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How to get through when you’re having “just one of those days”

It was just one of those days where everything that could go wrong, did…

I was feeling generally shitty – hormones.

I had spent the past few nights immersed in House Of Cards (addicted), which meant after 6pm I was pretty much shutting down from work/study for the night to cook a healthy meal and binge watch my fave show. With some rainy weather, long days, and my cute BF offering snuggles, it hasn’t been a hard sell.

A week of this, and come this morning I was scolding myself…

I shouldn’t have watched so much TV. I shouldn’t have had that much dark chocolate. I should have gone to yoga. I should have made it to my early morning Uni class. I should walk to the train station. I shouldn’t be spending so much time on this task. I should have made it to the post office this morning. I shouldn’t have forgotten my Opal card.

By the time I was at the train station (for my later class), I was tearing up (especially as I watched the train leave without me, making me 10 minutes late to Uni… I should have left earlier).

It didn’t end there. I got caught in the rain coming home, just as I decided to walk. Literally, singlet weather turned to poncho and gum-boot weather in a matter of seconds. When I got home I received a final notice from the post office about a delivery that I never received the first or second notice for. When I got to the post office my delivery was gone, sent back to the US. And then, when I finally sat down at my desk to study, my Kombucha spilled over all my papers and laptop, onto my new rug (oh yeh, we had just had the house cleaned).

What. The. Actual…

Did I feel sorry for myself? You betcha. Did I cry/sigh/scream, u-huh. Did I snap at people who didn’t deserve it, definitely (alllllll day). The truth is, I felt rotten.

And so at 5pm I began to reflect… what the hell was going on?!!

My negative mood had clearly attracted more negativity.

So I decided to explore what had put me in that mood in the first place…

Not being/doing/feeling like enough. Because I had watched TV, because I hadn’t eaten perfectly, because I had spent too much time doing X and not enough time doing Y, because I forgot something etc. etc. the list goes on.

And so I thought to myself, what would I tell my best friend? I mean, we always give such great advice, and yet our first instinct is to berate ourselves, without hesitation.

I would tell her that yes, her day sucked, and that it was ok. That she didn’t deserve that. That if she looked hard enough there was probably something (even just one tiny thing) that was positive about her day. That she does work hard, damn hard. That she isn’t a failure, or lazy, or unworthy. That we all deserve a break. That she is doing nothing wrong for eating chocolate one night, or watching a whole season of house of cards in one week! Who cares! We are human. It will all get done.

So I did… I looked for the light in my day… I guess my lecturer didn’t seem to mind me slipping into class a little late. I suppose I got some exercise in on the walk home – I actually found the rain therapeutic. My laptop didn’t seem to be damaged, and I managed to clean it all up. And even though one of my deliveries wasn’t delivered, another one arrived and I got a free pair of leggings from a yoga planking competition I had won a week ago.

Focusing on the positive and feeling gratitude for the good is a sure fire way to lighten the mood and ease yourself out of a funk. But more importantly, I believe self-awareness is key. We need to actually feel the negative emotions and try to uncover the root of them. So I continued to think about why I was in this mood and why I find it so difficult to believe that I might be doing the best I can.

Why can we not give ourselves that same advice we would to a friend, and have it actually mean something or make a difference?

I suppose that it is because on some level, we don’t believe it to be true. Maybe it is because we know all of our own dirty little secrets… we know how much time we spend on the “idle” things – reading articles, chatting to a friend, social media scrolling, online shopping, snoozing, day-dreaming – and so we don’t feel like we work hard enough. We allow guilt to take a hold of us and have us believe we could do better, we should be better.

But the truth is, we are all doing the best we can. And the harsh self-critics that we are, we probably could always find reasons why we should be doing better! But when you let the negative overshadow the positive, when you let the guilt suffocate the pride, and when you let the 5 things you didn’t get done, speak louder than the 7 things you did manage, you do yourself a major disservice and you “build up” the story in your head that you are indeed not good enough, when that is just not true.

There will always be more productive days than others. There will always be some things you just can’t control. You do deserve a break once in a while (in fact, every day you SHOULD take a break). Everyone deals with the everyday. No one is perfect. Stop comparing your “behind-the-scenes” to someone else’s “highlight reel”. Because even just the word “better” is a comparison, and comparison is the thief of joy (- Theodore Roosevelt). If nothing else, in these moments, give yourself the reassurance you would give a friend AND actually listen to it.

By 7pm I had feverishly written this post and had a good laugh about it all with my partner who shared his own day. There were parts of his day that if it were me, I would have scolded myself for, but because it was him I was kind. This is the kindness we need to offer ourselves. It is all a matter of perspective.

 

And then… I walked into the bathroom (in my socks) only to find water EVERYWHERE… I’m talking soggy TP, broken hair-dryer, ruined toiletries. A pipe had burst under the sink. Remember, I’m in my socks (eww)…

And I just had to laugh!

Your bad day is just one laugh away from being a little bit better… 🙂

8 “Health Tips” That Missed The Mark

I thought I would discuss some common assumptions that actually miss the mark when it comes to good health. With so much conflicting information out there, it is difficult to know fact from fiction, theory from reality. Some of these have been disproved for years, yet somehow we’re all still doing them! As a society, I feel we often gravitate toward ideas that are very reductionist – we cut things out entirely based on the latest health trend. Let’s educate ourselves so that we aren’t limiting ourselves for no good reason. I want to dispel these widespread myths, simplify it, and offer (tasty) solutions. Let’s end the madness!

