Happy New Year from me to you

So, we’ve come to the end of another year. Who’s been doing a lot of reflection of late? It’s been a bit of a crazy year my end. The beginning of 2017 started out fairly strong. I had lots of plans for the year ahead (particularly with Naturallea) then it all went a little crazy. Work life went stupidly busy, patient referrals hit an all time high and staffing at an all time low. Which has been leaving me feeling quite drained for some time. We moved house which has been and continues to be a huge renovation project/headache. I can’t believe how hard it’s been if I’m honest. I don’t do too well with mess, builders walking through my house, and what feels like disorganization. Oli had a car crash. He was fine, but then we were down to one car. Which for us, is a logistical nightmare. Then I decided now was a good time to embark on my yoga teacher training. Then just to throw more chaos in to the works Oli thought it was a good idea to get not one but TWO puppies. Definitely my biggest challenge so far. Most the time, my life is all a bit of a comedy sketch and I feel like I’m in the middle of it all, losing my mind slightly. BUT, I sort of see light at the end of tunnel now. I’m hoping that my life in 2018 will have a bit more calm with more direction and not just about surviving the day. So, although I don’t really do resolutions as such, I have given myself some goals. I think giving yourself some sort of focus or a goal is a positive thing. You’re sort of just gently giving yourself a sense of direction. So direction for me looks like this right now:

  1. Make more time for blogging (currently getting off to a flying start).
  2. More recipe creating (and then blogging about it).
  3. More yoga teaching. More yoga learning.
  4. Get outside and run more.
  5. Having the best time with Amelie before she starts school in September. I’m currently off Tuesday and Friday’s with her so I’m going to enjoy every minute before the routine changes again.
  6. Smiling more at all the good in my life and not fretting about some of the shit that happens. It happens, I need to learn not to dwindle on it.

There’s a few things there. But they are things I feel quite passionate about so I’m pretty sure my focus won’t steer too far from this list. I also just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy New Year (to anyone that might happen to be reading this). You are a lovely lot. I hope 2018 is bright and prosperous for you all. Resolutions or no resolutions just enjoy this crazy thing called life. Lots of love Lea xx

5 Simple Ways to feel good and at your best this Autumn Winter

I work in the health industry and work out in the community, so I’m exposed to everyone’s coughs and colds. A few ways I try to stay on top of my health and wellbeing are outlined below. Of course I sometimes fall short (like now *coughs and sniffs*) but that’s why I like to come back to a short check list to make sure I’m doing all the right things to help combat the winter bugs and blues.

  • Start the day right. This means having a healthy balanced breakfast. If you follow me on Instagram you know I love my porridge topped with fruit, nuts and seeds. For me, this provides the nutrients and energy I need to kick start the day. I also recommend introducing some lemon and ginger in hot water for your first drink of the day. This is great for breaking up the caffeine in take throughout the day too. I find it definitely provides that soothing and healing quality to a drink particularly when you’re feeling fragile. If your feeling massively adventurous my Mum swears by a shot of organic apple cider vinegar first thing. Now, I don’t do this very often, but when I do it really does settle my stomach. I might give this a try this winter.

 

  • REST, REST, REST. Particularly as we come in to the festive season. It’s so easy to start burning the candle at both ends. You must learn to relax and let your body and mind rest. Schedule a night in with your pj’s on and a good book or an afternoon of films and sofa snuggles. With rest in mind, this also means, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. I always tell myself “when you’re sleeping your healing”. I would say I definitely sleep more in the winter. I think nature wants us to sleep more in the winter months.

 

  • Keep active. It’s so easy to lose sight of your fitness levels as we head in to the colder and darker evenings. Social engagements creep up and our appetite for exercise tends to dwindle as we wrap up in extra layers. My advice would be to sign up to a fitness event like a run, or book in a term of yoga sessions, if you’re a member of a gym schedule in a weekly class. Or, if mobility or funds are an issue for you, get out walking with some friends.
  • Up your fruit and veg. Keep your fruit and vegetables up throughout this winter, it’s so tempting to up the carbs as it gets cold but don’t let your fruit and veg slide. You’ll need extra vitamins and nutrients to fight off the cold and flu viruses.

  • Spend a little bit of time out in nature and the fresh air. I’m talking wintery woodland walks, blustery beach strolls, hilltop hiking. Wrap up warm and get out in the fresh air. This will do your physical and mental health the world of good.

I will do another post going in to a little more detail of particular benefits of certain foods and exercises that will help to keep winter bugs at bay. I think being a little bit more specific in this area is useful when trying to keep your health in tip top condition. I am a little snuffly today so I’ve put some spinach and watercress soup on the hob, only took a few minutes of preparation and I will have some of that a little later. And obviously hope it works miracles immediately ; )

 

These are just a few hints and tips that I’ve tried and tested. Please share with me all your hits and tips in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram where I post a lot of meal ideas and healthy lifestyle tips.

Lots of love

Lea xxx

What does exercise mean to you? 

