Welcome to this weekly online resource. Wellness professional Jo Foster, offers self care tips through her insights on mindfulness and positive psychology, her weekly online yoga classes and nutritious recipe recommendations. 

This week we will be looking at optimism in action. Enjoy!

There's no doubt that life during a global pandemic comes with its challenges (an understatement!). But out of adversity springs the green shoots of change. Some of you may already be able to identify positive shifts in your own lives or perhaps these are yet to materialise, but they will, be patient. In the meantime, we carry on, keep positive and ​​lay the foundations so that we can build back stronger and better.


This week we are looking at optimism in action and are exploring ideas that can help keep our daily lives filled with simple pleasures and satisfaction. 

Make a plan: It's great to have a plan, setting some objectives keeps us motivated. I start my day, coffee in hand, with some loose planning. Keeping it simple and productive is the objective, so I look ahead to the small tasks that need achieving, such as what to cook, who I'd like to "touch base" with, where I will go or a walk and what are my priorities are for the day ahead. Deciding on some basics helps put structure to my day and keeps my expectations manageable.  That way, in the evening, I can feel like I've ticked plenty of boxes and maybe even feel good about having achieved more than I set out to that day. This is a satisfaction win. 


Send love: In all my experiences of separation from loved ones (which as a military daughter and wife is familiar to me) I have never experienced a dampening of love. In fact, separation focusses the mind on who and what you love the most. The cliche saying "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" is true, it brings home the value of your relationships making you appreciate them more. So reach out to the people you care about; Send letters, texts or maybe a gift, enjoy a catch up call, have a zoom supper and do something that shows those special people that they are the object of your focus. Make time for this in your plan. This is a simple pleasure.

Seek out the good news stories: Whilst we are all keeping our eyes and ears on what is happening in the news, be sure to balance that intake with the good and bad. The BBC and other broadcasters dedicate sections of their feeds to good news stories. So finish your new browsing with something uplifting and full of hope. Check out BBC's uplifting stories. This is inspiration.

Chill out time: Make time to put your feet up, but don't fall into a mundane routine. Have "No TV Nights", where instead you do an exercise class, pamper yourself with a long bath, read a book, play the piano, do a puzzle or do something crafty/artistic. Whatever you do, add variety into your week by mixing it up and for most nights keep alcohol out of the equation.

Movie night: On the nights that you are soaking up some digital entertainment, steer away from the doom and gloom and pick something that will make you laugh or leave you with a smile on your face. I recently enjoyed the film "Military Wives" which was both entertaining and full of inspiration about how, action, humour and human connection can bring you through the tough times.

Enjoy nature: Whether you live in the city or the countryside be sure to get outside, every day. When you are out an about, make sure you notice your senses, take time to look at beautiful scenery, listen to sounds, notice smells, observe different temperatures on the skin. Take a deep breath and enjoy it. It's fine to spend some time listening to music or a podcast, but don't do it all the time take pleasure from being in the moment just as it is. And given that we are all spending more time indoors than usual, why not make the scenery out of the window more interesting, try setting up a bird feeder or a squirrel dining table, then watch and enjoy. 

Green fingers: It's a great time to be planting some seeds or planning a windowsill garden (or even larger scale if you have the space). Even if you don't want to be spending much money on this, why not save some seeds from a butternut squash or apples and do your research on how to make them grow. Watching shoots spring up and nurturing something to grow is fun and rewarding. Even if this doesn't sound like your kind of thing, why not give it a go, the satisfaction rating might just surprise you. 

Share success: Be sure to share your simple successes with friends and families, talking about it will feel good, both for you and them. Tell them about the inspiring news stories you find, talk about your windowsill garden project and spread the feel good vibes. Share optimism and share inspiration.

There are many other ways to add joy into your day, dancing is another favourite of mine (much to the embarrassment of my children!). So make good choices, especially on the bad days. Stay motivated to seek-out the best in your situation and let the green shoots grow!

Image by dfkt
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Shakshuka, my style - by Jamie Oliver

I could eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner! It's virtuous comfort food. 

Eggs: Yes, they are high in cholesterol, but this does not typically convert to high cholesterol levels in the blood. Only 30% of us are sensitive to the cholesterol in eggs and for the remaining 70% of the population the liver regulates cholesterol production. Eggs infact help raise the good (HDL) cholesterol levels which are important for a healthy heart.


They also contain a rare nutrient Choline which helps with cell membrane repair and the production of signalling molecules in the brain. So eggs are good.  Be sure you buy good quality ones, both for animal welfare and health reasons.