Supercharge your wellbeing

Meet the founders of Supercharged Club: Emma Fullwood post-partum fitness expert and life coach Mary Meadows. The dynamic duo bring together a unique blend of physical and mental exercises to help women focus on their wellbeing after childbirth. We all know that coming to terms with changes in our bodies during pregnancy and labour can be very difficult. Then there are the hormonal changes which can trigger all sorts of emotional responses – put simply your mind and body goes through the wringer! Well, with that in mind, Emma and Mary have created a hub of support and practical help to guide you through this tricky time and leave you feeling in control, healthier and happier. You can sign-up to the next 6-week online mission here: superchargedclub.co.uk/join.

How are you embracing digital media in your business?

Technology and social media is the crucial element to our business, we are able to bring our 6-week missions to any women anywhere in the world because of it! We have clients from Los Angeles, Dubai, France, Canada, South Africa and all over the UK. We are able to bring women our expertise and support them on their adventures through our laptops and iPhones which is just incredible.

What are your top motivational tips for mind and body?

  • Eat more broccoli
  • Drink more water
  • Make sure you take a big deep breath at least once a day!

Keep it super simple, don’t try and make things harder for yourself, life is hard without ourselves making it more so.


Mary and Emma are following…

burrelleducation

Burrell Education: Jenny Burrell is a post-natal exercise specialist, there is nothing she doesn’t know about exercise for women of all age groups.

briannabattles

Brianna Battles: an expert fitness coach for athletes, inspires Emma as she loves her straight-talking, take a look at her blogs so inspiring!

missmagpiespy

For Mary, inspiration comes from anyone who breaks the rules, owns their words and actions, and inspires others. A great woman she had the pleasure of meeting a few weeks ago is Niki Groom, AKA @miss-magpie-spy, a talented fashion and beauty illustrator who’s Instagram feed, and blog is beautifully curated and inspirational.

hurrah4gin

The lovely Katie from Hurrah for Gin always manages to post what all of us mums are thinking!


Sign-up to the next 6-week online mission: superchargedclub.co.uk/join

superchargedclub.co.uk
instagram.com/superchargedclub
facebook.com/THESuperchargedClub
youtube.com/channel/UCJWk9v_BVPptV7Dec8w1Oyw

Find your inner goddess

Meet Lizzie Astin, the creator and founder of The Goddess Body Formula, a 12 week transformation programme for busy women.

Tell us about yourself

I started my career in recruitment, working long hours, sitting on my bum, drinking too much and eating badly. Seven years into my career, aged 29 I was dissatisfied and frustrated I decided to chuck it all in and re-qualify as a Personal Trainer. I started my business in 2015 at a mainstream gym and very quickly developed a reputation for getting the best from clients with fun sessions and an inspiring attitude.

lizzie aston

By 2016 I had carved a niche as a Transformation Coach, working only with women who really wanted to overhaul their physical health. I started to develop the foundations that would later become the ‘Goddess Body Formula Programme’. In 2017 I moved to a private studio in Bristol, I launched the online version of the The Goddess Body Formula and rapidly built a new client base of women who were all going through major transitions: divorce, babies, marriage or milestone birthdays.

What motivated you to start your business?

I started my business in 2014 for two reasons: I wanted to do something that mattered and truly made a difference and I wanted to do something that allowed me the opportunity to choose to live life on my terms.

Having lost 15% body fat and three stone I went through a serious transformation. But it wasn’t just my body that changed, everything changed. I actually cared about myself for the first time in a long time and I started to make empowering decisions. I gained weight because I didn’t care enough not to, I ate crap, drank too much and didn’t exercise. At first it was my changing physically appearance that provoked me into changing my habits, but that wasn’t enough, I couldn’t stick to anything and I didn’t know how to undo all the damage. In 2012 my mum was diagnosed with cancer and suddenly I did know what to do. I made it my mission to live as the best version of myself, starting with my body. I became fascinated with mindset and personal development and started to apply these principles to physical training – the results were incredible.

When I was angry, I worked out, when I was sad, I worked out, when I was happy, I worked out. I had an outlet – an empowering habit and I was addicted. My new-found passion allowed me to be a better person for her. Not being comfortable in my own skin had consumed me, made me selfish, snappy, fragile and self-absorbed, now I felt vibrant, energetic, strong, I had faith and belief.

