Makes sense to me!

So this is my first attempt at a blog and using a programme  I have no idea about, and I won’t even mention posting on the big world wide web, well because it makes me anxious (I like my safe little world – they know me here!). It is my ambition with this blog bring you regular information about health wellness and the world of natural therapies.

Everyone’s health journey is different. Yet in modern medicine today we are allotted a box to which our symptoms fit, and then prescribed the medications which are also fitted to that box, without any real thought as to how the symptoms have come about. Natural medicine made sense to me with the philosophy of diagnosing and treatment of the underlying cause. Because let’s face it what is causing your headache and what is causing my headache may be completely different, yet if you just pop a pill it will cure that ill. Well at least make it seem like it for a little while!

I recently came across the analogy which describe our health as a tree. When the tree is healthy and happy, the tree thrives and the leaves are bright and glossy. But if something is wrong then the leaves may turn brown and fall from the tree (unless it’s winter and a deciduous tree). You wouldn’t pick up the leave and paint them green, then try to stick them back on the tree would you? You would look at nurturing the tree, look at its food and water and the root of the problem (literally). Natural medicines take this approach to discovering the underlying cause and treating it as well as possible symptomatic relief.

 

Advertisements

The Art of Perfection

I have never considered myself be a perfectionist or a Type A personality. Yes, I like things done a certain way. No, you can’t help me because if it gets stuffed up I only have myself to blame. Ok, so maybe I have a slight tendency towards an A type personality with a sprinkling of control issues. Recently I have had comments such as “yes, but you are a perfectionist” or “you’re too hard on yourself” or “you’re too critical” banted in my direction. Normally I’d laugh and joke off such statements, but when you get a series of them in a week from different people you tend to stop and take note.

It’s not that it was news to me, I have certain expectations and levels that I expect to meet and expect those whom I interact with to have the same levels. Yet this is not always the case.

Being cast several “criticisms” so similar, in a short space of time, by various people factors caused me to stop and have a reflective moment. Am I too hard on myself? Just because I believe my best attempt (unless successful) is generally not good enough. But why? Why do I say I don’t care when I really do? Why do I say I don’t care what people think when deep down I seek praise and acceptance?

Even writing this blog and exposing my inner most secrets I feel anguish knowing that I will be judged and Oh someone may not like me!

So why do I care so much? Why am I so hell bent on pleasing others before myself? Is this a hangover from childhood? I have multiple school reports which state “not working to her full potential” “Allison could achieve more if she just applied herself” – do I now have some delayed trauma “trying to live up to the expectations of others” syndrome? Or setting stupidly high expectation syndrome? She’s Ok but she could do more?

This all came to a head the other week when I rolled up to a local art workshop. So, art has never been my thing, despite having close family members who are very arty this gene seems to have skipped me, but hey do something every day which terrifies you, right?

Throughout the class I couldn’t help but cast my eye around to others and their masterpieces, a heavy familiar feeling crept over me – mine’s crap! Look at hers, it so much better. It didn’t help when general class chit chat revealed that other participants included a graphic designer, jewellery designer and a preschool director (come on, she’s surrounded by finger paints daily that must have an impact her art abilities J ).

As per my usual MO I also took a different path than everyone else. I used to always do this at school too, picking subject topics for projects which no one else would think of so mine couldn’t be compared to theirs, yet usually making life more difficult for myself as the more obscure the harder it was to find information, keep in mind this was pre-internet days (yes, the dark ages). So, if what I was doing is different concept to everyone else why am I comparing? Aren’t we all different?

I know that art is personal and a reflective process as well as being timely, what we paint, draw or what inspires us today may be completely different tomorrow. But maybe the real art is not in the art we produce but more in the meditation it creates. Through the class I found myself centred and focused. I was able to be in the moment, focusing on only what was in front of me. My brain wasn’t running the normal ten thousand different possible scenarios and what if’s –  which is great, but don’t let your inner peace be destroyed by the little voice in your head telling you that it’s crap! Tell the little voice its crap! Puff your chest out and be proud. Even if your artwork won’t be hanging in the nearest gallery the art of mindfulness can’t be hung on the wall anyway.

