3 Hip Stretches for Runners

By Rachel Grunwell (coach, yoga teacher, multi-marathoner and author of the book Balance: Food, health + Happiness)

Note: This post was sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon event which is on May 6, 2023. Choose from the full marathon, Red Stag Timber Half Marathon, Go Media 10km, or First Credit Union 5.5km distance. Find more information HERE.

Most runners do the same stretches day in, day out. But did you know there are 2100 yoga stretches to choose from. So, there are so many different ways to stretch each body part. So it’s fun to change it up. It’s also great to find a stretch version that suits your body best. I put a poll out to runners to ask what stretch they wanted most and hips/thighs came up as the most wanted. So here are three ways to stretch your hips:

This standing pigeon pose targets the hip flexors while you are in a stand position. The pose strengthens the standing leg, challenges your balance and focus and is a great option if the ground is wet or dirty! A good cue to remember is to sit back like you are sitting onto a chair. The lower you go, the juicier the stretch! Also, try not to collapse your shoulders. Keep your shoulders back.

Pidgeon pose in recline position is a good option to stretch your hips if you get sore knees – as all the pressure is taken off this area. You can relax your upper body in this pose and just breathe deeply thorough the stretch on each side. Remember to relax the foot on the side that’s the support for the foot on the knee. Remember to breeeeeeeeathe.
This version sees you flip your pidgeon onto your tummy. The higher the bent leg comes up towards your face, the deeper the stretch – if you wish. Try moving your hips from left to right and feel the nature of this stretch change.
To add a thigh stretch to this pidgeon pose, just reach your hand to the foot and bring the heel towards your glute. The closer the heel comes to the glute, the deeper the stretch. If you can’t reach your foot then use a strap or dressing gown tie and loop it around the foot.
If you want more stretching Inspo, then follow me on Instagram. I share flows and poses there from time to time, as well as wellness and fitness guff.

  • Rachel is a proud ambassador for the Rotorua Marathon and has been sharing coaching, stretching and wellness inspiration with runners in this role for six years now. She has run the Rotorua Marathon event four times, done the half and also conquered the 10km distance last year with her son and other family members. Three of the four times she has done this marathon she has guided blind runners through the Achilles charity. She loves to run, and help others run too.
  • This is proudly a sponsored post by the Rotorua Marathon

Tips to Manage Stress

Tips to Manage Stress 

By wellness expert Rachel Grunwell – co-leader of the Polynesian Spa’s Mindful Moments Retreats, yoga + meditation teacher & author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.

Make uplifting your wellbeing the goal for 2023 , doing it one tiny step at a time. Your wellbeing is your true wealth.

You could work on how you move, eat, sleep – or how you manage stress.

The latter is a common issue for most people. So, you are not alone. Here are some tips to manage stress. I hope one resonates and helps you.

Do joyful things because they are mood-lifting and uplifting for your soul.

Joyful activities are also a great distraction from your never endling to-do-list. As researcher Brene Brown, when we are in a state of joy colours are brighter, exercise feels easier and smiling happens involuntarily. We also don’t lose ourselves; We become more truly ourselves. Consider something you love to do that makes you feel joyful and do it regularly.

    •    Find calm in a way that resonates with you.

For me, yoga and meditation put me in a calm, happy, grounded state. I feel more myself and “in balance”. But yoga isn’t for everyone. It’s all about finding “your thing”. For you, it might be a walk in nature that helps you to feel calm.

Nature Nurtures: Rotorua’s majestic Redwoods Forest in incredible. You’ll feel calm as you walk through this special, quiet, beautiful and peaceful place.

For others, they might find calm by doing tai chi or having a hot bath at night in candle-light. One sure way to feel calmer and happier is patting your dog or cat if you have one. This releases feel-good hormones in your body like oxytocin.

    • Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend or a child.

Self-talk can be toxic when we talk to ourselves. It takes practice to change the way we think and talk sometimes. The next time you feel frustrated at yourself, stop, pause and remind yourself that you deserve thoughts that are loving and kind – just like everyone else. Remind yourself that you are doing your best and deserve to be happy.

    • Book a retreat where you can learn lots of de-stress skills like diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, mindfulness and where you will experience time in nature.

