For a few years now I have been subscribed to a ‘Daily Dose’ of inspiration by Light Watkins. I stumbled across it without knowing that it was exactly what I was looking for and I have been grateful ever since. Now every morning my email brings me a little food for thought to start my day on. It is just a little something which takes me out of the speeding train in my head and into the now.
Since then I have been part of his ‘Happiness Insiders’, which has challenged me to complete over a year of consistent meditation to date. I have also enjoyed being part of an online book club which is exposing me to different authors and genre I would not normally of even considering. My world is slowly expanding in different ways.
The thing is though if anyone had told me I needed to read this or needed to do that my immediate reaction would have been rebellion. I would have moved further away from whatever they suggested, either consciously or subconsciously. Even if it is to my detriment I would continue, at least until a wake up call arrives to tell me to ‘sort my sh!+ out’! It is the story of my life in fact. Whatever was ‘fashionable’ and ‘trendy’ at the time was exactly what I didn’t like. I liked to buck the trend and back the outsider but mostly I think it is not wanting to be told what to do. I like doing things differently. I guess it makes me feel that I have more control over my own life …. that I’m not one of the millions …. even if it isn’t always the smartest choice.
You’d think with my will to ‘do things as I please’ I would be more understanding of others having their own way too. Sadly, this is not always true but the meditation and reading different ideas on life is helping. I’m learning to take a deep breath when I feel the need to direct others and keep my mouth shut. I’m learning to give love and understanding rather than judgement and criticism. If I’m being honest though, at the moment I am mostly in that stage of knowing but not doing very consistently. They say practice makes perfect so fingers crossed! So when Light Watkins dropped this in my inbox the other week it was a great reminder for me and as it fits so well with my ‘Advice’ piece the other week that I thought I would share it with you too 🙂
Hope this finds you living the life you want and letting others do the same.
I remember years ago hearing a comedian talking about this topic. The one thing I took away from it was ‘A piece of advice is like an @$$hole; everyone has one but that doesn’t mean we want to see or hear yours.’ I have carried this gem with me for years now and always think about it as I proffer my ‘advice’ to others. I say think about it because it rarely actually stops me opening my mouth and spouting something to some unsuspecting soul. I thought I was pretty good though at not giving too much advice (well not as much as I secretly wanted to give) and trying to get the other person to follow what felt right for them but now that I have teenagers in the house I can see that may not be the case. There is nothing like a surly teenager to put you in your place and show you that your advice is meaningless to them!
For most of us when we hear that someone else is having a bad time of things we often want to help, maybe even rescue them. The most common and easiest way seems to be giving our advice, regardless of whether or not it has been asked for. We often think we have the answer to others problems and so want to share our knowledge. In my experience so far though, this isn’t the case. Sometimes themselves (our teenagers) actually get a bit peeved off if I do have the correct information to help them move forward, like they want to have a unsolvable problem. Sound familiar? Do they want the challenge of figuring it out for themselves or do they just enjoy moaning? From the lack of action I sometimes see I’m thinking it is the latter, with them at least. With others I would say that the majority of times I have offered unsolicited advice (which I think is the kind of advice most of us give) I can see that it was like ‘water off a duck’s back’. Their eyes kind of glaze over and the rhythmic head nodding begins as they block me out without actually telling me to ‘P!$$ off’.
I realize too that I am often one of the worst offenders of that glazed look and heading nodding. Though I do hear what people say I often won’t accept the validity of their advice until much later, sometimes not until someone else has told me a similar piece of advice. Sometimes not until my world is in collapse! They say we need to be exposed to things multiple times before we accept it so maybe I can use that as my excuse for now. I guess though we all like to think we have things sorted and if we don’t have our issues sorted now, that we can sort them if we really wanted to. I often wonder too why I share things that are going bad when I there is a part of me which doesn’t want any advice on solving it. What is the need in me to let others know the bad rather than all the good in my life? Is it a form of bonding? A form of self trimming tall poppy syndrome? I’m not sure but I do remember a friend telling me that in some cultures when someone asks how you are, you are expected to tell them something that is going wrong. The idea being that this way you make the other person feel good about their lives as sharing loads of good news is seen as boastful. So maybe it is an inbuilt survival tool.
