Health and Wellbeing – Ritualize https://ritualize.com/main Health & Wellness Software as a Service (SaaS) with Mobile App Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:14:23 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Your Brain Needs Water https://ritualize.com/main/brain-needs-water/ https://ritualize.com/main/brain-needs-water/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 23:40:24 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=6335 In order for our brains to function optimally we need to ensure we stay hydrated.  Brain cells need water (amongst other things) to operate or they will quickly lose efficiency when the balance is lost.  Drinking water is not just about quenching thirst.  Studies have shown that dehydration can actually cause the brain to shrink, […]

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In order for our brains to function optimally we need to ensure we stay hydrated.  Brain cells need water (amongst other things) to operate or they will quickly lose efficiency when the balance is lost. 

Drinking water is not just about quenching thirst.  Studies have shown that dehydration can actually cause the brain to shrink, linking to declining memory, difficulty thinking clearly and doing complex tasks (like a crossword). 

The good news is, having a glass of water quickly brings the brain back to normal. Other studies have shown that students who drink water before an exam can do up to three times better than those who had none.  

Water could also be the answer to those who wake up grumpy. On a typical night’s sleep, there’s up to 10 hours without water.  We sweat and breathe out moisture and therefore can be dehydrated when we wake , which can affect mood.  

If you want to be on top of your game or avoid that afternoon slump, try water to maximise your thinking, focus and mood.

6 signs you could be dehydrated:

  1. You’re tired
  2. You’re hungry
  3. You have a headache
  4. Your skin is dry
  5. You feel hot
  6. You’re grumpy

Our guideline is 30ml of water for every Kg of body weight (eg 30ml x 56kg=1,680ml or rounded to 2 litres water).

We are lucky we live in a part of the world that has access to clean water.  It’s something to be grateful for.  Consider donating to a charity such as https://thewaterproject.org/give-water to help those struggling without water.

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Talk to alleviate stress https://ritualize.com/main/talk-alleviate-stress/ https://ritualize.com/main/talk-alleviate-stress/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 03:04:06 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=6223 There are many ways to deal with stress.  Exercise, mindfulness, spending time in nature are all effective ways to manage your stress. There is another way to manage stress which is very simple and incredibly effective – talking. In military settings, research has shown that soldiers of war who talked about the stress they experienced […]

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There are many ways to deal with stress.  Exercise, mindfulness, spending time in nature are all effective ways to manage your stress. There is another way to manage stress which is very simple and incredibly effective – talking.

In military settings, research has shown that soldiers of war who talked about the stress they experienced suffered less PTSD than those who didn’t talk.  Talk therapy has also shown to be a powerful treatment for people suffering depression or anxiety and can often ease symptoms when used alongside medication.

Talking alleviates stress in many ways.  You may not be seeking the answers to what is stressing you, but just giving voice to your concerns can allow you to see the wood from the trees and even discover solutions for yourself.

Alternatively, you maybe wanting feedback or advice from another person. Bouncing ideas off someone and getting their input can often help you see your problems in a different light.  We are innate social beings, so it’s natural and normal to reach out to others for advice.

Family and friends can be a great to talk to (providing they are not the problem in the first place). A trusted work colleague or even relevant online forums can be a great resource. It’s important we don’t bottle our stress up, which, over time, can affect our health.  

How to approach tough conversations

If the thought of having a tough conversation with someone is stressing you out, a great model to follow is the SBI model – Situation, Behaviour, Impact.  For more on this watch our video or print out the SBI model framework

Simply talking can take the weight off our chest and help alleviate the symptoms of stress.

 

 

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Make Stress Your Friend https://ritualize.com/main/make-stress-friend/ https://ritualize.com/main/make-stress-friend/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 02:01:25 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=6266 Our lives are busy juggling work, finances, marriage, kids, family, friends – the list goes on. We are constantly hearing from health experts that stress is bad for us and that we need to be less stressed which, ironically, often makes us feel more stressed. This is making us sick and people are even dying […]

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Our lives are busy juggling work, finances, marriage, kids, family, friends – the list goes on. We are constantly hearing from health experts that stress is bad for us and that we need to be less stressed which, ironically, often makes us feel more stressed. This is making us sick and people are even dying from stress-related diseases.