Allie xxx

P.S. In this journey of art self-discovery I have since uncovered the that acrylic and canvas are not my mediums. I am much better with paper, pen, pencils and texts 😊. I get the win-win of artistic meditation as well as producing an art work I happy with – No little voice approval needed.

Allison is qualified in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Western Herbal Medicine. As the founder of Fundamental Wellbeing, she specialises in gut health and stress related conditions. She is also a co-founded the Whole Life Wellness Program. Allison possesses a strong passion for all things health and wellness, she understands that balance is essential to life, looking for real world solutions to help clients reach their health goals.

 

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/fundamentalwellbeingaustralia/ or book and appointment online  https://fundamental-wellbeing.cliniko.com/bookings.

 

 

 

 

 

For the nights you can’t be asked!

You’re on your way home from work and it’s been a long, long week. The boss has been in a mood all day, several clients have “expressed their dissatisfaction” at you, June’s been sick so you had to pick up her slack and now you must go home to the hungry mouths to feed and you know there won’t be a “Hi, how was your day?” in sight just a “What’s for dinner?”. Yet, the mere thought of cooking tonight makes you want to crawl into the foetal position and cry, but apparently, you need to feed these people, argh what to do?

 

When you are feeling more organised stock up the freezer with an abundance of easy go-to meals which require little input from you. Bolognaise, casseroles, soups and curries are simple to prepare in large quantities, popping the leftovers the freezer. However, even the freezer can run dry, so now what to do?

Cooked Chook and a premade salad from the supermarket– No, this is not health food but it is far better than other take away choices that are out there.

In the winter months, premade soups in the fresh section of your supermarket are also an easy go- to. Always choose fresh over canned or other choices which have ridiculously long shelf lives, as the ingredients and packaging processes generally rob any nutritional or “health” value the product may have once had.

A dip dinner (we call it picks too) is also a healthier and easier choice (and a favourite of some of the Astarte residents). Chop up lots of veggies, carrots, celery, capsicum, broccoli and beans can all be used to dip into your favourite hummus, tzatziki or baba ganoush.

So, you really, really want takeaway, but still want to keep it healthy (well sort of)?

Your local Thai restaurant can be of assistance, but choose wisely! Not all is as wholesome as it seems. Stay away from anything deep fried and some dishes come with a wallop of sugar. Rice paper rolls and salads are great choices as are stir-fries with loads of veggies. Anything deep fried is not your friend, yes sorry that means the curry puffs and spring rolls too.

Looking for other takeaway options from the Asian continent? Chinese – Soups, and steamed dumplings and vegies are a far better choice than anything deep fried (Yes, sorry that include sweet and sour pork and honey chicken).

Want something a little spicier? The local Indian can provide you with tomato based curries but ask for extra vegies. However, back away from the poppadums and limit the naan bread you are noshing on.

Passing by the local pizzeria (not the mass chains stores – just keep on driving past them) many of these will also have a pasta menu choose tomato base sauces over the cream ones, and make it a small serve. If you really and truly must have pizza make it a small one (reduces the chances of overeating

), have it loaded with vege! Ditch the BBQ sauces and other speciality sauces (these are usually overloaded with sugar) and severely restrict a number of meat toppings (these are usually highly processed and come with high salt, fats and other chemicals which are not health friendly).

These choices should be limited, suggestions made in this post are limited in their health benefits and overconsumption may hinder your health and wellness goals.

- I regret eating Healthy today- - Said No One EVER (1)

Allison is qualified in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Western Herbal Medicine. As the founder of Fundamental Wellbeing, she specialises in gut health and stress related conditions. She is also a co-founded the Whole Life Wellness Program. Allison possesses a strong passion for all things health and wellness, she understands that balance is essential to life, looking for real world solutions to help clients reach their health goals.

 

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/fundamentalwellbeingaustralia/ or book and appointment online  https://fundamental-wellbeing.cliniko.com/bookings.

 

 

Stop it! I’m Sensitive! NO wait, I’m Allergic!!!

