As someone who runs a business, raises a family, writes books and studies psychology at university, I am often asked how I make it all work. To be honest, it's not always easy, but I have developed some strategies that help me balance these different aspects of my life. Here are some of the things that work for me.
The best advice I have received is to prioritise and set boundaries. When you have a lot on your plate, it's important to focus on what is most important and let go of what is not. I have learned to prioritise my tasks and make sure that I am focusing on the things that are most important for my business, my family, and my studies. Setting boundaries has also been crucial for me. I have learned to say no when I need to, and to be clear about my availability for work and family time.
The advice I would give to someone in a similar situation is to be organised and make use of your time effectively. I have found that planning and organisation are key to managing a busy schedule. I make sure to use a planner to keep track of my appointments, deadlines, and to-do lists. I also use technology to my advantage, such as setting reminders and alerts on my phone. It's also important to make use of any free time you have, such as studying during lunch breaks or after the kids have gone to bed.
Another piece of advice I would give is to ask for help when you need it. Don't be afraid to delegate tasks at work or ask family members for help with household chores. This can free up some of your time and reduce your stress levels. Looking back, I wish I had known how important it is to take care of yourself. When you are juggling so many responsibilities, it's easy to neglect your own needs. I have learned that taking care of myself is not selfish, but rather necessary for me to be able to function effectively in all aspects of my life. After ending up in hospital with exhaustion 3 years into running my own business as a single mum with two little boys (and feeling deeply embarrassed I’d let it get to that point), I always make sure to set aside time for exercise, hobbies, and relaxation, as well as getting enough sleep and eating healthy.
Balancing a business, family, book writing and university studies is a challenge, but it is possible with the right strategies and mindset. Prioritising, setting boundaries, being organised, and asking for help when needed are all key to making it work. And don't forget to take care of yourself along the way!
A few final thoughts to leave you with:
Lisa Burling Blake| Managing Director
Fellow, Public Relations Institute of Australia
M: 0429 976 718 | E: email@example.com | W: www.lbpr.com.au
Next up in our new blog series, A Day In The Life Of, we are overjoyed to bring you the uplifting creative force that is DEE BOOMKENS, Photographer, Author and Founder of @and.bloom | AndBloom
A beautiful soul inside and out, Dee has turned her passion and talent into an inspirational, online community where 40+ women are placed front and centre and celebrated.
Thank you so much Dee for sharing your positive words with our audience.
Love Trudie & Vicky x
I AM DENISE (47), AND FRIENDS CALL ME DEE. I AM A PHOTOGRAPHER FUELLED BY COMPASSION, CURIOSITY, AND A DRIVE TO CHANGE SOCIETY'S
CURRENT VIEW ON AGING.
Five years ago, after a work sabbatical, I started portraying women over 40. I was 42 at the time and lacked inspiration, both online and offline, that could take away my worries about the second half of my life.
It seemed that all women over 40 had been "erased" from the media, while I only encountered gorgeous, fascinating, kick-ass women who were well over 40/50. I decided to say goodbye to my former fashion photography and focus on the "older" women to bring them back into the media. AndBloom was born.
But this decision has only partially selfless. I was desperately looking for reassurance that my life did not end in my 40s. That there was still a future with endless possibilities. I could still go in all directions; physically and mentally, getting older is okay.
By portraying and interviewing all those women, eventually publishing a book in 2021 called "The art of Aging unapologetically," I also changed my mindset. My fears about the future became more minor; my followers have also helped enormously. AndBloom is now a massive community of women who uplift and support each other.
Best advice I've been given
Best advice I've ever gotten was from a friend 10 years older when I was about 38. I asked her how she coped with ageing and the changes that come with it, mainly physical. She replied: the sooner you embrace and accept it, the easier it is. Getting older is just part of it, you can't stop it. Accept that you are getting older and celebrate the changes.
Advice I'd give
The best advice is to focus on where you are in life. Do not look (too much) to the past or future; live today and enjoy every day. Stop comparing, especially with that past, and especially surround yourself with women who walk the same path as you or have already walked it. Remember that you don't have to feel "on top" daily. If today isn't your day, it might be tomorrow. And perhaps the most important thing is that you are never alone; there is always someone who wants to be there for you.
What I wish I'd known
If I had known I would ever be confident I wouldn't have wasted my time being insecure. 😃
By that I mean to say that I used to be so incredibly insecure about anything and everything, a waste of my time! First of all because I was then also a great strong, beautiful, special young woman and when I look back now I don't understand what I was so insecure about (I understand but wouldn't be the same if I had the knowledge of today....) Second, the self-confidence I have now didn't require me to do anything but get older. Ok, and a bit of a self-love and acceptance journey in the shape of AndBloom.
With love, Dee
Follow Dee @and.bloom or visit her marvellous website AndBloom
Hello, I’m Hanna Sillitoe - author, entrepreneur and mum to my one year old, Freddie.
