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Yin Yoga is for everyone

Everybody needs a little more yin in their lives!

The concept of Yin and Yang originates from ancient Chinese and represents the concept of dualism. It shows how seemingly opposite forces work to complement and balance each other. The Yin component is stable, nourishing, unmoving, soothing and calming– like night, winter, moon, reading, sleeping and chamomile tea. While Yang is changing, excreting, warm, invigorating and energising– like day, summer, day, exercising, socialising, coffee and chocolate. Harmony is created through a balance of the two. They cannot exist without the other. 

It’s easy to see the Yang component in our modern lives. Many of us live fast-paced, active lives that are full of scheduled commitments from work to family and socializing. 2020 has slowed down the pace of most of our lives. While challenging, this also gives us the opportunity to be open to incorporating more Yin into our lives. When it comes to exercise, many people take a Yang approach– like powering through a run, pushing yourself in an Ashtanga yoga class or sweating it out on a spin bike. This is great, but you’ll feel much more centered by adding some Yin to your routine. It could be the perfect balance to all the chaos and changes in 2020. 

What is Yin Yoga?

As the name suggests, Yin Yoga provides a slower, more meditative counterpart to help you round out your workouts. Yin is a slow, soothing, and meditative style of yoga that targets the deep connective tissues, bones, joints, fascia, and ligaments in the body. It also focuses on stretching and stimulating different acupressure points from Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Benefits of Yin Yoga

It offers the chance to be still and be present. While you breathe and stretch deeply and create more space in mind and body. Typically when we experience discomfort, our bodies naturally become tense and we use our fight-or-flight response. Yin Yoga helps reroute the mind and slow the heart rate when we experience discomfort. Breath is an important component of Yin Yoga. It gives you something to focus on in the more difficult and uncomfortable postures.

Why Yin is for Everyone

Yin yoga is suitable for everyone from beginners to advanced, and all body types. 

  1. There are always options with the poses and plenty of props for added support or lengthening. Blocks can be used under your knees in a forward fold, while a bolster or rolled-up blanket can be placed under your seat during butterfly pose to ease tight hips. 
yoga-equipment | yin-for-beginners | yin-lifestyle

2. The slow pace of the class allows you more time to listen to your body in each pose, and instructors also have more time to correct and support your movement for maximum benefits.

3. Yin yoga is also great for anyone who is dealing with injuries or a chronic condition, like arthritis or osteoporosis. Unlike other fast-paced styles of yoga, this style is a particularly restorative practice.

4. Yin can also be a great starting point for anyone interested in meditation as it has such an internal focus. For some, the slow pace can be a real challenge to adjust to. You may get restless and fidgety, convinced that the timer is malfunctioning. You may feel bored and wonder if you’re not better suited to practice vinyasa. You might even get annoyed with yourself for getting annoyed at yourself, and you’ll judge yourself for being so judgmental! These are all normal thoughts, but can feel very uncomfortable without any distractions. Practicing Yin teaches you to sit with uncomfortable thoughts and build resilience, calmness and acceptance. The benefits go well beyond the feeling of satisfaction at the end of a class, into balancing and calming different aspects in your life.

It doesn’t matter what size, shape, fitness level, yoga expertise or stress level you have. Yin Yoga is accessible and beneficial for everyone. If you’re ready to try a class, you can always join me! Yin Yoga is easy and affordable. The guided online classes are ready for you to practice in the comfort of your own home, and to share the experience with other like-minded women over a 6 week season pass.

How to reframe your self-talk to try yin yoga

Before I started practising yoga I would always come up with excuses not to try it. I’d say things like:

“I’m not a yoga person”

“I’m not a flexible person”

“Yoga isn’t for me”

“I’d never have time for yoga”

Sound familiar? As soon as I tried my first yoga class I was hooked. I’m so glad I overcame the negative language that was stopping me from trying something new. Language plays a big part in your own identity, and how you use language can shape your own habits. All it can take is a little shift from negative to positive language to overcome obstacles stopping you from giving yoga a go. 

Let’s break it down:

What are habits

Habits are automatic responses that keep us safe and help reduce our decision making. There are three parts to a habit.

Cue – the thing that will give you the urge to do sometime.

Routine – what you do that’s the same each time.

Reward – you get a hit of the hormone dopamine that makes you feel good so your brain knows it’s a habit worth remembering.

Sometimes the idea of taking on a new hobby like yoga can seem a little daunting, but by practising simple habit-forming thoughts and behaviours, you can develop a new positive habit.

Habit-loop | routine-cue-reward | yin-yoga |
Image credit Habitica

Language and Identity-based habit

When you personalise reasons for NOT doing something your brain starts to believe it and create an identity around it. Maybe you’ve told yourself that …

“I’m not a yoga person”

“I can’t meditate”

or

“I’m not a morning person”

Simple phrases like “I can’t”, “I’m not” or “I don’t” create a barrier to whatever you are going to do next. It makes it harder to try something new or learn a new skill. The good news is that you can overcome these barriers by changing the way you frame things. One thing that helps to change this identity is by not personalising the reason.

