How to Switch OFF During the Holidays

I’m going on a family holiday soon and I cannot wait to board that plane. It’s been very busy in work in recent works with a fair amount of stress experienced. So when it comes to holidays, the trouble I’ve had in the past has been this: I have probably spent the first few days of a holiday still in “work mode”. I have found myself ruminating on work issues, thinking up new work to-do items and worrying about how things are going without me. The middle of a holiday seems fine and then as we get closer to the end, I start ruminating about work again as the dreads of going back start to emerge.

Does this sound familiar? Is this you? It doesn’t sound like much of a break, does it?

Well with this one step, you will be much better able to engage with your well-earned break and come back refreshed.

Continue reading “How to Switch OFF During the Holidays”

Purpose-Filled Career?

This article was so good that I thought I would just republish it verbatim here.  I subscribe to a blog called ZenHabits by a guy called Leo Babuta. I find it excellent and his content and articles seem to strongly resonate with me.

As context to this article, I have and often still do struggle with my sense of purpose and fulfillment when it comes to what I do for a living. I have chased many shadows in terms of changing job in search of more fulfillment and am still learning what it really means to live a purpose-filled career. This is why I like this article so much and I want you to read it too.

How to Choose Your Purpose-Filled Career

By Leo Babuta. Original post here.

The other day, I was thinking about what advice I’d give to my teen-age son and nephew as they think about what work they want to do in the world, as they grow up … and at first, I thought of the usual ways people think about it …

When people think about choosing work that’s filled with purpose, they often do it in one of several ways:

  1. Think about what they like to do. If they like writing or playing video games or doing crafts, the might consider these things. This is not a bad way to go, of course, but you can’t always make money doing things you like (like video games, smoking pot or drinking beer). And sometimes thing you like are better as a hobby or side passion.
  2. Think about what pays enough, that they can do, and that doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe a doctor, engineer, lawyer? Or maybe that’s out of your educational reach so you choose teacher, office work, retail worker or landscape work. These (and many other possibilities) are all great choices, but often it’s not something you’re really passionate about. It’s kind of like just doing something because it’s there — not very inspired.
  3. You’re already doing it. If you somehow got a job to make money but didn’t do it that consciously, because you had no idea what you want to do … you might still be doing that years later. It’s your default, so you keep doing it. That’s not super inspired either, because often you’re just clocking in.

So these common ways are not horrible ways to choose a career … but there’s another way that is (perhaps) better:

Try to do something to help others or make the world better, that you might enjoy.

Before you move on, consider the possibilities of serving others or making the world a better place:

  • Volunteering to help the elderly, the homeless, underprivileged children, disaster relief, building homes for the homeless, taking care of animals, etc.
  • Becoming a doctor or nurse or massage therapist or physical therapist or fitness trainer because you really want to help heal people or make them healthy.
  • Taking care of children, teaching or studying child counseling, because you really want to help children get a great start in life, or blossom into who they want to be.
  • Becoming an entrepreneur, or learning to program and then starting an app company that will change the world in a better way.
  • Getting into government or social work to improve the conditions of the community you live in.
  • Writing or coaching or teaching people online to help them solve their problems, improve their lives.
  • Making fun spaces, restaurants, activities, hikes, so that people can find joy in their lives.
  • Becoming a yoga or meditation teacher so people can find peace in their lives.
  • Becoming a scientist to help alleviate the environmental crisis or find a cure for a terrible disease.

And so on. Each of these is just one of many possibilities of making someone’s life better, of serving a community, of making the world better. Each of them is filled with purpose, and if you choose one of them for that purpose, you will serve in that work feeling a sense of purpose each day.

There are endless ways to do that, of course — you could be a manager that serves a team, a customer service representative that puts smiles on people’s faces, a web designer that helps businesses shine online, and so forth. The point isn’t how you serve the world, but just serving the world in some way will help you feel filled with purpose.

If you choose a purposeful job that also seems like fun, that seems enjoyable, you’re way further along than most people.

It doesn’t have to be a typical job, either. You can volunteer or create something that doesn’t exist in your area (a place for peace and relaxation, a place for adults to play, a place for animal lovers to connect to each other), you could just connect other people of similar interests and make their lives better through connection and community. These don’t seem like typical jobs, but I bet you that if you served people in these (and other) ways, you’ll eventually find a career doing that, a career that feels purposeful and beautiful. It can take awhile to actually make a living doing it, but it will very likely happen. And even if it doesn’t, you still served people in a wonderful way and were happy doing it.

How to Start Juicing

There is no doubt in my mind that juicing veggies and fruits is a good thing for your health. It is a simple and quick way to add the good vitamins and minerals from veggies into your diet, without having to eat a truckload of kale.

Some people slate the amount of sugar in juice as detrimental and use that as an excuse to ignore juicing. I can see their point but I don’t 100% agree. I always try and make a juice of 80% veggies and then just use some fruit likes apples to sweeten it up a bit. I reckon this is a good formula – mostly veggies, a bit of fruit to sweeten.

So to get started with juicing you are going to need 3 things.

  1. Some good juice recipes.
  2. The produce to make the recipes.
  3. A juicing machine to make it.

Step 1

The internet is awash with juicing recipes so I will just include my favorite juice of all time here, it is a banker. My kids even drink this and they are the ultimate food critics. This one is inspired by the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix, check out the trailer here.

Recipe: Mean Green

  • 1 head of celery
  • 1 large cucumber
  • A good handful of spinach or kale
  • 2 apples
  • Juice of 1 lemon or lime

28754604_607519246252427_3358642349340098560_n(1)

Step 2

Go buy this stuff from your local shop. If possible and feasible for you, opt for organic varieties. The fewer chemicals and pesticides you ingest the better right? If not organic, then wash it all thoroughly.