I’m so excited to share my ‘Day in the Life’ with you. Not just because I’m incredibly proud of
everything that’s enabled us to create the life we’re living, but because I want to highlight the
opportunity to work a little differently in the hope of inspiring change. Whether you’re looking to
switch careers, or considering quitting the 9-5 entirely to build your own enterprise, I want to
share the amazing opportunities that await. In short... don’t hesitate, just do it!
To give you a super-condensed overview on how I got here; nine years ago I wrote a book
detailing my personal journey healing eczema through diet and lifestyle change. My book, and the
results people achieved through implementing the changes I shared, eventually led to my natural
skincare range. In 2019 I told my story on BBCs Dragons Den, receiving offers from all five
Dragons and ultimately going on to work with Tej Lalvani and Peter Jones. Fast forward three
years, my little boy Freddie is one year old, my skincare range is stocked in over 500 Holland and
Barrett stores, and my big focus for this year is growing and expanding my brilliant team from our
new workspace in Cheshire.
Pitching on Dragons Den in 2019
When it comes to what a typical office looks like these days, we’re living through unusual times. For some companies, the traditional concept of a strict 9-5 sat at a desk has become redundant. Replaced instead by a hybrid model of hot-desking and flexible home working. My vision was to take things a bit the other way. For me, Covid highlighted the importance of people connections. Whilst I embrace the convenience of a zoom call, there’s something so lovely about sitting in the same physical space as another human. Making actual eye contact, laughing, joking, brainstorming and sharing cups of tea - in real life. I wanted to make our office such a fantastic space that staff would want to come in, rather than asking to work from home.
Up until last year I did almost everything in the company. I built the website, replied to customers, processed orders, handled social media, wrote our adverts and more! I struggled to let go. It’s hard taking those first steps to hand control over to someone else. I also know it’s essential for growth. The great thing is, I’ve had experience in all these roles, so when we’re interviewing candidates I know exactly what we’re looking for.
The one thing I am adamant about is that Freddie will always be at the centre of everything I do. He comes to work with me, we travel to exhibitions together, he sits in on interviews, joins Zoom calls, and is of course chief product tester for our baby range. My plan is to grow our company together. Coming from a family where both parents independently ran businesses, I spent many a weekend reluctantly accompanying my mum or dad to work. Never really making the connection that all those hours they dedicated to their respective companies paid for the food on our table and the lovely holidays each summer. As a ten year old you’re not really that philosophical are you! Life is black and white and the truth is, being sat in a shop was pretty boring. I never want Freds to feel that way about coming with me to work and I never want to feel I’m restricted from going into work because of Freddie. It has to suit both of us.
The moment we began looking for a workspace, I set us a mission; to find a place that could double as a grown up office, as well as Freddie’s play den. I wanted it to be so much fun that Freds face would light up at the idea of going to work, rather than dread it! We found that space just before Christmas last year and signed up to move in in January.
I love what we’ve done with the office - which is a good thing since most days are spent there! Freddie definitely has the lions share of the floor-space. He’s got his own busy-board with push lights, sliding locks and switches. We found a squishy foam play mat that perfectly fits his corner and furnished it with a soft bean bag, cosy blankets and an ever changing rotation of colourful toys.
Freddie loves his chilled corner of the office
The location itself is a dream. Certified B-Corp, with an emphasis on staff wellbeing, we have a yoga shanti, forest trails, a shower space that makes my bathroom look outdated, and scooters to effortlessly dart between buildings. To simply call it an office does it a big disservice, because it offers so much more. I love the little extras. Collaborative puzzles in each communal kitchen (we’re all encouraged to fit the pieces together). Complimentary fruit in well stocked bowls on every floor - Freds loves snaffling the bananas! I joke that I go to work for the food and views, but it really does make up a big part of our day. Taking time out on the nature trails and enjoying fresh salads from the cafe. As a busy mum, I feel as though my wellbeing is taken care of at work - and that’s definitely a rarity.
When it comes to what my average week in this workspace looks like, I’m very fortunate that every day looks different. Our focus at the moment is on finalising Freddie’s baby range. New product development is one of the most fun parts of what we do. I love the creative aspects of everything from formulating the perfect product to designing eye-catching packaging. Last month we travelled to exhibitions in Sweden and the Middle East. We met distributors in Dubai (Freds was more excited about the outside pool!) We’re interviewing lots of people for various different roles right now, we’re chatting to influencers about growing our social media offering, we’re working on skin positivity campaigns, extensive dermatological testing and sorting our FDA paperwork to sell in the USA. Every day is busy and I’m really hands-on, but it’s such a lovely space to be hands-on in!
Nest at Alderley Park. Coming to work has never felt so chilled!
Who’s to say I can’t run a company and care for my little one? Is it really still taboo to breastfeed on a Zoom call? It’s 2023 - anything is possible! I like inspiring change, doing things my way and you know what the most amazing thing is .. rather than push-back or query it, our clients and suppliers embrace it with us. It’s even led to some of them making changes to their own working practices. We women are trailblazers, we’re multitaskers, and we’re damn good at it! Let’s show the world what’s possible. Here’s to having our cake and eating it.
