Is chronic stress leaving you at risk of developing dementia?

According to an article I read in the Aged Care Report Card (HelloCare, 2017). In Australia, one person is diagnosed with dementia every six minutes. Fifty-five percent of these diagnoses affect Australian women. Are you at risk?

Scientists have found a significant link between severe stress in middle age and dementia. In a study done as part of the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, Sweden, 800 women participated in the study, from middle age to late life.

The study started in 1968, and the women were quizzed about common stressful situations or events, such as death of a spouse or child, divorce, serious illness, unemployment, abuse and lack of social support.

The women were followed over 38 years and examined for signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s. At the end of the study, their findings were that one of of five of the participants had developed dementia (mostly Alzheimer’s).

Experts are starting to believe if you experience prolonged stress it damages your brain, which increases your chances of dementia.  Chronic stress increases the production of the hormones adrenalin and cortisol. When these hormones are increased, your blood pressure and blood sugar rise. While this is okay for a short period of time,  if this happens often, and for sustained periods of time, your brain is affected.

What part of your brain is affected? The hippocampus – which is the part of your brain responsible for memory. The amygdala – which controls your emotional responses. And the prefrontal cortex – which regulates your thinking.

Yes, I hear you say, the brain does create new brain cells. But increased cortisol levels reduce the speed they are created.

So how do you minimise your stress levels when we live in such a stressful world?

You don’t need to get rid of ALL stress – it would impossible anyway. Some stress is actually good for you. But chronic stress is not.

Here are some tips to help you manage your stress levels:

  • You can train your brain to look at the positives, not the negatives, in life.
  • Connection with family and friends is crucial. Strong ties keep us connected, and help us have fun, live in the present and relax
  • Be active! One of the best defences against dementia of any type is regular exercise. Not only does it help maintain normal hormonal balance, exercise releases serotonin and endorphins that help release your body’s natural pain killers and help enhance your mood.
  • Eat whole food, full of nutrition. Junk food isn’t food, it’s just junk. And much of the ‘healthy’ prepackaged food is full of nasties. Cook for yourself. If you don’t know how – learn, it’s pretty simple!
  • Sleep well – your body and your brain need to relax. You can listen to the recording of my Sleep is not a Luxury radio interview here to find out some tips on how to improve your sleep.
  • Keep your brain busy. Crosswords, sudokus, puzzles, learning new things like a language are all great for keeping your brain healthy.
  • The corollary to the above is to let your brain rest. Practising meditation, yoga, tai chi will really help calm the chatter.
  • And of course, LAUGH! You knew if was coming, didn’t you! Laughter does so many wonderful things for your physical, emotional and mental health – but one of the biggest benefits is that it is the best destressor you have. It costs, nothing, and you can do it alone anytime.

 

A Split-Second Decision Can Change Your Life

We tend to think of the defining decisions of our lives as the big ones. Getting married (or committing to a life partner); buying a house; having kids.

But isn’t it really the smaller decisions we make that have the most impact? Like choosing that particular paper to buy the day when you saw the advertisement for the job that changes your life.

One of the small decisions that changed my life was deciding to sign up to eHarmony. It had been suggested to me by my life coach. It seemed a small enough thing. Sign up, fill out the profile. Go on some dates. Look outside myself.

It didn’t work out that way. I spent a long time filling out the profile – because I wanted it to be a true reflection of me. Within three months of writing my profile (seven years ago on the 21st of this month!) I met the man I would marry six months later. (And yes, we are still married, blissfully!)

And it’s the time after that decision is made when the rubber really hits the road. The days, weeks, months that really lead you to the new journey.

So what decisions – small, almost negligible, that will set you on the path you desire in 2017?

Is health a priority for you? If so, it’s these small decisions every day that will help you reach your goals.

I talk a lot about this in my book ‘The Busy Woman’s Guide to Inner Health and Outer Beauty – 7 simple steps to enriched energy, radiant skin and inner peace for the woman on-the-go’. (You can order a copy by popping over to the My Shop page of this website.)

The Busy Woman’s Guide to Inner Health and Outer Beauty

But here are just a couple of small things you could do to have a big impact.