Maybe there is a happy medium somewhere in giving advice; somewhere in the midst of limiting what we share which we don’t want advice on and asking others if they want help, advice or our opinion before we actually give it. I’m certainly still looking for it. Until I do find it I think I will continue spouting my ‘advice’ on here, oblivious to how it is received, so at least you have the option to close the tab rather than feigning interest 🙂
So often we increase our stress levels simply by worrying about everything we have to do, what others think or that we are not living up to our potential while everyone else around us seem to have their lives sorted. Truth is that if we had an opportunity to take even the tiniest peek into those ‘other lives’ we would recognize the same fears, worries, un-decidedness and underlying troubles we ourselves have.
It is easy to compare ourselves for better or worse with others however it doesn’t always serve us very well. We don’t really know what the other person it thinking or feeling and we don’t know what they have experienced. You can always benefit from seeing how others deal with issues in a positive way; just comparing yourself and rating yourself better or worse will never bring true, long term gains. Our stress and worry levels are determined by one major factor – how we react to the events in our lives – not by how we are ‘measuring up . Event + Response / Reaction = Outcome. (Canfield, The Success Principles, 2015). So how we decide to react can bring us more or less stress and more or less happiness in life.
The question is then; if we are all going through similar problems and our stress levels are decided by how we response to those problems then what are we to do? Give up? Go with the flow? Battle it all? Find a compromise? Or change the way we respond to problems to move forward? All are valid, and possible, plans of action. Whatever we choose we would be able to justify in our minds, and to others, so maybe a better questions would be ‘How can I live a more relaxed life’; ‘What would serve me positively’; or ‘Which actions will enable me to grow as a person?’
Even when it seems that it is other people who have created the problem if we are worried or stressed about it then it is our issue. We can’t change others, only ourselves. However; and here is where the magic comes in, sometimes in changing ourselves, in reacting to events in a different way, the people around us want to change too. Problems and issues seem to lessen or disappear, the stress eases and life feels better. The law of attraction states that ‘like will attract like’ so the more positive and calm we are the more positivity and calmness we attract and the reverse is also true. So which would you choose?
By focusing on the present, being grateful for all the positives and abundance we have, and moving forward from there we will attract those who are also thinking along the same lines. The past is already history, it has created the people we are for better or for worse and the future is still a mystery. While we can acknowledge the past and have goals for the future if we stay in either place too long it can leave us in a stagnant space dwelling or dreaming rather than acting. Here and now is where and when life is happening!
As the Dalai Lama is quoted as saying “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.”
Every morning come rain or shine I head out with our four legged friends for a walk. It has become a bit of a ritual, in fact it has now got to the point where I don’t even think about walking or not …. I just get up, put on my exercise clothes and go. I have noticed, over the years, that not only is their behaviour and energy levels better during the day but so are mine! Sure some days the walk is less energetic than others. Some days the walk is shorter than others but everyday I know that if I miss our walk I just won’t feel as good that day.
When we’re out it is my time to reflect on the day before, thinking what I could have done differently, and also to ‘prepare’ for the day ahead by saying a few affirmations as I walk. We also invariably get to chatting to another walker (usually a neighbour) at some point, get distracted by some new ‘stinky’ highlights (that is more the dogs than me it has to be said) or just enjoy the birdsong and the elements. Not being that eager to venture out too much in a day if I can help it, our morning walk is the main time when I get to tick off some of the ‘Five Ways to Well-being’ in a day. It is my way of ensuring I’m taking action about my health rather than feeling on the back foot and reacting when things don’t feel so great.
There is a lot of research out there which backs up what I’m experiencing too. The benefits of exercise on our health are proven but actually getting out into nature when you’re being active can amplify those benefits. Making the time to go outside and be in nature – both green (trees, grass, bush) and blue (rivers, lakes, sea) spaces – can also boost your well-being in many different ways. Using the green and blue spaces around you as part of your well-being routine can improve and regulate your moods, reduce stress and also help you feel more connected to the world. Evidence suggests that being in nature for more than 120 – 150 minutes a week (around 20 mins a day) is related to the best possible physical, as well as mental, health and well-being.
Now I’m aware that not everyone is as fortunate as us to have a river walk on their doorstep but being in nature can refer to many different things. It doesn’t have to be a mammoth trek in the mountains or an epic swim in the sea. It may be parks, gardens and allotments in an urban setting or even a trip to a wildlife park. It may be working on the land or being on farmland. It may be short bush walks or just the local botanical gardens. Maybe a stroll along a creek, stream, river or lake. Even sitting by the water fountain in the park will help gain some positive blue and green health effects.
