The Truth about Lower Back Pain – MYTHBUSTER

Hi Guys and Gals 😊

Welcome back to Lifevolution! It is great to have you here.

Today we are going to talk about lower back pain and address a few of the myths that are causing you sleepless nights. In my next post, I will recommend pain management options and a few exercises that I prescribe to my patients helping them to manage pain, recover and get back to what they love doing.

I want to let you know that you are going to be ok!

Lower back pain is very common and is one of the things most of my patients come in to see me for.

Several things can cause lower back pain from physical and environmental factors to stress. For example, if you have a cold, are a builder with poor lifting technique and having poor sleep then it is possible that you may develop lower back pain but it does not mean that it is going to stay with you forever!

Lower back pain is normal and resolves over a few days or weeks. Most lower back pain is caused by strains and sprains of muscles and joints. A very small percentage of back pain is caused by a serious pathology so please don’t worry.

Myths

  1. Pain = damage

The body’s pain mechanism is in place to protect us from harm but often, the level of pain we experience is not always proportionate to what is happening in our bodies.

The Car Alarm Analogy – I like to use the car alarm analogy. A cat may brush itself against your car door setting the burglar alarm off. This may lead you to believe that your car is being stolen. You ran outside to find no one there. The body does the same thing quite often.

This can stop us doing things like exercise which are very important for keeping us healthy and mobile. This leads on to the next myth.

2. Rest is best! Exercise will make things worse!

Guys and Gals, rest is not best! Staying inactive can cause pain to last longer. Exercise and movement encourage increased blood flow, the release of endorphins and endogenous opioids which relieve pain. Inactivity can lead to muscle weakness and tightness leaving you susceptible to long term musculoskeletal conditions. A gentle walk or yoga work just fine. It does not have to be strenuous exercise.

3. Having lower back pain means there is a problem with my disc (e.g. slipped disc)

Your vertebrae are strong structures that support the weight of your body. In between each vertebrae are your discs which act as shock absorbers.

Yes, there are disc related and degenerative conditions which can be quite uncomfortable. Arthritis is a degenerative condition however it is a normal process of aging. This may cause you to lose flexibility and cause less cushioning between the vertebrae leading to pain however pain and stiffness can be managed with exercise, allowing you to live a good quality of life. Age is just a number!!

4. Lifting will damage my spine

Lifting is absolutely fine but your technique has to be right to prevent injury. Exercises like deadlifts can be helpful in strengthening the muscles in your back but must be done correctly.

5. An MRI or x-ray will diagnose my problem

Evidence has shown that individuals can have an MRI scan which shows changes in their spine however have no symptoms at all. It works the other way too. One can have significant pain and have no changes seen on an MRI scan. Scans can often correlate poorly with symptoms.

If you are experiencing back pain, please visit a physiotherapist for an assessment and treatment. Physiotherapy is very successful in managing lower back pain.

Remember that your back is strong!

Most lower back pain is mechanical in nature and is caused my sprains and strains!

You will get better!

Remember to live purposefully and be the best version of yourself!

Manuela xoxo

Monday to friyay with a spring in your step!

Monday to FriYay with a Spring in Your Step!!! Eat your way to healthy while saving the pennies with Excalibur!

Welcome Back Guys and Gals!!

Guys and Gals… drum roll 😊

Today I present to you the Excalibur Parallex Dehydrator! – **this is not a sponsored post. It is a great piece of kit that I want you all to know about because I love it. **

Excalibur is a dehydrator which comes in several sizes (4, 5 and 9 tray). It has plastic trays with mesh screen (BPA free) and can be used to dehydrating fruits, veggies, meat, nuts, proving dough for making bread and yoghurt.

You can dehydrate pretty much anything with no fuss. My mind was blown when I realised I did not need to spend a huge amount of money on dried snacks anymore and could do it myself in the comfort of my own home. Not to mention, I would know exactly what was going in my food. No scary preservatives or chemicals!!

