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2020 Dates for Stretch and Relax Masterclass 

January 2020

Turves Green Boys School 






Sunday 12th Jnauary

Sunday 2nd February

Sunday 1st March

Sunday 5th April

Sunday 3rd May

Sunday 7th June

Sunday 5th July

Sunday 2nd August

Sunday 13th September

Sunday 4th October

Sunday 8th November

Sunday 6th December

2020 Dates for Mindful Meditation Circle

January 2020



7- 8.15pm

Friday 17th January 

Friday 21st February

Friday 20th March

Friday 24th April

Friday 15th May

Friday 19th June

Friday 17th July

Friday 14th August

Friday 18th September

Friday 16th October

Friday 20th November

Friday18th December

2020 Dates for Classes & Personal Training 

January 2020

Monday 6th January - Saturday 22nd February   7 weeks

Monday 24th February - Saturday 11th April   7 weeks

Monday 20th April - Saturday 6th June   7 weeks

Monday 8th June - Sunday 5th July   4 weeks

Monday 20th July - Saturday 22nd August   5 weeks

Monday 7th September - Saturday 24th October   7 weeks

Monday 2nd November - Saturday 19th December   7 weeks


Sunday 12th-19th April   1 week

Monday 6th-19th July   2 weeks

Sunday 23rd July-Sunday 6th September   2 weeks

Sunday 25th October-Sunday 1st November   1 week

Sunday 20th December   2 weeks

Is This Really Happening.........??? 

March 2020

It seems to have a struck a chord with many of you, when I mentioned on Facebook this morning that I woke up feeling a bit ‘lost’ ,,,,, and tonight I’ve been reading a post that talks about exactly how I was feeling and apparently, how we’re all feeling..

" a little bit wobbly". 

It sounds like there are an awful lot of people having reactions they don’t really understand. So I thought I would post the article written by a mental health first aider/therapist; 

I could identify with so much of it, and yet here was me thinking I was on my own and being a bit ‘silly’,,,, 

so put the kettle on and have a read of this whilst it boils.....

IN CRISES, WE START DOING WEIRD STUFF: Over the last week I have struggled to sleep, stayed up late into the night reading endless news articles, bought pasta I don’t even like very much, got angry with my mum for not staying home. My spelling is a disaster and I’m definitely drinking more. I’ve been a bit teary, and all I really want to eat is cake, cake and more cake. From what I got back from my post yesterday, I’m not alone.

If you’re having a wobble, you may also have noticed all sorts of weird stuff going on. Are you arguing more, talking faster, struggling to sleep, restless, desperate for information? Or are you teary and overwhelmed, perhaps feeling a bit sick? Struggling to make decisions? Just want to stay in bed? Tummy upsets? Having palpitations, butterflies, headaches? Ranting, picking fights or getting into arguments? Laughing unexpectedly or saying random, inappropriate things? Developing Very Strong Opinions on epidemiology overnight? Or have you just completely gone to ground?

If you are feeling any of these things: good news! You are not going mad. And you are 100% not alone. You are, in fact completely normal: a fully emotionally functional human being. Congratulations! Why? I’ll explain: take a seat and put the kettle on.

WE ARE LIVING IN TURBO-ANXIOUS TIMES. Well, no kidding. We’re in the middle of an unprecedented crisis that has showed up unexpectedly (they do that) and which presents a mortal threat to ourselves, our loved ones and our way of life. It’s terrifying and it's getting worse and it makes us feel totally out of control. And this is on top of anything else we have going on.

HERE’S THE SCIENCE BIT. When we are exposed to threats and need to deal with them, our brain springs into action. Specifically a tiny, innocent-looking thing buried behind your ear called the amygdala (fun fact: it's the size and shape of an almond). It’s the bit in charge when we are frightened and right now, it’s in full tin-hat klaxon mode. Unfortunately, it’s also very ancient bit of kit. It came into being when threats basically consisted of being eaten by large scary animals like bears. You know that thing about when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail? Well, to the amygdala, everything looks like a bear. It’s also pretty basic, so it really only has two settings. They are no bear :) and BEAR!!!.