What if it’s not the stress that’s killing us, but instead it’s our responses and  perception of stress that’s killing us? Research is showing that it’s in our body’s natural mechanism to cope with stress, and our reaction and belief around whether stress is a good or bad thing, that is the most harmful to our health.

A popular TED talk by Kelly McGonigal, a Health Psychologist,  “How to make stress your friend” is about approaching stress as helpful rather than being the enemy.

She based her talk on a study of 30,000 people in the US over eight years.  They were asked questions such as “How much stress have you experienced in the past year?” and “Do you believe that stress is harmful for your health?”.  Interestingly, those who expressed a great deal of stress but didn’t view it as a harmful experience had the lowest risk of dying, whereas those who said they had experienced a lot of stress and viewed it as harmful had a 43 percent increased risk of dying.

McGonigal says if change our mindset and view our responses to stress as helpful to our performance, we will be less stressed out, less anxious, more confident. That pounding heart? It’s preparing you for action. Your increased breathing rate? It’s simply getting more oxygen to your brain. Your body will naturally manage the stress response and calm the nervous system down, as long as you don’t allow yourself to get worked up over a stressful situation.

There’s even a term for ‘good’ stress – Eustress, pronounced YOU-stress. It is the type of stress we feel when we are out of our comfort zones, but working towards something bigger or feel excited or challenged in a good way. Eustress provides us with an energy boost to perform challenging activities – especially where we need to focus and put in extra effort. So, what if you were to consider all stress as Eustress? There’s no difference between Eustress and Distress, other than our reaction to it.

As you can see, how you think about stress matters. The next time you are stressed, stop, take a deep breath and say to yourself “This is my body, rising to the challenge.”

Watch the full Ted Talks here: https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend

 

 

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Move Snacks https://ritualize.com/main/move-snacks/ https://ritualize.com/main/move-snacks/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 01:24:18 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=6211 Most of us think we need to sweat it out at the gym or go for a long run to be active and if we miss those opportunities due to our busy lives, we beat ourselves up.  What counts as exercise has been institutionalised to the point that if it’s not a dedicated chunk of […]

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Most of us think we need to sweat it out at the gym or go for a long run to be active and if we miss those opportunities due to our busy lives, we beat ourselves up.  What counts as exercise has been institutionalised to the point that if it’s not a dedicated chunk of time in a dedicated place, it doesn’t count. There are a lot of ‘should’s’ going on – I should exercise, I should go to the gym.  It’s these ‘should’s’ that can set us up to fail, over and over again.  Sound familiar?

At Ritualize, we  want to challenge the notion of what being active is and change how we view exercise.

What’s important is you find something you enjoy, not something you ‘should’ be doing.  The research is showing that if you enjoy your choice of activity, you are more likely to stick with the healthy behaviour over the long-term.  

A great way to rewire your brain around what counts as exercise is to discover what we call Movement Snacks.  If you don’t like exercise or are simply too busy to get to a gym class, you will be surprised how active you can be throughout the day.  Some suggested Movement Snacks are:

  • Housework (it counts!)
  • Meet for a coffee and a walk rather than sit in a cafe
  • 30 second on the stop sprint
  • Gardening
  • Running around with the kids
  • Squat while brushing your teeth
  • Have a walking meeting rather than in a boardroom
  • Walk while you talk on the phone
  • Park the car in the furthest car park from the shops
  • Ritualize ZUU workout at home

Of course, if you love your gym classes or your runs, keep doing it. I love to run because it makes me feel good, but if you are someone who doesn’t like it, don’t do it.  Choose something you actually enjoy.

I love this approach to how we think about physical activity because it allows those who think they are not active to discover they either are or they can be.

Think about what Movement Snacks can be incorporated  into your daily life and make them count.