Before I posted this post, I tested this piece of kit out quite a few times and I love it! Can you tell? 😊

My husband and I went on a wild camping trip to Loch Achray in Scotland and I wanted to have gourmet meals whilst on our trip, as you do, so… I dried some fruit (trail mix) for snacks and veggies to make a nice Chow Mein, Moroccan feast and Bolognese. It was extremely easy and tasty. It was so good I forgot to take pictures to show you guys and gals.

More recently I have been using it to dry fresh herbs (this is much better than buying store bought dried herbs every time you need them) and making smoothie powders. I am not a fan of bulking agents in some of the stuff you get on supermarket shelves, not to mention the sugar content so I make it all myself.

Did I mention you can make your own dried tea? Sounds a little over the top but the flavour is amazing! My favourite is ginger tea. I chop it up, pop it in the dehydrator and let it do all the work then… I have tea!

Guys and Gals… if you cannot already tell, I love the Excalibur Dehydrator so I’m giving you the link for where you can get one. Add it to your wish list. If you buy it, let me know what you think. I love hearing from you! You can also get it pre-loved on sites like Facebook Market Place or Ebay to save on the pennies. I got mine preloved and it works great! 😊

Grab your Excalibur Dehydrator here!!!

Remember to live purposefully and be the best version of yourself!

Manuela xoxo

YOUR JOURNEY TO LIGHT

Hi Guys and Gals! It is great to have you here on Lifevolution 🙂

A character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved” – Hellen Keller

Guys and Gals, I have been thinking a lot lately about silver linings! You know that phrase people say when you are facing a challenge … “Every cloud has a silver lining”?

On difficult days, I have joked with my husband about the universe’s motives, often wondering whether there is no straightforward and easier way to learn the lessons of life. It is almost as though the universe sits back in her chair, pours a glass of Pinot Noir, grabs the remote control and flicks through TV channels however, the only programme available is total wipeout. The exception to this game of life as opposed to the original version is that the prize for navigating obstacles is not a large pot of cash but rather a silver lining. It sounds overly dramatic doesn’t it?

For most of us, struggle is something to avoid at all costs however, other people rely on being knocked every now and again to grow and get better at what they do. 

We are all human with thoughts and emotions and it is fair to say that struggle can be painful and cruel at times but it serves a purpose.

Over the last few years, I have battled with health issues and been thrown head first into the realisation that the life I envisioned for myself is not the right one for me. The best likeness to this situation I can give is a deer in the headlights. In having to work through challenging situations, I have been forced to challenge my belief system around health, food, medicine, mental health wellbeing, family, love, life, and purpose. I have gone through every thought from “why is this happening to me? It’s not fair” to “I would give anything for things to go back to the way they were. Things were great a few years ago”.  Having thoughts like these is normal. The question however is, were things really good the way they were? Is it perhaps time now to change the status quo and do something greater with the life I am so lucky to have. 

Guys and Gals, struggle has been my greatest gift ! Fear, pain, anxiety and struggles are part of the journey to light and we are all strong enough to handle it and inspire others through it! We have made it this far!

If you had it easy all the time, then you would never feel the need to make a change.

Struggle is necessary for change and change is necessary for growth. Struggle builds strength, compassion, resilience and courage and none of these things would be possible in the absence of challenges.

Challenges have helped me learn that:

1. We need to take care of our bodies and minds and help others do the same. Our bodies and minds are a precious gift . 

2. Life is fragile so we should relish the time we have with friends and family.

3. It’s ok to take time out for yourself to do things that make you happy. Happiness and success are not defined by the amount of money you have or the size of your house but by your experiences and the positive impact you have on other people around you as well as the earth that allows us to continue thriving. 

4. Forgiveness is a huge part of letting go of the past, living in the present and building a healthy future for yourself.

Despite life’s challenges, I am grateful for the opportunity for change, so guys and gals, next time you are going through a difficult time, remember there is a silver lining no matter how difficult it is to visualise in this moment. Be patient and kind to yourself. You are strong, courageous, resilient and you can get through this. It will be worth it, I promise. 

Stay safe and well and remember to live purposefully and be the best version of yourself!

Manuela xoxo

Overcome Fear! Embrace It and Get the Most Out of Life!

