Smoked Salmon, Quinoa and Rocket Salad

This is actually one of our favorite meals to have for breakfast! 🌈

I first started to include fish in my breakfast when I was based in Russia working as a corporate flight attendant. At the time, I loved eating thin pancakes (Blini’s) with smoked salmon and buckwheat porridge.

That would help sustain me for quite a while and my day was always better when I started off with a good source of energy, especially with a physically demanding role.

The absolute best part of that job for me was trying new foods native or popular in the countries that I visited.

Let us know what you think of this recipe in the comments below!

Smoked Salmon, Quinoa and Rocket Salad

Serves 2

Prep time: 10mins

Cool time: 15mins

1 cup quinoa

2 cups of water

Bring the water to the boil in a small pot, add quinoa and lower heat. Simmer for 15-20mins until light and fluffy.

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup cooked chopped beetroot

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1 bulb spring onion. Greens only

2 cups washed rocket leaves

Handful of fresh Basil

2 slices of smoked salmon (teared into thin strips)

For the dressing

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. pomegranate vinegar

2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil

Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake well. Pour over salad after assembling.

Wellness with Libby – Unhooking from negative habits

It’s so easy to become stuck in certain routines and habits. We may have complete awareness what we are doing is against our values or taking us away from living a life which is meaningful and enjoyable however, it can be so challenging to break away and unhook from these habits which have become custom to our day or week.

What’s the cost?

By continuing to engage in negative habits we are taking away opportunities to immerse in more meaningful or positive activities or experiences. This can result in negative outcomes from a physical, emotional or psychological perspective. The longer we remain in these negative ‘loops’ the harder it can be to break away or unhook from them. GOOD NEWS – it is never too late to create new habits which are more conducive to support better mental and physical health, so what’s stopping you?!

Does any of this sound familiar: working late into the evening, excessive time spent on digital devices, avoiding down time, putting off self-care, not prioritizing sleep/not achieving enough rest, excessive consumption of alcohol, suppressing your voice or opinion, mindless or binge eating, saying YES despite feeling overworked, inactivity, actively listening and responding to your inner critic, eating lunch at your desk or avoiding taking breaks during the work day and/or living in chaos/a messy environment.

Taking the time to stop and reflect is so important and can help you shift towards a space of change. Asking yourself “is this habit supportive or destructive to my wellbeing? Is this taking me towards the person I want to be, is it taking me where I want to get to, in terms of living a life which is balanced and meaningful?”

Often, we engage in negative habits as we live in an ‘autopilot’ mode – engaging in things without brining awareness to the moment and only acknowledging or recognizing

we’ve done something after the fact.

Unhooking from negative habits

1. Map out your bad habit loops.

What’s going on? What’s happening? What are the triggers? What is driving the habit? What is maintaining the habit?

2. Bring more awareness to the moment – what are you gaining?

What do you notice? What does your mind tell you in these moments? What does your body tell you in these moments? What’s the outcome after engaging in the habit?

3. Find a better option.

What could replace the habit? What would result in a better experience or outcome? Cultivate curiosity and ask yourself what other options are available and what is needed to achieve this.

Certain key things are required when it comes to unhooking successfully from a negative habit. Here are some of my reflections:

Accountability: write it down, use an agenda, tell someone your new habits/goals.

Consistency: engage in the new habit regularly, set yourself a target and stick to it, create new rituals and routines to honour the new habit.

Be Realistic: what else is going on in your life, what might influence or impact engagement in the new habit, who can help/support you, observe your other commitments or external factors.

Commitment: is the new habit in line with your values, how important is this to you and what positive difference will this make to your life.

Self-compassion: show yourself loving kindness and patience, not every day/week will be easy when implementing change.

What can help you further to unhook from negative habits?

I’m sharing below some of my favourite tools to adopt when looking at breaking away from these negative loops and making space for positive change:

1) Scaling – using a numerical scale to help you to objectively rank or measure how important something is and what impact (positive or negative) it might have. Scaling helps us to stop and reflect before automatically engaging in a habit.

