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5 Tips to Wake Feeling More Refreshed

Who doesn’t want to wake feeling better rested? Good news! It may be simpler than you think. Try out these 5 tips to help you bounce out of bed feeling more refreshed.

1. Learn how to relax and allow yourself time to unwind at regular intervals throughout your day. The inability to relax is a major contributing factor to sleeping difficulties and we need to be mindful of our levels of stimulation throughout or whole day, not just prior to bedtime. This includes managing stress, what we eat and drink and our visual diet too.

2. Develop a pre-bedtime ritual. Choose activities that unwind the mind and body in the hour before bed to pave the way for a better night’s sleep. This includes sleep cues like PJ’s you love, scent, listening to or reading something soothing, some yoga stretches or journaling activities to end the day on a positive note.

3. Work with your sleep window. Get to know your own body clock, noting the number of hours of sleep you need to function well (for most people this is 7-9 hours) and the times that help you best drift off and rise feeling ready for the day. Once you are aware of your needs, be consistent and make getting to bed an active priority. Everything will wait for you and you will be more productive when you are better rested.

4. Don’t stress about being awake. If you have trouble drifting off or find it hard to get back to sleep, don’t worry about being awake. If you can’t sleep, just rest and if relaxing feels challenging then focus your attention on the sensations of your breathing. Sleep, rest, relaxation and natural breathing all stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, helping you heal and re-energise. Don’t count the hours you’ve had or not had. You’ve got what you’ve got and you will sleep again another time. Self-care will see you through.

5. Upon waking in the morning, think of one thing that you happily anticipate in your day. Let your mind linger on it before you even think about getting out of bed. As your feet hit the floor, sit tall and feel the support of the earth beneath you. As you stand, you could spritz a little uplifting scent and take a few mountain breaths paired with the affirmation, I am grateful for this breath, this day, this life. Feel how this transforms the beginning of every day.

If you’d like to explore any of these strategies in finer detail and to hear many more, come along to my workshop on May 7th.

You will learn ways of relaxing that take little time, even some activities that you can do at your desk or at the kitchen sink. We will look closely at relaxing the mind and body in building your own soothing pre-bedtime ritual and methods of helping you sleep when it feels illusive, including mantras and breathing exercises. You will leave the workshop armed with your own sleep-boosting toolkit, pre-bedtime yoga sequence and a divine L’Occitane goody, guaranteeing instant calm. Can’t make it to my neck of the woods? Don’t worry, let’s get really bespoke over Skype.

For more info about the workshop: ‘SLEEP: how to promote it and what to do when you just can’t get it’, click here or to tee up your free 15 minute skype consult, drop me a line at suzy@suzyreading.co.uk

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January Blues? 5 Ways to Return to Normality with Vigour

January blues getting to you too? Reality looms large and the thought of the school run tomorrow morning has me shuddering. And I think I’m finally understanding the allure of tea… it’s 4pm, 3 degrees, dark already and a third cup of coffee would not be my friend. So these are the little rituals to which I’m turning to get the happies flowing. I hope they give you some light relief too.

5 Ways to Return to Normality with Vigour…

1. Plan one thing you really look forward to and enjoy the anticipation of it. This can be as simple as looking forward to a solo walk on the weekend or something more grand like a planned holiday (Australia, you are on my radar!). Feel how just the thought of this buoys your spirits. I am really looking forward to settling in with Dave and the kids and watching his new TV show, ‘Let it Shine‘, on Saturday night! Read more »

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Inspiration for a Happy New Year!

Getting set for 2017!

The New Year can be a tricky time emotionally, what can we do to reset and re-balance?

We need a combination of both stillness and movement. Try journaling, meditation, breath work and restorative yoga to help you get quiet, to reflect and replenish. Opt for gentle walks or a light-hearted jog in nature and some inspiring yoga to stimulate creativity, boost your mood and lift your spirits. It’s also about time with loved ones so we feel well connected and supported. The feeling of ‘we’re in it together’ is very galvanising.

My top tip for anyone wanting to get fit, physically and mentally, in 2017:

Focus on self-care, daily nourishment, and you will see yourself blossom. Make your health and wellbeing a genuine, active priority, give it the time and energy it deserves and you will achieve change. If it’s something you just think about without taking regular action, nothing will change. You have to do something every day that helps you move towards the person you want to become.

The top tip is to make sustainable lifestyle change – things that you can maintain for the rest of your days. If you make sweeping changes you can only keep up for a short period of time, your great results will also be fleeting… Read more »

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Self-Care Tips to Maximise Christmas Cheer

Fun festive cheer or stressful mania… which will your December be full of?! We know there’s a tipping point! While Christmas can be a joy-filled time of year it is not without its own unique stresses – family pressures, expectations, calendars jam-packed with social engagements, sweet treats and temptations at every turn… Here are a few ideas that will keeping your wellbeing tiptop at this time of year.

