Monday, 17 July 2017

13 Steps to Getting Better Sleep

The most important step towards starting your day bright, early and on the right note is by getting good sleep at night. Whether you sleep for 6, 7, 8 or 9 hours- it doesn't matter. What really matters is the quality of your sleep.

Benefits of getting good sleep are countless. Did you know that you actually lose weight when you sleep. Your body regenerates, repairs and heals itself whilst sleeping. You anti-age when you sleep. Lucid dreaming and creative visualisation whilst sleeping could literally transform your life. So stop talking about having insomnia, it's not cool at all. Focus your energy on making your bedroom a sleep haven.

Melatonin, the hormone produced by your pineal gland is responsible for regulating sleep. Your body starts producing melatonin as the sun sets and it takes about 4 hours for melatonin to fully kick in for you to go into deep rejuvenating sleep. But living in the information age and constantly being stimulated by technology can make unwinding and relaxing before bedtime extremely difficult. If you too have trouble sleeping at night, here are my top tips that will hopefully help you get that melatonin going and eventually get great sleep.

  1. Have the intention of going to bed latest by 11 pm. If that seems too early make 12 am your absolute deadline.
  2. Keep your room really neat and tidy. Make sure it's not cluttered, the bed has clean sheets, all your things are put away in their designated spots.
  3. Make sure the temperature of your room is ideal for sleeping. Research indicates that you sleep well when the temperature is between 18-20 degrees Celsius.
  4. Have a night routine. Make it a sacred ritual. Make your hour before bed count. Make it your 'me time'. Pamper yourself, indulge in skincare, wear something lovely and comfy to bed. If you have access to a bath run yourself a relaxing bath with Epsom salts, magnesium oil or lavender infused bath products.
  5. You could also use lavender oil & water as a pillow spray or apply lavender oil onto your skin before bed.
  6. Listen to calming music or a guided meditation for sleep. You can find loads of free ones on YouTube.
  7. Don't use white or bright blue lights at night, turn to amber or honey-yellow shades. Amber lights will help your body create melatonin. 
  8. Avoid using your laptop, smart phone or watching TV at least 45 minutes before you actually get into bed. If you must use your screens then download flux. Flux is a free app that will turn your laptop/mobile screen amber. 
  9. Go old school. Read a book. Or turn off the lights and listen to an audiobook or podcast. Not spending your time on screens can really help you relax and unwind.
  10. Get off social media at least half an hour before you want to sleep. Being on social media before bed can induce stress and anxiety and will keep your mind overly stimulated and active.
  11. Don't get social. Avoid confrontations, gossiping & thought provoking conversations with your partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, family members, friends, acquaintances and associates before bed.
  12. Don't drink coffee or don't eat or drink caffeine in any form in the 2nd half of your day!
  13. I picked this one up from Tim Ferriss. If all else fails drink this. 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar plus one teaspoon of raw honey in hot water can really help you get good sleep.
If you have any tips for getting good sleep, please share them in the comments down below.


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Why You Should Engage in Random Acts of Kindness Everyday

If you are feeling down in the dumps the quickest way to feel happy again is by engaging in random acts of kindness. If like me you are from India, chances are that you come into contact with less fortunate people several times during the day; these could be your full or part-time domestic help, your driver, workers at your local grocery store or even children begging and/or selling knick-knacks around the corner or at a traffic light.

Just think about being kind with them. We were extremely lucky to be born into families that were able to afford a certain standard of living and they just did not. Looking into their eyes with compassion will make you realise that we are all connected in ways deeper than we will ever understand. I often wonder what beautiful humans they would evolve or transform into if they had the same privileges as we do...

Random acts of kindness don't necessarily mean giving away money. It could also be offering them chilled water to drink during these blazing hot summer days or a steaming cup of chai or it could be something as little as smiling and asking them how they are doing. You have so many things lying around your house that you have forgotten about and will probably never ever use, but these things could really help someone in need.

These acts of giving and these acts of kindness are rather selfish and you will soon realise that in this giving and receiving equation, the giver always gains the most happiness.

The point that I am trying to make is that engage in at least one random act of kindness every single day. It is exactly what you need to make your day from Blah to Wah! You will instantly feel happy, grateful and connected.

What was your random act of kindness today? I am all ears!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Why I Turned Plant Based

I turned plant based about  a year and a half ago and I have no intention of turning back. When I say plant based I mean I am mostly vegan and those times when I am travelling or eating out, I am not that crazy person who will starve; I just settle for the most vegan friendly item available and hope for the best! Sometimes when I feel like it I allow my self a piece or two of dark chocolate (not necessarily vegan). I also recently tried drinking hot water with apple cider vinegar with raw honey to help me sleep better.

Why I turned plant based?

Just to let you know, I did not hop on this band wagon because its trendy at the moment. I had thought about turning vegan/plant based for a long time before I actually did. When it happened I had the strongest gut feeling that it was the best/right thing to do.

I decided to listen to my body and respect and honour what it was telling me to do. The reaction to certain things was very visceral. Every fibre in my body was repelling not just meat and dairy but also alcohol and caffeine.

Why was this happening? I m not entirely sure... at the time, it just felt the right thing to do. It still feels right today! And then eventually being cruelty free and ethical became important too.

Currently I am aiming to be as cruelty free as possible although I am not entirely sure if the human race can ever be completely cruelty free. Veganism as a lifestyle extends to every aspect. It's not just food, its also fashion, beauty, house hold items and much more. The aim is to be more and more mindful every single day and move towards being as ethical as possible. I know I have a long long way to go, but at least I am trying.