Food allergy and food sensitivity are terms which are often a point of confusion regarding the difference between the two. While both indicate an immune response and that the body is not happy, they activate slightly different areas of our immune system and create different symptoms or reactions.

Primarily an allergic reaction is an immediate to reaction of the offending food. Symptoms appear within minutes and can be life threatening. Food sensitivities and intolerances are a little sneakier and can produce non-descript symptoms (headaches, feeling yucky, gut problems) sometimes hours, if not days after eating the offending foods.

What’s going on? Why and how are they different? I hear you ask.

So, our immune systems are made up of many cells all swarming around our body looking for invading germs and gremlins to fend off. However, as within all good military forces, there are specific cells for specific jobs.

virus-1913183_1920

When a nasty little germ or gremlin (aka foreign body) breaks our first line of defence – which is our skin – Neutrophils are the primary response team. These guys stop the invaders from circulating, kill the bad guys by eating them, in a process called phagotosis, they can also “gas” the area by releasing super oxides to neutralise the enemy as well as signalling to other cells to join the battle.

Eosinophils arrive at the site to support their fellow immune cells and “nuke” pathogens by releasing toxins. These guys are especially effective against parasites and worms and it is thought that a high eosinophil count may also be linked to allergic reactions and why many gut protocols start with a cleansing/detoxing/anti-parasitic phase.photo-manipulation-1825450_1920

Other supporting units include Basophils who secrete antibodies and anticoagulants at the invasion site. This creates a heightened sensitivity including a histamine reaction and release, dilating blood vessels allowing more troops to arrive onsite quickly.

Intelligence gathering and forensic examination is conducted by Lymphocytes. These guys come in two forms T & B. B lymphocytes make antibodies (more on that later), they study the enemy closely and learn what destroys them and what just makes them cranky. All this data is stored for referencing later. Should the same pathogen breach defences again, these guys can quickly issue instructions on how to annihilate it! Our T lymphocytes have the far less glamorous, but no less import role of aiding cell-mediated immunity.

Finally, the clean-up crew is called to site. Monocytes cells including macrophages arrive at site and devour (yes really – eat) the dead, stunned, wounded or maimed cells (check out this link for live blood action of macrophages at work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDr44vLNnPY – seriously cool!

So, what does all of this have to do with allergies and sensitivities you ask. Hang on I’m getting there.

Part of our immuimmune-system-1359197_1920ne system includes antibodies. Antibodies are a type of blood protein which are created when contact is made with specific pathogens (baddies). These guys hangout with our immune cells and identify the invading forces identifying and helping to neutralise them. Commonly this will be in relation to bacteria and virus or other unfamiliar (foreign) particles (dust, pollen, dander etc). These special ops teams also have their own military ranks with 5 different branches: IgA, IgE, IgG, IgM and IgD antibodies all partying in their way around our bodies. The roles that each of these guys have are very specific, but when looking at reactions to foods we commonly look specifically at IgA, IgE and IgG antibodies. These dudes are responsible for identifying common foods as invaders and spiking a full blown immune invasion.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition where sufferers react to gluten, causing a range of health conditions.   When testing for this disease Dr’s will often start with an IgA antibody test. However, this test can provide with false negatives as it has been determined that a high number of people with Coeliac’s may also have an IgA deficiency – But that’s another blog for another day.

cells-1872666_1920

If you are having an allergic reaction to anything, in this case, food, you will be having an IgE mediated response. This means that the IgE dudes have determined that the food you have just eaten is a serious threat to Homeland Security and needs immediate attention. These reactions often manifest with life threatening symptoms including anaphylaxis, swelling of the airways causing restricted breathing, as well as swelling on the face and or tongue. Redness is also common which is a sign of the underlying inflammatory actions occurring.

Food sensitivities are an IgG immune response. These guys place things on the watch list. They’re alert, but not alarmed. However, if consumption of reactive foods continues they will amp things up a bit, but not to the same level of food allergy. Signs of a food sensitivity can include the express exit of faecal matter (diarrhoea), constipation, bloating, headaches, brain fog, sleep disturbances, weight issues and anxiety. These symptoms can certainly make life unpleasant but do not pose a risk to life.