In 2013, I quit my job and qualified as a Level 3 Personal Trainer. I didn’t really have a clue about running a business but I figured if I brought the same enthusiasm to my clients that I had for my own training and I gave them the benefit of my experience then things would change for them too, and they did.

lizzie astin

I spent two years working in a gym, business was flying but I was exhausted, delivering 30 hours of one-to-one training, fitting in my own workouts and all the planning outside of the gym was too much, the level of service was in danger of being compromised. I knew for me to carry on serving at that level the business model had to change. I moved to a private studio and the Goddess Body Formula online was born. The programme gives all the practical advice, mindset, nutrition, workouts and support I give, but it is delivered remotely and can be done from the comfort of your own home. I still work with clients one-to-one, but space is limited.

I built the majority of the online content for my programme whilst down in Cornwall caring for my mum full-time during the final four months of my mum’s life. The cancer got her, she never gave up and I won’t either. I came back to Bristol in April 2017 and moved into the new studio, taking on just a few clients and giving myself time to heal too. I work with up to 10 clients face to face at a time and take on 2-4 new clients each month. In addition to formally launching the Goddess Body Formula online I will also be launching my podcast which will be a combination of tools, tips, insights, stories and interviews to support and guide your journey to a happy and healthy body for life.

How are you embracing social media to grow your business?

Instagram is hugely popular in the fitness industry and it is very possible to develop a huge following using this platform alone. However, I have my misgivings about it! I do not deny that aesthetics are a big motivator for many and can be empowering, however, to focus solely on that misses the point and can create feelings of low self-worth. I am all for a bit of body ‘inspo’, but I want to make it inspiring for the right reasons, there are too many fitness models with low body fat, fake boobs and fake lips. I use Instagram to share the journey, to encourage my followers to fall in love with the process and show case the results I have helped my clients achieve.

Facebook is a great tool and they are always developing the platform for business owners. I have a private Facebook group called the Goddess Body Community which is a safe place for me to share my own journey and the journey my clients are on. In this group I offer practical advice as well as theories and stories that inspire and motivate my members. I use my business page to advertise, my focus has always been on offering value, mainly through blogging. I share practical information demonstrating how to simplify eating for weight loss, and I share my own personal experiences to allow my audience to engage with me on a more personal level, it’s important to understand the journey that helps you to achieve the result.


Lizzie is following…

mollie sapp

Molly Sapp: she has really helped me from to understand the ways I have previously limited myself, how to overcome money mindset issues and in no uncertain terms cut through the BS. They didn’t teach us how to run a business in school, there are load of coaches out there but Molly’s messaging speaks very clearly to me and where I am at right now!

emily skye

Emily Skye: she has an amazing body and she has a great training style that I know works, but more importantly she teaches great mindset principles, she is authentic about the challenges she has faced and honest about the reality of the effect of pregnancy on her body, it’s refreshing to see!


Lizzie’s work

Living a healthier, happier life

Meet Amy Rom, a former teacher who retrained as a health coach after having children. She brings a unique and honest approach to helping others achieve a healthy relationship with food and maintaining a positive body image. Amy shares her career story and tips for nurturing a healthy mind, body and soul.

How did you become a health coach?

After embarking on the first of innumerable life long diets while still at primary school, it’s fair to say that my battles with food and my body have shaped most of my life. It wasn’t until I was fast approaching 40 that I finally decided that enough was enough.

I have two young children (now 6 and 8) and I wanted to do all I possibly could to prevent them from wasting their energy fighting similar exhausting battles with body image. The best way to prevent this happening is to prove that I can be happy, healthy and confident in my own “imperfect” body. So I started reading, learning and soul-searching until I reached a place where I now feel more comfortable in my own skin than ever before.

I took a career break from my previous teaching role in order to raise our two children, and just as my youngest started school, I decided to put my experience to good use by embarking on a change of career. I’d felt so empowered by the lessons I’d learned that I wanted spread the message far and wide. I knew that I’d be able to offer a slightly different perspective to many of the other health coaches out there, because I look nothing like your average yoga toned health coach! I have a wobbly, 40-year-old, size 16 body and I wanted to prove that if I can make peace with my body, and lead a healthy and happy life, then anyone can!

After gaining a Diet and Nutrition Advisors diploma I then decided to take my education further by embarking on the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) Health Coach Training programme. I loved my year with IIN and shortly after finishing the course I established my coaching website happilicious.co.uk.

My thirst for knowledge hasn’t yet been satiated and I’m now embarking on a Psychology of Eating diploma – something that I’m very excited about!