Best advice I’ve been given
To know my numbers. I’m still shocked by how many people pitching in the Den don’t know their basic turnover and profit. Maths isn’t my strong point, but on the day I knew those figures inside out. My dad threatened to disown me if I appeared on national television stumbling and mumbling over important numbers!! Thankfully I now have a very good, and very patient accountant.
Advice I’d give
Don’t ever feel restricted by convention. Just because certain things have been done in a certain way for a very long time, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for change. Be a trailblazer! Follow your dreams, do what makes you happy and carve new paths if the existing ones don’t match your ethos.
What I wish I’d known
How important failure would become in shaping my future. Ten years ago I lost my savings (and my sanity!!) starting an electric scooter business that failed spectacularly. I felt so disheartened. I decided the life of an entrepreneur wasn’t for me. Surely a 9-5 with holiday pay and zero stress had to be easier?! At the time that failure felt like the end of the world. In actual fact it has become one of the most valuable lessons I could have learnt to shape every project I’ve embarked on since.
Hanna’s books and skincare range is available at www.HannaSillitoe.com
SPECIAL GUEST - SOPHIE SPOORS
We are thrilled Sophie agreed to share her story with us and our community. Sophie is a mother of two, reflexologist, ((BOUNCE)) instructor and co-founder of Reset Days, she is also a very dear friend. All in all, Sophie is a rather inspirational human and her story is one that needs to be shared and heard. In this powerful blog, Sophie discusses early menopause and her delayed Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) and osteoporosis diagnosis. By sharing her story, Sophie hopes to raise awareness of perimenopause so that others can seek help and support sooner.
Thank you Sophie! Trudie & Vicky x
Perimenopause and Me by Sophie Spoors
Having gone through fertility treatment in my early 30's (I'm now 43) it has been something that has been so close to my heart. I have now been diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (or 'POI'), which I have been told I have probably had for years and is in actual fact early menopause. This simply means that ovaries aren't working properly). I have also discovered that I have osteoporosis in my lumbar spine and osteopenia in the remaining spine due to rock bottom oestrogen and progesterone levels. So although I am quite daunted (and frustrated by it all) I wanted to share my story in the hope to help others. I'm pleased to see some resources out there educating people, as POI is something I didn't know much about at all.
'I was told I was 'too young' to be perimenopausal.'
My lack of periods throughout my life has just been something I have kind of lived with - they were never regular in teenage years and then actually stopped in late twenties/early 30's when we started trying for a baby. Suffice to say I couldn't naturally conceive but following IVF I feel extremely lucky and privileged that 2 rounds did result in my children, who are now 11 and 7. My periods never returned and I wasn't too concerned, (something I now hugely regret pursuing in order to get some answers), but in my head, I had had my family and therefore didn't pay much attention. I actually felt so lucky and grateful after what was an all consuming fertility journey, I was focusing on family, leaving the fertility/hormonal impact behind me.
It's now I realise that I wish I had it investigated sooner. To have no periods is not normal, and not ok. I also question why I was never informed at the time (through fertility testing and results of hormone levels) that this potentially needed a close eye on and monitoring in terms of bone health, hormone health and all that comes with it. In 2017/18 I did actually go and enquire about my absent periods - but to no avail. I was told by a hospital consultant that I should just go on the pill to have a bleed. I was 'too young' to be perimenopausal and after stating concern for my bones, I was also told that my calcium levels were 'ok' so bones would be fine.
'We don't think of the things we can't feel or see - so let's think about bones!'
Subsequently, I gave up, I didn't want to go on the pill, I felt that this wasn't getting to the root cause of the issue. I realise now that there was a lack of understanding, awareness and reassurance about what was going on and no options for me to delve into. This is what I feel very passionately about now, and what needs to change. We can't SEE our bones and therefore it's so easy to neglect them, but they are fundamentally important to our health - in terms of allowing us to move, protecting our organs, containing our body's calcium supply - the list is actually endless! When we think of menopause (at whatever stage) we think about HRT, hormones, moods, brain fog, headaches, all of which are SO, SO important of course, but we don't think of the things we can't feel or see - so let's think about bones! Sometimes it's only small lifestyle changes that can make all the difference.
Like so many women I felt cross that I needed to fight for [HRT]In positive news I am very grateful that I have been into fitness for many years, and actually enjoy eating well and learning about ways to better my wellbeing. I feel lucky that I can easily tweak my lifestyle in order to help in terms of bones and POI/early menopause. I am grateful for what my body CAN do - so now it's about prevention and helping myself in any way I can. I started HRT a few weeks ago, which is perhaps something I should have been on for some years. I was denied this from my GP in the first instance (a few months ago) as he said I wasn't 'showing signs of menopause'. All of this despite knowing about my bone health results. I have now learnt that HRT is actually LICENSED to be given following a diagnosis of osteoporosis which frustrates me more! Like so many women I felt cross that I needed to fight for it.
