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5 Ways to Improve your Wellness ...in 5 Minutes!

b2ap3 thumbnail Wellness blog

1. Breath
The benefits of breathing go far beyond the fact it is essential for life!

As a nation of busy individuals that rush around feeling stressed and tired, stopping to take time to actually take your attention to your breath is one of the most simple ways of slowing everything down and hitting the reboot button. Many of use never actually take deep breaths; in fact, we tend to use just 20% of our lung capacity at rest and about 70% when doing cardio exercises such as running. Our breathing rate is very closely linked to our stress levels, heart rate and blood pressure and can vary depending on stimulants such as exercise and stressors. Within the nervous system, there are other systems; these include the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic prepares your body for activity, it stimulates the ‘flight’ response which involves raising the heart rate, increasing the amount of cortisol released …and increases your breathing rate. The parasympathetic system however, can bring about a feeling of peace and prepares you for rest; it slows the heart rate, relaxes your blood vessels and generally calms the body. A great way of making the parasympathetic system the dominant one, is through breath, in particular the 2:1 breathing technique. This is exactly what it says on the tin, making the exhale twice as long as the inhale. Try it out, it may feel a little strange to begin with, but with a little practice it can make you feel extremely calm and in control. To begin with, just trying breathing in for one count and exhale for two, then increase it. Breath in for two and exhale for four. 5 minutes of this at intervals during the day is a wonderful way of starting to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.

2. Make a to do list
“Fail to plan, plan to fail”. Harsh, but so often true. As well as helping your plans come to fruition, writing a list of all the things you need to do is a great way of decluttering the mind, making way for you to focus on the task in hand, not the 20 other tasks you must not forget about. I find this extremely useful on an evening before I go to bed; making a plan of all the things I want to do the next day allows me to relax and feel like I’ve got it all under control.

3. Stretch
I was going to name this section “do 5 minutes of yoga”, but for some this might seem daunting! So simply move your body in a way that feels good. Get the blood flowing through your muscles first (maybe a few squats or mountain climbers) then stretch in what ever direction feels good! This can be in the middle of the afternoon sat at your desk, or for 5 minutes before you get dressed in the morning. Having a good stretch will help you feel energised for the next part of your day and will also help relieve any tension you might be experiencing (maybe from driving, being sat at you desk or simply sleeping in a slightly awkward position!).

4. Write down one success of the day
Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy. Focusing on the negatives and stewing over them for hours. Nothing good ever comes from focusing on negativity, however, never underestimate the power of positivity!! Writing down one success from your day may seem a little cliché, but it is one of the best ways of turning an ever so slightly ‘pants’ day into a good one! This achievement doesn’t have to be some epic accomplishment, it can be as simple as “I’ve made a really yummy, nutritious dinner for my family” or “I ticked off everything on my to do list” (see above!!).

5. Compliment someone
Nothing feels nicer than being told that your hair looks great, your work is really appreciated or just recieving any compliment! So what nicer thing to do than give someone that gift. Giving is so much more rewarding than receiving, so make your day, by making someone else’s!