The Polynesian Spa’s Mindful Moments Retreat is a perfect weekend-long getaway that’s affordable. You’ll get pampered here with a massage included in the retreat fee and indulge in nourishing food with our sumptuous lunches (provided on both days of the weekend). The goodie bag is what everyone really raves about though! It’s worth $350 and includes lots of incredible beauty products as well as my book, Balance; Food, Health + Happiness. The book includes wisdom from 30 global experts including psychologists, neuroscientists, nutritionists, emotional intelligence experts, and happiness researchers + 30 nourishing recipes. Retreat-goers spend time in nature (biophilia, or forest bathing) in the majestic Redwoods Forest. Yoga is included and you’ll learn incredible meditation and mindfulness skills from the spa’s highly experienced manager, and meditation teacher, Helena Keenan.

Here are some pictures to tempt you:

Here’s an example of the goodie bag. It’s different every time but always includes beauty products, a Balance book and a bag.

Here I’m in a private pool, but there are 28 lake-side pools to choose from on site – of different temperatures. Some are acidic and great for muscle aches and pains, while there are also other pools where they are alkaline and these leave your skin silky smooth.

The pools are bliss…


Rachel and Helena are experienced wellness experts who love to share research-backed tools on how to uplift your wellbeing.

Here are the retreat dates for the Mindful Moments Retreats in 2023:

Saturday, 20th May – Sunday, 21st May 2023

 Saturday, 19th August – Sunday, 20th August 2023

 Saturday, 18th November – Sunday, 19th November 2023

 $689 per person

To find out what’s included and to book check out the Polynesian Spa website. Click HERE


20 Top Run Tips – from 4 passionate runners & experts!

AD/ Here are 20 top run tips in the lead up to the Rotorua Marathon event on September 17 – from an elite runner and three experienced marathoners including a top nutrition expert. If you haven’t already entered this amazing event then there is still time to enter. Join in on the fun by clicking HERE

5 Tips from elite athlete and Rotorua Marathon champion, Ingrid Cree:

Be Prepared! 

Train hard, taper to freshen up, study & visualise the course, check the weather forecast & adjust your race plan to suit. 


Say hi to someone at the start, share your journey & encourage each other. Having supporters along the way and your name on your bib can be great for motivation too. 

Rehydrate & Refuel!

You need to frequently replace some of the fluid & energy you lose while you are running. A sports drink you are familiar with or gels & water work great. 

Pace Yourself!

Don’t get carried away at the start, the race really begins in the last 10km of a marathon. Relax up & down the hills so you still have strength in your legs for the final stages. 


Enjoy the day & the stunning course. This is going to be an amazing achievement, so be proud of yourself! Studies have shown smiling can actually lower your perception of effort. 

5 Tips from Marton Salisbury, a member of the Rotorua Survivors Club, who has run 120 marathons including 30 Rotorua Marathons. He has done 30 marathons with his brother Ants, who sadly can’t do it this year due to injury. Marton’s son Matthew has also been doing this marathon for 10 years now too!

Train to Race , don’t race to Train

Never give up, keep moving forward, the end will come.

Plan, Plan, Plan – training walks/runs (Record and celebrate all improvements , no matter how small).

Set small distance goals and increase slowly each week.

Tapering towards the event.

Have fun, and train with a friend. (Helps keep you committed and is so much more enjoyable).

5 Tips from PhD qualified, registered nutritionist, 14 x marathoner & sub 3-hour marathoner, Mikki Williden

Start your day with a decent hit of protein. This helps recovery from the early morning training session, stabilise blood sugar and promote better energy levels. A lot of runners feel tired through the day that they attribute to training, but it is also diet driven. Eggs (at least 3), protein smoothie, a breakfast bake like this (https://mikkiwilliden.com/recipes/chocolate-apple-zoats-bar) or dinner for breakfast can all be great ways to achieve the 30g protein you need.

Hydrate well throughout the day. Another energy sapper, being dehydrated does make the heart work harder to pump the blood around the body, making you feel more fatigued and the perceived effort in your next workout a lot harder. Rehydrating and replacing 1.5x the amount of fluid lost in your workouts within 2-3 hours can offset dehydration. Weigh yourself before and after training to figure out what this equates too.

Don’t avoid the salt shaker. We need sodium to pull water into our cells, to help with ATP production (i.e. energy) and we need more than we think. Adding ½ tsp salt to your 1L of water will provide a decent hit of the sodium (salt) you need, as will salting your food. As an athlete, it is difficult to overdo this.