2) The Choice Point (a tool developed by Dr Russ Harris, Therapist and Trainer of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy). Watch this short YouTube clip to get a clearer understanding of how to use this tool. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV15x8LvwAQ

1) Get a different perspective – step back, picture yourself in a helicopter so you can see the ‘whole picture’ – not just what’s in front of you. Ask yourself: “What would I tell a friend of mine, would my advice be different?”

2) Use visual imagery as a way of ‘seeing yourself’ engaging in a healthier, more positive habit or experience.

3) Journal about your experience – use this as a tool to help boost motivation and accountability. Journaling can assist us to bring more awareness and mindfulness to the process of change.

What might some of the benefits be after unhooking from a negative habit?

– Start living a life which is more in line with your values

– Living a healthier life, improve your wellness

– Experience more balance

– Embracing more mindful moments, slowing down, and turning inwards

– Learning to challenge that inner critic or negative self-talk

– Rediscover your voice and boost your levels of confidence

– Make space for positive opportunities and change

– Live a more meaningful life

– Improve important relationships

Wishing you success as you navigate through the process of unhooking from your negative habit/s. Be kind to yourself and imagine the possibilities!

Yours in wellness,

Libby McLean

EAP, Coach and Trainer

Positive MIND Consulting

Wellness with Libby – Uncovering confidence

Confidence is not a fixed trait which is BRILLIANT NEWS! It is something we can develop and improve over time. Confidence is the belief in oneself, the conviction that one can meet life’s challenges and succeed. Being confident requires a realistic sense of one’s capabilities and feeling secure in that knowledge (Psychology Today).

There is evidence to show a strong correlation between positive mental health and self-confidence (Atherton et al., 2016; Clark & Gakuru, 2014; Gloppen, David-Ferdon, & Bates, 2010; Skenderis, 2015; Stankov, 2013; Stankov & Lee, 2014). Having self-confidence can encourage you to take more risks and potentially reach new potentials. This can lead to greater opportunities and adventures; both in a personal and professional space.

What can influence our confidence?

External influences:

– Feedback received from others (positive or negative)

– Environment (whether that be an environment which is supportive or conducive to our needs and wants)

– Positive experiences and outcomes (previous success)

Internal influences:

– Self-talk (how we talk to ourselves – our ‘inner critic’, what language we use, how many moments we create for self-compassion or positive self-affirmation)

– Skills (our demonstrated capabilities and experiences, both personal and professional)

– Self-esteem (how much love or respect we have for ourselves; how worthy we believe we are)

– Expectations (our hopes, what opportunities we create and goals which we set).

Improving our confidence

As confidence is a learned trait; something which can develop and improve over time, there are numerous things we can do to increase our levels of confidence. A good place to start would be to bring more awareness to your thoughts/feelings/behaviors through mindfulness; start to embrace the present, be curious about experiences and your reactions. Become aware of how you hold yourself – your posture. If you want to feel more confidence sit up straight, smile or stand in a position which reflects courage or strength. Harvard Psychologist Amy Cuddy and others have gathered evidence to demonstrate the positive effect of confident body postures on human hormones. They’ve found that posture sends messages to the brain which can influence how you feel. Strive to keep an open, relaxed, calm and confidence posture!

Increasing our interactions with others and participating more in the community or within our various tribes can also help us to feel more confident. We can create greater opportunities to ‘speak up’ and be our true, genuine self. Surrounding ourselves with people who share similar values to us allows us to feel more at ease to speak our well-intended truth, enabling us to live more authentically and in line with our values.

It is important to keep in the ‘towards’ motion; always making steps (even tiny ones) towards a space you want to reach. Setting goals, acknowledging success and milestones, celebrating wins and adopting self-compassion and acceptance with any set back is key to boosting our levels of confidence. Nurture these moments through embracing mindfulness.

As uncomfortable as it can be for some, accepting compliments is an important step in building our self-confidence. Compliments are a reflection of our true self. They allow us to settle into ourselves. They can help to validate success or achievement, honour difficult moments and reinforce resiliencies. They can be timely reminders that we are enough, we are brilliant, we matter and that we are doing our very best.

