Wellbeing Blog

Ways to Keep your Goals on Track

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Did you set any goals at the beginning of the year? Have you managed to make good progress towards them? In this blog, I’m going to give you some suggestions on how set positive habits and stay on track if you’re struggling.

🗓 Start a #100DayProject 

This is a perfect choice if one of your goals for 2021 was to be more creative. The idea is simple: choose a creative project, do it every day for 100 days, and share your process online. If you want to find out more, watch the Q&A video. Draw a picture every day, write a poem, take a photo… the choice is yours. Further information can be found on the 100DayProject website.

This year’s #100DayProject begins on Sunday 31st January 2021.

📋 WOOP My Life 

This is a process in which you can set a wish, set a specific outcome connected to that wish, identify obstacles and create a plan of how you will overcome obstacles.

If this method of adding a little more structure behind your goals and having a strategy to overcome obstacles appeals to you, you will find resources on the WOOP practice page. There, you will find an interactive section to make your WOOP online. If you prefer to WOOP offline, download (and print) the WOOP kit. You may want to WOOP on the go, in which case download the WOOP app.

📔 Discover a strategy that works best for you 

Author Gretchen Ruben has a list of strategies that will help you set habit in a way which is most effective for you. The strategies are grouped by her ‘four tendencies’. You can take a quiz for free via the link on the page. This will help you find the strategy which works best for you. For example, if you are reluctant to do a task, the ‘strategy of pairing’ means linking the task you don’t want to do with something you’re enthusiastic about doing.

📲 Track habits on your smartphone 

Timecap allows you track habits based on the amount of time you spend on them, number of times you do them or simple check-off.

HabitShare is a good choice if having an ‘accountability buddy’ will motivate you to achieve your goals.

Confetti allows you to track your progress towards good habits as well as how often you indulge in bad habits you’re trying to avoid.

Guardians: Unite the Realms turns habit tracking into a game. The element of having to inspire the creatures in the game will motivate you to complete real-world goals.

All of these apps are available for both Andorid devices and iPhones.

If you’ve got any wellbeing goals you’d like us to help you achieve, please get in touch. We can help you by guiding you through setting goals relevant to your life and ambitions as well as helping you stay on track.

Tips to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

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At this time of year, when the days are still short and the glow of Christmas is behind us, you may start to feel a little ‘down’. This could be a sign that you are experiencing seasonal affective disorder (also known as SAD). We’re keen to share with you this video from our friends at COPE which gives you some tips on staying well at this time of year:



For some people, technology is the answer. Spending time in front of a SAD light box can be a substitute for spending time in the sun on dreich days. If it’s the dark mornings you struggle with, an alarm clock with a wake-up light feature may help. These devices will light up slightly around 30 minutes before your alarm is due to go off, then slowly increase there brightness. This is an attempt to mimic a sunrise.

Ordinary light bulbs and fittings are not strong enough. Average domestic or office lighting emits an intensity of 200-500 lux but the minimum dose, necessary to treat SAD is 2500 lux, The intensity of a bright summer day can be 100,000 lux!

Light treatment should be used daily in Winter (and dull periods in Summer) starting in early Autumn when the first symptoms appear. It consists of sitting two to three feet away from a specially designed light box, usually on a table, allowing the light to shine directly through the eyes.

The user can carry out normal activity such as reading, working, eating and knitting while stationary in front of the box.

~ advice from the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (source)

Remember, if you feel you have a condition you should get in touch with your GP who will be able to give you a professional diagnosis and ensure you receive the correct treatment. More details are available on the NHS Inform website.

2021: Inspiration for goals and how to achieve them

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If you completed our end-of-2020 reflection exercise, you may be keen to use what you learned to set your goals for 2021.

Setting your intentions

You might be tired of setting traditional New Year’s resolutions. Just as we did with the reflective journaling, we’ll share a list of prompts that you can choose from depending on what resonates with you. We also share some techniques to help you achieve your goals.

Work

  • Skills I want to develop in my career are…
  • New connection I want to establish in my professional network are..

Finances

  • Ways I will get myself into a more comfortable money position are… (Check out our Money Blog for tips)
  • Contacts I will reach out for advice on my finances are… (Perhaps our Community Welfare Champion could help, call 07555 060 664)

Giving Back

  • Ways in which I could ‘give back’ in the coming year are…
  • Strengths I could share for the benefit of others are…

Health & Wellbeing

  • What can I do to make myself fitter?
  • How can I make healthy food choices?
  • How can I find and connect people who I could share my wellbeing journey with? (Get in touch with us if you would be interested in joining our Wellbeing Group.)

