In today’s society where over a third of Australian girls are dissatisfied with their bodies at the age of four, it’s important that we start building resilience and investing in empowering our girls to be body confident, which is why we feel it’s important to discuss how body confidence in young girls starts at home.

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What success traits do Sheryl Sandberg and Arianna Huffington have in common? These leaders know their priorities and don’t sacrifice proper sleep for productivity. Here are the six simple sleep habits and facts of successful leaders which you can easily implement in your daily life. As a bonus, positive sleep hygiene has benefits for your mental health as well!

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Many people assume a healthy lifestyle means a big hole in the budget. Myths include: staying fit requires expensive gym memberships and eating well equals eating into your grocery bill. Wrong. If you want to take ownership of your health, you can easily do so without a huge expense. Here are my tips for living a budget conscious healthy life.

Make your beauty products

Costly beauty products are an unnecessary expense as you can make your own using ingredients from your pantry. Face masks can be made using honey, turmeric and lemon juice. Soaps can easily be made with shea butter and green tea, and mixing sugar and essential oils makes a body scrub.

Use a meal plan to manage a healthy lifestyle on a budget

It’s important to be prepared for your meals. Doing so ensures you don’t buckle and buy unhealthy and expensive take outs, splash out on unnecessary groceries or meander away from your healthy eating plan.

  • Breakfasts: Every Sunday I prepare five make-ahead breakfasts, such as frittatas or bircher muesli, which I store in the fridge ready to go.
  • Lunch/Dinner: One Sunday a month I batch bake four lunches such as a vegetarian Shephard’s pie with cauliflower mash, salmon coconut fish cakes or a veggie bake, and store them in the freezer. These can be served at a later date with a leafy green salad for a nutritious, satisfying meal. 
  • Snacks: A variation of humus such as turmeric and cauliflower, beetroot or carrot.
  • Drinks: Matcha green tea smoothie, watercress soup or a green tea and fresh ginger quencher to sip on throughout the day. This keeps me hydrated, my immune system in check and my metabolism high.

Make the most of your ingredients

To save money, time and avoid waste, I encourage people to consider how they can maximise a single ingredient. Roast a chicken for one meal, save the leftovers and boil the carcass for a delicious homemade nourishing stock, both of which you can freeze. In the following days, use the leftovers to make a mushroom and chicken risotto, soup and chicken salad.

Plan a healthy lifestyle on a budget by scheduling your week

Use your Leaders in Heels Planners to schedule your time so that you stay on track and avoid overspending. I usually write out the plan from 6am-7pm daily, and it will look something like this:

6 am – 30 minute at home yoga or pilates.
6.30am – Hot shower using one of my homemade body scrubs.
7 am – Enjoy a make-ahead breakfast and then make a tea to sip on during the day.
8 am – Start work.
10 am – Hummus snack.
Noon – Lunchtime!
2 pm – A soup or smoothie to ensure my body is getting extra greens, is nourished and energised.
5 pm – Finish work and then go for a brisk 30-minute walk or swim – anything to get some cardio and refresh the body/soul.
6 pm – Enjoy dinner with a big green leafy salad.
7 pm – Relax with a homemade face mask. I switch off all devices at this time as well. 

Exercise at home

30-60 minutes of daily exercise at home is a key component of having a healthy lifestyle on a budget. We must use our muscles consistently to ensure our bodies remain flexible as we age. Personally, yoga, pilates or a brisk walk or swim helps me release the busy day. 

About the Faye James

Fay-James-tips-for-a-healthy-lifestyle-on-a-budgetFaye is a 43-year-old mother of two who believes in living a healthy structured lifestyle to enhance confidence and energy. Adding to her achievements, Faye has recently published a book, The Life Long Plan, which shares more of her advice and tips. 

In PR, just like TV news, no two days are the same. That is what makes it easy to find excuses to justify fast food and not making time for your health and wellbeing, but it is not sustainable. For more than 25 years I worked in newsrooms where the priority was the story of the day and meeting deadlines. Now, as Managing Director of a PR and digital agency, the pressures are similar, but there is one significant difference – I am the boss.

The old saying is “happy wife, happy life” and a company’s success is certainly dependent on a happy team. In the past 18 months, we’ve expanded offices and doubled staff numbers nearly every three months, and are still growing. Personally, I still find it hard to find time for me. However, there are steps we’ve taken in the office to help improve everyone’s wellbeing, including mine.

Here are some of those tips:

Learn to delegate

If you have a trustworthy, dependable and experienced team, you will feel more comfortable delegating roles. Although it might be a lengthy process, taking the time to hire reliable people is beneficial in the long run. You will feel comfortable and confident in delegating tasks.

Another approach is to utilise everyone’s strengths. If one team member excels at design, have them create visual content for your business. If another excels at writing, have them write content for your website or your clients.