  1. Give yourself a chance to sleep well. Late last year I did a radio interview about the importance of getting a good nights’ sleep – so if you’d prefer to listen than read, just go to my Speaking and Presenting page and check out the recording.Conventional wisdom says you need between seven and nine hour’s good quality sleep a night. Your brain, your skin and your body does a bunch of work while you are asleep, so even if you think you aren’t doing anything, your body, skin and brain are very active. Check out my blog post A Good Night’s Sleep Is Not  A Luxury to get some tips on how to improve your sleep.
  1. Incorporate exercise into your day – make it a habit. Don’t give yourself the option – just do whatever you have to, to make it automatic. Prefer a walk in the morning? Then put out your clothes the night before. Even that small decision can make the difference between you going for that walk and losing time deciding which outfit to wear, and then deciding you’ve run out of time and you’ve lost another day.Prefer yoga or swimming? Put the time in your diary, make sure you have your equipment and do it. Maybe buddy up with a friend.  It doesn’t matter what it is, dancing, tai chi, martial arts, biking, dancing…. Just get it into that diary and commit.I do a gym workout five mornings a week. I don’t think about it, I just get up and do it. And the beauty is that I have that headspace to use for other things because I’m not having that endless conversation with myself about do I want to / don’t I want to.
  1. Take time out for yourself. Get my book and you can read about some of the ways to say ‘NO’. This is a really important thing to do to set boundaries on your time and space. It doesn’t have to be a big time out, it could be a bath with lovely oils, or ten minutes of meditation. Even just taking seven minutes to do some deep breathing – just concentrate on the breath in, breath out – will have major benefits.
  1. Think about food a bit differently. Not only is food fuel for your body, it’s information too. You put in good information – and your cells will convert that information into nutrition. When you reframe your food intake, it might lead to some surprising results.
  1. Make a decision that your health is the biggest priority you have in 2017. Each decision you make, especially the small ones, will impact this. Look, I know you have a million demands on your time. So do I. But if you maintain that your health is your priority – if that is your guiding principle in 2017 – you will get there.Sure, go out to dinner and have fun. Get together with friends and enjoy a night out. Sleep in occasionally. Treat yourself. But even during these times you can make decisions that mean you value yourself.

This year I choose to continue my focus on my body size. It’s taking longer to slim down than I had hoped, but I know I am physically stronger than I was a year ago – so I’m moving in the right direction. I have identified two new habits I need to instil to move me along my path. One is for health, the other for my business.

The first is to ‘surf the urge’. Neuroscientists are discovering that rather than feeding our desires – say that glass of wine at night when you walk in the door, or the cigarette when you get off the train – if we just sit with the need, if we ‘surf the urge’, it goes away. If we give in to it, it gets stronger. I find this profound, because it really gets into the inner workings of our minds.

My second habit is around my business. My days will be more structured – and I have a feeling that will really help me because I won’t be spending time deciding what I’m going do for the day – it will already be in my calendar.

What will YOU choose in 2017?

 

Live life happy! 🙂

Meredith

 

Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine – Even If You’re Not Sick!

You’ve heard laughter is the best medicine right? Well, the science is in and it’s proven to be true!smiley-163510__180

Do you, or does anyone you know, suffer from any of the following?

  • Health concerns such as high blood pressure, heart disease or hypertension?
  • Do you feel blue and want to feel yellow (ie happy and positive)?
  • Do you know you need to exercise but the idea of going to the gym is just not for you?
  • Does your brain feel foggy and you wish you could think more clearly? Is this impacting your performance at work, or enjoying your favourite activities?
  • Do you shove your feelings down and not let them out for fear of… well, just for fear?
  • Do you feel social isolated but hate the idea of ‘joining’ groups?
  • Do you travel for work and find it hard to connect with anyone outside the office?
  • Do you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks?

Then you may need a regular dose of laughter. Laughter can do amazing things for you, including:

  • Helping you stay RESILIENT in the face of life’s challenges
  • Improving your MIND POWER performance through increased oxygen flow to your brain
  • Gives you HEALTH BENEFITS including strengthening your immune system so you can ward against illness, reducing high blood pressure, helping with anxiety, and even aiding those suffering from depression
  • Helping you to MANAGE STRESS, the number one killer in the western world, and
  • Enhancing your mood by releasing ENDORPHINS 
What would you rather be - yellow, or blue?
What would you rather be – yellow, or blue?

