Tag: self care revolution

Elle Wright - Feathering the Empty Nest

Cosy CatchUp || Yoga Chats with Elle – Feathering The Empty Nest

When it comes to yoga, I’m always intrigued as to what brings people to their mat, their practice, and how it’s helped to change their life. Far from *purely* its physical benefits, yoga has a pretty special power to go so much deeper and yoga therapy is actually used to help manage many physical and mental health issues; a truly special practice that can really help transform your mind and body.

I recently chatted to the gorgeous, open, honest and oh-so-funny Elle Wright (of Feathering The Empty Nest) about her own yoga journey and about how she’s used yoga to ‘help heal through her heartbreak’… here Elle talks us through her practice, her daily lifestyle, and her tips for keeping her wellbeing at the top of her priority list.

Elle, we know you best for being Mum to Teddy and your side-kick pug Boris, writing an incredible book about the loss of your darling boy (Ask Me His Name) and advocating open conversations about loss and fertility struggles, (and also for creating THE most gorgeous of homes), but yoga is also a big love for you – so how did yoga first come into your life?

Like most people, I had done the odd class here and there over the years, but I really starting practicing when I was expecting Teddy. I went to some antenatal yoga classes where I met my brilliant teacher. She ignited my love of yoga.

You’ve been so heartwarmingly honest on Instagram and on your blog about your struggles with the loss of Teddy, fertility, and taking care of your mental health, which has made you a go-to for advice/support on social media – how do you make sure that you don’t feel the weight of this and overwhelmed by all the messages and questions you get asked relating to your story?

It’s difficult sometimes. I am not an expert (in anything!), and so all I can do is tell people that I hope they are surrounded by love and support, and if they aren’t then ask them to consider talking to their GP.  I can’t advise them, I am just a grieving parent too, but I can share our story and what helped us after Teddy died, and I hope this goes a little way to helping others. 

Do you remember how you felt after your very first yoga class?

I think I did my first class when I was about 16, at a David Lloyd Club with my Mum. I honestly cannot remember how it felt, but it must have been good as I remember going to quite a few.

How would you describe the style or type of yoga you enjoy most?

I practice Hatha Flow yoga, which is just what my instructor teaches. It isn’t too fast paced, but equally doesn’t see you holding lots of strenuous poses for a long time. It’s a nice mix of everything and I like that.

Do you have a specific area/space in your home that you practice yoga? Do you create a setup with anything specific before you begin your practice?

I used to practice in the sitting room at home, but now I practice in our new kitchen/ living space as it has recently been renovated and extended.  I don’t do anything specific, other than ask Alexa to play my favourite yoga music playlist. Sometimes I light a candle or I might burn some incense.  I always practice in the mornings as I find it sets me up for the day. 

You’ve talked a bit on your blog about your diet, changes you’ve made to your lifestyle since trying to conceive following your first pregnancy, can you share a bit about this?

I mean, what haven’t I tried?! To be fair I have always had a fairly balanced diet and lifestyle and exercised regularly. I don’t do high impact exercise anymore and just favour walking and yoga.  I am a vegetarian, I drink very little caffeine, I don’t drink much alcohol anymore either; maybe 1-2 glasses of wine at the weekend, but some weeks I don’t drink at all.  When we have been on fertility treatment cycles I don’t drink any caffeine or alcohol, and tend to eat a high protein diet with lots of veggies thrown in.  I also have acupuncture every other week; that is something I have been doing for about 3 years now and it has made a huge difference to my health and my outlook.

What’s your daily routine like where yoga/diet/wellbeing is concerned?

I am a creature of habit.  My husband leaves for work around 5.30am each day and he rarely gets home before 9.30pm, so my days working from home are pretty organized and I keep myself busy.  I always usually start with yoga practice after a morning tea, have breakfast after I have showered (almond milk, vegan chocolate protein powder, banana, oats, cinnamon in a blender!). Then I will walk Boris, and once I am home I will answer all my emails, do any work I have to do and then my days can be pretty changeable depending on what I have going on.  I go to yoga classes 1-2 times a week too and those are always in the mornings. I definitely prefer to start the day with yoga.

How important is having a routine and a regular yoga practice to your day-to-day life and overall sense of wellbeing ?

It helps me immensely. For me, it gives me a sense of calm and helps me focus each day.

What’s your favourite yoga position and why?

Always Baddha Konasana (sitting down, soles of feet together and knees out to the sides) I start my practice and finish my practice with this. I just find it really grounding and calming.

What does wellbeing mean to you? How do you ensure you add this to your everyday and that it doesn’t get overlooked or end up at the bottom of your priority list?

I think since Teddy died it has become part of my survival tool kit, so there is just no way could be without looking after myself mentally and physically.  I can’t ever overlook it for this reason.

