Stepping it up the natural way! My New Venture…..
As a Pilates Instructor I’ve been lucky to have met so many lovely people. Since I first started teaching I have learned a huge amount about wellbeing and how it can mean different things to different people and how exercise is only one part of how we can improve our wellbeing (all be it a very important one!) Reducing stress and tension, sleeping better, reducing toxicity in the body, improved digestion, having good immunity and a desire to self-care all contribute to our overall wellbeing. A whole person approach is a really positive way forward to making improvements, small steps towards a healthier happier you!
It’s only when I look back to the changes I’ve made since March earlier this year that I realise that there’s plenty to be proud of and definitely a desire to share. So I’ve used some diary notes and written a bit about what’s changed and why.
I decided when I turned 40 (over 2 years ago) that I was going to make myself a few promises, mainly to invest in more self care and quality time in an attempt to reduce a bit of self induced stress. I actually wrote them down in an attempt to hold myself accountable.
“I promise to allow myself to take a rest more often”
“I promise to ask for help if I need it”
“I promise that I won’t hesitate quite so much about whether I should be spending money on myself”
“I promise to make more opportunities to meet with the people that I want to spend time with”
I think you reach a certain point in life where you don’t want “things”. We crave to be well, less materialistic, feel loved and spend time with the people in life that really matter. So I have been concentrating on more meaningful activities with the children, more family time, getting outdoors more, date nights with my hubby (even if it’s just an opportunity to sneak a quick curry whilst the girls are at Brownies), dates with girlfriends (I am blessed with amazing friends), better skincare routines, healthy eating – you get the idea. As a Pilates Instructor I try to practise what I preach!
BUT and this is the big but, I am guilty of over thinking, over analysing and this can sometimes stop things being spontaneous. I’ve had to try really hard to stop worrying so much what other people might think and do what feels right for me. After all, often these are only perceptions as people don’t always actually share their opinions on these matters, we just guess that they might have a certain view and there we have a spiral of self induced stress and anxiety. As a people pleaser this has been a tough transition. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating self care as a license to be selfish. But, I have had to retrain my brain to worry less about what people might say or think when I make a decision. Am I happy with it? Yes! Does this decision make a positive impact on me? Yes! Then that’s good enough for me.
So what happened in March in particular? After a night out drinking in Manchester I had a terrible hangover, I mean the one that lasts for 3 days where you have your head down the toilet. I vowed like we all do that I’d never drink again. Till the next time you hear everyone chuckle! Well, actually 8 weeks later and I was still holding my word. I was adamant that I wasn’t going to be in that state EVER again! I guess the only way I could be sure of that was to not drink to excess. I wasn’t sure if it was possible to give up alcohol. It’s a big part of my social life and it’s something that we do together with friends to have fun, kick back, unwind, lose your inhibitions and all of the glamorous things we associate drinking with. Unlike hangovers I’ve had before this time I knew making a shift in my drinking was non-negotiable. It was weird, it was like something had clicked in my brain. I didn’t have to try to not have a drink, I genuinely didn’t want one, any! My relationship with alcohol was probably that of a binge drinker combined with a “stress release” drinker (now that’s an oxymoron if ever there was one – alcohol is a huge cause of stress!!). We didn’t drink at home during the week and I clock watched until it was appropriate to have a glass of wine on a Friday and everybody drinks at weekends, right?? If we went out with friends I would drink excessively (on purpose!) and generally suffer the next day. I was in a poor habitual cycle but worse still I knew it.
I know that reaching for an alcoholic drink is not going to relieve stress but at the time you convince yourself that it does. My training in health and fitness has given me all the knowledge and understanding I need to know that alcohol is a stimulant to the body and a toxin to the liver. We can definitely do without it!! Anyway in a show of self protest, I didn’t touch a drop until we went on holiday about 8 weeks after the offending evening. By that time I felt ready to have a responsible drink for the sake of enjoyment! I enjoyed 1 cocktail or 1 glass of wine and left it there. I wanted to enjoy “just the odd one” rather than be completely tee total but wasn’t sure if there was a happy medium but I was willing to continue and it felt right. The long period of complete abstinence had broken that habitual cycle. The best bit was improved sleep patterns. I hadn’t really noticed that I wasn’t sleeping very well until it changed and I was sleeping much better.