Fun fact: people who have known food allergies may not react to the same foods when having an (IgG) food sensitivity test. This is due to the different antibodies reacting differently to the food proteins.

Food allergies and sensitives are both caused by hyperactive and reactive immune systems, however, a food allergy is quick acting, get your attention NOW reaction and can be a life threatening. While food sensitivities or intolerances, won’t kill you but they won’t leave you feeling the best either and can have a lasting impact on your health.

Allie xxxx

 

Allison Faulkner is a qualified and accredited Naturopath, also holding additional qualifications in Nutritional Medicine. She runs a Naturopathy and Wellness clinic in Albion Park, NSW where she co-founded the Whole Life Wellness Programme.

Eating out, not missing out

Being the social creatures we are, no matter how much we try to shield ourselves from the food influences of the outside world the time will come that where we are forced to put our willpower to the ultimate test and dine out with friends.

Firstly, have a healthy snack before you go so you’re not hungry and are tempted to order the entire menu.

pexels-photo-27431While out, be careful of alcohol consumption, not only is it high in calories they are empty ones containing no nutrient value. Yes, I know that apple cider is made from apples, vodka from potatoes, gin from juniper berries and wine from grapes, but unfortunately once the fermentation starts the nutrition goes. Alcohol also lowers our will power and inhibitions. Too many, may have you strutting your stuff like John Travolta or busting out your best break dancing move on the dance floor as well as seeing you indulge in sugar, salt and fat loaded snacks as you just can’t say no.

When it comes time to ordering your meal always choose for grilled or steamed over fried options. Do the unthinkable and ask for your meal without the chips (you can always steal a few off someone else plate 😉). This will help you avoid nasty fats, especially trans fats form the deep-fried oils.

Order off menu – many restaurants and cafes will allow you to “design” your own meal. But don’t be an A-Hole about it. If you are going to do this be mindful of the style of food already served by the restaurant and try and tweak something already on the menu to suit your needs, so don’t order tacos at an Italian restaurant as your likely to upset the chef and may end up “extra ingredients” in your meal 😊.

salad-791891_960_720Salads and soups are also good choices too. Check if any salad dressings are “homemade” if so ask for them on the side so you can add it to suit your tastes. However, if it is store bought leave it out altogether as many commercial dressings come laden with sugar, preservatives and a wealth of other chemicals.

 

With portion sizes growing often there is more than enough in an entrée size as your main.  By doing this you can cut your food intake. Many of us have been raised to finish everything on our plate, but it’s ok to leave food – seriously it’s ok unless your dining out with your mum no one cares.

If you do decide to cut loose and let it all hangout, do it in moderation and don’t beat yourself up for it. Enjoy and savour it, it’s only one meal! Your next meal is an opportunity to nourish your body and make a better choice….… maybe a salad next time instead of the all you can eat challange😊.

Allie xx

 

 

Fluids ain’t Fluids

Summer landed this year with all her fiery glory, although now we have been left all soggy after the recent rains. All of this has made me think about hydration (although in the case of the rains – hyperhydration). Adequate fluid intake to maintain hydration is vitally important, with even mild hydration impacting on our mental and physical function. H2O a miracle molecule which makes up way over 50% of our body and is essential a healthy well-functioning, but many people opt for other sources of hydration.

Soft drinks are loaded with sugar and nasty chemicals which erode our good health. Fresh juices are ok but guarantee us we get a sugar hit with none of the nutrients or fibre that chowing down on the actual fruit, and processed varieties are, well, just that processed and filled with preservatives, colourings and extra sugar 😦


Coffee, are yes, coffee you wonderful little cup of happiness, you’ll help me beat the afternoon slump? Ok, it’s bed time now coffee you can stop, no really STOP! One cannot live on coffee alone (I’m pretty sure I have tried) while it does add to your hydration quota it also interferes with sleep and can exacerbate some conditions. If you’re are having a cup of Joe, make it early in the day, make it one and make it a good one (not instant)! Be warned many of the popular flavours added to coffee (yes, I’m talking about caramel lattes and it’s friends) comes with a massive hit of sugar, and your skinny latte is not as healthy as you think with skim milk concentrating sugar content – make it full fat!