SETTING: BEAR!!!. Because all threats look like a bear to the amygdala, it preps you accordingly. There are really only two reactions to a bear about to eat you: fight it, or run away really fast. So this is what the body gets you ready to do. It’s called the Fight or Flight response (there’s also freeze, meaning you just get paralysed). It does this by flooding your body with chemicals like cortisol, and adrenaline. Your heart rate goes up, you feel super alert, your breathing goes shallow, your muscles are ready for action. These chemicals are also largely responsible for the huge range of other cognitive/physical/emotional reactions in my intro. In group fear situation like a pandemic, this tends to happen whether you think you're scared or not - anxiety is even more infectious than COVID. Your body reacts even if your conscious mind doesn't.

BEAR V VIRUS: Obviously this is all great if you really are running away from a bear. But we’re now in a situation where we’re being asked to do the EXACT OPPOSITE of running away. We are being told to sit tight. Literally stay still. Process large amounts of information, make complicated and life changing decisions, and stay calm. All while a bit of your brain is running around yelling BEAR!!! BEAR!!! BEAR!!! This isn’t easy. The result is an awful lot of stress and anxiety. And if you’re anything like me, you end up feeling really overwhelmed and having all sorts of reactions.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS: Anxiety isn’t just mental – it’s also physical, cognitive and behavioural. You will notice all kinds of things: stomach upsets, headaches, insomnia, changes to eating, changes to the way you talk. It’s also cognitive: it’s very difficult to think straight when you’ve got the BEAR!!! BEAR!!! BEAR!!! thing going on – so we also become very bad at making decisions, absorbing information and generally thinking rationally. Which is EXACTLY what we need to do.

SO WHAT TO DO: well, the good news is it is possible to calm down. We can turn the amygdala from BEAR!!! to NO BEAR 😊, and not just by distracting it with cake and tea. Here are some solid, scientifically proven things you can do.

BREATHE: It’s so basic, but breathing exercises are basically magic. They work in minutes and you can do them anywhere. They work because of all the physical reactions the amygdala triggers, rapid breathing is the only one over which we have conscious control. Control your breathing and you are basically telling your body: it’s OK. There is no bear. Your body will then start to dial down the adrenaline and cortisol and all the other reactions will slow to a halt. How to control your breathing? It’s easy – and if you want help just put "two minute breathe bubble" in into Youtube. The golden rules are these:

• In through the nose, out through the mouth. SLOWLY

• Make the outbreath longer than the inbreath – imagine there’s a candle in front of you and it mustn’t go out

• Breathe from the tummy not chest – really make your tummy go out when breathing in.

• Do it for two minutes - time yourself - and see how you feel

Seriously, try it – this technique is used by everyone from top athletes to the US military to help stay in control while under stress. There are all sorts of versions – from yogic breathing to box breathing to 4-7-8. Google them, mess around, figure out what works for you.

CALL A FRIEND: Don’t suffer alone. Call a mate - someone who’ll listen while you have a bit of a rant, or a cry, or a general wobble. Someone you can trust not to judge you and who’ll just sympathise. And if you get one of those calls, just be nice to them. You only need to be kind. You can’t fix what’s going on so just give them a bit of space to rant and tell them they're normal and doing great. And if you’re OK, call your friends and check in on them. Especially if they’ve gone silent.

LAUGH: it doesn’t matter what is funny – laughter is a huge releaser of endorphins. Silly memes, silly jokes, stand-up, rolling around with your kids – videos on youtube. The sillier the better. Also v good for bonding with friends, which will also help you feel less alone.

DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR HANDS: Yes you can meditate if this is your bag, it’s amazing. But if it’s not, and personally I’m rubbish, then trying to start when you’re already anxious is really hard. So do something instead with your hands, that you have to focus on to get right. Cook. Tidy. Knit. Draw. Bake. Garden. Mend things. This is what nice middle class therapists like me call Mindfulness.

TREAT YOUR BODY: We hold stress in our bodies at least as much as our minds. Take a bath or a shower. Put on things that feel good on your skin. Use nice smelling body creams. Stretch. Skip. Do yoga. Dance. Eat healthy but delicious things - fresh if you can get it. All of these will help calm you down.

SUNSHINE: It’s SPRINGTIME amid this horror – enjoy it. If you can’t go outside, open the windows and feel it on your face and breath it in. If it’s safe for you to go outside (maybe you live in the country) do it, while of course observing social distance. Go for a walk. Being outdoors, connecting to nature, is hugely calming.

