoxing the mind for cultivating a happier and positive outlook when it comes to balancing hormones holistically.

Fear can be so debilitating that we can stunt our own personal growth if we’re not diligent in monitoring our thoughts.

So how do we evolve when we feel frozen by fear?

It’s about viewing fear as a state of transition.

The word transition evokes the feeling of progress, it’s letting go of the past and reaching out for the unknown.

It’s where transformation happens.

So how do we embrace this space called transition?

Expect that it’s going to be hard. When we know this, we can prepare ourselves and surrender to what is.

I read a wonderful analogy that transitions is very much like the act of swinging from one trapeze swing bar to another whilst soaring through the air, it’s that moment where we are still holding onto the bar of the past and reaching for the bar ahead when we finally let go.

How exhilarating would life be if we were swinging from one bar to the next, feeling the fear and doing it anyway!

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

l’m running a free online course that launches on Thursday 2nd of July 2020 that explores the the Power of Mindfulness to Decrease Stress as a tool you can use to help you conquer fear.

What is the number one cause for hormonal imbalances?

This week on my Instagram I shared how I was attacked by a deadly, massive, hairy, scary, spider and my stress response was lightning fast! So when I say stress affect’s a women’s endocrine system instantly, this is a good example.

It makes evolutionary sense for a women’s fertility to be reduced when the body is in a state of prolonged stress. When we’re flooding our system with cortisol, the primary stress hormone, it’s aim is to protect the body from famine.  It curbs bodily functions considered “non-essential” such as baby making. Long term overexposure (chronic stress) suppresses our immune system and impairs digestion and mental function.

If you read my Instagram post, the spider turned out to be a strand of hair from my bun and although the spider was imaginary, the hormones flooding my system was real. So just imagine those stress-inducing hormones flooding your system continuously on tap and the impact it has on your body.

Okay so perhaps you might not necessarily “freak out” when you’re running late from an appointment, get an unexpected bill, read a misunderstanding in a text message or your partner forgets to pick up some food on the way home while you try to piece together what’s left of your sanity after looking after the kids on your own all day.

But I can guaranteed there are nights when you all you want to do is crawl into bed and never come out because you’re feeling anxious, depressed, got a headache, having digestive problems, your heart is racing and can’t sleep or remember who you are anymore.

Get the picture?

This is why the number one cause for hormonal imbalances is stress, it’s so pervasive and sneaks up on you.

So what can you do about it?

Much of the stress that we encounter in our day to day life is usually because our mind is in default mode.

When we’re in default mode, we’re not aware that we’re not our thoughts or emotions and therefore don’t get consumed and become reactive. Shall I say that again, we’re not our thoughts or emotions.

Mindfulness is a wonderful tool and has lots of research on its effectiveness in reducing stress but also increases our resilience to stress.

According to a study on the Effects of Mindfulness on Psychological Health, some of the benefits of mindfulness is that it “brings about various positive psychological effects, including increased subjective well-being, reduced psychological symptoms and emotional reactivity, and improved behavioural regulation.”

Disclaimer, I’m not a Mindfulness Guru just a Health Coach that has seriously been upping her mindfulness skills since becoming a mum of two, a wife, juggling a business, studying at night and well … just life!

But on a side note, one of my client’s PMS symptoms and migraines had magically disappeared after we worked on the major stressors in her life.

On the 2nd of July, I will be delivering a 5-day email course on The Power of Mindfulness to Decrease Stress.

Learn the power of mindfulness to help you decrease stress with practical exercises in this 5-day email course to help you cultivate a sustainable practice to use as a tool to thrive in today’s fast-paced world.

This course will start on Thursday the 2nd of July 2020.

Click here to register here.

Feel free to forward the link to a friend who might need some stress-busting tips too and start balancing your hormones naturally.

5 Mental Health Detoxing Tips for Balancing Hormones

I took my two boys out for lunch and we had sushi. My 3 year old always get the mini tuna sushi rolls but he also enjoys trying new varieties from my plate.

Today he said “mummy I want to try that one” whilst pointing at a plate on the conveyor belt and I grabbed it off without looking exactly what it was. He took one bite and gave me a disapproving look and said “no mummy, I don’t want this anymore.”

After closer inspection, I realised it was eel. Last time I had eel, I was a tween at home with my parents and had an all body reaction. I was covered in hives and I was itchy for days.

I was torn. Do I encourage my son to try something new by trying it myself and risk getting hives or do I just let him get off the hook and miss an opportunity to teach him the consequences of food wastage.