While you burn more calories than the average person, you also use way more nutrients – so food quality is important. Don’t use your training as an excuse to eat a less than stellar diet. This isn’t saying you can never enjoy convenience or fast foods if you like them, but focusing on good sources of animal protein, eggs, quality sources of carbohydrate (such as potato, kumara, fruit), nuts, seeds and non starchy vegetables, using butter, olive oil and coconut oil to cook in, will help you meet your nutrient requirements. 

That said, magnesium, fish oils and vitamin D / K are three supplements I most recommend runners take for their beneficial roles in reducing inflammation, promoting immune health and replenishing the stress pathways. With creatine to support recovery (and brain!) and a Blackcurrant supplement as other recommendations for those who are able to spend more in this area. 

5 tips from Rachel Grunwell, wellness expert, run coach, 25x  marathoner  including four full Rotorua Marathons, run guide for the Achilles charity (guiding disabled athletes through marathons). Author of the book Balance: Food, health + Happiness (which includes 30 global experts on how to live healthier and happier).

It’s common not to sleep well the night before race day  because you feel nervous/anxious/excited– and that’s ok. You are not alone; It’s common. And don’t worry about it impacting on your performance. You’ll have the energy and adrenalin to get you through to the end of race day if you have trained for this race, no problem. Try to aim for a good night’s sleep two days out from race day to bank some zzzzz in case you don’t sleep well the night before.

Get loved ones or a friend to cheer you on when you are ¾ of the way through the race. This is when it starts to get hard and the support will lift you up and make you smile. Even better, run this event with a loved one! I’ll be running the 10km event with my dad, Nick, and son Lachlan, aged 15 (and possibly my sister Bex! So this marathon event will make for some amazing memories!!!

Fuel yourself well after a race – ideally with a good protein hit! Here’s a yum nut butter smoothie recipe to try

A marathon event is the test of your mind ultimately. Believe you can and you will do it.

Stretch after a long run to bring length back to tight muscles (and to avoid you walking like a lego man!) Here are some stretches to try from one of my blogs.

ps the last time, and only other time, my dad and I have done a race together was a Rotorua Marathon. I finished this event before he did, and then went back out on the course for him … we crossed that finish line together, holding hands and it will forever be one of our most special memories. Ever! I actually framed that picture and it’s in dad’s lounge. When I look at it… I always smile! Heck, so much sweat shared chuckle!

Nut-Butter Smoothie

By Rachel Grunwell

AD/ Here’s a great post-run smoothie recipe. It’s full of real wholefoods goodness that will refuel you well after your run training prep for the @rotoruamarathon event on September 17. If you haven’t got your entry yet… there’s still time. Join me.

Post-run Nut Butter Smoothie


1 ripe banana (remove skin). Make sure you use a very ripe banana and this will give the sweet taste. No need to add sugary syrup.

1 cup of milk of your choice

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon of nut butter of your choice (I use either peanut butter, cashew butter, or almond butter)

1 teaspoon tahini (if you don’t have this at home then you can skip this ingredient out, no problem)

Optional ingredient: 1 scoop of your fave protein powder.


Place everything in a blender and combine. Pour into a glass and savour! #runtrain #runcoach #rotoruamarathon #brandpartner

Visualisation Tips for the Race End

By Rachel Grunwell

AD) The hardest part of a race is three quarters of the way through. It’s when you question your sanity and ask questions like, “why the eff am I here!”

Firstly, there are many things you need to do to get to the end of a race well. You know, things like having a smart training plan towards the distance you intend to race, practicing fuelling (to know what works well, and what might give you the s****)… to understanding a pace you can cope with so you don’t hit “the wall” too soon (ie getting to that point where you are so tired/sore/exhausted/borken/bewildered that you want to give up (and cry for your mum)….

I’ve survived 25 marathons and found  some visualisation is helpful. If you hate the wu wu term then let’s just call it strategy instead.

With visualisation, you should not just visualise the end game – you know, that euphoric feeling of the finish-line and thinking “yay, I’ve done it whoop!”. You need to importantly visualise “the bridge”. The bridge is the part where you feel like you are doing this race tough – which is usually about three quarters of the way through a race. You need to get over this “bridge” and get to the end… This is the point where you want to give up, but you need to keep going.

What helps to get over the “bridge” is training your body, nervous system and mind to do these hard miles – so you don’t give up.

So visualise things like what will you do if it’s raining, windy and stormy during that race? Or consider what it might be like if you have really sore legs?

So imagine what it’s like to race in hard weather conditions (and practice actually doing this prior too by the way!) Also imagine how to dig deep mentally if you are sore and feel like giving up.

