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Self-help books have changed, and still are changing, my life for the better. I have no doubt about that.


I used to suffer terribly with anxiety over the smallest, most trivial things. I would overthink conversations, and interviews and decisions. I would always worry what others would think if I put myself forward for something, whether I succeeded in getting it or not. I now know that I should not have cared about what others thought, and should have recognised that every time I push myself out of my comfort zone, I am pushing myself into my zone of development, and am moving towards a better version of myself. This should far outweigh any fear of judgement!


Reading books written by very wise people in the realm of personal development has without a doubt pushed my mentality to levels it could not have reached otherwise.


This is me feeling happy and having a stroll in Malahide, Dublin!


Hey, I know what you're thinking. Sounds like a load of *insert expletive here*! I also remember writing off self-help books. I used to think:


Oh god. Those books look so weird. Why would anyone read a book about self-help? Why do they need help? What do they need help with...? Surely they are only intended for people who are into yoga and spirituality and who only knows what else? Not for me...


These are just some of the types of thoughts I used to have when I heard the phrase 'self-help books'. It was all a mystery to me, and for a good while, a mystery I let my ego get in the way of exploring. Now? I am OBSESSED with self-help and personal development books. I actually no longer make time for fictional books, because I am learning so much from the great people of our past and present, and can't wait to read the next book on my list (fictional books are amazing too and I will still read them, I am just on such a roll with self-help)!


I read every morning for 15-20 minutes! That way I am not leaving it until I am super tired at the end of the day.

Trust me, there is nothing that you want to do that someone has not tried to do before, and if it is a novel idea or approach - that's great, but why not follow other leaders in innovation? Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Elon Musk, Michelle Obama... they may not have done work in the same field as you (although I am sure there are books out there by people who have!), but the principles of how they achieved greatness are a powerful source of learning for us. Reading their stories helps us to learn that they were not superhuman (to begin with at least!) but by implementing the right behaviours, habits and strategies, they achieved results beyond imagination.





For example, you want to start up a new business. Sure, it might be based on new, never-before-seen technology, but oh my goodness so many millions of people have set up a business before you with limited resources and with any other variable that is concerning you too. The principles people who came before you applied will most likely apply to you too, do not let your ego tell you otherwise. Isn't that the best news ever? That we do not have to reinvent the wheel? Whatever we want to achieve is doable because people before us have done what was previously unthinkable, so you can too. Reaffirm your beliefs about what you are capable of by reading more of the right books, and I am sure you will find yourself taking action to move closer to your goals.


***This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products that I have personally used and benefitted from personally. Thank you for your support!***



1. Mental Strength - Iain Abernethy.


This book explains how to develop a mind strong enough to push past all obstacles so that nothing will be able to stand between you and your goals.


Mental Strength gives clear, encouraging guidance on how to develop a strong and powerful mind, grow your talents, become the person you want to be, and live the life you want to live.


I really thoroughly enjoyed it, and found myself going through it wanting to highlight different key points, and have even read it twice! I think it was the very first specific 'self-help' book I had ever read - and it really changed ny whole mindset/reaffirmed some of the beliefs I had had but was maybe scared to commit to.


Get it here. Or click on the image below.







2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki


Rich Dad Poor Dad is a story of growing up with two dads — his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad — and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book explores the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you. This is a great book for introducing the ideas surrounding investing, and living a life of financial freedom. For me, it really opened my eyes to the opportunities there are outside of the standard 9-5 corporate life (which is totally fine, I just think it is worth reading if you have a desire for something different).





3. The Miracle Morning - Hal Elrod


This book changed my whole daily routine. I now wake up at 5.30/6am every single day and I love it. The morning has become my sacred time to develop personally, read, meditate... and as a result my day-to-day anxiety has significantly reduced, and I am much happier, and even though I now wake . up earlier, I find I do well on 7 hours of sleep, and am much more energised than ever before. My only regret is not reading it sooner!