Doesn’t that sound fabulous!!!

So how does this work? You attend a Laughter Yoga class!

Laughter Yoga is about fun. It is NOT about turning yourself into a pretzel, or telling bad jokes.

 

You see, our brains don’t know the difference between something that is real and something we imagine.

That means that even when laughter is forced, your body and mind still get the benefits as if you were laughing for real. Think about that. You can do a fake laugh and still get the benefits.

Here are some other great things about Laughter Yoga:

Who can do Laughter Yoga? Everyone. Well, sick, stressed. Old, young, in the middle. Age doesn’t matter.

Where do people do Laughter Yoga? Laughter Yoga is run in hospitals, aged care facilities and schools. At work in big, medium and small businesses, non-profit groups, community groups, private clubs, senior citizens clubs, men’s sheds. And if you’re shy, or don’t want to be around people just yet, Laughter Yoga can also be done one-on-one – in private homes, and by Skype, Zoom or using some other geographically shrinking technology.

Why do people do Laughter Yoga? Because of the benefits that I’ve listed above, and more. It can aid connection for those who are socially isolated. It can help people deal better with pain. It’s terrific exercise as it gets your heart rate going. Science has proven that Laughter Yoga can have a positive affect on many health issues, increases innovation and creative thinking, and just adds more laughter to life!

What if I have mobility issues and can’t get on the floor. No problem! The ‘Yoga’ part of Laughter Yoga is the breathing – there is no need to get on the floor in a pretzel shape! In fact, Laughter Yoga can even be practiced sitting down! So if you are mobility challenged, even to the point of being in a wheelchair – you can still participate in Laughter Yoga.

The great news is that:

I am now a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader and am available to run
a Laughter Yoga class for YOU!
(this is me being presented with my certificate 21 August 2016)

LY cert present

I can take you through a LAUGHTER YOGA class in a big group, a small group, a two-on-one or a one-on-one. We can do this face-to-face (depending on location) or online via Skype, Zoom or using other technology.

A Brief History of Laughter Yoga 

Dr Madan Kataria (a medical doctor) started a small laughter yoga class in a park with four friends in 1995. Although it started with joke telling, it quickly developed into something far more powerful.

Dr Kataria worked with his Yoga teacher wife Madhuri, and incorporated her expertise of Yogic breathing, as well as the findings of the celebrated author Norman Cousins (from his 1979 book Anatomy of an Illness), and the scientific studies of Dr William Fry and Dr Lee Berk PdD, into what is now called Laughter Yoga.

Laughter Yoga is an exercise tens of thousands of people in more 105 countries around the world enjoy.

If you want some laughter in your life, then look no further.

Just email me and we’ll set up a time for you (and maybe your family or friends) to experience the uplifting experience of Laughter Yoga! You won’t be able to stop at one! And my first class is free!

What’s Your Skin Care Routine?

Greetings Girlfriends!

I have recorded a little video to show you how quick and easy it is to follow a skin care routine every day. While you might THINK it takes too long, just watch my video and I’ll prove you wrong.

Not only that – but following a skin care routine means you are looking after yourself – and you are totally worth that.

Check it out here.

And the BIG news is that it is part of my new book which will soon be published. Called The Busy Woman’s Guide to Inner Health and Outer Beauty, it will be available toward the end of next month. I can’t tell you how super excited I am about this and I’ll be sharing more soon.

cheers and big hugs

Meredith

cropped-cropped-201507-me-in-green-copy-200-pixel.jpg

Farewell Dear Friend…

jenny b helen m pierre gail 2

Yesterday was my friend’s funeral. I couldn’t be there – it’s in another country and everything was so sudden and unexpected I just couldn’t make it.

She was 60. It may sound old to some, but she wasn’t. I’ve never known anyone with her stamina. Her stamina for work. Her stamina for friends. Her stamina for party (although I don’t think I ever saw her drunk). She was a force of nature, had just so much energy, a tremendous appetite for life.

She gave everyone and everything 100 percent, all the time.

When I moved to Brisbane from Sydney, I was lucky to have a ready made network with family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. She was one of them. A regular Friday night fish and chips was a welcome end to a busy week, and she would always get in touch to see if I’d be in town and, if so, was I coming along?  She didn’t want me home on my own on a Friday night. Just like her, always caring for others.