Black tea and associated cousins, green and white also provide us with our daily caffeine hit but come with some of the same downfalls as coffee. Save them for earlier in the day, especially if you find that sleep is becoming an issue.

Energy drinks……. Grrrr! Have you ever noticed that the people who drink energy drinks are the least active people? You never see top athletes chugging one, wonder why that is? Seriously leave this stuff on the shelf, they are loaded with so many nasties (sugar, high caffeine, preservative and other chemicals) having NO health benefits at all.

Sports and electrolyte drinks provide all the essential electrolytes needed to help us rehydrate quickly (apparently). However, they also come with a high sugar and chemical load. If you really feel that you need an electrolyte replacement drink coconut water (pure varieties) come pack with electrolytes without the chemical load.

So what should you be drinking? Good old H2O! Ideally straight from the source, or filtered then re-mineralised but any water is better than no water at all.

If your one of these people who find water boring try pimping it out. Adding flavourings to your H2O doesn’t mean adding a dash of Cottee’s. Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Drop a handful of frozen berries in the bottom of the water jug.  Cucumber, mint and lime is super hydrating and cooling for summer months. Mix up the flavours have fun, there is no right or wrong only what tickles you taste buds. Add a couple drops of high-quality therapeutic grade essential oils (like doTerra), grapefruit oil is a house favourite at my place.

If this is a little too subtle for your taste buds herbal teas are also a great option. Try and choose organic variety’s where possible in the summer months try making them into iced teas for a cool twist. Herbs are medicine so they can be of benefit but they can also interact with some medications and conditions, if you are concerned, contact your herbalist or naturopath for advice and the best varieties for you.

Happy Hydration 🙂

Allie xxxx

 

Allison Faulkner is a qualified and accredited Naturopath, also holding additional qualifications in Nutritional Medicine. She runs a Naturopathy and Wellness clinic in Albion Park, NSW where she co-founded the Whole Life Wellness Programme.

 

 

Snack Smart

5fd5aab2df60cd4544d93bff9d6838edGot the munchies and looking to hold off the stomach gremlins ’til your next meal? Feeling and energy or mood slump?
Snacking can help us manage our blood sugar levels and mood (no-one likes you when you’re hangry) so sometimes we just need to have a snack. A little something, something to help us get through the rest of the day but be warned, snacking can be the downfall of many.
Chose poorly and you can watch your waistline grow, the scales won’t move (or they move in the wrong direction) and your health declines, but choose wisely and you can enhance your health and help shrink your waistline.

Here are some Smart Simple Snacks,  to satisfy sweet and savoury Senses.

apple-15687_1920One piece of fruit. While fruit is packed full of fibre, vitamins and minerals it is high in natural fruit sugars. If you are watching your waistline or have health conditions such as type II diabetes or metabolic syndrome, choose fruits which are lower on the glycemic index scale to avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes.

walnut-1751661_1920                                                          A small handful of unsalted raw nuts (but peanuts are best avoided). My personal favourites are almonds, walnuts, macadamias or pistachios.

Apple slices with almond butter. Sounds weird but is truly tasty, honest – try it!

A good old-fashioned hard-boiled egg. Pack with protein, vitamins and minerals, and comes in its own biodegradable packaging.

Coconut and date rolls (a favourite at the Astarte Mind & Body Studio). These can be homemade or can also be purchased pre-made in the produce section of big supermarkets.

Hummus or Tzatziki dip with carrot and celery sticks (I also like green beans too). Making your own dips is always best, however, if buying store-bought, look for options with the minimum of ingredients and free of sugar, preservatives and colourings.

dried-fruit-700015_1920Banana chips or dried fruit. These are also a handy option to have in your bag or drawer at work, however, limit your intake. Dehydration of fruit concentrates the sugars, the more we consume the more sugar we take in.

Homemade Sweet potato chips (use Himalayan rock salt). Sometimes you just want crunchy salty, I get it, I’m the same. But store bought chippies are usually cooked in canola, sunflower oils or other types which can cause inflammation in our bodies and damage our overall health.

Or for a Chocolate Twist……….