4. Atomic Habits - James Clear


James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviours that lead to remarkable results.


I am almost finished reading this book and wow - this really can apply to anyone. It really makes you think about the practices you engage in daily on autopilot, and how it really is possible to implement any new positive habit, or get rid of any negative ones, from smoking, to binge eating, to spending excessively, and so on. He teaches key principles which anyone can implement, and has online resources to help you on your journey. I personally think it is a must-read - none of us have perfect habits, there is always room for improvement, therefore we can all benefit from this kind of life-enhancing content.





5. The Daily Stoic - Ryan Holiday


The Daily Stoic offers 366 days of Stoic insights and exercises, featuring all-new translations from the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the playwright Seneca, or slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus, as well as lesser-known luminaries like Zeno, Cleanthes, and Musonius Rufus. Every day of the year you'll find one of their pithy, powerful quotations, as well as historical anecdotes, provocative commentary, and a helpful glossary of Greek terms.


By following these teachings over the course of a year (and, indeed, for years to come, by repeating the cycle) you'll find the serenity, self-knowledge, and resilience you need to live well.


Meditation has become a hugely central part of my life, featuring in my morning routine every single day, and this book has enlightened me and guided me through many meditations so far.


I hope this list helps you in some way. Please do let me know if you benefitted from any of the books mentioned, as I remember being recommended these books at first, and when I actually read them, I wanted to go back to the person who recommended them and tell them all about how the book changed my mindset, and hence, my life. I would love to hear from you.


Lots of love and positivity,


Lauren



Catch me on social media!



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Updated: Oct 30, 2019


Unfortunately, vomiting and diarrhoea are quite common in babies, children and adults. This is why we really need to know what to do if we, or someone we care about, is struck with a nasty bug, as well as knowing when it’s time to see the doctor. Sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea happen together, but they can happen on their own either. When vomiting/diarrhoea are caused by a bug, it is referred to as gastroenteritis. So if you have ever heard anyone, like your doctor, use that term before and did not know what it really meant – now you know!





A ‘stomach bug’ usually comes from food or through close contact with someone who already has the virus (so if someone has a stomach bug – they should really be staying away from everyone)! Diarrhoea and/or vomiting are usually caused by food poisoning, ‘Norovirus’, or a stomach bug. There are other causes of vomiting/diarrhoea also, for example, some antibiotics can cause diarrhoea as a side effect. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor if you think you are suffering from side effects of a medication, or if you think you may be pregnant and suffering from morning sickness. Ig you have any concerns, see your GP/Pharmacist. This article is just dealing with viral diarrhoea/vomiting bugs.


The cure? Unfortunately when it comes to gastroenteritis, there is no real cure, and often you just have to wait for the symptoms to pass. However, in the meantime, it is very important to treat your symptoms and to remain well hydrated, as you will be losing fluid and electrolytes through vomiting and/or diarrhoea.





How to treat diarrhoea/vomiting at home


Diarrhoea


First things first: if you have diarrhoea as part of your stomach bug, it is best if you do not take an antidiarrheal medication, unless you really have somewhere to be, like if you have a flight or something urgent to attend to, and only under the advice of a pharmacist/GP.


Diarrhoea is your body’s reaction to the bug and its attempt to clear the body of the harmful virus. Taking an antidiarrheal (like loperamide), will not treat the cause of the diarrhoea, and may cause the virus/bacteria to linger around in your body for longer. Note that this is not with reference to people who have problems with their gastrointestinal system (stomach and gut), such as those who suffer from Irritable bowel disease (Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis). This is just with reference to mild-moderate viral stomach bugs.


The single most important thing with diarrhoea is to drink plenty of fluids and avoid dehydration. Oral rehydration solutions are very useful in this instance, and have been shown by the World Health Organisation to reduce the number of deaths due to diarrhoea. Oral rehydration therapy ensures that despite that constant loss of fluid that occurs when we have viral gastroenteritis, we can stay hydrated. The sugars and salts present in the solution that you make up ensure you are much more hydrated than if you just had water alone. You can purchase sachets/effervescent tablets that you put into water in your local pharmacy, and sometimes even in large supermarkets, if they have a health section and health stores. The ones sold in pharmacies will have the exact right concentration of sugars and salts that you need to rehydrate.