Just stepping out onto your lawn to do a few breathing exercises and moving the body will help boost the impact of what you are doing. Getting into your garden (not my specialty I have to say), reading outside, taking a lunch break in the outdoors or just making the most of that walk to the car can all count. The best thing is there is nothing to lose in trying to add a bit more nature in your life and everything to gain.
Hope this finds you exploring, enjoying and engaging in the nature around you.
Recently I attended a couple of writing courses which have been great inspiration for writing of my book on health and well-being along with my long-suffering family history stories. Better yet though is that a little spin off group has occurred, which I was lucky enough to be invited too. Each week we share our writing and discuss our progress with the security of knowing we are among trusted friends. The other week we were given a topic to write on. It was a topic which got my brain firing and my fingers moving as I combined information about my self and well-being.
The topic was ‘What story would you tell if you only had one year to live’. I thought I would share it here too. Maybe, just maybe, there is something in it for you or those you love even if it is just some inspiration to write your own story……….
‘In my life there have been many stories that I have shared with those who matter and some with those who don’t. In fact, I can think of only one story that my children haven’t heard the full detail of. In my mind it is the one story that would be better told by another, if at all. In all my stories though there are themes which often repeat themselves; life lessons that are presented to me continuously. Some have had to be presented via a proverbial ‘brick to the head’ while others have simmered away growing in strength as time goes by. So, with a year to live the story I would tell is ‘Life Lessons for the Living.’
It is never too late to start
While Mum always told me I didn’t have any patience and was always in a rush to do things, both of which are true, I have not always met ‘expected time frames’ with regards to societal norms. It maybe the quiet rebel in me that made me start driving much later than all my peers, go to university and beginning my degree at least a decade later than others and learn Spanish in my 30’s after wasting so much time at school determined not to learn French. I finally traveled New Zealand in my 40’s; fulfilling my dream of living in a house bus. Then at nearly 50 I started learning drums and roller-skating again, though not simultaneously. So, whatever it is you want to start doing, be it learning, forgiving, moving or maybe just being don’t let anyone tell you it is too late. Especially not that little chatterbox in your head. Opportunities abound to support you starting your dream when you begin to look. Thankfully, my mother passed on in unspoken deeds that there was never any age limit on life, never any limit to what you could do or when it was possible to do it. As Henry Ford once said ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you’re right’.
2. Trust your intuition
This is one of the most important lessons I have learnt and which I am still learning every day. Research tells us that we actually have two ‘brains’, the brain we all know and the stomach or more accurately the digestive system. The cells in the brain and the gut originate from the same tissues and basically decided to take two separate roads of development. Both have the power to help govern what we do. That churning stomach or those ‘butterflies’ may be just as informative as any thought power we give to an issue. These two, the brain and the digestive system, are also linked with the Vargas nerve so are constantly working together with their shared neurotransmitters and hormones. My advice, for what it is worth, is to listen closely to that little funny feeling you get or that gut reaction to events and trust it. Too often I have ignored my intuition only to have it proven correct at a later date. Our brain rationalizes events whereas our gut instinct or intuition invariably reads the situation exactly how it is. So, trust yourself and reap the benefits.
3. Find and follow your own path
I know, I know it’s a complete cliché but it’s true. The importance of following your own path is beyond expression. For much of my life I tried my hardest to adapt, mould and modify myself into what I thought others wanted. In the end it was always in vain; you can never please people who want you to change nor those who aren’t happy with who you are. Only in those times where I did what I truly wanted in my heart, following my intuition of course, did I feel happiest and actually attracted the feelings I had previously searched for. Often, we change things about ourselves and our behaviour because we think we need to. We assume that in following others’ expectations we will make them happy, achieve our goals or even be happier ourselves. In my experience though those achievements are short lived and hollow unless you feel that the whole of you is still there. We are all important and invaluable to life in our own unique way so find your ‘path’, stick to it and share your treasures with the world
4. Keep the joy in your life alive
Sometimes life can be a bitch. We all know it and we’ve all experienced it however what we sometimes don’t realise is that ultimately, we have power to decide how life impacts us in the long term. Whether a horrible event causes us great suffering or whether it directs us to joyous new places is up to us depending on the perspective we take. Lessons in adaption and growth, lessons in how to find more joy can only occur when we are willing to look at life differently. As the Archbishop Desmond Tutu says in The Book of Joy, ‘We are meant to live in joy.’ Joy can be found anywhere, at any time when we look. An event may send us into a spin. It may sap the joy from our day quicker than we thought possible yet in breathing deep and changing our perspective that same event may direct us to joy as we distract ourselves by going for a walk and seeing the beauty of nature. We are hard-wired to remember and focus on the negative; it is one of our oldest survival tools. In changing our perspective though we can also see and savour all those little things that bring a smile to our face, that light up our day and bring joy into our lives.