Our connection went back years. We met through a mutual friend in Sydney. But Sydney, which even though it is my hometown, it is busy, focused, often angry, so we didn’t have much in common. I know I bought into the strive, strive, strive, climb the corporate ladder attitude for many years.

When I arrived in Brisbane (she had moved up at the same time as our mutual friend some years before), and I started to chill out a bit more, we became friends.

She spent a day with me choosing my wedding gown, and she was a very welcome guest at my wedding. (The photo above was taken at my wedding. She didn’t look any different last time I saw her.)

She honoured my husband and I by doing what we asked – gifts to charity in lieu of wedding gifts. She chose Beyond Blue, if I recall. Just like her, always caring for others.

About four or five years ago, her mother started to suffer badly from dementia. Always having a fear of being institutionalised, she refused to go into care. My friend gave up everything in Australia, returned to New Zealand, to care for her mother. Just like her, always caring for others.

She found work very hard to get in Wellington, but stayed on, at great personal cost. Regardless of the aggressive form of dementia experienced by her mother, my friend honoured her wishes and never placed her in a facility, no matter how much easier her life may have been.

Last year, my friend had a back ache, so went to the doctor who recommended physio treatments. Many sessions of treatment later, there was still no improvement.

Eventually she saw another doctor, who did tests. Those tests eventually showed pancreatic cancer. This was about October. She was told she wouldn’t see Christmas.

Doctors don’t know everything, and they certainly didn’t take into account her determination to live life to the fullest.

I saw her a last time last Christmas, when she returned to Australia to say goodbye to her friends.

On her terms.

A massive group of us turned up to fish and chips at the same old place we always used to go. There must have been about 15 of us – all laughing and eating, just like old times. We ignored the dark spectre hanging over us and just enjoyed the now.

As we were leaving, she was putting her cushion back in a shopping bag which started to disintegrate. She started laughing, I started laughing, and we just held onto each other, laughing at this bag falling to bits.

She got six months more than they though she would. Again, a force of nature. The doctors hadn’t taken into consideration her energy, and her determination to care for her mother, despite her own situation. Just like her, always caring for others. 

Her life ended in a hospice. Finally, someone else caring for her. By all accounts she was much loved by the staff, who basked in her exuberance. Surrounded by friends and family, flowers, love and laughter, she slipped away, gently, softly.

It’s her laughter and exuberance that I will remember. Her kindness that will live on in me.

Thank you for being my friend.

RIP, lovely Gail.

Premature Death Statistic – Are You At Risk?

Another week – how’s yours been?

Last week I posted an entertaining piece about how life has changed over the last hundred years. Things we enjoy now could never even have been dreamed of in the early part of the 20th century.

What I didn’t inlcude was the top five leading causes of death. And I left it out because I wanted to do some research. Well I did, and here it is: Five leading causes of death in 1915 vs 2015

I created this graph to show how our health has changed over a 100 years.

What we see now is really a domination of lifestyle diseases on mortality rates (the 2015 statistics came from the National Health Scheme in the UK and the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Australia.)

Dementia aside (so much is unknown about this condition), our leading causes of illnesses are basically how we treat ourselves. No-one else is doing this to us – but us!

I think that is astounding information. Even more shocking, is that suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.

What can be done about it? The answers are easy to find – but perhaps not so simple to implement.

Here are the top 5 things I do to make sure I don’t end up on this list:

Food – I eat whole foods – farm fresh as often as I can source fruits & vegiesthem. Small amounts of protein (about the size of my palm) and large amounts of plant foods. Lots of nuts and seeds.And I have treats, good quality dark chocolate, and home made things like my paleo mini-muffins are a great way to have something sweet without eating foods laden with highly refined sugars and chemicals. I also make sure I take  good quality pro- and pre-biotics so my gut health is supported.

 

 

SuppNutrisearch independent Comparative Guidelementation – I take a quality nutritional supplement – because no matter how good the quality of my food is, the quality of our soil and modern farming practices have reduced the minerals that are now in our food (more detailed information on this is in my upcoming book – I will certainly let you know when it’s coming out!)

