How to Ditch Stress and Feel Balanced in Under 5 Minutes

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Your to-do list makes you want to cry.

Your emotions are escalating.

Everything is happening too fast.

You can’t think straight.

You’re multi-tasking and making mistakes.

Your heart rate is starting to increase.

Stress is overwhelming you and you just don’t know what to do.

In those moments, it can help to take a step back. Slow down a little. Remember to breathe. Show yourself compassion.

You can also use a mindfulness technique to become present with yourself and the world around you. By being mindful, you can give yourself some space to experience the now – just as it is. No need to eliminate stress, or change it, or push it away.

Sometimes, it’s important to give yourself permission to feel what you need to feel in a non-judgmental way and simply tune in to your senses or your environment, mindfully.

Below, you’ll discover five simple mindfulness techniques you can use anytime. However, they can be particularly helpful when stress starts to feel overwhelming.

By focusing your attention on the present moment in a non-judgmental way, not only will you be practicing mindfulness, you’ll also be taking a break from spiraling stress thoughts, slowing yourself down and perhaps, gaining a little clarity.

  1. Take 10 mindful breaths.

Move your attention to your breath. Count each breath slowly in your mind – “one… two… three…” and continue until you reach ten. As you take these ten breaths, pay attention to the sensations of them. Notice the air filling up your body and perhaps feeling a slight sense of relaxation as you exhale.

Your mind might wander, which is okay. Re-focus on your breath and continue counting from the last number you can remember.

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2. Listen to different sounds.

Tune in to your sense of sound and simply listen to everything you can hear.

If you’re inside, you might hear the hum of an air conditioner, or people talking, or rain on the roof. Random sounds might pop into your awareness, like a dog barking, or a plane going overhead, or a phone notification. If it’s really quiet, you might even hear the soft sound of your own breath.

If you’re outside, you might hear birds chirping, the wind in the trees, or traffic.

Try not to label sounds as “good” or “bad” - just listen to them.

3. Be aware of your emotions.

Sometimes, you might feel overwhelmed without even really knowing why. This can be a great time to become aware of your emotions and gain a better understanding of what’s unfolding for you, internally.

Shift your awareness to your emotions by just noticing what you’re feeling.

Does your emotion have a physical sensation?

Where can you feel it in your body?

For example, some people notice that stress has physical sensations like a racing heart, sweatiness, tightness in the body, or a sick feeling in the stomach.

As you notice the physical sensations, try not to judge them as “wrong”. Notice them as non-judgementally as you can by just observing – for example, “I can feel my heart beating faster than normal, I have a sick feeling in my stomach, my back and shoulders have become tense”.

Allow yourself to be curious about your emotions and to explore them as open-mindedly as you can. Seek to understand yourself and your emotions more, rather than to change anything.

4. Do a body scan.

This can be a simple and effective mindfulness technique to use, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed. By focusing your attention on your body, you can give yourself a break from external stimulation, to-do lists, or anything else which might be triggering your experience of stress. Simply move your attention through your body from your toes up to the top of your head (or vice versa).

Here is an example of how to go about this:

  • Focus your attention on your toes. Feel any sensations in your toes, just letting your attention rest there for a few moments.

  • Notice the rest of your feet; the arches of your feet, the tops of your feet, your heels. Ankles.

  • Move your awareness up your legs. Notice your shins and calves. Observe your knees and the backs of your knees. Hamstrings, quadriceps, inner thighs, outer thighs.

  • Notice your groin, buttocks and pelvic region.

  • Observe your lower back, middle back and upper back. You might like to let your attention flow over your spine, visualizing it as a string of pearls.

  • Move your awareness over your stomach, ribcage, chest and shoulders.

  • Allow your attention to move down your arms; armpits, upper arms, elbows, elbow creases, lower arms, wrists.

  • Notice the backs of your hands, the palms of your hands, your knuckles and each finger and thumbs.

  • Move your attention to your neck, head and face.

  • Notice all the different features of your face, including your forehead, eyebrows, eyes and eyelids, cheeks, nose, lips, tongue, chin and ears.

  • Take a little bit of time to observe your entire body, as a whole.

You can take as long as you like with this practice and change it to suit you – feel free to explore each body part in more depth or observe sensations as you move your awareness over your body (like temperature, tension and relaxation).