Try Chia puddings (small serving). This can be made with chocolatey goodness or can be made with berries or mango. Have a play see what combos work for your taste buds.

Chocolate Chia Pudding 

20170130_175951

250ml of Almond or Coconut milk (or both)
1/3 Cup Chia Seed
2 Tablespoons pure Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Cacao Nibs
1 Teaspoon Cacao powder

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir well.
Pop in the fridge for a few hours to allow the chia to swell and give a thick mousse or custard consistency. If too runny add a little more Chia seed and chill for a bit longer.

Serve with berries or eat on its own. Makes 4 serves

Happy safe snacking!

 

 

Allison Faulkner is a qualified and accredited Naturopath, also holding additional qualifications in Nutritional Medicine. She runs a Naturopathy and Wellness clinic in Albion Park, NSW where she co-founded the Whole Life Wellness Programme.

Snooze Fest

Ah, sleep why do you mock us so? We spend all day trying not to indulge you, but when nightfall comes and our heads touch the coolness of the pillow, you leave us high and dry. Instead, our brains activate the No Sleep Code. This may include reliving your top ten embarrassing situations or regretful moments, thinking of better, often more wittier lines to win the argument you had today, mental discussion on possible diseases you may have, compiling a comparative list of expenses to bank account balance or just implanting that irritating Justin Bebbier song in your head – Argh!!!!! Stop!!!!!!

Sleep like most body functions we don’t give it a second though until it goes off the rails. However, in Western Society today many of us are lacking sleep and quality sleep though poor sleep hygiene and habits.

So how can we help the sandman do his job more effectively?

Just have a nap to make up the lack of sleep – right? Well yes and no. Science has concluded that napping can be beneficial to our memory and cognitive function it is often recommended that naps be no longer the 20 or 40 minutes and are most effective when had between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm.

Exercise is also a great way to help induce slumber. It’s like little kids who run around all day and then sleep like, well babies at night. Many of us are doing sedentary jobs which don’t require much physical movement meaning our bodies are not as tired as they could be. Including exercise, just 30 minutes 3-4 times a week can vastly improve the number of Zzzzz’s and the time to fall asleep. However, caution is issued with intense exercising later in the evening as this may have a counterproductive effect.woman-girl-remote-watching

Believe it or not, food can also have a big impact on our sleep. When we eat and what types of foods we’re eating can interfere with shuteye. Those of us that wait for the children to go to bed before eating “the good stuff”, may actually be sabotaging our own sleep. Too much sugar in the blood before bed = hyper-activity making it hard for the body and mind to settle. If you are going to indulge in a little late night snacking opt for a small amount of good quality protein – warm milk is always a winner, turkey and cheese rolled up etc.

Undiagnosed foods sensitivities or allergies may also interfere with sleep quality and quantity. Consuming reactive food causes our bodies to be more focused on the “invading” food rather than producing quality a snooze. If you suspect you may be sensitive to certain foods, try cutting them from your diet or having them earlier in the day, alternatively food sensitivity testing can help provide quick and easy results in identifying offending foods.

Alcohol, ah yes alcohol. While excessive amounts may lead to slumber which is the equivalent of a corpse, it is not quality sleep. Come on, no one has woken up from a few too many, feeling alive and refreshed. When we consume alcohol our bodies react by sending the troops to process it over any other body function, so sleep moves down the priority list. While you may “fall asleep” you won’t have the deep restful slumber that you need and may find the around the 1 am – 3 am mark you wake up as you liver function kicks in and tries to make you accountable for your actions.

