Tag: wellbeing

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. 

Home & Haven || Christmas Calm with A Perfect Chaos

Like so many of us, I’m a real sucker for a beautiful and deliciously scented candle. I’m always on the lookout for new, independent candle makers and natural scents that go with the seasons. So you can imagine my delight when the lovely ladies at Perfect Chaos sent me some seriously happy post.

With a brand that reflects everything we believe in here at Season & Simplicity, Penny & Lisa are ‘creating a little bit of calm amongst the chaos’ which is an ethos we are absolutely behind 🙌🏼. PLUS, their candles are made from all natural ingredients, we’re talking 100%, natural soy wax, essentials oils and all hand poured in Cheshire.

Inside my (eco-friendly) box of treats was a gorgeously festive ‘And Sparkle’ candle, a combination of pine, lime, and myrrh, an ‘And Breathe’ travel candle, made of cool peppermint, lemongrass, and basil, plus THE most heavenly pulse point roller from their ‘And Relax’ range of lavender, lemongrass, and jasmine. An ideal antidote during over the Christmas period.

 

The festive ‘And Sparkle’ candle was instantly lit and filled the room with enough festive spirit that I went straight out to grab my Christmas tree. It’s a definite winner this season and it gives off the most gorgeous glow.

The packaging and branding is understated, elegant, and simplicity at its best. No unnecessary packaging or plastic, even the lids are made from a non-silicone material.

I can’t recommend this gorgeous brand and their delicious range of products. As an avid yogi I love a good pulse-point roll on and have tried so many different varieties, including some super fancy ones from some well-known ‘wellbeing’ brands and I can honestly say that this roll on is my most favourite ever (she says whilst sniffing her wrists and breathing deeply!).

 

So, if you’re looking for a natural, calming, and beautifully made gift this holiday season, make sure you head on over to Perfect Chaos and have a look around. You’ll find everything from candles and roll ons to diffusers and even room sprays.

Ciara_Signoff

 

 

// Perfect Chaos kindly gifted these items //

autumn leaves and superga

Mind & Mood || A Mindful Change of Seasons

It’s safe to say we’re firmly ‘in’ September now – that back to school/new term feeling has fully kicked in and someone quite literally hit the ‘Go’ button on autumn. I’m wearing a large and oversized cardigan as I write this and I’ve got an even larger mug of tea as I finally ‘allow’ myself a few minutes to delve into some September reflections.

Let’s face it, before we know it, we’ll find ourselves (after THE most glorious summer on record) turning to our cosy knits and swapping evenings out in a sunny pub garden and savouring the last of the summer sun for drinking red wine and sitting as close to a fire as is physically possible. We’ll be caught up in everything that this time of year has to bring (don’t worry I won’t mention the C word), but what we often forget is that we are seasonal beings, creatures who need a little time to adapt to the changes that each season brings. Modern day living means we don’t often pay too much attention to our evolutionary survival instincts – emails, social media, endless technology doesn’t really care too much as to what season we’re in. But we must… and here’s why.

There is actual scientific proof that our bodies and minds are affected by the change in seasons, and as Hippocrates once said “Whoever wishes to pursue the science of medicine in a direct manner must first investigate the season of the year and what occurs in them.”

We could delve deep into the symptoms and reasons behind SAD* (Seasonal Affective Disorder) but that’s not really what I’m getting at, this isn’t a scientific post about an actual disorder, merely a nod to being aware of the changes in our mood, energy levels, and positive ways we can add to our daily life to pick ourselves up as we head further into the season.

The change from summer to autumn is definitely my favourite of all; the leaves 🍂 turn from gorgeous green to crisp reds, yellows and browns is one of the prettiest gifts I think nature gives us. But, for me, it never goes unnoticed that this time of year sees my energy levels drop, my need for sleep increase, and my motivation to get up and GO sink into my newly purchased autumn boots.

Despite being pretty durable we’re also finely tuned so that even the smallest of changes in temperature, weather, light have a significant impact on our mind and bodies. So now is the time to start implementing a few little practices to help ease that transition and remain healthy for the months ahead

Get lit up 

Combine your need for light with your daily dose of fresh air. Whether that’s walking the kids to and from school, ditching the car when you need to pop to the shops, or downing tools for 15 minutes and taking some time to get outside – we all need that daily dose of vitamin D and we’re not going to get it staring at a screen.

Walk it out 

As mentioned above, walking is THE best. Move your body… it can be so hard as it gets colder and the nights are longer to find the motivation and inclination to get up and move so why not try a new class? Or, rather than meeting a friend for a coffee suggest a walk (you can bring a cuppa with you… in your reusable cups of course).

Talk it out 

We all lead busy lives, that’s a given, but conversation is SO important for our mental wellbeing and a chat on the phone or via text just isn’t the same as a face-to-face-hug-it-out-hand-holding kinda chat. Combine it with a walk and you’ll not only find you’re getting your daily dose of vitamin D and exercise but that chat and those much-needed conversations always flow so much better when you’re walking and talking.

