Tag: self care

What are the fundamentals of self-care?

I’ve been talking a lot recently about self care: how it’s in my view, not a trend, but a sustainable way to listen to and have respect for your body.   Self care means different things to different people, which is where some of the […]

Stories I loved this week.

  Want a more innovative company? Hire more women. (TED)   I loved reading this history of the chopped salad. (Bon Appetit)   Broccoli helps promote a healthy gut. (Science Daily)   Stop telling women their pain is normal. It should be treated. (The Guardian) […]

I Tried It: The 4-7-8 Deep Breathing Method For Better Sleep

sunset in richmond

Do you ever have nights where your mind is whirring and it’s tricky to drop off to sleep? I do.

 

I’ve been trying the 4-7-8 deep breathing method to help me get to sleep and it’s been really helpful! Pioneered by Dr Andrew Weil, the technique is designed to calm the mind and relax the muscles. If you’re one of the 30% of Brits who suffers from poor sleep, anything is worth a try, right?

 

Not sleeping well doesn’t just affect your blood sugar balance, make you tired and unable to concentrate – it also puts you at risk of more serious health issues including obesity, heart disease and diabetes and even reduces your life expectancy.

 

The 4-7-8 deep breathing technique comes from yoga breathing, where you have to keep the tip of the tongue behind the upper front teeth. You breathe in through your nose quietly and blow air out forcefully through your mouth making a whoosh sound.

 

Here’s how to perform the 4-7-8 mindful bedtime trick:

1.    Exhale through your mouth making a ‘whoosh’ sound.

2.    Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a count of four.

3.    Hold your breath for seven seconds.

4.    Exhale through your mouth, making a ‘whoosh’ sound to the count of eight.

5.    Inhale again and repeat the cycle 2-4 times or until you feel yourself drifting off.

 

According to Dr Weil, this technique works by filling the lungs with air, allowing more oxygen into the body, which in turn promotes a state of calm. Dr Weil advises doing the breathing during the day as well as it can also be used to improve digestion and stop the ‘fight-or-flight’ response in the body, reducing stress.

 

Even if you decide this stress-relieving technique isn’t for you, it’s worth exploring other ways to reduce your stress levels. Stress plays such a huge part in how we feel about ourselves, and that in turn has a knock-on effect on how motivated we are to eat well and take proper care of both our physical and mental health.

 

It might seem like a luxury to practise mindfulness or indulge in any kind of self care but you know what they say when you’re on a plane: you’ve got to put on your own oxygen mask before you can save anyone else.

 

The same is true for healthy eating. In my clinic, people often come to me feeling unmotivated and exhausted by life and it’s my job to help you feel inspired to make positive changes for yourself. And once you feel motivated again, it will help to inspire the whole family and others around you.

 

If you know you need a diet and lifestyle upgrade, but are not sure exactly what that would look like for you, get in touch. Looking forward to talking to you and helping you take the first step towards a new you.

6 ways to take care of yourself this weekend.

It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it?   The news has been overwhelming recently, with stories of loss, craven abuse of power, sexual misdeeds and stories of utter bravery.   It’s a lot to take in, and for many of us, these stories unearth old […]

I Tried It: 30 Days of Yoga

Do you do yoga? It’s something I always recommend yoga to my stressed out clients. It’s incredible for reducing cortisol, the major stress hormone, and getting people to focus on the quality of their breathing. In addition, a recent study shows that yoga and meditation […]

Stories I loved this week.

summer flowers

I’ve been talking a lot about self-care and ways to destress recently. It’s so essential. Here are five more ways to feel less stressed. (Healthyish)

I love this profile of Oprah, especially this line, “When the shoot is finally over, I am taken to the teahouse, a romantic, open-air stone structure Oprah built for the sole purpose of reading The New York Times in the morning while drinking her tea.” She’s living her best life! (Vogue)

I’m mixed race and have spent a lot of time and money relaxing my naturally curly hair. I’ve always known that the relaxers the hairdressers use to straighten hair are incredibly toxic, but it’s only in the last year that I’ve been able (i.e. found the courage) to stop relaxing my hair and embrace my natural curls. It’s horrifying how many more chemicals there are in products targeted at women of colour.(Popular Science)