This is a good opportunity to use some visualisation. For example, imagine yourself saying “no” to unhealthy deserts, walking to the shops instead of taking the car or taking some mindful breaths before entering your work.

Social Relationships: Friends/Family

  • In order to best help [insert friend/family member’s name] in to coming year I will…
  • Activities I could do to spend more time with my family are…

Hobbies

  • Activities I want to devote more time to this year are…
  • A skill I want to work towards mastering is…

If you’re looking to master a new skill, you may wish to ‘work backwards’. Look at someone who you admire and consider how they got to where they are now. Next, think of how break this into smaller steps you can achieve in 5 years, 2 years, 1 year, 3 months. This can make something ‘impossible’ seem a lot more achievable.

Self-development

  • Ways I will avoid the things I don’t do and don’t want to start are…
  • My number 1 enemy to self-improvement is [???] and ways I will avoid this are…
  • Am I spending my time in the way I want to? Activities I am not investing enough time in are…

Pause to reflect throughout the year

Flexibility in your goals may be important with the ongoing uncertainty. It may be good to set the intention to check in with yourself and change your goals. You could even set one of your goals to be “I will replace one of the goals above with something I have realised is more important.”

Also, remember to reward yourself and celebrate your achievements.

Reflective Journal for the end of 2020

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It’s been a turbulent year, but this reflective exercise can help you see it in a different light. The video below suggests one way you may wish to carry out a reflective journaling exercise. (You could even combine it with the gratitude journaling we discussed last week.) Don’t worry if the video doesn’t fully resonate with you. Our prompts below help you to customise the exercise to suit yourself. You can also adapt the activity by drawing instead of writing or simply jotting down a list.



Here’s some other prompts you may wish to use. Don’t let the list overwhelm you, just pick and choose what applies best to you.

Work

  • Keys achievement in my career are…
  • My work makes me feel fulfilled by…

Finances

  • To keep my spending/saving in check, I have… (get some pointers with a money health check)
  • Things I bought on a whim that I didn’t actually need…

Giving Back

  • Ways in which I have made a positive contribution to my community are…
  • I balance giving to others with being kind to myself by…
  • Ways in which I show respect for our planet is…

Health and Wellbeing

  • To take care of myself, I have… (eg. physical activity, healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption)
  • I avoid burnout by… (eg. self-care activities)
  • Steps I have taken to increase my resilience are…

Social/Relationships: Family and Friends

  • Ways I’ve spent time with my partner/family/friends are…
  • Moments I have enjoyed with my partner/family/friends are…
  • I need to spend time getting more connected to…/Relationships I should prune are…

Fun and Recreation

  • New hobbies I have discovered are…
  • Places I have visited that I enjoyed exploring…

Self-development

  • New skills I started using this year are…
  • My methods to stay productive include…
  • Good sources of learning for me this year were…

Living Environment

  • To make my home more comfortable, I have…

Spiritual

  • To bring peace into my life, I have… (eg. by being more mindful)
  • I have found purpose in my life by…
  • The values I live by are…

Use what you’ve learned from this exercise to help you set goals for 2021. Our goal-setting blog will be released on Wednesday 6th January 2021, which will contain more guidance in setting your goals for the upcoming year.

What are you grateful for?

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A great way to change your perspective on things is to look through the lens of gratitude. Even when things don’t seem so good, just look a little closer and you’ll probably find something to be grateful for. Here are a couple of activities we suggest to make gratitude a habit…

Make a Gratitude List

We all have tough times when we need some uplifting messages to remind us that there is positivity there. We suggest you create a list of everyday things that make your life comfortable and enjoyable. Think of simple things such as clean water, food, warmth, entertainment or connections with friends/family.

It can also be an opportunity to let your creativity out by designing your list in an imaginative way, including colours, drawings etc.

Start a Gratitude Journal

If you find the ‘attitude of gratitude’ helpful, you may wish to include it in your daily routine. Think about what time of day would work best for you. Some people find that first thing in the morning works for them and sets them up for the day with a positive mindset. Alternatively, you could reflect on what you were grateful for throughout the day just before you go to sleep.

