Growing up in the countryside I've always been an avid lover of nature but recently I've discovered studies which demonstrate it's health benefits far outweigh just that nice fuzzy feeling you get from the fresh air on your face.
This study from Japan’s Chiba University on 280 subjects in their 20s showed that just 30 minutes in the forest environment promoted lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity. In effect time spent amongst the trees made the subjects less amped, calming their fight or flight and boosting their rest and digest systems.
Trees can soothe the spirit too, in this study 498 healthy volunteers were studied for the psychological effects of forest bathing. The study found that being amongst the trees resulted in less hostility and depression.
Still not convinced? In 2009 Qing Li, a professor at Nippon Medical School found increased NK (natural killer) cell activity in the week after time spend in the forest, a benefit which lasted a month after each weekend in the woods. These NK cells are in the immune system and provide rapid-response to viral infected cells and tumor formation. Spending time in the trees can promote a healthy immune system and cancer prevention.
All of this research, and a personal love of nature is why when I decided to create a workshop to support entrepreneurs to reconnect with their true selves I chose to deliver the workshop in a woodland setting.
The Reconnect With You Workshop
It is also the reason why I chose to build my office last year in the garden, amongst the trees. In the past I've rented office space in the city and also in a wellbeing centre but you just can't match the health benefits and calming feeling of being amongst nature.
The Refresh Shed
Need a healing, self-development day in the woods?
Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is to take a step back to think, to reconnect to what's important to you and to understand the way you think so you can be better equipped to deal with life's challenges. All the details for my next Reconnect With You workshops are below.
Make sure you get out amongst those trees and enjoy all the health benefits it brings for us busy entrepreneurs.
Until next time
I've just got back from a refreshing weekend away. Just like you before the long weekend I'd been working my butt off and I was counting down the sleeps till my weekend away. I couldn't wait to kick back, forget about the world and just knew I'd return energised, refreshed and raring to go.
Psychologists have shown that holidays are mentally beneficial. They allow you to distance yourself from the people, pressures and demands of life and instead immerse yourself in new places, new cultures and cuisine. Holidays give you the opportunity for a good night's sleep and to drift from experience to experience rather than focusing on one thing for long hours. They can refresh you physically and mentally but how long does that feeling actually last?
How long does the holiday feeling last?
A comprehensive meta-analysis study by Jessica de Bloom, now at the University of Tampere in Finland, demonstrated that these benefits generally fade within two to four weeks. In fact in one study of 96 Dutch workers that energetic, less tense feeling dissipated after just one week!
A holiday is like eating a piece of chocolate fudge cake, an immense pleasure that doesn't last very long. It's unrealistic to live permanently on holiday for most of us so if we want to excel ourselves towards more happiness, energy and productivity what's the alternative?
How to stay mentally healthy
Leslie Perlow of the Harvard Business School and her colleagues tracked the habits of employees at the Boston Consulting Group, after five months of regular time off and restful evenings employees reported they were more satisfied with their jobs, more content with their work-life balance, more likely to see a future for themselves with the company and prouder of their achievements.
So what time do you clock off work to enjoy your evenings? How often do you allow yourself time off, without thinking about work, the kids, the chores........and all the things on the to-do list?
Prioritising your rest/downtime actually has a significant impact on your happiness, energy and productivity. If you're feeling like that holiday feeling is fading perhaps relook at your life and make some adjustments. Turn off the TV, put down the smartphone, switch off the emails and rekindle that holiday feeling for an evening. Most importantly allow yourself to enjoy it. Surely the to-do list can wait for just one day.
Feel like you need a break right now? Download my 10 minute Rest and Refresh audio and I'll deliver it straight to your Facebook Messenger. Don't wait till your holiday, boost that refreshed feeling every day.
So, do you wait for your holiday to rest or do you make it part of everyday life? What stops you from resting? What tips do you have for others? Please do join the conversation by commenting below.
Until next time
5 years ago I started my new business with no money, no support but plenty of determination. Over the years I've learnt a lot!!! So in this post I'm going to share with you 5 things I know now which I wish I'd known back then.
This post is for you if you're thinking about starting a new venture or if you're a business owner who feels a little lost. Perhaps you're frustrated or losing confidence in yourself or just apprehensive and want to make sure you do it right, in this post I share with you my biggest learnings so you can make the rollercoaster a little less bumpy.
My 5 learnings from starting a new business
Lets dive in and get straight to it. I'm going to start with something simple.
1) Have the ability to edit your own website - Over the last 5 years Refreshed Minds has been through 4 fundamental changes, not to mention countless tweaks to packages, prices, freebies, layout etc. If I'd had to pay every time I wanted amends it would have been so frustrating and very costly. It definitely benefits you to be able to edit your own.
