Every month, IWNG is hosting a roundtable discussion with partners about various topics to help our members learn about life in Rotterdam.

In this Round table talk, IWNG founder Kristina interviewed a variety of entrepreneurs who specialize in different aspects of wellness. They shared their valuable tips on how to stay stress-free during this pandemic and live a healthy life.

“All or nothing mindset doesn’t serve us well”

Siobhan is passionate about movement in all its forms and believes exercise truly is medicine.
Siobhan is passionate about movement in all its forms and believes exercise truly is medicine.

1st speaker Siobhan is the founder of Siobhan Milner: Athletic Performance and Rehabilitation. Siobhan is passionate about movement in all its forms and believes exercise truly is medicine. As an exercise scientist with over a decade of experience working in both strength & conditioning and rehabilitation roles, she uses her expertise to help athletes improve their performance, and to help people from all walks of life prevent, manage, and recover from injuries.

Siobhan stated how moving our body improves our learning and cognitive functions. Moving improves bone density and decreases the risk of adverse health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, various cancers and diabetes. She also provided some practical tips for busy entrepreneurs to integrate movement into their busy schedules:

  • People with a sedentary lifestyle should incorporate movement breaks throughout the day for at least 5 minutes every 2 hours.
  • Contract all your muscles as hard as possible for 20 seconds, thinking about your stress, then you release with a big ‘sigh’. Progressive muscle relaxation completes the stress response cycle.
  • Purposefully leave your phone in another room, so you have to move towards the phone when you need it.

Siobhan says, “all or nothing thinking doesn’t serve us very well. Find something that fits with you and do whatever makes you happy. Any amount of movement is beneficial. Dance it out if it serves you best, force yourself to change position, it keeps our body in top condition, stress-free and keeps our joints healthy.” 

“Physical activity is what tells your brain you have successfully survived the threat and now your body is a safe place to live. Physical activity is the most efficient strategy for completing the stress response cycle.”

‘Burnout’ by Emily Nagoski

You can find Siobhan on Instagram @siobhan.milner, or visit her website to know more about her.

Willie Wonka is back in town, and this time she is Vegan!

Mel is our modern-day Willie Wonka
Mel is our modern-day Willie Wonka

The 2nd speaker Mel is also known as the Dopamine Chef, a health & wellness coach specializing in weight management and gentle detoxing. She supports women to take back control of their eating habit by choosing foods that love them back.

Mel demonstrated how to make chocolates that love you back and enjoy without feeling guilty! A sweet coping mechanism used by some women entrepreneurs in these tough times – made healthy!

Mel’s edition of healthy chocolates includes adding different ingredients with melted chocolate. Such as nut butter. Hazelnut butter, for example, will give the chocolate a Ferrero rocher kind of taste. You can also add almonds to get some ‘crunch’ and peanut butter because, as we all know, peanut butter and chocolates are matches made in heaven! And did you know that peanuts are not a nut? I learned it from Mel! Peanut is actually a legume. 

You can add a heaped teaspoon of nut butter to the melted chocolate and mix till the texture becomes thick then add some superfoods. Superfoods, like maca powder, give us an energy boost and balance our hormones. Maca powder has a savoury caramel taste that goes well with both chocolate and peanut butter. You can also add CBD oil to the chocolate. As we all know, CBD oil is great for relaxing your body and with the current anxiety around us, CBD will reduce our stress level and will help to cope with everything better.

Mix everything according to your choice and pour it in a mould or a plastic container lined with a baking sheet, put it in the fridge and voila! You will get amazing guilt-free chocolate that loves you back.

Mel gave us some tips on how to choose the best chocolates. She recommends organic chocolate as cacao is a fruit that farmers will spray heavily with pesticides. Try to go for the darker chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao. The more cacao in your chocolate, the less sugar is needed. Mel also advised us to always choose fairtrade chocolates.

Chocolate works as an amazing energy booster. Mel says, “sugar-free hot chocolate in the morning will give you the same caffeine boost as coffee but without the jitters.’” 

You should definitely eat more chocolate in a healthy way to increase the ‘happy chemical’ in your body.

Mel is our modern-day Willie Wonka who says, “If you can stabilise the sugar of the chocolate with something interesting, then you will get delicious chocolate without the spike in blood sugar level.” 

Visit her website to learn more or book your free discovery call.

Dopamine Chef also makes artisan vegan chocolates – guilt-free treats for health-conscious chocoholics. Shop the range online and find her on Instagram @dopaminechef.

“My mission is to create wellbeing wherever it’s needed and to break taboos on mental health”

Irene believes in "Self-Healing with Compassion".
Irene believes in “Self-Healing with Compassion”.