Hey Guys and Gals! It is great to have you here! 🙂

I hope you are all safe and well.

I am going to get straight to it and tell you that FEAR IS HOLDING YOU BACK. Fear is stopping you from being the best version of yourself. Today we are going to change that.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear ” – Nelson Mandela

We have all had sleepless nights and hours of rumination on a multitude of things from fear of failure, judgement, rejection, losing loved ones, losing our jobs, house, partners to fears that we have left the iron turned on after leaving the house.

Our natural response to these fears is avoidance. We tell ourselves that the only way to be safe is not to take risks however, avoidance strengthens fear. Fear paralyses action! A lack of action = a lack of growth!

So how do we overcome fear?

Step 1 – Understand Fear

Fear is a combination of biology and psychology and we can learn to control both!

Close your eyes and take yourself back in time to the day you had to give your first speech to your peer group at school. Do you remember the sleepless night before, the butterflies in your tummy, a dry mouth, your hands trembling and the urge to run and hide to avoid it all together?

Do you remember the fear of messing up in front of the class and being laughed at? You don’t want the kids to laugh at you the same way they did when Noah fell over during sports day. You stand in front of the class and start to speak but your voice trembles and palms are shaky and sweaty.

Guys and gals that is your biological response to fear.

You will not believe that a tiny almond shaped structure in your brain is responsible for how you are feeling but IT IS TRUE … your Amygdala is causing those physical responses.

This primitive structure saved us in the past, as hunter gatherers, from being harmed by an array of predators in the wild… snakes, lions, poisonous insects, you name it. The Amygdala prepared you for flight or fight. It sounds the alarm. Your body is flooded with adrenaline and other stress hormones, non-essential processes such as digestion are stopped, your skin cools and blood is diverted to the muscles in preparation for the emergency. Your breathing rate increases, heart races, blood pressure rises infusing your body with much needed oxygen and let us not forget your liver and its pivotal role in releasing glucose to be converted to energy. You are going to need lots of energy if you are going to successfully run out of the room and avoid doing that speech all together 🙂 .

It does not stop there! Your frontal cortex (responsible for emotions and rationalisation) and hippocampus (responsible for memory formation) also want to be a part of the fear party! When it is time for you stand in front of your peers, your hippocampus which stored the memory of Noah falling over and everyone laughing activates. This in turn triggers the Amygdala, starting a cascade of automatic reactions in your body. Before you know it, you are telling yourself that doing that speech is a terrible idea and so you need to act fast to avoid doing it. We imagine the worst.

Every time you avoid doing the things you are afraid of, the fear becomes stronger.

Step 2: Challenging fear!

  1. Identify what you are really afraid of – analyse the scenarios that are played in your mind and thoughts about the fear, to become the expert of your mind. Knowing the ins and outs of your mind will enable you to know where to start with tackling the problem.

2. Gain an awareness on the effect fear has on your life. It is often not until we notice the negative effects something has on our lives that we decide to make a change. Noticing the possibilities for growth that are passing you by will leave you wanting to get rid of it faster than you can say fear!

3. Deal with the fearful thoughts straight away, don’t avoid them – don’t let them take over your life for another minute. Challenge the thoughts and let them go! If you deal with it this time, it will be easier the next time you are in a similar situation. Remember Denial is not a river in Egypt 😊

4. Gradual exposure to the situation that brings fear through visualisation – when fear kicks in, we imagine the worst outcome which is often unlikely or untrue. Visualisation before the event can help you to see the possibilities of a positive outcome in a fearful situation. Rather than worst case scenario, we imagine best case scenario!

5. Create a fear ladder – make a list of situations related to your fear. Arrange the situations on your list from scariest to least scary. Now try the first thing on your list. This may cause you some anxiety but should not put you off completely. Always focus on the end goal which is to overcome your fear. Move onto the next thing when the first one no longer elicits fear.

6. Remind yourself that you are human and you don’t have to be perfect. It is ok to make mistakes.

7. Be your biggest cheerleader! Give yourself credit. You are doing the best you can. When you are aware of this and comfortable with who you are, fears of things like judgement and rejection from others disappear. After all true happiness starts from within.