Try reframing what you say…

“I’m unsure about trying yoga classes”

“I find it hard to meditate”

or

“It’s not easy getting up early sometimes”

See how a little change in language use makes things more accessible and less stressful! By re-framing the way you see things, it can be easier to express your concerns or feelings without just shutting the door on something that could be great. Maybe that’s the thing that’s holding you back from trying something new like yin yoga or meditation?

Steps to Create an identity-based habit

To change behaviour, you need to start believing new things about yourself. This will help to create an identity-based habit. There are three layers to this:

  1. Changing your outcomes and results e.g. getting enough sleep or feeling calmer
  2. Changing your process and habits e.g. developing a meditation practice or trying yin yoga
  3. Changing your identity and beliefs about the way you see yourself e.g. saying “I’m someone who can” instead of “can’t”

Some questions to start with to create a new identity are:

“Who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?”

“Am I being the type of person that could get the outcome I want?”

“How can I be the type of person who can get the outcome I want?”

Let’s use getting more sleep as an example.

First layer (outcome) – Want to get enough sleep

Second layer (process) – Start a sleep ritual 30 minutes before bed, try a tip to get more sleep or practice nidra yoga before bed.

Third layer (identify) – Become the type of person who goes to bed before 10pm. “I can develop a healthy sleep routine.”

Now let’s look at the yoga example:

First layer (outcome) – Feeling calmer and focused 

Second layer (process) – Do a new yin yoga shape each day for 10 minutes over a week. The following week do a 30-minute yin yoga class. The following week do a 1-hour yin yoga class. The following week do two yin yoga classes. 

The third layer (identify) – Become the type of person who moves every day. “I can do Yin Yoga and stay active and healthy”

butterfly-pose | yin-yoga | habits |

Ready to move past that mental-block and become the person you’d like to be? See if you can apply this principle to something new you’d like to try or use my suggestions to finally take up Yin Yoga! You can learn more about the benefits of yin yoga here, or join me to calm your mind & body for 10 minutes each day using Yin Yoga over 5 days.

Let me know if reframing your thoughts is helpful for you, and what other activities you might apply these ideas to. The possibilities open up when you lift the restrictions you place on yourself through positive thinking! 

Strategies to stay positive during difficult times

There’s so much uncertainty right now, it’s no wonder you may be feeling overwhelmed, helpless or fearful! It’s OK to feel these things, but you don’t have to be stuck like this. 

Our minds look for the negative. It’s a way of surviving. There are plenty of things going on right now that your mind can be negative about. Over time, the stress response has a negative impact on your body. This not only feels unpleasant, but it actually increases your chances of illness. 

So how can you break this negative cycle with so much uncertainty in the world? When you focus on the things that you can control, you’re more likely to feel calm and positive. Taking back control over your life can make big challenges much more manageable. 

These strategies will help you stay positive during difficult times. 

Create a new family routine

We want certainty and comfort through feelings of control, familiarity and pleasure. Our usual certainties have dramatically changed with COVID-19. Creating some certainty through a revisited family routine can bring back some feelings of control. 

Try cooking meals together, organising indoor exercise activities, or setting a recurring movie or games night. Plan in advance and have things to look forward to as a family.

We’ve been playing a lot of games either just before dinner or after. It’s added fun and social experience to our meal routine. 

Explore your local neighborhood

Explore your local area to keep your body and mind busy. We need a certain level of uncertainty, variety and unpredictability to keep things fun and exciting. 

Explore a park or beach close by that you’ve not been to recently, walk a different route to the shops, or discover a new take away coffee shop in the neighborhood. 

We’ve been ordering dinner from local restaurants instead of cooking dinner on a Friday night. It’s a great way to learn more about what’s on offer, try something new and support local businesses.

Connect with others

We all want to feel loved and connected. Feeling a sense of closeness and unity to someone or something is a fundamental part of life. Unfortunately, social distancing and recurring lock downs create a barrier to the connection we’re so used to. Online mediums like Zoom or Messenger may not feel as comfortable or familiar, but they offer a source of connection. Try setting a regular weekly or fortnightly catch up with friends or family that you can’t see in person. Having a regular meeting gives you something to look forward to and builds routine and comfort. 

I’ve been using messenger and Facetime with a group of girlfriends. We’ve been staying connected more now than before COVID-19!

Expression of Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is the fast-track way to feeling positive. It’s about giving thanks for what you have right now. Gratitude helps you to stay in the present, rather than worrying about the past or the future. It allows you to accept all the good that life has to offer. This is so important when times are tough because it makes you realise all the good that still surrounds you. Try consciously thinking about, or writing down, something you’re grateful for at the end of each day. You can even do this as a family at dinner time and share one thing each. 

