A catalyst Kia ora, I’m Hannah - a mum, nurse & passionate women’s wellness advocate.…
Show yourself some love girlfriend!
Love your gut
We are colonised by trillions of bacteria, fungi and viruses, as soon as we are born (ewwww, pays not to think too deeply into that). We call this the human microbiome. The microbiome informs our immune system and plays a key role in metabolism.
The gut is fast-becoming known as our “second brain” – gut feelings are for real!
The brain and gastrointestinal system are closely connected and this connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut. Therefore intestinal upset can be the cause or the product of anxiety, depression and stress.
Modern life thrashes the gut
Highly-processed foods are causing an “extinction” of our gut microbes. In addition, antibiotics, environmental pollution, lack of sleep, and stressful lifestyles have contributed to the decline in microbial diversity.
The good news is…
The latest gut health research shows that a diverse plant-based diet is of great benefit to the microbiome. Aim for at least 30 different plant foods per week; focus on adequate sleep, stress management and limiting or eliminating harmful substances such as sugar and alcohol. Sounds intense but doing just one of these things will get you those good vibes!
For extra support you can purchase some gut-loving medicinal mushrooms or adaptogenic herbs here.
Nourish and hydrate your body
- Eat an abundance of fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, and seeds
- Choose organic where possible
- Check out the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen”
- Conventionally-grown produce should be washed well to prevent food-borne illness, and reduce your exposure to pesticides
- Plain running water will wash away some pesticides; however, vinegar, baking soda and salt water have even greater efficacy.
- Blend or cook your fruit and vegetables if your digestive system is struggling
- Drink fresh clean water
- If plain water is not to your liking, add cucumber, mint, lemon, orange or berries to infuse
- Fresh pressed juices are hydrating, satisfying and nutrient-rich
- Herbal teas are mineral-rich; add an unrefined sweetener if you desire
Connect with nature
- Get outdoors in the fresh air, go for a walk on the beach; or in a forest
- Breathe in the diverse microbes that nature possesses
- Swim in the ocean; or in a river or lake
- Spend time with animals
- Listen to the birds
- Get some sun on your skin
I’ve mentioned it here! Placing your bare feet on the ground is known as “earthing” or “grounding” – a way in which we can connect to the Earth’s natural energy.
Earthing can help neutralise free radicals in the body, improve energy, protect against electromagnetic stress, reduce inflammation and pain, and improve sleep.
Ditch the shoes and go barefoot for good health!
Disconnect from technology
Challenge yourself to disconnect from your phone. This could be by deleting a frequently used app on a certain day of the week; by putting your phone away in a drawer in another room, or by refraining from taking your phone to places such as the toilet!
Plan to go somewhere remote for a peaceful getaway. Completely disconnect from technology, and reconnect with yourself, loved ones and nature.
Spend time with people who uplift you
It is time to say goodbye to the energy vampires!
Boundaries are worth it
Stop spending your precious time on people who drag you down. If you find that your “friends” are consistently bringing the drama, making you feel inadequate, sad, hopeless, and helpless then it is time to get brave and cut them loose (or at least keep them at a distance).
You have a choice!
Choose to be around people who are on your team, who support you and lift you up. These people are energising yet calming, and are a joy to be around. And remember to reciprocate!
Listen to music…and dance!
Music and dancing is good for the mind, body and soul. Even science backs that up. Listening to music brings joy due to the release of the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, dopamine.
Benefits of music/dancing:
- Enhances running performance
- Lowers stress
- Aids sleep
- Reduces the effects of depression
- Improves memory
- Eases pain
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Increases energy
- Assists weight loss
- Increases strength and flexibility
- Improves mood and memory
- Improves balance
- Can provide social connection
Is it time to learn to play that instrument you’ve always wanted to play?
Create a playlist and dance in your living room?
Be bold and join a dance group/class?
Do the damn thing, girl!
Embrace your sexuality
Expressing ourselves sexually and experiencing pleasure is a birthright.
Engage in safe sex with someone that you respect and who respects you…or pleasure yourself! Getting to know your body intimately is not something to be ashamed of.
There are many toys and devices on the market for intimate play – with or without a partner; including the currently popular clitoris stimulators and crystal wands. Or try the simple route and use the shower head!
Lubricant is essential and organic/natural products are readily available.
Did you know?
Orgasms increase oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’) and dopamine in the body which team up to curb appetite, reduce food cravings, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, reduce stress and improve mood.
Get quality sleep
Sleep makes the world a better place. Seriously.
When we sleep our brain is detoxifying, healing, reorganising, consolidating information, and restoring itself.
Sleep deprivation is a serious safety concern and impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning and problem solving. Accidents have occurred due to a lack of sleep including workplace injuries and countless motor vehicle, aviation, and locomotive accidents.
A good night’s sleep:
- Reduces appetite
- Improves memory and mood
- Reduces blood pressure
- Helps injuries to heal
- Improves immunity
- Reduces inflammation
- Balances stress hormones
- Gives you more energy
- Increases libido
- Enhances creativity
Certain behaviours promote sleep…
- Limit caffeine and consume it before midday
- Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (the part that governs our brain is a creature of habit)
- Limit the use of electronic devices before going to bed; refrain from use at least one hour before bed time
- You can also turn down the brightness, wear blue-light blocking glasses, or get an app to remove the blue-light on your device in the evenings
- Regular exercise will set you up for a good sleep, however avoid rigorous evening exercise as this can do the opposite
- Try yoga or sleep meditations/music as part of a bedtime ritual
- Herbal teas, or adaptogenic herbs such as Mason’s Mushrooms, Ashwagandha or Reishi make for an incredible evening tonic
How much sleep do I need?
Work out how much sleep is optimal for you so that you wake up feeling refreshed, this is typically 7-9 hours for most people.
It is best if you can wake up naturally, without that cortisol-inducing alarm going off each morning.
Please be aware that sleep deprivation can be a symptom of an undiagnosed sleep disorder or other medical concern; see your general practitioner if you experience prolonged insomnia that cannot be remedied by the above recommendations.
Are you stuck in “fight or flight mode” (overactive sympathetic nervous system) due to a high-stress, fast-paced lifestyle?
Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises allow you to tap into the parasympathetic nervous system and switch off the fight/flight mode. They are deeply relaxing and restorative for the mind, body and spirit, yet energising at the same time.
There are many free guided meditations and yoga tutorials available. You can also get apps for your smartphone.
A quick search online for deep breathing exercises will bring up the numerous methods you can follow. Taking deep breaths into your belly, in through the nose to the count of 4, and out through the mouth to the count of 4, is a good place to begin; extend the count as you are able.
Love yourself unconditionally as you are, and as you grow
Be true to yourself and do not fear the judgement of others.
Also…stop judging yourself, and others.
A fear of judgment can prevent you from experiencing some amazing things in life.
Be brave and set yourself free!
Always a pleasure,