8. Focus on right now! We cannot see into the future. We often have a lot of “what if” thoughts when we are afraid. The truth is guys and gals that we have no control over how other people respond to us, so we have to learn to be satisfied with right now.

Feel the fear and do it anyway”

Remember to live purposefully and be the best version of yourself!

Manuela xoxo

A Minimalist’s Approach to Life

Hello Guys and Gals! 😊 It’s great to have you here!

I have been away for a while with tech issues but I’ve been anxiously waiting to start posting again.

You have waited long enough so let’s get started…

“Minimalism is not about having less, it’s about making room for what matters”

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism is a way of life promoting a life based on experiences rather than worldly possessions. The core of minimalism is to focus on intentionality and the reduction of things that distract us from that.

I have been transitioning towards a minimalist lifestyle for a few months now and it has been a positive and transformational part of my journey so far so, I would like to share as much as I can with you in the hope you’ll get something great out of this too.

To give you an idea of the journey so far, below is a little background of my life pre-minimalism.

Guys and Gals – I loved shoes, particularly trainers and had them in every colour you could think of. I bought clothes to match each season of the year. I loved tech to the point where I bought stuff just because it sounded cool. I was constantly online looking for the next thing to buy. The truth is that I got a buzz from it. It really felt good. Bizarrely though I also felt extremely guilty for spending so much money when I knew I did not need the things I was buying but that voice in your head keeps saying “You deserve it. What is the point of working so hard if you can’t buy things that make you happy right?”

Hmmm… I am not so sure I agree with that now. The truth is that owning loads of stuff clutters my space and brain and does not make me happy long term. We live in an extremely consumerist society so, it can be challenging to avoid all the bright coloured billboards, the adverts and offers enticing you to buy the latest fashion or gadgets. Some of the things out there are awesome and it makes our lives easier but, I question whether we really need it to make us happy. Sure, we get a rush of excitement when an amazon package arrives. You rip off the tape in anticipation of that remote control robot dish washer you’ve been waiting to clean that heap of dirty dishes but before you know it, a robot chef hits the shelves and you find yourself queuing 36 hours to get yours before they sell out, only to realise that it was great for a little while and now needs to be hidden away in the loft.

Guys and Gals there is a science to that and it’s called Dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in control of the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. Dopamine receptors are activated when you anticipate something exciting. It’s crazy right? These little receptors are responsible for our impulses to buy and have things. We get pleasure from it so why wouldn’t we keep doing it?

Simplicity is an important component for happiness. It is about having few desires so that you can really appreciate what you already have.

I have a bucket list and this very extensive list has a lot of things I want to experience in my lifetime like… camping in Yosemite, going to Snowdonia and even strawberry picking in the summer. Experiencing these places and activities would create memories that last a lifetime and that sounds more fulfilling to me. That is the kind of dopamine experience I want to have. Minimalism allows me to do just that.

So what does a minimalist transition look and feel like for me? I write this in present tense because I am still transitioning.

Minimalism is individual so it is perfectly fine if your journey looks different to another person’s because the things that make you happy are unique to you.

I started making very small changes. A gradual change in mindset and lifestyle is a lot easier to adjust to. Extreme changes can leave you feeling lost and overwhelmed. Minimalism does not have to be extreme.

  1. I streamlined my everyday wear and have a couple of pairs of shoes. I spend less time trying to pick clothes out in the morning and instead, get to spend a few extra minutes enjoying breakfast before I head out for the day. I feel confident when I am out because I do not feel pressured to meet the expectations of others around me. It is liberating!!
  2. When I shop, I buy what I need not what I think I should have. This has reduced the amount of waste in our household and my shopping habits have reduced the negative impact I may have on the environment.
  3. I reassess what I have every 90 days. If I have not used or thought about it, then it goes into the charity box. Someone else probably needs it more than I do.
  4. I constantly practice gratitude. When you have more than you need, you don’t truly appreciate what you have so, the less you have the more likely you are to notice how lucky you are to have it.

Your journey may look completely different to mine and that is ok. Remember you are working on being the best version of You.