I’ve been writing down three things at the end of each week in my diary. It’s become part of my preparation for the next week. It’s lovely to be able to see all the great things in my life written on paper, particularly when things feel more difficult than usual. 

Focus on your breath

Your breath is your anchor to the present moment. Deep breathing encourages the relaxation response in our body. Your thoughts slow down and it helps calm your nervous system. Whenever you start to feel overwhelmed or anxious, try to focus on your breathing. 

Attach 3 deep breaths to a habit you’re already doing- like plugging your phone into your charger or turning on the kettle. I’ve been using deep breathing whenever I stop at the lights while driving, first thing in the morning and when I open the fridge. It slows down my day and grounds my thoughts.

Use your senses

Turn off from auto-pilot. Using your senses helps you to be more mindful and experience the present moment, rather than replaying things that happened in the past or worrying about what’s going to happen next. Even when things are tough, there are still great things to see, hear, feel, taste and touch. Try to:

  • Watch the sunrise or sunset.
  • Listen to music or a meditation like my short morning meditation
  • Enjoy the taste of your coffee. 
  • Take in the smells while cooking dinner.  
  • Enjoy the feel of a blanket or cleaning your face before bed. 

I’ve built mindfulness into my daily routines while walking the dog and getting ready for bed. Select one activity you already do and try to focus on at least one sense while doing it.

Try Yin Yoga

Take some time for yourself and give your body what it needs to recharge. By slowing down your mind and body during Yin Yoga, you are gifting your body with gratitude and relaxation. Yin Yoga releases stress, worry and unease. The slow movements encourage you to sit with your emotions and learn to accept them. This can have lasting benefits with your mental wellbeing, well beyond the end of the practice. Over time your resilience may become stronger, making it easier to overcome life’s challenges.

Butterfly yin yoga shape | gentle-exercise | less-stress

If you’d like to slow down, relax and unwind using Yin & Nidra Yoga in the comfort of your home then join me on the mat. Just 10 minutes each day, no yoga experience needed, it’s perfect for all ages.

Three ways to transition from COVID-19 without returning to your old busyness.

circles of wellness | feeling-overwhelmed

COVID-19 has given us some huge challenges but also taught us all the importance of slowing down sometimes. Now that it’s time to transition back to ‘normal life’, you might be feeling overwhelmed at taking on your old busyness. 

What if I told you, you could transition back to your usual routine without all that stress and busyness?

Think of your body as like a bank account. Stress is like withdrawals from your account. Eventually, your body gets to the point of being overdrawn, which affects your health and happiness. Instead of stress, you can deposit wellness activities like eating well, movement, sleeping, mindfulness and gratitude into your account. 

Was your pre-COVID-19 life a little like an overdrawn bank? Here are three ways to make sure you stay in control of your wellbeing post-COVID-19. 

Create and Maintain Energy

A regular sleep routine creates a strong foundation for health and wellbeing. The most restorative sleeping time is between 10pm and 2pm. During this time your body cleans your organs, repairs and renews cells, regulates your core body temperature, reduces inflammation and consolidates your memories for the day. Good quality sleep doesn’t come without a bit of practice and planning. Start by dimming lights, turning off electronics at least an hour before bed and do something relaxing to ease your mind. Find what works for you, and practice it until it becomes a natural part of your daily routine. 

In addition to sleep, physical activity is a great way to build energy. When your body gets moving it releases endorphins, dopamines and serotonin. These all make you feel fantastic, letting you start your day on a positive note. As your routine changes post-COVID-19, rework your exercise routine to support you. Keep up with online programs or local walks until your old activities start up again. 

Organise Routine and Structure

The weekly activities of your family may be changing. Be sure to maintain or modify your family routines to match. A family routine helps to share the load and makes children and teenagers feel safe and secure. It also creates structure to the week and saves your time. Work commitments, school drop-offs and after school activities are obvious examples of weekly family routines. Don’t forget about other areas of your week- like chores, errands, fitness or socialising. 

Get out your pen and paper (or your phone) and write down your to-do-list. Writing things down gets things out of your brain leaving you with the space to be creative. Make a list of single tasks for your week. I like to break down my to-do-list into categories like: phone (messages and calls), laptop (emails and purchasing), errands (in-car), home (around the house). The main thing is that you can easily look at your list and work out when and where in your week you need to do that task. 

Be Present and Practice Gratitude

How often is your mind in the present moment? Do you often find yourself thinking of stresses, instead of what you’re doing at the time? Mindfulness is about experiencing the present moment, rather than replaying things that happened in the past or worrying about what’s going to happen next. Building mindfulness into my daily routine is how I’ve been able to reduce my overthinking and worry. It helps me work through my emotions and feel more positive. 