If you like, you could even record yourself reading the body scan so you can listen to it with your eyes closed.

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5. Notice the weather and the season.

Either go outside or look out a window and notice everything you can about the weather and the season.

Observe drops of rain on a window or feel the sunshine on your skin.

Notice the temperature.

Look at the trees – are they bare, or colorful, or green and thriving?

Observe the shapes of any clouds in the sky.

Listen to the different sounds of nature.

Non-judgmentally experience the weather and the season for a simple mindfulness practice at any time!


Keep in mind that some mindfulness techniques might resonate with you more than others. Some techniques might suit different situations better. Some techniques might challenge you. Some might feel simple and effortless.

Experiment with these mindfulness techniques and develop a regular practice to find out what works best for you so that when stress starts to feel overwhelming, you’ll know just what to do.

Which mindfulness technique will you be trying out first?


Written by Rachael Kable.

Rachael Kable is a mindfulness and meditation teacher from Mount Beauty, Australia. She is the host of The Mindful Kind podcast and her first book – also called The Mindful Kind – was published in early 2019. With a background in psychology, coaching and meditation, Rachael whole-heartedly supports people around the world to implement mindfulness and manage stress.

Connect with Rachael at www.rachaelkable.com or on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

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How to Create Simple Daily Self-Care Habits

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Let’s be real: when you think about the term “self-care” it regularly gets thrown about and wrapped up with things like taking a bubble bath or getting your nails done, and then it ends up getting a bad wrap as being something incredibly superficial.

The truth is self-care is so much more than taking bubble baths and getting your nails done - it’s an essential part of your well-being and overall happiness.

In fact, there are four dimensions that make up self-care and today, we’re going to take a closer look at these elements so you can identify which areas in your life could do with a little boosting and extra nourishment.

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But first, let’s talk about why self-care is generally the first to go with we get busy with life and our overflowing schedules.

Yep, falling off the wagon with our self-care practices - we’ve all done it and are guilty at some point or another of prioritizing our short term goals over our long term happiness - whether it’s losing an hour of sleep; indulging in that no-so-healthy meal; skipping our meditation practice or missing a workout - we make a split second decision that can ultimately impact our overall well-being and limits our ability to show up as your best self.

In our modern world we’re busier than ever. Technology means we’re constantly connected to our phones and laptops and it’s the unspoken rule that we’re expected to be available 24/7.

So, we fill our schedules to the brim and the pervasive nature of social media only adds our feeling of FOMO and that we’re not doing enough, being enough, and ultimately are enough.

The truth is, this lifestyle is not sustainable and it’s unrealistic to expect that as human beings we are meant to keep going and going without taking the proper time to rest, recharge and restore our body; our mind and our spirit.

The more we tolerate and accept it as being our ‘normal’, we’re doing ourselves and the people around us, a disservice.

Here’s the thing: no one else is going to look out for your well-being. It’s up to you to create healthy boundaries to ensure you’re reaching your highest potential and living in alignment with your greater purpose.

there are 4 key areas that to contribute to your overall happiness and well-being and why taking a holistic view of self-care is essential.

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Let’s dive in!

1. Physical self-care.

Physical self-care is the foundation of our well-being and are essentially the building blocks for establishing holistic health, happiness and radiance in all aspects of your life.

When these are out of balance they can throw everything off kilter - your mood, concentration, focus, energy levels; self-esteem and confidence.

Physical self-care includes: 

  • Getting enough sleep!  We need 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. And nope, there is no such thing as a Sleep Bank i.e getting 5 hours a night during the week night and then compensating on weekends and catching up with 10 hours of sleep a night.

  • Moving your body  - our bodies need movement; ideally daily movement, to not only get our heart rate up, but our blood moving and working up a sweat. Regularly moving your body helps fuel you with energy, improve your focus and concentration; reduce stress, anxiety and depression {talk about the ultimate booster!}; as well as helping to maintain a healthy body weight which helps fuel your self-confidence and self-esteem. Basically, it helps you look good and feel good! Aim to move your body 3-4 times a week and incorporate walking, daily.

  • Eating a nourishing diet - everything we put in our bodies fuels us with the energy we need to perform at our best. Rather than restricting yourself on any kind of diet, the best approach is to focus on eating whole foods i.e avoid anything processed; fried foods; anything out of a packet and anything that has ingredients on it you can’t pronounce!