AY FROM SOCIAL MEDIA/THE NEWS: All it will do will scare you more and make things worse. Turn off the telly and for gods sake avoid the psychopathic digital wild west that is Twitter. Stick to sensible sources like the BBC and the NHS, and limit yourself to short need-to-know bits a day. You’ll feel better immediately. Talk to friends instead - this is physical, not social distancing

STEP AWAY FROM TERRIBLE COPING MECHANISMS: They will all translate as BEAR!! to your poor brain. Especially don’t get drunk, especially if you’re alone (BEAR!!!), take drugs (BEAR!!!), stay up all night reading (BEAR!!!), get sucked into conspiracy theories (BEAR!!!), pay attention to ANYTHING Donald Trump says (BEAR!!!). See? Stress levels going up already. Breathe.

BE KIND: to yourself and others. Now is not the time to go on a diet. Nor is this the time to start on Proust or makeover your life. You'll probably struggle to concentrate, fail and make yourself feel worse (hat tip Laura Gordon for this bit). Don’t make this more stressful than it already is. Think comfort books, comfort telly, comfort everything. Personally I re-read children's books. Everyone is wobbly, everyone is going to have a meltdown at some point. Understand that if someone is angry or aggressive, then they are also just scared. And eat more cake. Cake makes everything better.

So, there we go. Hopefully a bit less BEAR!!.

Right, that kettle should have boiled by now! 

Go make a nice cup of tea, sit by a window and drink it in this lovely morning sunshine. We are British after all (and go on, have some cake!!!!)

Keep well

Stay safe

And be kind to yourself

With love, light and blessings

Sharon x

Meditate...?  But How...? 

April 2020

People all around the world have practiced meditation for centuries. Today meditation is quickly becoming one of the most popular pastimes of the modern world inhabitants. Modern lifestyles can often lead us to feel stressed and unable to get the required sleep, especially with the current Covid-19 situation that we all face. 

Meditation is one of the most effective ways to find inner peace, relax, and cope with our stresses.....

Managing Stress:

Eating a balanced diet and taking regular exercise can take care of the physical need, but allowing your mind some space to relax is often over looked. You will often here people say that they feel more relaxed after a holiday - that is because they have had time to switch off from their daily routines and think about other things - they have given their brain a rest.

Meditation is a way of giving your brain a mini break that can be taken daily.

A More Productive You:

One great benefit of meditation is that it helps you vastly improve your concentration levels, which in turn will help make you far more productive. Clearing your mind of distractions and focusing on the act of mediating itself, clears your mind and leaves you able to focus on what’s right in front of you.

Meditation teaches us to not fret over the small stuff, and helps us to really put things into perspective, leaving us positive, happy, tranquil, and peaceful within our self.

So why not try one of the most popular pastimes of the modern world and find your inner peace.

How do you learn to meditate?

In mindfulness meditation, we’re learning how to pay attention to the breath as it goes in and out, and notice when the mind wanders from this task. This practice of returning to the breath builds the muscles of attention and mindfulness.

When we pay attention to our breath, we are learning how to return to, and remain in, the present moment

-to anchor ourselves in the here and now on purpose

-without judgement.

The idea behind mindfulness seems simple although the practice takes patience. While meditation isn’t a cure-all, it can certainly provide some much-needed space in your life. Sometimes, that’s all we need to make better choices for ourselves, our families, and our communities. And the most important tools you can bring with you to your meditation practice are a little patience, some kindness for yourself, and a comfortable place to sit.

A Basic Meditation for Beginners:

The first thing to clarify: What we’re doing here is aiming for mindfulness, not some process that magically wipes your mind clear of the countless and endless thoughts that erupt and ping constantly in our brains. We’re just practicing bringing our attention to our breath, and then back to the breath when we notice our attention has wandered.


1. Get comfortable and prepare to sit still for a few minutes. After you stop reading this, you’re going to simply focus on your own natural inhaling and exhaling of breath.

2. Focus on your breath. Where do you feel your breath most? In your belly? In your nose? Try to keep your attention on your inhale and exhale.

3. Follow your breath for two minutes. Take a deep inhale, expanding your belly, and then exhale slowly, elongating the out-breath as your belly contracts.

4. Welcome back!!

What happened?

How long was it before your mind wandered away from your breath?

Did you notice how busy your mind was even without consciously directing it to think about anything in particular?

Did you notice yourself getting caught up in thoughts before you came back to reading this?