Some great mindful practices to add to your post-COVID-19 routine are mindful breathing and a gratitude journal. Breathing is the best tool to calm your mind and body. It acts as an anchor to the present moment, allowing stresses and worries to float away. Attach calm and controlled breathing to a habit you’re already doing. See if you notice the difference. Gratitude journaling is a simple practice that increases your connection to the world and those around you. Set a time of the day, like dinner, or your morning cup of tea, and note down what you are grateful for. You can keep a journal, take down one or two notes, or simply acknowledge what you are grateful for that day. 

If you want to add some extra wellness to your bank, why not try Simply Happy Mind & Body Online Studio? It’s designed for women who’ve struggled to stay consistent and motivated with their health and are looking for a more gentle, affordable, online option to exercise. The studio runs regular online Yin & Nidra Yoga classes that leave you feeling calmer, present and tuned in to your intuition.

Ready to try?

Fun and engaging activities for kids during self-isolation without technology

Making Bath bombs | kids-activities | self-isolation

Are you running out of ideas to keep your kids entertained without technology in isolation? COVID-19 has been a huge obstacle for all of us as the demands of home life have increased. You have to provide, entertain, educate and try and maintain some normality through all the craziness. It can be a lot to deal with, but we’re all in this together!

As a mum, teacher and small business owner I understand the juggle. It’s hard to keep your kids entertained in isolation while trying to get some work done yourself. Let’s be honest, activities provided by teachers to learn at home will only keep them busy for part of the day. So what about the rest of the time?

Technology like phones, TV and computers can be useful for distraction, but what if you could keep the kids entertained without relying on screens? Technology-free activities can be much more fun, engaging and sociable. They help to break up the day and provide intellectual stimulation. 

We don’t know how long this isolation will continue. Maintaining engaging activities might just be the thing that makes isolation that little bit more manageable for your family. Try these activities from local businesses to mix up your isolation routine:

Literacy & Numeracy

‘Busy Hands’ create playdough kits designed to help with language development, imagination and play. It’s run by sisters and mum Amy and Kate, who have backgrounds in Early Childhood and Primary Education. They’ve used their expertise to create fun and innovative playdough kits to keep kids entertained. It’s all home-made and the kits come in a sturdy container that’s easy to set up and pack up. Check it out HERE.

What’s more entertaining than a good book? Melissa Gijsbers is an author, speaker and book lover. Her beautiful book ‘Swallow Me, NOW!’ tells the story of how Sam overcomes the bullies and builds her confidence to find some new friends. It’s the perfect book for 3-6-year-olds. Melissa’s website also has free resources that can be used with the book. Find out more HERE.

Swallow me now book | learning-at-home | CODVID19

Got a printer? Maria from Little Printables creates fun and engaging activities that are ready for you to print. There are prints for games, learning and arts and crafts at an affordable price. I’ve used her printables with my own children and as a teacher. She has a huge range of activities to select from and lots of different themes. Grab her printables HERE.

Little Printables matching activity | self-isolation | learning-at-home

Get creative

Think back to all those fun science experiments you did as a child. Science teaches your kids about the world around them. It’s fascinating, fun and easy to do at home! Try making your own play dough, kinetic sand, slime or bath bombs. Your kids will love making and using them afterwards. There are more science ideas HERE, or you can download my Bath Bliss Activity Booklet HERE with 10 fun-filled pages that teach your kids about the world of science.

Bath Bliss Activity Booklet | kids-activities | distant-learning

Science experiments can get messy, but there’s plenty of other creative activities to try. Steph from Stlyla has created an interactive printable kids activity craft pack. You can download up to 17 activities from colouring, cutting, pasting, puzzles and creating. Because you buy them online, you can print them off and use them over and over. It’s great value for money and a real hit with the kids. Check out her printable books HERE.

Rebecca from ‘Little Dream Catcher’ wants to help you keep the vibes high during these challenging times. She’s offering a set of 30 FREE fun worksheets that she’s created. Little Dream Catcher also has a beautiful gratitude journal, and my kids favourite the Moon Kit worksheet with prompts to release or manifest more. There are some great things to try on the site, and you can grab the FREE fun worksheets HERE.

Get in touch with emotions

It’s been a tough time for all of us this year, including the kids. Having activities to support their mental health is a great idea during isolation. Kasey, an Australian registered psychologist, has created a fun and uplifting activity to help kids recognise how their own special superpowers (character strengths) to help them deal with any stress, anxiety, and boredom that they may be feeling during the pandemic. The best thing is it’s absolutely FREE! While it’s best suited for children in the mid-primary school years, it could be adapted for the littlies or older children too. Grab your FREE copy HERE.