That's not to say you have to design your own website from scratch, although there's lots of simple options now available like Weebly (I use this one) and Wix. But if you're going to pay a web designer to create your website make sure the training so you can edit it is also part of the package.
2) Start with the customer, not the products - At the beginning I spent all the little money I had on building some brilliant packages, a website, a leaflet and paying for stalls to promote my amazing new business. Only to found I'd created packages the customers didn't want.
When I say start with the customer, I don't just mean thinking who your customer might be, I mean really get to know them. You need to be able to talk in their language, solve all their challenges and in a way which they will love. You need to know where they are, what they're doing and what would be the perfect solution for them. Build that product.....not the one you think will be amazing.
3) Prepare Yourself for the Long Game - I can't count the amount of people who think they'll open the doors and people will come. Who go to a couple of networking meetings and get frustrated because they've not been offered any work. You have to work your ass off for 4-6 months consistently in order for your hard work to start paying off. If you're a brand new business make that 6-12 months!!
At the beginning I found this part of business soul destroying, I worked super hard and got nothing back, zip, diddly squat and I started thinking what's the point, I lost my confidence and thought about giving it up.
This 4-6 months window is normal so prepare yourself for the long game, every time you do something new it will take at least that long before you start seeing results.
Which leads me nicely onto learning 4........
4) Have strategies to top up your determination and motivation - Your motivation and determination will need constant nurture and care. You do not have endless amounts of either and the work a new business requires drains them quickly.
At the start you're out of the gate like a racing horse but it only lasts so long (see point 3!) you absolutely need to take care of yourself and top up your good stuff regularly. Even more regularly than when you're in employment because there's just you, only you and without you and your drive, there is no business. Don't expect yourself to have endless energy, motivation and positiveness, these need care and attention to keep them topped up.
With this in mind I've created a little freebie you can download below if you're in need of a motivation and determination top up.
5) Get help, ask, hire, network and talk - I missed the gate on this one. When I started my business I was a one woman, taking over the world, I can do this, watch me kind of business owner. I went to networking and heard from people like the Chamber of Commerce and the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) but thought no I can do this on my own........I was stupid....utterly stupid!! I missed out on loads of support, grants and help.
Support is out there, get yourself in there and don't be too proud to take it.
Equally, you can't do this all on your own. Trust me I tried!!! As a solopreneur you don't have a team to bounce ideas off, you don't have colleague to nip to the canteen so you can download to them. As a business owner those people aren't around you all day so you have to go out there and find them, go networking, find your tribe and support each other, counsel each other. Nobody is an island, you need a support team.
You'll also need expertise from others, you can't be great at everything. This also took me way too long to realise. 4 years in and I finally got myself a coach, priceless!! Absolutely priceless. You can't see your own stuff until someone else points it out. Equally there's lots of things you need in order to run a business and people out there who are experts at them, hire them and if you can't do that talk to them, ask their advice, go to their free webinars. It's worth thinking, how can I best get the expertise I need.
I got exhausted from trying to be everything.........you need a team, go find one!!
Feeling overwhelmed, I have just the thing.
Since topping up your motivation is so important, and something which business owners don't do enough of, I've created a free Rest and Refresh Audio which you can download and listen to. It lasts just 10 minutes so can fit into even the most busy of days.
This audio is a guided meditation with affirmations to unconsciously top up your good stuff and lift your mood. When you're feeling overwhelmed, tired, anxious, stressed.....and all the feelings that a 'busy-life and business' brings, then please take 10-minutes to gain some clarity on the situation and Rest & Refresh with this 10-minute mindset audio.
Click 'grab your freebie' below to access the audio.
Prefer face to face support?
If you're feeling pressured, frustrated and would benefit from a break to find your clarity, my Break Free, Find Clarity monthly mindset event for entrepreneurs would be perfect for you. They bring together like-minded entrepreneurs to work on all things mindset, have honest conversations about running a business and we always starts with a relaxing 10 minutes too. Their just £15 and all the details can be found by clicking below.
That's it for this time, I hope you found those learnings useful and whatever you do don't suffer in silence. If you would like support get in touch.
Until next time
This time I'm sharing my own experiences of Corporate Pressure/Stress and how it led me down a path to discover how my mind and body worked and what I could do to alleviate the daily stress, anxiousness, exhaustion and everything else that was happening to me.
I knew that our Minds were powerful, but I had to find something that not only worked for a day or two, but something that would make long lasting changes to my life.
Finding my own solution is what led me to create Refreshed Minds. I knew that I could help others that were going through what I’d experienced over 5 years ago.
Since starting Refreshed Minds I have now helped hundreds of people by sharing my proven, simple and practical techniques and I would love to help you too.
If you can relate to what I have shared in this blog, I would love to help you.