  1. Only Consume The Egg White

Most fad-diets advocate just consuming the egg white as a way to cut fat/calories/cholesterol while obtaining the protein. However, research shows that it is actually important to consume the whole egg. Why? Animal fats such as that provided by the egg yolk supply vitamin A and D which are necessary for the assimilation of protein. There is a reason why animal protein – meat, dairy and eggs – come with fat! This is how they should be eaten. By merely eating the whites you are missing out on these vital fat-soluble nutrients, as well as hindering your absorption of the protein. Regarding cholesterol and egg yolks, eggs contain nutrients that may help lower the risk of heart disease, and…

  1. Cholesterol Causes Heart Disease

Studies have clearly demonstrated eating food containing cholesterol (like eggs) does not increase your risk for heart disease. 20% of cholesterol comes from the diet while the liver makes the remaining 80%. Although research has shown that consuming dietary cholesterol may increase “bad” cholesterol, it also increases the “good” cholesterol, maintaining total cholesterol and thus not giving rise to the risk of heart disease. Don’t be afraid of including healthy fats in the diet and source naturally occurring plant sterols (beneficial to heart disease prevention) from nuts, seeds, legumes and grains. Lay off margarine, as it contains trans fats which do increase heart disease risk, any plant sterols added have been found to have little impact.

  1. King Kale

Don’t get me wrong, I adore kale… I love it baked, sautéed, juiced and marinated. It’s great! BUT, let’s just take a step back and not get too carried away with any one food, because there is something to be said for the overconsumption of kale. Consuming raw kale in large amounts has been show to impact thyroid function for people with an existing thyroid condition and who have an iodine deficiency (iodine is crucial to healthy thyroid function). This doesn’t mean stop eating kale! It just means be aware of the risks, check yourself if you have any concerns, be sure to include a variety of greens for a variety of different nutrients, and consume cooked kale if thyroid is an issue (cooking dramatically lessens the goitrogenic properties of kale that effect the thyroid gland).

  1. Eating Fat Makes Us Fat

Despite what we were once told, eating fat will not make you fat! Instead, good fats keep our cells nourished, contributing to the healthy function of our heart, brain, hormones, immune system, skin, hair and nails. Include healthy fats in your diet – polyunsaturated (olive oil), monounsaturated (avocado), and even saturated (coconut oil). What you want to avoid is trans fats (vegetable oils, processed foods). What’s more, low fat products can have a negative effect on health and weight-loss, as when the fat is removed from a food, something has to replace the lost flavour. This usually means an increase in sodium and sugar, as well as the additions of thickeners and chemical agents… I choose fat!

  1. A Calorie Is A Calorie Is A Calorie…

I remember when I started my first diet as a young teen, and found out that apples and mars bars contained a similar amount of calories. I was shocked! While I didn’t go and chow down mars bars all day, it did make me avoid apples like candy bars. It has taken me a very long time to understand that all calories are NOT equal! Whilst technically, calories are units of energy, those from nutrient-rich foods compared to those from nutrient-poor foods have very different effects on the human body. If you eat the foods nature intended you to eat, the whole foods that the human body has thrived on throughout history (and not just the last 50 years), you will obtain greater nutrition, fibre, and will naturally eat less because you are well-nourished. These foods help stabilize blood sugar, control appetite and cravings, and communicate to your body when you are satisfied. I repeat: all calories are not equal.

  1. Artificial Sweeteners Assist Weight Loss

How did this ever catch on? Just the word artificial gives it all away… they are fake, concocted in a lab, foreign to our bodies and yes, toxic! Technically, they are “safe” which is why they are allowed in our foods, but 1) we don’t know the long-term effects of such use and abuse because they haven’t been around for long enough and 2) they are still only recommended in small amounts, as larger quantities have been found harmful. They have still been shown to spike insulin levels the way sugar does, but because you aren’t actually having sugar, they leave you unsatisfied and intensify cravings. Opt for stevia, erythritol, xylitol (all 3 are low GI and natural) or raw honey and maple syrup.

  1. Don’t Eat Between Meals

Eating every few hours ensures blood sugar levels remain stable and prevent those feelings of intense hunger that so often lead to overeating at the next meal. Keeping health snacks on hand means you won’t go for quick and convenient unhealthy options at your local coffee shop or, worse, leave you grabbing crackers, cheese and dip in a low blood-sugar panic – because you ate your lunch at 11am at work – because you tried not to eat between meals – and now it’s 6pm and you’re home and starving, but dinner will take too long to make. Sound familiar? Steer clear of this picture! Raw unsalted nuts, carrots with tahini, a small can of chickpeas or bliss balls all make great satiating snacks.

  1. Conventional Energy Bars/Muesli Bars Are A Healthy Snack

As with all packaged foods, carefully read the ingredients! Most commercial granola bars and protein bars read more like candy bars, sneaking in trans fats, sugar and sodium. There are now a variety of health food bars available at most health stores, however, it is still always best to make your own bars or protein bliss balls for energizing snacks. Find great ideas here.

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