Your Strengths Superheros PDF | kids-activities | distant-learning

Hopefully, there are a few ideas that might work for your family. Do you have any other ideas for home activities that have worked well during isolation? Share them with me or other mums! I’d love to hear them. Keep up the good work and remember to support one another during these tricky times 🙂 

5 tried and tested steps for families to plan their week during self-isolation

note pad and grey cup | weekly-planning | self-isolation

Feeling like you’re home life is out of balance? Everyone’s weekly routine and daily schedule have been forced to change thanks to COVID-19 and self-isolation. Suddenly the kids are at home, work has completely changed, and household budgeting has got a whole lot more complicated. It’s normal to feel confused and frustrated, but it’s time to take back control! Nows the time to take stock of what’s important, enjoy the little things in life, and make the most out of what you’ve got. 

But how best to this? Say ‘I got this’ to the COVID-19 and start planning and organising your life to meet the new challenges.

Why plan while in isolation?

Creating a game-plan for daily and weekly tasks will make you and your family feel less overwhelmed. You’ll feel more in control knowing you have a plan every day and can get on with life without all the clutter. You might even find you have time to work on personal projects or hobbies!

A great place to start with organisation is to write everything down. Get out all your thoughts and concerns from your sub-conscious and brainstorm possible solutions. Physically writing things down relieves your brain from carrying around demanding thoughts and lets you logically get to work on making improvements. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to create some plans! 

Writing in Saint Belford planner | weekly-planning | CODVID19
Photo credit Saint Belford

5-steps for Weekly Planning during CODVID-19

There are plenty of ways to plan your week, but my tried-and-tested 5-steps are a great place to start building a routine. On Sunday night before my week starts I sit down and look at my entire week. I use the app Lifesorted to schedule our weekly activities so that both my husband and I are on the same page. I also use the Saint Belford Curation diary to map out my week because I love to use paper and pen and get the benefits of physically writing things down. 

Life sorted app features | organised-family | CODVID19-organisation
Photo credit LifeSorted App

Step 1 – Add weekly routines to your new self-isolation calendar

Your family might have daily routines for work and school mornings, bath time, bedtime and mealtimes. You might also have weekly routines for washing, cleaning, meal preparation and calendar organisation. A well-run routine helps family members know who needs to do what, when, and how often.  Daily, weekly and even monthly routines develop with repetition and practice. Even if you had a working home routine, you’re going to need to adjust to the changes from COVID-19. You should consider adding new activities like kids online activities, online appointments, walking, exercise at home, meetings and online socialization to your routine.

An organised and predictable home environment helps children and teenagers feel safe, secure and looked after- particularly in stressful times like now. Routines can be extremely useful for children with Autism, ADD, ADHD and other developmental delays. These children thrive with structure and predictability. 

Step 2 – Make a list of all the single tasks for your week

I use David Allens concept of creating lists with context. These are like tags about where you will do the task. The ones I’ve been using that I find most useful are phone (messages and calls), laptop (emails, purchasing), errands (in-car), home (around the house).

The important thing is to be able to look at your list and work out when and where in your week you can do that task. It will help you stay focused and save time. The weekend is generally when I have time to do the home things, but with COVID-19 I’ve had more time to do things during the week. Take note of how COVID-19 has changed your week, and incorporate that into your weekly task schedule. 

Step 3 – Add only 3 tasks to each day

Take it easy on yourself and keep your days manageable. Limiting daily tasks stops you from feeling overwhelmed, and helps you to feel a sense of achievement. Make sure you consider the time and energy you have on each day before you add a task. Don’t forget to delegate to other members of your family, especially if you feel like you are taking on too much.

Some questions I ask myself are-

Does this need to get done today? Is it important? Is it urgent?

Is it going to help me to achieve a goal?

Could this be completed by someone else?

Family planner | CODVID19-self-isolation | organised-family
Photo credit My Family Planner

Step 4 – Declutter Projects

Trying to remain calm won’t be possible if your home is a mess. This is always the case, but particularly important now with COVID-19 isolation. A clutter-free home runs smoothly because every member knows where to find the things they need each day. It also reduces stress and anxiety, creating a calmer atmosphere for everyone. Now’s the perfect time to work on decluttering projects. 

Here’s how I like to tackle decluttering:

  • Write it as an outcome eg. Reorganise the toys & games cupboard.
  • Next, write out ALL the tasks that need to be done. 

Eg. search on Pinterest or Instagram for organisational ideas, sort the games and toys, organise them into – keep, donate or throw away if it’s broken and can’t be fixed, find the tape measure, measure area for boxes, research boxe sizes, purchase boxes, research labels, purchase or make labels, reorganise the games & toys cupboard.

  • Decide on one or two tasks from your project that you could do in your week.
  • Get to it!

