Green therapy

Life, Lifestyle

Hi there, it’s been awhile since I’ve written – a lot’s been happening! I’ve just moved flats to a beautiful new part of London with its own garden space. I’m not sure about you, but I didn’t realise how much of an impact green space has to wellbeing until I moved!

The outside entry ways to our old flat looked like this:

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The outside entry ways to our new flat looks like this:

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Big difference, huh?

Previous to moving, I’d say the happiness level leaving the house was probably a 6 out of 10 on a good day, especially as I stepped out on to the street. After moving, my general happiness is about a 9 out of 10 on most days! Seeing greenery, hearing birds, has made a significant difference.

Action of the week:

Try adding some greenery to your space and see how it works for you! If you don’t have garden space, find ways to incorporate some greenery, with plants in your house. An increased number of plants will also help oxygenate your home, so your air quality will improve.

If you think you will “kill” all of your plants, try making a terrarium. They require very little water, and are very low maintenance. I made some this weekend, while planting some into various pots. Took a little less than an hour to put together once having the materials. Enjoy your week!

xx Min

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Keeping to Resolutions?

Life, Nutrition & Well-being

happy-woman

It’s the first official week of work back. Are we back in the swing of the busy life, between work, seeing family, friends, hobbies and the like?

Did you have it in your New Year’s resolution to keep to a healthy lifestyle this year? Eat better, smarter, and exercise? When in a go-go-go lifestyle, it is tough to make time for the gym, or make your own meals. But it is more than doable with effort and adjustment of your mindset that your well-being comes first above all else. After all, fundamentally, YOU are at the center of all of your activities and therefore your own well-being should be the priority. If you get sick from years of bad eating, lack of exercise, lack of seeing family and friends … why indeed are you working so hard for?

Here are a few easy tips to kick-start your health journey this year.

1. Take 5 minutes to start off your mornings with a practice of gratitude, and what you look forward to in your day. Think about the intention behind your day, put yourself in the positive mindset for what’s to come!

2. Cook more for yourself, and batch cook in large quantities for the entire meals for your week. This includes pre-chopping vegetables for salads, etc. Choose one day of the week (Sundays are a good one) and devote a few hours to cooking to save time (and money) during the week.

Breakfast: Make a breakfast frittata or healthy muffins in muffin trays, and freeze them.
Lunches: Hearty stews like lentil soup or chill are great. Freeze them in individual containers.
Snacks: Granola bars, sliced fruit or veggies with hummus are all easily “individually packed” and ready to go.
Dinner: You’ll likely have time to make fresh dinners when home, but you could make another soup or have ready made ingredients for fajitas with pre-cut veggies to make it very quickly when home.

3. Once a week, make a workout schedule for the upcoming week and stick to it. At minimum, try to go at minimum 2-3 times per week with a mix of cardio and weight training. There are some great high intensity interval training (HIIT) you could do that combines both cardio and strength training in one.

4. Set aside time once a week where you explore a hobby, or something you like to do for fun. This is just for you to explore, as a healthy way of self-expression and play.

There are many other things you could do, but the above list is a great starter that provides a good foundation for other things you want to take on.

Have yourselves a healthy week!

Year in review & new guidelines for the ones that follow

Life

Year in Review

It’s been quite the year, and one of the best ones I’ve ever had. In 2013, I have:

  • Learned a lot about myself by relocating for work to a new city (Toronto)
  • Travelled to Europe twice, once in February and the other in June to visit my fiance
  • Attended the San Francisco Trek as an unofficial Oxford MBA student
  • Attended the Royal Ascot also as an unofficial Oxford MBA student (I think people now think I went to Said Business School)
  • Planned and executed a wedding on time, and on budget
  • Challenged an exam and obtained the Project Management Professional Designation with the Project Management Institute
  • Got married to the best husband, friend and person ever
  • Left my job I’ve held for four years as a management consultant
  • Completed the previous two points and relocated to London, UK all within the same month
  • Found a suitable apartment on budget in East London within 3 days of searching, and got all living settled within two weeks
  • Experienced a ton of personal growth with self reflection and external coursework
  • Attended startup conferences including the GROW Conference in Vancouver and the Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford Conference at Oxford, UK
  • Began to take deliberate shifts towards making a meaningful contribution to the world through holistic health

A lot has happened, but throughout the year I kept thinking “things aren’t moving fast enough”, and “why am I not successful yet”. I have always been (and still am) very achievement-oriented, so it’s a fault of mine to discount things I’ve actually done because it wasn’t as close to my goals as I thought I would be.

Being goal and achievement oriented is great for short-term progress, but can be detrimental for longevity in the greater sense of living. I mean, if you told yourself you’re going to lose 15 pounds this year and make it to 10 was there still no progress?

I have come to realize life is more about managing an entire lifestyle through engrained habits formed from your biggest motivations and desires. Ultimately, it is your habits and lifestyle that are more of a determinant of where you’ll end up years down the road than pieces of short term goals you set each year. So you lost 10 pounds this year, great! Celebrate. Continue your lifestyle and you’ll reach your natural set point if you keep doing what you’re doing.

With this, I am setting a few key guidelines from wisdom gained this year.

Guidelines going forward 

1. Set your intention, then your goals.

It’s important to have goals because it takes you toward action, but I would like to re-state this because goals can be lofty. Intention sets where you want to go, and actions you need to take as who you will need to become to fulfill your intention, whereas goals may not be aligned with your ultimate intention and be focused around actions.

Instead, how about looking at your intention? What is the ultimate intention for you – what do you want to create in the world, and who do you need to be to fulfill your intentions?

Likely, this is a lifelong journey or at least something you’ll be working towards the next decade to. Begin to think longer term and stop measuring yourself only on the progress of the minute goals you set each year.

2. Focus on building habits and a lifestyle 

To reach your intention, who do you need to become? How do you see yourself being, where are the gaps from where you are today? What type of actions do you need to take to close that gap? Start with the most critical actions and begin to “habitualize” them.

3. Build a support network around you 

We have friends we’ve kept our whole lives, but not all of your current relationships may be aligned towards supporting your intentions. Get together with existing friends, and make new ones along with mentors that keep you accountable.

Wishing you all a great New Year creating the life you want to live!

Did this post get you thinking? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

It all starts with food

Life, Nutrition & Well-being

About 5 years ago, I started getting levels of indigestion from eating meat especially beef and pork. I stopped eating those meats, and eventually I cut out all meat except seafood – making me pescetarian.

A new development’s been happening the past year with my stomach – not major issues, but certainly and embarrassingly things like bloating, general discomfort (sometimes pain), gas, etc. that makes going about my day not as much fun!

One of my dear friends Katy mentioned going to get a IgG “allergy test” done through a naturopath. I have benefits through work, so I booked myself an appointment.

There are 96 food groups that are tested, and I found out the most interesting things about my food intolerances. Turns out I could eat anything except:

  • Anything with casein (found in milk of many sorts)
  • Cow’s milk
  • Cottage cheese
  • Whey
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs (whites aren’t as bad as the yolks)
  • Bananas
  • Almonds
  • Kidney beans
  • Lima beans

The naturopath put me on a plan to get rid of stomach inflammation and the other symptoms through a 3 week cleanse not eating these foods, along with abstaining from alcohol and using any types of processed food including sauces. I felt a whole lot better afterwards.

Unfortunately, I’ve reverted back to eating some of these foods including the cheese, eggs, etc and noticed those symptoms came back. He recommended I do another 1 week cleanse then cut out these foods for 3 months then slowly reintroduce them in small amounts to build up tolerance sans stomach irritation.

I’ll be cooking and baking up some new recipes to make it work over the next while!