Is working from home for you?

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Have you ever dreamed of working from home to avoid the traffic in the morning? Or just to have more flexibility and save commuting time? I was one of those wishing it. Now, I work from home and I love it! But… it’s not all a bed of roses. Working out of a home-based office is certainly not for everyone. I’ve pulled together those pros and cons I’ve experienced – feel free to share yours!

Pros of working from home:

  • I save time. Not having to commute to work every day saves me time, money and sometime even stress.
  • The flexibility to wear what I feel comfortable with, working on my most productive hours and fitting potential appointments that need to happen during business hours.
  • I reduce some distractions such as interruptions from other co-workers or phone calls.
  • I save money, not just on the commute but on coffees, lunches and shopping during lunch breaks! I can also claim a portion of my house as a home office expenses.
  • My work/life balance has improved.
  • Mindfulness: I feel calm and relaxed, under less stress.

Cons of working from home:

  • I need a lot of self-discipline: getting up, not getting distracted with things that need to be done in the house (that’s a big one!), etc.
  • Working all day on your my, without contact with co-workers and colleagues, can be very isolating and make me feel lonely sometimes.
  • It’s harder to shut down. Less distractions can make it harder to shut down and more likely that you will overwork.
  • I lose living space as the spare room has become my home office.
  • Relationships are harder to form as it’s difficult to establish trust and develop relationships when you are on your own. I have to make an extra effort to go out and network/connect with people, prospects and clients.
  • When I worked at an office I was exposed to learning and development from my company and peers. When you work from home, you will need to make an extra effort to seek out networking and learning opportunities on your own.

For me, the most challenging aspect at the beginning was self-discipline. I had to make an effort to avoid getting distracted with house to-do things as I always found things that needed to be done. I had to do a mindset shift in order to keep focus on my work when I go to my home office.

Having a separate office works great. However, my husband prefers to work in the living room which made him struggle a bit at the beginning as he felt he was the whole day at work. Ideally, we’d like to have a bigger house where we can have an office space separated from the living space so we can clearly focus on work with no distractions.

Overall, I love having the flexibility to work around my own times and commitments. I love being able to design my day, my week. Love getting up in the morning and going for a morning walk in the park and I’m getting better at differentiating personal from work life when I’m at home – sometimes difficult! I also need to make an extra effort to go out there and connect with other people, which is also good as it helps me to leave my comfort zone.

So, is working from home for you?

With lots of love,

Laia

Motivational quote

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“If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. Your vision pulls you.” – Steve Jobs

 

Clean eating: How to identify toxic foods in your pantry

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“A healthy outside starts from the inside” – Robert Urich

Today I’d like to talk about clean eating and how to spot toxic foods in your food cupboard. Why? Because we are what we eat. In the same way we look after our body through exercise we also need to look after it internally through what we fuel it with – your body is your most precious asset.

I got introduced to clean eating while being a child (back then, I didn’t know the term was clean eating, though). My mum always made sure we ate a balanced and healthy diet. Actually, few years ago she started researching nutrition and alkaline foods. Now I can say that she has one of the healthiest (and most balanced) lifestyles I’ve ever seen. I truly believe this is one of the reasons why she is doing so well going through her cancer treatment and chemo – her body is responding to the treatment better than most people and I’m 100% sure it’s due to all the prep she did without knowing it before getting sick. Now, as you can imagine, nutrition is a priority for her.

Why clean eating?

Clean eating allows you to take control of what you put into your body to fuel it. High-quality, whole and ideally organic foods replace those covered in toxins, pesticides, engineered or food produced in massive factories.

Clean eating isn’t a diet, it’s a life-style choice. It emphasises the quality of the foods you eat, not how much you eat or when you eat. Actually, long before the days of processed foods, pesticides, hormones and GMOs, people ate food directly from the source with minimal processing. Not so long ago – for example, my grandparents used to have a vegie and trees garden (my dad’s parents) and animals (my mum’s parents). They produced the food the consumed: vegetables, fruits, cheese, meat, etc.

The highly-processed foods that are in the shelves of your local grocery store or supermarket are loaded with calories, added sugars and ingredients that most of us can’t pronounce (and lack many beneficial nutrients). These foods are linked to obesity, low-energy levels and an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and in some cases, cancer. Many of these low-quality foods are also treated with pesticides or contain genetically modified ingredients, both of which carry potential health risks. And don’t forget the significant environmental toll.

Clean eating nurtures your body with healthy and nutritious foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed and hormone-free meats, etc. Consistently eating clean food fills your body with vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein and healthy fats. That means that it improves heart and brain health, assist with weight management, build a stronger immune system and increase energy levels – just to name some of the benefits.

The first thing I noticed when I started eating clean was that my energy levels went up! I always thought I eat healthy but still had lots of foods that weren’t ideal such as pasta, processed meats, coffee, dairy, alcohol, etc. When I decided to try a month of clean eating I knew it was a good choice but had no idea of the amazing change that my body was going to experiment! I felt more energetic, with clear mind, my afternoon tiredness after lunch disappeared, etc. I loved it!