Above are an example of oral rehydration salts which will help rehydrate you when there is a risk of dehydration, such as in diarrhoea, vomiting, excessive sweating (even for after an intense workout/sweat session like hot yoga or a spin class)!



Tips for dealing with a bout of vomiting/diarrhoea:


1. Stay at home, away from other people (who you could spread it to), and rest up. Let your body recover.


2. Drink plenty of fluids, and make sure to have oral rehydration therapy (the special salts I mentioned above!) dissolved in water. If you also feel sick, take small little sips at a time/if your child is sick, give them tiny sips at a time. Keep the oral rehydration solution in the fridge if you cannot handle it all at once and try to finish it all within a few hours.


3. Eat if/when you feel able to – don’t feel like you have to eat certain foods or avoid certain foods. – just once you manage to eat something substantial while feeling sick you are doing quite well!


4. Take paracetamol if you have pains/a slight fever and it should help with that. Read the package leaflet for dosage for adults, and if giving a paediatric paracetamol to your child, make sure to stick strictly to the. dosage on the package leaflet. Make sure you do not use more than one paracetamol-containing product at a time, and if you are not sure if you are already taking paracetamol, check with your pharmacist.


5. If your child is sick and you are breast/bottle-feeding them, continue to do so, giving smaller feeds, more often than usual (little and often!)


What NOT to do when you have diarrhoea/are vomiting:


1. Do not drink carbonated/fizzy drinks, or any juices – they will make your diarrhoea worse!


2. Do not take medicine for diarrhoea or vomiting unless under the advice of your doctor/pharmacist. Do not give antidiarrheal medication to children under the age of 16. Just make sure they are well hydrated.


3. Do not make weaker baby formula – make it as you usually would, just feed your child less amounts but more frequently


Spotlight question: How long do vomiting/diarrhoea viruses normally last?





Usually diarrhoea caused by gastroenteritis lasts approximately 3 days, but can last up to 7 days. Vomiting usually lasts 1-2 days.


Remember, you are highly contagious from when your symptoms start until 2 days afterwards. It is important that you stay off work or school for two days after symptoms have stopped, to avoid the spread of the virus.


Make sure to practice good hygiene by:


1. Washing hands regularly with warm, soapy water

2.Washing soiled clothing in a separate, high temperature wash

3. Disinfecting all surfaces such as countertops, door handles, sinks, toilet seats etc regularly.





When you have a stomach bug, avoid:


1. Preparing food for other people

2. Sharing towels, cutlery, cups/glasses, food/drink

3. Do not use a swimming pool for several days after symptoms stop.


You are contagious from when you first start to feel unwell to a few days after you recover from your symptoms (2-3 days after symptoms have subsided). It is important to take extra precaution during these days and not come into contact with vulnerable people, such as visiting an elderly person, a young baby, or visiting a sick person either at home or in hospital. Practice good hygiene, and do not prepare food for others (someone else will have to make dinner - oh well)!


When to see a Pharmacist if you have vomiting/diarrhoea:


A pharmacist can help if you or your child have signs of dehydration such as dark yellow, smelly urine, or peeing less often than usual. The pharmacist can also help you if you need to stop having diarrhoea for a couple of hours. They may recommend oral rehydration salts (as mentioned), and/or an antidiarrheal agent.



Three pharmacists smiling in a dispensary
Make sure to visit your local pharmacy if you have concerns about your wellbeing or the wellbeing of a loved one.


When to seek advice from Emergency Services:


· If you have a baby under 12 months old and are worried about them

· If your child stops bottle or breast feeding while they are ill

· If a child under 5 years old has signs of dehydration such as less frequent wet nappies, and/or smelly wet nappies.

