Owen O’Kane: “The more we fight life, the more we struggle”

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Psychotherapist and author of Ten to Zen, Ten Times Happier and now How To Be Your Own Therapist, joins our podcast to discuss working on yourself, managing change and addressing your internal tone

Owen O’Kane: “The more we fight life, the more we struggle”

Owen O’Kane believes wholeheartedly in the power of good therapy. As someone who was previously a NHS Clinical Lead for Mental Health, and is now working in private practice as well as writing and speaking publicly about the subject, he’s all too aware of the stress on the system and the need for more support for many more people.

This is why the idea for his most recent book How To Be Your Own Therapist came about. “It’s not a replacement of one to one therapy,” he shares honestly. “But my argument is, if it gets someone started or it helps them to make sense of who they are and on the road to recovery, then I’ve done my job.

“Very often one word, a line or a suggestion can sometimes make an incredible difference in someone’s life”, he explains. “We think it has to be complicated but very often it doesn’t. For example, in my line of work, I see people talking to themselves in a really cruel harsh way, regularly, and the one thing that I reinforce a lot in my book is if you can help someone stop doing that then their life transforms immeasurably.”

Owen on

Internal Tone

“How are you talking to yourself? I'd really encourage anyone listening or reading today to really ask themselves that question. If you wouldn't speak to another human being the way you're speaking to yourself, then that's where you need to get started.

“Give yourself permission to be who you are and feel what you're feeling and then make the decision to say to yourself “I'm going to look after you, it's okay. I've got you”. When you begin to make those adjustments, it's a game changer.”

Change

“In psychology, we often talk about anxiety and depression and trauma but something we probably don't talk about enough is adjustment disorders, which are very often linked to changes in life. And of course, adjustment disorders will present as anxiety, changes in mood or people can develop behaviours that are maybe a bit more obsessional or habitual.

“This can play out in many different ways for people. And I think as human beings, many of us are hardwired for predictability. If you look at a definition of anxiety, it's an intolerance of uncertainty. So basically we, as human beings, tend not to tolerate uncertainty very well.

“Very often we want life to go a particular way and we have a notion about how life should be. However, life often delivers a complete opposit

How To Create A Home Gym On A Budget

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Sharing tips on how to create a home gym on a budget and what equipment you really need.

Hi friends! Hope you’re enjoying the day so far and that all of my dad friends had a happy Father’s Day!

For this post, I wanted to chat about how to set up a home gym and what equipment you need, especially since many of us are still working out at home, or you might be considering creating a home gym on a budget.

Home gyms are getting even more popular since the pandemic started and there are SO MANY benefits to having your own gym at home. One of my favorite parts is that there’s zero commute time, and if the kids are home, I can just get in a workout while they play or watch a show.

Creating a home gym can be a bit challenging if you have a limited budget (some gym technology and gear is pricey!) but there are ways you can create a home gym that works for your needs without breaking the bank. You can also customize it based on what you like to do and what products you think you really need.

Before I get started, I just want to emphasize the fact that you don’t need fancy or expensive equipment to get in a great workout. All you need to get an awesome workout is a plan, sneakers that fit you, and motivation. Anything else is just a bonus.

How To Create A Home Gym On A Budget:

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Take advantage of what you already have and create a wish list for future items

Create a list or spreadsheet with the items you currently have and prioritize the ones you have your eye on.

Create a budget and estimate expenses

Determine a total spending budget and after doing some searching online, you can estimate how much your total gym set-up will cost.

Invest in multi-tasking tools at first

An example of this is if you’re looking for strength training equipment, find something that you can use for multiple things (like dumbbells) and is versatile, before expanding into different products in the same theme (like barbells, kettlebells, etc.)

Create a dedicated workout space

This can be a full room in your house, a garage, an office corner, whatever you have the room to use. If you don’t have a dedicated space, you could even store your workout items in a closet in a large bin. If space is an issue, focus on the items that don’t take up a ton of room (like resistance bands, jump rope, small Pilates ball, etc.)

Buy secondhand equipment

I usually get lucky on Facebook marketplace, or when you hear about gyms closing or relocating, they’re often looking to sell their equipment (if they didn’t lease it).

Choose equipment you will actually use!

This one seems obvious but don’t purchase anything you won’t be excited to use in your routine. 🙂 A spin bike makes a lovely clothing rack but would be a waste of money.

Here are some of my top home gym essentials!

Home Gym Essentials

How To Make Ice Cream Without A Machine

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The most popular question I’ve ever received on this website is whether you can make ice cream without a machine.

The answer is YES. You can make ice cream without a machine.

How To Make Ice Cream Without A Machine

Homemade Ice Cream Without A Machine

With 70+ ice cream recipes to choose from, that question comes up a few times a week, if not daily through the warmer months.