Think about different ideas about how you can get through these tough conditions or being in a hard head space….

One strategy I use when I guide disabled athletes through marathons is for the last 8 kilometres of a marathon I get them to think of people they care about for each kilometre near the end of a race and dedicate that kilometre to that person. I tell them that person will be so proud of them finishing this bucket-list dream. This dedication of miles inspires them to keep running, dig deeper and mentally commit to the race end. Who do they dedicate miles too? Sometimes it can be someone who has helped them to train, financially supported them, or been a loving and supportive influence in their life. Sometimes it’s a family member, partner or friends.

When you run because someone helped to sponsor you, or believes in your ability, this can be a powerful motivator for finishing a race! You want the money for your chosen charity, but you also don’t want to let yourself, or anyone else, down by not finishing a race either.

I tell runners who I help guide through marathons that the pain of not finishing a race will be worse than the pain of not committing to carrying on and completing the race. Pain from sore legs lasts only for a few days. But the pain you’ll feel for not finishing a race you dreamed of completing can last a heck of a lot longer. I can’t imagine going to a race like New York and not coming home with a medal… or to questions from friends asking why that medal isn’t with you!

So visualise and practice pushing through hard miles. Tap into that inner resilience. You don’t have any control over things like the weather on race day, but you can always choose how to approach hard conditions and hard thoughts you might encounter on race day. There’s power in flipping your mindset into the positive.

I’ve run through heat waves on marathons (Hawke’s Bay and Hawaii are two that come to mind!) And I’ve also run through storms (Queenstown and Taupo I remember clearly!) And New York marathon is something I’ve done four times and it’s generally a mix of very hot/very cold weather and the conditions of running this entire race on concrete make it super tough!.It’s hard and it hurts.

ps other strategies for getting through tough miles that I use include focusing on my breathing pattern or cadence pattern. I sometimes repeat a mantra or meditation (I actually like singing one to myself – I don’t sing it out loud!) I also go into a mindfulness or gratitude state where I soak up the beauty of my surroundings and remember how lucky I am to be able to run. I always think “I’m lucky I can do this”. Because some people will never experience this beautiful flow state. I also know the pain will stop at a given point (the end) and I just need to keep moving one step at a time and I will get there. Eventually!

What gets you through “the bridge”? Please comment below!

  • pics below are from some hard miles of co-guiding inspiring Achilles athletes through marathons or half marathons in Rotorua and New York.

With inspiring blind athlete Hannah and co-guiding was Greg Boyed. The hills around the second half of the race can be tough and so too can that long ending through the suburbs!

With blind athlete Mike and Greg co-guiding at Taupo. This race was wet, windy, freezing, and tough. But we got through (even with the odd smile!) It’s great running with others – there’s great chat about different things that also acts as a powerful distraction when the legs hurt!

With blind athlete Tamati at New York Marathon. We’ve run four marathons and many other events together over the years throughout NZ, New York, Sydney etc. New York is a tough marathon – it can be scorching hot one minute and then bitterly cold the next. The start line is super early, hard to get to and it’s coooooold. You also have to get up for this race about 4am to get to the start line! So yeah, a bit of mental toughness is required. But it’s an amazing race with 50,000 runners and millions of spectators cheering you on.

At the NY finish line with Tamati and Tamati’s other awesome Kiwi
guides! An epic team. We did this together and helped each other through this race. I have magic memories from all my marathon journeys including the amazing people, places and adventures. There’s nothing like that moment when bling goes around your neck. You are bonded with your fellow runners in a special way for life.

  • This post was sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon event. I am the ambassador for this event.
  • My background? I’ve run 25 marathons and have lots track of the half marathons and 10km event numbers I’ve conquered. I’m a run coach, yoga + meditation teacher, wellness expert and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. I’m also a proud ambassador for the charity Achilles, which helps athletes with disabilities to conquer marathons in NZ and around the world.