· If you or your child are continuously vomiting and cannot keep fluid down

· If you or your child experience any blood in your diarrhoea or if there is bleeding in the anal area.

· If you or your child continue to be dehydrated (showing signs of dehydration).

· If you or your child are vomiting for more than 2 days or have diarrhoea for more than 7 days.





When to go straight to the Emergency Department:


· The vomit looks like ground coffee or has blood in it. Or if it is green or yellow in colour.

· If you think you may have swallowed something poisonous.

· If you have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights.

. If you have a sudden, severe abdominal pain or headache.




I hope this helps if you needed some guidance on what to do when you have a tummy bug. If you do have one, and are reading this, I am sending you all of the good vibes, and wishing you a speedy recovery! Make sure to speak to your pharmacist about your options, especially if you are struggling to stay hydrated. This is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare professional, but hopefully can guide you in the right path!


Mind yourself this winter! What do you do when you have a tummy bug? Let me know!


Lauren x



*This page contains affiliate links. If you purchase a product through one of them, I will receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). I only ever endorse products that I have personally used and benefitted from personally. Thank you for your support!


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The short answer is no, you do not need to spend lots of money on supplements this winter. The only thing you do not get enough of in winter, which you probably get plenty of in summer, is vitamin D. If your diet is balanced, and contains plenty of different fruits and vegetables, protein sources, and sources of calcium and iron throughout the year, then you should be covered otherwise. This is with exception of course to people who have been diagnosed with low iron (iron deficiency anaemia), low calcium, or low vitamin B12, for various different reasons. If you think you may be deficient in something, because of diet or because of how you have been feeling, then you should have a blood test done with your GP, as there can be a number of different reasons for feeling run down/exhausted. Make sure to get your bloods done as soon as possible, and not to take supplements before you do – as this may mask an issue, which may then go undiagnosed.


Vitamin D

As you may already know, we need sunlight to be able to produce vitamin D in our bodies, and in winter time, with shorter days, being inside all day, and not a whole lot of sunshine besides that, anyone more than 30 degrees north or south of the. equator. Most likely suffers from vitamin D deficiency in the winter months. For that reason, in the UK and Ireland (and most likely in many other countries also), it is recommended to take a vitamin D supplement from October through to March. The dosage recommended is 10 micrograms once daily, and this equates to 400 International Units (IU).

This is the supplement I am taking at present:



Probiotics

From September onwards, as the kids go back to school, and viruses and bacteria spread like wildfire, our immune systems are put under immense pressure. There is some evidence to suggest that taking a probiotic (which contains healthy bacteria for our gut, which in turn strengthens our immune system) could help boost your immune system. The evidence mostly supports taking them to help with gut problems, such as IBS, or to take them alongside antibiotics, to minimise the occurrence of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (a side effect of taking antibiotics). Taking probiotics will not do you any harm, just if you are going to spend a lot of money on them, I would only do so if you are feeling run down, have gut problems (such as IBS), or are taking/have taken a course of antibiotics. The probiotic I have highlighted below is excellent, and can even be taken by women who are pregnant/breastfeeding and by adults and children aged 5 and up.





The best things you can do for your immune system this winter is make sure you...


• Get 6-8 hours sleep every night

• Maintain regular exercise

• Consume a healthy, balanced diet, consisting of ‘raw’ foods, like fruits and vegetables

• Don't smoke/quit smoking.

• Maintain a healthy weight.

• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.

• Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.

• Try to minimise stress.


I hope this short article helps you decide what to prioritise in terms of boosting your immune system this winter, and that if you are going to spend money on supplements, it should be on thsoe that will actually make a difference in your life this winter, and that you may actually be lacking in (like vitamin D from lack of sunlight). The rest of your vitamins and minerals should be obtained from a healthy balanced diet.


If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me on social media or by email, and share with me the supplements you take in winter... I would be super interested to know what you guys prioritise! xx


Lauren



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