I often feel the guilt of not having done anything sooner to find out what was going on. But HRT is the way forward for me....hopefully better sleep, better protected bones, stability in mood, along with a few tweaks in strength work, bodyweight exercises, balance work, supplements and introducing a more of an alkaline diet. I'm grateful I know this now and feel, like so many others, it's about sharing our knowledge and stories in the hopes to help others.
Having spoken to a few organisations with regards to POI/fertility/bone health, I feel there is help out there but you have to search for it. POI is something that can even be diagnosed in early teens (one in 10,000 are under 20) and can often be highlighted during fertility treatment (where potentially my diagnosis could've been made). I just hope more healthcare professionals are more aware of these things and can be better equipped to suggest help, resources and advice during vulnerable times.
Here are a few organisations that may be useful:
Newson Health - My Menopause Doctor
The Happy Menopause
The Bone Coach Osteoporosis & Bone Health
SPECIAL GUEST - AIMEE HARTLEY
Over the coming weeks we will be looking at connection - connection to self, our surroundings and each other. So what better way to kick-off this new month with a brilliant blog written by the beautiful breathwork specialist, Aimee Hartley!
Aimee Hartley is the founder of The Breathing Room www.thebreathingroom.co.uk, School Breathe programme www.schoolbreathe.com and Author of Breathe Well. She is a breath coach, Yoga Teacher and mum of two. Aimee has been teaching for over 10 years and uses her in-depth knowledge of breathing patterns and breath exercises to teach people the infinite healing qualities of a full healthy breath. So let's take a moment and learn to connect with our breath.
And don't forget to include our beautiful 100% natural pure essential oil blends as part of your daily routine. Visit our shop today and take 20% off your first order with FIRST20.
And Breathe... Breathwork for Balance, Calm & Sleep By Aimee Hartley
As you are reading these words, do you notice any tension in the jaw? Is your posture slightly compromised? Bring awareness to your next breath and notice how you feel.
Now gently create space within your posture, elongate your spine, lifting between your sitting bones and shoulders, move your chin up slightly and allow there to be a small gap between top and bottom teeth, keeping the lips closed. Now breathe in through the nose slowly, then dropping the shoulders, breathe out through the mouth long, deep sigh. Then become aware of how you feel.
The way you breathe influences how you feel in your body, your mind and how you interact within your environment. The rhythm, pace and depth of your breath can have a ripple effect on every physical system of your body, from the pH in our blood when you wake up, to the quality of your sleep as dream at night.
Luckily and quite remarkably, we can change the way we breathe to transform the way we feel.
Here are some scientifically proven breath techniques to help you find balance, feel calm, and prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep, by changing the way you breathe.
Breathing to Find Balance
Each feeling you experience, from happiness to fear, creates its own unique breath pattern. Have you ever noticed that you hold your breath when you are in shock, or your breath quickens when you are feeling anxious? And when you are relaxed, you may notice that you’re breathing at a fuller, slower pace. This is not a coincidence. When you are calm, your nervous system is in a relaxed stated, and your breath rate slows down. When your experience feelings like fear and anxiety, this makes the rhythm of the breath a more staccato pace, short and sharp – this is your body’s fight or flight, or your sympathetic nervous system in action.
When we breathe well, at a normal, natural pace, using the diaphragm fully and consistently breathing (both in and out) through the nose, the body maintains healthy levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen. Your feelings are intrinsically linked to your physiology. When you feel anxious, you may over breathe and this lowers levels of carbon dioxide which in turn, can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, your heart can race. To help us feel balanced, whether in body or mind, we can simply create a balanced paced between our inhales and exhales. Box breathing is great for this.
Breathe in for 1…2….3….4….
Hold the breath for 1….2….3….4….
Breathe out for 1…2….3….4….
Hold the breath out for 1…2….3….4….
Repeat this for up to 5 minutes and notice how you feel.
Breathwork to Find Calm
To find feelings of calm through our breath can be achieved by first further understanding the pace and effects of our breath. When we are anxious, things are normally at a fast, high pace, from our breathing to our heart rate, to how we feel. To bring a moment of calm to this internal chaos, we can simply slow the breath rate down to a slower gear. Our inhale activates the sympathetic nervous system, and our exhale activates the parasympathetic nervous system so by extending our exhalation, we increase the amount of time we experience the parasympathetic nervous state.
Allow the jaw to be relaxed (lips closed with space between top and bottom teeth) and if seated, the posture to be light and lifted.
Breathe in through the nose for a count of 5
Breathe out through the nose for a count of 7
Breathwork for Better Sleep
The National Library of Medicine has found that: “There is empirical support that breathing at a frequency of 0.1 Hz (6 breaths per minute) is the most effective rate to combat insomnia as this rate initiates Cardiorespiratory Synchronization and has been demonstrated to enhance parasympathetic activity. Practicing the 0.1 Hz rate before sleep was shown to improve sleep onset latency and quality in insomniacs and enhance the stability of their sleep pattern approximately six breaths per minute. At this rate of frequency, your heart rate and breathing rate eventually sync up, which helps your body produce your highest HRV (Heart Rate Variability) levels.”