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6 motivational quotes for inspiration https://ritualize.com/main/5-motivational-health-quotes/ https://ritualize.com/main/5-motivational-health-quotes/#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 03:42:34 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=6010 If you need some words of wisdom to inspire you, motivate your mind, achieve your goals, or overcome your fears, read on…   It can be overwhelming trying to make lifestyle changes. Your goal can feel so far away and almost impossible to achieve, and this can dissuade you from staying on your journey. Thoughts […]

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If you need some words of wisdom to inspire you, motivate your mind, achieve your goals, or overcome your fears, read on…

 

It can be overwhelming trying to make lifestyle changes. Your goal can feel so far away and almost impossible to achieve, and this can dissuade you from staying on your journey. Thoughts in your head are telling you “this is too difficult”, “you’re not strong enough for this”, “what’s the point”, “I don’t have the time”, “I’m too old”.

 

Instead of letting this negative thoughts cloud your mindset, find quotes that inspire you. Jonathan Fader, psychologist and motivation expert says the message that someone else believes you can achieve what you want to achieve can be a powerful incentive to try harder. “There’s a little bit of implicit coaching that’s happening when you’re reading [motivational quotes]. It’s building that self-efficacy in that kind of dialogue that you’re having with yourself,” Fader says.

 

Here are some of our favourites:

 

 

  • “It’s not about perfect, it’s about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how change occurs” – Jillian Michaels, Well-known American Personal Trainer, author and presenter.

 

 

 

  • “Little by little, a little becomes a lot” – Tanzanian Proverb and a bit of a mantra of ours here at Ritualize. Think of change as small steps you repeat over time to that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

 

 

 

  • “Become a priority in your life” – Lori Bregman – Author of  The Mindful Mom-To-Be: A Modern Doula’s Guide to Building a Healthy Foundation from Pregnancy Through Birth

 

 

 

  • “When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say “Why me?”, say “Try me!” – John Assaraf, spiritual entrepreneur, philanthropist and teacher.

 

 

 

  • “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” —Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

  • If you quit once, it becomes a habit. Never quit— Michael Jordan 

 

 

Do you have a favourite quote? We’d love to read them, so share them with us in the comments below!

 

Thinking about your why can also be a motivation to reach your goals. More on that in our next blog post…

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Being grateful makes us happier https://ritualize.com/main/grateful-makes-us-happier/ https://ritualize.com/main/grateful-makes-us-happier/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 10:32:27 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=5955 Imagine feeling thankful and full of joy on an ongoing basis. A major step in that direction is through a daily gratitude ritual. Each day expressing thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life for both the big and small things alike means you concentrate on what have, not what you don’t have enough […]

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Be Grateful

Imagine feeling thankful and full of joy on an ongoing basis.

A major step in that direction is through a daily gratitude ritual.

Each day expressing thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life for both the big and small things alike means you concentrate on what have, not what you don’t have enough of.

Here are a few hints to develop a daily gratitude ritual:

  • Wake up every day and tell yourself (or someone else) what you are grateful for
  • Get each member of your family to say one thing they are grateful for at the dinner table
  • At the end of the day list the 3 things you are most grateful for
  • Start a gratitude journal – Write down all the things you are grateful for every night.
  • Recognise and be grateful for the positive things you have done in in your life, no matter how big or small
  • Let others know how grateful you are for who they are or what they have done.

Being grateful has shown to make us happier and healthier and even help marriages work! The physical and psychosocial benefits of this simple rituals are quite amazing.

Try adopting a gratitude ritual each day. If you’re on the Ritualize app, you can enter what you’re grateful for on your ritual board and either let others know through the Ritualize feed or keep it private.  Either way, you will start feeling the benefits for yourself and others around you almost straight away.

Watch our video on Gratitude for more information!

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Why Rituals Work https://ritualize.com/main/why-rituals-work/ https://ritualize.com/main/why-rituals-work/#respond Thu, 26 Oct 2017 03:09:34 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=5221 Setting smaller, shorter terms goals is a great way to keep our momentum going. This is because our brains are wired to seek pleasure from short term success, rather than a goal that seems an eternity away.

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With a multi-million dollar weight loss and fitness industry, plus thousands of apps you’d think it’d be easy for us to stick with a diet and exercise program.  It all starts with the best of intention, but then momentum starts slowing down and motivation dwindles until you’re left with another weight loss ‘’ notch on your belt.

Here’s the crux. Relying on motivation and willpower alone won’t work.

We are usually motivated by pleasure of what we want, or by the pain of what we don’t want. Over time, however, motivation subsides and you are then relying on willpower. If you have little motivation, a Tim-Tam in front of you with your work colleague enjoying one next to you, willpower can be tough.