5. Invest in your health
I really wish I had learnt lesson earlier in life but as my first life lesson states ‘it is never too late to start’. At nearly 50 years old I am now in better health and have a greater sense of well-being than I did 30 years ago. In all honesty, it was a classic case of not listening to the advice I am now giving; I certainly didn’t listen to my intuition or my gut as I blindly skipped along the garden path of all and sundry. Overeating, overspending, oversleeping and over drinking. Even when it didn’t really fill me with any joy, even when it ended in pain I still continued. I now realise too that health is not just the physical and if you ignore the other aspects of health such as emotional, spiritual and mental then you can become even sicker than just ignoring the physical. I love Mason Durie’s Te Whare Tapa Whā model where he likens health to a home; the walls that protect you are Spiritual, Physical, Mental and Community well-being, which includes family, while nature is at the base of it all. Research backs this up as a connection with nature can be a great foundation which ensures our whare or well-being is secure and stable. I also like to add that all the tools we learn along the way act as the roof. A protective cover which helps us when the ‘bad weather’ comes. Humans are intrinsically lazy; we will often opt for comfort and ease over effort. It is easy to make an excuse not to exercise, not to contact a friend, not to meditate, not to expand our horizons. I know I have done it many times! However, that little bit of effort to take action, to make the unfamiliar familiar will reap more rewards than you can imagine. Creating connections, moving our body, stimulating our mind and being in nature will always leave us feeling happier and healthier.
So, with a year to live this is the story I would tell. A story about the lessons I have learnt. A story of life lessons for the living.
Apologies for the lack of blogging! I haven’t been doing much baking lately as I have been spending time taking part in activities which make me feel renewed ……I have to confess that while I love baking the scoffing part of it doesn’t usually fill me with feelings of renewal 🙂 Hence it has taken a back seat for a while.
Sunset walks with himself
Instead I have been focusing on learning some languages, getting into nature each day, playing my guitar and getting on top of some emotional baggage. It is amazing how much ‘rubbish’ I was holding onto, even when I thought I had dealt with issue! After tapping each day and doing my other renewing activities, I have been blown away by the changes I have been experiencing and how much more my days are flowing.
So in case any of you want to feel a bit renewed I thought I would share this link to the Tapping World Summit. It has been on for the last 10 days however this is a link to be able to listen and tap along to all the talks. It is time sensitive so it will be ending very soon however I thought it was worth sharing; Tapping World Summit
I hope it gets to you in time … if not then check out YouTube for some free tap along videos on a host of topics.
Well I’m at a bit of a loss for inspiration this week after arriving back from a warm winter break in Fiji to the strong icy winds that we have blowing here at the moment. All I really want to do is snuggle up in bed with a good book!! So following that thought I’ve decided to just go with the ‘lazy flow’ and share my e-books with you ….. in case you have the urge to snuggle up with a book too 🙂
In this busy interconnected and wired-up world stress seems to be a natural part of daily life. Right? Wrong! Life doesn’t have to be a rush. What if you could take it easy and create a ‘stress-less’ life for yourself? With my simple tools and ideas you can discover simple ways to reduce your stress and be on your way to creating exactly that – A ‘Stress-Less’ Life. This e-book will guide you through five simple steps to help you create a life where you are enjoying your days and experiencing less stress while improving your health and well-being.
Regain balance, rediscover the joy in each day and live your dream with this 12 week program. Life is busy and when children are added to the mix life can get hectic. Often it is easy to lose sight of the things that really matter and forget to give time to yourself along with remembering your dreams. Now Magnificent Mamas with take you through week by week to create the life that you want and can have. There are tips and ideas for finding balance, for self- care and for achieving your goals and dreams.