3rd speaker Irene is the founder of Expat Wellbeing. She is a Creative Arts Therapist and Wellbeing Consultant. She helps professionals and companies create sustainable success by putting their wellbeing and happiness first. Having overcome depression during her past life as a lonely engineer/academic ex-pat, she now infuses creativity, body-mind interplay and mindful community values in all her work, which she calls “Self-Healing with Compassion”.

The uncertainties of this day and age have opened doorways to deepen our self-awareness. And with it, some of us feel the necessity for deeper inner work. Irene shares about her tribe program for self-healers seeking a community of compassion to grow together. She emphasizes the importance of patience and compassion and encourages people to self organize among their own clusters. Irene ended the interview session with a demonstration of synchronized breathing exercise where the other speakers happily joined.

Read more about her program on her website, and follow Expat Wellbeing on Linkedin and Facebook.

“You should only give from a cup which is full!”

Anita helps people to upgrade their lives.
Anita helps people to upgrade their lives.

4th speaker Anita, the founder of Black Ladies Talk, focuses on improving the social-economic positions via learning and development interventions. Her company offers L&D solutions to help people upgrade their lives.

Anita spoke about subjective well-being and entrepreneurship in times of covid. She believes every person deserves to have a good life, and that is the reason that drives her to get up from her bed every morning. Anita provided us with some important tips to stay well in current times.:

  • Accept the change of post-covid and do not compare with pre-covid times. If you can accept your circumstances then you can grow. Your actions will be different, and you really can manifest your own reality if you believe in yourself.
  • Plan for the day/week/month ahead and keep it realistic. Be kind to yourself and make a to-do list that actually works for you.
  • Plan your meals and don’t do work alongside your meals. That will feel like you are working the whole day without a break.
  • Search for people whom you can trust and can have a good conversation with. They create a safe place where you can release your exhaustion.
  • Ask for help and take some rest and take care of yourself. This is very important especially for women. Take some power naps during the day and recharge yourself.
  • Always keep on developing and upgrading yourself. Try to learn something new so that you will not be stuck at the same level.
  • Don’t fight to get your stress under control. Learn to say ‘No’ and make your ‘Yes’ count! Be your own boss and set boundaries for yourself.

According to Anita “You should only give from a cup which is full!” and in this way, you can be the best version of yourself.

You can find Anita on LinkedIn and learn more about Black Ladies Talk on her website.

Home is now a place for both working and living”

Darina spoke about the importance of home right now.
Darina spoke about the importance of home right now.

Last but not the least, We spoke with Darina, founder of Feng Shui Design. Feng-Shui is an ancient philosophy about the energy of space. Darina is a Feng Shui professional & interior designer who guides people in harmonizing their homes & working environments to lead a happy and healthy life.

Darina spoke about the importance of home right now. For most of us, our homes became our place of work as well as our heaven of rest. Making sure we feel safe, comfortable, inspired and still motivated in our homes is a priority and necessity for our mental health. Darina says, “Our surroundings have a big impact on our emotions and energy.” She shared some valuable and practical guidelines for such as:

  • It is important to create a place in your living room where you can withdraw yourself. A peaceful place like a chair or a corner where you can go regularly and take rest.
  • Avoid installing a workspace in your bedroom and don’t bring work issues in your bedroom. Create a nice peaceful and calm environment in your bedroom. It’s your sanctuary. Choose earthy colours for a bedroom and not active colours like red or blue.
  • Invite fresh air into your home. Open the windows for a few minutes and let the light in to have the energy exchange.
  • Integrate more natural elements in your home. Our environment shapes our thoughts and emotions and has a direct impact on our actions.
  • Use room dividers to create separate space when necessary. Keep your head protected and preferably keep a wall behind where you will work.
  • The colours, optics and everything you surround yourself with is important and has a direct impact on your actions. 
  • Use essential oils to influence your mood.

“According to philosophy, even 30% of all that we attract in our lives, and manifest is influenced by our surroundings.”

Therefore it is essential to keep our surroundings calm and peaceful.

Connect with Darina on LinkedIn and Facebook, and learn more on her website

How Are You Improving Your Well-Being?

We appreciate all these valuable tips from these amazing entrepreneurs who help us stay stress-free in the current times. Watch the full interview and let us know how these tips help you. 

Interested in partnership opportunities with IWNG? We’d love to hear from you!

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Neela Mahrufa
Settled in the Netherlands in 2018 and being a foodie, everyone's love for sandwiches(Boterham) here still astonishes me! I am a happy-go-lucky kind of person who loves everything colourful.

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