What are your top tips for women who want to regain a healthy relationship with food and their bodies

  1. Nurture yourself
    I love the concept that we should treat ourselves as we would a small child: eat good nutritious food; offer ourselves words of comfort, love and encouragement; get plenty of sleep; and try to get some fresh air every day!
  2. Social media detox
    Try to distance yourself from diet culture and instead cultivate your own happy social media party. Speaking from personal experience, it really helps if you start following accounts which showcase real, every day bodies. Women of a similar age to you, complete with wobbles, lumps, bumps and stretch marks. The more you are exposed to these body types, the more you appreciate that they (and you!) are totally normal. The media has dominated and twisted our view of female bodies for such a long time that we now have to work hard to redress the balance.
  3. Crowding out, not cutting out
    We could all write a book on the foods that the diet industry tell us we should cut out. But once you start concentrating on all of the things that you can’t have, you automatically feel deprived and hard done by. So try shifting your focus. What goodness can you crowd IN to your diet? You’ll find that by just making this one simple mindset shift, your food options are suddenly abundant and the world looks like a much brighter place!
  4. Feed the soul
    We all know that in the real world, food isn’t just fuel; it plays an important emotional part in many aspects of our culture and pretending that it doesn’t is a waste of time. Take the time to really notice and appreciate how the food that you eat makes you. Most of the time food is nourishment for your body, but there are also many occasions when it becomes nourishment for the soul – and that is totally legitimate! But likewise when we are missing fulfilment in other areas of our life, we sometimes try to fill the gap with food. Pay attention to what really lights you up.
  5. Ditch the inner bitch
    This is something that I talk about A LOT, because I believe it’s so important! So many of us are trapped in a perpetual cycle of negative self talk which does nothing but make us miserable. If your best mate came and told you that her new man was talking to her in the same way that you talk to yourself, you’d tell her to get out of that abusive relationship quick smart. Notice when that inner bitch is piping up and make a conscious effort to silence her. Tell her to shut the f**k up, and then find alternative words to fill the gap – a positive affirmation that you can memorise and repeat to yourself works a treat.

Amy is following…

Taryn Brumfitt: the lady behind the inspirational Embrace Documentary. If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should!

Louise Green (Big Fit Girl): an awesome plus size fitness trainer and triathlete.

Dana Falsetti: a plus size yogi who makes me realise that all yoga poses are accessible to me, I just have to practice.


Amy’s work

Through Happilicious, I offer a one to one coaching programme which can take place face to face at my office in Truro, or via Skype. If you’d like to find out more call me for a chat to see if coaching would work for you.

I’m also preparing to launch an online programme where you’ll be able to work at your own pace through a range of materials. If this is something that appeals to you, why not join my mailing list for all of the latest Happilicious updates? You’ll also receive a free seven-day challenge and e-book with other top tips.

If you’re looking for a body positive online body positive community, come and join my Happilicious Living Facebook group which is a private and safe space in which like minded women discuss their successes and trials and share tips, articles and support. We’d love you to join us!

Top tips for everyday parenting

Meet Olivia Gormally, a parenting coach and child behaviour expert with over 20 years experience working with children who exhibit challenging behaviour, and in some cases spectrum disorders. She works with families and schools to help develop management and coping strategies. Better know as Livvy – she is also mum to three children, so she understands the everyday challenges that parenting brings.

How did you become a behaviour consultant?

A few days after finishing my degree in Experimental Psychology, I saw an advert in the University job shop for a therapist to work with a little boy called Adam – day 1 and I was hooked. I loved working with him, seeing the positive impact that personalised behavioural and teaching strategies could have on his ability to learn, interact and engage in family life. I also loved seeing how these strategies could help to reduce parental stresses, encourage interactions and help make the day-to-day challenges less challenging. Over 20 years later and I still love my work as much as I did on that first day.

Throughout my career, I have been a huge advocate for early intervention. I ran CARD UK, a centre for autism specialising in the design and implementation of early intervention programmes helping hundreds of parents to cope with challenging behaviours, encourage academic and social development and parent more effectively.  I have worked with numerous schools and education authorities advising on their behaviour programmes with the aim of helping all children reach their full potential. When I became a parent myself I realised how many of my work strategies and behaviour techniques I relied on to tackle the everyday parenting challenges and felt so passionately that these behavioural techniques should be part of every parent’s tool kit.  Everyday challenges can really wear parents down, they can also mount up, cause stress, insecurities and can have a big impact on family life.  I set up Let’s Ask Livvy to help parents understand their everyday parenting challenges (such as separation anxiety, tantruming, anger management, encouraging co-operation, setting boundaries, promoting sibling bonds, encouraging homework etc.) At Let’s Ask Livvy the focus is always on child and family specific strategies that compliment parenting style; strategies that help parents work out why behaviours are happening and offer step by step guidance on how to teach appropriate alternative behaviours.