This book on the left here (The Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements) is an independent study of the supplements on the market (there is one for North America, and one for Australia/ New Zealand.) It’s what I used to make my choice for pharmaceutical grade, athlete quality supplements.

 

Exercise – I exercise every day so I’m building muscle, strong bones and flexibility. This will help me as I age because I won’t be at the mercy of falling over, breaking bones and ending up sitting in a chair all day (or worse.) I’ve been sharing my progress on this blog so feel free to go into the Archives and check out what I’ve been doing.

As you probably know if you’ve been reading my blog, I have an exercise physiologist who I see every eight weeks or so, and she reviews my routine and makes adjustments. This last visit saw my weights training move up a significant notch – which I find really exciting and challenging! I’ve found having a ‘coach’ really helps keep me on track.

 

Active mind and social connection – I keep my mind active with reading, researching (for my book as well as for my own benefits), crossword puzzles and word games, sudokus. I keep socially connected through memberships so I get to hang out with interesting people, some who may not have the same ideas as me, which challenges my thinking.
newspaper crossword

 

 

Reflection and gratitude – I meditate regularly and keep a gratitude journal. woman meditating
Reflection helps me focus on quiet and silence, and helps me have a place where I can do some dedicated, mindful breathing. This helps my nervous system stay in the calm place, not the being-chased-by-a-tiger place where I lived in my corporate career.

Gratitude because, well, there is so much to be thankful for: my loving husband, the beautiful place where I live, my ability to travel, good friends – the list goes on. I believe it’s really important to acknowledge how thankful I am for the life I live.

 

What are you doing so you don’t become a victim of your lifestyle? I’d love you to share your suggestions and ideas – that way we can all learn from each other!

If you want to see something truly extraordinary, check out my EnrichYourEnergy Facebook page for the post I did on Thursday 24 March about Ernestine Shepherd, the oldest female body builder in the world. Then try to give yourself an excuse for not caring about yourself!!

Until next week,201507 me in green copy 200 pixel

Cheers, Meredith

Update On My Health And Fitness Journey

I shared my measurements with you last time, and I was pretty pleased with the result.

Here is my update, the first lot of figures were from 17 July 2015, the second lot of figures are from last Wednesday, 16 March 2016.

blood pressure                132/84       132/78

oxygen saturation          98                95

Resting Heart rate         84                 73

Body fat                            45.7              34.2    (this is one of the things I’m happiest about!)

Waist                                  102               96      (half of this I achieved over the past 2 months)

Waist to Hip ration        .94                .86

So how am I doing this? (and I say doing, because I don’t intend to stop).

At the gym, 5 times a week. Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays I do cardio – bike and treadmill, with a bit of rowing and step machine thrown in.

On Tuesdays and Thursday I do weights – so am building strength – strong bones and denser muscles.

And I do yoga at home. And walk along the beach. And wear a Fitbit to make sure I do my 10,000 steps a day, track my activity, and keep my water intake up.

It doesn’t have to be the gym, but I like the discipline of it, it works for me.

I have an exercise physiologist I see every two months to keep me on track. I have realized that really, it’s impossible to achieve great things without a coach of some sort – whether it’s exercise or business or changing behaviors – a coach or support of some sort really helps make the difference by keeping you accountable.

DSCF3399Think about it!
Until  next time,
Cheers, Meredith

 

 

Measuring For Success – My Story

Hi there,

I just have to share this because I’m so excited!

As part of my healthy for life focus, I’ve got myself an exercise physiologist. She helps me by giving me a program of weights and stretches that is customised for me. I have a number of stretches I do every day, and a weights program I follow at the gym 2-3 times a week.

Some of my goal is to shed kilos, but my main goal is to be fit and healthy – and strong – as I age. Strong bones and muscles are essential as you get older as they can stop nasty things happening – like a hip breaking then falling over (people think it happens the other way around, but often an older person’s bones are just too brittle to hold them up and they snap.) I really don’t want that happening to me!

_DSC0049Anyway, like I said, I have a program I follow. My beloved laminated each of the individual exercises/stretches for me, and I looped them onto a key ring and carabiner so I could keep them with me when I travel. Pretty nifty huh!