Set boundaries between work and home

As a mum of two, keeping work and family time separate is always a challenge. While responding to emails or making phone calls might not seem like you are bringing work home, it can have more of an impact than you might think. It is particularly important to set boundaries between work and home if your business has multiple locations and you are required to travel.

For example, I am often leaving Brisbane for client meetings and media training, sometimes at the last minute. Over time, I realised how necessary it is to set boundaries to make time for work and my family.

Encourage health and wellbeing in the workplace

As all business owners know, it is important to lead by example. While this is typically with work ethic, it is just as important to actively encourage health and wellbeing. For example, many of us have diffusers on our desks with natural oils.

To counter that feeling of being stuck in front of a computer for too long we are embracing walking meetings. Sometimes it’s as simple as the morning WIP doubling as a coffee run. During this time, our Communications Director and Corporate Services Manager will brief me on the day ahead. It’s amazing how motivated you feel after some fresh air and sunshine, and the coffee doesn’t hurt either! 

Be stricter about breaks during the day

I do encourage our team to eat lunch away from their computers. The temptation, especially in a communication and digital agency, is to stay tapping away at your keyboard but it’s important to give your eyes and your brain a break.

Our Administration Assistant selects fitness classes close to the office for the team to attend at lunch. It not only encourages everyone to take some time out during the day but helps build a strong team culture with a positive attitude towards health and wellbeing.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

As a business owner, admitting you don’t know something can be difficult – particularly as you are leading a team. It is often expected you should know almost everything in the industry before launching a business, which isn’t the case.

Industries, whether it be Public Relations, Health, Tourism, Mining or Finance are constantly changing, and it is almost impossible to be across all of these changes.  It is important to remember it is okay to ask for help or find a mentor. Listening to their advice will broaden your knowledge and it is a huge stress relief to get those questions answered!

Leisa Goddard Health and wellbeing for leaders

About Leisa Goddard

Leisa Goddard is the Managing Director of Digital and PR Agency Adoni Media. Leisa has more than 25 years of experience working and presenting news and current affairs for Australia’s three commercial television networks including time as a foreign correspondent and war correspondent. Her award-winning agency has offices in Sydney and Brisbane.

People often avoid prioritising self-care, putting their wellbeing on the back burner while they concentrate on work, family, commitments and the daily grind. However, consistently feeling low, unmotivated, fatigued or irritable is something that shouldn’t be ignored. Dr Preeya Alexander, who you may have seen on TV or online as The Wholesome Doctor, digs deep into self-care.

Self-care explained

Self-care to me is having the courage to put yourself first for a moment, ensuring that your mental and physical wellbeing is OK. As a young working mum, I find self-care hard to prioritise (like many of us do) but I try to make a conscious effort to put myself first. This enables me to be a more patient and healthy mother/wife/daughter/GP and friend.

How to know you need to focus on your wellbeing

Problems with wellbeing can manifest in different ways for different people. Some people describe fatigue or irritability, while some describe issues with motivation and energy. If you’re consistently feeling empty, low, struggling to find strength and motivation then it’s time to review how well you are looking after yourself. It might be as simple as bumping up more exercise or improving your diet, or it might be that you need to talk to your GP about a grumbling anxiety issue you ignore a lot of the time.

How to get started with self-care

You need to have the courage to put yourself first and it isn’t always easy! I find women are often the most reluctant to prioritise themselves. They’re continually putting family first and when I ask about their overdue cervical cancer screening test or mammogram, they look at me sheepishly. I often have to give my patients permission to be slightly selfish and take some time out. Mum guilt is a real problem and a barrier to good self-care – I know this first hand.

The best first step is acknowledging you could do better at your self-care. The next step is having the courage to lock some time in and telling the world/jobs/washing/children/partner they can wait for an hour or two! Self-care can be as simple as going for a walk, having a massage or a session with your psychologist.

Self-care myths

It doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. When I discuss self-care, I feel like my patients initially think I mean a pamper treatment or a long lunch. While both would be wonderful, a simple 30 minute walk on your own or a 15 minute meditation is self-care. It doesn’t have to be fancy!

What jeopardises wellbeing

Lots of things jeopardise wellbeing! A diet high in fatty processed foods can be damaging for physical wellbeing with a higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, heart disease and stroke. A lifestyle with heavy alcohol intake (more than two standard drinks a day) can increase the risk of breast and bowel cancer.  There are also lots of things that can jeopardise mental health like poor sleep quality/habits, high-stress environments, relationship issues or financial stressors.

Self-care works!

