A LIFE coach is offering to help beat those post-Christmas blues and kick off the New Year with a healthy and positive mind and body.
Rhona Morris is an expert in helping people change their lives for the better – a New Year’s resolution many of us will be striving to keep – and has come up with her five top tips for a happy, healthy 2015.
They include dealing with one thing at a time, rather than struggling to multi-task, aiming to be positive, and focussing on what is really important to you.
Rhona, from Caeathro near Caernarfon, said: “It’s all about getting to know what makes you feel good, listening to your body and learning to trust your own instincts.
“Sometimes in life we are really battling against some sort of issue and it can really help to take a step back and work out what’s really going on.
“When you have stress in your life it really does affect your health, but the key is to go with the flow a bit more and take the opportunities that you can when they come along.”
Rhona will be passing on more tips at Bodnant Cookery School this month, when she hosts a whole-day session on January 10 focusing on detoxing and adopting healthy eating habits.
Combining her life coaching skills with her passion for organic, fresh fruit and vegetables, the likes of which are found in abundance at Bodnant, Rhona aims to help people cook their way to better well-being during the workshop.
Now aged 57, Rhona is now a fully-trained and accredited life coach, but only since a dramatic change of direction in her mid-40s.
Having met husband Eric at what was Leeds Polytechnic, the pair lived in Surrey, where Rhona ran the library and resource centre of an international boarding school.
She enjoyed guiding and supporting the students through their studies but the couple decided to embark on a huge change in lifestyle and moved to Wales.
Early pioneers of the ‘good life’ principles, they took on the challenge of converting a derelict blacksmith’s forge in rural Caernarfon into their home.
Rhona said: “Back in 1984 it was a bit mad really but we wanted a different lifestyle, and I wanted to grow my own veg. We loved Wales for the coastline and the mountains and at that time it was still pretty quiet over this way so it was a bit of a culture shock in many ways.
“We did all the work on the house ourselves and of course it took so much longer than we thought. But we both love the outdoors and it was what we wanted and eventually we made a home for ourselves. We’ve been here ever since and that was 30 years ago now.”
Creating office as well as personal space, they ran a successful architectural business from Caeathro until Rhona felt it was time for something new in 2004.
She said: “I worked with Eric for 17 years but as he got more computerised he needed me less and less for the admin and I decided I wanted to do something completely different.”
After spending some time working in events management for a hotel, Rhona realised that she was enjoying helping people on a personal level and the following year she studied for a diploma in Professional Coaching with the Coaching Academy.
She said: “At first it was just a case of me building up the business, mainly on the phone, but straight away I found it hugely fulfilling to see people find solutions to their health and weight issues and other life challenges they are facing.
“I have a strong belief in human capabilities and relish the opportunity of enhancing the lives of others by helping them to get in touch with their deepest values and become more of who they really are.”
Rhona found her calling in life coaching so it was only natural that she began to combine this with her own passion for healthy eating and therefore adopt a complete mind and body approach to the role.
Having stopped eating meat and dairy products in her 20s, Rhona advocates a more authentic diet concentrating on fresh fruit and vegetables.
She said: “Neither of us eats meat or dairy and haven’t since the 80s. Once we stopped we both started to feel really good almost immediately.
“I wasn’t overweight but I was getting a bit heavier and now I can honestly say that I never even have to think about my weight.
“It’s just about eating more of the healthy stuff throughout the day so you actually don’t want to fill up on the other stuff.”
Alongside her life coaching, cookery demonstrations and workshops, Rhona writes her own blog called New Thinking On Food, where she shares her recipes and experiences of eating a mostly plant-based diet.
“A lot of people were asking me for recipes so I started the blog to share the food that I love and the way of eating that works for me,” Rhona said.
She credits this lifestyle with changing her shape, her energy levels and most surprisingly, her eyesight, which used to mean she wore glasses for short-sightedness.
Rhona said: “I was short-sighted and wore glasses from the age of 14 but I found that after coming here and no longer working full time, spending so much time outdoors and with so much less pressure in my life I was wearing my glasses less and less and my vision was gradually becoming clearer.
