Modern life is undeniably full on and somehow as a society we seem to glorify those who never seem to stop. But this ‘sleep when I’m dead’ stuff has serious ramifications. If we don’t tend to our health – and I’m talking emotional, energetic and mental health as well as our physical body, we run the risk of falling into a heap when life tosses us a curve ball. Curve balls come in all sorts of forms – illness, work stress, relationship issues, and even fabulous things like getting a promotion or falling pregnant. We need to find ways to boost our resilience in the face of these inevitable stressors of life. I’d go even one step further – we need to engage in self-care because it is the cornerstone of happiness and wellbeing, and the means by which we become the kind of people we aspire to be. There is nothing selfish about that.
3 ways to destress in less than 60 seconds:
- Use the mantra: ‘I give myself permission to…’ you fill in the blank. For me, I like to pop in the word ‘rest’. It’s amazing the strife we cause ourselves by resisting the way that we feel, denying what we need or just plain wanting things to be different than they are. Use this mantra to create a little more space around your feelings or to free yourself up from guilt about particular actions. Do what you need to do. Allow yourself to feel as you do. This will diminish your stress.
- Zoom in on beauty or something you find captivating. Take a 60 second break from worry, rumination, problem solving or just plain stressing and take a close look at something awe-inspiring. I love to zoom in on the tiny hairs on my little boys face – helps me restrain from wringing his sweet little neck 🙂 Or gaze on natural beauty around you. Seek it out, get absorbed in it and feel how it transforms your mood.
- Get anchored in your body. When you begin to feel flooded by stress hormones or anger, stop and get connected to your physical body. Feel your feet on the floor, your legs if you are standing and elongate your spine. Seek out areas of tension – you are likely to find it in your forehead, eyes, jaw, shoulders, neck and hands. Soften any clenching you find. Next, feel your breathing. See if you can relax into the sensation of breathing and allow your breath to move freely through you. Notice how just anchoring your attention on your body and breath can help you disentangle yourself from stress.
Repeat after me: self-care isn’t selfish.
We rely solely on our will power to make good decisions…
The part of our brain responsible for willpower is simply not equipped to cope with the number of decisions we face in modern life nor with the intensity of temptation we are now constantly subjected to. Will power is simply not enough to keep us on the ‘straight and narrow’.
What’s the solution?
I think it is twofold – first we need to dial down the volume on temptation and secondly reduce the number of decisions we are faced with in our day.
How can we tame temptation?
Simple – start by forming some concrete wellbeing goals and if you know you need to work on your commitment to exercise and healthy eating, then make some specific and measurable goals around those areas. The really important bit is the next step – ask yourself WHY you want to achieve these goals. What will achieving these goals facilitate in your life? How will life feel different when you achieve them? These questions tap into your deeply held values and articulating them helps to reduce the intensity of temptation around you…
The other part of dealing with the willpower deficit is in reducing the number of decisions we are faced with and I will be delving into the psychological strategies that help us make better decisions more often in my new workshop next month at BAYoga.
We all know what we need to do to feel healthy, it’s another thing to make it happen. For more info about this lasting lifestyle change workshop and to book in, just click on this exercise and nutrition link.
Can’t get to the workshop? Don’t worry! I offer similar content via skype and this way we can take a completely bespoke approach. Get in touch to form your personalised action plan and reclaim your vitality!
1. Repeat after me: self-care isn’t selfish
2. Give yourself permission to take time out for you
3. Make an appointment with yourself and don’t quibble about it. It’s important. Don’t just wait for a good moment – they rarely come and bitterness about it at 9pm on Sunday isn’t good for anyone.
4. Plan your time and fill it with something that nurtures head, heart and body. Need ideas? Get in touch, I have plenty to share.
5. ENJOY with reckless abandon! Enjoy the anticipation of it too and see how it helps you manage even before you’ve had your ‘me time’.
6. Observe the upward spiral you’ve set in motion: your vitality and happiness makes you more resourceful in response to the inevitable stresses of life. Self-care helps you to be a more compassionate, effective human being. Win win.
7. Now get on it!
Still find it hard to claw back time for you? I can help. We’ll brainstorm your own self-care toolkit. Think of me as the angel sitting on your shoulder, making sure it happens. Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you are completely new to yoga, a regular class-goer or a seasoned yoga practitioner there is much to gain from private yoga…
What is Private Yoga in Berkhamsted?