10 Wellness Tips to Live More Vibrantly Alive

By Rachel Grunwell

AD/ This blog was sponsored by the Polynesian Spa in my role as their ambassador. I co-lead the Polynesian Spa’s Mindful Moments Retreats. Book the next retreat here via this link:  https://www.polynesianspa.co.nz/mindful-moments-retreat/)

10 Tips to Live more Vibrantly Alive: 
1. Surround yourself with people who make you belly laugh and feel joyful. This will make you smile, brighten your day and uplift you from the inside to be more “kid-like”. We need more joy, always. It lifts our mood and make life fun.
2. Focus on eating more foods that nourish your body to feel better and perform better. It’s not a focus on aesthetics; It’s a focus on uplifting “you”. Ie omega 3s in salmon are great for the brain, while the antioxidants from blueberries are epic brain-food too, for example.
3. Note three things you are grateful for today, visualise these things in how they look, feel, taste, and soak up the magic of this in your life! You could think of people, places, foods you love, an animal you love… whatever you like!
4. If you are feeling hungry around that 3pm “snack attack time”… try drinking a large glass of water instead, wait ten minutes and then notice if you are still hungry. Somethings we confuse being thirsty with being hungry.  If you quench your thirst first… then you may not be hungry… you may just have been thirsty!
5. If you are feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed… then try taking a short walk outdoors with a friend. The fresh air, sunshine, gentle movement and good company can shift your mindset to a better space. 
6. Spoil yourself. Take a mindful moment to spoil yourself, treat yourself, or just savour some quite “met time” to re-set. It could be taking a moment to have a coffee or cup of tea in the sunshine to savour some alone time, meeting a friend for lunch for connection time to feel happier, or one of my faves….getting a decadent massage (and of course my top place to go is the Polynesian Spa!) You’ll feel pampered here, relaxed to a whole new level and rejuvenation.
7. Take time to dream about working on a goal or dream you’d like to achieve. The only thing holding you back is “you”. Remember small steps get you wherever you want to go, I promise. 
8. Keep learning, growing, thriving. Keep curious and doing things you love doing to find “flow” – that psychology state that helps you to feel “happy”. For me it’s doing things like music, art, running etc. But for you it may be something entirely different. Just do what you love! You deserve this “me time” to recalibrate. 
9. Want more energy? The power of a good night of sleep can never be underestimated. This helps you to perform at your best – and better still, it’s free! 
10.   Looking for a healthy elixir recipe to help you during Winter? Try ‘Rach’s Remedy’ which is delicious and full of great nutrition! https://inspiredhealth.co.nz/rachs-remedy/

* Find more tips from Rachel via https://inspiredhealth.co.nz or on instagram  https://www.instagram.com/rachelgrunwell/?hl=en

Rach’s Remedy

AD/ If the thought of drinking apple cider vinegar neat makes your lips pucker, then try this elixir which helps to stimulate digestion, packs a nutritional punch, and is delicious! Warning: You’ll feel seriously virtuous after knocking this baby back…


1 tablespoon CoralTree Organics Apple Cider Vinegar 1 large orange (skin removed)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (skin removed and grated) 1/2 cup fresh turmeric

(or use 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder instead) 3 grinds of black pepper
1 cup coconut water (or use plain water instead) 1 teaspoon manuka honey


Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz into a juice. Pour into a glass and savour!

To make a grown-up version, add a shot of gin and rename it a “Coral Reefy”! 

Rachel Grunwell is a wellness expert and author of the book Balance: Food, Health and Happiness, as well as a healthy recipe creator for Good magazine. She has been taking apple cider vinegar daily for years as one of her wellbeing rituals and as part of her philosophy to live life more in balance.

Run Mates’ Mistakes: 10 Top Comical Run Stories to Learn From

AD/ By Rachel Grunwell (Rotorua Marathon run ambassador, coach, 25 x marathoner, and a chick who loves to run (mostly to the freezer for ice-cream, or “run away” on run trips with girlfriends shhhhhhhh don’t tell anyone)

You can improve your run performance through consistency, speed-work, doing this sport over time, fuelling your body right and getting enough sleep… those kinds of things.

Heck throw in some beetroot powder, blackcurrant powder, hot/cold therapy, compression tights and yin yoga too for good measure if you are really into trying all you can to boost your run performance.

We can also boost our run performance through learning from our run mates’ mistakes. Seriously. Ask your run friends for some anecdotes of their past run failures and it will give you a good list of things not to repeat. Learn form their mistakes! Also, you’ll get a good belly laugh out of the (often cringe-worthy) stories.

