How to be a Wellness Warrior

We are delighted to be sharing an article from Áine Kerrigan, aka The Yoga Bear today on Happy Magazine. Áine attended Alison Canavan’s recent Full 360 Wellness event in Dublin and shared what she learnt from the day on last Sunday. We are re-publishing her article here with permission.

Recently I put into practice what I’ve been preaching and took some steps towards minding myself a little more.

One of the first things I did was attend The Full 360 Series, the first show of its kind in Ireland run by award-winning author of wellness book Minding Mum and health and wellness coach, Alison Canavan.

The overriding theme of the event was that we live in an ‘Inside Out’ world where what is going on in our bodies and our minds is being reflected physically, mentally, emotionally and that we, ourselves, have the power to change that for better or for worse.

The day-long event focused on complete holistic self-care beginning on the inside and encompassed topics such as nutrition, skincare, mindfulness, digital responsibility and financial management among others with the aim of introducing people to manageable behavioural changes that are possible to factor into a hectic schedule. Highlights and key takeaways for me were:


We truly are what we eat and good nutrition is the foundation of our health. Health coach, Caroline Jackman discussed with us the benefits of healthy living and good mood foods, the differences between juicing and blending and their respective advantages.

She gave us a host of little tips to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into our day. How about a glass of hot water with a slice of lemon first thing? Or a celery juice before your day begins to kick the digestive system into gear. Ice pops made from fruit juices and smoothies anyone?

I’ve written before about the importance of ‘rest and digest’ for the parasympathetic nervous system. The reality is that if we are continuously in ‘fight or flight’ mode, our digestive system shuts down.

Taking small moments, often to stop, breathe and come into the present moment is as important for your digestive system as the food we ingest.

And remember, consistency is key. Introduce small changes that will develop into habits and eventually, normality.

Managing Our Toxic Load

As a nation and, even on a global scale, we are becoming more informed and conscious of what we put into our bodies in terms of food and nutrition, however, are we as focused on the products we are putting onto our bodies?

We come in contact with many different chemical mixtures every day including soaps, cleansers, deodorants and perfumes as well as household cleaning products.

Our skin is our largest organ and, in the words of skin care expert Virginie from V Claire Natural Cosmetics, ‘our skin is our best coat’.

It tends to absorb more than 60% of the toxic chemicals in our cosmetics.

Think about how many different products we might use daily on our skin. A lot, right? The human body is a mind-blowing machine that expertly eliminates toxins entering the body but it can only do so much. What are we doing to reduce the amount of work our bodies undertake to cleanse the internal workings?

It’s not possible to control the toxins that enter our bodies through air pollution, pesticides, food additives and wireless technology but we can do our bit to lessen our own toxic load by switching to natural products.

Again, start with small steps like, switching to a natural deodorant or, as your products run out, begin to replace them with more natural and chemical-free alternatives. Check out for a great selection of natural products.


In the words of American novelist, Anne Lamott, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you”. The wonderful Chris Flack from Unplug was there to share some interesting nuggets on our digital responsibility to ourselves.

Some scary statistics from a recent global mobile consumer study from Deloitte suggested that 40% of us are ‘plugged in’ 24/7 and, in the US, 25% of road traffic accidents are caused by people using mobile phones while driving.

Yikes! Are you one of those people?

Did you know that 9 out of 10 people panic when their phone battery drops below 20%? Are you one of those people?

Clearly, you’re not alone but the dangers of being ‘always on’ and not managing our digital usage in a productive way can bring on a mass of psychological symptoms such as stress, anxiety and irritability not to mention physical issues such as headaches and sleep problems.

If you want to take control of your digital usage and manage it responsibly some suggestions included introducing small changes at a time such as keeping technical devices out of the bedroom to help improve sleep and relationships, putting your phone into ‘night mode’ to improve your body clock or tracking and curbing your usage with apps such as Moment or Flipd.

For more from Chris, check out his last interview with Taragh Loughrey-Grant on The Lifestyle Show.

Money is Energy

We don’t often think about the fact that everything we do, every choice we make and every change we may contemplate is somehow connected to our finances.

However, the subject of money is, more often than not, a huge factor in our relationships, career choices, quality of life and health.

If we are focusing so much on our nutrition, skincare, fitness and mental health then surely we must put the same, if not more, focus on our finances seeing as this is the one thing that crosses over all of the above!

Financial advisor, Dave Kavanagh QFA shared some insights into managing and planning our finances more efficiently. Tracking your spend down to the last cent and then planning around your discoveries means giving the same attention to your finances as you may give to your health and well-being which, can only be a positive.

Minding your Mind

The entire day highlighted how making small changes in our daily lives, whether it be through food, skincare and general self-care can make a positive impact on our state of mind. In addition to that, there are many other little adjustments that can influence your state of being such as the quality of your language.

Negative words can create negative feelings which can exacerbate feelings of stress or anxiety.

Retraining the brain to become more aware of the language we are using is a positive step as well as retraining the body to a posture that is more uplifting.

Standing tall inspires a feeling of confidence as well as creating more space across the chest to allow more oxygen into the lungs. Breathing deeply has a calming effect on the nervous system and the mind. Ask any yoga teacher!

The day came to a close with a mellow yoga class delivered by the lovely Miriam Kerins. Needless to say, we all floated out of the Radisson Blu, Golden Lane in Dublin inspired to make small changes in our daily lives.

The importance of self-care is becoming more and more apparent as the levels of anxiety related issues are presenting themselves in our society today. The Full 360 Series offered little nuggets of information for us to explore more in-depth and many tools for managing our own health and wellness.

The event itself was attended by true ‘wellness warriors’ seeing as taking the initiative to explore the area of self-care shows awareness and a desire and determination to progress.

People travelled from all over the country to learn more. Some even made new friends! My only question was – where were all the guys?! I counted two brave male warriors in the audience. Wellness is not gender-specific.

In the interests of equality guys, I urge you to step up! Don’t get left behind! Small changes can have big results and remember that growth only happens following a period of discomfort. There are so many great events like this taking place all over the country, Aoibhín Garrihy is working on creating wellness events and Peter Connolly from are organising events too.

If you are feeling uncomfortable with where you are, be thankful – good things are coming your way.

Áine Kerrigan aka ‘The Yoga Bear’ is an RYS500 qualified yoga teacher having completed 500 hours teacher training with Yoga Therapy Ireland. Áine teaches Hatha Yoga with an emphasis on safety, alignment and moving mindfully. First introduced to the world of yoga in 2005, her interest derived from the desire to balance out a busy lifestyle. Finding a new level of stillness, Áine is now on a mission to share the benefits of yoga with children and adults alike. Excited to have discovered the path of yoga, she adds to her studies by attending various workshops and retreats in an effort to continuously improve her classes.

You can follow Áine here:
Twitter: @the_yoga_bear
Instagram: theyogabear


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