How do you eat clean?

Let’s have a look at a few things you can do to make your transition to clean eating as easy as possible and how to identify what are those foods you need to get rid of your pantry:

  1. Assess your pantry (and fridge) and eliminate all foods that don’t serve your body. When I did my 30 day clean eating for the first time, I started by eliminating most of the packaged food such as chips, crackers, sauces, biscuits, etc., and all processed foods – they can be full of preservatives and chemicals that are not good at all.
  2. Spend most of your time at the supermarket filling your trolley with fruits and vegetables. If you can afford organic foods —especially meat, fruits and vegetables— go for it.
  3. Make sure you know what you are buying. Read food labels, check the ingredient list and avoid any product with ingredients that you’re not familiarised with or can’t pronounce. The fewer the ingredients, the better. Also, check for added sugars listed under carbohydrates.
  4. Cook your own food. For example, pasta sauce normally has lots of added sugar. Why don’t you make your own pasta sauce at home? It’s very easy and in this way you know what you are eating. The same works for your smoothies, bread, etc. – everything really.

I decided to take a further step and eliminated any product that contained dairy, gluten and GMOs from my pantry (and also alcohol and coffee for a full month!). I have to be real – it wasn’t always easy and sometimes I made exceptions: it’s very difficult to eat clean when you go out! However, setting up healthy (and clean) nutrition habits is the best choice I’ve ever made. Now, when I’m off track my body feels it straight away, so I try to be caring and loving to my body and give it what I know it needs.

The result of my 4 weeks detox thorugh eat cleaning was very positive. During my first week I felt tired (normal effect while your body is eliminating toxins) and then I started feeling more energetic, healthier and happier, and I even lost a little bit of weight that wasn’t planned. I loved it so much that told my partner that I was going to carry on eating clean and avoiding certain products such as milk and coffee and reduce my alcohol consumption to a minimum. Now we both make an effort when cooking to make sure we cook whole clean meals full of nutrients with those ingredients that fuel our bodies.

Before I say goodbye, I want to make clear that clean eating is not a strategy for losing weight. It’s a lifestyle choice that can help with the weight lose. However, plenty of foods that are considered clean are high in calories and don’t help shed extra fat so if what you want is to lose weight you need to eat clean and make sure you are eating the food that is right for your goal.

With lots of love,

Laia x

The importance of practicing positive habits

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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, it’s not an act but a habit” – Aristotle

Hi everyone! Hope you are having an amazing week! Today I’d like to reflect on my daily habits and the importance of practicing positive ones.

I’ve always considered myself a consistent person: if I decide to do something, I’ll do it no matter what. But if I reflect back, actually, I’ve not been as consistent as I’d like with my healthy habits. For example, for years I tied yoga and meditation but as I couldn’t focus during my practice, I easily gave up. Or reading, which I love – life gets busy and I stop it. Or being grateful – days pass by, life gets busy and I just stopped expressing gratitude for all the good things I have in my life.

Let me tell you a story. A year ago I found my current yoga studio and decided to do things differently. First, I did a beginners course and sfterwards I started going to classes once a week. It was really good but you don’t get the huge benefits that yoga practice offers by just attending a class a week. Over six months ago I made the decision to attend yoga classes a minimum of three times a week and try meditation, this time seriously (I had tried it and gave up plenty of times). I made the commitment to read a meditation book, Mindfulness for Women from Vidyamala Burch, and take it as a five week course. During this time I was determined to follow all the exercises and tasks the book gives you as homework. If I couldn’t meditate after the five weeks, then I could say meditation wasn’t for me. I started the book and my daily meditation, just 10 minute guided ones, and after a couple of weeks of consistently meditating every day (plus my yoga classes) I started feeling an amazing change. The inner peace and contentment I felt (and currently feel) was wonderful so I decided to make yoga and meditation a priority in my life and both activities became one of my positive daily habits I’m not willing to give up. The change in my soul and body was amazing: the way how I cope with things, the inner contentment, being less reactive, being more present, etc. My body also changed for the best. It really improved my quality life and it’s the reason why I highly recommend it, event for those (who like me) think that they have a very busy mind to meditate (mine is still very busy!).

Few months after starting meditation I jumped into a new adventure (that came with lots of challenges) as an Independent Consultant with an amazing health and wellness brand. I knew through other consultants that the organisation highly supports personal growth, but I was amazed when I experienced the company’s philosophy to fully support and empower their consultants through personal development as the way to success in their business. They also connected me with the importance of my morning routines and started to learn about the importance of good habits in your daily life.

I guess I already knew it -someone told me time ago- but I never digested it. Now I have consciously (and consistently) incorporated positive daily habits in my life so they can be my autopilot on the path to greatness. If I’m honest, it’s not always easy and I can sometimes go off track as life gets in the way, but my healthy dairy routines have totally enriched my life.