Losing weight and feeling great doesn’t have to be complicated or cost lots of money. In a world where we are bombarded with new ‘diets’, ‘quick fix’ solutions and numerous products for improving our lives it is easy to forget that actually the basic rules for having health and well-being still apply. This book guides you through some ‘back to basics’ steps which will help you to feel healthier, feel happier and help create your ideal body.
This comprehensive guide has everything you need to use Bach Flower Remedies with confidence. Find out how you can begin to gain more balance, more calm and less stress naturally through using Bach Flower Remedies. This guide covers what Bach Flower Remedies are, how to select them for yourself and others, how to use them and affirmations to support your chosen remedies along with a section on using Bach Flower Remedies with children. If you are interested in becoming healthy naturally and healing then this is a must have book for you.
Discover easy, natural remedies and ideas for healing your children with Mother’s Little Helper by Yossarian Fay. This book is loaded with ideas to help you to continue on your journey of Becoming Healthy and ensure your children are becoming healthy too. There are recipes, kitchen cures, a section on using Bach Flower remedies with children, information on how to use EFT and reflexology with your children, making this a must have book for your collection.
Hope this finds you relaxed, mentally nourished and ready to enjoy the week ahead
This will be the final part of my Winter Wellness series. I hope you have enjoyed it and found it useful, I’d love to hear from you if there is something else you want to know about or you think I could cover otherwise next week it will be back to recipes 🙂 This final ‘Winter Wellness’ post is taken from an article I wrote a while back on the benefits of Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage Treatment, which I’m trained in, and which came to mind as I had two calls last week about reflexology treatments in this area.
Getting some exercise with themselves before the next rain shower
It does read more like an article still than a blog post; I have tried to adapt it a bit ….. though no sense in re-inventing the wheel is there? 😉 Anyway, here it is in all its glory and if you are interested in treatments then it won’t be too long before I will have my clinic in one place again, as opposed to the home visits I now offer. Exciting times ahead!
Our health depends on many things but maybe two of the most important are the body’s ability to circulate blood and lymphatic fluid. The importance of blood you likely know however the Lymphatic system is just as important as it is this system which helps defend the body against disease by clearing waste and toxins, by helping maintain fluid balance in the tissues and by absorbing fats from the intestines to transport back to the blood. In fact it is a vital system in our bodies as without it our cardiovascular system won’t work and our immune system would be hard-pressed to cope.
The Lymphatic system is designed for transportation and as such it needs to keep moving. There are fluids found between the cells or which actually seep out of the cells (intercellular fluid) which slowly begin to accumulate and must be returned to the cells and the blood stream to help maintain homeostasis in the body. This is where the lymph system comes in; it gathers those fluids, checks it, filters it and then returns them to your blood via the subclavian veins just above the heart. Unlike the circulatory system however (in which blood flows) the lymphatic system (in which lymph fluid flows) doesn’t have a pump and needs us to move our bodies in order to have the lymph fluid moving. This system relies on movement of our muscles, their ‘milking’ action, and the changes in the thorax through deep breathing to keep it flowing.
This means that if you lead a sedentary lifestyle your lymphatic fluid may not be flowing as it should and your lymphatic system may be hampered, causing toxins and waste to build up within our bodies. The more waste left in our system the harder our body has to work. Our body is effectively running on a system of ‘tubes’ and ‘fluid’ so when toxins and waste clog these up we suffer! Think of a river. When it is flowing it is clear and clean, when it is not flowing it begins to stagnate then it becomes a perfect home for bacteria and disease to build. The Lymphatic system is no different. At first it may be a sluggish feeling in the morning or a headache which we just can’t seem to find the cause of. Eventually it can cause much more serious issues within the body such as swelling, arthritis, skin disorders and more.
Thankfully there are many actions we can take in our lifestyle to help the Lymphatic system work better and ensure that it is doing its job. In using preventative measures, we can improve and promote our health and well-being while avoiding dis-ease in our bodies. As the Lymphatic system is important in this it makes sense to keep it flowing and healthy and it is important. As a reflexologist of course the first thing I think of is to have a Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage Massage which will work on the lymphatic system while allowing you to relax and de-stress. It is an excellent support to the Lymphatic system, especially if you have trouble with mobility and best of all it will help you feeling more relaxed and lighter at the end of a session. It is a very unique and special thing to have.