Practicing breathwork before you sleep is paramount to guarantee you nod off with ease and you enjoy a better quality of shut-eye. I would suggest a breath practice of between 10 – 15 minutes. And bring your breath rate down to 6 breaths per minute. You may need to build up slowly to this if you feel like this breath count is a struggle.
Breathwork should always feel easy. It’s simply breathing through the nose for 5 seconds and then breathing out through the nose for 5 seconds (or a count of 5:5) This will help slow the breath rate down to 1 breath (1 inhale + 1 exhale) = 10 seconds. Repeating this 6 times will encourage the breath into a 6 breaths per minute ratio. Always breathe (both inhale and exhale) through the nose and encourage the lower abdomen to rise on the inhale.
Breathe Well Book from your local bookstore
Breathe Well Book from Amazon
Instagram: @breathe.well Facebook: The Breathing Room LinkedIn: LinkedIn Profile Mobile: 07826 205163 www.thebreathingroom.co.uk www.schoolbreathe.com
SPECIAL GUEST - KRISHMA MEHTA, Holistic Health Coach & Founder of Traditionally Modern
The Mind, Body & Soul Connection, by Krishma Mehta
Just like the winter season (the water element), with an emphasis on inward development like a child in the mother’s womb, then moves to spring (the wood element) where, just like sprouting plants the child transitions to emerge in to the world with a focus on growth, we then go through the summer (the fire element) the expansive energy of social interaction, creativity and activity. The outward energy, starts to reduce as we age and go towards the autumn/Indian summer the earth and metal elements. We begin to centre and ground ourselves, we let go of self-doubt and gain greater awareness. Once again we move towards a inward phase as we proceed towards the winter- the water element, now focusing on wisdom and inner peace, the more stable life like calm waters. The interconnected nature of our environment, mind and body is often linked to specific organs within our bodies.
Seasons and emotions.
The interconnected nature of the mind and body
Each season carries its own elemental energy which is then associated with different internal organs. Depending on the season, nourishing and bringing harmony to the associated organ results in good emotional and physical health.
The interconnected and interdependent nature of emotions to organs in our body is increasingly becoming a subject of conversation in the modern world. Research in to the gut-brain connection is progressively showing a strong correlation in studies all over the world. An article by Harvard health states that ‘a person’s stomach or intestinal distress can be the cause or product of anxiety, stress or depression’ (health, n.d.)
This may be a new and trendy topic of conversation for modern science, however Traditional Chinese medicine has valued this intricate connection of organs and emotions for thousands of years.
The fascinating two way interconnection of emotions to organ health, where emotional imbalances have an impact on organ health and organ health impacts emotions is fundamental to assessing and addressing disease and disharmony in one’s being.
Understanding this relationship and how to connect with your body and emotions using food and lifestyle can have a pivotal impact in overall health and wellness.
ANGER & FRUSTRATION (Liver)
Anger is associated with the liver organ and the wood element. If you find yourself angry, frustrated and easily irritated, this indicates an overworked or stressed-out liver condition.
On the other hand, excess frustrations, rushed mindless eating in stressful conditions and consuming food and drinks that harm the liver for example alcohol, caffeine and processed sugars puts pressure on the functioning of the liver and in turn leads to symptoms of liver fire and imbalance such as dryness in the throat, bitter taste, heavy periods, nosebleeds and skin eruptions. According to the Chinese Meridian clock, a 24-hour body clock which embodies the concept of the energy flow through the body, 1 to 3am is the time of the liver. When the body should be asleep so as to allow the liver to release toxins from the body and make new blood. If you find yourself waking up and unable to rest at this time, focus on nourishing the liver.
How to nourish the liver
Foods: According to Traditional Chinese medicine, sour, astringent foods nourish the liver. Begin the day with a glass of warm water and lemon. Include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir and incorporate cooling foods such as mint and green leafy vegetables in your daily diet. Also avoid excessive spicy foods as these put further pressure on the liver.
Lifestyle: Try to eat your meals mindfully in a calm environment. Avoid excessive intense exercises and instead try to go for walks in nature.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the kidneys are associated with the emotion of fear. Over long periods, if this is left un addressed, it may result in more chronic conditions such as a lack of will power and a deep feeling of insecurity. Common symptoms of this are panic attacks, night sweats, hot flashes, frequent/involuntary urination, premature ageing and hair loss.
According to the Chinese Meridian clock, 5 to 7pm is the time of the kidneys, the best time to have a light dinner and engage in some gentle stretching. If you find yourself particularly unsettled during this time and having negative fearful thoughts, consider engaging in activities that nourish the kidneys.