 

 

MEASUREMENT

Because healthy weight (not weight LOSS) is my goal,  I have been thinking about the best measurements to use to track my progress.  (Our brains are wired to want to find what we lose – maybe that’s why so many diets – about 95% – fail.)

The scales can be useless. Women sometimes retain water, which shows up on the scales and makes them seem heavier than they really are. I have even seemed to put on 2 kilos in a 24 hour period – which is pretty ridiculous really! The other thing to remember is that muscle is denser than fat – so as you strengthen your muscles, it can appear you are putting on weight, where what’s really happening is you are getting stronger. woman measring waist

So I look for other measurements. Such as measuring my waist, hips, upper arms and thighs. These have seen a decrease in the last six months, with my waist being 3 centimetres smaller than it was last October – a really good start. (By the way, this photo is not me, mine are below.)

Another measurement I use is the rowing machine. I row as fast as I can on setting 5 for 250 meters. In the last four months I have shaved 8 seconds off my row – going from 116 seconds to 108 (most recently again this morning. I have reached 106 once too – but really need repeated achievements before I use it as a new benchmark.)

girl-putting-bra-25487218

But even better for me is my flexibility is improving. And the best measurement for that is putting on a gym bra. I don’t know about you, but my gym bras just seem to be tighter around the chest than my other bras, so I usually do them up at my front, then twist them around so the catch is at the back. Twice in the last few days I’ve been able to reach around and do my bra up at the back! (I wear these bras when I’m going to run on the treadmill as I’ve not found a sports crop top-style that keeps me from bouncing.)

So there you are. Some tips on how to measure your success.

Here is a before and after photo of me. If you look carefully in the ‘before’ photo, you’ll see my very large middle.

Before
Before – see that middle!

 

After (well, during really - I'm still on the journey)
After (well, during really – I’m still on the journey)

Other measurements, thanks to the gizmo my exercise physiologist has, are my body fat reduction (down 1.4%), and my blood pressure – down from 132/84 (which isn’t too bad really) to 102/74 – hit that one right out of the ballpark!

So when you are working to achieve your goals, think carefully about the measures of success you’ll use, and choose a variety so you don’t get hooked on just one, as this can bring your mood down, and affect your motivation, if you don’t see a change.

Until next week,

Cheers!

Meredith Yardley

201507 me in green copy 200 pixel

Five Fabulous Tips For Healthy, Beautiful Skin

We often take our skin for granted. We go out in all weathers (because we have to) and it burns, gets dried by the wind, gets affected by smog, pollution and radiation (from things like TVs and computers).

Some of us smoke, drink too much alcohol, party and/or work too hard. We push ourselves.

Our skin is extraordinary. It keeps our insides in, and the bacteria and nasties out. Mostly. And rarely do we think about this wonderful organ, our biggest organ, in fact – seriously.

Just think about that for a moment…. 

When we think of looking after our organs we think heart, lungs, liver, kidneys but often don’t put a lot of thought into caring for our skin. And I’m not just talking about skin care (although that does play a part.)

There are many things we can do to look after our skin, so here are 5 Fabulous Tips:

  1. Drink lots of water. I know, I know, boring huh? You read it everywhere. But why? And how much? The current thinking is eight glasses a day – which is about eight cups (a cup is 250ml). It’s not hard to do and won’t make you pee all day once your body has adjusted. And you can infuse your water too. Mix ginger and mint; or any citrus and ginger or other herbs; you can steep lemon balm and then cool it down; you can add berries, too for natural flavour (whatever you use should be tossed out within 48 hours). Hydration plumps your cells, which helps reduce wrinkles. Just as an example, Elle McPherson drinks three litres of water a day – and her skin looks terrific! .
    I drink at least two litres of water a day and I’m really seeing the benefits.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep. We are often so pushed during the day and then sleep eludes us at night, creating a vicious cycle. Here are some tips that might help you if you have trouble sleeping:
    • have a cool bedroom, 22 degree celsius is ideal
    • don’t have animals or children in bed with you, as they can interrupt your sleep
    • turn down the lights gradually two hours before retiring, so your body is gets ready
    • don’t eat dinner within three hours of retiring, and don’t snack after dinner
    • avoid stimulants such as vigorous exercise, coffee, alcohol or sugar before bed
    • keep all electronics (TV, mobile phone, tablet) out of the bedroom (a red-light clock radio is ok), and don’t look into any of these items within two hours of retiring. These items shine on the back of your retina, tricking your brain into staying awake
    • write in your journal, listen to gentle music, do a five minute meditation or reflection before turning out the light, as this will calm your mind
  3. Remove your make up before bed. Night time is when our skin replenishes and renews, so don’t make the job too hard! It only takes a minute or so each night, but will help give you a lifetime of clear skin.
  4. Use a quality skin care (click here to see what I use). This includes making sure it is free of any nasty chemicals such as parabens, sodium laurel suphates (SLS), triclosans, and formaldehyde, just to name a few. If you want a full list of the nasty stuff cosmetic companies have been known to include in their products, check out what Dr David Suzuki at the Environmental Working  Group has to say. The EWG has a load of consumer information about what’s really in our cosmetics, and our food. Choose skincare that is botanically based, free of nasty chemicals, is full of vitamins and antioxidants. Look for a range that is truly nutritious, one that will support cell strength, as this will help you keep wrinkles at bay!
  5. Eat loads of Omega 3 fats. Sources include salmon and tuna (fresh and wild, not canned and farmed), nuts such as walnuts and macadamias, flaxseeds, avocado, olives. Why? These fats strengthen the cell wall, which serves two purposes:
    1) they acts as a barrier to nasties wanting to get into your cells, and
    2) they act as a pathway for nutrients to move in and out of the cells. These foods also help reduce inflammation in our bodies – and inflammation can increase the look of aging skin.
    omega 3s
    There are many people who can’t eat what is required for a diet rich in Omega 3’s – and if you are one of those there are quality nutritional supplements you can take that can make like easier for yo
    u.  There is much public discussion about the value of supplementation – some say we don’t need it, some say we do. My personal view is that our farming practices are so tainted and our food so reduced in vitamins and minerals, through over farming and use of pesticides, herbicides and even worse, GMO, that supplementation is a necessity for good health (and, for what it’s worth, the American Medical Association agrees). Nutrisearch independent Comparative Guide
    If you do choose supplementation, do yourself a favour and don’t just buy what’s on sale in the supermarket, or even the pharmacy or drug store. Do you research, or check
    ut what I take – I’ve done LOADS of research and have found what I think are the best – and the independent Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements agrees. It pays to be particularly careful of taking fish oil – you want to be guaranteed that the mercury and other toxins, so prevalent in many fish today, have been safely removed.

So these are just a few tips on how to look after your skin. I’m currently writing my first book on keeping your skin healthy and beautiful, and will certainly let you know when you can get a copy when I’m done!

Until then, stay healthy, and care for yourself!

cheers, Meredith

Me in August 2015
Me in August 2015

I Am A Corporate Refugee

When I was 16 I left school and worked in a curtain factory. I didn’t like school, it had ridiculous rules like having to wear hats and gloves (yes gloves!), so much of it didn’t make sense to me. And I wanted to earn my own money. I couldn’t wait to grow up and make my own decisions about my life. So I got a job in a small family business which I did for about a year.

manual typewriterThen my grandparents (who wisely saw there wasn’t much of a future for me where I was) asked if I’d like to go to a business college and learn clerical skills. I have always loved the new and exciting, and of course said ‘yes’. And I learned to type on one of these! Who remembers these old manual typewriters?

I also learned shorthand (which I didn’t keep doing – of course wish like crazy I could do it now), bookkeeping (which I never maintained), and other clerical activities.

My typing was fast (could have been more accurate), and jobs were easy to get back in the early 1980s, so I didn’t have much of a problem finding employment. And I am so glad I was given that opportunity of because keyboard skills are really needed now!

I did a number of clerical, typing, and secretarial roles until I got what was a dream job for me and a huge change of pace – working on a major newspaper. In fact, I was third generation on this newspaper. One of my grandmother’s brothers had worked there, then my mother and father met there (they were journalists), and then I worked there for eight years as the personal assistant to the Editor. It was a very exciting time and I loved most of it! No two days were alike, and I liked being at the centre of the news during really exciting (and sometimes tragic) events like the first and second Gulf Wars, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the Newcastle earthquake (NSW, Australia), and major sporting events.