Are rising carbon dioxide levels decreasing the amount of nutrients in our food? (Politico)

I love the look of this fig and bacon recipe. (Bon Appetit)

Did you know that your gut microbiome has a circadian rhythm, similar to the one in humans? And their daily rhythms affect us in many ways, such as affecting when in the day our livers best metabolise drugs (it’s usually the morning). (The Conversation)

People will like you more if you ask them questions. (New York Magazine)

Are you more stressed than you realise?

How do you feel right now? Check your breath. Is it shallow, taking short, little breaths through your nose? Check your hands and teeth – are they clenched? Check your shoulders – are they tensed up towards your ears?   If you answered yes to […]

What’s your self-care routine?

Self-care has become a hot topic these day, as people search for a way to keep grounded in what feels like crazy times.   Self-care, as in the act of taking small moments for yourself, in order to uplift, centre and increase energy, is not […]

Stop telling me to be nice.

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I wrote this on Instagram this morning and wanted to expand it out a little.

In the last three days, I’ve been seeing many posts talking about the need to ‘be nice’ to others as we all process the result of the US election. These posts frustrate me.

What I wonder is – how does it help, in moments of grief, of anger, to hear calls to ‘be nice’, to ‘turn the other cheek’?  It strikes me that these calls to ‘be nice’ are a way for people to hide their discomfort with what’s happening around them. It can be hard to grapple with an uncomfortable conversation about the true beliefs and inherent biases in those that surround you, to hear challenging words, words that may challenge core beliefs and biases.

Rather than ‘being nice’ and sweeping things under the rug, I’m a firm believer that people need an opportunity to process their emotions, especially in these macro moments of shock and horror. Let them feel what they need to feel as long as they’re not hurting anyone.

When you see the increase in racism and xenophobia, it’s hard to hear ‘be nice’. People are suffering and we need to take care of each other.

We need to try and to understand each other more. Let’s constructively challenge assumptions and build new understandings, that are based on truths. Change is messy, uncomfortable and not very nice. But it can be incredibly effective, life-changing, even. Let’s try.

The importance of self-care.

There’s been so much depressing, upsetting news recently that sometimes I feel like shutting off my phone and laptop and burying my head in my pillow until it all goes away.   But it’s not going away, is it? Between Brexit, the US election, even […]

An ode to self-care, rest and reflection.

I talk a lot about food on this blog, a bit about fitness and a smidgen about love. The eat, the love and the move.   What I’ve been realising this summer is how important rest and a sense of peace are to your own […]

Stories I loved this week.

 

footsteps on the beach

How do you keep your spirits up when it feels like you want to give the whole world a time-out, when so much seems to keep going wrong? What do you do to keep the positive energy going in your life?

Switching off and staying away from news sites & social media has become an essential part of my self-care, especially in the last three weeks. I don’t want to shut the world away, but sometimes I want a break from the bad news and bad behaviour. Is that selfish? Is it indulgent? It has become a necessity in order to avoid burnout.

So here’s to the weekend – may yours be full of long baths, cosy moments, good food and spiritual renewal.

A great summary of how to choose your weekly groceries in an ethical way. (NY Mag)

And I’m so in awe of what my body can do – I’m so proud of it.’ Women talk about how they feel about their bodies six weeks after giving birth. (The Pool)

5 tips for taking good food photos on your iPhone. (goop)

It’s fascinating to see the changes in attitudes towards food waste. This Spanish company is growing exponentially just using ‘imperfect’ produce. Inspiring. (The Guardian)

4 foods that can cause hormonal imbalance. Tofu is a big one. Fermented soy is a much better way to get phytoestrogens. (The Chalkboard)

I adore this series: 15 surprising things about parenting in Iceland. (Cup of Jo)

What happens to your body when you switch to an all-organic diet. Fascinating. (Fast Company)

Photo by Ana Gabriel