I asked some run-inspired girlfriends to weigh in on this topic. So, some of the tips below are from me, while others are from some of my epic run girlfriends. Share some of your own run mistakes in the comments below too to help fellow runners out! Come on, don’t keep your run mistakes to yourself; Share them for others to laugh at – I mean, er learn from…. 🙂

  1. Pin your run number to your t-shirt well ahead of the race – don’t leave it to the second the start gun goes and end up fumbling around for a few minutes trying to sort that basic stuff out! Those few minutes you spent fumbling might be the few precious minutes that your mate beat you in the race by – and it will be your own stupid fault.
  2. Break in any new run gear – and especially shoes – weeks ahead of race day. Otherwise you’ll likely end up swearing over the chaffing. And chaffing can happen everywhere: ankles, feet, toes, under arms, and yes even your ass. And it HURTS! God it hurts. Did I mention how much it HURTS!!!
  3. While we are on the chaffing topic. Use vaseline to stop chaffing on longer runs. Otherwise you WILL whimper when your raw rubbed skin hits the next shower or bath you have – and every shower following for potentially a week later….
  4. Study the course map. It’s hard to get lost, but you should know your turn points in a course. There is nothing worse than running longer than you have to for that medal.
  5. Have a pre-race plan to meet up with a mate if you plan to run together. Otherwise good luck in finding your mate amongst thousands of others! If you are like me… I finally found my run mate in a Rotorua Marathon event just a few kilometres from the finish line one year!! It made for a lonely ¾ of the race. So I learnt my lesson hard! However the “up side” was that at least my mate helped drag me to the finish-line at the end when I needed him most! This mate may, or may not, be the Chief Executive of Rotorua Community Hospice… yea Jonathon still laughs at me over that failed run plan (amongst others)…
  6. Allow plenty of time before the race to account for the loo queue for that last minute wee. You don’t want to be “that person” in the loo queue when the race gun goes. Or worse, have a full bladder while you wince your way through the first few miles and then, finally, spot a loo that has a queue a mile long with others who have made the same run mistake.
  7. Test new energy gels BEFORE race day. Otherwise pooping could be a problem.
  8. Don’t go out running too fast too soon – or you will finish the race crying and crawling. Pace yourself. Plan to run the last kilometres strong and you’ll finish with a smile.
  9. Slow down for race pictures and smile when you see a race camera out on the course (and pretend for a moment you are enjoying the event even if you aren’t!) People who look good in their race pictures have mastered this trick. The rest of us look like we are hunched over crazies with maddened looks glued to our faces. ie NOT pretty (or handsome).
  10. Don’t wear light coloured shorts or tights. They show up mud, (awkward sweat), awkward non-sweat, mud, and if it rains… it looks like awkward non-sweat…
  • This post is kindly sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon event. I’m a proud run ambassador for NZ’s most iconic – and one of the longest running – run events in this country. Enter a distance and be part of this epic event – there’s a 5km, 10km, 21km, or 42km distance to choose from Enter HERE

6 Tips to Boost Your Corrosive Self-Talk

AD/Your Self-Talk Matters – It impacts everything from Weight-Loss, to Anxiety, Depression… to Fuelling Your Success in Sports to your Work…

– Blog By Rachel Grunwell (wellness coach, speaker, & author of Balance: Food, health + Happiness). Rachel co-leads the Mindful Moments retreats at the Polynesian Spa. Book a weekend-long retreat getaway HERE

Connect with Rachel via Instagram: @rachelgrunwell 

Negative self-talk is a trend I witness with many of my wellness coaching clients. It breaks my heart.

My clients are juggling all the balls in the air but still struggle with love for themselves. They lack self-love and often practice negative and damaging self-talk. Their inner dialogue with themselves is mean, unkind and is holding them back from their true potential.

They see themselves through a lens of “not enough”. Not pretty enough, slim enough, smart enough, fit enough, or good enough. They feel guilty about taking “me time” to uplift their health. They feel like “me time” steals time away from giving more to others.

I tell my clients: You are enough. You are worthy. You are special. You are beautiful. You deserve to be seen, heard, and loved. It’s okay to nurture yourself, your health and look after yourself. You matter too. You deserve the chance to chase after your dreams, goal-crush and be the best version of you. The only one holding you back is “you”. If you look after “you” then you can give even more back to others you love, I promise”….

I advise my clients to practice self-love if they want to be successful in this one, precious, short life. You must talk to yourself in a similar way that you’d talk to your best friend or a child. – with tenderness, compassion, kindness, understanding and love. Otherwise, you’ll stay “stuck”.

How you speak to yourself fuels how you feel on the inside. It can have a ripple effect too with others. And those beliefs that you have inside your head can influence how you behave. You need self-love for kick-ass confidence in the world and to move forwards.