Step 5 – Planner for the family

Including the family in your weekly plans to important to ensure they can be maintained and everyone contributes. Every week, meals, calendar events, daily tasks for kids are all added to our command centre. My kids are young and still need to see what’s going on each day so they can’t use digital options yet. It’s in the kitchen so everyone can see it. Everyone has a routine to follow and know’s what is happening when. 

Now that you can create a weekly routine, it’s time to think about exercise and relaxation to help you get through COVID-19! One of the best things to support your mind and body at the moment is with movement like Yin & Nidra Yoga. They help to relieve stress so that you can support your immune system.

If you’d like to Calm Your Mind & Body in 5 days at home with just a mat and blankets using Yin & Nidra Yoga then join me on the mat. Just 10 minutes each day, no yoga experience needed, it’s perfect for all ages. 

How Yoga Nidra can help you sleep and deal with stress

Women sleeping | nidra-yoga | benefits-nidra-yoga

Wow, what a crazy year 2020! I’m sure you’re all feeling the impact of the Coronavirus epidemic. You might be feeling overwhelmed or scared about the future. It’s OK to be feeling those things, but it’s important to get some control over your worries. Adequate sleep and relaxation are more important than ever! Being able to deal with new challenges is so much easier when you’re properly rested.

Why sleep is important

  • When you sleep, your body goes into recovery mode. A good nights sleep leaves you revitalized and well prepared for the next busy day.
  • Good sleep even helps you consolidate memories and behaviours. If you skip out on good sleep, you’re not giving your brain the chance to put everything together from your day.
  • Lack of sleep contributes negatively to mental wellbeing and anxiety. It makes overcoming the challenges of life much harder.
  • Core body temperature rises when you don’t rest. Problems with higher core temperatures are inflammation-related conditions, autoimmune disease and allergies.

Adults require between 8 to 10 hours sleep a night and studies show that most are getting less than 6 per night. Many people also either have trouble falling or staying asleep. We just aren’t getting the amount of sleep we need. One of the main reasons for sleep deprivation is our lack of time to get everything done. 

As a teacher, there are high demands and endless things that need to be completed.  The ‘easy’ solution is to sacrifice sleep for more time. However, the lack of sleep creates more problems than it solves. At work, I can see how lack of sleep can impact productivity and relationships with students. It can also lead to stress-related illness, burn out and staff absence. At home, it can lead to emotional outbursts and strained relationships. 

Women on phone & laptop | sleep-rhythms | nidra-yoga
Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

How our natural rhythm is being effected

Everyone has a circadian rhythm, known as your sleep/wake cycle or body clock. It’s a natural, internal system that helps regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness every day. Our bodies are designed to be awake during the day, and asleep at night. The visual cues of light and dark signals to our body to produce melatonin as the sun sets and to stop producing it when dawn breaks to wake us up. also signals the body to stay awake or sleep. 

sunrise over countryside | sleep-rhythms | nidra-sleep
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

However, this natural process is often disrupted with artificial lighting. Overuse of lights, phones and technology during what should be your bodies sleeping hours overrides your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Overriding your rest-activity cycle consistently leads to burnout. It clashes with your natural rhythm and activating your flight and fight stress response.

What is Nidra Yoga and how can it help with sleep?

Yoga Nidra is a sleep-based, conscious guided meditation. Don’t let the word yoga put you off! There are no yoga poses or physical exertion. You’re lying in a comfortable position and covered with a blanket. So there’s really nothing stopping you from giving it a go! Your body sleeps while your mind is awake taking in the guided instructions. It’s complete REST for both your mind and body. Yoga Nidra is a great way to let your body rest and balance your rest-activity cycle. You get all the benefits of meditation, as well as sleep.

Women doing nidra yoga | nidra-yoga| nidra-sleep

Yoga Nidra encourages rest by using breathing triggers the relaxation response. Your brain is guided to a delta brain-wave state where organs are regenerate and stress hormone cortisol is removed. Your nervous system is calmed and your thoughts slowed down. The hormone serotonin is released to help you feel more relaxed and reduce anxiety and depression. Practicing Yoga Nidra for just 20-minutes is equivalent rest for your body to an extra 2 hours of sleep. Getting to sleep and staying asleep is also improved with a regular Yoga Nidra practice.

Whether you’re in a lockdown area due to coronavirus, immune-compromised or just wanting to stay at home it’s time to look online for your health and exercise needs. Join me on the mat to ‘Calm Your Mind & Body in 5 days’ at home. You just need a mat and blankets. I’ll be sharing Yin Yoga shapes and Nidra Yoga. Just 10 minutes each day, no yoga experience needed, it’s perfect for all ages.

Sounds great right? It’s easy to try, doesn’t take long and offers amazing benefits.