So I ate it and realised after an uncomfortable wait for about 20 – 30 minutes I had grown out of the allergy but not the fear until that moment.

Have you ever held onto fear, guilt or anger Which has been holding you back in life?

Through my experience coaching women with hormonal health issues, sometimes the cause of a lot of their problems has been as a result of disharmony in the area of self-love, relationships, career and finances.

Cultivating a happier and positive outlook can help with boosting mood but also has a healing effect on hormones by reducing tension, stress and fortifying the mental strength to juggle the complexities of life for the modern woman.

So here are 5 mental health detoxing tips for balancing hormones:

Negative Self Talk

Set yourself a challenge to avoid saying anything negative to yourself for 48 hours. Most of the times we are so unaware of the internal dialogue of negative self-talk, we don’t realised the accumulative toll it has on our health.

If you catch yourself starting to say something negative, hit the pause button and say “stop” then try again. Reframing and choosing more empowering words will leave you feeling lighter.

Reassessing Outdated Beliefs

Reassess beliefs that you are holding and start questioning if they’re serving you still. For a long time I held the belief that I’m terrible writer and people wouldn’t want to read my posts so I never blogged until now!

Next time you say I can’t do something, ask yourself why? Then break apart your why and see if that belief is still relevant.

THE COMPARISON TRAP

Avoid getting into the comparison trap because when we compare we let go of what’s going great. We look at someone and see what we don’t have. There is a clear distinction between admiration and comparison.

Admiration is about reflecting on what we want more for ourselves without needing to compare what we don’t have. Admiration has no judgement therefore it’s a force that propels us forward rather than holds us back.

RESISTING CHANGE

When we make the decision to change, often we encounter resistance because it’s something new, it requires stepping outside of our comfort zone and doing something we may have never had to do before. People find change scary but choosing to stay stagnant in our circumstances is still change, we’re just changing backwards.

Making small incremental changes, consistently adds up and you’d be surprise what can happen in a year.

BUT I’M RIGHT!

Whether your right or wrong, our ego can get in the way of us feeling happy. We’ve heard the saying, it’s better to choose your battles and I really never understood this until I got married.

Sometimes it’s better to choose to be peaceful than to be right (all the time).

Share with me your thoughts

I hope you found these tips useful and would love to know what other tips have helped you.

To support you on your journey to balance your hormones naturally, you can download my free 7 day hormone cleanse click here.

Dr.Oz shares the benefits of Health Coaches in the healthcare system

“What role can Health Coaches play in the ongoing healthcare crisis in America? A very significant one, says Dr. Mehmet Oz, who recently sat down with IIN founder Joshua Rosenthal to discuss the issue.

Their probing conversation explored the different roles of doctors, patients, and Health Coaches in our current system, and how each can help contribute to a wellness revolution. Rather than overhauling the entire healthcare system, Dr. Oz says, Health Coaches should function as an added layer between doctors and patients, helping patients be healthier and doctors be better practitioners.

In fact, Health Coaches are essential in this equation, as most doctors don’t learn fundamental nutritional principles while in medical school—principles that can often serve as a replacement for medicine or invasive operations!

Today, 20% of Americans drive most of our healthcare costs, and these people “desperately need Health Coaching,” according to Dr. Oz. By focusing on this group, Health Coaches can not only help a large group of people lead healthier and happier lives, we can also take an enormous burden off of our economy and transform our society into one with a raised standard of nutrition and complete wellness.”

I’ve been told by my clients there is a lack of support and guidance around what to do about making improvements to their health and lifestyle at home when they have been given a diagnosis.

Often, coming to be because they have exhausted all other options and feeling fearful of the future.

I believe we can help many people before it’s too late. Alleviating the pressure on the healthcare system and the economic impact to a rise in preventable chronic illnesses.

When a patient goes to a medical centre to discuss a health issue such as trouble with sleeping, perhaps a persistent headache, infertility due to an irregular cycle or unable to shift excess weight, there is so much that can be done for people if they were referred to a health for ongoing support as an extension to the care a doctor provides.

I’m a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and have a private practice based in Western Sydney, offering health coaching virtually.

If you are a GP or Medical Specialist who would like to refer a client for health coaching, click here.

Click here to learn more about health coaching.

The daily meditation practice for women with no time

You’re probably reading this now because you already know the benefits of having a daily meditation practice or have heard that meditation could help you manage your stress levels but feel like it’s an unattainable goal. Even the phrase “daily meditation practice” already seems time consuming and daunting to say the least, right?

