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Losing my virginity 

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Why sharing sex stories is important 

I was 18 when I lost my virginity to the man I’m about to marry.

Yep, you read that correctly. I’ve only had sex with one person my entire life.

(Dad you can stop reading now.)

I’m not in any way ashamed of this, or shy about it. In fact, when it comes to sex, I am pretty open – which I know can be a bit uncomfortable for people, especially women, as we have been raised in a society that frowns upon women who speak openly about sex, and heaven forbid, women who enjoy it (or WANT to enjoy it!)

I know when people hear about my experience (or lack thereof…but not even, we will go there) – they find it weird. Some people feel sorry for me. Some people are genuinely shocked.

Don’t get me wrong. That was never the plan. Heck, in high school I never wanted to get married! My friends from school are still in shock that I’m the one who is planning to settle down, as I was always so vocally anti-marriage when I was younger. “I’m going to be a spinster,” I would tell them. (Now they laugh at me! How times have changed.)

The reason I am sharing this with you is to illustrate how our sex stories all differ. But really, at the end of the day, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to your sex life. You could have had hundreds of partners, or a handful, or none, and no matter where you are at – so long as you are comfortable with it – that is okay.

What matters isn’t the number of people you have had sex with, or how kinky things get in the bedroom – what really matters is your relationship WITH sex.

Yep, I’m going there.

Sex is key to overall wellbeing. Like a healthy diet, exercise regime, meditation practice and mental health focus, a healthy relationship with sex is paramount if you want to cultivate true wellbeing – mind, body and soul.

I attended an event this morning hosted by Moments Condoms talking all things female sexual empowerment. Some of their statistics floored me – like how in a recent survey of women, only 35% were comfortable enough to purchase condoms (things like embarrassment for being judged when purchasing them were excuses as to why women don’t buy them. Why are we embarrassed about sex?) Or how more than 60% of women are having unprotected sex (often due to a fear of being judged in the bedroom – it’s easier not to ask, or to hope the other person has one).

I turned to my friend Melissa who I was sitting with and we were both in shock. How is this the norm? Surely being too embarrassed to ask to use protection is a clear indicator that perhaps the person you are having sex with maybe shouldn’t be the person you are having sex with? Surely you want to feel comfortable with the person you are sleeping with?

The discussion that unfolded on the panel was one about self worth. It was fascinating and seriously opened my eyes. Being my one sexual partnered self, I had no idea how severe an issue sexual wellbeing is amongst us women. Feelings of low self confidence, not having sex for YOU, not even knowing what turns us on – is a REAL issue.

When I talk to my girlfriends about orgasms, and sex positions, and heaven forbid our vaginas, I am met more often with a laugh and a ‘typical Hollie’ than I am with comfortable discussion. Why? What is making us so uncomfortable with sex?

When I sit opposite my clients who are experiencing blocks around sex, it is often a deeper issue unfolding. Of course traumatic sexual experiences are one of those things, and something that involves a deeper level of counselling or therapy. But these are not the instances I am referring to.

I know plenty of very happy couples with very non-existent sex lives, which may be totally fine by them – but a lot of the time, they want things to be different. Sex is often the glue that holds a relationship together after all.

On the flip side, I also know a lot of happily single women who are totally comfortable with sleeping with a number of people. And I take my bloody hat off to them! I am sick to death of the stereotype of a woman who enjoys sex being labelled as a slut, skank, or whore. Yet men are so damn comfortable with their dicks, and shouting from the rooftops about their latest one night stand.

Good on them, I say. Time to match them, ladies. Recognise that discomfort. What is the underlying story you are telling yourself about your sexual self? Is it taboo? Shame? Embarrassment? What were you taught (or worse – not taught) about sex growing up? Where is your view of sex holding you back? And how can you work through it?

Remember, like anything in your health, you don’t have to experience this by yourself. I am grateful to be very in touch with my sexual side, and to have a partner who is willing to explore things with me (lucky boy). If you aren’t there yet, but want to get there, there is a MYRIAD of help available.

My first point of call is to check out The Jade Egg Academy  run by my good friend Tara O – who helps women tap back into that sexy side of themselves they lost. To embrace your feminine power, unleash epic orgasms and reclaim an incredible sex life.

Alongside this, when I see clients who have sexual blockages, often their Sacral Chakra needs work. This is the energetic point located at your pelvis, and vibrates to the colour orange. The sacral chakra is your CREATIVE point – so you will often find those with sexual blocks also lack a creative outlet in their life (think art, or dance, or something else creative).

I could write far more on this, and plan to, because I believe encouraging a healthy and open dialogue about female sexual empowerment is paramount today. Remember it doesn’t matter how many partners you have had sexually – what matters is your relationship with sex. Are you sleeping with someone for the enjoyment, and because it makes you feel good? If yes, GO GIRL! If the answer is anything less than that, there may be work to be done. But that is okay, because I am here, and so are hundreds of open, kind and supportive women who want you to experience sex the way we do.

(And yes, 10 years of sex with the same guy and I still orgasm every time. So can you!)

What is your sex story? Are you totally comfortable with your sexual self, or do you think there is work to be done? 

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The day to day supplements I can’t live without

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I first started taking supplements for my health at the peak of my adrenal fatigue in 2015. I couldn’t understand how I could be eating SO healthily, exercising SO regularly and still feeling sick, tired, fatigued and not at all the way my body SHOULD have been feeling, given the care I thought I was giving it.

It turns out, a cumulative effect of anxiety, stress and fatigue over time, meant my body was not absorbing the nutrients it needed to, my gut health was eradicated (leaky gut AND parasites all at once – not a fun time) and it turned out, my body needed a little extra TLC other than solely relying on the food I was eating.

Enter my incredible naturopath who created a holistic lifestyle plan for me, covering everything from nutrition and exercise, to sleep and meditation and, just as importantly, supplementation.

After a barrage of tests came back alerting to depleted adrenals, low iron and zinc levels, high cortisol, deficiency in magnesium, a sluggish liver and a super inflamed body and gut, I was put on a strict healing protocol with so many supplements that I can’t even RECALL all of them today, only two years later.

But what I do recall is that they helped – a lot. So much so, that there are a few of them I continue to take to this day, given their positive effect on my body and in my life.

I have been receiving a lot of questions from you guys lately about what supplements I personally use to support my health, and today I want to share with you the key good guys that are a non-negotiable part of my daily life.

Legalon by Flordis

I was naive when I assumed because I wasn’t a big drinker, and I ate #glutenfree, that my liver would be functioning normally. In fact, it has been one of the key organs in my body that I have struggled with most over the years. The sole responsibility of the liver is to detox the body – from things like alcohol, sugar, and other nasties we potentially absorb through toxins in our home environment and day to day life (think chemical cleaning products, carcinogenic beauty products, even the contraceptive Pill!)

At the peak of my adrenal fatigue, my liver was working on overtime and was in desperate need of extra TLC. Enter, Legalon. My naturopath explained to me the benefits of Milk Thistle in supporting the liver, including its antioxidant effect (allowing cells to regenerate and breathe), and anti-inflammatory response in the body. Considering my body was super inflamed, it made sense to give it a go.

Now, Legalon is a supplement I use on the daily. After a few months break this year, I have noticed SUCH positive changes in my energy levels, skin, hair and even the whites of my eyes, after just taking it again for a month now. Having Legalon as a daily supplement offers peace of mind in knowing that my liver has that extra support to do its thing – especially as I have only come off the Pill a year ago, which puts EXTRA detoxing strain on the little guy.

Check out Legalon by Flordis here or chat to your naturopath about the best way to use it in your life.

Probiotics 

Another daily must-have, probiotics have been key to restoring the good bacteria in my gut after years and years of damaging effects from leaky gut, parasites and extreme antibiotic usage. Not only is a daily probiotic so important to ensuring a healthy gut microbiome, but given the relationship between the gut and the brain, a probiotic is also incredibly important to maximise mental health and eliminate feelings of anxiety.

Rather than taking yourself off to the nearest health food store and picking a random probiotic from the fridge, it is so important to sit with a naturopath and find a probiotic that is best for YOU and your current experiences. I have changed probiotic strains and types over the years, and am currently taking Ultra Flora Immune Control, as my most recent test results showed signs of a weakened immune system.

Take your probiotic before bed at night to let the little good guys do their work as you sleep.

Neurocalm

A must for my anxious readers – Neurocalm was a game-changer for me. This supplement is incredible as it allows your nervous system to relax and takes immediate effect. If you feel an anxiety attack or anxious feelings arise, pop a Neurocalm (so badass) and in 20 minutes the feelings will have subsided.

As they are a totally natural alternative to medication, they have been a saviour for me in my most anxious moments. Now, I only take Neurocalm when I feel heightened levels of anxiety. However, there was a stage I took it every day morning and night, to really stabilise my nervous system while I worked on other health challenges.

This is a supplement that needs to be prescribed by your health care practitioner, so take yourself off to your naturopath to have a discussion on how Neurocalm could potentially aid in your anxiety treatment.

Liquid Herbs

Not really a ‘supplement’ but just as important to me is using liquid herbs to support my health in a multitude of ways. Our health can really be treated by nature in so many cases if we allow it to be – and liquid herbs are an incredibly potent and effective way of treating health concerns, as liquid is absorbed more readily than capsules in the body.

Here’s the catch – they don’t taste good at all. Like, some herbal tonics taste like dirt. But, stick to it because in my experience they will really help you over time. Remember, with supplements and herbal medicine we are treating the underlying CAUSE, not just masking a symptom – so it may take a little longer to notice the effects, but practice patience here because your body will absolutely thank you for it.

I have taken liquid herbs for everything – from adrenal support, to anxiety management, to gut healing, and most recently hormonal support and acne.

Again, these are something that must be administered by your naturopath – if you don’t have one yet, why not see mine! 

While these are four of my favourite supplements, truth be told there are some stages in my life where I will take double the amount (with things like magnesium, zinc and even additional gut support), and also times I won’t take anything at all.

Find what works best for YOU and your body, and always take supplementation under the support of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Your body, mind AND soul will thank you for it.

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I’m not lucky, I work bloody hard! (The truth behind creating your reality…) 

 

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This time last week I received a phone call from the Daily Telegraph telling me a photographer was on their way to my house to shoot me for an article they were running on sleep the following day.

Then this morning, I was interviewed by a National news network on the radio discussing the same article.

I have also just sent off final negotiations to host an INCREDIBLE wellness event as their MC for two days in October.

Opportunity after opportunity after opportunity has been knocking at my door, and it is crazy to think that 8 days ago, NONE of these things were on my radar – not even thoughts in the back of my mind.

Now, I’m not sharing this to brag. I’m also not sharing this in the hopes of anyone else feeling inadequate.

But I think it is incredibly important to shed light on this amazing domino effect in my life recently that, yes, I have created. And worked bloody hard at.

Too often, as an outsider, we can view other people’s successes as ‘luck’. You all know the ‘overnight success stories’ that take, on average, 7years of behind the scenes work to achieve.

There is NOTHING lucky about what has happened for me over the last 7 days. All of it has been created BY me, and I want to share this with you all because you can do it too. You truly can. There is nothing that makes me any more worthy of success – be it in my career, my business life, my financial status, my relationships – ANYTHING. But you have to see that, recognise it and own it.

OWN YOUR WORTH. IT IS ONLY THEN THAT YOU WILL TRULY SUCCEED.

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t have this all figured out. FAR from it. In fact, these shifts have only recently taken place after MONTHS and months of investing in my own personal development. You guys don’t really see what takes place behind the scenes when it comes to how hard I work on myself and my business. For me, it never ever stops. But it is VITAL if you truly want to reap life’s rewards. You cannot sit back and wait for luck to land in your lap. It doesn’t happen that way. There is no quick fix or button to push. Which is why it is easier to just give up and become a spectator in your own life, living for holidays or weekends or the ‘gaps’ between actually living. But you are different. You know there is another way. I know you know this, because you have read this far.

So, how did I make these shifts, and how can you follow suit?

Journalling

A daily non-negotiable of mine, and the second part of my morning ritual after meditating. My journalling practice is a non-negotiable. What started as a way for me to clear my head at the beginning of the day has transformed into connecting with my inner most desires and the workings of my soul. Writing things down really clarifies what is fear based and fuelled by ego, and then what is more love and soul. When you can determine what motivator is running the show (love or fear) – then you can make some incredibly powerful changes.

My journalling has told me when to slow down, when to pull my finger out and do the work, and when to stop with the excuses. The lessons aren’t always flowy and loving – there are some harsh truths in there. But as Elizabeth Gilbert says, she has never seen a powerful transformation in a person that hasn’t started with the person in question getting sick of their own bullshit.

That is what journalling does for me. Calls out my fear and slaps me right across the face with what to do next. It is so much more than just a pretty book with nice words.

Channelling

I have some incredibly connected and inspiring friends, and I will spend time on Voxer channeling my feelings with them. Voxer is a wonderful app, as it allows you to communicate with someone without the interruption of talking over one another. I use this as a tool with two of my best friends almost every day – sometimes we can speak for up to 15 minute recordings at a time, because when you allow your mind to flow and the words to spill out, you can really get on a roll and answer questions you didn’t realise you always had within you.

I love to channel while walking in nature. I will stick my headphones in and just talk about how I am feeling. What came up in my journalling that morning? Where am I feeling stuck? What old stories do I want to change about myself? There have been times where we will end up in tears, but just as often in awe of what answers we always had inside us. It is the magic of allowing the space for the knowledge to come. Just being and trusting that you truly KNOW what it is you need to do in any given moment. Because you do. I see it with my clients all the time.

Alongside channeling Voxers, we also share our gratitudes for the day, and also where we need to hold each other to account. Just talking things out with someone on the same page as you can see incredible transformational shifts (hell, it’s why coaching works so well!)

We always have the answers in us – it is creating the space for these magic realisations that matters.

Energy Work 

I regularly see my Body Talk practitioner (and friend Ava) to recalibrate my energy, emotions and physical symptoms, to shift outdated modes of thinking and realign, ground and centre my energy. Body Talk is very similar to kinesiology and has helped me immensely from physical ailments like acne and gut health, to deep-seated emotional challenges and blocks.

I usually see Ava every three weeks or so, however in August my soul was craving more, and I was seeing her weekly for about 5 weeks. Yes, this costs me money, and yes, it can be incredibly challenging to sit and stare at the truth behind some of my blockages, but I care far more about my own personal growth and development than I do anything else. If you can’t invest money in your own health and wellbeing, what the hell is the point of anything, really? Because, #truthbomb, without your health, you have nothing. Simple as that.

The shifts that have been made in my recent sessions have lead me to the point I am at now, where opportunities are knocking at my door, strangers are recognising me in shopping centres (legit a thing now, and so incredibly cool) and people and brands are practically throwing money to work with me. (SO GRATEFUL!)

It hasn’t always been this way and I have had to work SERIOUSLY hard on releasing so many blockages and beliefs around abundance, money, wealth, self worth, shining my full light, being ‘enough’, self sabotage, not wanting to show up. SO MUCH FEAR. It rears its head for me every damn day. But in shifting the energy with a healer, you are able to move through the discomfort, take on the lessons and grow from there.

It is NO coincidence that the themes of my most recent sessions have been to step out and be seen, allow myself to be successful and to stop hiding in the shadows of others.

Follow Your Bliss

This one is simple. Do the stuff that makes you happy and brings you joy. Laugh as often as you can. Follow the high-vibrational energy feels and guess what? That is what you will experience in your life. Pursue opportunities and watch them pursue you. Get out of your comfort zone, and watch people applaud you. Follow your heart rather than your head and watch life unfold perfectly, like a scripted movie. Even BETTER than a movie, because you are actually living it.

This absolutely works in reverse too. If you are working long hours in a job you hate, I bet you aren’t feeling too crash hot, are you? Your health may be suffering, and maybe your relationship? This domino effect can work either way – like attracts like, remember – and everything we think, say and do is energy. This is science. And it is so bloody simple, yet I see time and time again people falling trap into their own low vibrational mindset, wondering why stuff isn’t working out for them.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

Stop doing stuff that makes you feel like crap. Just stop. Follow your heart – even when it scares you, especially when the resistance is there. Watch the magic unfold for you when you do.

Creating Space

If you are the type of person who jumps from outing to outing, event to work to brunch to night out to second job to other thing – without a space in between for yourself – then sorry to break it to you, but you are really acting as your own worst enemy. You are repelling opportunity by filling your life with ‘stuff’.

In running from free time, rest, relaxation and ‘me time’ – you are also running from the natural flow and surrender that is needed for life to happen FOR you.

By creating conscious space in your daily life (this isn’t only about a free Sunday every few weeks, but about rest and space every single day) – then you are allowing yourself to receive. Because you have given yourself the energetic space to receive! It is as simple as that.

I didn’t have to force or strive or push for ANY of the three major opportunities that landed in my lap this week. THEY CAME TO ME. And I truly believe it was a result of the collective things I did above.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you believe in luck? Or are you creating your own reality?  Share with me in the comments.

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How I learned to love my body – three of my top tips 

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When you look in the mirror, what words run through your head?

Do you smile to yourself? Call yourself beautiful? Or quickly glance away in disgust?

If the latter is more your jam, you are not alone. I have spoken with hundreds of women who do the same. When it comes to facing themselves in the mirror, it is unbearable. The thought of speaking kindly about themselves and their body isn’t even on the radar.

I get it. I’ve been there.

But I have also come out of the other end – a much happier, healthier, calmer and kinder person for it, too.

And I KNOW you want to get there. You wouldn’t have read this far otherwise. But it all seems too hard doesn’t it? When we have grown up in a society conditioning us to de-value our worth, or better yet, market that we are ‘worth it’ – the ‘it’ being makeup, or clothing, or those stupid waist trainers and leggings that “make you appear 3 sizes smaller!”

Get fucked.

The real question here is WHY. As in, why do we WANT to look three sizes smaller? Why do we WANT to train our waist to contort into a shape that isn’t natural for our given body? Why do we WANT to lose those 10 kilos?

What are we trying to prove here?

Now don’t get me wrong, I am ALL for exercise and eating well and living a healthy life because of how it FEELS. Health feels great. Living an energised, vibrant and healthy life is the ultimate goal right? We want to wake up feeling good, going about our day without illness, or panic or any level of mental or physical illness.

The real issue I am seeing though, is the ‘health’ industry pushing not so healthy ways of living. Weighing your food before you eat it is not healthy for your mind. Training every day without rest is not healthy for your body. Weighing yourself once, twice, or more a day (or week) is not healthy for your soul.

And yet we think that if we change the shape of our body, if we lose those last 5 kilos, if we LOOK a different way, then we will FEEL a different way.

Here’s a truth bomb for you my loves – the way we LOOK and the way we FEEL are not one and the same. They are TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THINGS.

Take it from the girl who has had the abs, the thigh gap, lost the weight, had ALL the compliments in the world about how amazing my body was looking, and was left feeling depleted, fatigued, anxious and a total wreck.

Now I have to reiterate – for some people, strict regimented dieting, and training, does not have the same effect on them as it did on me. But this blog IS about me, and it would be wrong of me to not share it.

This week is Love Your Body Week in Australia. In light of this, I wanted to share with you my three top tips to starting to love what you see when you look in the mirror starting NOW – and not when things physically change. (Hot tip: when you start practicing self love, you will find you body relaxes and changes ANYWAY. But you aren’t left with the mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. It’s a freaking win-win!)

Say goodbye to your scales

I don’t weigh myself because I know what that number does to my mind. For some of you, maybe weighing yourself is fine and you aren’t ever attached to the number that shows up, in which case, amazing. But I know for me, I used to place a whole lot of importance on that number. I could have had the #cleanest, #fittest week of my life, but if that little number came back even a FRACTION bigger than the last time I saw it (most likely the day before) then it would send me into overdrive – I wasn’t doing enough, all my hard work was for nothing, I must have looked bigger, blah blah blah.

When I realised the scales were not helping me in any way, I decided I would never weigh myself again. And other than a few doctors visits (where I have told them not to tell me the number) I haven’t. Because I KNOW even after all the work I have done, hearing that number will never do my self worth any favours. I know my mind. And you know yours. Do what is best for it.

(You will KNOW if you are at a healthy weight range by how your clothes fit, how your body FEELS and how often you are exercising/eating well. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to know the pull of your body’s gravitational force to be able to tell if you are healthy or not.)

Start catching your inner dialogue when you look at yourself in the mirror

Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, catch out where your mind goes. What are the stories you are telling yourself about your physical appearance?

Here’s one for you – I used to HATE my legs. I thought they should have been longer, and didn’t like how muscly they were. I would look in the mirror and pinch at my thighs wishing they were smaller. Now, I know that this belief had NOTHING to do with how my legs looked (totally love them now by the way). The story I was telling myself – that my legs were too big – was actually a DEEPER issue about my self worth.

I believed I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t as skinny as some of my friends, so that meant I wasn’t attractive enough. I thought my difference made me unloveable, unlikeable – that boys wouldn’t find me attractive, that in some way the circumference of my legs was a direct correlation to my ability to succeed in life.

Notice what you say when you look in the mirror and then unpick the dialogue. Chances are it is about so much more than your physical appearance. What are your underlying stories, and are they actually true?

Acknowledge the FEELING you are seeking – and then go out and find it NOW!

Close your eyes and imagine you are physically looking however you want to right now. Perhaps you weigh your ‘goal weight’ or just look the way you have always wanted to… Now really imagine how that FEELS. What would you do differently in your life if you looked that way?

Maybe you feel more confident? Sexy? Worthy?

Whatever feelings you are seeking, realise you can feel ANY of these things RIGHT NOW. You don’t have to wait for the perfect body, or to change your looks to feel these things. These feelings come down to practices of self love and personal development – which have nothing to do with our physicality, other than nurturing and honouring and loving the bodies we are given.

When I was training my hardest, weighed my goal weight, had the abs and thigh gap, I was seeking freedom and passion and inspiration. I was sick of working a job that no longer lit me up, but rather than change that, I thought changing my body would make all the difference. It only made things worse. I was sicker and unhappier than ever before.

Really acknowledge WHY you think changing your body will change your life. Chances are there is an underlying issue you are struggling to cope with, and you are using your body as an excuse. Own up to it, and get to work angel.

I would love to hear what practices have helped you fall in love with your body? Please share them with me in the comments below, and let’s start a body-love thread of inspiration! 

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Hello anxiety, old friend – we meet again.

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Today as I was driving, I felt a familiar constriction in my chest.

Then I sighed.

Followed by a yawn, and a second sigh.

Oh dear – I thought to myself – I’m in fight or flight mode.

Now, recognising this in itself is an amazing feat. As someone who has struggled with anxiety since I was six, it has taken me upward of 20 years to learn how to read these warning signs in my body alerting me to an impending ‘danger’ created by my mind, and my mind alone.

That doesn’t make an anxious onset any simpler to manage though. Once it arrives, the only thing you can really do is ride it. Lucky I have a tool kit of ways to manage an anxious spiral – and part of that is acknowledging it for what it is.

Yep, I still get anxious from time to time. But moments that used to leave me in a panicked state, hyperventilating and gasping for air, rushed to emergency in the most extreme moments (three times to be exact) because I was convinced my throat was closing up, or I was dying, are now few and far between.

My last panic attack was February 2016. 18 months ago.

For those of you who have experienced anxiety (or universe forbid, a panic disorder) you know how exciting a feeling it is when the gaps between your last episode get longer and longer.

Now don’t get me wrong, this has been years and years in the works. My rock bottom in 2015 saw me having panic attacks weekly, if not daily. This whole way of living without panic is relatively new for me in the scheme of things, and something I continue to work on.

So today, when that familiar feeling rose in my chest, sinking my stomach, blurring my vision and making me want to run scared – here is what I did instead…

Sat with it

I really noticed it rising as I was driving – I guess because your mind can really settle here. I noticed the chest breathing, the sick tummy feeling, my mind with a million tabs open, and almost laughed to myself “hello anxiety”. One of the easiest ways to diffuse feelings of anxiety is to NOT resist it. Because a lot of the time feeling anxious can make us feel MORE anxious – why is this happening, what if I stop breathing, what if this becomes a panic attack, should I pull over, but I have been doing so well, why now?

You guys know what I mean. Instead, I acknowledged it for what it was. My body perceived I was in danger because of the way I had been behaving over the last week or maybe even month. Fight or flight response is our bodies way of PROTECTING us. So I thanked my body for doing this, but also reminded it – aloud – that all was okay.

I repeated the following affirmation until I really FELT it: I am safe. I am relaxed. I let life flow effortlessly. 

Focused on my breathing

Then, I directed my attention straight to my breathing. The only way to get our bodies instantly out of fight or flight mode, is to elongate our exhale breath. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THIS STEP.

Here’s why it works:

Back when we were cavemen, fight or flight mode would switch on when we needed to get ourselves out of danger and to safety – you have all heard the sabre-tooth tiger analogy yeah?

A few physical changes need to take place to get our bodies to safety – and quickly!

One of the first things that happens, is our breathing shallows to our chest.

Why?

Because when we are running from danger, we don’t have the time to take deep inhale belly breaths do we?

This is why, when we feel anxious or nervous, you might find yourself yawning or sighing or finding it hard to catch your breath. It is because our bodies think they are doing the right thing by us.

The thing is, today we are engaging fight or flight like never before – and this can have detrimental effects including sore chests, feeling like you are going to pass out, hyperventilation and even false sense of heart attacks.

Makes sense right? Because we aren’t often in a life or death situation when anxiety sets on.

Which is why, the easiest way to remind our body it is safe, is to breathe deeply into your belly, and exhale for as long as you possibly can. Do this until the shallow breathing subsides – you have told your body it is safe. You can’t run from danger and belly breathe at the same time. (Another reason to make meditation and/or yoga a daily practice!)

Acknowledged WHY I was feeling this way

I started to curiously question where my anxious onset stemmed from. But this is important – it wasn’t in a worried or judgemental way. More like a curiosity – hmmm, I wonder why my body thinks it is in danger?

This was easy for me to pinpoint – with Lola going into surgery on Tuesday, I knew my adrenaline levels were peaking, and truth be told probably hadn’t done enough to level them out again once her surgery was over. So my adrenals were fired up and ready to POP because I was pushing through the last few days, not taking too much solid rest time for myself.

In acknowledging the WHY, I was able to reiterate to myself there was actually nothing to be worried about, that everything was okay (as it always is) and that there was nothing my body needed to protect me from.

Spoke to someone (a few people actually) about it

I am lucky to be surrounded by amazing friends and family who ‘get’ what anxiety is like, and how it can flare up out of nowhere. The worst thing we can do as anxious folk is keep it all to ourselves. Sometimes – scrap that, all the time – the best thing is to just admit how we are feeling, and talk it out with someone.

I spoke to my Dad (who has had his own battle with anxiety and is a wealth of knowledge and understanding), one of my besties and my partner.

It’s nice to have people who hold space for you – who let you speak, and know not to say ‘Just don’t worry’ (never tell an anxious person not to worry). Find your key people and have them on speed dial the next time an anxious flare up arises (because it most likely will).

Actually – on that. If you have anxiety, it is highly likely that no matter WHAT you try, you will feel more anxious than usual at times. That is not to say you will always have panic attacks. But it is also just a simple reminder that too often we set ourselves up for failure in thinking this will go away forever.

Rather than thinking in this way, start to learn how best to manage your anxiety so that your moments between episodes get longer and longer. That way, the next time an anxious spiral does arise, you are prepared rather than shocked.

Took the afternoon off to rest

I got home from my full day, with a bunch of items on my to do list (including writing this which is meant to be sent tomorrow morning) and ignored them all.

I put on my trackies, took off my bra, cancelled my evening appointment, and dived under the covers and slept for 2 hours. Fight or flight is super taxing on our bodies and we must do all we can to recalibrate when we notice we are operating from an anxious state. It tells our adrenals not to worry.

Once I finish writing this, it will be bath time with my lavender oil, and some trashy TV (although is the Bachelor REALLY trashy? #amIright?)

Cried

Fuck I love a good cry. All of that pent up energy and anxiety has to be released guys – in holding onto it, we set ourselves up for a lovely panic attack – which I know we don’t want. Just let it out, there doesn’t need to be a reason why. I cried for a good couple of minutes, and that was all I needed. I know the me tomorrow will thank me for it, when I wake up feeling more energised and less anxious.

Wrote this 

There is a real power in putting words to the page. Never underestimate writing as therapy – it is why us wellness folk swear by our journaling. When we write, we are literally pouring the words and thoughts and worries from our minds, out onto the pages – leaving behind a much clearer mental state than before. Then, we can work on filling our mind back up with beliefs and thoughts that truly serve us – this is where gratitudes and affirmations come to play. You cannot be anxious and grateful at the same time. Empty out those worried minds and replace your thoughts with positivity.

I have so much more where this came from and am excited to be co-hosting Transcending Anxiety Live in September – a full day workshop dedicated to managing your anxiety. You can find out more information and register your spot here.

P.S I don’t often ask for my posts to be shared, however this is an important one to me. Please share this post with anyone you know who suffers anxiety and let them know they are not alone.

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Wellness

My sleep time non-negotiables

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It isn’t a secret how obsessed I am with sleep. When I hit rock bottom in 2015, sleep was the bane of my existence. I was walking around like a zombie, in the crux of a horrible adrenal fatigue, and even though I could feel the tiredness seeping into my limbs (preventing me from training – even yoga or walking was too hard for me) – I just couldn’t get enough sleep.

I would lie awake in bed feeling physically EXHAUSTED counting down the hours it would take me to drift off. And when I finally WAS asleep, it was one of those awful half-awake ones where it felt like I was back awake every hour. I could be lying in bed for 10 hours and get only a couple of hours of real sleep. No wonder I felt like I’d been hit my a bus on waking every day.

During that phase of my life, I weighed everything I ate, avoided gluten and dairy and sugar like the bloody plague, and exercised multiple times a day. I thought I was the epitome of health and yet my health came crashing down from underneath me. Oh the irony.

A big factor in this crumbling of my wellbeing?

Lack of sufficient sleep.

Which is why today I preach more about getting sufficient sleep than I do about exercise and eating well.

Because here’s the thing – we KNOW how to exercise. We also know how to eat healthily. But do we really know how to get sufficient sleep?

My time in practice, coaching hundreds of women in learning how to live their happiest and healthiest lives, tells me we have a LONG way to go when it comes to managing our sleep the same way we manage our health by other means.

Sleep is VITAL when it comes to:

  • Alleviating stress levels
  • Maintaining vital and positive energy
  • A rocking libido
  • Weight loss
  • Preventing disease including heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes
  • Managing mental illness including depression and anxiety

And yet phrases like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” perpetuate the notion that sleep is for the weak. Actually, it is the opposite – you cannot be strong, physically, mentally or emotionally, without sufficient sleep.

I harp on all about the key facts of sleep here, if you are interested. Like how, we should be aiming for between 7-9 hours of UNINTERRUPTED sleep per night. It should take us 15 minutes to fall asleep at night.

If, like mine were, your eyes are popping out of your head in the realisation your sleep is not at all ‘healthy’ – don’t worry. Below are my top tips for managing your healthiest, best sleep ever. Stick to these tips for the next 30 nights and I guarantee you, you will be sleeping like a boss in no time (take it from the girl who has 9 hours uninterrupted a night – unless there’s a full moon, obviously!)

MAKE FRIENDS WITH MELATONIN

Melatonin is our sleep hormone. In cave man times, when the sun went down, our melatonin levels would rise, telling our bodies it was time for sleep. We would wake with the sun, which would decrease our melatonin levels.

Melatonin MATTERS when it comes to sleep, and is totally determined by LIGHT.

This is why it is so important to be in dim lighting at least an hour before bed time. We forget this, and spend time in bright lights, with back lit devices all the way up to shut eye, and wonder why we can’t switch off and drift to sleep. Because our poor melatonin levels are confused – they think it’s still day time!

Make the effort to transition to dim lighting an hour before bed – be it light dimmers, lamps or candles, and notice the impact this makes as you physically wind down before bed.

Additionally, in the morning, switch on ALL the lights and get yourself in brightness as much as possible! Bye-bye melatonin, hello morning burst of energy!

(Sleep-pro tip: Those people going for walks in the dark before bed? Not actually crazy – they are getting their melatonin hit right before sleep!)

MAGNESIUM OIL – THE GAME CHANGER

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As much as I know all about sleep, there are times when I need an extra push. Enter, magnesium oil. When I was in the holds of my fatigue, I took magnesium supplements to aid my sleep, which really helped me at the time. What I didn’t know, is you can actually use a body OIL that has the exact same effect! SO easy and damn effective!

Introducing SALT LAB. These guys have been a huge game changer for me recently, especially as my heightened adrenaline levels lately have lead to longer time than desired falling asleep.

What I didn’t know is our bodies only absorb 20-50% of oral supplements, and the additional stress this puts on our digestive system and organs is unnecessary when there is a body OIL available that works even more effectively! Our bodies are able to self regulate and absorb what is needed when using an oil, putting no additional stress on our organs and digestive system. PLUS, because the oil is is absorbed through our skin, it travels straight into our blood cells – talk about a quick hit!

After only 3 days of using this spray, my sleep was back to normal. Now I don’t go a night without it. Just spray on your belly – it is literally that simple! (If it tingles it means you may be deficient in magnesium, and can add it to a carrier oil like coconut oil.) You can read all about the effects of magnesium and sleep here: but just know, it has totally worked for me (and Trent too!)

(For your chance to win one of two SALT LAB sprays, jump on my Instagram page stat and check out the most recent post!)

TEMPERATURE MATTERS

There is a reason I am such a fan of baths before bed! Not only are they bloody relaxing, helping you to wind down and get into a relaxed state before dozing off, but the drop in body temperature when you hop out of a hot bath (or shower) signals to your body that it is sleep time.

This is also why some of us like sleeping with the fan on in summer, but a doona over our bodies. We KNOW intrinsically what the right body temperature is for sleep – too hot or too cold and it just won’t cut it. Aim for around 18 degrees.

SO LONG SCROLLING 

I hate to be the bearer of bad news guys, but for a good night’s sleep you really need to get rid of your phones. And laptops. Even your Kindles. Back lit devices totally mess with our melatonin and also, we aren’t allowing our minds to really wind down. If you do everything else, but still scroll, and you have trouble with your sleep – it is time for the phone to go.

Try what I do – stick your phone on flight mode an hour before bed time and dim the lighting right down. That way even if you are tempted to check your phone, you won’t be distracted by anything! Switch up your phone for reading (using a warm lamp by your bedside), or writing down everything you are grateful for that day. We are all after more time in our day – so use this hour for YOU and make it pampering and productive.

LAVENDER OIL ON EVERYTHING

Yes Hollie, I hear you think, we know you love essential oils. Well it’s true, I do. And one of my favourites is Lavender because of its calming properties – not just for anxiety and stress, but for sleep too. We diffuse lavender every night before bed (and while we sleep) as well as two drops on our pillow cases. We travel with it. My partner is the most masculine guy you will come across and whinges like crazy when we run out of lavender oil.

My bestie who was a bit cynical about this whole oils ‘thing’ started using lavender oil when I found out she never dreamed. This told me she most likely wasn’t getting the deep REM stage of sleep needed for full body rest and restoration. Her first night diffusing lavender and guess what? She had a dream. And sleep hasn’t been an issue of her’s since.

Want to know where to get the best quality lavender oil for your sleep? Send me a message and I will send you a sample!

Truth be told, I do a whole lot more in setting myself up for epic sleep – these just scrape the top of the barrel. If you are keen to learn more, I HIGHLY recommend reading Arianna Huffington’s SLEEP REVOLUTION (#girlcrush) – or just watch this space, as I plan my next ebook on all things SLEEP!

How do you ensure you are settled in for an epic sleep? 

BUY your Salt Lab Magnesium Oil here! 

 

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Uncategorized

My birthday present for you – 28 little life lessons in 28 years…PLUS a special gift at the end!

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Well hello there! Fancy seeing me posting on a Tuesday!
I hope you don’t mind me showing up unexpectedly, but I am FULL of the excitement today!
Why?
Because IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!
Yep, I am still unashamedly excited every time another year ticks by on the calendar – I just LOVE birthdays. Not just mine – my partner’s, my family members, my friends. Birthdays are a time to practice gratitude for gracing the earth for another beautiful year of memories, and reflect on the growth that has occurred. Ageing to me is EXCITING! Another year of growth, and wisdom and memories? BRING IT!
So today, to celebrate my birthday with all of you, I wanted to share 28 little lessons I have learned in the past 28 years of my life.

 

I ALSO want to offer all of you a special birthday prezzy from me at the end of the blog post – because you guys deserve to celebrate too right?!
28 LITTLE LIFE LESSONS IN 28 YEARS

  1. Life is short – don’t waste it working a job you hate
  2. Find what makes your heart sing and what you would gladly do for free – THAT is your passion and true calling
  3. If you don’t like the gym, quit it. Stop wasting money on a membership and find exercise you truly enjoy
  4. Naturopathy will change your health for the better in every way – find a good one. Heck, see MY naturopath
  5. Going to events that interest you on your own doesn’t make you a loser – it makes you the coolest person in the room (and also allows you to attract likeminded cool people!)
  6. Your friendship circle will change over time – but your soul sisters will stay forever
  7. It is better to have a small circle of intimate friendships than spreading yourself thin over multiple draining friendships
  8. LOVE is the answer. Always. Make it your intention every single day
  9. Random acts of kindness are totally underrated and the easiest way to make you feel better about yourself
  10. Gratitude prevents anxiety. Commit to it daily
  11. Vulnerability is powerful. People don’t want to hear that everything is always sunshine and rainbows – they want to RELATE to you, and sometimes that means not having your shit together – and that is okay
  12. Swearing doesn’t make you a bad person. Sometimes it’s fucking necessary
  13. Money is energy. Train your mind to look at life as abundant and you will attract all the wealth in the world
  14. Self worth is the key to being successful in any area of your life – if you don’t value yourself you don’t value your life
  15. Having a mental illness does not make you weak – and the strongest thing you can do is seek help from a therapist, psychologist or expert in treating your mental health
  16. There is such a thing as burnout, and it is so much more debilitating and troubling than you would realise. It is also entirely preventable
  17. Mama Earth needs to be respected – she is our source for LIFE – air, water, food, essential oils – we need to get our shit together in looking after her
  18. Essential oils are the greatest wellness support I have invested in
  19. There is nothing wrong with network marketing – it is your APPROACH and authenticity when working within it that matters
  20. You can have all the social media followers in the world, but if you’re a dickhead, it doesn’t change much
  21. Life can change in an instant. Tell people you love them
  22. SLEEP IS SO IMPORTANT. Don’t underrate it. Make it as important a priority as eating well and exercising
  23. Eat organic, cut out gluten and don’t restrict yourself from anything. DON’T DIET. Throw out your scales
  24. Make space in your week for nothingness. This is where the magic happens
  25. Oracle cards, meditation, affirmation work and feeling connected to a ‘source’ – be it God, the Universe or whatever else you believe in – is KEY to optimal wellbeing
  26. Nothing beats travel. Stop saving for a mortgage and book a flight to a place you’ve never been before
  27. There is more to life than settling down with a house – unless that is your ultimate goal. But if you are just doing it because everyone else is, think twice
  28. Writing is the best therapy you can gift yourself – and it’s free!

I would love to hear your little life lessons – what have you learned over the span of your life?
MY GIFT FOR YOU

Because birthdays are ALL about generosity, I would love to gift you all, for the next 24 HOURS ONLY, 28% off your next (full price) session booked with me.
So that means $42 OFF! I have never done this before but birthdays are to be celebrated for all of us right?

 

For anyone wanting to redeem this offer ($108 instead of $150 – #winning) – simply book your session with me NOW here.

 

I will be keeping tabs on the bookings for the next 24 hours, so where it says pay $150 in your confirmation email, know that for you it means $108.

 

But I have to stress, it is only valid for the next 24 hours – so come 8am on Wednesday August 9 2017, the deal will be FINISHED.

 

And THAT my friends, is my birthday present to you.

 

Now, if you excuse me, I am off to eat cake.

 

Love

 

Hollie xx

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