Step 3

This is the most exciting part – go shopping!

There are two main types of juicers out there. Centrifugal and Cold Pressed Masticating Juicers. Here’s the lowdown on both….

Type 1: Centrifugal Juicers

These are widely available and generally, the cheapest juicers to buy. They are high-speed juicers that extract the juice from the pulp by pulverizing the produce against a fast spinning round cutting blade. They have a wide neck that is usually the width of an apple so less chopping is required.

On the positives, they are fast, cheap and easy to use. On the negatives, they actually produce less juice than masticating juicers and the juice quality is reduced due to the heat from the spinning blades that destroy some beneficial enzymes.centrifugal

I have used the Philips juicer below a lot when I was starting out. I still use some days when I am short on time as it’s a lot faster than the cold pressed. Just head to your local electronics store and ask them for a centrifugal juicer. Expect to pay around €100.

philips

Type 2: Cold Pressed Masticating Juicers

These juicers operate via a masticating (chewing) or cold press method to produce a superior juice to their centrifugal counterparts. In contrast to the rough extraction and high speeds of centrifugal juicers, cold press juicers operate at lower speeds and gently compress fruit and vegetables to ‘squeeze’ out their juice. While more costly, their slower and more thorough extraction rates produce a higher-quality juice and more of it.

coldpressed

On the positives, they produce more juice and a higher quality of juice. As a result, they last for longer, keeping for up to 72 hours in a fridge. This one positive alone can really help you make juice a part of your daily routine as you can make a batch ahead of time that will last 3 days.

On the negative side, they are more expensive and require much more chopping and preparation. These juicers are not as convenient as the centrifugal ones but are of a higher quality.

For this reason alone, in terms of starting out, I suggest getting yourself a centrifugal juicer to begin this with. The benefits of it being cheap, fast and convenient outweigh the negatives of a lower juice yield and quality, but just for now. The important thing you are trying to do is get into juicing, start to like it, engage with it and feel better for it.

So to begin with, get a centrifugal juicer. Establish the habit of juicing in your life. If you did this for a few weeks consistently, you will feel the benefits of weight loss, less vitamin and nutrient deficiency and more energy. Over time, as your interest in juicing builds, I would then recommend upgrading and making the investment in a cold pressed juicer.

If opting for a cold pressed masticating juicer go for Hurom, you will love it. Expect to pay a few hundred euros for this one.

hurom2

Step 4

The most important step. Drink it!

How Do You Deal With Depression & Anxiety?

I can feel it coming. It feels like a wave of numbness that starts in my gut and spreads from there. It is a strange feeling of detachment and separation from the world around me, an acute sense of wanting to isolate. It eliminates any interest I have in anything around me. It makes me just want to disappear and withdraw. I don’t care what happens to me and I feel completely lost. This is what depression felt like for me.

Since I first recognized and sought help for this massively under-rated illness (I did not know it was depression at the time), I’ve been to support groups, I’ve been to counseling and have been down the medication road.  I am in a much better place now than I was when I was ready to let it all go. I was ready to walk away from everything and go to god knows where. I was experiencing a super heightened level of compounded anxiety, chronic stress, a crisis of self-esteem and burn out to the point where I was broken, physically and mentally. Taking the first steps to determine what was happening to me were so hard but so crucial.

Today, thankfully I feel like the worst of this illness is behind me and that I have better tools and techniques to help me deal with things. Whenever I can feel myself getting out of whack, I try to take some small steps and do some things that I have learnt are helpful for combatting depression and anxiety and that would promote an increase in serotonin levels – I meditate, I run and I rest but possibly the most helpful thing I’ve found of all is to talk to people. Ironically, this often feels like the hardest thing to do at the time.

I didn’t talk about how I was feeling exactly but I just talked about work issues with work people, home issues with my family and friends – I just talked and engaged with people and through this one step, I felt less isolated and my issues seemed less overwhelming afterward.

The hardest thing to do is often the right thing to do. Talk to people. Engage with the world, especially when this is the last thing you want to do.

Running and general exercise also really helps. Post run I literally feel like a different person, much stronger and more capable of taking action and less willing to dwell on the negative.

During this journey, I have learned a lot about this illness and just how delicate our minds can be if they are not cared for and minded properly. I have seen first hand the devastating effects that chronic prolonged unmanaged stress can have if left unchecked.

One of the best things that I have learned is that depression is not forever. It is possible to build mind muscle, to learn techniques to help you deal with your stress and become more aware of it. Accept the fact that you will never eliminate stress but you can ensure that your daily habits make you stronger and more resilient to help you deal with it better when you do experience it.

A message to any men reading this – don’t let work or life stresses go unchecked – recognize the tension in your body and find ways to release it – run, meditate, go outside in nature, talk to people (about anything) or write about it. It all helps.

A message to any women out there – Mind your men.

Yours in health and happiness,

JP

My Experience of: Nutritionists

Recently I had cause to engage the services of a Nutritional Therapist or a Nutritionist for short. I wrote about this experience briefly in Going Gluten Free but I wanted to reflect on the whole experience here.

First things first, let me set the stage. For a number of years now I have been suffering from abdominal pain and poorly formed and frequent stools. When I first went to my local doctor, his answer was to take Nexium when the pain hits. Boom, you’re fixed! This was the extent of the wisdom dispensed to me from the doctor, when I said I don’t really want to be taking Nexium for the rest of my life and taking a pill does not really address the root cause, his answer was an incompetent “a lot of people take pills for their whole life”. I don’t buy this nor do I want this to be me. A lot of people get cancer and heart disease too, and I don’t want to be one of them either.

Continue reading “My Experience of: Nutritionists”

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