  • Personal grooming - taking the time to tend to your personal grooming, whether it’s getting a regular haircut; wearing clothes that make you feel fabulous; or wearing your favorite fragrance and lipstick - can make all the difference in how you feel as you step out into the world. When you feel good about yourself you stand taller; speak more confidently and basically shine your light a little brighter; which is why it is important to invest this time in yourself - you are worth it!

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 2. Emotional self-care.

It’s so easy to make your default numbing-out difficult and challenging emotions with your vice-of-choice - or worse, block them out and forget about them altogether.

Doing this is like covering up your feelings with a band aid - in the short term it works fine, but in the long term you haven’t given yourself the space and time you need to heal.

Allow yourself to feel the full spectrum of your emotions helps to build up the internal strength and resilience you need to face the next challenge that comes along.

Building up that internal strength and resilience = a happier and confident version of you.

Emotional self-care relies on us first acknowledging how you feel - whether it’s anger, frustration, sadness, grief or resentment; then fully accepting and honoring your feelings and choosing a positive way to move forward.

Emotional self-care looks like:

  • Writing it out in your journal - getting everything out that’s whirling around in your head down on paper is incredibly cathartic and helps to process the emotions you’re facing.

  • Practicing gratitude - what you focus on expands, so taking time each day to write down or think about what is going well in your life and what you have to be grateful for is an instant way to shift your mood. Even simple things like having a warm bed to sleep in; having a fresh healthy meal or spending time soaking up the beauty of nature - these are all things we can be thankful for right now!

  • Taking a social media detox - social media means it’s easier to connect with people all around the world in an instant. But it does come at a cost and if spending time scrolling through Instagram is heightening your anxiety and sending you into spirals of self-doubt - take a self-imposed social media detox. Remember: you always have a choice and if you know that the endless scrolling isn’t serving you then it is ok to take a break; re-centre and nourish your mind and spirit with things that make you feel good.

  • Creating healthy boundaries -self-care means that saying ‘no’ is sometimes necessary and creating healthy boundaries. You are allowed to change your mind and have every right to make the best decisions for you.

  • Positive self-talk - How you talk to yourself matters! You must fuel yourself with positive self-talk that lifts you up and creates alignment with the future vision you have for your life. It’s easy to fall into the trap of overthinking and believing every thought you think, but the reality is that just because you think something it doesn’t mean it’s true. Becoming aware of your thoughts is the first step - the more you begin to pay attention to the stories and beliefs you’re holding onto that are not serving you and can let that sh*t go, the quicker you will start embodying the woman you are destined to become.

  • Be present  -  worrying about future events that haven’t even happened yet is a waste of your time and energy; just as spending time agonizing about past events. The only moment you have control over is now. In each moment, you decide the future direction of your life. Use mindfulness reminders to help bring you back to the present and notice your worries and anxiety melt away.

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3. Intellectual self-care.

Intellectual self-care is all about keeping your brain active and learning new skills to fuel your growth - basically committing to being a lifelong learner so you never remain stagnant or become complacent with where you are at.

In other words, healthy mind = happy life.

Intellecutal self-care includes:

  • Learning a new language or musical instrument.

  • Engaging in regular reading.

  • Attending short courses or workshops.

  • Going back to school / college / university.

4. Spiritual self-care.

Spiritual self-care is focused on giving greater meaning or purpose in your life that extends beyond our physical form. Religion may or may not be a part of this, but ultimately it’s about connecting with the deepest level of your soul and your inner wisdom so you can begin to live in alignment with your purpose in the world: AKA the most authentic, abundant and joy-fueled expression of you.

Spiritual self-care relies on slowing down, tuning in and trusting your inner wisdom.

It looks like following those subtle nudges you can’t explain rationally and don’t always make sense; and instead, placing your faith in God / the Universe; ultimately a power far greater than any human being.

Some ways to activate and strengthen the relationship with your spiritual self:

  • Sitting quietly in meditation.

  • Developing a regular yoga practice.

  • Attending / participating in religious services and events.

  • Spending time in nature in quiet contemplation.

  • Prayer.

Which of these simple self-care practices can you incorporate in your life so you can show up as the best version of YOU?