How turning plant based has helped me.
  • My digestion has improved massively
  • I feel stronger and more energetic. I feel this especially when I am working out.
  • I am calmer and happier and being plant based is one of the reasons for this.
  • I feel lighter in my body. Just to clarify I haven't lost weight but I do feel light inside, if that makes sense. 
  • It has made me more self aware. 
  • It has made me conscious and mindful in every aspect of my life.
  • It has helped in instilling a strong sense of compassion for not just animals but for every other living being on this planet.
  • It has also made me appreciate everything that I already have in my life and it has helped inculcate the feeling of being truly grateful.
  • It has helped me raise my vibration.

My top tips if you are considering going vegan and/or plant based.
  • Always keep your why in front of you. Be very clear about why you are doing this. Having a big enough why will help you easily flow through each day every day.
  • Don't suddenly go all out. If you think it's going to be hard, try doing it in increments. Try going dairy free for a while or trying going meat free for a few weeks. See how you feel. Or just try it for a few weeks, if you don't feel like it don't do it.  Don't be too hard on yourself. 
  • Don't do it just because its trendy or your friends are doing it or succumb to peer pressure.
  • Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to make mistakes. A lot of things are deceptively vegan especially whilst eating out.
  • Don't be that annoying vegan who forces everyone else to try it as well. 

Are you thinking about going plant based and/or vegan? Have any questions? Leave me a comment and I will get back to you.


Thursday, 6 July 2017

How to Deal with Anxiety

The smallest things get to me and I have experienced general anxiety pretty much ever since I can remember. I don't necessarily go into fight or flight mode, however I go into 'freeze' mode. I can't seem to do anything, it's almost as if my anxiety immobilises me. As a result I leave most things till they become urgent and I feel I am never really working my true potential. That then snowballs into stress and I find myself in a never-ending anxiety-stress-anxiety loop.

Over the years however, I have learnt to work with my anxiety and have discovered a lot of ways to help myself deal with it. Some of them are listed below and hopefully you will find them useful too.

  1. Plan, plan, plan and prep. Have a routine. Have a vision. Have purposeful days. I have realised that the days that are not planned bring about anxiety. But if you wake up with a clear vision for that day then you will be generally focused and calm. To get contemplating about your vision I would highly recommend the 6 phase meditation by Vishen Lakhiani.
  2. Try and become more of a morning person. Have a morning routine. This sets the tone for the rest of your day. When you have enough time in the morning to exercise, meditate, eat breakfast and get dressed, you generally feel less and less anxious about the rest of your day. You are also at your most productive self first thing in the morning, make the best use of those glorious morning hours. 
  3. Go for a walk and get close to nature. When you are close to nature and you are walking at a steady pace whilst focusing on breathing, your mind and body will calm down instantly. 
  4. Get out of your head and get into your body. Get a move on. Dancing, yoga, running, hiking or a HIIT circuit will all help. But choose something that you love, otherwise it's not going to help much.
  5. Meditate. Guided meditation apps such as Calm and Headspace are brilliant. They have some amazing free mediations for you to begin with. Even 5 minutes on one of these apps can completely turn around how you feel.
  6. Gratitude. Shift your focus onto things that you are grateful for. And at least in that moment of gratitude, you will not feel anxious.
  7. Speak to your close ones. If you live in another city or country then just some assurance that your family and friends are safe and doing okay can really help.
  8. Pay close attention to what you are eating. When you are stressed or anxious its very tempting to binge on junk food and sugar. The minute you eat junk though you start feeling like crap.
  9. Drink enough water. A dehydrated body can induce anxiety as your cells start communicating to your mind that there is some kind of threat. 
  10. Decaffeinate. Drinks with caffeine can also spark anxiety and it's always a good idea to replace caffeine with water. 
  11. Say no to substance and/or alcohol. If you suffer from general anxiety the worst thing you can do to yourself is turn to alcohol and substance as they can kick off full blown panic attacks.
  12. Journaling can be extremely therapeutic. The next time you are going crazy with insane thoughts bouncing off in your head, just purge everything out on a piece of paper. This will really help you relax and get back in right frame of mind. 
  13. Don't numb your anxiety. Acknowledge the pain and acknowledge the feeling of anxiety. Sit with that. Don't try and numb it with food, sex or binge watching Netflix. And if you are someone affected by anxiety they worst thing you can do to yourself is turn to substance and alcohol. You will get even more anxious after consuming alcohol & substance.
  14. Do something creative. When you do something creative, obviously something that you like and love you will start feeling much better. Its kind of like channeling all your nervous energy into something productive. 
  15. EFT or Tapping- Emotional Freedom Technique is a psychological acupressure technique where you think about your specific problem or pain whilst repeating positive affirmations and gently tapping onto specific meridians on your head and chest area. This is based on the traditional acupuncture practise but without the use of needles and is a very effective to treat emotional as well as physical pain.
  16. Get a good night's sleep. Just getting sound sleep for 8-9 hours can work wonders for dealing with anxiety. When you are well rested you are less irritable, you also feel calm and focussed. 
  17. Social media detox. Avoid getting online especially first thing in the morning and last thing  before bed. Avoiding social media will help you keep negativity at bay and also help you stop comparing yourself with others. You can end a lot of your anxiety if you stop comparing yourself with others. 
  18. Love yourself. Get a massage, a pedicure or have a bath with some luxe bath products. Listen to some music you love and allow yourself to take breaks often. 
  19. Invest in yourself. Do something, do anything that will help you grow and becoming the best version of yourself. Maybe watch an inspiring video, listen to a podcast, get a book/audiobook.  You will feel so much better just buy listening to an inspiring thought leader you really admire.
  20. Focus on what you can control. When we get anxious we also start worrying about things we have no control over. Try and focus on things you can control and try and do something about those things.
Which of these tips resonated with you the most? If you found this post useful, don't forget to share it with someone you know who will find this helpful.

© Shirin Saluja | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig