Stop Dreading Mondays | Nadia La Russa

Stop Dreading Monday – How the First Day of the Week Broadens Your Goals

Fridays fill us with weekend anticipation. Sundays make our stomachs sink with mundane Monday anxiety. Whether your Mondays are spent refining last week’s work, or you’re going to pitch new ideas, it can be very overwhelming.

Truth: You don’t have to dread Mondays.

In fact, you can use Mondays to your advantage. Whether you are an employee of a multi-national company working towards a promotion, or an entrepreneur on the path to a bright career, you need to be ahead of the curve. Sometimes, we can’t get ahead of our own negativity. That sense of dread really impacts your work ethic, lifestyle, and values. It’s time for a change, and that change can start on your next Sunday evening to broaden your goals.

 

Write Down Everything You Love About Monday

Seriously, simple things are what make us whole. Write down everything you love to do on Mondays. Anything from your daily commute to the office, to talking to someone you enjoy being around. Is Monday the perfect day for one of your favourite tasks? Take note of that!

 

A Sunday for Reflection

We get so wrapped up in training others and thinking about our gains ahead of time, that we forget about the beautiful beginnings in front of us. The new year can be seen as a new beginning, the first few weeks of spring remind us of what is to come. Why not stop to reflect on how much you have already. Breathe and feel gratitude.

 

Dare to Innovate

Do you have a new idea you’ve been dying to try, but you can’t get past your own rationale or make time? Maybe you want to open a store for handmade crafts or perfect your gluten-free baking skills! Be daring and start a new hobby that you can do when you want to unwind. #motivationmonday

 

Write Out a List of Inventions

We have bolts of genius, and we don’t even realize it. Create a list of any inventions or ideas that pop into your head. This is a great mind exercise for those who can’t stop thinking about the next step. Start your list on a Monday and see how many ideas you have by the end of the week. Who knows? One of those ideas might be your next career move!

 

Giving Back

Compliment someone’s dress or make time to tell someone how much you appreciate their hard work! If you work with a group, the extra positivity will enhance co-operation and create a lighter work day.

Putting a smile on someone else’s face also boosts your confidence levels. Try something as simple as paying it forward – next time you head to your local coffee shop, buy the next person’s coffee for them. It’s a win-win as you’ll both feel great!

 

Exercise the Dread Away

Even if it’s 20 crunches or 15 squats, exercising increases confidence levels and relaxes your brain. Your Monday might be super busy, so it’s important to do light exercises. Perhaps try exercising on a Monday evening to work off that “it’s Monday” feeling.

 

 

Treat Yourself

Giving yourself a little something extra goes a long way. It doesn’t matter if it’s a burger or a piece of clothing, treat yourself to something nice. The truth is, you work so hard towards your goals that you are probably taking advantage of yourself. So take some time to reward all that hard work.

 

Refocus Your Monday Mindset

Weekends symbolize what everyone wants the most: leisure, the freedom to be bored, spending time with our loved ones, and a break from the grind. Tomorrow is Monday, but now you have the chance to realign your ambition and aim your arrow towards practical, successful results.

Say it loud and proud: “I love Monday!

 

Turn Off Your Notifications

Social media is a great way to read tons of informative content. It’s also a magnet for drama, fighting, and political echo chambers. Take a break from social media for a few hours. When you unplug from the social calamities, you might feel a little calmer and more focused on what you’re doing.

 

Energy Foods

What you eat plays into how you think. It’s good to indulge, but eating healthy is the greatest indulgence. Eat light on Sunday with fresh veggies and wholesome grains. On Monday morning, have a light breakfast ready to go! The key is “preparation” and Sunday is a great day to prep your meals for the week ahead.

Practice makes perfect. It may take a few days or weeks to get into the habit, it’s absolutely worth it. Before you know it, you’ll be wishing it was Monday every day!

 

 

Waking Up at 4AM is AWESOME

Why waking up at 4am every day is AWESOME!

I set my alarm for 4am every day.

Over the last two years, I have developed the habit of preserving my quiet morning time to meditate, pray, do a bit of yoga, read, or even mindlessly scroll through social media.  Most of the time, when someone new figures this out, I get one of a few canned reactions:

  1. You’re crazy
  2. I could NEVER do that
  3. Wow, that’s amazing, I wish I could do that.

Here’s the great news – you CAN. Everyone can.  And, although it takes getting used to, I’d never go back to the days of waking up straight into the morning rush-around.

Mornings can be pure evil

Why waking up at 4am is AWESOME!For many of us, mornings are pure evil. The anxiety-inducing buzz of the alarm, bare feet on a floor that feels like the polar ice cap, bleary, crusty eyes that only open halfway, and the endless trudge to the coffee pot (seriously, why does the walk to the coffee pot feel like running a marathon?). Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that you look, smell, and sound like a monster that just crawled out of the world’s deepest, darkest trench. To top it all off, your roommate/partner/spouse is a (gasp!) morning person. He or she seems to literally jump out of her bed looking like someone who just spent five days at a spa. They’re beaming from ear to ear, grinning like some kind of maniacal clown, going on and on about their incredibly detailed plans for the day–all the while singing and laughing in an insanely bubbly voice. As you respond to the endless babbling with a few caveman grunts here and there, you wonder how in the world anyone could possibly be like this every single morning. Although it’s hard to believe, there are a lot of morning people in the world, and following just a few of these tips could help you wake up a lot earlier with a lot less struggle:

Ease into it

Turning into an early bird isn’t going to happen overnight. You have to ease into it. If you normally get up at 7:00 am (meaning physically getting out of bed, not the first of seven times that your alarm goes off), don’t think you’re just magically going to start getting up at 5:00 am. Instead, aim for small goals–baby steps. Try getting up at 6:45 for a while, until it feels comfortable (you don’t have to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed like your roommate, but a bit more than barely functional is helpful). Once you are comfortable with your new time, creep it up another 15 minutes. Repeat the process until you reach your final goal.

Imagine

Imagine what you would do with your morning if you could wake up and hop out of bed without needing a gallon of coffee just to open your left eye (the right one takes another gallon). Let your imagination run wild–you could finish that book you’ve been reading for roughly two years, start a yoga routine, enjoy some early morning gardening, or even go for a run (okay, okay, let’s not push it). Whatever you imagine you could do with that extra time, let it be your inspiration.

Why waking up at 4am is AWESOME!Wake up to something pleasant

I’m not sure who came up with the idea that alarms had to be, well, alarming. Maybe it wasn’t the brightest idea to have the first thing you hear every day be a sound akin to someone hammering nails into your eardrums. None of us like waking up wondering if the house is on fire or if that’s just the alarm clock. So find an alternative. Ditch that vexing old alarm clock and try something new. Waking up to music can be very pleasant, or check out some nature sounds apps–you could be waking up to the sounds of rolling waves on the beach rather than a five-alarm fire.

No more excuses

As we talked about earlier, this isn’t a change that is going to happen overnight. There are some days that are going to be much tougher than others–days when you’ll want to give in to temptation and start beating on that snooze button. You’ll justify it with excuses–it’s so cold, I was up late last night, I don’t feel like making coffee, there’s nothing to eat for breakfast, I have so much to do and it’s going to be a bad day… In order for this new morning schedule to work, you have to make it tougher to find an excuse. Put slippers near your bed to combat your icy floor, program your coffee pot the night before (not only will it be piping hot and ready when you wake up, the smell will make you hop right out of bed!), prep simple breakfast foods (cut up fruit and store it in the fridge, stock up on yogurt, pour single-servings of cereal in small Tupperware bowls), and get organized. It can be tough to get up when your day feels like a hot mess before you even open your eyes–even a simple list of the things you need to accomplish each day can help. Write it out the night before and stick it on the fridge to help you feel less frazzled in the morning.

Keep a log

Although the actual getting-out-of-bed part is going to be hard, you’re going to notice a lot of benefits once you start waking up earlier. You’ll feel less stressed, you’ll be able to take your time, you’ll be more productive, and you’ll eat a better breakfast. Keep a log of all the changes (even tiny ones!) that you notice as you start the process of waking up earlier. Keep track of how much you get done in the first few hours of your day as opposed to how productive you were when you slept later. You’ll be surprised at how much of a positive impact getting up a little early will have on your life.

It takes perseverance

Changing your sleep pattern to wake earlier isn’t an easy thing to do, but it can be done with a little perseverance. There are many benefits to being an early riser–according to Forbes magazine, early birds are more enthusiastic, better problem solvers, better planners, more productive, more optimistic, in better shape, and get this–they sleep better (research shows that people who go to bed earlier and wake up earlier get more restorative sleep). So while you are adjusting to your new wake-up time, just remember all these benefits and keep imagining what you’re going to do with all that extra quiet time.

See you in the morning!

How to Combat Sleep Deprivation

We all have friends who hit the gym at 6am, pull 10 hours at the office, pick up their teens from hockey, go for dinner and drinks, stay up till 2am, and be at the gym by sunrise to do it all over again. Sleep deprivation doesn’t even exist in their vocabulary. How do they do it?!

The answer is: It doesn’t matter.

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Preventative care for the soul

Preventative Care For Your Soul

Your dentist recommends preventative care for your teeth and your doctor advises regular check ups for your body. But who’s prescribing preventative care for your soul?

Preventative care for your soul helps strengthen your emotional wellbeing, so when stressful or negative situations arise you’re better prepared to handle them. Continue reading

Floating tank

Too noisy inside your own head? Try floating.

When was the last time you switched off for at least an hour? I mean completely. No phone. No traffic. No kids. No noise, flashing lights or other distractions. Besides sleeping, it probably doesn’t happen often. And when it does, your brain is no doubt racing through everything that needs to get done by the end of the day.

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Thai Massage – so many benefits!

Too tired to hit a yoga class after work? Book yourself in for a Thai massage. Dubbed ‘lazy yoga’, this ancient form of healing gives you that great post-workout feeling… except your practitioner does all the hard work for you!

What is Thai Massage?

Thai massage is a full body treatment that improves circulation, releases tension and relieves joint pain. Based on ancient Indian Ayurvedic principles (a holistic form of healing), Thai massage promotes internal health by realigning the energies in your body… basically making you feel amazing!

The massage is performed on a special mat on the floor. You are fully clothed (except for your socks and shoes) and the massage is done without oils.

Thai Massage

Thai Massage

Your practitioner starts by stimulating various acupressure points along your energy lines (known as ‘sen’), and then using martial arts motions, rhythmic compressions, gentle stretching, rocking and breathwork, will move your body into a series of yoga-like postures.

Sen refers to the pathways in your body through which energy flows. Blocked energy lines cause the body to lose balance, resulting in health problems. Thais believe good health relies on balance and an unobstructed flow of sen.

Thai massage clears energy lines and boosts circulation using the technique of blocking and releasing blood flow. Your practitioner applies sustained pressure for around 30 seconds to the areas where legs and arms meet the torso. When the pressure is released, you’ll feel a rush of heat as blood floods back along your limbs.

This wonderful form of massage also alleviates the pressure we put on our bodies through repetitive strain (think of the hours hunched over a computer, or sitting for long periods while at the office, driving, watching TV, playing Angry Birds etc.).

Repetitive strain causes our muscles to get tense and shorten, resulting in stiff joints and musculo-skeletal pain. When this happens the brain thinks it’s your muscle contracting, so it inhibits the function of the antagonistic muscles–causing them to weaken.

Thai massage undoes this tension by stretching the muscles back to their normal resting length. This tricks the brain into believing everything is back to normal, and it stops inhibiting the antagonistic muscles. The tension soon disappears and your joints start to feel more mobile.

Thai massage has been called ‘lazy yoga’ by some because it’s the practitioner who presses and stretches your body into each posture using their hands, knees, legs, feet and shins. They do all the hard work and all you need to do is relax!

Nadia La Russa, Thai Massage Practitoner

The Origins of Thai Massage

Thai massage dates back to Northern India around 2,500 years ago. At the time, an Ayurvedic doctor named Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha was gaining recognition for his remarkable medical skills, knowledge of herbal medicine and nutrition. He was treating some pretty important people back then including noblemen, kings and the Buddha himself. Bhaccha’s practice made its way to the temples of Thailand, and has since been influenced by Indian, Chinese, Southeast Asian cultural and medicinal traditions.

What Are The Benefits of Thai massage?

After your massage, you can expect to feel relaxed, invigorated and a whole lot more flexible.

Thai massage also:

Improves circulation

  • Elongates muscles and increases flexibility
  • Relieves muscular tension and spasms
  • Regulates your metabolism
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Unblocks and balances your energy pathways (sen)

During this beautiful practice some people experience an emotional response, which is created by the energy transfer of loving kindness from your practitioner to you.

How to Prepare For a Thai massage

Thai Massage can be enjoyed by anyone, at any age, in any condition. However, you must always let your practitioner know if you have any injuries or pre-existing conditions. During the massage, don’t be afraid to speak up if you’d like a higher or lower level of pressure.

To prepare for your relaxing and energizing Thai massage:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Wear loose clothing (layers are great for helping your body temperature adjust).
  • Eat about an hour before the massage (you don’t want to be too hungry or too full).

After the massage stay hydrated with water or tea. Top off your massage with a warm bath and Epsom salts a few hours later. You will feel heavenly!

Nadia has been a Thai Massage Practitioner for nearly 2 years. She got into it after realizing the benefits of regular Thai Massage and balanced energy systems.

To experience the benefits of Thai massage yourself, book an appointment with Nadia here.

Self-care, Nadia Style

Self care, or self love, is the voluntary practice of maintaining your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Practicing self care regularly not only keeps your mind and body in great shape, it also enables you to better care for others.

When you’re feeling stressed, tired, overwhelmed, disorganized, chaotic, or stretched to your limits, self care helps you gain focus and clarity, and feel calm and relaxed. But it’s not just for when you’re stressed; self care should be a regular part of your weekly routine. It also brings us joy, a more positive outlook, and the ability to better deal with conflict, anxiety and difficult situations.

There’s no official self care strategy, or right or wrong way of doing it. It’s about finding what works for you and making the time to do what you enjoy most. Whether you dedicate ten minutes of your day or a whole hour, it still counts. Try some of these self care activities and see which ones work best for you.

Meditation

Meditation

Meditation is a fantastic self care activity which helps bring stress levels way down. You can do just about anywhere, and it’s free! Find yourself a quiet(ish) corner, sit on the floor or on a chair, and close your eyes. You can pop in some headphones and tune out with calming music, or use guided meditation podcasts like this one from Sip and Om. You’ll learn new breathing techniques from the guided meditations that you can use whenever you feel yourself getting stressed or anxious. It’ll take some time to get good at clearing your mind, but keep it up and you’ll soon get the hang of it.

 Rest

Ensure you’re getting enough sleep every night (that’s 8-10 hours for most people), and don’t feel guilty about having a sleep in or a nap when you need it. Recharge your body, so it’s prepared for whatever life throws at it. Resting also includes disconnecting yourself from the TV and social media. Give your mind a break from all the distractions vying for your attention.

Diet and Exercise

We all know a healthy diet and regular exercise keeps us physically in shape, but our mental and emotional well-being relies on it too. Exercise is an excellent stress reliever, while a healthy diet keeps our brain sharp and our immune system strong (among other benefits of course!). Try keeping a diet and exercise journal for a week to see what you’re putting into your body, and how you’re looking after it physically. See where you can improve and set yourself realistic goals for the following week/s. There are literally gazillions of online templates, apps, and even actual “book books” you can use – even a plain lined notebook will do the trick!

Reading

Do you have a pile of unread or partially read books lying around? Reading is a perfect self care activity. It distracts your brain, relieves stress, and improves your memory and focus. If you need some motivation, join a reading club or start your own! Can’t commit to an entire book? Grab an interesting magazine or newspaper. Don’t want to read? Jot down your thoughts in a journal instead.

Colouring

Colouring is huge right now, and you can pick up colouring books at just about any store. A great anxiety-buster, colouring polishes your fine motor skills and concentration. Leave a book in your drawer at work and take colouring breaks throughout the day – even 5 or 10 minutes. Or colour while you’re on the phone. I have The Secret Garden colouring book, and love it! If colouring is not your thing, puzzle books are just as effective.

Pamper Yourself

Get a relaxing massage, take a long soothing bath, start a new hobby (how about cooking or painting classes?), start a garden, go on a trip, take the afternoon off. Set time aside to just do ‘you’.

How to practice more self care

Practicing more self care is about making it a priority in your week and committing to it. We’re all ‘busy’, but we have just as many hours in the day as everyone else.

So either set aside the same time each day (for example a 15 minute meditation as soon as you get up each morning), or book an hour of self care activity time in your calendar–just like you’d book any other important meeting–and go to the gym or get a massage. Saying ‘no’ is another way of practicing self care by freeing up some of your time to focus on yourself.To do list

You’ll soon start seeing the positive effects on your physical, mental and emotional well-being and realize for yourself why it’s so important to spend more time on you.

Now it’s your turn – what do you do for self-care? Are you accountable? Join me in my February 2016 challenge which will be to consciously practice self-care at least once a week.