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How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Wake Up Feeling Amazing Each Day

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Did you know that companies like Facebook and YouTube consider their #1 competitors to be our sleep?

This is scary stuff when you think that these corporations' entire mission is to stop us from engaging in a basic human function.

As humans, we need 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night so we can show up as our best; most creative, engaged and productive selves.

And nope, there is no such thing as a Sleep Bank i.e getting 5 hours a night during the week night and then compensating on weekends and catching up with 10 hours of sleep a night.

So, how much sleep are you getting, lovely?

Sleep forms an essential part of our physical self-care, which is foundation of our well-being. Think of it like a building block to establishing holistic health, happiness and radiance in all aspects of your life.

When these are out of balance they can throw everything off kilter - your mood, concentration, focus, energy levels; self-esteem and confidence.

Sleep is one of the most underrated self-care practices.

And when your life is busy and filled to the brim, sleep is often one of the things that gets cut. But this is a false economy because getting 7-8 hours a night of quality sleep provides countless benefits including:

  • Reducing stress and inflammation your body.

  • Making you more productive, creative and alert.

  • Improving your memory.

  • Helping you lose / maintain healthy weight.

  • Reducing your risk of depression.

  • Helping the body heal and repair itself.

  • Helping to boost your immunity; making you more resilient.

So how can you ensure you’re getting enough sleep every evening?

Cultivate an evening ritual you look forward to that supports you winding down and preparing for a restful and deeply restorative nights’ sleep.

Here are some ideas to get started...

  1. Set a time to close down your laptop and turn off the television. If mindless scrolling and surfing the internet are costing you your sleep, it’s not worth it!
 Instead, be intentional about switching off your devices and start your evening ritual to prepare for a restful night’s slumber.

  2. Make yourself a delicious cup of calming chamomile tea.
 Chamomile tea is warm, soothing and calming, helping to relax your mind and body, so you can unwind in preparation for sleep.

  3. Take a warm and relaxing bath. Taking a bath with some calming essential oils like lavender, patchouli and bergamot, will leaving you feeling balanced, calm and completely at peace. Add in some epsom salts to soothe your muscles and leave you feeling deeply relaxed.

  4. Do an evening meditation. Meditating right before sleep will help calm your mind as you drift off into a restful slumber.
 My favorite app to use is Insight Timer which has some wonderful sleep meditations. I especially love this one.

 Let me know in the comments, what's your favorite way to wind-down for a good nights' sleep?

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Paleo Gluten-Free Raw Cacao Bliss Balls

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Confession: I’m obsessed with chocolate. It's my after dinner treat every evening and I've been known to sometimes over-do it especially when raw desserts are involved 😉

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is these clean bliss balls which are gluten-free and paleo friendly. Plus, they only have four ingredients!

I’m all for keeping things simple when it comes to healthy and delicious recipes - these are so quick to make and completely delicious.

As soon as my hubby discovers I’ve whipped up a batch, they disappear pretty quick, so good job they’re easy to make.

Oh and did I mention, they really are Bliss Balls?

My favorite cacao powder to use is from Sun Potion and called Anandamide {Ananda means “bliss" in Sanskrit}.

This blend of cacao powder has some potent adaptogens in there including Moringa, Ashwaganda and Reishi which help to reduce stress, boost mood and clear brain fog.

The taste is still like regular cacao, the added bonus of these tonics help supercharge your overall mood and well-being!

You can also easily opt for regular cacao too :-)

Ok, let's get to the recipe...

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This recipe makes 8 bliss balls.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of almonds.

  • 8 x medjool dates {halved with stones removed}.

  • 2 x tablespoons cacao {my favorite is this one from Sun Potion or their regular cacao is still awesome}.

  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil.

  • Optional: shredded coconut to coat the balls with at the end {definitely recommend this!}

Method:

  • Add all of the ingredients to your food processor {I love my Nutribullet for this}

  • Whiz until all ingredients are mixed in together.

  • Empty the mixture into a bowl and using both the palms of your hands, roll into bite sized balls.

  • If you chose to coat them in shredded coconut, then place a small amount of coconut into a separate bowl and firmly press the balls firmly so the coconut sticks.

They are ready to eat straight away, but I recommend popping them in the refrigerator so they become more solid.

Let me know if you try these out and tag me on Instagram to show me yours!

Rachel x