A gratitude journal can be as simple as you want. Simply list bullet points such as:

  • “I am grateful to have a cosy bed to have a safe, relaxing night’s sleep”
  • “I am grateful for the food I ate today (which you could have experienced with a mindful eating practice) and the work of the people who prepared it”
  • “I am grateful for the opportunity to nurture my skills at a hobby”
  • Even if you’ve had a neutral day, you could write: “I am grateful that today was a stress-free and nothing went wrong.”

Why should I bother?

Research shows that keeping a gratitude journal is beneficial for your physical and mental health by reducing feelings of anxiety, depression and stress. It can also help you to cultivate empathy with others and build healthier relationships.

We hope that we’ve inspired you to start a gratitude practice to start bringing some peace into your life.

If you’re interested in learning about more methods of maintaining your wellbeing, please get in touch. You can phone us on 01290 428 474 or message us on Facebook.

An Introduction to Mindfulness

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If you’ve started exploring ways to look after your wellbeing, you’ve probably heard of mindfulness. This video sums up what mindfulness is and why we need it in out lives.



Mindfulness can be brought into a wide range of activities, some of which we will explore in more depth in upcoming blogs. Just a few mindful moments throughout the day can make a positive difference.

  • We already looked at mindful eating in a recent blog
  • Go for a mindful walk, using all your senses to experience it to the full
  • Do some mindful movement such as yoga
  • Pay close attention to the full length of an inhale and exhale with mindful breathing

We suggest that you experiment with the various types of mindfulness to see what best suits you. You’ll know what’s working for you when you start to notice emotions and sensations as they arise. The earlier these come into you awareness, the sooner you can act rather that waiting until things feel as though they are spiralling out of control.

How to De-stress Christmas

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With so much preparation required, you can be forgiven for believing that what’s supposed to be ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ is the most stressful time of the year! Here are our tips for making the festive month a little more relaxing.

Money 💸

If a spiralling Christmas spend is what keeps you up at night, check out our recent Money Blog posts in which we share Christmas budgeting resources and tips on how to make Christmas just as special without breaking the bank.

Food 🥮

The festive period sees lots of yummy treats that you don’t get at other times of the year. Take the time to savour these festive flavours with our tips for mindful eating.

Engage Your Senses 🕯️

The scent of some potpourri or a Winter-spice candle can help to distract your mind from your worries and give you that warm-fussy feeling!

Take a Festive Walk 🚶

The cold weather can be off-putting but there are sights you can see only at this time of year. Wrap up warm and hit the streets with your family and see how many cool Christmas lights displays you can find. If younger children need more encouragement, make it into a game eg. how many Santas can you spot; can you find a house with green lights, blue lights, red lights etc…?

Take Some Time Out ⏳

Taking just 10 minutes out of your day to listen to a relaxing guided meditation can help you to see things from another perspective. This guided meditation give you tips specifically for the Christmas season.

(Click bottom left for Soundcloud’s cookie policy – the data kind, not the ones you leave out for Santa!)

Looking for more tools to maintain your wellbeing? Please get in touch with us by calling 01290 428 474 or message us on Facebook.

Mindful Eating

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‘Mindfulness’ is often seen as a wellbeing buzzword right now. Even if you’re new to the concept you may have some ideas what it means. In this week’s blog, I’m going to give you some practical tips to bring mindfulness to something we do (multiple times) every day – eating!

A great place to start if you’re new to mindful eating is by following the instructions in the video below:


Mindful eating isn’t about going on a fad diet. It’s about listening to your body and giving it the food it needs to fuel you.

Tips for before you eat:

💚 Feel grateful for the food. Think about the time and effort put into preparing it.

⏸ Take a moment to pause; don’t just wolf down the food.

🥛 Have a drink of water to ensure you’ve got enough fluid in your system to digest the food.

📺 Clear the area of distractions – switch off you’re TV so can focus on the food.

Tips for what you eat:

🍉 Think about the ‘water content’ of the food. Melons, strawberries, oranges, salads etc. are water-rich and help you stay hydrated. This is essential for keeping your body in a healthy balance.

👩🏻‍🌾 Think about where your food comes from. Try to chose locally grown food. Perhaps you could grow your own or check our what’s on offer from The Knowe Garden Centre (late Summer is a good time to get yummy veggies from there).