How has social media changed the way you work?

The social media parenting world is amazing! Real life parenting bloggers who give insights into the high and lows of parenting are taking away the stigma of asking for help, making the everyday challenges a normal part of parenting.  This is great as it means that parents don’t need to reach crisis point to say some days are really hard and a bit of guidance would be helpful.  Parenting is pretty much the only thing we are expected to just get on with, no training, no reviews, no exams. So when things are tricky parents often assume it is because they are doing something wrong – parent guilt can be a killer! My background in behaviour analysis has taught me to always ask why? Why is that behaviour happening?  What is the function of that behaviour for example is the behaviour due to anger, frustration, attention seeking, avoidance etc.  Once parents have the tools to work out why behaviours are happening they have the tools to put effective strategies in place.

What are your top tips to help parents struggling with their children’s behaviour?

  • Praise the behaviours you want to see more of
    It sounds so obvious, but this really is the golden rule!  It is so easy to focus on what are kids are not doing as opposed to what they are doing.  Take the child who has got himself dressed for school but got distracted before finding his shoes – it’s all too easy to focus on not having found the shoes as opposed to praising the getting dressed.  Praising his efforts will boost confidence, encourage independence and co-operation and gives a clear message as to what behaviours you like and would like to see more of.
  • Use child specific and age appropriate reward systems to praise the little steps
    It can take time to learn new behaviours, praising the little steps let our kids know they are on the right track.  Younger children may need more immediate rewards to bring about the behaviour change you are wanting. Choosing a “currency” that is motivating to your child is also essential.
  • Choose a strategy that you believe in
    The right strategy gives you the tools to change behaviour and this helps boost confidence for both parent and child.  If a strategy does not fit with your parenting style, this is not the right strategy for you.  You need to believe in a strategy to be able to deliver it consistently.
  • Set realistic age appropriate boundaries and try to deliver a consistent message  Consistency is key to behaviour change.  An inconsistent message can lead to confusion in the child and will not effect the change you want to see. Boundaries that reflect your core values will be easier to stick to and therefore more effective.
  • Teach appropriate alternative ways of communicating
    Just telling our kids not to do something is not enough.  We need to tell them how to gain attention and communicate in order to interact appropriately.

Livvy is following…

@theonlygirlinthehouse: I really like her honest approach to parenting and how she is not afraid to put it all out there – sometimes parenting is really hard and I think her posts are a comfort to people who may be facing similar issues.

@nickyduffell: she’s a nutritional therapist. I have met her a few times and she has such a lovely nature. She offers real life and realistic advice on how to look after yourself and how to create balance and well-being in your family.

step up club

I also love the girls at @thestepupclub, they seem to have it sorted, seem to be best friends, always look fabulous, make you feel like anything and everything is possible and they offer great hacks in how to achieve good work-life balance.


Let’s Ask Livvy offers a range of packages to suit every parent or family.

letsasklivvy.co.uk
instagram.com/letsasklivvy

The power of positivity

One day you are walking your dogs, running your own business and worrying about whether your kids eat enough veg, the next you are in hospital being told you have breast cancer at 34-years-old. My breast cancer diagnosis shook my world and took over my life for the best part of 2017. I was one of the lucky ones in that my lump was very small, just 12mm. My lumpectomy was successful and I was only in hospital for one night. I then had four rounds of chemotherapy and 19 zaps of radiotherapy. I am now on hormone therapy to bring on early menopause and stop the estrogen in my body which fed my tumour. Having cancer was the hardest challenge my little family ever faced but we got through it and in many ways we came out the other side stronger and happier.

One of my fears when I found out I had the big C was that I would end up depressed, I knew my treatment was going to give my body a battering and that my life was going to be very different. I worried that this would get too much for me mentally as well as physically. I didn’t know anyone who had been through cancer recently so I looked for ways to connect with other people like myself as I hoped this would make me feel less alone. This is when Cancer with A Smile began, I literally forced myself to look for things to smile about while I had cancer. Instagram had been my favourite social media tool for my business and I liked that it felt more anonymous than Facebook so I set up a page just after my operation which I used as little of diary of my treatment and to connect with the cancer community.

