Tag: wellbeing tips

Have you tried mindful drinking?

How much have you been drinking this holiday season? So many events revolve around having a festive tipple or two, which feels fun at the time, but may not be helping you get to your health goals and may be stopping any desired weight loss. […]

8 ways to beat colds and flu

When the temperature drops, the chance of you coming down with a cold or the flu increases significantly.   It’s widely accepted you’ll get sick more often in the winter.   That’s because you’re likely to be inside more and the common cold thrives better […]

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.

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 […]

Things I Love: 13 Ways To Simplify Your Life

I recently had the pleasure of attending a talk with Sarah Wilson, the Australian journalist who has spearheaded the I Quit Sugar movement in Australia. She spoke for an hour about 13 ways to simplify your life. It was a really fun talk with loads of brilliant examples and tips. And I got my copy of Simplicious signed!

 

Here are her tips one by one – enjoy!

1. Stop Eating (So Much) Sugar

This is a no brainer. Sugary food has moved from being a treat that you might have at the weekend, to a must have after every meal. One of the ladies in the audience shared the problem of her son’s nursery offering a sugary dessert after every meal and asked for Sarah’s advice on what to do. My son’s nursery does the same and it drives me nuts. Food habits start early and I definitely don’t want J to be in the habit of expecting something sweet after each meal. Sarah advised the lady in the audience to have an honest chat with her son’s nursery – my experience is that nurseries think it’s normal to give a pudding after every meal so I just ask J’s nursery not to give him any sweet puddings all, that way when he has ice cream or cake with us or at a party, it actually is a treat. Problem solved.

 2. Cook

sarah wilson michael pollen quote

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Sometimes the very act of cooking with fresh, local and organic ingredients seems almost revolutionary.

3. Ride a Bike and 4. Walk

They’re both cheap, easy and give you the benefit of exercise and the opportunity to take in your surroundings in a different way.  As a Londoner, it’s hard not to walk, whether it’s to and from the tube, doing the nursery pick-up and drop-off  or meandering around the neighbourhood. Sarah raved about Boris bikes and I made a mental note to use them a bit more often – they’re so easy and fun!

5. Slow Cook

I love my slow cooker. It is such a brilliant way to cook, especially knowing that after a long day at work in the winter, you have a warm meal waiting for you. Slow and low, Sarah advised, is the best way to cook. It better preserves micronutrients and phytonutrients and the long cooking time generally means that the food is more flavourful.

 6. Use Less Stuff

Sarah showed an amazing photo of her wearing a ‘Consume Less’ t-shirt when she was explaining this point. She urged us to reuse everything (something she does brilliantly in her latest book, Simplicious), to simplify our wardrobes and to generally not be so bound by the stuff that surrounds us. We’re currently on the cusp of a house move and I can really relate to this point as we’ve prepared the house for viewings. We’ve just got too much stuff.

7. Use Fewer Ingredients

Sarah’s recipes are incredibly straightforward and she’s a great believer in creating a flow of cooking, i.e. start with the foundation items, like stocks, spice blends, which then help with the main meal recipes in her book.

 8. Be A Total Scummy, Daggy Cook

Take doggy bags, buy the wonky veg, reuse everything. Sarah told a story about how she took home the bones from her restaurant meal to make stock – she takes waste not, want not to heart!

9. Have A Warm Root

Sarah is a big advocate of the balancing principles of Ayurveda and talk a lot about kapha, pitta and veda in her first book, which I found really interesting. She believes that  warming foods recreate balance in the body, especially when you’ve had a time of huge excess.

10. Create Your Own Life Boundaries

We get pushed in some many different directions and I know many of us have a very hard time saying no. Sarah talked about the importance creating your own boundaries and sticking to them. I’ve found this to be very true, especially at work. And if I don’t respect my own boundaries of leaving work at 6pm and not answering email after hours, my colleagues and clients surely don’t.

Sarah also urged us to “close some of the tabs in our brains” – which is an apt way of thinking about the incessant multi-tasking we’re all guilty of. Did you know that Brits toggle between devices 21 times an hour! Imagine what that’s doing to our brains!

11. Drop Stuff That Makes You Itch

If it’s not working for you, then drop it. The word no can be one of the most powerful words in your arsenal.

12. Don’t Seek Balance

sarah wilson don't seek balance

Enjoy the things that feel good and that will gradually create balance. I’ve talked a bit about this in the past. There’s no such thing as a fully balanced life and the more we seek balance, the more imbalanced we often become.

13. Get Your Grubby Mitts Off It

Sarah talked about time when she was feeling anxious and her meditation teacher advised her to ‘get her grubby mitts off it’, i.e. take a step back from the situation and get a bit of perspective.