Something had changed that meant I was happy with my decision and didn’t feel like I had to justify it to myself. It was OK. The hangover free, sleep fuelled weekends were giving me the boost I needed to keep it up and if I’m honest I felt proud of myself for ditching what deep down I knew felt like a bad habit. There were a few nights out with friends in the pipeline and for fear of getting drawn into excessive drinking I drove instead. I was nervous that I’d be met with a bit of banter. As it happens my good friends were all extremely supportive of my decision. Some of them have even surprised me by saying that they felt the same and were also keen to try and reduce their alcohol intake. I was feeling more confident to “support” my own journey and my decision to not drink. After all, why should it matter to anyone else? I’m not sat in the corner sulking when we go out, I just opt out of the excessive drinking and now I’ve had a bit of practice I feel confident I can just have 1 or maybe 2 and then stop. What I was realising was that subconsciously we need a “buddy” when we undertake a bad habit. I even do it with food. There’s every chance that when we go for a meal out I will indulge in a dessert but I will probably try to encourage whoever I’m with to do the same so I don’t feel as guilty that I’m having one. I am finding that each shift in behaviour leads on to the next one and I am being more accountable for my decisions. It’s never too late to make a change and it’s never too late to learn (about anything!) I genuinely believe that.
The one thing I’m certain of is that my body has responded incredibly well to changing my relationship with alcohol. FACT.
“I can’t believe I’ve shifted to the “no drinking” club! Feeling proud and loving my new hashtags #nohangover #sobersaturdays”
I was also regularly diffusing essential oils by my bedside every night in an attempt to ditch my obsession with Vicks Sinex sprays. I was buying the cheap oils that you can pick up easily in a chemist. About the same time as I stopped drinking alcohol, they stopped making the nasal spray that I was overusing. As I couldn’t buy another one the same I decided that as part of my new improved wellness regime I would instead diffuse eucalyptus oil. I’ve always had this in the cupboard and regularly use it on my pillow but the change here was to stop using the nasal spray and introduce the eucalyptus as a different method of my breathe easy fix. No synthetic chemicals, 100% natural, smells amazing and provides amazing support to the respiratory system. Win Win!!
Until I was blessed with a “proper” introduction to using DoTERRA pure essential oils to find natural solutions for wellbeing and in the home. I mean pure on a new level that I hadn’t heard of before which means they are certified pure therapeutic grade and can be taken internally as well as used aromatically and on the skin. What I hadn’t really considered was that not drinking had already had some pretty amazing detoxification effects on my body. I learned more about liver function and how toxins in the body (such as alcohol) can have a huge negative impact on our stress levels. If the liver is under pressure to process unwanted toxins it will struggle to process natural chemicals within the body and the flushing out process can be compromised. This is all due to hormone production and the balance of chemicals in the body.
Here opens the next chapter. Jennie Read who I am so pleased to call my friend, is a paediatric nurse by trade and a mum to 3 children. Jennie and I met at CWS Networking Group. This is an amazing group for women in business to get together. I’m so grateful for what has happened as a result of us meeting. Jennie was starting to set up Redemption Health and we talked about how wonderful it would be to bring Pilates and essential oils together.
Previously I have perhaps only associated holistic and homeopathic remedies with people who have a negative opinion on traditional medicines. At work Jennie treats children with medicine for a living. What Jennie has opened up to me is the nurses perspective, the mum’s perspective. An open minded perspective that satisfies my scientific brain! After making changes to her families health with essential oils Jennie set up Redemption Health in a bid to share what she had experienced. When you are introduced to something new there is a potential for scepticism. Again, as a Pilates Instructor I come up against occasional “resistance” for holistic remedies for problems all the time but I love that Pilates speaks for itself. It’s incredibly rare that anyone will regret coming to a class or say that actually it’s not for them. I think I was in the same boat with my views on essential oils. I was tunnelling my vision on aromatherapy and thinking they are only used for massage and to make the spa or salon smell nice. How much I had to learn was about to be rolled out in front of me and Jennie and I planned to deliver our first joint workshop back in June to combine Pilates and essential oils.
I’d made a positive change towards balancing my body and this felt like the next chapter. I’m such a sponge, I love to learn and this is particularly true when it’s about health and wellbeing. I wanted to learn more. I was well and truly in the zone and hit the books. Starter kit purchased and oils in full swing at home.
I’m pretty sure the one thing we all have in common is stress. We all have it in varying degrees but how we respond to it makes a big difference to our health and wellbeing. I’ve struggled recently as a working mum with trying to fit too much into the time I have, a To-Do list that seems impossible, mum guilt, trying to be all things to all people and not getting any of it right. I have recently been left holding the reigns of our schools PTA and have felt desperate to find a way to keep it running but manageable. It’s caused me a huge amount of worry. I sometimes struggle to switch my brain off at bedtime and I definitely worry too much about what other people think. The reasons why we feel stressed are individual to us and may not seem important to someone else. That’s just good old perspective, if you feel it, it’s real to you and how you deal with it is also up to you.