Here are some top tips to help you on your journey.

  1. Focus on what means the most to you. Ask yourself what you really want and what matters to you. There are no right answers.
  2. Make your priorities your main focus.
  3. When you say no to that expensive pair of shoes, think I’m saying Hello to financial security and bye to debt”. When you say no to buying that expensive bottle of wine/whiskey think “I get to take my best friend to that theatre production she/he has wanted to go to for years”. Mindset is key.
  4. Ask why before you buy!
  5. Spend money on experiences – the pictures and memories last a lifetime.
  6. Practice gratitude – name three things you are really grateful for each day.
  7. Always reflect on your achievements – you spent less money this week, you gave some clothes you were not wearing to charity – Celebrate it. I’m proud of you and you should be too. You are Amazing!! Don’t focus on how far you have to go but rather how far you have come.
  8. Remember change won’t happen overnight so don’t be too hard on yourself. Change takes time.

Remember to live purposefully and be the best version of yourself!

Manuela xoxox

Understanding Impermanence and Practising Non-Attachment– the answer to true freedom

Welcome back Guys and Gals. It’s great to see you again! 🙂

“Progress is impossible without change” – George Bernard Shaw

The world we live in is always evolving. For some of us, the thought of change evokes stress, fear and anxiety, particularly when we feel we have no control over it. It is normal to feel these emotions in the face of uncertainty.

Stress, fear, anxiety…we feel these emotions because of the expectations we have for what our lives should look and feel like and when something de-rails our plans we experience disappointment. We panic because we don’t know what to do next. We feel sad because we mourn the loss of the life we planned for ourselves. Why? Because we form attachments to everything in our lives – work, relationships, goals, houses, cars, you name it. We expect things to last forever.

Attachment is an innate characteristic in human beings. Babies form attachments very early on in their lives to caregivers and objects. So, I suppose we could say we are programmed to be attached to both people and objects. It is fine to have passion and emotions for other people or things however we need to be aware of the idea of non-attachment and impermanence and their involvement in stress, anxiety and fear. Bear with me, I’ll explain.

Impermanence is a concept discussed in both eastern and western philosophies. In eastern philosophy impermanence is the cornerstone of Buddhism and western philosophies explore the concept through the Greek philosopher Heraclitus’ work, change is fundamental to the world we live in.

Everything in existence is transient. Everything and everyone (YOU) is constantly changing.

Before I go any further, I’ll give you an insight into what I mean by non-attachment. Non-attachment is about journeying through life without letting anything (people, objects, situations) have ownership of you. When we can release our attachments to ideas, things or people, we start to experience less stress, anxiety and fear around change. Non-attachment does not mean that the world around you does not matter, it means that you are able to let things come and go in your life without experiencing prolonged negative effects… stress, anxiety and fear. To put your mind at ease, you can still feel love, feel excitement and passion whilst being non-attached to ideas, people or things.

It is OK to buy that phone you saw in the store last week, but if you are embracing non-attachment and impermanence, your world will not be turned upside down if you accidentally leave it on the bus next week while on the way to work.

It is OK to get that dream job, but if the company closes a few months later, you are able to pick yourself up and keep reaching for the stars.

It is OK to meet the lovely guy/gal next door but if they move away, you’re not consumed with disappointment and loneliness.

Understanding impermanence helps you practice non-attachment. Things, ideas, goals, relations will change. They will come and go. Non-attachment will help you cope with change better; to see it in a positive light rather than the big scary ogre we perceive it to be.

I debated whether to mention the current state of the world in this post and I’m still unsure as to whether I want to focus on that. I would like you to relate this post to any part of your life that stands out to you as you read this so I’ll keep this short.

Our lives are changing. Things may not be the same in a few months’ time. Our plans may have changed. We may have to adjust our goals. We may need new jobs. We may not be able to buy that house we have been saving up for right away but what we do have is a new perspective, a stronger sense of community, a fantastic opportunity for personal growth and a chance to start again.

A little bit of homework for you guys and gals… I promise it’s worth doing: The first step to practicing non-attachment and impermanence is having an awareness of your attachments and expectations. Reflect on ideas, objects, relationships and goals in your life to which you are attached and write these down.