One of my long term patients eventually came to see me with persistent fatigue. In general practice, we know that most cases of fatigue are due to lifestyle factors such as poor sleep quality, diet issues, inadequate amounts of exercise or stress/anxiety as opposed to organic medical issues like thyroid disease or cancer. After some lengthy discussion and blood tests, I raised with her that perhaps anxiety was causing the fatigue. I had picked up on her anxiety overtime in our consults and we heavily discussed self-care. Self-care wasn’t something she was doing with her children around, though with time, exercise, psychology sessions and meditation she became a new woman. Giving her permission to put herself first, delegate more to her husband and be slightly selfish, changed her completely!
Personally, I know when my batteries are running on low I need to practice what I preach to my patients. I’m not great at accepting help or stating that I might need more help. However, I’ve learnt that if I collapse the whole family does too. So now I try and intervene early with more exercise, more sleep and more time for me!

Self-care for women

Women are very often the “do-ers” or the “glue” of the family and I talk about the female mental load to my patients. Most of us are always thinking of what needs to be done – cooking dinner with leftovers, laundry, walking the dog, ensuring the toddler has spare undies in their childcare bag, picking up packages from the post office, wondering how we will get to work on time, whether or not we have clean underwear for the week ahead and how on earth we’ll get the time to find a present for a family birthday on the weekend.

For a lot of us, we are constantly writing lists and ticking jobs, which can be seriously draining! It’s OK to feel exhausted sometimes, but it’s so important to know that simple self-care is crucial. Take 20 minutes to read, exercise or see your GP for your OWN health issues (and not your child’s). It might just be the thing that stops you (and the family unit) from collapsing!

About Dr Preeya Alexander

self-care advice

Dr Preeya Alexander is a medical doctor who is passionate about all things ‘prevention’ in medicine. Dr Alexander has made TV appearances sharing her tips, experiences and medical based thoughts to encourage discussion and trends toward healthier living.

You can follow Dr Alexander on Instagram @TheWholesomeDoctor.

“Hey! How was your day off?”
“Pretty good! I had a good day. I wrote an article, read a book, cooked a few dishes, and cleaned the house.”

For someone who always feels the need to achieve more, do better, be better, get more out of each day, I need a constant reminder to be thankful for what I have and to realise that I am very fortunate. I am still not at a point where I can sit back and relax for a few hours, soak up the beauty of the world we live in and be grateful.

Today, I’d like to share with you five things that I do to practice gratitude in everyday life, which make me feel richer, happier and more successful.

Have a daily gratitude routine

I find that when I have a few quiet minutes during the day, or at nights before going to bed, reflecting on good things that happened throughout the day makes me feel more thankful and happier. There is always something to be grateful for; whether it is about having a roof above our heads, being able to provide for my family, or witnessing a random act of kindness when I least expect it. This is why Oprah shared that the single most important thing she’s ever done in her life is keeping a gratitude journal and writing down five things she is grateful for every single day.

Think in terms of progress, not perfection

I have a lot of goals in life, some are crazier and bigger than others. Writing new year resolutions without fail every December/January has been my jam since I was in my early 20’s. Sometimes, I achieved them, sometimes I didn’t but I realised that I was often too focused on end goals that I forgot to enjoy the experience or celebrate small wins. There must be some truth about neurons in our brains that cultivate positive states of mind, I am certainly more appreciative when I celebrate small wins.

Be mindful

Have you ever been in a situation where you were doing something else when eating your meal that you didn’t realise how you finished an entire plate? I have. Many times, in fact. Multitasking is an enemy of mindfulness. It is hard to be mindful and therefore grateful when my brain is switching back and forth between multiple activities. These days, I try my best to be mindful of what I am currently doing; be it eating, walking, writing, cooking or speaking. When I am mindful, I feel clarity and appreciation of the situation, the experience and the surrounding.

Practise a random act of kindness

Whenever I see the phrase “random act of kindness”, I picture an image of helping a homeless. While helping a homeless person on the street is indeed a random act of kindness, it is not the only act of kindness. Making way for someone who is in a hurry, letting an elderly skip the line, giving a listening ear to a colleague who is having a bad day, volunteering at a community event, donating to a charity, sharing my knowledge online or offline to those who need it, doing someone a favour without asking or expecting anything in return, or something as simple as picking up litter on a street are some ideas for random act of kindness that I have practised and each time after I have done a random act of kindness, I feel thankful. Thankful for the opportunity and thankful for having the capacity or ability.

Spend time outside

My couch at home is quite comfortable and I work at a pretty nice office but spending time outside beats staying indoors any time of the day. I am lucky because with a small human being (aka my daughter) to look after, I am forced to get out of the house every day. I notice that after going for a walk in the neighbourhood or a playtime at a local park, I feel much more alive and energetic. In summer when the sun doesn’t go down until 8pm, my family usually goes out for a walk or a play at a local park after dinner. This routine is not only good for my body but also for my mind.

I like practising gratitude every day because I feel richer and happier and it makes me a better human.