There are some cases where having a Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage Massage is not recommended however and these include: cases of cardiac or renal impairment, first trimester of pregnancy, cases of Deep Vein Thrombosis, having high or low blood pressure or if the foot if injured in any way. If you are not quite ready to treat yourself to a reflexology lymphatic drainage routine or you feel that it isn’t for you then there are many things you can do at home, in your everyday lives, to ensure that you are keeping a healthy lymphatic system which will help to have a good immune system too. Try some of the following out:
Exercise– this will help to keep your lymphatic system flowing and moving as it ‘massages’ it into action.
Good Food– a healthy diet means that less toxins and waste products end up in your system. Eating over processed, sugary foods may over load the lymphatic system.
Drink plenty of water– the body needs water to keep everything working properly, including the lymphatic system.
Deep breathing– this ensures that your cells are healthy and oxygenated along with stimulating the lymphatic system.
Dry brushing– long strokes towards your heart for around 5 mins before a shower will stimulate the lymphatic flow.
Herbal teas– they are great mixture of hydration, favour and medicine (depending on what you have).
Use natural beauty products– means less toxins coming into your system via the skin which gives the lymphatic system less of a load.
Wear loose clothing– this lets the lymphatic fluid flow where as tight clothing tends to slow the whole thing down.
Hope this finds you having a great start to the week and ready for all there is to come.
Our days here have been very varied lately … one day overcast and rain the next bright sunshine and balmy temperatures. It is hard to know whether you’re coming or going! I’m not complaining though as while I love the warm days for my morning walks with the dog, I am also very partial to inside days where I can snuggle up with a good book, especially now that the study has finished and the exam completed.
Picnics with the chickens in the sunshine – as viewed from out back window
Even with all the temperature changes we have thankfully got through winter pretty much illness free… touch wood … however now that the stress of my exam has passed, I can feel my body relaxing and clearing a few things it was obviously ‘storing’ up until I was less stressed. It’s murphy’s law I guess that as soon as you go on holiday or have a break those cold or flu viruses get you. The body loves coming back into balance and will take every opportunity to do so 🙂 Thankfully, that isn’t me at the moment but it did make me think about a few home cures which I regularly use to help feel a little better a little faster if those breaks from stress end up with my body succumbing to illness.
As always, they are very ‘back to basics’ ideas, ones that our ancestors probably used with success long before we were reaching for all those cold and flu medicines. See if there are a few that will work for you.
Fluids. Replacing all the fluids you are losing via nose blowing and coughing is a really important part of helping your body heal. Our bodies need water to function correctly so make sure the fluids are good quality; that is non-fizzy, decaffeinated, sugar free options. Hot fluids can help loosen congestion so herbal teas (see below for idea) or slices of lemon with honey can be a good option and a soothing too. It is also a perfect to time to make a big pot of soup that you can dip into through out the day, ensuring you get all the vitamins and fluids you need. Here is a great chicken soup recipe (from before we had vegans on-board)
Fresh lemons ready for making some lemon tea
Wash your hands. This seems like a really obvious one I know however it is easy to forget to wash your hands after each blow and/or sneeze when you’re wallowing in how grotty you feel. Colds are spread easily, both for you to ‘catch’ the first time and to re-infect yourself, through virus-infected airborne droplets or by direct contact with infected secretions so by washing your hands regularly you can cut down the risk to yourself and others in the family.
Herbs. Using the healing properties of herbs to boost your health can be an easy, and often overlooked, aid to healing. Try out some of these herbs in your meals or make a soothing cup of tea with them. While gathering fresh herbs from your garden is delicious, dried herb will have stronger medicinal properties and may be easier to access when you’re feeling under the weather. Sage is a great one for helping with sore throats as it is both an antiseptic and an analgesic. Basil can ease headaches. Thyme is a tried and true herb for coughs. Rosemary for helping to clear the head.