Visualization can also be a helpful technique to adopt to boost levels of confidence. Imagine your confident self. Picture yourself in an environment, doing something which portrays confidence. Perhaps you’re speaking in a conference, hosting a function, doing a presentation at work, participating in a sporting event etc. Allow the feelings of a comfortable presence to flow through your body and mind.

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others.

Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval.

Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” Lao Tzu

Keen to look at ways to support boosting your confidence? Why not download one of these Apps to support you along your journey. These have been recommended by PositivePsychology and are geared towards helping you to accept and love yourself, increase moments of gratitude, stay present and positive throughout the day, boost your confidence in your own abilities and challenge unhelpful negative core beliefs.

1. Confidence Coach

2. Happier

3. Cognitive Diary CBT Self-Help

Positive affirmations to support our confidence

Affirmations are a great strategy to adopt to set intentions, empower and energize us, focus our minds and channel positivity and hope. They can be a great resource to add to our self-care toolkit when looking at ways to boost or nurture our confidence. I would recommend you take the time to develop some ‘positive affirmations for confidence’, however you can use the below as a guide:

“I am intelligent and capable”

“I am changing and growing for all the right reasons”

“I have the power to improve myself”

“I am deserving”

“I believe in my abilities”

“Each day I become better, braver and bolder”

“I trust myself”

Wishing you every success as you continue through your journey of improved confidence.

Yours in Wellness,

Libby McLean

EAP Specialist, Coach and Trainer

Positive MIND Consulting

Wellness With Libby – Good Sleep is a Realistic Dream!

Today’s society has created this ‘need’ to be “busy” and cram 100 things into each and every day. When doing this, we spend less time focusing on our wellness, and in particular our sleep. Many of us don’t actually understand how vital it is to achieve good quality sleep.

Are you guilty of watching ‘just one more’ episode of your favorite Netflix series, reading a few more chapters of your book, scrolling for ‘a little longer’ on Instagram, or staying up later chatting on the phone or snacking away? I’m sure most of us are, at some stage!

Delaying sleep can have adverse effects on our wellbeing and so it is key that we start (or continue) prioritizing our sleep.

Sleep occurs when your body and brain drop into an unconscious, restorative state.

When sleeping, some of our bodily functions are suspended while other specialized functions happen. Sleep is remarkable and does such wonderous things for our health and wellbeing. It can assist the body to fight infection, allows your heart to rest, can improve brain function (i.e. memory, concentration, learning), restore energy, repair injuries, aid growth, improve psychological wellbeing and mood and can even help in lowering blood pressure. (Centre for Clinical Interventions, Government of Western Australia https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Sleep).

Evidence shows us there are two stages of sleep.

The first stage is NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement) and can be broken down into 3 phases:

Phase 1) Sleepy state, the sleeper is somewhat alert, can be woken easily and typically lasts less than 7 minutes. The sleeper’s heart rate and breathing slows and muscles begin to relax.

Phase 2) Onset of sleep, a lighter phase of sleep, the sleeper is less likely to be awakened in this phase, as heart rate and breathing slows down further. This phase usually lasts around 25 minutes.

Phase 3) Represents the body falling into a deep sleep. The sleeper enters an important restorative sleep stage from which it is difficult to be awakened. It is in this phase of sleep where our body repairs muscle and tissue, improves immune function and encourages growth and development.

The second stage of sleep is known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement).

Typically the sleeper enters this stage of sleep 90 minutes after falling asleep. This is the stage of sleep associated with deep sleep and dreaming. The sleeper’s brain remains active, breathing increases as does heart rate, however the bodies arms and legs become temporarily paralysed, as a way to prevent you from acting out your dreams! This stage of sleep is vital for mood, new learning, memory and alertness/daytime concentration.

(National Sleep Foundation https://www.thensf.org/)

Tracking your sleep can help you to understand your sleep, in addition to helping you become more aware of those things impacting your ability to achieve sufficient rest, should you be struggling to reach the recommended 7-9 hours (for an Adult). Strategies you can use include various Sleep Apps or a sleep journal.

Are you reaching the recommended sleep quota?

