Category Archives: sometimes wellbeing

Oops. What Those Small Silly Comments Actually Mean.

Excuse the random title but it does get my point across, right? I remember having a conversation on a night out with a friend when I was in my early twenties. Wearing some of my favourite gear, hair straightened and the scent of Ralph Lauren Romance wafted from my skin. I was ready to enjoy myself and nothing was going to stop me, or was it?

As I ran to meet up with a friend, she commented on how lovely I looked (and smelled) as we hugged and looked forward to the night ahead. As I pulled away to respond, the following comment of “why don’t you do anything nice with your hair?” didn’t quite create endorphins. At the time, I sadly gave a response of “Yeah, I don’t know?”. Still without curled hair during our next encounter, I discovered that indeed our friendship and life did go on. After all, I like low maintenance. I curl my hair on special occasions and I’ll even get a cutesy braid if I’m feeling extra adventurous. Before my working day or simply when I’m heading to Lidl to pick up a bag of avocados – you won’t see me with a curler in my hand because well, I have plenty of other things I’d rather be doing.

The point of this post isn’t the curly hair, it’s the relationship of comments, their meaning and our own interpretation . Is it great that someone makes an effort with their hair? Sure. A pretty hair style never hurt anyone and it certainly generates confidence for some people. Heading out of your house like you just rolled out of bed is surely not going to set you up for the day ahead either by the way. The point though is this – we all make our choices about what works best for us (hair and all). Whether someone chooses to comment on it or not doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s valued, true or even necessary. That certainly won’t stop it from happening though -sorry.

Over the years of non-curled hair, I’ve needed to develop a habit or two when it comes to responding to unwanted comments. Being an over sensitive so and so, this has proved tricky – I’m not going to lie.

Firstly, you have the option to say something back. It could go something like “Why?” or “I’m not a fan of curls, thanks.” Done and dusted – moving on.

If you’re like me and don’t think to respond to comments during the scenario, then pure silence and a smile can work really well. It usually means the subject changes rather quickly and it doesn’t become something for anyone to dwell on. Life continues to be curl and tension free. Yay! Everyone’s a winner.

Finally, turning it into a joke (if you’re funny) will not only make the comment lighter but will set the tone for the times ahead. Curls or no curls – you’ve got your own stand up comedy ready to roll out to the world.

My favourite lesson I’ve learned has been to respond not react. When you choose to respond, you’re choosing to come from a measured place. Choose wisely.

Inspiration Over Lunch: Exercise And Mental Health According To James Hanley

I’m not exactly what you’d call a gym bunny. I’m not one to check in on Facebook while I’m running and I certainly don’t take selfies while I’m lifting dumbbells. As far as I can tell, the joke of “if you didn’t check in on Facebook, it did’t happen” is still a joke that I’ll choose to laugh at. This is the laughing that gets to happen as I use exercise as a method to take care of my mental health.

Fitness expert, weight lifter and gym owner James Hanley is all too familiar with the online and offline world of fitness. When we chatted about the recent mental health awareness month, he offered some valuable insights into the impact the trending world of exercise is having and where it’s heading.

Considering the world of fitness on the emerald Isle, there’s clearly been a surge in terms of the amount of gyms popping up. Meanwhile, the country’s love of healthy food is getting stronger with artisan butchers and health food stores becoming more than a passing trend. As highlighted by James, people are investing more in their health and have a better perspective of what healthy really is.

When it comes to exercise, the phrase “He’s not the sort of guy who gets ulcers, he’s the guy that gives them” rings true for James. When speaking of how people deal with stress, he says “it basically stems towards three points – you can release stress by shouting at someone/something, hitting someone/something or exercising it out”. Looking at these, it’s pretty clear which is going to have the greatest benefits.

As touched on in my recent posts on mental health, James also hit on the point of not being idle:  “Having an outlet, somewhere that’s not allowing you to stew at home and instead, being able to meet and interact with other people is one of the biggest benefits of being in a group exercise program”. Exercise not only keeps the mind and body occupied, it creates endorphins which means less stress.