In the video I talk about typing 25 in the comments but this is because it went out live on Facebook, it only works on the Facebook video. Now, I don't want you to have the hassle of going over to Facebook and trying to find the video so I've put the details below for you:
The Confidence and Courage Workshop
For just £25 you will be given simple practical techniques that you can implement in your life straight away, and also have the opportunity to meet others that “get you” too.
It will be an evening where you will leave with a feeling of "I Can REALLY Do This"!!!!
So if you would like to learn 3 powerful techniques to breakdown your Confidence blocks and have the courage to reach your full potential, click the button below.
"Life is 5% what happens to you and 95% how you react to it."
However most of us have never been taught how to understand ourselves well enough to make that reaction a healthy and productive one. I'm absolutely passionate about showing people how to do that.
Until next time
This is my Refreshed Minds logo and for a long time I felt like that lime. Feeling that inside I was refreshing and bright but actually living life trapped in a block of ice, feeling frustrated and like I wasn’t good enough.
For over 10 years I worked for large corporate companies, I’ve had good and bad times but in 2011 I finally got frustrated with living to someone else’s ideas. I was disheartened by the constant striving for targets that felt forever out of reach, justifying my existence, re-applying for my job and seeing my friends made redundant. I met some amazing people, talented, inspiring and hard working people, many of whom are still my friends today but that corporate ice cube rarely let them feel refreshed and bright, they just said that’s great and then pushed for more and more.
My own life also built up some of my ice cube. I would constantly berate myself for things I hadn’t achieved and all the shoulds and shouldn’ts which you believe are true. ‘I should be successful by now’, ‘I should try harder’, ‘I’m letting people down’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I can’t do it’…………
On the surface I could be smiling, happy and confident me but behind the scenes I’d made myself very ill.
It was then that life changed.
I was introduced to NLP and Hypnotherapy. The more I learnt about how and why we do what we do the more I wanted to know. I studied and qualified in both whilst still doing my full time job. I was also devouring books on the topics whenever I could get my hands on them. When I started using the techniques in my life I was hooked. Why???? Because the difference was life changing and I’m not exadurating. The ice cube was finally melting and I was allowed to be refreshed and bright, it felt amazing.
But keeping these amazing techniques to myself was never going to fit with me. One of the things I’d learnt about myself is that my biggest value is ‘making a difference’. To see I’ve made a difference is what motivates me, lifts my spirit and makes me smile.
In the corporate world I just didn’t see how I made a difference, it didn’t fit my biggest value, no wonder I felt trapped. So I took the leap of faith and set up Refreshed Minds.
So what’s Refreshed Minds mission?
"To melt as many people’s ice cubes as I can!! To show you, ‘you can’ rather than ‘you can’t’ and to teach you how to do it using the very best of skills and tools I’ve learnt along the way. You deserve to live life feeling refreshed and bright, Refreshed Minds is here to show you how."
So what have been my biggest learnings so far? I thought I’d share my top 3.
1. Your mind is incredibly clever and whether you like it or not it will always do what it thinks is best for you. It will give you flu to make you rest, give you a fear to try and keep you safe, it will even put on weight to comfort you. You are never stupid!!
2. Language is more powerful than you give it credit for – whatever you tell your mind, it will find evidence to support. If you tell yourself for years that you’re no good, you’ll be and feel no good.
3. Change is easier than you think. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out affair. Sometimes the simplest of things can make a massive difference.
So whether your ice cube is self created with doubts, fear and harsh words or it was created by living in a world which didn’t match who you are, I wanna help!!
What do I help people with:
I've successfully helped people (and companies) with:
Until next week
If you'd have said to me 2 years ago, when I was struggling to breathe after walking up Malham cove on the Jane Tomlinson 14 mile walk, that I'd complete the Yorkshire 3 Peaks I'd have laughed so hard and dismissed it without question.
But here I am having completed the 24.5 miles and 700 meters in elevation in 13 hours. To say I am proud just doesn't seem to convey the feeling to it's fullest. And to top that we estimate that the team of 20 of us has raised approx £8000 for the Reuben's Retreat charity. Sponsorship money is still coming in so the accurate amount will be announced soon. It's just incredible.
I still can't believe I did it to be honest, the small steps really do add up to a mountain. Then you look back and think wow, did I really do that! Along the way there were times when I had to keep focused, sometimes just on the next few feet and conquer my inner negativity but there were also times of laughter and fun.
Reminds me of any goal and the value of taking it bit by bit. You'll be amazed at where you end up. I've learnt that its your mind that gives in way before your capability.
So what's your personal goal/challenge? Something you've wanted to do but talked yourself out of? Let me know in the comments box below. Sign up for it today because you're more capable than you think and the feeling you get when you've done it is amazing.
Thank you to everyone who donated and made it so worth while.