To begin with I felt very self-conscious and vulnerable about my cancer so I kept the Instagram page a secret. Then came one of my first big hurdles of treatment, the dreaded hair loss. Being a girl who gets comfort from understanding and researching I knew that the type of chemo I was getting would make my hair fall out within the first few weeks. The thought of my shoulder length blonde hair shedding like a Labrador was hanging over me like a dark cloud. It was on my mind constantly and I began to hate looking at or touching my hair. The only thing for it was to take control and try to turn a negative in to a positive so I decided to ‘brave the shave’ and raise money for my hospital, The Beatson Cancer Centre. I set up a Just Giving page and took the bold step of posting a link on my personal Facebook page. It was the best thing I did, instead of crying over my ever decreasing mop, my husband and I shaved our heads in my living room, while I wore my yellow Beatson t-shirt and a smile. What a liberating feeling it was to take cancer head on and raise over £3,000 for an amazing cause.

Embracing the ‘baldy’ was a huge turning point for my attitude and approach to coping with cancer, it gave me an unexpected confidence. I felt like if I could shave my hair and walk about with it for all to see, I could do just about anything. From there I got the guts to go public with my Cancer With A Smile Instagram account, I created a linked Facebook page and later started a WordPress blog. The encouragement, support and amazing comments have really kept me going throughout the roller coaster of cancer therapies. I have had so many messages from people telling me how my blog has helped them see that cancer doesn’t have to take away who you are and given them the courage to fight on. Hearing this makes all the days spent exhausted and ill have some purpose and meaning because if my story has given someone else hope at least some good has come from such a horrible disease.

The importance of investing in your wellbeing is a big lesson fighting cancer has shown me. Before cancer I was so busy all the time trying to be a super mum, super wife and super business owner. All the amazing little wonders of life were passing me by as my brain was either going at 100mph or was too exhausted to focus on anything. During chemotherapy I was forced to stop and stripped back down to just being me. It was a bit like taking a step back and looking in at your own life as a spectator. I realised slowing down and prioritising what needs done today and what can wait put me in a much better place mentally and emotionally.

It’s now six months since my last chemo and my life is very different. I am getting much stronger and feeling much healthier. When you are forced to face your mortality it makes you look at how you can live the best life possible. My husband and I decided it was time to make big decisions about where we want our life to go and how we can be as happy as possible. We have decided to take a huge leap and start our own property development company. We are only a month in but already our work life balance is better, we are all happier and once again something positive has come out of being dealt the cancer card.


Written by Audrey Allan
cancerwithasmile.com

On a mission to get mums moving

Jemma Thomas is a personal trainer and the woman behind Mummas Health Hub and its humorous fitness flash cards ‘Pack of Hacks‘. Like so many women these days Jemma has changed careers since becoming a mother and is now pursuing her passion for keeping fit. With plans to expand her business activities she continues her mission to get mums moving. We asked Jemma if she would share her story and some of her motivational and exercise tips with our readers.Jemma, founder of Mumma's Health Hub

Tell us about yourself

I’m Jemma Thomas, a mum of two boys aged one and five. I am a Personal Trainer who moved from a background in marketing to pursue a career in the fitness field. I retrained after the birth of my first son when I found that exercise not only helped me physically, but mentally as well. I am now in the process of expanding Mummas Health Hub into different areas with the sole purpose of motivating and helping mums with health and wellness. I created a product last year called Pack of Hacks for mums to use to workout at home and fit short bursts of exercise into their day.

How has digital technology and social media changed the way you work?

I set up Mummas Health Hub on Instagram initially to talk to mums and offer tips and advice. It’s grown from there really, I love the community, I have met women that are so important to me now and are doing their own amazing things, it’s lovely to be a part of it.

What are your top exercise tips for busy working mums?

  1. I think it’s about seeing movement as part of your normal day. Don’t think it has to take 30 minutes or an hour. Even 10-15 minutes’ hard work is really beneficial. Short exercises and sequences help mums fit little workout bursts into their day.
  1. Try to get out of bed and immediately do 5 minutes in your bedroom. Set the timer on your phone and do 45 seconds of each of the below and the rest for 15 seconds:
    – Star jumps
    – Squats
    – Kneeling push-ups
    – Side plank on each side
  1. You’ll feel so much more awake. When I do a tiny bit in the bedroom I feel livelier straight away. If you’re having a really busy day, just try to fit in another 5/10 minutes when the kids are down.
  1. I’m always stretching and being mobile. I love doing large arm circles to get the blood pumping to my shoulders, you can nip to the loo at work to do this one! I’m all about fitting in movement when you can. The more oxygen you can get to your joints the better, especially when carrying those heavy bubs about.
  1. Try to change the mindset to ‘little and often’. There are tons of studies to reinforce the idea that working out hard for a few minutes can be more beneficial than longer moderate workout

Jemma is following…

mothers meetingsI love the Mother Meetings network and have met tons of women through Jenny Scott’s meet ups.