If your self-talk is negative and said out loud then the impact can be even more corrosive. If you say you are stupid and then your child hears this and copies your role-modelling… it will feel devastating to hear them repeat those words about themselves.

Positive self-talk can impact on your success on uplifting your health. An example of positive self-talk might sound like: “I’m tired today and so I won’t make it out for a run today and that’s okay. Tomorrow I’ll go and move my body and keep trying my best. I deserve this healthy me-time”. This positive self-talk is more likely to lead to more positive healthy behaviours.

This is rather than saying something negative like: “I’m not going running today because I’m useless and I may as well give up now…” 

The latter sentence will likely result in future fitness inaction.

My dream is to help more women believe in themselves and so they can goal-crush. I’d like to inspire everyone to help to stop this unhealthy cycle of negative self-talk. We need to fuel a culture of self-acceptance, worthiness, self-compassion, and self-love instead. We need a nurturing self-talk revolution.

Critical to living a wholehearted, authentic and full life is loving ourselves, writes Brene Brown in her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’. Positive self-talk is a key to leaving dark thoughts and to living more in the light.

Being kind with our self-talk is also all about helping us to move forwards, feel resilient and live

more vibrantly alive.

Tips for more positive Self-Talk: 

1. Use a ritual daily to practice a self-love mantra that helps you to change your self-talk dialogue. For instance, one of my girlfriends Cristina tells herself out loud 

“I am beautiful” daily while she puts on her moisturiser in front of the mirror. 

While she massages in the cream, she says these kind words to herself. This is instead of things like “I shouldn’t have drunk wine last night or stayed up so late and that’s why I look tired”…

2. Embrace your imperfections – and realise this takes time and commitment. These are things that make you look beautiful and look like “you”.

3. Make a conscious choice to believe in yourself and say positive things out loud. Let kids hear you speak these kind, positive, uplifting mantras.

4. Set boundaries. Say no to things you don’t want to do – otherwise if you say “yes” you feel resentment later. A no for someone else, is a “yes” for your soul health.

5. Find something that calms your nervous system. I personally use yoga, mediation, and I savour my cup of coffee mindfully daily where I pause and feel gratitude for the upcoming day. If I feel really anxious then I reach out to uplifting friends, or go for a walk (which in my book Balance explains how this calms anxiety).

6. Take time to do things you love to do. Practice being playful. These things can boost your mood and confidence.

  • This is a sponsored post by the Polynesian Spa. Rachel is an ambassador for the spa complex where she co-leads the Mindful Moments retreats.

3-Layer Wholefoods Caramel Slice

AD/The slice is full of wholefoods and the star ingredients are raw cashews and brown rice syrup from Bin Inn Stonefields.

Feel free to improvise on the ingredients. I love it when my followers tell me they reckon it tastes better with a tweak!

Layer 1

3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)

1/3 cup rice malt syrup

2 cups of raw cashews 

Teaspoon of cinnamon 

Grind of salt

Put the ingredients into a blender and combine. Tip: Put the ingredients into the blender in this order so the liquid ingredients are on the bottom which helps with blending. Then put this mixture into a lined tin. Pop it into the freezer while you do the next layer.

Layer 2

250ml of coconut cream

1/3 cup rice malt syrup

¾ coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup cacao butter, melted (if it is in small pieces then don’t worry about melting it as it will melt into the mixture quickly and blend, no problem)

2 tablespoons tahini

Grind of salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

1 cup raw cashews

2.5 cups of dates, pips removed (soften these in water 5 mins prior if they are not medjool dates and from a supermarket packet. Ps both taste good!

Place the liquid ingredients into the blender first – and then add the rest. Blitz until combined. Pour this onto the first layer and then pop into the freezer while you do the next layer.

Layer 3

¼ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

¼ cup maple syrup 

9 tablespoons water

100g cacao butter, melted

Grind of salt

¾  cup raw cashews

Mix in the blender and then pour this onto the slice. Pop it back into the freezer and then bring it out a few minutes before you want to serve it (so it’s a little easier to cut).

·     This recipe was sponsored by Bin Inn Stonefields 

Recipe by Rachel Grunwell: Wellness expert + speaker, author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness, healthy recipe creator for Good Magazine, and proud ambassador for Bin Inn (stores nationwide that sell wholefoods, organics, and specialty foods like keto, dairy-free and allergen-free products etc).