Top tips for keeping your wellbeing in check this Christmas…

  1. Keep an eye on your energetic bank balance. Just as a car needs petrol to go, we need energy to function well, to be the kind of people we aspire to be and to enjoy life. Get to know your energetic bank balance and take action when you’re feeling depleted. Check in with your energy levels and give yourself permission to act accordingly – burning the candle at both ends might have you feeling reactive and grumpy rather than festive. It can be as simple as making time for a 10 minute meditation to give you enough steam to enjoy your big night out or taking a restorative bath to ease away the post party residue. Be honest with yourself and keep nourishment on the radar. It is not selfish, it is absolutely necessary.
  1. Keep moving. Quite often the festive season wreaks havoc with our usual patterns of movement… long meals, time on the sofa and very full tummies. By all means enjoy the socialising and family time and it would be a crime not to enjoy the delights of seasonal rituals, but keep moving. Maybe its 5 mins of yoga (take a peek at my YouTube channel for some free and quick yoga sequences), or popping on your favourite tunes and having a boogie at home or it can be as simple as taking a walk around the block. Keep moving to boost your mood and resilience to stress.
  1. If you are going to indulge… savour it. This is my all-time favourite festive tip. If you are going to eat that pudding, nibble on that shortbread, crack open that bubbly, dig into that roast…. ENJOY IT! Savour every last little bit of enjoyment. Don’t fritter it away with guilt. Don’t waste it by thinking you shouldn’t be doing it. Don’t miss out on the joy by failing to give it your full attention. You might find that life’s joys savoured in this way means you stop a little sooner and have less compensatory work required of you later. Life is meant to be enjoyed, so savour it!

Beaming you love,

Suz xx

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Coping with the Curveballs of Life – how to Stress Less

“I’m stressed!” The modern catch cry! We all know that feeling of time pressure, mental overwhelm, sleeplessness, tight jaw, adrenals in overdrive… The thing is, stress isn’t going to go away. The day where there is an absence of stress is the day we are pushing up daisies. In fact, even positive and much longed for events can also tax our minds and bodies… Getting married, scoring that promotion, falling pregnant and then hells bells, adjusting to the demands of them being on the outside! We have to get a handle on stress because its effects are cumulative, too much stress is plain dangerous for our health and it puts the kibosh on happiness.

So what’s the solution? Daily nourishment, valves that release that mounting pressure, and simple mood boosters. These things must be at our fingertips touch when we need it the most and most of all, quick! I call it my ‘self-care toolkit’ and it helps me manage my stress. Even better, it helps me be the kind of mother, partner, friend and practitioner that I aspire to be. Win win! There’s nothing selfish about that.

10 ways to stress less:

  1. Breathe – it is literally impossible to feel stressed at the same time as breathing well. We still may be aware of uncomfortable sensations, thoughts and feelings but we don’t feel stressed about them while breathing well. How do we breathe well? Simply stop, be still, and feel your breathing. Relax into the sensations of the inhalation filling you up, a tiny pause at the end of the breath in, the surrender of the exhalation and the pause at the end of your breath out. Become your breath for as long as it takes to feel more grounded.
  2. ‘Put and ring around it’ – identify what it is that’s stressing you and put a ring around it. It’s not everything, it is just this one defined thing. And if there are multiple stressors that does genuinely make you feel like it’s everything, put a ring around this time. It won’t be like this forever. This ‘chunking down’ tool helps you get a better handle on life’s challenges.
  3. Are you ‘hangry’? Quite often when we’re feeling headless, it’s because we haven’t fed ourselves appropriately. Have some life-giving snacks at your fingertips because we’re not just feeding our body, we’re also nourishing our mood and mental clarity. Make sure you are well hydrated too.
  4. Move – this is not just about exercise, this is plain movement. If you’re feeling stuck, low or scattered, move your body. It is a natural antidepressant and research shows it boosts creativity so you will be more resourceful in your approach to problem solving. Nothing fancy or elaborate is needed, just a quick walk around the block can do the trick.
  5. Reach out – take some time to think about who is on your ‘team’. Who are the people you turn to when you need a kind ear, a sounding board, a cheerleader, someone to yoga with, coffee mate, movie buddy, for your body MOT (my physio and hairdresser are definitely on my team). Write down the names of these people and know that there are different times when they each come to the fore. When you’re feeling wobbly, take a peek at your list and reach out to the appropriate person. Social connection feeds the soul so make sure you are investing in these relationships.
  6. Scent – don’t underestimate the power of scent. It is so quick and effortless. Spritz your favourite fragrance or light a scented candle and stand tall. Take a few deep breaths and relish that moment. For added potency you can pair scent with affirmations too – use a phrase that channels how you want to feel.
  7. “I have all the time I need”…. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Even if you don’t believe it! This mantra will help you relax and feel a greater sense of spaciousness in your day. It might even help you refine your priorities.
  8. Mood boosting music – identify your happy tracks and press play when you need a boost. A dose of classical can be medicinal if soothing is what you need.
  9. Nature’s beauty – drink it in and let it blow away the cobwebs. Nature is another potent antidepressant and helps us connect with what matters most in life. If you can’t get out in it, seek it out from where you are. Maybe it’s the moving cloudscape during your commute or a vase of cut flowers on your desk at work. Be open to the therapeutic power of Nature and self-care becomes so simple and accessible.
  10. What’s your WHY – so often stress leaves us feeling a bit discombobulated. Remind yourself of the purpose behind your actions and this galvanises us when the tough gets going.

So, self-care needn’t be elaborate, take much time, energy or expense. Turn to these strategies when you’re feeling under the pump and feel the tension dissipate. Better still, engage in them regularly and you’ll have stress rolling off your shoulders before it raises your blood pressure.

These are just a selection of self-care activities. Book in for your complimentary 15 min phone call about how we can create your own bespoke self-care toolkit. It’s time to reclaim your vitality!

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