pexels-photo-265186It’s ok caffeine will save me. When we wake from another night of tossing and turning, to keep us firing we turn to our other buddy caffeine, ah caffeine we love you! Caffeine is our friend right? She keeps us sparking on all cylinders especially for the morning pick me up and at the 3 o’clock slump. Oh, caffeine, however, would we cope without you? Unfortunately when we use coffee and caffeine in this way were are dancing with the devil. Caffeine can affect our system and body function for up to 6 hours after consumption, so if your having a cuppa in the evening or before bed you may be self-sabotaging your sleep. Try to keep caffeine, this includes black, green and white teas as well as coffee to before 2 pm and a super maximum of 2 per day.
Bedroom set up can also affect how well we can catch some zzz’s make sure your bedroom is dark and at the right temperature (not too hot, but not too cold). In suburbia and western society we have TV’s, tablets, computers and alarm clocks making their way into our boudoirs. These combined with street lights and constant traffic noises can severely impact our sleep as they interfere with our bodies natural hormones to regulate sleep.  Electronics devices radiate unhealthy artificial glows (and annoying on standby lights) which can disrupt our sleeping patterns. Additionally abstaining from the use of electronics (yes TV and computer/tablets/phones) for approximately 30 minutes before sleepy sleep time will help your body to relax and wind down. Try reading or meditation instead to help induce a restful night slumber. I know many of us can’t be more than a few millimetres from our phone without having an anxiety attack. If this is you and you do need to have your phone in the bedroom try putting a don’t disturb mode on. This will minimise the amount of sleep disturbance you get from the ting and dings of Facebook, Messenger and other apps.

pexels-photo-165509-1

Lastly to help those natural sleep hormones try and wake naturally rather than to an alarm. If you do need to use an alarm try one that gently wakes rather than one that puts you into fight or flight mode every morning because it sounds like a truck is about to reverse over you. When you wake – GET UP! Don’t lay in bed, and try and get some sunshine as soon as possible.

 

Allison Faulkner is a qualified and accredited Naturopath, also holding additional qualifications in Nutritional Medicine. She runs a Naturopathy and Wellness clinic in Albion Park, NSW.

A New Resolution

So another Christmas has come and gone and many of us are now turning our sights to the new year (come on that’s where the real party is!). Ah New Years, you give us the opportunity to cleanse our souls of our indiscretions of the previous year and state our good intentions to start the year clean and fresh – (once the hangover wears off that is). New Year’s Resolutions are a timed honoured tradition made in good faith, with a sprinkle of good intentions. However, half-assed presentation and dedication and inclination often see many of the New Year’s resolutions left in the garbage with empty champagne bottles and party streamers. So how can we bring about meaningful change to our lives? And make sure that we stay the course to create positive and effective life change?

Many resolutions are begging to be broken through no fault of their own. We make blanket statements of I’m going to lose weight! I’m going to work less. I’m going to get fit. Think I might climb Everest this year. I might get healthy. While these are all admirable resolutions they lack the substance of proper goal making and are as fuzzy and many heads are on New Year’s Day. Yep goal making can be as simple as stating the intention to the little voice in our head, but for truly successful results we need to give it a little something, something to help us achieve.

Anyone who has completed business or sales training (yep – me in a previous life) would have come across the acronym of SMART is commonly used in relation to goal setting. So what are SMART goals?

Specific, Measurable, Attainable/achievable, Realistic and Timely.  Add details to your goals, so you want to lose weight – how much weight? By when? Is that doable for your with your body makeup and composition.

Specifics in goals relates to the nitty gritty. The more specific the goal the easier it is to measure success. The difference between I’m going to get fit and I’m going to run my first 5 km.

By making our goals measurable we have something to determine (measure) success by. The term fitness is intangible what is fit for one may not be for another, however achieving you first 5km run – that can’t be disputed!

Attainable, is this doable for you? So you want to run 5km, maybe not say you’re going to run 5km in a month if you have never run further than to the toilet. Be realistic, look at where you are and where you want to be – honestly how long will it take and how committed are you going to be? Don’t set yourself up for failure by creating short term time frames that can’t be met.

Once you have a clear destination mapped out remember you need to plot the journey. How are you going to achieve your first 5km run? Are you going to just go out and keep trying until you do it? Are you going to seek the help of a personal trainer? Are you going to download and app to help? Add these all in, the more detailed the better your chance of success.

SMARter works for big goals too, remember you can’t eat the elephant all in one sitting. Break it up, portion it out. What are the steps you need to help you achieve your ultimate goal? Make sure each bite size portion is SMARTer too. Then you can eat the elephant one bite at a time (please note this a metaphorical elephant and not a literal elephant. We do not endorse the actual eating of elephants J ).