“It’s not something I could explain or advise other people on but something that seemed to work for me and I’ve never worn glasses for short sight since.”
Since joining the team at Bodnant Cookery School Rhona has been delighted to share her passion and enjoys teaching others how to make small changes that will have big impacts.
“I’ve done a dairy-free baking course, Lighten Up For Summer and a Health On A Plate one and I really enjoy it. Everyone seems to have good fun and enjoy themselves,” Rhona said.
Her core values of creativity, harmony, freedom and conscious living underpin everything she believes in and those who attend her courses should go away with a better idea of how to obtain that balance in their lives.
Rhona added: “It’s a lot about lifestyle and well-being but mostly it’s just cooking all day and having fun.
“There’ll be loads of lovely food to take away too and you don’t have to be able to cook – that’s the whole idea – I want people to start the year with a new regime, thinking about their lifestyle and feeling good.”
*Join Rhona’s workshop, New Year Detox, on Saturday, January 10, from 11am to 4pm at Bodnant Cookery School in Conwy. Places cost £95 per person including lunch and all ingredients, but are limited so must be booked on 01492 651 100 or through www.bodnant-welshfood.co.uk
Rhona’s Top Tips for 2015
- APPRECIATE THE GOOD THINGS: New Year’s resolutions can put our focus on what we think is wrong or missing in our life. We can end up obsessed about what we need to do differently through sheer determination and commitment. And when we obsess about getting results, we can end up feeling worse when nothing changes! The more we appreciate what’s already good in our life, the better we feel.
- ENJOY BEING THE NATURAL YOU: Instead of thinking what you ‘should’ be doing this year, choose intentions that are based on what’s truly important for you to be naturally YOU. Think about what you love and what makes you happy. Then there’s no pressure, no results to strive for, just a soft, easy feeling of being true to yourself and giving yourself the very things your whole being desires.
- VISUALISE YOURSELF IN A POSITIVE LIGHT: If being fitter and healthier is important to you, imagine how you would look and feel in a few months if you’d been eating healthier food and been more active. Or if you’ve always wanted to travel, imagine how you’d feel when you get home from a wonderful trip this summer. Thinking of these good feelings will give you the incentive to spur you on to action.
- LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT: When you feel you have a million things to do, just focus on one at a time. Give your 100% attention to the task at hand, whether it’s playing with your children, walking the dog or cooking a meal. Take your time. Get into the habit of walking, talking, eating and moving at a slower, more mindful pace. Build inner calm into your daily life and you’ll feel better immediately.
- JUST DO ONE THING.: You don’t have to turn your life upside down to make positive changes. Start your day with a simple intention to do just one thing. Perhaps make yourself a healthy salad for lunch or maybe do something you have been putting off for ages saying it wouldn’t do any good, it wouldn’t work, I’m too old, too young, too busy… Just do it today!
And don’t forget, if you need a helping hand to get you started, do get in touch to find out what it’s like having your own Personal Coach!
Rhona’s recipe for Moroccan Carrot and Orange Salad
50g cashew nuts
250g organic* carrots, washed and grated
50g unsweetened dates, chopped
One large orange, washed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper
Optional: Fresh Coriander
Toast the cashews by spreading them out on a large baking tray. Heat your grill to its
highest setting, then place the tray on a high shelf. They don’t take long to brown so
keep an eye on them and turn once or twice.
Make the dressing. Finely grate about a tsp orange zest and place in a large bowl.
Then using a sharp knife, remove the peel from the orange and cut into segments
removing the membrane. Squeeze the juice from any remaining membrane into the
bowl containing the zest. Slice large orange segments in two lengthways and set aside
whilst you add the olive oil, ground cumin, cinnamon and seasoning to the dressing.
Mix until well blended.
Coarsely grate the carrots straight into the dressing, add the chopped dates and toss
together to mix. Scatter the cashews over the top and, if you have some handy, a few
coriander leaves too. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days.
*If using organic carrots, there’s no need to peel them.