Here's a photo of me, miserable, drastically underweight and lost. This six months of my life was the darkest time I have ever experienced. My mind was constantly racing, I couldn't sleep. I couldn't see how thin I was, even though I had photoshopped my rib cage on this image to make it less noticeable. Most importantly, I couldn't see myself anymore, not in the mirror, not in my life or decisions, not through all the chaos going on in my head.
I'm going to talk to you in more detail about my journey from where I was then, to where I am now later in the week. Today I wanted to share with you some of the tiny baby steps that started to very gradually, very gently take me down my trail to fabulous.
All of these things are so small you would never think they would make a difference, so manageable you can start trying them tonight.
My number one tip for feeling a little more peaceful is something I picked up in a book somewhere along the line. It's the most effective practise I have come across and that includes yoga, meditation and everything in between. A shower before you go to bed. It's so therapeutic to take those minutes to unwind before you climb into bed. Imagine the day and it's problems washing off your body and into the drain with the water. For me it's such a reset and means I sleep so much more deeply.
Another bedtime ritual that I love is stretching. Don't worry I don't need you to be yogis to try this. So many of us hold stress and tension in our shoulders and necks. When we don't stretch it out and release it, it builds up. I like to do a five minute stretch before sleep, there are lots of videos on youtube you can follow. Concentrate on your neck and upper back, and finish in balasana or extended balasana (child's pose). Just like a shower before bed it really helps to build a mental barrier between the stresses of the day and your restful nights sleep.
Take a break and breathe. I find that even on days when I'm not particularly stressed or even busy, I can catch myself feeling tense, my mind racing. I can suffer with bruxism (clenching the jaw), not while I sleep but while I'm concentrating or worried. I tense my shoulders, I have a thousand thoughts at one time. You probably don't notice you do it, I didn't. Give yourself a 30 second rest from it all a few times a day and reset. All you have to do is stop what you're doing for a few moments, take some deep breaths, unclench you jaw, shoulders, relax and just be aware of all the tension you released for a few seconds. You don't need to take a break to do this. I find when I'm driving I can find myself hunched over the wheel in semi panic mode for no reason at all. If you struggle to remember to do it, set an alarm. Breathing techniques have been found to have seemingly miraculous results, even lowering inflammation in the body. If it can do that, imagine how powerful it can be for you.
A huge glass of lemon water in the morning. Before you have coffee, before you have a shower, just down it. Hardly any of us drink enough water and whilst I'm a firm believer that we can't possibly "need" the ever growing number of recommended glasses per day, a big glass in the morning is such a great way to flush out your system before anything else comes into it. The lemon gives you your morning hit of vitamin c, I always find it gives me a boost before I start my day. Ayurvedic medicine tells us that the bitter taste of lemon actually jump starts your digestive system meaning you avoid toxin build up and your food is digested more easily.
These little practises seem so insignificant but have become such a firm base to getting myself well, calm, energised and, most importantly, peaceful.
I wanted to share them with you all because these tools against stress and anxiety can be taken anywhere, done with no equipment or books or subscriptions, by anyone at anytime.
See this as your little starter pack.
If you try anything (or everything) from my list, do pop back and let me know how it goes, I love to hear how advice I give you girls (and the occasional boy) works for you.
For now, sleep peacefully and I'll chat to you all tomorrow.