How much does having Boris and daily dog walks help with your wellbeing/mental health?

He is my saviour and has given me so much purpose. I have written so much about him on my blog for this reason and how our daily walks have helped me. 

What are your top three ways to keep your headspace in check/your instant go-to’s in your self-care toolbox?

Yoga

Saying “No” to things. Clearing my diary and prioritising time with my husband and at home without feeling guilty.

Eating well. I think taking the time to cook and prepare yourself good, fresh food is a wonderful kind of self-care. I never underestimate it.

Quick fire…GO!

Go-to comfort food… Scrambled Eggs

Book to read and re-read over and over… Emma Cannon ‘Fertile”

Favourite season… Autumn

Go-to cheer up tune…  One that reminds me of my childhood- Paul Simon “You Can Call Me Al”

Favourite Friday night tipple… If I do have a drink on a Friday then it’s a G&T in the winter or a nice glass of Rose in the summer.

Best bit of advice… You just do you and try to worry less about what other people think. It is really freeing!

Most inspired words… Actually something the vicar said to me after Teddy died (although neither my husband nor I practice any faith) “Grief doesn’t last forever. Love does”

 

To find out more about Elle head to her Instagram account or head to her blog, where you’ll also find out more about Teddy’s Legacy.

You can also find Elle’s book here, Ask Me His Name – Learning to live and laugh again after the loss of my baby.

All images c/o Elle. 

roses in a mug

Nourish & Grow || Why #selfcare isn’t always self care

There’s no denying that the term ‘self care’ has become a hot topic, an instagrammable thing and even a buzzword of late, but if I’m honest I feel that these two words have gotten a little lost in translation.

The world of Instagram (and social media in general) certainly highlights some aesthetically beautiful forms of what is often deemed as self care, or rather a more consumerist form of self care. Think bubble baths, gorgeous candles, journals, spa days, manicures, and even wine. But it is so much more than that. SO much more. And more often than not it really isn’t even that at all.

Self care is much more about how to top up our ever decreasing energy (if you’ve ever been to a yoga class you’ll hear your teacher talking about Prana, life-force/energy and how we can extend and improve it). We need to make sure that the various forms of energy we output each day, each week, and each month are topped up so we can sustain balance.

In any given day we use up and put out intelligent (mental energy), spiritual energy, emotional energy, and physical energy. Consider an average day and where your outputs and inputs are? Too much output in any one of these four areas and you’ll find yourself feeling ’emotionally’, ‘physically’, or even ‘mentally’ drained. If we’re not consciously practicing ways to fill these energies back up we soon find ourselves out of balance, out of whack, and basically ‘spent’.

If you suffer from mental health issues your self care may go a lot deeper than that. It may be a specific treatment, therapy, or medication that helps you stay steady. Consumer ‘self care’ can often seem like a fix-it cure for mental health problems and something that can be solved with a wellbeing journal or a new skincare product. Granted, #selfcare has probably helped sell many more products, had more likes, follows and clicks but if we sold the tough stuff, the less pretty ways as self care it probably wouldn’t catch on!

Self care is sometimes difficult to do and doesn’t always feel good when you do it. But there is a longer-serving reason as to why some of those practices and habits need to be woven into our day-to-day lives.

Self care can be:

• Setting boundaries and learning to say no to things that don’t nourish you

• Unfollowing people on social media because they don’t fill your energy up in a positive way

• Taking time out of your day to make decent food and eat it mindfully

• Not answering your phone because ‘that’ call will only make you feel crap

• Managing your finances better, booking a doctors appointment, going to a therapy appointment

• Taking time to breathe deeply, micro actions for better health

There’s a FANTASTIC book by the amazing Suzy Reading that talks about the Self Care Revolution and provides ‘habits and practices to help you flourish’-  a toolkit that really equips you to make self care practice a daily practice.

Remind yourself that real, RADICAL self care is about replenishing your energy and making that sustainable. Beware to mind the #selfcare gap and dig deeper into daily rituals and habits that really top you up – these are the things you need to make time for (or we all really will burn out).

In the end, it’s about creating a life you want everyday (not just for holidays and weekends) – good quality sleep each day vs exhausting yourself and then having to book a fancy getaway. Help yourself to ease the worry and stress on a day-to-day basis rather than saving it all up. It’s a practice that is required daily, as Jim Loehr (author of The Power of Full Engagement) said, “Rituals also help us to create structure in our lives.”

When it comes to self care, practice mindful self care – allowing yourself to be present in that very moment; whatever it is that you do. And remember, it’s your daily self care, you don’t need anyone else’s permission and sometimes, a bubble bath is just a bubble bath!

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