If you know me you’ll know that I’ve experienced trauma and sadness in my life when me and my husband lost our first daughter Ellie in 2006. I can certainly apply perspective when I assess my life events but I still experience stress and anxiety about the small, daily struggles and I don’t undervalue other people’s self perception of stress. I can feel anxious, overwhelmed and angry at times along with everyone else. I do find talking always helps and as I tend to share how I feel with my nearest and dearest it generates conversation. Us girls tend to be good at talking about how we feel but I think we sometimes only scratch at the surface and sometimes the strongest of people can actually be the most vulnerable, not wanting to let their guard down. My absolute “go-to” is exercise. I have always felt that most of my positive emotions are found in a workout. It’s empowering, uplifting and let’s be honest the most natural way to encourage the release of endorphins, the brains happy hormone. I have taken a huge amount of pride in my work as a Pilates Instructor as it has allowed me to share a desire and a passion to improve people’s emotional AND physical wellbeing. The feedback that I receive about what different clients “get” out of practising Pilates is so varied and I have taken lots of learning and training opportunities to support my work. A more holistic approach to wellbeing is a must these days. We have to be more aware of everybody’s needs as individuals and understand that not every route of recovery suits for every problem. Exercise is SO much more than just the physical experience and I am loving learning and understanding more about how and why.
Feeling confident and authentic in what I do is really important to me and I think that’s why I knew really quickly when I first started Pilates that I wanted to pursue it as a career. I am on the same page now feeling inspired and passionate about how beneficial essential oils can be to us. There is a natural solution for almost everything that life throws our way. I not only want to reduce the amount of toxins in my body but in my home too and not just for me but for my family. From stress to skin blemishes, sore throats to sleep issues, bloating and period pain, not sleeping well to having an itchy scalp, tension relief to antiseptic uses, muscle rub to kitchen cleaner, air fresheners to immune boosters. You name it, there’s a solution for it!
“Essential oils affect the body quickly and powerfully. When used aromatically, the compounds interact with the olfactory nerve system and limbic system to effectively instigate therapeutic chemical changes in the body. When used internally or topically, they interact directly with cells, organs and entire body systems for health benefits.” [Source: Advanced Oil Magic]
What I feel I can do is share what I’ve learned about how using essential oils can have a significant, positive impact on your wellbeing. When I smelled my first DoTERRA oil I was intrigued. It was different, good different. Getting hands on and actually experiencing these oils for yourself is a must. I haven’t looked back since I bought my starter kit and incorporated them into my home life. I’m finding myself reaching for my new “toolkit” everytime we need a solution and I’m not disappointed. My 2 daughters are also using oils regularly.
So I guess this is where I wrap things up by letting you know that I have taken a step forward with my business to become a DoTERRA Wellness Advocate. I want to share what I’m learning and the learning has certainly been mind blowing! This has sort of happened by accident as the sharing is unavoidable. But I’m officially putting this out there and I feel that it will sit really well with the Pilates.
If you feel like you might want to talk more about improving your wellbeing and using essential oils, here are a just a few of the things we could discuss……….
- Exercise – getting started, moving more, understanding the benefits
- Increasing energy levels and boosting your mood
- Dealing with stress, tension and anxiety
- Periods! Menopause! Hormones!
- Better sleep and bedtime routines
- Supporting your respiratory system
- Green cleaning options at home and how to make your own cleaning products
- Skin Care – Switching away from some of the chemicals you use in your skin care products and reduce your toxic load
- Family solutions, Oils for Kids
- Supporting your immunity
- Tackling seasonal threats and supporting the symptoms of coughs, colds, sore throats
- Supporting digestion and easing bloating, dealing with nausea
- Why DoTerra? Want to know why they are different and learn more about sourcing and purity of their products?
Please feel free to chat with me and ask me questions. I’ll be having informal, friendly meet-ups with a view to sharing these amazing and powerful oils and offering “Make and Take” opportunities. Jennie and I plan to hold more joint workshops so keep an eye out for events. Oils make a beautiful gift, both to yourself and also to others. Bring a friend and get them involved in making some improvements to their health and wellbeing too. You can find out so much more and I’ll fill you in on how to access these brilliant oils.
“When I is replaced by We, Illness becomes Wellness”
Making a forwards move with your health and wellbeing isn’t selfish. If you are the best version of yourself that you can be then the loved ones around you will benefit. Be kind to yourself.