How to nourish the kidneys
Foods: According to Traditional Chinese medicine, salty* flavoured and dark coloured foods are nourishing for the kidneys. Include foods like seaweed, black sesame seeds, dark beans like kidney beans and black beans, blackberries and blueberries.
Lifestyle: Rest is essential to nourish the kidneys. Try to get enough sleep and avoid heavy distractions like watching the television and work before bed, instead focus on spending a few minutes reading or having a calming drink. Mindful activities such as journaling and meditation can be very helpful in bringing harmony to the kidneys. Stress is said to be very taxing to the kidneys and where possible avoiding situations of high stress can be beneficial to the kidneys.
*Focus here on a balanced amount of good quality salt like pure Himalayan salt or ‘naturally salty flavoured foods like seaweed’ avoid high levels of processed salts as these are derogatory to health.
HAPPINESS AND JOY (Heart)
Happiness and joy are unsurprisingly associated with the heart and the fire element. When we experience joy and happiness we nourish our heart, on the other hand ‘excessive joy’ and sadness negatively impacts the heart and can result in a feeling of being stuck, lost and mentally chaotic. It is interesting to note that in Chinese medicine there is great awareness of ‘excess joy’ being connected to damaging the heart in Chinese medicine. This is caused by lifestyles whereby one engages in activities like excessive partying and social commitments and excessive ejaculation and sexual indulgence. The fire element is most active during 11am and 1pm when energy enters the heart meridian channel. This also corresponds with midday when the sun is reaching its peak which is the fire element in the cycle of day and night.
How to nourish the heart
Food: Red foods tend to be very nourishing for the heart. Including red toned foods such as tomatoes, watermelons and beetroots is very beneficial for the fire element. Having a goji berry tea with some jujube dates can very uplifting and help manage feelings of sadness. The taste profile of the fire element is bitter. Foods with a bitter taste like kale and dandelion are said to stimulate the heart and can be very beneficial to nourish the fire element.
Lifestyle: Lighting has a very positive impact on the fire element. Trying to ensure that you work and live in well light bright environments is very nourishing to the heart. In addition, lighting some candles whilst carrying out calming activities like reading, meditating or resting are said to light up the heart and bring more joy.
DEPRESSION, SADNESS & A NEGATIVE TMPERAMENT (Lungs)
According to traditional Chinese medicine grief is related to the metal element and lungs. Prolonged periods of untreated grief are said to have a very detrimental effect on our lungs. Common symptoms of this are shortness of breath, a tight feeling in the chest, crying easily and frequently and being unsettled particularly between 3am and 5am, the time of the lungs in the organ clock. On the other hand, having well supported lungs can have a very positive impact on inspiration and ambition. The concept of having a light energised spirit is often linked to be housed in the chest.
How to nourish the lungs
Food: White or ‘white centred’ foods are said to be particularly beneficial to the metal element which is associated with lungs. Internally moistening foods like radishes, cauliflowers, garlic, leeks, onions, rice and oats help to nourish the lungs. The taste profile that is associated with this element is pungent and lightly spicy, foods such as onions and radishes can be very beneficial to the lungs.
Lifestyle: Deep inward breathing through our nose, then exhaling through our lungs via our mouth is said to be beneficial in letting go of grief. When suffering from grief, it is also recommended that seeking out support systems and among friends, family and professionals can be particularly helpful and in turn reduce the impact on the lungs.
So next time you feel overwhelmed by emotions, listen to your body and address it’s needs by nourishing your organs.
The five elements and seasons
Autumn, is associated with the element of metal, a time for continued contraction and inward energy. As the leaves fall and are drawn down deep in to the earth, it is a time to focus on intellect and release grief.
Winter, is associated with the element of water, a cold and dark season with an emphasis on rest, inward reflection, like floating calmly on steady flowing waters it is a time for deep thought, planning and preparation for the spring.
Thank you, Krishma
At any stage of life, you can hit a wall where things that had always felt quite normal, suddenly feel terribly overwhelming. Often for women, this can coincide with when they hit Perimenopause or the Menopause itself.
It’s terribly easy to feel like you want to hide away in your bed until this phase of life is over. Although these days we have better knowledge of it and available medicines as well as alternative therapies, I’m also a big fan of self-help books, self-care is proven to improve your disposition. Alongside fitness and great nutrition, I’m a huge advocate of dressing to improve your mood and confidence.
Having spent 20 years of my life working in Fashion and Retail, it’s easy to see the power of the right clothing and the effect it has on YOU…not for anyone else, but how it makes YOU feel. Although perfectly logical, it takes just as much time and effort to dress badly as it does to dress well, however, two very different outcomes…one makes us want to give up on our day, the other gives us the power to feel like you can achieve it all.
As Bill Cuningham said, “Fashion is the armour to survive the reality of everyday life”. I work with Women, Men, and children of all ages to help them identify and express their own Personal Style. People often ask me what the difference is between Fashion and Style. Ultimately Fashion can be seasonal, and trend led, whereas style is more classic, unique to you and I use a whole host of processes to help identify it with you.