You see, willpower on its own is a bit like petrol in your car. The more you use up, the less you have. If you keep saying no to something when all you want to do it say yes, your willpower becomes depleted. This is why we often give in at night. All our willpower is used during the day, so at night we are more likely to reach for the Tim Tam we didn’t have earlier. It’s even harder when we are tired and stressed out.

Setting smaller, shorter terms goals is a great way to keep our momentum going. This is because our brains are wired to seek pleasure from short term success, rather than a goal that seems an eternity away. Doing small, healthy rituals each day and ticking them off releases feel good hormones in the brain, so we end up wanting to do more. Overtime, these small rituals add to big changes. This applies to any area of our lives – the food we eat, our exercise and movement, sleep and how we think.

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Benefits of Basil https://ritualize.com/main/benefits-of-basil/ https://ritualize.com/main/benefits-of-basil/#respond Sun, 30 Jul 2017 21:18:33 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4663 Adding herbs and spices to your dishes is not just about flavour.  There are a host of nutritional benefits and it’s a good idea to include them in your diet each day. Basil is one such example.  It evokes the aroma’s of Italian sauces and adds a perfect pop to a pizza.  It’s also really good […]

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Adding herbs and spices to your dishes is not just about flavour.  There are a host of nutritional benefits and it’s a good idea to include them in your diet each day. Basil is one such example.  It evokes the aroma’s of Italian sauces and adds a perfect pop to a pizza.  It’s also really good for you.

One benefit is its anti-bacterial qualities, so much so that food scientists are currently looking at using basil oil in food packaging that will act as an antimicrobial agent, inhibiting the growth of food-borne bacteria. Another benefit is its anti-inflammatory properties, but what does this mean?  In general, eating food that inhibits inflammation is about reducing your risk of many preventable diseases in later life and improving your overall health.  It’s about using food as part of a disease prevention plan.  Basil has an active ingredient called Eugenol which has anti-inflammatory properties, so it can help reduce the risk of cancer and diabetes.

It also is a great source of vitamin K (a nutrient important for bone health) and a ¼ cup delivers nearly a 3rd of your daily intake.

A great way to get plenty of basil into your diet is by adding pesto to your meals.  Add it to fish or chicken, stir through pasta, add to tomato and serve on toast or add it your pizza. Yum!

Don’t refrigerate your basil. Store at room temperature in a glass of water.  It’s best used on the day of purchase, as it wilts very quickly and get depleted of nutrients.  If you have any left over, simply process with a bit of olive oil and freeze it in an ice-cube tray.  Better still, grow your own so you only pick what you need.

BASIL PESTO RECIPE

Benefits of BasilBasil evokes aroma’s of fresh Italian dishes and can be eaten cooked or raw.  Not only is is so delicious, it’s also incredibly healthy. Read about the health benefits of basil here and enjoy this simple pesto recipe.

Ingredients

3 cups well packed basil leaves
1 cup well packed fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to cover when storing
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (leave out if you’re diary free)
Salt
Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients (except the cheese, salt and pepper) in a food processor or blender and whizz to a smooth paste.
  • Stir in the cheese and add salt and pepper to taste
  • Pour into an airtight container and add the extra olive oil to cover the surface (this prevents discolouration)
  • Store in the fridge for up to 7 days or freeze for 3 months

Tip: Great with grilled fish, chicken or lamb or stirred through vegetables

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Power in Affirmations and Positive Thinking https://ritualize.com/main/power-in-affirmations/ https://ritualize.com/main/power-in-affirmations/#respond Mon, 03 Jul 2017 03:52:44 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4581 We are often not aware that our mind can be trained to think positively, and positive affirmations are a great tool for re-training your own thought processes. Research is showing that positive affirmations do in fact rewire the brain. While we are busy complaining about different things in our lives, like our jobs, our bank accounts, our […]

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We are often not aware that our mind can be trained to think positively, and positive affirmations are a great tool for re-training your own thought processes. Research is showing that positive affirmations do in fact rewire the brain.

