Last Friday was Neal's Yard Organics conference to launch the winter collection and the theme for this year is Plant, Propagate, Protect. They have taken their inspiration from nature, especially trees, using the rings as a backdrop for their packaging, and some lovely little surprises!
This idea really resonated with me as I love the beauty of the surrounding area we live in. Hednesford Hills and Cannock Chase are so close, and I feel so grateful to have had all of this green space on my doorstep, especially this year.
In fact, having a bank holiday this week gave me the time and energy to do a few things for myself, including a longer bike ride and breakfast at Costa. Luckily the weather was dry, although the Chase was a little muddy in places and I did end up with wet feet!
With such busy lifestyles, do we have to wait for Bank holiday weekends for some much-needed R&R? Can we use small pockets of time to create better wellness, no matter what's going on in our lives?
Your Wellness Power Hour
Juggling work, family and other commitments can leave us feeling rushed, anxious and stressed, so let me introduce you to the wellness power hour – 60 minutes that you can devote to yourself without a trace of guilt.
Our time is precious, but in just an hour, if used wisely, you can feel more recharged, refreshed and relaxed. In this modern world, it's easy to lose sight of our own health and wellbeing through poor time management, working longer hours, and never-ending commitments. This is why it's important to dedicate time for yourself each day.
It will give you a sense of peace and clarity, time to reflect upon your day, and will also help you to be more mindful and present – a great tool to help with anxiety and stress. This will increase not only your overall productivity but also your happiness and wellbeing too.
We all know there is an element of guilt or an inability to switch off when it finally comes to pressing the pause button and dedicating some time to yourself. This is where we can learn so much from nature.
"The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go." - anonymous.
I love the colours of Autumn as the trees prepare for winter. They let go in such a gentle and beautiful way. And with no regrets.
So why not follow their lead and let go of the guilt. As you pull out your hoodies and sweaters, make a point to think about some renewal time for yourself. Plant the seeds of self-love in yourself, and your inner peace and calm will spread to those around you. You cannot give time and energy to all of your commitments if you are tired and exhausted. An hour of peace and joy can renew and protect your energy, so you have more than enough to give to others.
When you set aside an hour, don't waste time, focus on what you want to do with that hour. A good place to start is to ask yourself what will benefit you the most in that time. Consider what's realistic and what will bring you the most joy – making you far more likely to do it.
Do you need to just sit and have a cuppa, watch your favourite TV show, or would you feel great if you went for an energising run or did some restorative yoga? What about treating yourself to stress-busting reflexology or a relaxing massage?
What would it feel like to make time for an activity you love doing, or catch up with a friend you've not seen in a while?
Ultimately, do something that makes you feel like you again and allows you to listen to what your mind and body need.
Reap the benefits
By doing something you love, not only will this hour bring you joy, but it will also serve to recharge your mind and body. Some people struggle with his concept, and for some, they even believe that making time for their health and wellbeing is time wasted! It all comes down to your level of self-worth. The quality of your life is 100% dependant on the level of self-worth you hold, and the amount of self-love you show to yourself.
When you aim to remove all feelings of guilt, you replace them with joy and anticipation. There is no greater gift you can give to yourself than the time to observe, learn and heal from what's holding you back from being who you truly are. Raising your level of self-worth will teach you what's acceptable and will allow you to set boundaries that protect your health and your energy.
Even if you don't have an hour to spare, then here are some daily rituals that take just a few minutes, but will change your life for the better if you commit to them every day.
Read a chapter a day: Reading is relaxing and great for boosting brainpower. Try to get through a chapter of a great book every night – it'll become something you look forward to.
Power pose: The way you wake up in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Instead of reaching for the coffee to wake you up, try doing some simple stretches instead. If you're stuck for inspiration, my website has some stretching ideas to get you started.
Take two: Set aside two minutes to sit comfortably, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Breathe from your stomach rather than your chest. Paying attention to your breathing is a self-care ritual that can relieve stress and help you feel fully present.
Self-massage: Give yourself a neck, hand, foot or face massage. Use creams and oils that nourish your skin – make a big deal of treating yourself.
Tea time: Make your coffee (or tea) break a non-negotiable daily ritual. Put your phone down for 10 minutes and completely switch off. Savour the magic of a relaxing moment to yourself. And don't forget the biscuits!
It's not about "having" the time, it's about "making" the time