One day one of the other secretaries popped into my office to tell me she’d been accepted at university to study by distance. I didn’t even know there was such a thing.  She told me why she was doing it and a thought popped into my head “If she can do it, I can do it”.

So I applied to three universities and was accepted by all three, chose one, and started studying for my Bachelor of Arts.studying-learning-pile

This was a major change for me, and if I’d thought about it at any length I probably would have talked myself out of it. Luckily I didn’t because I became hooked on learning and discovered I was a pretty good student. University was nothing like school, it was real learning. Putting forward an opinion and backing up your thoughts. Researching. Critical thinking. Philosophy, Literature. My world just opened up.

All the time I was studying, I was working too, climbing that corporate ladder. I decided the career path I wanted was to be head of the Communication department of a major Australian corporate business. So I chose to do a Masters of Arts in Communication Management. That’s what all the hard work was for, right? To climb the corporate ladder? So I worked hard, got one job after another and made a small name for myself in the media, public relations and communication industry.

About 10 years ago I was offered, and accepted, a job I didn’t even know existed, by a global multinational corporation. I was hired for my communication skills in a space called ‘Change Management’. The idea was that I would go into a large corporate, with a number of other people who had complementary skills, and help the staff adopt, and adapt to, a new way of working. This was usually because a new technology was being rolled out and the way they did their jobs was going to change.

This was a huge change for me. I was in the big sandpit! Firstly, I had to learn a whole new business language. I needed to use tried and proven strategies and methodologies. And I needed to travel. In fact, as most people travel to work by train, bus, ferry or car, I mostly travelled by aeroplane. I’d fly out about 6am on a Monday, and return home on Friday evening. Sometimes these jobs would go on for months.

I was earning good money, flying around the country working for different corporate businesses, and working hard to make a positive difference in people’s lives. And I really enjoyed it.

Most of the time.

But then I really started to feel the social dislocation that comes from only being at home on weekends. I couldn’t sign up to a yoga class, or take on a hobby, because I didn’t know where I’d be from one week to another. So my life continued to be work, work and more work. I started to study again, thinking a Change Management diploma would be a smart idea.

I even moved house from one state to another in Australia for a particular role.

And this led me to another major change in my life. I met my beloved husband. This is us on our wedding day

our wedding day     wedding pix 105

We met in January 2010, and married in July 2010. And we realized that the life I was living as a single corporate woman was not congruent with marriage harmony. It’s hard to feel close to someone who spends over half their life away from you.

So I quit. Just like that. And I must admit, took a year off working because I was simply exhausted. I hadn’t realised how burnt out I was, not just the working and traveling, but I really didn’t look after myself very well during this time. At one stage I was so ill I nearly contracted pneumonia.

After a year of doing not much at all but enjoying myself, I decided I wanted to work for myself. No more making someone else rich, I wanted to reap the benefits of my hard work directly.

After a couple of false starts I discovered what my inner self had known all along – I am passionate about change – about supporting people to help them make it work for them. I followed the John De Martini method of discovering my other values and came to the conclusion that I could combine all the things I love into a business – change and growth, health, food, travel, inner peace and mindset.

And Enrich Your Energy was born.

I have worked hard to learn a bunch of new skills too (I never stop studying!) Some of my skills from my corporate days have come in handy in my new life, but some skills I have had to learn. And for many of these I have learned at the feet of an Australian master – Benjamin J Harvey. His business (with his business partner Cham), Authentic Education, has opened up my world, helped me to develop new skills, and capitalise on my existing skills to really be a change agent to help people who want to get the most out of their lives.

So because of my willingness to embrace change, I am now running my own business, I have a product partner who I trust completely (click here to discover how you can support your health as I do mine), and a beloved husband who is on his own road to being healthier.

I have learned a bunch of new stuff. I even have a Nutrition Certificate from Sanoviv Medical Institute, a Coaching Certificate in Heart-Centred Coaching from Direct Selling World Alliance. And I continue to learn and read and study.

And the best bit is,  I help other people embrace change in their lives too – to help them identify, and then achieve their own health and lifestyle goals.

So now you know my story.  If I can help you, please get in touch.

Me in August 2015
Me in August 2015
Us, 5 years married
My beloved and me, 5 years married