Try to identify all the positive things about the items on your list and accept that there are aspects about those things that you may no be able to control. Things are not permanent and likely to change. Remind yourself that this not a bad thing. Change is OK and does not have to be scary. Change can lead to positive things.

Affirmation: “This too shall pass.

When things are bad, remember it won’t always be this way. Take one day at a time.

When things are good, remember it won’t always be this way. Enjoy every moment” 🙂

Key Points

Everything is in existence is transient and that is ok. Change is a journey to new and exciting season in your life.

Impermanence helps us through the bad times with the knowledge that better days are ahead of us.

Experience and cherish people, moments and objects while they are present then don’t be afraid to let them go when it’s time to. Open your mind and heart to the possibility of a novel way of living, feeling and thinking.

Remember to live purposefully and be the best version of yourself

Manuela xoxo

MOnday to Fri-YaY with a spring in your step – 5..4..3..2..1 and …. Relax

Welcome back Guys and Gals – It’s great to have you here! 🙂

I have been away on a two week selfcare break and it has been great! I’m glad to be back 🙂

There are a lot of things going on in the world at the moment. A lot of uncertainty, stress and anxiety so the 54321 technique will help you focus more on what you can control rather than what you can’t.

So here goes…

Acknowledge 5 things you can see around you.

Acknowledge 4 things you can touch. Really focus on textures.

Acknowledge 3 things you hear.

Acknowledge 2 things you can smell.

Acknowledge 1 thing you can taste.

We are not always able to control what happens in the world around us but we can control our thoughts.

Remember to live purposefully and be the best version of yourself

Manuela xoxo

Reframe Your Mindset – Reclaim Your Self Confidence!

Welcome back Guys and Gals. Great to have you here! 🙂

“The only thing I know is that I know nothing” – Socrates

For a significant part of my life, several people told me that I would never be successful because I was not smart or strong enough to make it and you know what, I believed their words. When I achieved anything, it felt great because I proved them wrong, but that joy was short lived. I did not believe that I deserved success. I would say things like, “I was lucky this time and I don’t know whether I’ll be able to do it again”. When things did not go to plan, I would say “They are all right. I should be better. Perhaps this is just not meant for me. There are better people out there at this”.

I stopped fighting for myself because I believed I did not matter. I believed that my thoughts were factual and despite other people’s efforts to build my confidence, nothing changed. I told myself they were just being nice.

The key thing is that I had no evidence to support my thoughts. In fact, I had evidence to suggest the contrary. I did well in school, always worked hard in my jobs, never got in trouble, was great at music and able to build great connections with people. I shut myself away from all those great things truly believing I needed to become a perfect human being to be someone.

Guys and Gals I have learnt a lot and worked hard on my mindset over the last few years through thought work. It really does work. It is not a one time thing. You will need to keep practicing thought work throughout your life because it is important, but I promise you won’t be disappointed once you start this process.

I love the quote – “The only thing I know is that I know nothing – Socrates”. My interpretation of this quote is that we can never be certain that what we know or think is 100% factual. The aforementioned prevents us from making judgements based on potentially false information.

In the case of our thoughts, what we think may not be factual regardless of how strongly our minds lead us to believe it. When there is an awareness that our thoughts may not be factual, we invite the opportunity to reframe our mindset and in turn the way we see ourselves, achieving peace within ourselves.

Perhaps implementing a Pyrrhonist approach to thought work would be beneficial to our growth. Without boring you too much with philosophical teachings, Pyrrhonists utilised an epoche mindset which translates to suspension of judgement. Applying a non-judgemental approach to ourselves would eliminate any cognitive dissonance with regards to our beliefs about ourselves.

To keep it simple, think of it this way…

If a thought is not beneficial to your growth i.e. it is judgemental and likely to hurt your confidence and self-esteem, reframe it.

Here are a few tips to help you on your journey back to empowerment, self love and confidenceYou’ve got this!