Being time-poor is one of the obstacles to effective self-care in today’s day and age. So if you’re in need of a stress-reliever in the form of exercise but your schedule seems too jam-packed, how do you fit it in? Well, getting a notepad is where to start. James’ method of figuring it out involves the following ” From the moment you wake up, write everything down that you did every fifteen minutes for the previous fifteen. It will take some time at first but do it for 7-14 days and it will do one of two things: It’ll validate the fact that you are busy and make you find more time to train. OR it’ll make you realise that you aren’t as busy as you initially thought you were and show you where you’re wasting time, dossing or being otherwise inefficient. From there, all you have to do is make a decision whether what you’re doing is making you happy. If it is, keep doing it. If it isn’t, change something.”

So say you figure out the time, how do you then decide which exercise works best for you? There could be a trend of people lifting weights amongst your friend group, does that mean it’s for you? Definitely not. Likewise if running bores you then keep away. On this note, James’ advice is find something you love and give it 100% – “The best exercise is the one you enjoy the most and can stick to”.

From James’ endless experience of the positive impact of exercise on any given human, the only negative that he considered was what’s happening in the online world of instagram, check-ins and the dishing out of ‘healthy living’ advice by those that consider themselves experts. According to James, “The fitness industry in failing us right now. Influencers are creating a highlight reel on social media and misleading everyone into believing they have everything they want, love their body and have the perfect life.” Married with insecurity and unhappiness, James explained that at times the same people who are dishing out advice (mostly young girls and guys) will delete posts if they don’t get enough likes upfront and censor comment streams for fear that the writings there will destroy their planned narrative. This translates to poor mental health in such influencers real-lives.

In a world where there is a range of mental health challenges, insecurities and unfortunately, still a stigma behind talking about mental health, James offered his advice: “You don’t have to pretend to be 100% all the time. Vulnerability is cool. Not being OK is OK. Talking about how you feel with friends or trusted sources isn’t a show of weakness, it’s a show of strength. ESPECIALLY for guys”.

While mental health awareness month has passed, we still need to keep the conversation going. Got something to share? Hit me up via social media or in the comments’ field below.

If strength training, strong mindset and/or health living is for you then I’d strongly suggest checking out James’ site, social media and if in the area, his gyms. To learn more, you can visit him here.

Need Inspiration? Here Are Three Motivational Events In Ireland In 2017

It’s already June and the number of events that are popping up across social media and filling inboxes is off the charts. There’s the option of webinars, Tedx Events, Facebook lives and Twitter chats galore. Everywhere we look, someone wants to inspire us with their version of success and to be honest, it can be overwhelming both on our minds and bank accounts.

Time is precious so choosing where to go and what to listen to is kind of a big deal. For me, constant research and subscribing to a variety of speakers means I have more options to choose from and some of which I actually buy tickets for. Not sure which ones are for you? I’ve put together a list of three below. Maybe see you at some of them?

  1. Tedx Talks take place in Dublin on the 17th of June. Inspiring experts in their field, speakers will take to the stage to educate on their topic of choice. As an avid fan of the Ted app and general videos on YouTube (there are thousands), it’s safe to say I’m pretty excited about this one. Already sold out, it’s possible to join the waiting list for this highly anticipated event.
  2. Pat Divilly will return to Galway with his mindset workshop on the 22nd of July. This is a mixture of lectures on personal development and activities. The focus will be all about reconnecting with your best self, finding more clarity and managing your energy. This is a more concise version of Pat’s past workshops.
  3. Feeling empowered? Well even if you are already, Women’s Empowerment Summit will take place in October 2017 (later than Summer, indeed) and will comprise of a variety of talks from strong, empowering women. The likes of broadcaster Sile Seoige and best selling author Donna Kennedy will share their stories of success for a day long event in Citywest.

Don’t have the funds? No bother. There are several other options to support you in your personal development this year and thereafter.

*Crack a book open. Seriously, there are so many inspiring options out there that will cost you no more than 20 quid (less if you go for second hand). I’ve got a bunch of recommendations from last year (PM me for many more).

Aside from reading, social media is jam-packed full of inspiring pages, videos and events. Just this week, I stumbled across Heal Within where Linda runs weekly meditation and mindfulness Facebook lives.

Finally, I’ll be sharing weekly tidbits and sources of inspiration across my blog, social media and newsletter. Be sure to sign up so you can get content to your inbox first!