We often have little narratives running in our minds that we didn’t choose to put there, like:

“Why DOES my boss want to meet with me tomorrow?”

“I should have gone to the gym


“I’ve got to pay some bills”

or the classic,,,

“I don’t have time to sit still, I’ve got too much stuff to do.”

If you experienced these sorts of distractions (and we all do),

you’ve made an important discovery: simply put, that’s the opposite of mindfulness. I

t’s when we live in our heads, on automatic pilot, letting our thoughts go here and there, exploring, say, the future or the past, and essentially, not being present in the moment. But that’s where most of us live most of the time—and pretty uncomfortably, if we’re being honest, right? 

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We “practice” mindfulness so we can learn how to recognise when our minds are doing their normal everyday acrobatics, and maybe take a pause from that for just a little while so we can choose what we’d like to focus on. In a nutshell, meditation helps us have a much healthier relationship with ourselves (and, by extension, with others).

Why Learn To Meditate?

When we meditate, we inject far-reaching and long-lasting benefits into our lives. And bonus: you don’t need any extra gear or an expensive membership.

Here are five reasons to meditate:

1: Understand your pain

2: Lower your stress

3: Connect better

4: Improve focus

5: Reduce brain chatter

How to Meditate:

Meditation is simpler (and harder) than most people think. 

Read these steps, make sure you’re somewhere where you can relax into this process, set a timer, and give it a shot:

1) Take a seat

Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.

2) Set a time limit

If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as 3 or 5 minutes.

3) Notice your body

You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, or you could lie down—all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.

4) Feel your breath

Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out.  You could say to yourself,

"Breathe in, I know I'm breathing in; Breathe out, I know I'm breathing out".

5) Notice when your mind has wandered

Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing that your mind has wandered—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—simply return your attention to the breath.

6) Be kind to your wandering mind

Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back to your breathe.

7) Close with kindness 

When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.

That’s it! That’s the practice! 

You go away, you come back, and you try to do it as kindly as possible.....

Namaste xxx

Under Pressure: How To Handle Relationship Stress During Lockdown

May 2020

This is a difficult and challenging time for many of us and one of the challenges that we face is being forced to distance ourselves from those we care for.

Mothers cannot see their sons, fathers cannot see their daughters, grandparents cannot see their grandchildren, people in relationships cannot see each other. We are in a state of isolation which is having an impact on us, mentally and physically.

Distance & Proximity

Being apart from those we love is not easy. Humans are essentially ‘pack animals’ – we need one another in order to feel, learn and understand ourselves and others better. Confinement and isolation brings anxiety and sadness, not to mention worry for our loved ones as we all strive to protect ourselves during these troubled times.

At the same time, it works the opposite way. Some people have found themselves thrown together; couples may be confined to a small space, unable to leave one another’s company. This can bring irritability, stress, and arguments; people need their space just as much as they need each other. On an extremely worrying note, cases of domestic abuse have risen since the pandemic began.

Our elderly, some of whom rely on the visit from their grandkids every week or their weekly chat in the local café with friends, have suddenly found these joyous occasions stripped from them.

Social Distancing

The tragedy this virus is inflicting on the world hits us in more ways than one; but while the virus tries to cause harm, we must do everything we can to help heal both ourselves and others.

Social distancing and following government guidelines are essential. The more of us who comply with the rules, the greater chance we stand of beating this virus. Staying indoors all day or shuffling warily at a two-meter distance from others in the local supermarket may not be easy, but it is through working together as a community and as a collective that we will be able to get back to our normal lives.

Relationships in Isolation: How To Handle It

Like many others, I have not seen my family or friends for weeks and I admit, I too have experienced bouts of loneliness. It becomes especially difficult as we draw into summer and the sun comes out.

But there are ways we can combat many of the negative impacts the virus is having on us. We cannot stop the global situation, but we can make the best of the situation we are in.

So what are some ways we can handle relationship strain during isolation?

Online Communication

If you’re missing your family, friends, or partner, take advantage of the internet – it is one of our saving graces right now! Thanks to the advance of technology, we can video-chat with each other, play online games with one another, have written conversations with one another......Zoom is my best friend!!!