We look at elements like your body shape together. This is often hard for women due to the many life stages that we go through e.g., Pregnancy, middle age, Menopause. Confidence starts with self-love, but that also means embracing our bodies just as they are with all the bumps, curves scars that tell their own life story of you. Once we know your body shape, we find clothing that helps balance proportions, flatter your shape beautifully allowing yourself to fall in love with yourself.
I also consider life stage and lifestyle to help determine your style personality. Are you more of a boho dresser, or minimalistic preferring simple, clean lines? This allows you to be more focussed with new purchases going forward.
Harnessing the power of colour is psychologically proven to boost mood and confidence. At times when mood is low, it’s so easy to cloak up in black or grey and feel like you want to hide away from the world. However, I highly recommend embracing colour due to the strength of energy and uplifting ability held within them.
Gone are the days where you need to feel stuck in a rut or like you need to fit in with your style. In any case, these will make you feel more vulnerable. So, shine bright and don’t be afraid to stand out. Remember Coco Chanel said, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman”.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Instagram: @ShivStyles
This month I am thrilled to bring you a guest blog by the fabulous and gorgeous Sophie Ritchie. Friend of The Blend, founder of Disco BarreTM, The Lotte Berk Technique advocate and owner of the most hypnotic hips in East London! Find out how Sophie keeps in shape, body, mind and soul and her top tips for navigating the challenges of daily life. Thank you so much Sophie - we love your moves! Trudie & Sophie xx
I am 44 years old and uncertain as to whether I have hit the perimenopause yet or not? I definitely haven’t experienced any symptoms, which could be down to luck or it could hit me soon like a tonne of bricks. What I chose to believe, however, is that it’s due to my profession...
I am the founder of Disco BarreTM, which is a hardcore barre concept, with music, moves and vibes inspired by the dance floor and my love for electronic music culture. I am also trained in The Lotte Berk Technique. Lotte invented barre fitness over 60 years ago and I was trained by her daughter, Esther Fairfax. Due to legal reasons I have rebranded it The Barre Lineage. I have a studio in Dalston, London, where both classes are taught and it is the combination of both of these classes that I believe holds a key to youth.
The Barre Lineage is especially perfect for women entering midlife and works on many different levels; the physical, mindful, energetic and erotic.
It is low impact, so is easy on joints and it has one of the most effective core sections out there. I choose not to focus on weight loss when promoting my classes and prefer to focus on how it makes you feel, not look, but, inches will be shaved from your waist, which is very important as we get older as excess abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Joseph Pilates famously said you are only as strong as your spine and the core and mobility work we do are insane. You just move better. Posture, flexibility and mobility is improved, but it also gives something else - a little spring in your step and you want to dance and you will dance a lot better, believe me. Dancing and music keep me from feeling old for sure!.
Despite the power of the movement, the class is also deeply meditative as it focuses on such small parts of you in isolation, so you will find that you don’t think of anything else during the hour. You will connect to your body in quite profound ways and I have noticed my neural pathways have strengthened and I find it easier to learn new things.
ENERGETICALLY & EROTICALLY
This element is what I get really excited about and what I want clients to really tune into. There is a spark that is ignited with regular practice which I liken to a kundalini awakening. Life force, sex energy, serpent energy, whatever you want to call it or believe, it is generated by a lot of the movements. A lot of the work is done in a pelvic tilt - either moving in and out of it or staying constantly in it on the ground and this definitely brings the blood to your genitals. Yes, it makes you horny! And because of this and a particular exercise I do in the inner spirit section, orgasms are definitely stronger.
Both classes inspire empowerment and sensuality and will help you gain a deeper understanding of how you take up space in your environment and feel VISIBLE, which is the ultimate sign of confidence.
OTHER THINGS THAT KEEP ME SANE AND HAPPY
I have an On Demand platform which is £22.22 a month
I am also running an intro offer at the studio of £60 for 14 days of unlimited classes https://www.discobarre.com/pricing
DON'T FORGET TO LOOK UP!
Did you know there is an International Dark-Sky Association? Well there is! And it’s a global organisation that stretches from North America to New Zealand. The IDA states the sky is, “one half of the entire planet’s natural environment.”
Their award-winning International Dark Sky Places (IDSP) Program was founded in 2001 to encourage communities, parks and protected areas around the world to preserve and protect dark sites through responsible lighting policies and public education. This program offers five types of designation:
For millennia, the night sky has been a source of wonder, mystery and guidance.
Ada Blair is a psychotherapist, student of ecopsychology. (Ecopsychology is distinguished from conventional psychology as it focuses on studying the emotional bond between humans and the Earth.) Ada is also a regular visitor of the Isle of Sark, which is the smallest of the four main Channel Islands. Sark is a designated Dark Sky Community, where cars and street lights are banned, helping to make the perfect environment for viewing the night sky.