Let me share with you some of my daily habits, some of them very recent:

  • Wake up early to do my Personal Power Hour:
    • 10 minutes of meditation
    • 10 minutes of visualisation, gratitude and positive affirmations
    • Reading at least for 30 minutes in the morning
  • Make my bed. You may think this is silly, however, as Admiral McRaven said: “Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do little things right, you will never do the big things right”. I’m very grateful to my mum who since I was a little kid got me into the habit to make my bed every morning!
  • Smile to people as much as I can
  • Eat healthy and clean
  • Yoga or other kind of exercise: boxing, fitness class or a walk around a park
  • Focus on my goals and take action steps towards them
  • Check on my attitude through the day and make sure it’s excellent
  • Express gratitude during the day and before going to bed
  • Work in progress – Lead my life by four principles to practice in order to create love and happiness:
    • Be impeccable with your words
    • Don’t take anything personally
    • Don’t make assumptions
    • Always do your best
  • Reading as much as I can
  • Practicing mindfulness before going to bed and have a moment of gratitude
  • Journaling

Here is the thing: positive habits lead you to being successful, in your personal and professional life. They will always have a positive impact, and in lots of cases, a life-changing one – which is grand!

In order to implement new positive habits I also had to look into my negative habits to swap them. For example, I had some bad habits such as being hard to let things go, being inpatient and ungrateful, beating myself up, etc. to name just a few. All these bad habits don’t serve me and don’t make any good to my wellbeing. This is the reason why I’m extremely grateful to my partner and every person who has helped me to fit my new positive habits in my busy schedule.

I also have to admit that being consistent with good habits is challenging. Sometimes life gets in the way and I go off track. However, I now try not to beat myself up. Instead, I try to do better and reconnect with my positive habits and vision to break the bad ones.

It’s all a life experience full of growth, which I love. I’m in love with my new inner calm, my new contentment and my continuous growth. Are you willing to share what are those positive habits that change your life for the best every day?

With lots of love,

Laia x

The energy you surround yourself with

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“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn

Today I’d like to share with you a recent experience that reminded me of the importance of who you surround yourself with.

Not long ago I was dealing with high stress levels and a work environment that wasn’t ideal as I felt too much negativity around me. As circumstances changed, things improved and once I moved on (left the job) I started feeling balanced again. Actually, I’ve been feeling better than ever since the year started: I left the corporate world full time, started my healthy living program and my energy levels went up, I started my own venture, I’m about to get married, etc. I’m feeling balanced and content so couldn’t ask for more!

We have also had family visiting us which is always lovely. Yes, it can be challenging as your routines change and you lose your own space for few days but it’s still great, you just need to do a small adjustment for a little while. This time we had a new guest from outside the family that we didn’t know and I was looking forward to it. However, as soon as I met her I could feel like someone was taking all my energy. After the first day I was exhausted and my energy levels considerably dropped. I’m sure she is doing the best she can to adjust to her partner’s family but it didn’t feel right at all. We were all exhausted after few days travelling together and I ended being sick as my body somatise all the negativity around me.

The bad news is that sometimes you can’t choose who you surround yourself with (family, for example), but the great news is that 99% of the time you make the choice! People have a huge impact on your life, therefore, with this in mind, you should think about the people you’re spending time with the same way you think about what you eat and how you’re exercising. This is also part of your healthy living plan.

Some people can be ‘parasites’. They suck out your energy and happiness, they spread their negative vibe around with all the consequences that this has for your own well-being. So… why would you surround yourself of those kind of people? It’s LOTS better to surround yourself by positive and energetic people! Ask yourself: what makes someone a “good” person to spend time with? And what are the benefits of surrounding yourself with these people?

The good people I’m looking for are positive, happy people that enrich my life. They can be family members, friends, co-workers or acquaintances I meet at networking events or at the train. They inspire me to be a better person, motivate me to achieve my goals, empower me to make the changes I need to succeed and cheer on my success. They have this amazing energy you feel attracted to straight away.

Why do I want to surround myself with this kind of people? Because my personal and professional success depends on it – success doesn’t occur in a vacuum and your personal improvement leading up to your success can be driven by the people you surround yourself with. I would actually say that one of the most important decisions we make in life is who we choose to be around.

If you look around, we live in a world that surrounds us with negativity. We get it regularly from media and other sources: co-workers, bosses, friends, family and even strangers – have you ever had someone you don’t know to have a go at you for no reason? No worries, it’s not about you, it’s about them. But they spread their negativity around. Then, it’s very important to learn how to filter out the negativity (I know, it’s not easy but you can do it!).

So, what to do? Walk away from those people in your life who drain you of your energy because they thrive on sharing their own negative vibe. Get as far away from them as you can. Why? Because it impacts your perspective with regard to your own life and -in addition- impacts your mental health.

Instead, why not to decide to invest your time in those relationships that give you joy, energy, empowerment and positive vibes. Like attracts like so if you give off positive vibes and confidence and you are genuine, you’ll attract the same into your life. This will lead you to the people that are right for you.

When you’re surrounded by good people, you’re surrounded by life. You’ll be less stressed and find more joy in your daily life. Make a commitment to start spending more time with the good people in your life and make it count.

“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.” – Karl Marx

With lots of love,

Laia x