It may not be the same as holding each other or laughing face to face. But this communication is important – seeing a loved one’s face on the camera provides us reassurance and a sense of comfort. The mind has a tendency to trick itself when it’s left to its own devices. The inclination for thinking up worst-case scenarios and sinking into negative thinking is common. Having regular video-chats or online conversations with those you care for helps tackle the loneliness and lets you see the faces of your loved ones.

Agree on Space

If you are in the opposite situation to the above and you are confined with those in your relationships, then some kind of plan needs to be agreed upon so that people don’t end up snapping and snarling at each other. Avoiding cabin fever is essential.

So speak to your loved one (or your teenage son/daughter!!) and map out a plan which gives both of you the space you need. You could agree that one person stays in the living room for a couple of hours at a specific time while the other takes the bedroom. You could agree certain times you’ll both use the kitchen/ home gym/ some kindness and understanding of each others needs.

It might be awkward…

Such a conversation may be a little awkward at first, but it can do a world of good. A friend of mine has been confined with her housemate the last few weeks and has become increasingly irritated by his presence as he would turn up in the kitchen for a chat every time she would make a meal or try out one of her new recipes, or follow her around while gardening. However, she had been reluctant to point this out to him so as not to potentially offend him. I suggested she has a sit-down with him and explain to him politely and firmly that she needs her space. She did and the situation is much better – it turns out he didn’t even realise he was irritating her!

Much of the time, others can’t pick up on what we’re feeling and will only understand how we feel if we actually communicate with them directly. It is better to be upfront and honest, rather than silently stew in a myriad of stress and anger, which may end up exploding at some point.

Help Your Community

Being apart from others can generate anxiety, loneliness, and sadness. One way that we can alleviate these feelings is to help others in our community who are also struggling. Vulnerable people, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, are unable to leave their homes and collect essentials such as food and medication.

Joining a neighbourhood incentive that helps them in this area can make the world of difference, both to how we feel and, of course, to those in need. Helping others helps us because it makes us feel good to know that we are assisting those in need. We are not only offering assistance but helping to save lives.

You can volunteer from home…

In the UK, there are now over 750,000 of us across the country who have volunteered with GoodSam, which is working in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. This app alerts a volunteer to a vulnerable person in the local area who requires assistance, such as shopping, medication or even a friendly phone call to check they are OK. It is certainly worth checking out nationwide incentives in our country of residence to see where we may be able to offer our assistance. This further brings a stronger sense of community and boosts our spirits.

Make Future Plans

If you are missing your loved ones, make a list of all the things you want to do with them once this pandemic is over. Maybe a weekend trip away somewhere or planning a day out that you’ve been meaning to do for ages, but never had the time?

One positive thing the pandemic has done is give us time to reflect, especially on the things we may be missing out on because our lives are so busy and hectic. A list of plans for fun and meaningful things to do when it is over gives us something to look forward to and creates optimism in our lives.

Relaxation Methods

If you are struggling with the stress of being confined with others or the stress of being confined alone, then relaxation methods are essential to helping you stay balanced and positive.

Meditation, which can last from as little as 5-10 minutes, can make a world of difference to how you feel. Meditation can bring you huge benefits on many levels. Have a look at my early blog titled Meditate..? But How...?

Likewise, if you are able to get out among nature in a way that is safe for you and others, grounding yourself barefoot in the earth is known to bring balance and relaxation to you.

Self-care helps in our relationships…

And never underestimate the power of a hot bath with essential oils mixed with a carrier oil.

Metaphysical help can come in the form of relaxation crystals, such as celestite and angelite, and meditating with these can help ground and soothe you. Furthermore, it can be helpful to pay attention to the astrological transits each day as this can have an effect on our moods and influence our thoughts. The moon has very strong powers and effects on most of us, whether we can to acknowledge it or not...!!!!!


Reach Out For Help

Don’t suffer alone. Remember, we are all in this together and help is there one way or another, whether it’s through someone you know or an organisation or charity that exists to help you with your situation. If things become particularly troubling, let someone help you. There is no shame whatsoever in admitting you need help. We all do at some stage of the telephone number is at the bottom of this page..USE IT!!!

We don’t know how much longer the isolation period will remain. Our struggles may differ from individual case to individual case, but during these troubling times, the best thing we can do is help each other and help ourselves.

If you are alone at this time, just remember you are not truly alone – your loved ones are still there, your relationships still exist. If you are confined with another, keep reminding yourself of how dear that person is to you and how precious they are. It can be easy when spending so much time in another’s company to take them for granted or forget why we love this person so much in the first place – reminding ourselves of the love we feel for them helps to tackle the irritation that creeps up on us.