But what if I said to you that implementing this special daily mediation practice is going to give you more time?

Yes, you read that right.

Often when we are time poor, we’re usually overwhelmed, over-stressed and over-worked. Our focus and productivity wanes. our modern busyness of life leads us to be completely unaware how much we are wasting because we’re committed to keep on moving, even if we’re dragging our feet by lunchtime.

Why meditation?

It’s free but also meditation can give you more time.

How? Meditation allows you to focus your attention inwards, cutting out the unnecessary clutter that could be causing confusion and indecision. When you have clarity and dominion over your thoughts, confusion dissipates and a call to action is visible.

If you have only a certain amount of time in the day and during these times you are more productive, you then create more time and have breathing space for the more important things in life like being present with family.

An effective way to incorporate meditation is to adopt what I like to call is the heart-full minute.

  • Put your hand on your heart and take 5 deep breathes. The goal is to focus on feeling the heart beat on the palm of your hands whilst noting your breath going in and out. Feeling your heart pulsate in itself bring your back to life force that is you.
  • You don’t need to think nothing, it’s perfectly normal to have thoughts especially judgmental thoughts about if you’re doing the heart-full minute correctly or what you need to be doing straight after the meditation.
  • To bring your focus back, start noting your breathe. So as you breathe in, say in your head you’re breathing in and so forth as you breathe out. Noting is a great tool to bring your attention back to stillness when you catch yourself carried away with your thoughts.

You might think a minute isn’t that long but you’d be surprised. The heart-full minute can be done anywhere and anytime, so many opportunities such as while you’re on the toilet, waiting at the grocery line, breastfeeding or having a shower.

Do this enough times and you get the compounding effect that meditation will get easier and easier the more you do it.

Finding practical ways to reduce stress in your life is a great foundation to help you balance your hormones and boost your fertility. For more tips to detox your mind and body, you can download my free 7 Day Hormone Cleanse here.

What to do when you feel overwhelmed and stressed

In the past week, I have been feeling so overwhelmed with what is going in my life right now that I haven’t been present when I’m with my children. As I was breastfeeding my son to sleep at 7pm at night, my mind was racing when I should have been just enjoying the quiet peaceful moment of the two of us as he drifted off to sleep.

When I was pregnant with my second son approaching his due date, I was still working on the phone and attending the meeting with clients whilst wrangling a 2-year-old toddler. People would question when I was going on maternity leave and I would say I was going to work right until I popped. I had always been a good multi-tasker. I thrive best working under pressure. With my firstborn I figured since I was able to study, work, start a new business and raise a breastfeeding baby without the need to pump, I could do pretty much anything. There lies my biggest problem. The illusion that just because I could do everything, doesn’t mean I should do everything.

So leading up to the birth of my second son, I was doing just that, everything. Little did I know I had internalised a lot of my frustrations and anger, it would then erupt out of nowhere mostly directed at my husband, who was apparently supposed to be able to read my mind all the time! It was then my midwife gently said that sometimes the baby doesn’t come until the mother is ready. Here I was just doing my thang until the baby came. At no point did I consider maybe the baby is waiting for me. I know of other mums who took at least a week off, even up to a month to get into the nesting spirit and although that sounded wonderful, in reality, I think I’d rearranged the furniture a trillion times before the day was up.

Often when we are excellent masters of time, we often assume that we have everything handled even when we don’t. I had been terribly moody, getting very cranky at hubby for not seeing the obvious such as washing the dirty dishes. At the time, I had the hugest belly, so I was finding extremely difficult to lean over and wash the dishes but again, I never explicitly told him to help me even though he does our laundry and everything else, I just assumed he’d know about the dishes.

So what did I do?

I set my last day of work that Friday and took a big breath and wrote down a list of all the things that were floating in my head. Now you’re probably thinking, oh Merly a “To Do” list? Well not exactly. What you want to do is take away the mental load that is taking too much space and causing stress and anxiety because it’s just getting too heavy.

The thing with each item you write down, some might be something as simple as setting up your out of office email response, bulk cooking for the week or buying more bin bags to bigger stuff like paying the overdue mortgage repayments, getting the carpets cleaned before baby arriving or booking flights for Christmas. Regardless, how trivial or major the items are, they all weigh the same when their floating in your mind, hence the mental load can be overwhelming and stressful.

Writing a list is a great way to just dump the junk on paper so that you don’t have the pressure of having to remember. Even remembering the points is a mental load in itself! For me having a hubby who can’t read my mind, during our in-home date night over a cup of tea while our son was asleep, I’d run through the mental load list and delegate tasks that he was happy to do. It was wonderful because he had no idea that I had a trillion things on my mind and as a soon to be dad-of-2, he felt useful that he could do something to ease the pressure.