Read below to learn some effective sleep habits to achieve better sleep:

1. Avoid napping in the day

2. Reduce your caffeine intake

3. Attempt to stick to a regular sleep/wake cycle (going to bed at the same time each night, waking at a similar time each morning)

4. Avoid physical exercise 2-3 hours before bed

5. Take a hot bath or shower before bed

6. Avoid large meals before bed, or foods that can aggravate your digestion (i.e. chilli), in addition to alcohol

7. Create an environment of ‘calm’ in your bedroom (avoid using your bedroom as a place of work, ensure your room is of comfortable temperature and dark)

8. Reduce the time you spend on devices before bed (i.e phone, laptop)

9. Practise mindfulness, try a body scan or a breathing exercise

10. Use a thoughts diary or journal as a way to ‘offload’ any of the days worries or burdens

11. Develop some relaxing night rituals to practise before bed (light stretching, herbal tea, meditation, burning a candle)

Here is some inspiration to help you to set up a new self-care night routine to aid better sleep:

We spend on average 1/3 of our life asleep! That’s right… ONE THIRD!

Even more reason to prioritize our sleep to ensure that we are resting and sleeping well.

I’m sharing some of the TOP APPS I’ve come across to help: *track your sleep, *improve your sleep, *analyse your sleep quality and *foster calmness and relaxation before bed:

1. SleepScore

2. Sleep Cycle

3. Sleep++

4. Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker

5. Sleepzy – Sleep Cycle Tracker

6. Headspace

7. Calm

8. Noisli

9. Slumber

Get lost in your dreams!

Yours in wellness,

Libby McLean

EAP Specialist, Coach and Trainer

Positive MIND Consulting

Wellness with Libby – Setting boundaries and embracing fierce honesty

Boundaries are essentially an expression of our values. They are based on what’s personally important to us. They enable us to voice to others what we value; helping us to express our identity. Boundaries enable us to live a life which nurtures positive relationships and meaningful experiences.

Healthy boundaries look like:

– Valuing your own opinion

– Prioritising your own needs before others

– Knowing it’s OK to say ‘no’

– Communicating respectfully and effectively

– Sharing information appropriately

– Understanding and respecting limits set by others

– Being able to identify when a boundary has been broken

https://positivepsychology.com/great-self-care-setting-healthy-boundaries/

“Healthy boundaries are a crucial component of self-care. That’s because “in work or in our personal relationships, poor boundaries lead to resentment, anger, and burnout” (Nelson, 2016).”

By having boundaries in place, we are able to weed out negative relationships and identify those people whom we wish to spend our time with. This can protect us from exposure to negative or uncomfortable experiences or interactions with others. We can learn to prioritise time for ourselves (self-care!) and protect, or conserve, our energy. This can lead to greater self-awareness and self-respect. By setting boundaries we can avoid burnout, particularly at work, as we learn what is required to take better care of ourselves in the work environment- including such things like taking breaks, saying no to additional tasks, communicating effectively with colleagues, healthy snacking throughout the day, finishing work on time etc. https://cbtpsychology.com/relational-boundaries/

What influences our boundaries?

Like many things, the way in which we were raised, and our culture can influence how our boundaries are formed and how they develop. Past relationships and events can shape who we are and what limits we place, or don’t place, on ourselves. Our level of self-awareness and/or self-respect can also play a role in impacting on what our boundaries may look like. Those with lowered self-awareness may struggle more with setting boundaries to protect themselves from negative relationship or experiences. Time is also another factor which influences our boundaries. Our values change with time and as such, our boundaries must be modified to incorporate those things which are now more important to us. They are flexible and can be fluid as we pass through different life stages.

“A boundary is a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin, and the other person ends . . . The purpose of setting a healthy boundary is, of course, to protect and take good care of you” (n.d.).

Setting boundaries

Þ Before setting boundaries it’s important to spend some time reflecting on your values, your current relationships, those things which you can tolerate vs/ those ‘non-negotiables’.

Þ We must be realistic when we are setting boundaries; know you cannot change other people’s thoughts/feelings or behaviors and as such, your boundaries shouldn’t be based on these things.

Þ We must be clear when we communicate our boundaries to others – communication should be assertive and firm yet kind and compassionate.

Þ Consistency is key when it comes to living by your boundaries. Being consistent helps to avoid mixed messages and people over-stepping.