  1. Be kind to yourself – Don’t allow yourself to use harsh words towards yourself. You wouldn’t say those things to friend so why say them to yourself. You don’t deserve it. Other people may hurt you but you don’t have to jump on the hate train too.
  1. Identify the origin – Every thought has an origin. Try to sit with the thought no matter how uncomfortable it is. Perhaps even try to identify the event that triggered the thought. It could be related to someone challenging you in a way that does not align with your values and beliefs. Ignoring the thought only allows it to sit with you longer without action. Write it all down in a journal so you can keep track of your thought process.
  1. Reframe To Reclaim Your Confidence – Inherently, situations do not have a meaning other than the meaning we assign to it therefore, we can choose to see a situation in a different and more positive way. This in no way trivialises your pain. It is healthy to feel sadness, anger, frustration however, we can turn that pain into something positive that will help you grow and change your mindset. I’ll be honest, thought work is not easy but we can retrain our brains to think more positively.
  1. “Rejection is Redirection – my favourite mantra to get me through those difficult days. Try saying this to yourself several times to help you reframe those negative thoughts. Remember if we don’t experience failure or rejection, we don’t make changes and we need to change in order to grow. “Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” ~Steve Maraboli
  1. Empowerment is Your New Super Power – Where do I start? Empowering Question cards by Sanna WikstromThese cards are really awesome. They have questions to help with self discovery and aid in building self confidence. There are 52 in a pack. You can pick one a day and use the question to journal or meditate. Let’s get you feeling better about yourself! Be the best version of you! ** not sponsored**
  1. Use “The mood cards” – Guys and Gals – these cards are great. I use them on days where a lot is going on both amazing and not so great to help process my thoughts. Pick a card that represents how you’re feeling then answer the questions on the back. The bonus is you get an affirmation too to get those positive thoughts going. You can do self reflection anywhere you want to with a little help from these cards. ** not sponsored**

Key Takeaways:

  • Reframe to Reclaim Your Confidence!
  • Rejection is redirection!
  • Jump off the hate train – self love is your new destination

Remember to live Purposefully and Be The Best Version of Yourself

Manuela xoxo

Monday to Fri-YAY with a Spring in Your Step – A no fuss tip to cook your way to good health!

Welcome back Guys and Gals! Great to see you again :)!

What I’m about to tell you is going to help you on your path to feeling healthy physically and the bonus is it literally saves so much time.

I keep telling myself that if I had more time, I would be able to do so much more… well guess what? This tip is going to do just that. It’ll save you time so that you can do all those things you are struggling to get done in 24 hours.

To put it into perspective, I am getting an extra hour plus a day and eating healthier.

Without further ado, I present to you…. The Instant Pot.

** This is not a sponsored post. I just love how great this piece of equipment is and really wanted to tell you all about it**

The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker and multicooker (with a rice cooker, soup setting, slow cooker and saute mode) that cooks most things: beans, chicken, beef, pork, fish, cake, veggies, porridge, rice, pasta, quinoa… you name it, it does it. Did I mention that you can make your own yoghurt too?

It cooks everything quickly allowing you to get those homemade meals to the table in no time, particularly on those long days where you’re tempted to order takeaway just so you can get a few extra hours to catch up on exercise, Netflix, laundry, cleaning. Don’t order takeaway guys and gals… you can make a meal in 30 minutes that tastes so delicious and has more nutrients.

One of the really great things about this gadget is that it retains most of the nutrients as you don’t have to submerge your food (veggies and meat) in water for it to cook evenly. Boiling and traditional steaming leads to water soluble vitamins leaking out of food which reduces its nutritional value. The Instant Pot cooks food evenly allowing a 90% retention of vitamins with minimal water use.

Let’s not forget how colourful your veggies come out looking. Guys and Gals I was so done with eating browned broccoli. It went in green and that’s how I want it to stay on my plate on serving. In the Instant Pot, the steam surrounding the food stops the veggies from being oxidised from exposure to air when cooking. Save those phytochemicals!

#savethephytochemicals

Other really cool benefits are :

You don’t have to do loads of washing up after you cook – check out my red pepper pasta one pot recipe in the recipes tab. The pot is also dish washer safe. I don’t own a dish washer but if I did, I would use it J

It automatically switches to keep warm mode if you get caught up doing something else so your food stays at the perfect temperature till you are ready to chow down.

