THE GOOD LIFE BLOG
THE GOOD LIFE BLOG
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Do you find cleaning your house a drag?
You're not alone! But we all know that a certain amount of cleaning is necessary to keep our home a healthy place, so it just needs to be done, doesn't it?
But how can you stop feeling so bad about that particular side of homekeeping? My answer is:
Do like the French!
I must confess: I have never liked scrubbing floors, toilets etc., or handling garbage. Some people quite enjoy it. I don't. I kind of like doing the dishes - that's more therapeutic and gives room for reflection, the way I see it - but the other stuff ... well, I used to find that more of a drag. That is: Until I learned how the French do it. Oh happy day! It was a revelation! It took away the stress of it for me, and I feel that it's my pleasurable duty to share it with you so you can finally be a peace with it, too. From this day forward you'll suffer from no more "cleaningfobia" (I don't even know if that's a word, but if it is, I've had it...)!
Here are the 3 simple rules I have learned from the French when it comes to keeping the house clean:
#1: The French don't look upon cleaning as another chore
The word "chore" implies that there is work to be done, right? And more work often means more stress, more obligations, and we don't want that. We want to have a good time, enjoy our house and spend our time doing the things we love.
Well, to the French, keeping a house nice for your family is to "faire le ménage", which can be translated with "make the household", and they see it as just part of the little things you do every day to keep the surroundings nice and enjoyable for all. It's included in the other little daily routines and not really a chore of its own. This mentality takes the stress out of it, I think, and here's another reason why:
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#2: The French keep it simple
The French usually don't have one whole day set aside for cleaning every week. Instead, they do the cleaning and tidying as they go along, like making the bed as soon as they have aired it in the morning, hanging clothes into the closet instead of letting them lie around, putting a book back on the shelf when they've finished reading it, putting the dishes in the dishwasher when they've finished a meal - you get the picture.
The French also don't have the same fixation about disinfecting all surfaces like many other Western nations do, but they like to keep things streamlined and organised. They might also sweep the floor with a broom instead of dragging the hoover out every time the floor needs a bit of cleaning up.
#3: The French don't clutter
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The French generally go for quality over quantity in all things, whether it's their wardrobe or their home, which means they have less things that need cleaning and dusting. A good excuse for doing some decluttering, I'd say! Besides, it's been scientifically proven that clutter is a cause for low-anxiety disorder, so there's also a medical reason for getting rid of some clutter in your home.
So if you have lots of children's toys lying around, piles of papers and books everywhere, an unmade bed, or anything else that is like an eye-sore to you in your home, I suggest that you start with assigning everything its own place and start putting them back where they belong after each time you've used them. A little bit of tidying "on the go" is so much better than having to spend hours clearing everything up once a week or so.
You might also want to consider sweeping your floors with a broom on a regular basis, rather than dragging the hoover out every time they need a bit of cleaning up. This is especially recommendable if you have wooden floors or other smooth surfaces that can easily be swept instead of hoovered or washed every time.
These habits are straightforward and easy to implement, and they'll save you time in the long run to do more fun things in your life. I suggest that you start doing this little by little and work it into your daily routines. It's far less time consuming than you'd think, and you could be on your way to a cleaner and more "chic" home in no time at all.
When you’re stressed out, the foods that you’re turning to are most likely going to be traditional ‘comfort’ foods like big meals, take-away, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. I'm sure we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset. This isn’t a good permanent solution, though.
If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.
To ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems, filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix.
Some of the best stress-fighting foods include:
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Avocado is a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. This nutrient-dense fruit have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to its high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.
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Swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress.
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Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you're feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
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Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can have a chocolate bar every time you're stressed out. Chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, which are two hugely important antioxidants that can help combat stress more than many fruit juices.
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Grass-fed beef is not only kinder to the planet and to animals, it’s also good for people, too. Grass-fed beef has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and Vitamins C and E, which can help your body fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for more reasons to spend a little more money on organic, grass-fed beef, it’s also lower in fat than grain-fed beef whilst being higher in omega-3.
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Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but it also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. As it is a complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed.
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If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option thatwill help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. They have a sweet, pleasant flavor, and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. Walnuts are also great for salads, or you can include them in a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.
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Pistachios is another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. The rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually also be quite therapeutic. :)
Leafy green vegetables
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Leafy, green vegetables should be an important part of any diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized.
Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.
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Last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as yogurt, actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.
Putting together your meal plan
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Planning your meals wisely is key to not only staying physically fit and healthy, but also to staying mentally strong and being able to best manage your levels of stress. Knowing which foods to avoid and which are the best to reach for to snack on when you’re feeling worried and anxious is important to helping you get control over your emotions and fears.