Þ If people do overstep your boundaries, it’s important to set consequences. This will help to protect you from entering negative or uncomfortable situations and aid in avoiding resentment or burnout.

Take a look at this thought process for setting a new boundary:

1. I value my health and wellness.

2. I will say no to mid-week after work drinks Monday – Thursday.

3. I will bring my exercise clothes to work and prioritise exercise over drinking.

4. I will say no to some mid-week lunches invitations.

5. I will only go out for lunch with colleagues MAX twice / week. I will prepare lunch at home to bring with me to work 3 days / week.

6. I will tell Susie and the boys at work my new boundaries, explaining that I am focusing on my fitness and wellness for the next 3 months.

7. I will be firm and consistent when communicating this boundary. I will not crumble. I will remain true when there may be external pressure. This is important to me.

I wanted to share this TEDTALK “Good boundaries free you” by Sarri Gilman. Boundaries can take care of you; they can help you to mitigate stress. Sarri talks through a past personal experience whereby she was ignoring her own self-care and wellness and how the need for setting boundaries came about. She speaks about a ‘personal compass’ and the importance of supporting your compass through self-care, building a web of resources, prioritizing your time and practicing letting go. https://youtu.be/rtsHUeKnkC8

Wishing you success as you take a moment to reflect on your values and learn the practice of setting boundaries to nurture your relationships, protect yourself from distressing or uncomfortable situations and engage in greater self-care and self-reflection.

Yours in wellness,

Libby McLean

EAP Specialist, Coach and Trainer

Positive MIND Consulting

Wellness With Libby – Finding and connecting with your tribe

What is a tribe and how can it help us?

TRIBE, as defined by Oxford Dictionary: “A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognised leader”.

Tribes help us to feel a sense of belonging. They can help to nurture our sense of self and our identity. Belonging to a group who share similar values or passions can help us to feel a greater sense of purpose and meaning as we are participating in something which is either important to us or making a difference to others. Being part of a tribe is important because it reflects our values whilst simultaneously fulfilling our desire or need for companionship.

The importance of connection

Connection with others can have a significant impact on our mental, physical, emotional and psychological health. Connecting with others can help to reduce anxiety or depression. It can help us to regulate our emotions. Connection fuels togetherness, which can help to increase our skills in empathy as we learn to become better listeners and supporters.

Through connection, we can better understand the importance of vulnerability, as we learn to open up and share more with others. We can learn we are not alone; that others’ too have problems and difficulties and that what we are feeling is valid. This can help to make us feel more supported which can play a role in boosting our confidence or self-esteem.

Studies have shown that “having strong social connections can increase life expectancy by up to 50% as well as decrease you chances of experiencing mental health conditions like depression or social anxiety or physical health problems like high blood pressure, a weakened immune system or dementia”. https://mensline.org.au/wellbeing-blog/finding-your-tribe/

How to identify who is in your tribe – circle of trust exercise

In the middle of the circle are your VIPs. Those you go to at any time, for anything. Sharing joyous or tragic news – they are your rock.

The next layer out are those whom you also share many private moments with, but perhaps they’re not the person you call at 2am with a problem. You enjoy their company and need/want their presence in your life.

The next layer out are those you may invite to events or parties but don’t see all that regularly. You enjoy their company, but don’t really open up and share many private moments.

The next layer out are those you see infrequently. They may be more like acquaintances or ‘friend of friends’.

The next layer of the circle may be those people you interact with on an informal basis – like your hairdresser, the lady in the grocery shop, the butcher, the parent at school drop off etc.

And so on and so forth…The circle can continue for as long as you need it to!

Completing this exercise can help you to see just how many people you have in your tribe. It can be quite comforting completing this activity, as you sit and reflect on all the important people in your life.

Family/friends/colleagues/acquaintances/neighbours all have different roles and there are different expectations for each layer of support. They all serve a different purpose. The circle is fluid, meaning at times your tribe might change; people may move closer or further away from the centre. Know that this is normal, that’s life!

Feeling stuck completing your Circle of Trust? NEVER MIND. Read below to learn how to find your tribe. It’s never too late!

