Take a walk, for your health

Did you know that spending more time outside has a positive impact on the mind and body?⁣

It’s true! Living close to greener areas, spending time in nature & going for a walk has a wide spread of benefits.

In a study conducted by European Centre for Environment & Human Health, research shown that people who spent 2 hours per week in nature were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t.⁣

Read some of the key benefits below:

• Lower your blood pressure ⁣
• Reduction in stress hormones⁣
• Improve your mood ⁣
• Ease anxiety & clear the mind⁣
• Enhance immune system function⁣
• Improve quality of sleep⁣

Herbal Tea

A great way to help support your well-being is incorporating herbal teas into your daily routine.

Herbal teas are created with plants, flowers, seeds, roots, and the fruits of plants. They have been used for thousands of years as natural remedies and to promote wellness.

There are lots of brands available out there – be sure to check the ingredients and make sure that your herbal tea blend is made with quality ingredients, and have no flavouring additives included. (they don’t need flavouring, as the herbs are lovely on their own)

There are many to choose from and each have different benefits.

A few of my favourites include:
– Chamomile tea, for its calming effect
– Peppermint tea, to relieve stress and soothe the digestive system
– Turmeric tea, to ease inflammation and promote healthy skin
– Lavender tea, to give a sense of relaxation and promote restful sleep

If you’re not sure which to go for, or where to buy them – get in touch! I’m happy to recommend and help where I can.

Take a bite out of stress with dark chocolate

This may be the most appreciated advice I give to clients – and it’s true!

Research has shown that good quality dark chocolate (with a minimum of 70% cocoa) has numerous health benefits. One or two squares a day can contribute towards lower stress levels.

The important part!

Good quality dark chocolate is packed full of minerals such as iron, magnesium and zinc. It also provides us with a burst of antioxidants.

Studies have shown that after two weeks of eating 1.4 ounces of the chocolate per day, the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ had reduced in the body.

Cortisol is best known for helping fuel your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response during a crisis, and plays an important role working with certain parts of the brain to control your mood, motivation and fear. Normally, this should lower after the stressful event.

Although we do need cortisol to help us at times, if we find ourselves under continuous stress, our cortisol levels may not lower as they should. Cortisol levels remaining high could affect some of your body’s most important functions. Weight gain, anxiety, depression, headaches and insomnia are just a few of the symptoms that can occur.

Remember this the next time you find yourself under a lot of stress, or use daily to help maintain balance.

Nadi Shodhana – Pranayama

My favourite breathing exercise to reduce stress 🤍⁣⁣
Practicing deep breathing can be very beneficial to the mind and body. A staple in relaxation techniques and meditation, it also affects the body in many ways.⁣⁣
Setting aside a few minutes a day to practice may help to:⁣⁣

  • lower your heart rate⁣⁣
  • lower your blood pressure⁣⁣
  • strengthen the diaphragm ⁣⁣
  • promote relaxation, and in turn lower the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ in the body⁣⁣

In Ayurveda, Pranayama is the ancient practice of controlling the breath. My favourite breathing exercise is known as “Nadi Shodhana” which translates to “Flow Purification” – a form of Ayurvedic Pranayama.⁣⁣
This particular exercise is known for balancing the hormones, clearing and releasing toxins, promoting restful sleep, and reducing stress. ✨⁣⁣
Follow the steps below:⁣⁣

• Sit in a comfortable position and place your left hand on your left knee.⁣⁣
• Lift your right hand up toward your nose, exhale completely and then use your right thumb to close your right nostril.⁣⁣
• Inhale through the left nostril and then close the left nostril with your fourth (ring) finger.⁣⁣
• Open the right nostril and exhale through this side.⁣⁣
• Inhale through the right nostril and then close this nostril.⁣⁣
• Open the left nostril and exhale through the left side.⁣⁣
• This is one cycle – you can continue for up to 5 minutes.⁣⁣
• Complete the practice by finishing with an exhale on the left side.⁣⁣

How to improve your sleep

As a rule of thumb, most adults should aim to get around 6-9 hours of sleep each night. Having good quality, uninterrupted  sleep is essential to both our mental and physical health. If you find it hard to get over to sleep each night, or you have trouble sleeping through until morning, here are some tips to help:

Essential oils: Lavender essential oil is commonly known to help with relaxation and sleep. It can help you to fall asleep faster while also improving your overall quality of rest. If you’re not a fan of lavender, try Bergamot essential oil. Known for its calming properties, bergamot not only helps promote a sense of relaxation before bed, it also reduces stress and anxiety. Try adding around 4 drops of these oils to a diffuser, or rub between your palms and take long, relaxing, deep breaths.

Acupressure: Use point ‘Heart 7’. Located on the inner wrist, towards the side of your little finger. Feel for the hollow point beneath the pisiform bone (the bone you feel at the inner side of your wrist/heel of hand) Once you have located the point, hold it for 2-3 minutes to encourage calmness, and help to treat insomnia.

Relaxing environment: Try to keep your bedroom a dark and quiet space suitable for sleeping. Limit electronics and screen time in your bedroom. Use supportive, yet comfortable pillows to encourage restful sleep. Try using a diffuser at night with the essential oils mentioned above.

Holistic Therapy: Last but not certainly not least, the use of holistic therapy is vital for our health, and that includes our sleep. Both massage therapy and reflexology play an important role in ensuring quality sleep. By easing pain, reducing stress and anxiety and promoting relaxation, these therapies are valuable practices that should be regularly included in our self-care. 

You can find out more about the benefits of holistic therapy, and the practices I offer here: www.sarahamilton.co.uk