Mixing Yoga, Burgers & Mexican for Healthy Weight Week

As part of Healthy Weight Week we joined forces with The Wayside Chapel Day 2 Day Living (D2DL) group and Yoga Pilates Connect founder, Lauren, to deliver a morning of yoga, meditation and a healthy burger cook-up with a Mexican twist! Day 2 Day Living is one of the programs Wayside runs with people experiencing social isolation and long-term mental ill-health. The aim of the program is to increase the community involvement amongst the group and assist participants to develop new skills or re-learn old ones, develop social networks, build confidence and accomplish personal goals. 

Don't worry, you can enjoy this healthy, delish feast too with the recipes below - courtesy of Lauren Bunce, Yoga Pilates Connect

The treasures you find

Ask almost anyone who knows me, I am an avid activewear wearer. A lot of the time I am doing actual active things in my activewear, however I'm also a text book example of someone who eats, dates, works, shops and sometimes even naps in it too. It's a pretty solid obsession which is why it was fun to collaborate with Vinnies Australia to showcase the activewear treasures you can find in the Vinnies stores around Australia. The outfits from this project were all sourced from the local Bondi Vinnies store. In addition to it being a sustainable fashion choice, all profits from Vinnies stores around Australia are reinvested back in local communities and programs to assist people experiencing disadvantage and homelessness around Australia. 

We will be running a special 'Sweat for the Good Stuff' event on Tuesday 14th March at 7:30pm at Peaches Pilates. Find out more here. 

Photography & Styling: Tara Castellan

What is Social Isolation Anyway?

Tackling social isolation is the underlying goal of everything we do at Lovesweats. But what does social isolation even mean? Below is my interpretation...

First off, social isolation isn’t synonymous with being alone. You can be surrounded by people and still feel isolated, and you can also choose to be alone and feel blissful solitude. There are also two forms of social isolation - actual and perceived.

‘Actual’ social isolation is typically defined as lack of quality social connections and low levels of participation in and/or exclusion from society. Whereas ‘perceived’ social isolation is more focussed around feelings of loneliness and a perceived lack of social support. Both are relevant and are a cause and an effect of a number of physical and mental health problems.

It can be a cycle disconnectedness. For example someone experiencing mental ill health may choose to withdraw from society to avoid stigmatisation and in turn, this decrease in quality social engagement may increase their levels of isolation and loneliness.

Research suggests that there is a reciprocal relationship between between loneliness, social isolation and physical health, including increased inflammation and low immune systems. Does this mean that in some cases you could reduce your pain and inflammation levels by a daily increase in the length of your hugs, eye contact and deepening the intimacy of your conversations?

For anyone that wants to join this conversation and learn more about this topic, we will be running a community event soon and delving a little deeper into the impact that social isolation has on health and wellbeing. Keep your eyes peeled! 

 

Love S x

A Sneak Peek into our Collaboration with The Kind Tribe

We spent the other morning with our mates at The Kind Tribe putting together a special mini sequence that is easy to do at home, travelling or wherever you may be. It incorporates a number of forward bends to ignite the parasympathetic nervous system, focuses on the flow of breath and creates simple movement to allow you to tune into your body and get out of your own head. It's awesome to target stress, anxiety and just give you a general boost of goodness! It will be coming to The Kind Tribe & Lovesweats soon so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, check out our sneak peek below.  

I Think I Overthink

I see this Lovesweats blog platform as an opportunity to learn, share, and raise awareness about all things relating to social isolation, health and anything that might help to add a little extra goodness to someone’s day. It’s always hard to get the ball rolling though! I’ve brainstormed several post ideas and find myself somewhat conflicted with how I approach certain topics, particularly discussions around mental health and other topics that correlate with social isolation. I think this is because these subject areas are sensitive and throwing around opinions and (unqualified) advice in these areas has potential to do more damage than good. This is why, to start with at least until it evolves into another style that I feel comfortable with, my approach to writing about mental health stuff is to share my own experiences, musings and things that I have found helpful. They may or may not interest everyone but if the pointers or tips help just one person, I figure they aren’t lost! Now, this might seem like I am over-thinking this a little, treading too carefully so not to risk offending or hurting someone (and sometimes I even wonder if this might be the case) which actually leads me to my first blog topic - Overthinking and How to Tackle it. 