How to find a new tribe

1. Self-Reflection – learn more about yourself and what your values are. What are you looking for? What’s missing currently in your life? What do you feel you need more of?

2. Try new things – take a risk and engage in an activity you’ve not done before or haven’t engaged in for a while. This experience can help you to identify what you enjoy and better understand the type of people you want to make space for.

3. Remain open minded and non-judgemental – bring awareness to any judgements you may have when approaching a new group or activity. Remind yourself to look for commonalities rather than adopting a pessimistic stance.

4. Look to create new routines and habits – know when to commit and make a conscious effort to engage with your new tribe. Remain active and make yourself known in the group. Don’t be shy!

Self-compassion and self-acceptance – know that this is a journey, and you may take time in finding the right tribe. Be kind and compassionate and remind yourself why this is important and the reasons you are looking to do this.

https://wanderlust.com/journal/how-to-find-your-tribe/

Wishing you many happy and fulfilling memories and experiences with your tribe!

Yours in wellness,

Libby McLean

EAP Specialist, Coach and Trainer

Positive MIND Consulting

Wellness With Libby – Finding and connecting with your tribe

What is a tribe and how can it help us?

TRIBE, as defined by Oxford Dictionary: “A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognised leader”.

Tribes help us to feel a sense of belonging. They can help to nurture our sense of self and our identity. Belonging to a group who share similar values or passions can help us to feel a greater sense of purpose and meaning as we are participating in something which is either important to us or making a difference to others. Being part of a tribe is important because it reflects our values whilst simultaneously fulfilling our desire or need for companionship.

The importance of connection

Connection with others can have a significant impact on our mental, physical, emotional and psychological health. Connecting with others can help to reduce anxiety or depression. It can help us to regulate our emotions. Connection fuels togetherness, which can help to increase our skills in empathy as we learn to become better listeners and supporters.

Through connection, we can better understand the importance of vulnerability, as we learn to open up and share more with others. We can learn we are not alone; that others’ too have problems and difficulties and that what we are feeling is valid. This can help to make us feel more supported which can play a role in boosting our confidence or self-esteem.

Studies have shown that “having strong social connections can increase life expectancy by up to 50% as well as decrease you chances of experiencing mental health conditions like depression or social anxiety or physical health problems like high blood pressure, a weakened immune system or dementia”. https://mensline.org.au/wellbeing-blog/finding-your-tribe/

How to identify who is in your tribe – circle of trust exercise

In the middle of the circle are your VIPs. Those you go to at any time, for anything. Sharing joyous or tragic news – they are your rock.

The next layer out are those whom you also share many private moments with, but perhaps they’re not the person you call at 2am with a problem. You enjoy their company and need/want their presence in your life.

The next layer out are those you may invite to events or parties but don’t see all that regularly. You enjoy their company, but don’t really open up and share many private moments.

The next layer out are those you see infrequently. They may be more like acquaintances or ‘friend of friends’.

The next layer of the circle may be those people you interact with on an informal basis – like your hairdresser, the lady in the grocery shop, the butcher, the parent at school drop off etc.

And so on and so forth…The circle can continue for as long as you need it to!

Completing this exercise can help you to see just how many people you have in your tribe. It can be quite comforting completing this activity, as you sit and reflect on all the important people in your life.

Family/friends/colleagues/acquaintances/neighbours all have different roles and there are different expectations for each layer of support. They all serve a different purpose. The circle is fluid, meaning at times your tribe might change; people may move closer or further away from the centre. Know that this is normal, that’s life!

Feeling stuck completing your Circle of Trust? NEVER MIND. Read below to learn how to find your tribe. It’s never too late!

How to find a new tribe

1. Self-Reflection – learn more about yourself and what your values are. What are you looking for? What’s missing currently in your life? What do you feel you need more of?

2. Try new things – take a risk and engage in an activity you’ve not done before or haven’t engaged in for a while. This experience can help you to identify what you enjoy and better understand the type of people you want to make space for.

3. Remain open minded and non-judgemental – bring awareness to any judgements you may have when approaching a new group or activity. Remind yourself to look for commonalities rather than adopting a pessimistic stance.

4. Look to create new routines and habits – know when to commit and make a conscious effort to engage with your new tribe. Remain active and make yourself known in the group. Don’t be shy!