How useful Yin Yoga is to calm your mind and body

Adjusting to social distancing and home isolation may feel overwhelming, but there are plenty of positive changes you can make to maintain your health and wellbeing through the coming weeks and months. I have always loved the calming practice of Yin Yoga. It’s easy to try and can be a great coping strategy for your mind and body. During these stressful and uncertain times, Yin Yoga is a great tool to have in your toolbox. You can try it all in the comfort of your own home and stay motivated with the support of other mums. All it takes is a bit of guidance to start. Are you ready?

What is Yin Yoga?

Yoga is known to be a relaxing, healthy and spiritual practice that can improve flexibility and strength. Some forms of yoga that you may be familiar with can be active and physical, or ‘yang’. While these types of yoga have great benefits, they are missing the ‘yin’. Yin Yoga is a quiet practice that slows down movement and focuses on a spiritual connection with your mind and body. Instead of flowing through active movements, Yin Yoga involves holding deep poses for longer periods of time. A pose may last a minute or two, or even up to 5 minutes.

What are the benefits?

Benefits for your mind

By slowing down your mind and body during Yin Yoga, you are gifting your body with gratitude and relaxation. Yin Yoga releases stress, worry and unease. The slow movements encourage you to sit with your emotions and learn to accept them. This can have lasting benefits with your mental wellbeing, well beyond the end of the practice. Overtime your resilience may become stronger, making it easier to overcome life’s challenges. The stillness in Yin Yoga is meditative and restorative. It offers a chance to connect to your mind, body and spirit. 

Candle for yoga session | yin-yoga | mindfulness

Photo by Hans Vivek on Unsplash

Benefits for your body

Yin Yoga is also physical. By holding deep strengths, your body’s tissues lengthen and release, leaving your muscles feeling as though they have been relaxed or massaged. This practice can improve your range of motion and help strengthen and heal reoccurring injuries. Yin Yoga can correct habitual posture problems, leaving you balanced and in control. The deep breathing you’ll learn during the practice is also a powerful trigger for the parasympathetic nervous system. This is connected to a number of benefits including improved blood pressure, digestion, sleep and immune function. What better tool to have during a public health crisis?

It’s so easy to get started!

Yin Yoga is one of the easiest home activities to do. It requires very little equipment and can be done anytime, anywhere. All you need is:

  • A yoga mat
  • Blanket
  • Bolster (or rolled blankets) 
  • Yoga block (optional)
  • A quiet place
  • Online class 

Create a comfortable place for your Yin Yoga practice at home, and use my guiding Yin Yoga videos to get started. Together, we can not only get through this difficult isolating time, but we can develop new skills and improve our health and wellbeing!

Women exercising using online yoga | yin-yoga | yin-yoga-pose

Photo credit Henry Ford Health System

With the closure of gyms and yoga studios, it’s time to look online for your health and exercise needs. Join me on the mat next Monday for ‘Calm Your Mind & Body in 5 days’ at home. You just need a mat and blankets. I’ll be sharing Yin Yoga shapes and Nidra Yoga. Just 10 minutes each day, no yoga experience needed, it’s perfect for all ages.

Which benefit do you most want from practicing Yin Yoga?

How to organise your life: from an organised mum

Organizing may not be everyone’s favourite thing… Lucky for you, I love it, and I’ve got some easy tips to share! 

I’ve always been a really organized person. Even when I was a child sharing a room with two sisters, I loved to find a way to organise. Throughout my school and university life, I discovered my organised habits helped reduced anxiety. By being organised, I’ve been able to maximise my productivity and achieve more with my time at work and at home with family. 
Sound like a distant dream? Even if being organized isn’t your natural way of being, everyone is able to adopt a habit to be more organised. You just have to be willing to learn and practice! 
Try some of these easy organisation habits to:

Organise your life

1. Write things down 

Don’t just leave it up to your brain to remember! Allow your brain to create ideas, not store them all your to-do-lists. Writing down shopping lists, birthdays, holidays, events, appointments etc and keeping them in a convenient place means they won’t be forgotten. Organisation also eliminates decision making, making planning your week a whole lot easier. 

Saint Belford planner | organise-your-life | organised-mum
Photo by Saint Belford

2. Create family routines

Routines simplify your weekly routines and help you share the load. Like writing things down, creating a routine reduces the stress and fatigue of decision making. Work commitments, school drop-offs and after school activities are obvious examples of weekly family routines. Try thinking about other areas of your week you could develop into a routine- like chores, errands, fitness or socializing. You’ll save time and energy while increasing productivity. Check out 9 common mistakes people make when trying to create a new routine.

House cleaning routines | organise-your-life | organised-mum
Photo by The Honest Company on Unsplash

3. Everything has a home

It’s easy to get lost if you don’t have a home. Same goes for all your things! Every single thing in your home or office belongs somewhere. Organising a system for your belongings eliminates the stress of losing important things and the discomfort of living in a messy place. Try decluttering and simplifying your home to get the organising process started.