 

 

 

I also think The Unmumsymum for obvious reasons, she just keeps it real.

 

 

 

I like Susie Verrill as her stories really crack me up and she’s also not trying to make motherhood look like sunshine and rainbows, which we all know isn’t true.

 

 


Jemma’s work…

mummashealthhub.com
instagram.com/mummas_health_hub

Jemma is kindly offering readers a 10% discount off Pack of Hacks until midnight on 20/03/17 if you enter code: ‘butterflies’.

10 steps to kickstart your confidence

Dr Jessamy Hibberd is a Clinical Psychologist and mother of three who is embracing the digital world as part of her mission to make psychology more accessible. As well running her own private practice in Chelsea she has co-authored a series of self-help books, writes a blog, runs an Instagram account and is currently developing an App. 

To celebrate International Women’s Day it felt appropriate to ask a woman who not only understands the challenges of juggling a career and family life but who also has plenty of professional experience helping adults overcome common mental health problems such as low self-esteem.


Confidence is essential in all aspects of our lives. It helps us reach our goals, try new things, make decisions and be independent. It enables us to manage stress and equips us to deal with emotional, practical and physical problems. It’s how we measure our ability to cope and to succeed. When we’re feeling confident, it makes everything easier. The trouble is that when confidence is proving elusive the opposite is true. So what can you do to capture and build your confidence?

1. No-one is confident all the time!
No-one feels confident all of the time. How confident you feel is on a continuum; you go up and down depending on what you’re doing, your mood and your experiences. Even the most confident people never feel totally ‘ready’ for something – they just get stuck in. Next time you want to do something remind yourself the ‘right’ time is unlikely to ever come. The best thing to do is to just get started and give it a go.

2. Be kind to yourself
If you have a constant negative commentary running through your mind, it’s going to leave you feeling upset, demotivated, useless and anything but confident. You’d never dream of speaking to a friend in the same way. Next time things are tough back yourself and think:

  • What would I say to a friend in this situation?⠀
  • How might I encourage them and help them through it?⠀
  • Use this advice on yourself! There shouldn’t be two rules – that you deserve criticism, but that it wouldn’t be helpful for anyone else!

3. Step out of your comfort zone
It’s good to do things that mean you take a step out of your comfort zone. New experiences, new hobbies and challenging ourselves on a regular basis are massively important for maintaining good mental health, personal growth and improving confidence and self-esteem.

4. Confront anxious predictions
When you’re feeling under-confident, you’re more likely to predict the worst, “I can’t do it,” “it won’t go well”. If you listen to these predictions you’ll never take action and end up feeling worse. Next time you think you can’t – test it out by doing whatever you fear and seeing what happens! It’s only by moving past the discomfort of I can’t, that you get to see I can.

5. Compassion
We tend to be good at having compassion for others, but not so good at being compassionate to ourselves. Many of us imagine it’s being weak, but when you think of the qualities it’s made up of it’s anything but. Compassion means being strong, non-judgemental, kind, brave, warm, fair and wise. Core ingredients for confidence!

6. Overcome procrastination
To overcome procrastination (a confidence killer!) you need to get more in touch with your future self. Make sure you’re really clear about why you want to do what you’re doing. How will it make things better for you in the future, why will you benefit? Make your goals really concrete and think about what you’ll gain if you do them.

7. Imagine success
When we think about doing something, we often play out the scenario in our mind. If you’re imagining it not going well, you’ll start to feel anxious. Instead visualise all the possible positive outcomes of an event, so you’re seeing hearing and feeling success. It puts your mind and body in the best possible place for a great outcome.

8. Collect compliments
Think of something you did really well: how long did you think about it for? How did it make you feel? Now think of the last time you did badly at something: how long did you spend thinking about it? How did it make you feel? I’ll put money on the fact you spent far more time thinking about the latter. We’re programmed to look for threat, so we need to work extra hard to give the good stuff a chance to settle and be taken on board.

  • Over the next week note down anything that goes well, any compliments, positive feedback, anything you’re pleased with.
  • At the end of the week, read it back!