The fields of ecopsychology and environmental psychology look at how encounters with nature may be beneficial and transformative and Ada was interested to understand more about how the inhabitants of Sark felt about and responded to their incredible night sky. What she discovered through her quantitative research was:
But what is it about star gazing and the moon that captivates us so? The BBC’s Linda Geddes, delves into the lunar cycle to see what’s behind the mystery of the moon that’s fascinated us for millennia in her 2019 article ‘The Mood-Altering Power of the Moon’.
For centuries, people have believed that the Moon affects human behaviour. The word lunacy derives from the Latin lunaticus, meaning “moonstruck”. The Moon affects Earth in a couple of ways:
However, in 2017, Thomas Wehr, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, published a paper describing 17 patients with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, who showed an uncanny regularity in their episodes of illness.
“The thing that struck me about these cycles was that they seemed uncannily precise in a way that one would not necessarily expect of a biological process… It led me to wonder if there was some kind of external influence that was operating on these cycles.”
Wehr was thorough in his study of his bipolar patients, in some cases tracking the dates of their mood episodes over the course of years. He discovered that his patients' mood fluctuations appeared to synchronise with the moons' (roughly) two-week cycles. It was noted that rhythms were interrupted by ‘supermoons’ when the orbit brings the moon particularly close to the Earth.
Another possibility is that patients are responding to the Moon’s gravitational pull in the same way the oceans do: through tidal forces. “Humans are made out of water, but the pull is so weak that it would be difficult to see how that would work from a physical point of view,” says Bambos Kyriacou, a behavioural geneticist at the University of Leicester, UK. “These are incredibly small changes, which can only be detected with extremely sensitive devices, but now there are over 200 publications to support this,” says Joachim Fisahn, a biophysicist at the Max Planck Institute of Plant Physiology in Potsdam, Germany.
So the debate continues! To read Linda’s article in full, click here.
I for one love star gazing and the wonders of the moon. Absorbing the summer evenings as the sun sets and the fragrance of jasmine and honeysuckle drift on the breeze is heaven. As the skies darken and a tapestry of stars light the sky I feel the enormity of the universe and how we are part of it.
And don’t forget this year’s Perseid meteor shower which is active between 17 July and 24 August. This year the peak falls on the night of the 12th and before dawn on 13 August. Make sure to head out at dusk, allow 15 mins for your eyes to adjust, get comfy and enjoy the show.
Wishing you a lovely August.
Lots of love, Zoë xx
Source: darksky.org | bbc.com | Photo Credit: Greg Rakozy @unsplash
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT!
It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. Repeating the same patterns day after day, year after year. Joe Dispenza talks about how we are so used to living in the past. Our expectations of outcome are based on past experience. How we prepare ourselves for a predetermined outcome before an event has even taken place. And when we do this, we limit the infinite, wondrous possible alternative outcomes!
“When you think from your past memories, you can only create past experiences. As all of the “knowns” in your life cause your brain to think and feel in familiar ways, thus creating knowable outcomes, you continually reaffirm your life as you know it. And since your brain is equal to your environment, then each morning, your senses plug you into the same reality and initiate the same stream of consciousness” - Dr. Joe Dispenza
Imagine if you could start each day with an open mind and heart. What could this day bring? What if you began your day with anticipation for what MIGHT happen as opposed to what you think will happen?
I always love seeing someone dressed in bright colours, dressed in a way that’s joyful, kooky and creative, not self-conscious, not worried about what someone else might think. And I bet you see people that make you smile, whether it’s through their clothes, their adventurous nature or their attitude to life. And what thoughts run through your head when you see this exciting person?
‘Oh! I could never do...’, or ‘Oh! I could never wear…’, or ‘I could never go to…’ to which I shout, “WHY NOT?!” And don’t get me started on the ‘I’m not… clever enough, talented enough, tall enough, short enough, rich enough!
It is so easy to pigeonhole ourselves with our own limiting beliefs. When we repeat the same narrative over and over again we come to believe it as true. Now, these beliefs may have developed through personal experience (it’s happened once before therefore it must be true). Maybe we have come to adopt beliefs passed down through the generations , ‘Well, Bob has always been shy’, ‘No, we don’t like...’. Or maybe we have changed our beliefs to fit into a social circle. There are many ways in which we come to hold an opinion/view of ourselves, but I would hasten to bet, many if not most of your beliefs are not necessarily a reflection of your true self.
Remember, WE ARE ALL ENOUGH! We have within us a universe of potential, we just need to believe it. We just need to not overthink it. We just need to jump into it! We just need to DO IT. Let’s challenge these limiting beliefs. Let’s move out of our comfort zone and try something new! Let’s dare to be different!
Here are some easy exercises to help overcome your limiting beliefs:
When you wake up tomorrow, wake with the knowledge that anything is possible. Wake with the knowledge that you are in control of your thoughts. Wake with the knowledge that you can be whoever you want to be (not who you think you are) Wake with the knowledge that you are enough.
And I would love to hear how you get on! Have a great July.
Lots of love, Zoë xx