I am a self-confessed, serial overthinker. I’m awesome at it, I think it’s my wild imagination that makes me so talented at it. I’m also an introverted, closet overthinker (which I guess I’m contradicting right now by sharing but that’s beside the point ha). What do I mean by this? I’m not a big complainer, am rather laid-back and overall would consider myself pretty optimistic, however I sure as hell can turn little situations and future scenarios into a mega, internal stress-fest in my head which in turn creates a lot of useless anxiety. Most of the time, I’m even aware I’m doing it but still find it hard to kick the habit. Anyway before this becomes a digital therapy session, let me get to my point on how I’m trying to tackle this...

A personal development goal of mine for this year is to learn and ritualise helpful techniques & tools that help me to kick this overthinking habit. Now, I already know a few things that help me - things like yoga (which is why this is such a big component of Lovesweats), getting outdoors in the salt, sand, ocean, bush, and every other amazing place out there, and last but not least having a good old chuckle with a loved one or just by myself (yes I’m also a bit of a self-confessed oddball). 

Below are a few new habits I’m trialling & how I’m finding them so far!

1. Smiling Mind

This app is epic - engaging & easy to follow content mixed with an equally great user experience! Developed by psychologists, and based on mindfulness meditation techniques, there are programs for adults, children, teens, as well as specific programs for sport, work and school. With stacks of sessions and modules on offer, the aim of Smiling Mind is to build, support and develop healthy minds at all stages of life. I’ve started working my way through the adult program, which includes ten modules (42 sessions) of pre-emptive mental health tools and guided meditations. I’m about 12 sessions in and so far the short meditations, bite-size lessons and activities have focussed on using senses and visualisations to stay in the present moment. I’m trying to get into the pattern of doing a sesh once a day, either in the morning or night and then quickly jotting down a few sentences about my experience after. More on that in point 2 below! I would consider myself a bit of a meditation novice, having only really dabbled in meditation at yoga retreats or one off sessions, and i think this app is the perfect fit for my experience level. I’ve also started using it in some of the Lovesweats yoga sessions I run with vulnerable communities around Syd at places like Wayside Vinnies and Rough Threads. It means I can still incorporate a mindfulness exercise into the sesh, while learning it at the same time! The app is also totally free to download and use which makes it easily accessible too.

2. Reflecting on it

As mentioned above, I have tried to undertake a mini reflection post Smiling Mind sesh! Checking in with how I feel, any challenges and the types of thoughts that started to arise (if any). This is an interesting exercise to uncover patterns that might not be that obvious without writing them down. So far, I have noticed that when my mind tends to wander during a sesh it is usually to relatively insignificant tasks or conversations (like sending emails, asking someone a question, or paying a bill), but despite knowing these are relatively insignificant they still cause a spike in my anxiety levels..that is, until I am guided by the instructor to view these thoughts as clouds passing by or leaves floating in the river, and I am able to refocus. Seems simplistic but it really helps! The second type of thought-train I’ve noticed I default to is self-doubt. Self-doubt about a whole mix of random things that weren't consciously on my mind before I started the meditation but as soon as I’m sitting in silence and stillness they seem to rear their head. This is until, the friendly, calm voice in the mediation reassures you that having your mind wander is totally normal and guides you back to the breath. I’m finding it really interesting tracking these thought patterns and am keen to see where it leads the further I get into the modules.

3. Social Media ban first up in morn

This isn’t necessarily a morning electronics ban but instead getting into the habit of scrolling news or something with a bit more substance the first time I su my phone. In a very non-scientific and unquantified way, I would probably rate the frequency of my social media use as averageish however I feel like since starting the Lovesweats insta, I find myself spending more time than I used to contemplating post content, filters and level of engagement. This time is scattered throughout the day and I definitely notice a shift in my mood when I disengage from real life and focus on the digital world instead. I totally understand that a considerable level of time and effort is involved when growing a brand and have no qualms about that, however, for me I think being more controlled with when I spend this time would be beneficial, not to mention way more productive. Hence why I’m starting with the social media ban first up in the morning. I have tried this on and off a number of times and definitely notice a positive difference. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes this round!   

 via @mindfullyashleigh

via @mindfullyashleigh

LOVE

S x