9. There’s no such thing as perfect
While pushing yourself to achieve more can be a good thing, be careful of aiming for perfection. Looking for perfect means your focus will be on what’s not going well and since perfect doesn’t exist you’ll constantly feel like you’re failing. Making mistakes isn’t a weakness, it’s part and parcel of learning, growing and understanding yourself better. Take a fairer viewpoint. If 80% is going well and 20% going not so well that’s how you should split your time!

10. Posture
The mind and body are pretty amazing – just changing your posture can change your mind-set for the better. A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that subjects who sat up straight in their chairs, instead of slouching, were more confident about the things they were then asked to write down. In addition, they discovered that posture builds a sense of strength and confidence in social situations too. So use this to your advantage – stand up straight, push your shoulders back and hold your head high.


Dr Jessamy is following…

natasha courtenay-smith

Natasha Courtenay-Smith is mentoring me at the moment and definitely inspires me. She worked as a journalist, set up an online press agency, recently wrote a brilliant book The Million Dollar Blog and is now helping others build their business. I love her passion and drive, she’s always upbeat and so encouraging.

step up club

Phanella Mayall-Fine and Alice Olins founders of Step Up Club. Phanella is a great friend of mine and a constant source of inspiration and advice. Seeing Step Up’s success was the reason I started doing Instagram for psychology. I’m so impressed at everything her and Alice have achieved, setting up Step Up Club, promoting an important message (in a fun and engaging way) and writing a book! They’re proof of how well partnerships can work and what two women can do together!

Dr Jessamy’s work…

drjessamy.com
instagram.com/drjessamy
facebook.com/DrJessamy
twitter.com/DrJessamy
Books by Dr Jessamy

Sign-up for Dr Jessamy’s 5 day Happiness Challenge which launches on 20th March (International Day of Happiness).

Turn off, tune in and don’t burn out

It’s 7am your alarm goes off, you fumble for your phone and through squinted, sleepy eyes you check your Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Pinterest accounts! Maybe even before you say ‘good morning’ to your partner! Sound familiar?

If ever there was a time we need to get better at switching off it’s now, the age of digital media is amazing but our #fomo (fear of missing out) has become obsessive possibly even affecting relationships with friends, family and colleagues. So what can we do? Do we need to change and let’s be honest – do we really want to? We live in a fast moving society that allows us to have instant access to pretty much anything. That is definitely progress, isn’t it?

Today, life should be so much easier, with just one click we can get all our shopping done (and have it delivered), get news from around the world as it happens, check the weather and do our kids homework without having to trek to a library. So why do we often feel so overwhelmed? After all, we don’t have to brave the supermarket, the shops, the banks, we can even meet friends online. So why do we never have enough time these days? Welcome to the world of the working mum where you run at 100 miles an hour, 100% of the time yet still feel like you haven’t done enough. For digitally savvy mums it is often harder as we are constantly bombarded with people posting pictures of beautiful cakes, elaborate home-made dresses and dolls their little one has had for their birthday, not to mention the sickly sweet family photos of the perfect family and the amazing holiday photos taken by professionals. God forbid you put up an image of your family arguing in the UK on a cold, wet and quite frankly dull campsite (made worse as there is no internet connection!).

Anne Lamott quote

Stress levels run high, energy levels are often low, juggling kids, relationships, family and work isn’t easy and quite possibly many of us are running on empty. But our mental & physical well being is vital to keep everything running smoothly. I absolutely love this quote by Anne Lamott: “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you”. She is so right  – our brains need a break too.

My 12-year-old suffers from anxiety and I’ve put this image on her bedroom wall to remind her to ignore Snapchat just for a few minutes every morning. No doubt you’ve heard some friends, colleagues or celebrities rave about the wonders of mindfulness and how it helps them but what exactly is ‘mindfulness’ and what are the benefits for working mums in today’s digital world?

The ancient practice of mindfulness

Mindfulness originated as a spiritual practice involving rhythmical chants, mantras and meditation to transcend emotions and live in a calm present state. Today in the West mindfulness is practiced to reduce stress and improve our health and wellbeing. It is done by focusing on ‘being in the present moment’ as opposed to worrying about our future, or being consumed by our past. Just as Lao Tzu father of Taoism famously said: “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present”.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation, where you bring your full attention to an object such as your breath, a candle, a flower a cup of tea, anything you chose which you can really focus on. It is a fantastic way to find inner peace in your busy life, it calms your frenzied mind allowing you to function better and with more clarity of thought. All sound a bit airy-fairy, a bit too good to be true? I completely understand, when do we have time for more activities in our day? But mindfulness is simply awareness, it doesn’t have to take time as you can be mindful anywhere, anytime without changing your daily routine. Being mindful of your breath is a common form of mindfulness used during meditation and yoga. Try the breath awareness exercise below to help calm any anxiety, initially try for just one minute and see how you feel, maybe build it up to two minutes tomorrow.

