Browsing Tag

Lifestyle

Sleep your way to health

May 15, 2016
baby sleeping

Sleep. Is there anything more important? I’m quickly, well maybe slowly, discovering that I actually think sleep is the most important ingredient to overall wellbeing… or an equal first with breathing & meditation. Yes, more important that food & exercise.

During our sleep our bodies rest, repair & rejuvenate. Quality, restful sleep results in increased memory & cognitive function, improved immunity & digestive function, enhanced physical & emotional resilience, better mood & hormone function. Literally everything improves with restorative sleep. 

When we don’t sleep well it impacts many aspects of life. From my own experience and working with clients some common side effects of not getting enough good quality sleep are – low tolerance levels, higher stress levels, poor food choices & longer recovery after workouts (particularly high intensity cardio or weights) or skipping workouts due to lack of energy all which also often leads to lower self-esteem. And hence, particularly in the early stages of a reset, sleep is of equal or greater importance to food & exercise because it has such a huge impact on the choices we make in these areas of our life.

Stress is another interesting one – it’s a chicken & egg situation. Stress increases our cortisol & other hormones which negatively impact our body’s ability to wind down & rest, therefore leading to lower quality sleep, which leads to irritability & low resilience causing greater stress, and so the cycle goes.

So how much do we really need? Research suggests a range of guidelines & everyone is different, but the recommendation is approximately 7-9 hours per night. Arianna Huffington has a new book on sleep – The Sleep Revolution – she suggests starting with 30 minutes extra per night. I think this is a great way to be realistic – if you’re getting 5 hours now it’s going to be a challenge to go straight to 8, but if you get an extra half an hour, the improvements will hopefully inspire you to keep adding slowly to your sleep bank. Creating a night time routine is a great way to increase the amount & improve the quality of sleep. A healthy night routine involves eating at least 2 hours before bed, limited technology & no technology 1 hour before bed, dimming the lights or just using lamps or candles & breathing or meditation.

I’m committing to 8 hours every single night this week even if that means skipping an early morning workout. Could you change just one thing this week to help improve your sleep & see how it impacts other areas of your life?

M x

Hello Feelings

April 3, 2016
Feelings Light

How often do you check in with your feelings? I mean truly recognise exactly what is happening in your emotional & physical body. 

Last year when I was overseas I attended a workshop on energy – as in personal energy – & it kicked off by introducing yourself & naming the emotion you were feeling about being there. I found it quite challenging to even think of a range of emotions, let alone label one that summarised how I was feeling. It sparked a lot of discussion & resulted in tears from some of the participants who they realised it was years since they had been really aware of their feelings. This theme has since presented, or I have become more aware of it, many times in many forms – books, movies, articles & conversations.

Most of us find it easier to recognise feelings in our physical body, unfortunately particularly negative changes. It’s hard to hide muscle or joint pain & quite natural to recognise if our shoulders are relaxed or we become more flexible. Interestingly though many people, in particular adults, do not check in on their emotional wellbeing often. We ask children how they feel & worry about how others feel, but do we stop & ask ourselves the same questions often enough?

The most common responses I hear when I ask “How are you?” is “stressed”, “tired” or “busy”. These are states of being rather than states of emotional wellbeing. Since updating the question to “How are you feeling?” the response hasn’t drastically changed, but when pressed to answer with emotion many people I speak with are stumped. Lots of us have default emotions we quickly name – sad, happy, disappointed, content, frustrated – but often we hide behind this without really noticing how we feel. Checking in with your emotions & delving into why you feel that way instigates greater awareness, change & growth. I’m sure it’s why therapy is so helpful for many people.

How can you make it a habit to check in with your own emotions? And the emotions of those closest to you? Could you create a practice of naming how you feel upon waking, sitting at the dinner table or before bed?

To make it easier here’s a list of some feelings to consider:
accepted, angry, anxious, bored, compassion, confused, content, courageous, critical, curious, disappointed, distant, eager, embarrassed, empty, energetic, excited, fearful, frustrated, fulfilled, generous, guilty, heartbroken, hopeful, humiliated, hurt, ignored, important, inadequate, insecure, inspired, irritated, isolated, jealous, joyful, judgemental, lonely, loving, loved, mad, nostalgia, optimistic, overwhelmed, peaceful, playful, powerful, powerless, proud, regret, rejected, remorseful, resentful, respected, scared, sensitive, shocked, shamed, threatened, vulnerable, worried.

I personally have found it quite fun & so interesting to practice this more within myself & to start these conversations with people around me. It’s challenging at first but the awareness & behaviour changes that come with this practice is really quite amazing.

M x

Travel Guide: London

January 24, 2016

I love London. I’ve been lucky enough to visit several times in the last couple of years & I’ve noticed the wellness movement grow since my first stay in 2009. It’s such a cool & diverse city with lots going on. I love cities where you can get in the thick of it or cozy up in a quiet corner just minutes apart from each other. There’s plenty of fun things to do and see in London that don’t necessarily tick the “health & wellbeing” box but increasingly there’s loads that does. See below my tips for people travelling to London who want to stay healthy and active.

Read on…