The following Wednesday, I gave birth to baby Axel.

Coming back to now, I realised as my baby boy started to snore, I did a commando crawl off the bed and went downstairs to write down my list.

When we feel overwhelmed and stress, this has a direct impact not only on hormones but also our immune system. With what is currently happening around the world, with many of us couped up at home, we need to do as much as we can to keep our immune system strong and healthy.

For more tips to start balancing your hormones, you can download my free 7 Day Hormone Cleanse here.

3 tips on eating mindfully

You are what you eat (absorb). Every human cell in your body is made of the building blocks of what you consume. I’m currently breastfeeding my son who is 4 months old and it amazes how chubby he is getting each day. However, as adults, we have autonomy on the food choices we make daily and at times we can be oblivious of what’s happening in our bodies on the cellular level. Other than getting fresh air and sunshine for vitamin D, the only other thing that we have complete control of when it comes to our health and wellbeing, is what we consume.

90% of our immune system is in our GIT (gastro-intestinal track) because it’s the most intimate way humans have a direct connection to our environment. For example, when a mother kisses her baby, her body is responding to any pathogens that are pickup from her saliva which sends a message to the body to change the composition of the breastmilk for antibodies for the baby to fight the infection.

I think the majority of us have weaknesses to certain types of foods like chocolate, cake, cookies and my personal favourite, cheese! This is not to say you have to give up on all your vices. It’s about incorporating more balance in your diet to literately build a healthy body and a strong immune system through the food you eat and supporting the microbiome that resides in your intestinal tract. After all, we are made up of more bacterial cells than human cells!

Here are 3 tips to help you become more aware of what you are consuming:

  1. Start to eat mindfully, as you chew your food, take your time. Make mental commentary on the flavour and texture. Even before you put food in your mouth, notice it’s colour and smell. Whether your eating smashed avocado on rice cakes or a doughnut, being consciously aware of what you are eating is the first step in acknowledging how food plays an important part in how you feel.
  2. Chew, chew, chew! We don’t chew long enough. I’m constantly having to tell my threeanger to stop shoving food down his throat and chew. Chewing is the first step in digestion. Give your GIT a helping hand. When your food is well chewed, it makes it so much easier for the rest of your body to break it down and nourish you.
  3. Takes breaks in between each mouthful. Families come together around the dining room table to connect and share food. It’s a wonderful opportunity to talk and share stories. Taking breaks between mouthfuls helps your body recognised when you are full. You’re less likely to overeat and again it’s better for your digestive health.

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5 practical work from home tips for a productive day

You might have fantasised in the past about working from home but now this might actually be your new reality and realised it’s not all it’s all cracked out to be. Maybe you have the kids at home too, so trying to find the balance of doing productive work whilst keeping the kids entertained is darn challenging or you could be feeling unmotivated to work because your worried about family and given these uncertain times can be quite overwhelming.

One way of coping and making a smooth transition to working from home is focusing on what you can control. One thing is to think about how you start your day.

As a work from home veteran, here are 5 practical things you can do:

1) Wake up an hour earlier to get some work done before the kids wake up. If you don’t have kids, take full advantage and use this time to focus on your health like doing a YouTube workout, meditate or declutter a corner of a room. All this helps boost your health and wellbeing and you’re more likely to feel you can tackle the day ahead, no matter how challenging.

2) Create blocks of time to do productive work with pockets the day for regular breaks. If possible, have a big bottle of water and snacks in your designated office space to stop you going to the kitchen to stare aimlessly into your fridge for hours at a time.

3) Let friends and family know your office hours. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you have all the time in the world to chat. Being constantly interrupted will have you feeling defeated by the end of the day. So set yourself up for success by setting boundaries and be vigilant.

4) Schedule everything in your diary. Whether you like to use a paper diary or an online calendar, make sure anything that is going to take more than 5 minutes to do is recorded. Our brains have so much to contend with these days, so give yourself some breathing space by not having to remember everything. Use the tools to help you.

5) The Law of Diminishing Intent basically means the longer you wait to do something, the less likely you are going to do it. So tackle the hard stuff as early on in the day as you can. You might choose to do an easy task first to ease you into work mode while you have a coffee but if you have a few calls your avoiding, or a report that’s killing ya life, schedule it in before lunch. Trust me, lunch will taste so much better.

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