Having stress-busting snacks such as fresh berries, dark chocolate, yogurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens in it, can help you to feel better in both the short and long term when it comes to stress. The most important thing is to make sure that for the most part, you're eating a diet that is healthy and balanced.
To stay on track, it’s a good idea to make a meal plan for your week. Plan ahead to make sure that you have a good selection of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen, so you can make meals and snacks from them when you’re feeling like stress-eating. Making sure that the majority of your meals include foods such as lean proteins and leafy green vegetables will not only make you feel healthier overall, but can improve your mental health and stress levels, too.
A good example of a healthy, stress-busting menu could be:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries.
Mid-morning snack: Natural yogurt with fruit or a handful of pistachio nuts.
Lunch: A whole-grain pasta salad filled with plenty of leafy greens.
Afternoon snack: Dark chocolate.
Dinner: Grass-fed beef with vegetables.
Before bed: Chamomile tea.
This was just an exampel of a menu, to give you a good idea.
Remember to exercise good portion control when eating foods such as nuts, chocolate, yogurt or avocado! As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for your mental health.
I hope this article was of value to you. I'll be writing more about health and nutrion on a regular basis, so if this is something you're interested in, I hope you'll like and follow my blog. Feel free to share it with someone else who might like it, too.
I just love the film "You've got m@il", starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks!
I have lost count of how many times I've watched it over the years, and I continue to watch it on a regular basis, because it just speaks to my heart.
But this isn't going to be a film review. I just want to share a quote from that film here now, and that is what the character Kathleen Kelly says to Joe Fox when he comes to see her after she's had to close down her business, partly because he's opened a huge discount book store in the neighborhood where she had her little book-shop, "The Shop Around The Corner". Joe says to her that "it wasn't personal", upon which she replies that she is sick and tired of everyone saying that, and that she thinks that the only thing that means is that it wasn't personal to him, but it was personal to her and to a lot of people. And then she says (I quote): "And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway? Because whatever else anything is, at least it should begin with being personal."
Clip from YouTube - scenes from "You've Got M@il"
And you know what? I agree with her.
Let me give you 2 reasons why:
Reason # 1:
If you're building a business, people will buy from you if they know and trust you
For quite a few years now, I have wanted to build an online business, and I've spent a lot of time and money trying to learn what I need to do to succeed with that. Some of it has been very sound advice, and some of it hasn't. I've tried various approaches over the years, but quite a few of them have just left me frustrated and disappointed with the lack of result they have brought me.
And why haven't they brought any results?
Because they haven't been in line with who I really am.
They haven't been personal.
First, I tried to build an online business as a personal coach, even though I've never really liked the idea of being one. I do have experience as a teacher and a personal coach/career-coach, and I've been in charge of quite a few classes and courses over the years. But I've never really liked standing in front of a class, teaching. It just sounded like good advice to build on that experience when I wanted to start something online, so that's what I did. And there was a lot of advice on how to be professional and become the "go to" expert in your field.
Oh my, how I struggled with that! I just couldn't find a way to do it that really had me excited and feeling good about what I was doing. Nothing really resonated with who I am as a person. I felt like a fraud, because "professional" in the sense that I thought it meant, didn't seem like me at all.
I tried to create an online course, and after many different approaches, I did manage to create one that I was happy with and that I felt comfortable launching, but it still wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. I never really wanted to create a course in the first place. I wanted to express myself in a different way, because I've always been more of an artist than a teacher, - if you see what I mean...
So I decided I needed to find a better way, and I sat down and took some time to analyze my life and my online business (or rather: What I wanted to be an online business). What was working, and what wasn't?
When thinking about business, I asked myself what it is that I like about other people or companies that I follow online. Why do I follow them and also often buy their products?
The answer was really very easy:
I like who they are.
What they say and do resonate with me and the person I am or want to be.
And they show up as themselves. They seem honest about their successes and failures, and what they offer bring some real value to my life, the way I see it. I feel that I can trust them.
So the final conclusion to all my analyzing was that I needed to get more personal in my business approach, and that's what I've been trying to do ever since. I decided to build my online business around the things that I have experienced in my own life and that I have found to be valuable and important to me. Sharing all those things with you so you can get the life that YOU want, is something that I find very meaningful and important. And I want to express it through writing, through videos on my YouTube channels, through photographs, and maybe even in a podcast further down the line.
And I'm going to get more personal, because that's how I normally act around people. I just need to be myself. I can't pretend I'm someone else.
So to sum up Reason # 1:
If you want to build a business, whether it's online or a "brick-and-mortar" business:
- Build your brand so that it's in line with who you are and what you find
valuable and important.
- Share more of YOU so that the people you want to reach really get
who you are, get what you stand for, get what your values are.