Private yoga is yoga taught one on one and it is the safest way to learn and to deepen your yoga journey. It is in fact the way yoga was traditionally taught. Private yoga can be where the sweetest fruits lie – a therapeutic relationship and a practice that meets you where you are at, delivering exactly what you need. Working individually makes yoga accessible for any level of fitness, experience or age. I provide a practice designed specifically for your goals and preferences.
Who is Private Yoga for?
Quite simply, everyone. By tailoring yoga sequences to the goals, needs and preferences of the individual, there is literally something for everyone. A snapshot of the people coming to me include:
- Stressed execs, frazzled parents looking for better ways of coping with stress
- People needing support through periods of change, loss and grief
- People wanting to increase their flexibility and reduce tension.
- Beginners wanting to safely explore yoga
- Athletes looking to enhance their sporting performance
- Those needing help to manage depression and anxiety
- Mums to be and new mums
How does Private Yoga work?
For some people, after we check in with how they are feeling, I take them through a guided yoga practice. For others, we discuss particular aims, conditions or concerns and I prescribe particular sequences that they use on their own at home. For other people, we spend most of our time discussing how yoga can support them in daily life, exploring the therapeutic benefits of yoga for our mental health, happiness and wellbeing.
The frequency of sessions is variable too – some people I see once a week like you’d see a personal trainer, others, it’s once a month like you’d have a massage or a facial, and some I see just the once because that’s all they need. It is a truly bespoke process and one that genuinely delivers what you need: head, heart and body.
How Private Yoga Can Help:
- Stress Relief: Yoga can be a powerful tool to relieve the physical and energetic manifestations of stress. Incorporating breath work and mindfulness can also help unravel the mental and emotional manifestations of stress.
- Aches, pains, injuries? In private yoga your practice is specifically tailored to your individual needs – head, heart and body. In partnership with you, I can determine the style of practice and the types of postures that best suit your needs. I will also prescribe poses to do at home to help you achieve your goals.
- Restorative and Healing Yoga: Private yoga can also be a safe place to deal with grief, loss and emotional pain. As a Chartered Psychologist and yoga teacher I have specific experience with using yoga as a therapeutic tool to assist people through grief, loss, change, episodes of stress and ill-health.
- Pre & Postnatal Yoga, Mother & Baby Yoga: Preparing for birth, motherhood and beyond. Nurturing the physical body, boosting energy, mood and nourishing the mind.
- Beginners: An introduction to yoga movement and breathing. Build your confidence and understanding so you feel well prepared to embark on group classes.
- Interested in developing your own practice but not sure where to start? Having a private yoga session can kick start your own personal practice. Make it a habit to roll out your mat in your own space and learn how to explore what you need physically, energetically and emotionally. A private yoga teacher will share with you specific and simple sequences that you can do at home on your own.
- Experienced: Private yoga allows you to pause and ask questions, to clarify any postures, breathing techniques or meditation strategies. You can also explore the philosophical tangents of yoga and take your practice off your mat and into daily life. Make your practice your own by learning how to become your own guide and discover your inner teacher with private yoga.
- Yoga for Sport: Yoga designed to physically enhance your sporting performance, to promote recovery between sessions and mental skills training to give you the competitive edge.
- Yoga for Mental Health: As a chartered psychologist I offer yoga designed specifically to help combat depression, anxiety and mental manifestations of stress. My approach is a combination of yoga with CBT, Mindfulness, and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy.
Private Yoga truly offers benefits for anyone looking to boost their wellbeing: mind and body. Book in for a face to face session in Berkhamsted or alternatively, sessions are available via skype so we can yoga together anywhere in the world!
Explore the benefits of yoga today! Get in touch via email@example.com or 07951 440 255.
I was asked this week whether mindfulness was just a fad and whether it really is the answer to beating stress and creating greater contentment in life. In a word, yes, yes, yes! In itself it is a powerful tool to harness the mind and has great potential to change the nature of our daily experience. I think of mindfulness as a way of developing fresh eyes (and all the other sense organs), allowing us to connect with life as it unfolds. Mindfulness also lies at the heart of other potent mood and resilience boosting strategies like savouring and gratitude, so yes, it deserves its current popularity and place in the media spotlight.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is being in touch with the present moment – what is happening in the environment around us and what is unfolding within us. It is the art of conscious living. Our ordinary waking state is one that tends to be jam packed with reactive thinking, rumination about what needs doing, flitting forwards to what might happen next and diving back into replaying what has already happened. A state without mindfulness is like being on automatic pilot where all these mental phenomena just happen to us. Rather than being lost in this sea of thought and sensation, developing mindfulness puts us back in the conscious driver’s seat. It wakes us up and gives us back control. Read more »