You can delay the cooking start time with the delay function allowing you to plan meals ahead of time.

Guys and Gals… this gadget is amazing. I have had mine for over 2 years and I can’t recommend it enough.

Here is a link to where I got mine from.

Have a fab start to the week and I hope that this tip will give you that extra time to do what you need to do to keep that spring in your step. Time is precious, use it wisely.

Remember to live purposefully and be the best version of you.

Manuela xoxo

Monday to Fri-YAY With a Spring in Your Step – Be Present, Live in the Moment

Great to see you 🙂

Welcome to the second post of the Monday to Fri-YAY With a Spring in Your Step series.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

A couple of months ago, I drove 34 miles to work, heating on, tunes blazing… I got to my destination and I had no idea how I got there. Never mind I told myself, at least you got here on time.

I turned my computer on and just like any other day, my first patient came in, then the next and the next. I stopped for lunch and again before I realised, thirty minutes were over and back to work I went. A few hours later, the day was over.

I got back in my car and drove home with the occasional beep from an angry driver in traffic pushing me out of the trance I had been in all day.

Guys and Gals, I can’t recall anything else from that day… colours, smells, sounds, physical sensations, facial expressions… Nothing. This was not an isolated incident. This my friends was a typical day, 365 days a year.

Imagine coasting through life not remembering very much. Days turn to weeks and weeks to months and before you know it years have passed and you have no idea where the time has gone. I am sure this is something you have experienced at least once in your life.

It’s a scary feeling and that is why I am going to give you a couple of tips to help you be more present through the week so that those amazing minutes, hours, weeks, months and years don’t keep passing you by. Your life is so precious.

  • Check in with yourself – how do I feel today? What do I need right now? What are my thoughts currently? What can I see, smell, feel and hear?- Tap into those senses – Do this at lunch or when you are stopped at a red light (keep those eyes open though so you’re ready to go when it turns green :)). Perhaps even setting a reminder on your phone may be helpful.This is not just important for making you more aware of the needs your body and mind, it also breaks distractive thought patterns and draws you back to right now… before you know it you realise that your fearful thoughts may not be a true representation of what is likely to happen. It takes practice but the more you do it the more aware you become of yourself, your needs and what makes you content. Try using apps like Headspace which provide guided meditations. It helps if mindfulness/meditation is new to you. I try to fit in a 5-10 minute guided meditation twice a day and guys and gals, it really helps to keep me grounded.

Ps: Turn your phone off. This is YOUR time. Do whatever makes you feel happy – take a walk, listen to music, yoga, read a book… anything.

  • Celebrate all your victories, particularly the small ones – sometimes we ignore all the small yet amazing things we do or happen to us because we are waiting on that big life changing victory to gain our attention. Those small victories that you are achieving right now are the building blocks and should be celebrated. We celebrate when a child crawls, walks then runs so why shouldn’t we celebrate things like getting to work on time, finishing that project, getting the grocery shopping done? Getting to work on time stops you stressing so your day runs smoothly, finishing your project will eventually get your dream job, getting the shopping means you’ll have great meals to nourish your body. Sounds great when you put it like that right?
  • It is ok not to know everything right now – worrying about the future can distract you from being present and living in the moment. The more we try to have all our future plans sorted now, the more consumed with our thoughts we become and with that come feelings of inadequacy or failure if we don’t have the answers straight away. Let future you worry about that. Present you has enough to deal with already and you are doing great. We will dig deeper into worry in a future post on how to be worry free. So pop back to Lifevolution for that post.

Mindfulness is a long journey to a greater understanding of self and appreciation of the world around you. Mindfulness lends you THE precious gift to see the most beautiful things amidst challenging circumstances.  Don’t let those beautiful moments pass you by guys and gals. You have worked so hard to get here and I am proud of you so whatever you are up to this week, take a few moments to stop and enjoy where you are!! You are amazing!

Remember to live purposefully and be the best version of yourself!

Manuela xoxo