When who you are and what you say and do resonate with other people, - when they can relate to you as a person and feel that you offer something that they find valuable, - that's how they will become your loyal followers and eventually your loyal customers.
Picture by Amina Filkins on Pexels.
Reason # 2: If you want to be happy and build good relationships with other people, you need to show up as your authentic self
If I'm to pick one important lesson that I've learned in life, it's this: You won't really get anywhere or even be happy if you build your life around what society and maybe your family might seem to expect: That you get a "proper education" and find yourself what is called "a decent job", and then keep your distance to other people, act "professionally" and never share anything personal. And depending on what culture and / or religion you grew up in, there will also be a lot of other expectations and rules that you need to live by.
When we're very young, we're completely open to what our surroundings teach us, whether it's our parents or other family members, teachers in school, a priest in our church, or whatever. We're like open vessels, and everything we see, hear and feel in our early years, is being programmed into our brains. We are strongly influenced by the environment we live in.
If you grew up in Japan, you will most likely speak Japanese and act according to the Japanese culture. If you grew up in Russia, you will probably speak Russian and act in accordance with Russian culture. And so on. If the dominant religion in your society or family is Buddhism, you will most likely be a buddhist yourself. If your family's religion is Islam, you'll probably be a muslim. If you grew up in a Christian family, you'll most likely be a Christian.
You get my point. We are all programmed from our birth by the surroundings we grow up in. This makes it very likely that we continue to act in accordance with what our immediate surroundings expect from us for many, many years, even after we have become adults and able to think for ourselves.
Most people just go on living like that, on autopilot, and never stop to think for themselves or question anything about their upbringing or the rules they have learned from their family and society. Many are quite happy with it, because they dont' know about anything else. Others may find themselves more and more frustrated and unhappy as the years go by because they start feeling that the rules they have been taught to live by are not in alignment with who they truly are.
This has been the case for me. For so many years I lived my life according to other people's rules or expectations of me - or what I thought they expected, and it made me feel very frustrated and unhappy. Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to blame anyone. My peers only taught me what they had been taught themselves. But it took me nearly 50 years to get to the point where I managed to break free from that and start living my life in accordance with who I truly am. I had to make some changes in my family life, like getting a divorce, and I have lost contact with some relatives and friends in the wake of it. But at least now I know who I can rely on to love me for who I am and not just because I live by their ideas of what I should or should not do or be.
Showing up as yourself can be tough.
Especially if your honest self, your true self is not what the people close to you want you to be. But dear friend, I'm telling you: You are the only one who can live your life, and if the people close to you can not accept you for who you are, then you're actually better off without them.
I'm no saying that you need to shut some people completely out of your life. That might not even be possible. But if some people make you unhappy and have a negative influence on you or are "telling you off" or trying to make you live a life that is not in alignment with who you are, then at least try to keep your distance to those people and don't necessarily tell them everything you do or think. Just start living your life! And when you meet new people, be yourself from the very first minute. Get personal! Show them who you are. That doesn't mean that you should pour your heart out or tell them your inner thoughts and feelings right away, because that's something you shouldn't do to everybody anyways. That takes a closer relationship built on mutual trust, and will probably take some time. But show up as YOU, and don't try to be someone you're not.
Because people want to know YOU. The reason you connect with someone is probably because you saw something in each other that you instantly liked and felt attracted to. We all have that intuitive feeling when we meet someone. In just a few seconds we have made up our mind whether we like that person or not. That's why you don't want to make a bad first impression. The first impression is so important.
If you feel uncertain and don't know how you should act to make that first impression a good one and in accordance with your inner personality, that is something you can learn. Body language is the first thing we all react to, and a smile can be all it takes. But awareness is key. When you're aware of how you want people to see you, and learn how you can make that come through in your personality, you will feel more relaxed and natural after a little bit of practice. So start thinking about who you are and how you can start showing that.
Because starting to show up as the real you after having tried to act in a certain way for many, many years, - well, it takes a little practice. But you can do it! And when you show up as your true self, you can be sure that the people who connect with you and show you that they want to have you in their life, are the ones who like you for who you truly are. That's the kind of relationships that will make you happy and bring you success on all levels in your life.
And remember: It's just as important to allow other people to be their true selfs, too. Don't try to change them, but show them that you like them just the way they are (if you do!). If someone's personality is completely off in your book, you don't need to keep them in your life.
So to sum up Reason # 2:
If you want to build good and healthy relationships with people in your life, whether in business or on a personal level, you must get personal. Be yourself. Show what your values are. Be true to yourself and don't let others manipulate you into doing or being something you're not.
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I hope you liked this article. If so, I hope you'll follow my blog and maybe share the article with someone else who might like it, too.