Self-compassion and self-acceptance – know that this is a journey, and you may take time in finding the right tribe. Be kind and compassionate and remind yourself why this is important and the reasons you are looking to do this.

Wishing you many happy and fulfilling memories and experiences with your tribe!

Yours in wellness,

Libby McLean

EAP Specialist, Coach and Trainer

Positive MIND Consulting

Wellness With Libby – Writing to Ourselves

Journaling gives us an opportunity to ‘dump’ our thoughts, feelings and emotions somewhere private, somewhere safe. It creates a space for us to be truly authentic – knowing that what we think/feel won’t be criticized or judged by anyone else.

Having such a private experience can be quite healing as we sit in the present moment, embracing the stillness around us while we offload our worries, thoughts, feelings or experiences.

There have been some studies conducted over the past decades which have shown that certain journaling practises can help and positively impact on a variety of outcomes, including goal attainment and levels of happiness (The power of Journaling; can journaling help us cope during troubled times? Psychology Today, David B. Feldman Ph.D. 2020).

By externalising our thoughts and feelings through journaling, we have less ‘stuff’ to ‘carry around’ psychologically. Through journaling, you can look back to notice and reflect on how much you’ve developed. (Discover 8 Journaling Techniques for Better Mental Health’ Learn new ways to journal so you can reduce stress and increase self-awareness. Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D. 2020).

Benefits of journaling:

– Creates an opportunity to offload worries, negative thoughts or feelings

– Assists in alleviating stress and anxiety

– Helps to put thoughts/feelings/emotions into perspective

– Allows you to detach or defuse from painful thoughts

– Helps you to slow down, allowing you to embrace more mindful moments

– Helps to cease ruminating thoughts or worries

– Acts as a type of record keeping, through tracking events or experiences you can increase your awareness of triggers

– Provides an opportunity for positive self-talk and reflection

Here is a link to a great article outlining some further benefits of journaling for mental health in addition to providing some ideas and tips on how you can introduce the practise: https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-journaling/

What we can journal about:

– Negative thoughts, feelings or emotions

– Different interactions or experiences

– Reflections from the day/week

– Moments of gratitude

– New learnings or opportunities for personal growth

When best to journal:

You can journal at anytime and anywhere! However, to really experience journaling as a mindfulness practice, I would recommend selecting a time in the day whereby you feel you have the time and space to be reflective and authentic. Not rushed, not pressed for time, not distracted by people or experiences around you. For some, it might be first thing in the morning, accompanied by a cup of herbal tea or coffee. For others, it might be at night before bed, sitting quietly reflecting on the day.

Baikie and Wilhelm (2005) recommend the following strategies to ensure your journaling is constructive:

  1. Journal in a personalised and private environment, with minimal distraction

  2. Journal 3-4 times / experience and aim to keep your writing consecutive (i.e. writing at least once/day)

  3. Allow moments to reflect after journaling

  4. If you’re journaling to overcome trauma, you don’t need to focus on the specific events or experience. Journal about what feels right for you in the moment

  5. There is no set structure, write however it feels right for you

  6. Your journal is for your eyes only, keep it private.

Journal prompts:

There is no right or wrong way to journal, however if you’re feeling a little stuck or unsure how to start or structure your journal entry, here are some helpful prompts.

Happy reflective writing everyone!

Yours in wellness,

Libby McLean

Wellness With Libby – Writing to Ourselves

Journaling gives us an opportunity to ‘dump’ our thoughts, feelings and emotions somewhere private, somewhere safe. It creates a space for us to be truly authentic – knowing that what we think/feel won’t be criticized or judged by anyone else.

Having such a private experience can be quite healing as we sit in the present moment, embracing the stillness around us while we offload our worries, thoughts, feelings or experiences.

There have been some studies conducted over the past decades which have shown that certain journaling practises can help and positively impact on a variety of outcomes, including goal attainment and levels of happiness (The power of Journaling; can journaling help us cope during troubled times? Psychology Today, David B. Feldman Ph.D. 2020).