It’s ok to change your mind. This is not a failure. While we are making plans sometimes the universe and her humour intervene, providing obstacles which may hinder us from reaching our goals. This is only a detour in the path, if you truly want it there is always away. A reflection upon our gaols is often needed at times like this to help ensure that the goal is in fact what you still want and help you identify if there are any tweaks needed to your goals.

Tracking your progress is super important to achieving goals too. Sometimes it can be tricky to see our accomplishments, we spend so much time looking forward we can lose sight of where we have been and what we have done. This important to help see that you are progressing towards your dreams and goals, as when we dream big it can see too far away which may cause you to lose faith.

Remember: It is better to try and re-evaluate and re-design our goals, than never to have tried at all!

 

Happy New Year Everyone.

 

Allison Faulkner is a qualified and accredited Naturopath, also holding additional qualifications in Nutritional Medicine. She runs a Naturopathy and Wellness clinic in Albion Park, NSW.

Deck the Halls with Shreds of Sanity

So is it just me or to things tend to spin wildly out of control this time of year? You would think that as the end draws to a close and we get closer to summer break that, well things should be crusiy…… but it rarely seems to be the case.

Time pressures seem to amp up as well all try to madly finish or undertake tasks which should have been done earlier in the year. Coupled with this is the pressures which come from end of year activities; school presentation, sports presentations, Christmas parties and family events seem to clog every available minute of the calendar, and let’s not even mention the dreaded Christmas shopping (insert dramatic sound effects, here).

So how do we survive the silly season? How can we ensure that we have enough in the tank to get us through to the new year?

  1. It’s ok to say no!

no-1532840_1920

This is a great rule for any time of the year. Many of us have this overwhelming need to say yes and please everyone around us, often with little regard for ourselves and our own health and mental health. We don’t have to attend every social event we are invited too. If you really can’t pick up your brother’s guinea pig from the vet, then say so. If it’s not ok to pick up your husband and his inebriated mates from their work party – say so, rather than harbouring resentment. Saying no is ok, as long as you say it nicely.

 

  1. Embrace online shoppingfeet-932346_1920

I think the time has come for Christmas shopping to be listed as an extreme sport or the newest form of obstacle racing – seriously! There is the first obstacle of trying to find a carpark, with the other thousands of people battling for the premo spot. This can then be taken to the next level of ultimate carpark stalking, where you creepily follow the person walking to their car, like a jaguar stalking its prey in the jungle (only to find out they are doing the dump and run back to the shops – b@$#%*ds!). Once you actually get a parking spot you then have to walk you daily step quota of 10,000 just to get to the main doors of the shopping centre where you are blasted with Christmas carols from the speakers with the intent to put you in the Christmas mood, but in facts slowly irritates you into an irrational rage which will come bursting out at an innocent shop assistant when your card fails to read for the third time that day as the other cranky patrons behind you tap their feet impatiently.

There is a better way –  Oh internet how I love you! Seriously Internet shopping – rocks! Not only can you shop in your dressing gown and slippers with bed hair and a glass of wine – no one judges you! And the stuff comes right to your door. Ok so you may have to pay a little more due to shipping, but I consider this the price of sanity. Although you may have to deal with the disgruntled staff at the post office, but at least it’s only one stop!

 

  1. Be kind to everyone – especially yourself.

With things being as busy as they are at this time we tend to let old and sometimes bad habits creep in. We may berate ourselves because we didn’t achieve what we wanted to for the day. We had a food blowout at the work Christmas party and now you think that all your healthy habits are going to come on done. Life is stressful and we shouldn’t be scolding ourselves for what we haven’t done. This is the time of year where you should look back at the achievements of the and be thankful and celebrate what we do have and spend the time with the people that you truly want to be with.

P.S. if you do have a food blowout (or alcohol blowout) it’s ok! Just start the next meal fresh and be kind to your body (by feeding it the good stuff).

heart-1050338_1920

Allison Faulkner is a qualified and accredited Naturopath, also holding additional qualifications in Nutritional Medicine.She runs a Naturopathy and Wellness clinic in Albion Park, NSW.