Food. Eating real, fresh food (combined with herbs) is one of the best way to get any extra nutrients that your body may need. It can be easy to grab quick and easy processed/packaged kai (food) however this isn’t always going to serve your body well or help you get rid of those cold/flu symptoms any sooner. Garlic is a great addition to meals, as it is both an antibacterial and an antiviral food which will help knock those ‘bugs’ on the head. Or you could do like my Mum used to and have it raw (chopped up very finely of course) in a honey sandwich! I have to admit that even as a vegan this is still my go to when I feel a cold coming on. Saltwater gargles can also be a great way to get you on the road to recovery, another go to for me in the early stages, and an easy fix from home.
Hope this finds you happy, healthy and enjoying your day.
This week I am gearing up to do my first 3 hour exam in over 20 years and I am feeling the stress creeping in with each day moving me closer to it. It is amazing how sly stress can be! Honestly, just when I think that I’m on top of things and have this study thing sorted life gets on top of me and before I know it, I’m feeling that tension throughout my body.
Thankfully we have lots of nature to get out into and de-stress
The bus isn’t the easiest place to study I have to say, apparently if you can be seen you must be spoken to :), and when you’re in a small town there aren’t that many quiet places to head off to either. So, I’m trying my best to get out of the stress loop by using the tools in my kete (basket) that I know work for me. I figured that in a culture which too often rates your ability to cope under stress as an indicator of people’s success, others may like to try some of these little beauties to remove some of that stress naturally rather than having to ‘cope’ with it.
Get moving. Exercise (aerobic especially) is proven to help relieve stress and other negative emotions such as depression. When we move our bodies, it helps loosen and work all those muscles that you may be holding in tension, it gets you changing your focus, in increases oxygen to the brain and best of all those ‘feel good’ hormones get released. Any kind of movement is good so pick one that you love and try and get out in nature with it to increase the benefits.
Have a laugh. Laughing creates a euphoric effect that will instantly release any tension you have. It can trigger the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers and feel good hormone) which helps you to feel better all over and to relax. Laughter yoga is now offered in many places and can be a great way to connect with new people however failing that it may just be a good excuse to watch those comedies, silly youtube clips and share all those jokes you have!
Count to 10. Taking deep breathes and a wee bit of time out is an age old classic that costs nothing and is very effective. The key to this is breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth as this helps relax the whole body … it is hard to keep tension in your body with your mouth open. Research also shows that deep breathing helps trigger the vagus nerve (a cranial nerve which helps regulate the heart, digestion and lungs) and works with the parasympathic nervous system to bring us into that ‘rest and digest’ state of being rather than stuck in ‘fight/flight or freeze’ state of being.
Meditate. Even 5 mins a day of meditation will help stress levels though of course the longer you meditate the greater the benefits. This doesn’t have to be a big deal just find a quite spot, close your eyes (or look downwards, relaxing your gaze) and clear your mind of as much as you can. First thing in the morning to ‘set you up’ for the day or last thing at night to help you unwind and get a good sleep can be really effective times. There are loads of apps out there now which can help you get into the right headspace.
Essential oils. Scent has a powerful impact on our bodies and can bring up memories and emotions easily. This is in part due to the fact that the olfactory nerve (whose nerve fibres in the nose allow us smell) are connected to the limbic system in the brain, rather than going through the cerebral cortex (our thinking part) which triggers these ‘primitive’ responses to what we are smelling. Lavender is the most popular relaxant but there are plenty others to try. This link may help you to begin your experimentation with scent.
Stretch. A good stretch can help with the physical symptoms of stress. Like exercise it gets you moving those muscles that may have been held in tension. Try a class of yoga which will combine breathing, stretching and exercise for a real stress reliever or even a basic stretch at your desk and see how good it feels. Here is a link to a few suggestions.
Bach Flower Remedies. As many of you know I love Bach Flower Remedies and I’m a big believer that emotions dictate our health unless we intervene. Bach Flowers are designed to work on emotions and can target the source of your negative emotions helping to increase the positive. White Chestnut is a classic for those who continue with ‘mental conversations and/or internal arguments’, whereas Agrimony can help those who hide their stress behind a smile. If you want to learn more and try a treatment bottle then check out my FREE quiz to find your remedies (don’t worry you don’t have to sign up to anything) and e-mail me to make you up a bottle. Otherwise you can find out more about Bach Flowers and have your own guide by checking out my book ‘Finding Calm and Balance’ which is on sale at a special price for the next week or so, along with my other e-books.
Only 99c (US) at the moment along with my other books
Hope this finds you a little calmer, a little less tense and enjoying the life you have.