Eat with the season 

Seasonal produce is at its best this time of year and this gorgeous blog post by Amelia Freer will give you plenty of inspiration on what’s good to eat this autumn. Her buckwheat pancakes with fresh blackberries are on my breakfast must-list for the weekend.

How do you make sure you keep your mind and body in check?

*As with all these things, if you notice your mood has changed a little more than usual then do make an appointment to see your doctor.

Ciara_Signoff

 

Happy by Fearne Cotton

Nourish & Glow || Summer Self Care Tips

Hurray for summer! Our eagerly anticipated summer did NOT disappoint, right? And whilst in an ideal world we’d all be chilling on the beach, emails switched off, cool box in reaching distance and work/kids occupying themselves, alas we’re just over here melting.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. The sunshine has been all-kinds of glorious but maintaining a cool and calm appearance can be tricky and we’ve been swapping our usual Self-Care Sunday rituals of roasts and red wine for cold baths and ice lollies.

So, in true British style, we’ve got a few summer self care tips for you!

Treat your feet 

I love to be barefoot whenever possible… which means my feet taking a beating. Making sure I give them any form of attention is usually not top of the list. But summer means suns out, sandals out so its time to treat your feet. Whether that’s booking in a pedicure at your local salon (think air con, book, and fresh new trotters) or a little DIY footcare, make sure you take some time to look after the two things you put more pressure on than anything else!

Keep hydrated 

Why is it that we find it so difficult to drink enough H20 in a day? Unless my bottle is on my desk and staring me in the face I can often simply forget. Jo and I have an unquenchable thirst for sparkling water, but if water just ain’t your tipple you can always mix it up with fruit infusions, cool herbal teas too and lots of frozen watermelon! Just make sure you’re getting plenty of the good stuff.

Nature’s reserves 

And speaking of water, take trips to your nearest watering hole (of the nature kind, not just the pub kind). Whether you’re lucky enough to live near an outdoor pool, river, lake or the sea, get out and soak it up. We count ourselves extremely lucky that we live near the river, so daily dog walks mean a chance for both the dog and myself to take a dip in the river.

Slow down 

The heat (especially in the hottest heatwave for over 40 years) can really drain you of your energy, so now is the perfect time to slow everything down a little. We find the school holidays (whether you have kids/are at work/are juggling both) the roads, offices, and even email inboxes are just that little bit quieter. Make the most of this and keep things to a minimum where possible.

We would LOVE to hear your summer self care tips… come and find us over on Instagram and let us know how you’re staying cool and looking after yourself this season.

With love,

Ciara_Signoff

headphones and notepad

Mind & Mood || Anxiety… Naturally

Whether you’re a long-term anxiety sufferer like myself or you find yourself in periods of stress, feeling overwhelmed or just a bit out of sync, then fear not… you’re in good hands.

I know just how uneasy feelings of anxiousness can be and it’s important to address them as they arise. So here are my top tips for helping reduce anxiety… the natural way.

Put the coffee down

Times of high-stress and anxiety are often dealt with by consuming large quantities of coffee (or tea in my case) and yes, there is wine too. But, I can honestly say that in order to help reduce those horrid feelings and heart palpitations that you may need to put the coffee down. In fact, if you’re feeling pretty ‘strung out’ put.it.down.now. Caffeine is a pretty nifty stimulant that works by increasing your adrenaline. And, if you’re familiar with the feelings of anxiety then adrenaline is one thing you’ll want to leave you alone. Swap caffeinated tea and coffee for decaf, or try a green tea 🍵 or chamomile. Twinings have a fab range of green tea with all sorts of lovely things – my favourite is the salted caramel, it’s proper lush. 

Walk it off

Or, if you can, run it off. Running is one of the most mindful things you can do so grab your trainers and go for it. Even if you’re not an avid runner you can mix it up with walking and jogging. Try not to worry about distance or calories and simply focus on the act of putting one foot in front of the other. I make playlists to give me an extra boost – music works wonders for the anxious mind.

Meditate

When I’m feeling particularly ‘wired’ by anxiety I can find it difficult to switch my mind off and that makes sleeping hard. Try this body scan from the Mindfulness in a frantic world book. I swear by this book and re-read regularly to keep me on track. 

Remember to breathe

Sounds pretty daft seeing as it’s something your body does, err, naturally, but focusing on your breathing is SO important (see the link above☝🏻️). When you feel overwhelmed or as if you can’t catch your breathe it’s time to slow down and focus on it. You can actually reduce your heart rate simply by taking a few deep breaths and slowing it all down. If you’re not familiar with mindfulness then I urge you to have a read of this  – it gives you a little taster of the book I’ve mentioned and I really can’t recommend it enough. 

Dealing with feelings of anxiousness and anxiety are no fun at all but do give these things a try and see how you get on. Hopefully, if you’re consistent with them then you’ll start to notice a difference in how you’re feeling. Practice makes progress – so don’t beat yourself up about it all… 

Namaste,

Ciara_Signoff

Sign up to our 7-day online retreat
The Slow & Steady
We respect your privacy.
Don’t miss a thing
SIGN UP TODAY AND JOIN OUR SEASON & SIMPLICITY COMMUNITY