While we are busy complaining about different things in our lives, like our jobs, our bank accounts, our mother-in-law, we are actually training our brains to be negative and see fault. By making positive affirmations a daily ritual, we can correct that negative mindset to realise we have ability and can take pride in ourselves rather than feel discontent.

Examples of some positive affirmations:

  • I am worthy
  • I am open
  • I am a loyal friend
  • I am a hard worker
  • I am fit and healthy

Choose affirmations that you think will help create a positive mindset and set you on a path to succeed in your goals.  You could write them on your bathroom mirror with a whiteboard marker, or on cards and post them somewhere you can see them everyday.

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Food Rituals for Everyday Life and Busy People https://ritualize.com/main/food-rituals-everyday-life-busy-people/ https://ritualize.com/main/food-rituals-everyday-life-busy-people/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 02:45:27 +0000 https://ritualize.com/main/?p=4578 Being  busy often gets in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  One secret to success in eating healthy while being busy is to keep it simple and create a ritual.  Thinking less and making fewer decisions. If healthy food is there, you’re more likely to eat it. If you have healthy food available, you […]

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Being  busy often gets in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  One secret to success in eating healthy while being busy is to keep it simple and create a ritual.  Thinking less and making fewer decisions.

If healthy food is there, you’re more likely to eat it. If you have healthy food available, you don’t have to decide to eat well… you just do it.

Given we love rituals at Ritualize, let us introduce you to the food ritual. Here’s a few choices depending on how you want to work it. Only you know what will work for your schedule, so read on and see if these will fit.

The Sunday Ritual

You don’t have to do this on Sunday, of course. You can choose any day you like.

It’s just that Sunday is often a time when people are more free, more relaxed, and more able to devote time to this type of task. And it’s a time when we’re usually thinking ahead to the upcoming week.

Set aside a couple of hours to do the following.

  • Look ahead to what’s happening in the upcoming week. Where might you not have time to cook? What are the quiet and busy times?
  • Come up with a general menu for at least the next few days. It doesn’t have to be anything in-depth. Just get a basic sense of what you might need to have on hand for the week ahead.
  • Build your shopping list from your menu. This will help you be as effective and efficient as possible when you tackle the shops, and you’ll be less tempted by spontaneous (unhelpful) decisions.
  • Hit the supermarket or grocery store. Stock up on what you need for the week. Consider grabbing a few extra “just in case” emergency items as well, such as canned beans, frozen vegetables, or other easily-stored healthy options that you grab at the last minute.
  • Once you’re back home, start prepping and cooking. Whip up a batch of protein — for example, by grilling or roasting several chicken breasts at once. You could try a casserole in a slow cooker or stews, curries etc, add your washed veggies then divide into containers and freeze or refrigerated.

Some people choose to prepare almost all their meals for the week on Sundays. Others prefer to figure out which meals will be easy to cook just prior to meal time and save them for later, preparing only meals that they might need for busy times (such as lunches at work).

Do what works best for YOU!

The Daily Ritual

You can combine the Sunday Ritual with the Daily Ritual — for example, by preparing your meat/protein on Sunday, and then adding some quick-prep veggies on the day of eating.  For example, you may have your chicken breast already cooked and sliced, ready for a quick stir-fry.

During the Daily Ritual, you can prep a few extra items to have on hand for later in the day, or the following day, like chopped vegetables.  Glass containers are a great way to store chopped up vegetables.

Try a Morning Ritual where you whip up a fast-cook bowl of rolled oats or a blender omelet.

  • Shake up your rolled oats with any other items (e.g. ground flax seeds, cinnamon, protein powder, other grains, etc.) in a large container.
  • In the morning, scoop out the dry mix, pour in some water, and pop it in the microwave. Top with fruit and Greek yogurt (see our recipe here) and enjoy a healthy breakfast that will keep you going all morning.
  • Whip up some eggs in a blender (with some veggies if you like) and keep in a container for the next morning. Just pour and cook. You can prep this egg mix a few days in advance so you have it on-hand for a quick, healthy breakfast.

It’s easy to prep a salad that won’t go soggy during the day. Try our Salad in a Jar recipe.

Or try a Dinner Ritual where you simply make extra portions and save the rest for tomorrow. Again, it doesn’t take much more time to prepare a few extra things, so cook in bulk where possible.

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