By externalising our thoughts and feelings through journaling, we have less ‘stuff’ to ‘carry around’ psychologically. Through journaling, you can look back to notice and reflect on how much you’ve developed. (Discover 8 Journaling Techniques for Better Mental Health’ Learn new ways to journal so you can reduce stress and increase self-awareness. Stephanie A. Sarkis Ph.D. 2020).

Benefits of journaling:

– Creates an opportunity to offload worries, negative thoughts or feelings

– Assists in alleviating stress and anxiety

– Helps to put thoughts/feelings/emotions into perspective

– Allows you to detach or defuse from painful thoughts

– Helps you to slow down, allowing you to embrace more mindful moments

– Helps to cease ruminating thoughts or worries

– Acts as a type of record keeping, through tracking events or experiences you can increase your awareness of triggers

– Provides an opportunity for positive self-talk and reflection

Here is a link to a great article outlining some further benefits of journaling for mental health in addition to providing some ideas and tips on how you can introduce the practise: https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-journaling/

What we can journal about:

– Negative thoughts, feelings or emotions

– Different interactions or experiences

– Reflections from the day/week

– Moments of gratitude

– New learnings or opportunities for personal growth

When best to journal:

You can journal at anytime and anywhere! However, to really experience journaling as a mindfulness practice, I would recommend selecting a time in the day whereby you feel you have the time and space to be reflective and authentic. Not rushed, not pressed for time, not distracted by people or experiences around you. For some, it might be first thing in the morning, accompanied by a cup of herbal tea or coffee. For others, it might be at night before bed, sitting quietly reflecting on the day.

Baikie and Wilhelm (2005) recommend the following strategies to ensure your journaling is constructive:

  1. Journal in a personalised and private environment, with minimal distraction
  2. Journal 3-4 times / experience and aim to keep your writing consecutive (i.e. writing at least once/day)
  3. Allow moments to reflect after journaling
  4. If you’re journaling to overcome trauma, you don’t need to focus on the specific events or experience. Journal about what feels right for you in the moment
  5. There is no set structure, write however it feels right for you
  6. Your journal is for your eyes only, keep it private.

Journal prompts:

There is no right or wrong way to journal, however if you’re feeling a little stuck or unsure how to start or structure your journal entry, here are some helpful prompts.

Happy reflective writing everyone!

Yours in wellness,

Libby McLean

Tomato and Sweet Potato Soup

This is a fabulous nutrient dense soup, rich in both Lycopene and Beta carotene for those looking to boost their weekly uptake of antioxidants. Its also a wonderful option to try for the kids if they are not so great at consuming the 2 main ingredients, tomatoes and sweet potato! (I know mine are guilty of this!)

Tomato is a nutrient-dense superfood that offers benefit to a range of bodily systems. Its nutritional content supports healthful skin, weight loss, and heart health.

While tomatoes are fruits—botanically classified as berries—they are commonly used as a vegetable ingredient or side dish. You can eat more tomatoes by adding them to wraps or sandwiches, sauces, or salsas. Alternatively, eat them cooked or stewed, as these preparation methods can boost the availability of key nutrients.

This soup is a winner for a light but filling starter at a family gathering or a main meal with a side salad! Leave us some comments below of you try it 🙂

Tomato and Sweet Potato Soup

(2-3 pax)

LLWL Programs – Phase 4 onwards

Ingredients

10g fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 garlic glove, finely chopped

40g onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

500g sweet plum tomatoes, cut into small pieces

300g sweet potatoes, cut into small pieces

800ml water plus extra for steaming

1 teaspoon homemade/powdered organic vegetable stock

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp Maple Syrup

1 handful fresh thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat and cook the ginger, garlic and onions, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Do not let the onions get brown.

2. Add tomatoes, 200g sweet potatoes, water, vegetable stock, maple syrup and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the sweet potatoes soften, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. In the meantime, prepare steamer, bring water to a boil then add remaining sweet potatoes and reduce to a simmer and steam until tender, approximately 20 minutes or until soften. Remove carefully and set aside.

4. Purée the soup with a stick blender, or working in small batches, pour the soup into a blender and purée until completely smooth.

5. Divide soup among serving bowls. Season to taste then arrange steamed sweet potatoes on top and serve warm.