I work with a lot of people who see exercising as a real challenge and something that only very fit people seem to be able to adhere to. Exercise to many is joining a gym, which some people find boring or not particularly enjoyable. Often the idea of exercise musters up unhealthy ideas about body image and what a fit person should ideally look like aesthetically. When really exercise should be about keeping a healthy mind and body through movement. Healthy comes in all shapes, sizes and forms. And the way you keep yourself healthy should be something that works for you.

I like to bring it back to basics. Activity. I always ask patients/clients “what activities have you been doing?”. Activities can mean anything from a walk along the beach with the dog and the family, gardening, painting your living room, to a 20 minute hiit session in the garden. Just make sure you move! Of course, there are some that want to push themselves and set themselves goals to push themselves further. Great stuff! But I also urge those that get very little activity in to their lives from one week to the next to just start small. Start small and build up. Go for a walk and some fresh air in your lunch break, go for a swim, take a walk with the kids to the park. Just keep moving and find something you enjoy. Keep your mobility going and keep your energy up and try to adhere to it. I work with someone who has arthritis in one of his knees which makes a lot of exercise very difficult, this summer he’s discovered kayaking. He cannot get enough of kayaking, and has been going three or four times a week.

I’ve personally had a very busy summer and the autumn/winter looks like it’s heading the same way. This means my running and yoga tends to be the things that get reduced in my schedule. This is something that really frustrates me but often I’m just juggling too many balls (desperately wanted a better phrase here). But one thing I never remove is walks with my little Amelie and my Oli. When Amelie was a baby we would go for walks with her in the pouch (baby carrier) or the buggy. Sometimes we would do this every day, sometimes just a few times a week. So when running and all the other crazy sports/hobbies I’ve tried over the years were out of the question, walking was always something I could do and enjoy. This has just been our ritual ever since. Amelie loves going for walks and exploring. Come summer, autumn, winter, spring, our walks are always constant. Don’t get my wrong there are times when she likes to have a little carry (as per picture above) but she’s getting far too big for this now, something she refuses to accept.

So, I’ve set myself a few little goals to keep me active and keep me smiling. One is a winter 10k run with friends (we get a medal AND a mince pie at the end) and one is a yoga challenge to keep my practise consistent. So book some time in your schedule, do something ACTIVE, keep your body moving!! Don’t let the autumn/winter season keep you from doing your activities.

Love,

Lea xx

Yoga and me : )

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Before I was pregnant with Amelie, I was relatively fit and healthy, and had lots of energy. I would go to yoga classes, pilates, I did flying trapeze for a few terms, and I ran LOTS.  When I fell pregnant I was obviously intending to keep up my healthy lifestyle and had every intention of keeping my body strong and safe to house my little growing baby. I signed myself up to a pregnancy yoga class but unfortunately pregnancy sickness and exhaustion took me right in to my second semester and by the time that all subsided – well, I just couldn’t be arsed!

Nearly two years on since giving birth I really thought I deserved to give myself the time to do something I used to love. I practised a little at home on my mat but I wanted to find a class where I could leave motherhood, work and home-life at home and focus on myself for an hour or so.

Because I no longer live in London I was apprehensive about finding a good class and teacher local to me. But, as my nearly two year old says “Ta-da!” I have managed to find a class that suits me. It’s at 8pm in our local community hall and is run by a lady called Leah Braknell (http://www.leahbracknellyoga.com/). Leah is an Actress and also a Yoga Teacher and I knew within 10 minutes of being in her class that her class was the right class for me. Leah created a very peaceful and relaxing atmosphere and within a few minutes I had forgotten about the list of jobs I still had to do and had stopped worrying whether Amelie had eaten enough of her dinner blah blah blah. During the hour and fifteen minutes I had worked incredibly hard but had managed to stay completely focused and also relaxed. I left the class feeling dreamy and achy and that night I literally slept like a baby. I returned and attended Leah’s class twice in one week!! I also ached for a couple of days afterwards, but a really satisfying ache. Before Amelie I never ever ached after a yoga class, I don’t know if it’s just simply because I am no where near as fit as I was before Amelie or whether I just connected with my breath and body better. Who knows. I’ve decided I will go and try out a few other local classes but in the meantime I’m just happy I’ve found a class and teacher that is right for me at this moment in time.

I would highly recommend yoga, especially to someone with young children. It can be really hard as a parent to put in a little time for yourself and when you do you still end up thinking about everyone that needs you at home. When you get the right yoga class and teacher the health benefits are huge. Not only is it a fantastic form of exercise, it also helps combat stress and depression to name but a few. Before I became a parent going out running was definitely my go to stress buster, I would go in to a form of meditation whilst out pounding the streets of London. Since Amelie made an appearance I find running mentally quite hard, I tend to not be able to let go of everything that is going on in my head. Saying that – I encouraged everyone to find something that works for you. I know people that like going out walking on hikes with friends, people that do a few lengths at the pool in the evening and also people that like to lift weights. What ever floats your boat, I would just encourage people to stay active as the health benefits are huge!!

Namaste ; )