Health

A 5-post collection

Reflect, recharge, and go

By the end of 2022 I was feeling exhausted. I desperately needed a break.

I'm uncertain if I really got a considerable break over Christmas — we hosted Christmas at our house for the first time, I cooked for eight people, and we headed up to Scotland for New Year celebrations.

It was fun, but it wasn’t entirely relaxing.

It was different, though — different to the usual schedule of work, the usual stress and the usual ups and downs of a working week.

Critically, I managed to reflect on 2022, and I spent some time thinking about 2023.

I’ve started January of this year with a few intentions:

  • Don’t eat meat (at least for January)
  • Exercise daily
  • Get to bed by 10pm
  • Wake up before 7am

We’ll have to check in on these as February rolls around, let alone January 2024. But I have intentions and I am feeling positive about all of them so far.

Upon further reflection though, I know I am guilty of a cycle — every January, I feel re-energised, I start afresh, I have great intentions, and I carry them out. I’ve even written on this blog about them (often I write when my energy is highest, too):

Perhaps my more profound realisation heading into 2023 is that even the greatest of intentions can be weighed down and held back — by external forces, by lack of energy, by drifting without realising.

Why don't I have any intentions as September rolls around? Why did my writing, my exercise, my routine fall off mid-to-late last year? Why does that happen almost every year?

In 2023, my most important intention is to not wait until December to reflect, recharge, and reassess myself.

There is too much I want to achieve in this life to let a month slip by.

I will take more time to check in with myself, to reflect on how I’m feeling, how I’m spending my time, and to recharge my batteries to make every day count.

Here’s to a fulfilling 2023.

Episode 14 of Lost and Founder — The January Blues

In my first episode of Lost and Founder of 2022, I talk about how I’m getting through the darkest month of the year, and why January can actually be a great time reflect, reset, and build a stronger you for the year ahead.

I always find January a tough month — all the fun and excitement of Christmas and new years is over, the weather is awful, it’s dark outside, and to top it all off we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic.

But fear not, there’s a world of opportunity out there! I’m spending some time at the start of January to reflect on 2021. I’m not setting myself huge audacious goals because I don’t know what the future holds, and I know the chances of success are low unless I use my previous experience to inform my future actions.

Don’t get caught up in all the “new year, new you” nonsense — be careful what you read on social media! Instead, look at yourself, spend time reflecting on your own successes and where things could have gone better, and use that to channel your next steps as you enter the new year.

Actions / take aways

  • Go easy on yourself — the last two years have been hard on all of us.
  • It’s never too late to reflect — if you haven’t already, you still have time to reflect on 2021.
  • You don’t have to make new years resolutions — instead get clearer on your values.
  • If you are clear on your values, channel your thinking around small habits you can adopt day by day rather than setting huge unwieldy goals.
  • Give yourself something to look forward to at the end of January — like a trip to somewhere you like, a gift to yourself, or some other treat.

Thanks, and see you next time!

Music: Jakarta by Bonsaye. Podcast hosting: Transistor.

Episode 11 of Lost and Founder — What to do when Everything Breaks

After a brief hiatus, I'm back for the eleventh episode of Lost and Founder.

This week I share why it's so important to take a break, to rest, and recharge your batteries.

I’ve spoken a lot about habits and healthy routines on the podcast in previous episodes, but this week I wanted to change the focus to what happens when you fall out of touch with those routines and start to feel overwhelmed.

It's so important to give yourself time to rest and recharge — it's only by pausing you can truly reset and move forward stronger.

As the renowned street artist Banksy once said: "Learn to rest, not to quit."

Actions / take aways

  • Find ways to check in with yourself to understand how you're feeling.
  • If you feel you're overwhelmed or struggling, don't be afraid to pause and rest.
  • Every so often a reset is what you need — take the time you need to get back on track.
  • You might not need a holiday — sometimes just a day to yourself can help.
  • If you've been stuck in the same surroundings, try getting into a different environment — a coffee shop works for me.

Thanks, and see you next time!

Music: Jakarta by Bonsaye. Podcast hosting: Transistor.

Episode 10 of Lost and Founder — Time Management

We've reached the considerable milestone of episode 10 of Lost and Founder — thank you, dear listener!

In this episode, I talk through what I have learned about time management — from how I’ve been using my calendar instead of a to-do list, to the importance of making time for reflection each week.

I hope you enjoy the show — even if I say so myself, I felt like this was a good one.

“The secret to doing good research is to always be a little underemployed; you waste years by not being able to waste hours.” — Amos Tversky

Actions and take aways

  • Take time each week to reflect, and map your time. Book in 15 minutes this week.
  • Try using a calendar instead of your to-do list to plan your tasks.
  • Keep meetings to fixed days in the week — like Mondays and Tuesdays, to free up your other days for deeper work.
  • Wrap up meetings with 5-minute breaks in between to refresh and re-energise.
  • Close your email and only open it at fixed times in the day.
  • Enable "Do Not Disturb" on your devices.
  • Don’t be afraid to pause, and make time for you. You can’t spend every waking hour being productive — you will eventually crash.
  • We each have different limits — so try to find what works best for you.

Thanks, and see you next time!

Music: Jakarta by Bonsaye. Podcast hosting: Transistor.

Tracking Nutrition – the missing half of Apple Fitness

Hot Dog Not Hot Dog – the ultimate in AI food detection from HBO's Silicon Valley

I'm increasingly obsessed with my own fitness.

I've been closing my rings on my Apple Watch ever since I first put it on my wrist back in 2015.

Through the pandemic and working from home, Apple Fitness+ became a helpful motivator for getting me to try new workouts and experiment with yoga, meditation, heck even dance – all without leaving the house.

I don't feel overweight – I feel "just about right" – but as I shift into a new decade of my life, I'm increasingly concious of the fact that I won't be able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, forever.

So I recently started using a great app, LoseIt! to help track the other half of my fitness – what I consume. While Apple Watch tracks my ability to lose calories and keep fit, LoseIt! tracks what I put in – helping me to balance that all important equation: "calories IN minus calories OUT = a negative number" if I want to lose weight.

I'm new to this calorie counting game – I never thought I'd be "one of those people" who asks how many calories are in a meal or in a cereal bar. I never thought I'd be someone who said no to a sweet treat. But increasingly – I am thinking twice about every snack I eat, and every portion of food I see on a plate.

Along with tracking the calories I'm consuming, I'm also trying to keep track of WHEN I eat food. I've been trying to obey a stricter schedule for when I wake, when I eat each meal, and when I get to sleep. According to some, WHEN you eat is just as important, if not more so than WHAT you eat.

I'm concious that when I eat, I am usually with people – friends, family, my partner, colleagues. I don't want to be sitting with a plate of delicious food poking at an app trying to add things to a calorie tracking app. Instead, I have found the least distracting, most effective solution is to simply snap a quick photo as subtley as I can of the meal I'm eating.

By snapping a photo I can grab an instant snapshot of the meal I had, along with the size, and the time I was about to eat it – which I can add to LoseIt! at a later date when I have more time to note down and clarify the details.

There are a few rumours circling that Apple may be bringing some form of food tracking functionality to iOS 15. This is something I am rather excited about – and if it's true, I can't wait to see how this works, and how accurate it will be. I'm sure Apple can find an innovative way to solve some of these complex problems.

I'm also excited to see what a company with the resources of Apple can do in a problem space that is