While I’ve described this method repeatedly in comments and emails through the years, it was past time to shoot some step-by-step photos and explain in detail in one post that can be easily referred back to.

Homemade Ice Cream Made Without An Ice Cream Maker

Besides, who would ever turn down the chance to make some more ice cream, right?

There are a LOT of photos provided here to illustrate what the ice cream should look like at each step of the process.

If you aren’t here for the full tutorial, make use of that handy “Jump To Recipe” button at the top of the page.

How To Make Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Maker

Stir together your ice cream mixture and chill it if it isn’t cold already. Pour it into an 8-10 inch square baking dish.

I typically use this metal pan (because it freezes so quickly) however a glass pan will also work.

First freeze - ice cream without a machineRead more

4 compassionate steps to take on the really bad days when your mental health is at its lowest

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For those times, when even the simple things feel impossible, try this

4 compassionate steps to take on the really bad days when your mental health is at its lowest

Good and bad mental health days are something many of us will cycle through at some point in our lives, and, usually, we have strategies in place to keep on going about our daily routines. But, when things get really bad, those usual strategies can feel out of reach, and the thought of doing anything can feel overwhelming.

When that happens, show yourself compassion, and try these four, basic steps for taking care of yourself.

1. Take time off work

In the UK, there is no legal difference between taking a sick day for a mental health problem, and taking a day off for a physical problem – and the process of arranging a mental health day is just the same; you simply need to follow your workplace’s usual sick day policy.

Legally, you don’t have to tell your workplace why you’re off sick, and a doctor’s note will usually not include any sensitive information. However, if you are comfortable speaking to your manager or HR about what you’re going through, it may help them understand how they can better support you on your return to work.

2. Basic hygiene

Letting personal hygiene fall by the wayside is a very common side-effect of mental illnesses like depression, PTSD, and sensory processing disorders. Even among those without a specific condition, habits and routines that might normally be second nature can slip down the priority list.

Of course, feeling better is never as simple as just taking a shower and washing it all away – but taking care of yourself on the outside can make a difference to how you’re feeling on the inside. Think about all the things you would usually do when you’re feeling better (i.e. taking a shower, putting on deodorant, washing your face, brushing your teeth). If that feels overwhelming, or if the thought of having to do all of it puts you off altogether, try to just do one thing, and see how you go from there.

3. Stay hydrated

When we’re dehydrated, our bodies start to shut down – and when you consider how mental health problems are caused by brain activity, and dehydration causes our brain functions to slow down, it’s easy to see how the two are linked.

The best way to get into habits is to remove all barriers to achieving them, so try to make sure that you have a bottle of water near you that you can take sips from throughout the day. Alternatively, suck on ice cubes, have some fruit juice or herbal or green tea, or set regular reminders on your phone to pour yourself a glass of water if you’re prone to forgetting.

4. Get some fresh air

Fresh air and exercise’ is a common recommendation for good physical health, and mental health is just the same. Numerous studies have linked spending time in nature to an improvement in wellbeing, and breathing in oxygen-rich air is invariably going to support our brain function.

Of course, on the really bad days, when energy is a finite resource, setting off on a 5K hike probably isn’t realistic. But if you can get outside, give it a go. If not, airing out your home by opening some windo

Asian Steak Marinade

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Asian Steak Marinade

We love our steak fajitas marinade recipe but I couldn’t stop thinking about putting an Asian twist on it, and thus, our Asian steak marinade was born!

We have a little secret with the steak too, so keep reading to get all the dets.

a photo of thin slices of asian marinated flank steaks stopped with chopped scallions with a side of cucumber salad.

 

The Secret is in the Steak

I couldn’t find plain skirt or flank steak at the store, so I bought carne asada instead. Just the store brand raw meat but it was already flavored. Worked amazing!!! So if you’re short on time, definitely go with this option. If you want to go totally homemade, I’ll include our own spice rub recipe in the recipe card below. You’ll apply the rub before putting the steak in the marinade.

Ingredients for Asian Steak Marinade

This dry rub and marinade is so easy! All you do is combine everything together and rub it on the steak and then pour the marinade on the steak in a plastic bag.

  • Skirt or Flank Steak – either one will work, and look for a pre-seasoned one for extra easy cooking

For the Rub

For the Marinade

  • Rice Vinegar – adds acidity
  • Pineapple Juice – adds a little sweetness and tang
  • Soy Sauce – low sodium, great for tenderizing the meat because it breaks down the tough proteins
  • Garlic – freshly minced
  • Ginger – adds that signature Asian flavor
  • Light Brown Sugar – adds sweetness and richness
  • Red Chili Flakes – adds a little heat, feel free to add more if you like it spicy
  • Scallions – for garnish

The full recipe with the measurements and complete instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

 
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