Yogi Mums yoga mums bristol catherine bicknall

Mindful meditation

  1. Where to meditate: anywhere quiet and relaxing (bottom of your bed, if early morning is good so you don’t wake anyone up).
  2. What to wear: wear warm and comfortable clothes.
  3. How to sit: sit up straight so you are ‘actively’ sitting rather than slumping but use a wall if sitting up unaided is uncomfortable.
  4. Soft focus: or close your eyes.
  5. How is your body feeling? Take awareness to your sitting bones and then move your awareness up through your spine. How does your back feel? Now move your awareness to the rest of the body. Once you have done a full body scan take awareness to your mind. How settled is your mind? Is it busy, anxious, tired, relaxed?
  6. Breath: notice your breath, breathing in and out through the nose. Feel what’s happening within your body as you inhale and exhale. Which parts of your body move, and which parts feel stiff? What is the temperature of the air you inhale, hot or cold? Notice your breath moving in and out of your nostrils. Pick up on the subtleties of the sensation.
  7. Be aware of your breath: as you breathe more deeply you will feel calmer and more relaxed. Notice your shoulders dropping in the exhalations. Slow the breath down but don’t force it.
  8. Wandering mind: your mind will wander from time to time, try not to get frustrated with yourself but just notice when it happens, smile at yourself and gently bring your attention back towards your breath.
  9. Perfect technique: don’t worry that you’re doing it wrong. There is no perfect way of doing it – just do it regularly.
  10. Regularity: try and practice each day, even if just for a few minutes and build it up to longer.

Mindful walking

Try this anytime, anywhere (even better if you’re barefoot). Pay attention to the sensation as you walk. Take awareness to your whole foot, feel your heel touch the ground, then the ball of the foot. Notice if you put more weight on the insides or outsides of your feet? Try to feel and engage all your toes. Take note of how the ground feels beneath each foot: is it wet, dry, bumpy, smooth, warm or cold? Notice all the sensations and try not to worry what you are walking on. I did once step on a bee whilst mindfully walking across the Downs! (it certainly made me mindfully aware of the sting!).

Mindful eating

Being mindful of your food is an amazing technique to have, it makes your food taste even better. Try bringing your awareness to the taste in your mouth, the smell, the temperature, the texture and weight of your food and drinks, truly tasting it, and when your mind starts to drift off, don’t get angry with yourself simply return to the awareness of tasting your food. I like to completely focusing on drinking my morning coffee, taking awareness to its scent, warmth, and taste and how it warms my whole body. I try not to focus on the day ahead until after my coffee as then I feel calmer and ready to work, before that I am rather scatty! Challenge yourself to eat without looking at your phone, TV or computer. This is an important rule in our house (there aren’t many so the kids know this one!).

Hopefully these mindfulness techniques will help you connect with yourself and heighten your senses. By learning to become present, letting go of our past and not worrying about our future we start to find a little space between our thoughts, and a little more stillness in our lives. Learning to just be (especially now in our digital world) without constant stimulation from our devices allows us to be more present for ourselves and those around us. This I believe is vitally important not just for our health and wellbeing but also for our children. They need to see life and genuinely experience living their lives and not just through Insta-filters or Snapchat stories!


Author Catherine Bicknell is a Yoga teacher, personal trainer and lecturer. She owns Yogi Mums and runs online yoga courses for beginners, busy mums, pregnant and postnatal mums.

Yogi Mums yoga mums bristol catherine bicknall

Yogi Mums
facebook.com/theyogimums
yogimums
@yogimums


When not practising mindfulness Catherine follows…

Laura Kasperzak / Instagram: @LauraSykora

Laura Sykora yoga mum

“One of my favourite women to follow on social media. An Instagram yoga ‘celebrity’ with over one million followers. She uses Instagram brilliantly to showcase her skills in creating the most amazing yoga postures. However, what makes her so special, I believe, are the beautiful images of her with her young daughter, which are truly amazing. The stunning backdrops and the gorgeous matching outfits mum and daughter wear really help too! Most of her images are a bit unrealistic for the average mum however something definitely to aspire to.

Beta Mummy

beta mummy blog

“Another mum I enjoy following on Facebook is Beta Mummy, her doodles about the reality of parenting are so funny because they are so true!”.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/betamum/