Tips for after eating:

Digesting food takes a lot of energy so ensure you give your body time to rest:

🚿 Wait for at least one hour before taking a shower;

🏩 Wait for at least four hours before engaging in sexual activity.

💤 However, it’s also best not to go to sleep straight after a meal as your body will be dedicated to the recovery processes that take place overnight rather than the digestion functions.

Once you become familiar with mindful eating, you may wish to move onto a more advanced version:

(Click the link and familiarise yourself with Soundcloud’s cookie policy – the data kind; not the edible kind)

If you find it difficult to remember to eat mindfully, why not print out this great graphic from ‘Summer Tomato’ and use it as a placemat on your dining table?

The wonderful ‘Mindful Eating Placemat’ from Summer Tomato

If you’ve enjoyed checking out the resources in this week’s blog, why not get in touch? We’d love to share with you more resources to help you learn about mindful eating such as tracking how different food make you feel. Call us on 01290 428 474 or message us on Facebook.

Get Cozy for Winter with the Art of Coorie

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Coorie. A Scottish word you may think is more associated with snuggling. However, the definition has evolved to mean a way of life. We can embrace Coorie in our life through what we eat, wear and buy. Have a look at these resources about how Coorie can be good for your wellbeing.

This video from our friends at COPE explains the ways Coorie can help improve your wellbeing.



A lovely way to bring Coorie into your life is with a warming fire. Watching a video of the crackling fire can be help bring a sense of warmth without the hassle and expense of a real fire.


This month, wrap up warm, get outside and enjoy the warm Autumnal colours. Coorie can be found in the places we visit but sometimes we need to change the way we look at things.

To find coorie reference points we just need to look with fresh eyes at the same streets we’ve walked down hundreds of times.

~ from The Art of Coorie: How to Live Happy the Scottish Way by Gabriella Bennett

Learn more in the book, The Art of Coorie: How to Live Happy the Scottish Way by Gabriella Bennett, which you can reserve from East Ayrshire Libraries.

Learn more about the book in this report:



Looking to learn more tools to maintain your wellbeing? Please get in touch with us by calling 01290 428 474 or message us on Facebook.

Welcome to Our New Blog

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Welcome to the first post of our new blog!

We’re building on the success of our money blog (if you’ve not have a look, give it a read!) and launching this new blog. Each ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ we will share a new post inviting you to consider a new wellbeing tool to help boost the positivity and balance in your life. We will consider a range of topics, so feel free to ‘experiment’ and discover what works for you.

This week, to celebrate, World Kindness Day on Friday, I invite you to think about what kindness means to you.

A fun way to spread kindness in the community is by creating a Kindness Rock. These painted rocks have cool designs on one side and an uplifting message on the other. Check out this video to see how to create a Kindness Rock:

Finished Kindness Rocks can be placed around the community or given to someone you care about.

Furthermore, if you received an Autumn Activity Pack, you will find inside it kindness postcards. These are a nice way to share positivity with a neighbour or friend.

Here are some ideas of some ‘acts of kindness’ you may wish to try:

🚲 Walk or cycle instead of taking the car in order to reduce your carbon footprint

🚯 Buy reusable products rather than disposable

🦔 Make places for wildlife to shelter (such as a Bug Hotel)

🛍 Donate unwanted clothes, toys etc. to a charity shop

🗑 Help a neighbour by taking their bins out, particularly if they find this difficult

Remember to think about how you can be kind to yourself and the planet or feel more connected to your local community. During lockdown, we heard about how kindness was important to communities and we hope that can continue into the ‘new normal’.

If you want to learn more about kindness, this video from Carnegie UK Trust takes an in-depth look at how kindness can be embedded in everyday life for individuals, organisations and the government.

I was lucky enough to take part in the fascinating project that was Carnegie Trust UK’s Kindness Innovation Network. It really changed the way I think about kindness and gave me a new perspective on the systems within the government and organisations.

~ Stuart Mitchell, Community Events Engagement Co-ordinator

Our header photo for our Wellbeing Blog is inspired by the fact that one act of kindness can ripple out and spread the kindness further.

Whatever you’re doing this be kind to yourself and connected to your community 🤗

Ready to take the next step in improving your wellbeing?

Get in touch with us and we can help you find the right wellbeing tools for you:

01290 428 474

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