Organised pantry | organise-your-life | organised-mum
Photo credit Popsugar

4. Weekly planning

Organising isn’t a one-time event. It takes maintenance to live an organised lifestyle. Find a time every week to organise and plan- even add it to your weekly routine! Every week I organise my calendar into our Lifesorted app and the family command centre so we are all on the same page at the beginning of the week. Stuff does not stay organised on its own; it needs to be reorganized consistently.

Life sorted app | organise-your-life | organised-mum
Photo credit LifeSorted App

5. Keep only what I need

There’s nothing organised about clutter. By having fewer things, you can enjoy those things more. Isn’t it better to feel good about the things you own and use, rather than let things just sit and gather dust? It can be a long and overwhelming task to declutter your whole home. Instead, practising decluttering regularly makes it more manageable. 

Try a little experiment: before buying one thing, throw out something old or something you don’t use. Need something more drastic? Throw out one old thing a day until you can’t find any more items to throw. Do that for a month and I guarantee you’ll have less clutter in your life!

6. Share the load

Organizing your life is a whole lot easier when you’re around other organised people! Don’t just take on your families organizing on your own, work together to have a more organised home. By teaching your kids to be more organised, you’ll save yourself from picking up after them every day. Practice delegating tasks from your to-do-list to your spouse and kids, or create a list of responsibilities for each member of the family. Stick with it and review the list with them every week to make sure everything gets done.

Remember, a new habit takes time! Keep at it and you’ll notice results. Which habit do you think would most benefit your life? Let me know in the comments below.

If you’ve enjoyed these tips and are looking for more then grab 7 secrets to Manage the Juggle with EASE now. With 7 Secrets to ‘Better Manage the Juggle’ you’ll be more productive so you can enjoy time with your family … no more nights of you falling on the couch exhausted from doing it ALL.

Why a retreat can meet your needs as a mum

Women with cup of tea relaxing | why-a-retreat | mums-retreat
You’re not just a mum; we’re all human being with varying personal wants and needs. We all have certain needs to be met in order to function happily and healthily. Everyone has 6 human needs that have a huge impact on the way we live our lives. Knowing these needs can help us understand our own motivations, and how to drive change in order to feel fulfilled. Tony Robbins explains the 6 humans needs:
  1. Certainty and comfort: Assurance of safety is important for basic survival. Comfort can be found through feelings of control, familiarity and pleasure.
  2. Uncertainty and variety: Unpredictability can be fun and exciting, adding new thoughts and feelings to your life.
  3. Significance: We all love feeling important, special, valued or unique. It’s also, about having a purpose and being recognised for your worth.
  4. Love and connection: Love is the oxygen of the soul. Feeling a sense of closeness and unity to someone or something is a fundamental part of life.
  5. Growth: It’s all about the journey! Personal and spiritual growth happens when we challenge and expand our comfort and capabilities.
  6. Contribution: Life is about creating meaning. Giving to others and the world around you is not only a great thing to do, but it also enhances your personal experiences too.
Every behavior we do can be explained due to these needs. At times, people will sacrifice their personal values in order to meet a need. Examples of this include self-sabotaging behavior and addiction. Understanding why those behaviors can occur can make it easier to intercept them and replace them with positive behavior.

How can a Mums’ Revive Retreat help?

The Mums’ Revive Retreat is packed with rewarding interactions that help to meet all those unmet needs! The retreat gives you a place to leave behind any unmet needs or negative behaviors, and go back to your core values. All 6 needs will be met in different ways:

1. Certainty and comfort: Gain pleasure through pampering, relaxation, good food and time for yourself.

Women having a back massage| why-a-retreat | human-needs2. Uncertainty: New faces and places add variety to your regular routine and give you an exciting and fun experience.

3. Significance: Show yourself and your family how much you value yourself when you say yes and invest in a retreat! 

4. Connection: The inviting environment and shared activities create the ideal place for connections to flow.Women connecting over dinner | why-a-retreat | mums-retreat5. Personal growth: Retreat coaching sessions and mindfulness activities like Yoga Nidra help you look after your health and manage stress and provide you with new strategies to add to your toolbox when you return home. This break will leave you feeling energised and more focused on what is really important in your life!

Taking notes during a wellness coaching session | why-a-retreat | human-needs6. Contribution: By listening to others on the retreat you’re giving them the space to share things, contributing to better well-being for others (and you!).

5 Women talking on a couch | why-a-retreat | human-needs

The Mums’ Revive Retreat is there for you to get in control over your unmet needs! If you feel ready to do something for yourself and connect with like-minded mums, now’s your chance to book your place.

If you’re interested in driving your behaviour change then let’s have a chat I’ll help you to identify the activities that swallow up your time and how simple tweaks can help meet your needs. Book a free call HERE.

Which human need is not being met for you? Let me know in the comments!