Whatever stress, sadness, or anxiety you struggle with right now, remember that we are in this together and we will get through this – together.

Stay Well xx

WATER : We know we should, but why should we...???

August 2020

We're constantly being told to 'drink more water'... but why should we?

What are the actual benefits to drinking more water..??

Well, lets take a look.....

We can get fluid from things other than water, although plain drinking water is recommended as one of the best ways to hydrate because it has zero calories and provides only benefits to the body with no drawbacks.

You may have heard that your urine colour can tell you if you’re getting enough water. Although a number of things can affect the colour of your urine, including vitamins you may be taking or the types of foods you’re eating, in general, the lighter your urine colour, the more hydrated you are. A dark, deep yellow colour may suggest dehydration. Urine should be a very pale yellow if you’re properly hydrated.

Most health experts also suggest that you listen to your thirst as you’re body will naturally tell you when you need water. Our busy lifestyles, however, can cause us to miss these signals. Older adults, too, are less likely to notice that they’re thirsty.

What Does Dehydration Do to You?

Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluid than it takes in, and it no longer has what it needs to carry out its normal, daily functions. Without replacement water, symptoms develop. How severe those symptoms depend on how low you are on your fluids but, in general, symptoms of dehydration include:

* Dry mouth

* Muscle weakness

* Headaches

* Dizziness

* Fatigue or lethargy

* Dry eyes or blurred vision, particularly when exercising

* Muscle cramps

* Nausea

Severe dehydration, which is defined as a loss of 10 to 15 percent of the body’s water, may include more serious symptoms like:

* Sunken eyes

* Low blood pressure

* Fever

* Increased heart rate

* Shriveled, dry skin

* Delirium

* Inability to sweat

* Unconsciousness

Most people will never experience this dangerous form of dehydration because it’s most likely when individuals are suffering from other major illnesses, from long-term diarrhea or vomiting or from exercising vigorously in the hot weather. Mild dehydration, however, is a much more common condition.

What Happens When You’re Slightly Dehydrated?

Studies have found that even mild dehydration can cause emotional and physical problems in people but, unfortunately, we’re often unaware of it. Studies have shown, that mild dehydration could alter a person’s mood, energy level and ability to think clearly.

Researchers also discovered that thirst isn’t always a reliable indicator of when we need water. Our thirst sensation doesn’t really appear until we are one or two percent dehydrated, by then, dehydration is already setting in and starting to impact how our mind and body perform.

In a test involving young women, scientists found that mild dehydration caused headaches, fatigue, mood changes and difficulty concentrating and also made tasks feel more difficult. In a test involving young men, it caused some difficulty with mental tasks, especially those requiring lots of focus and working memory. Men also experienced fatigue, tension, and anxiety.

If you’re trying to concentrate on a project, you have to be sure you’re staying hydrated, even just 1 to 2 percent dehydration could impair cognitive performance, resulting in poor concentration, increased reaction time, short-term memory problems, moodiness and anxiety.

10 Tips for Staying Hydrated

Whether you’re a busy mom, business executive or serious athlete, there are times when you may find staying hydrated challenging.

Here are 10 tips to help:

1. Drink plain water instead of other fluids many other drinks have a de-hydrating effect on the body. So always turn to water when you’re thirsty.

2. Always keep a water bottle with you: Carry a stainless-steel or other type of reusable bottle with you and keep refilling it throughout the day.

3. If you’re hungry, drink: Sometimes, when you feel hungry, you’re actually thirsty. The body knows it can get fluids from food too, so your signals can get crossed. Try drinking first to see if the urge goes away.

4. Keep a water chart: If you have a hard time remembering to drink throughout the day, keep a chart nearby and make a mark each time you finish a glass of water, shooting for at least eight glasses a day or 2 litres.

5. Drink before each meal: Studies show that when you drink a full glass of water before a meal, you’ll likely consume fewer calories.

6. Always drink after exercise: If you’re a serious athlete, make sure you always have water nearby or with you so you can stay hydrated.

7. Eat more water-filled foods: Certain foods can help keep you hydrated and help you lose weight since they make you feel full with minimal calories. Eat more melons, soups, salads, berries, peaches, citrus fruits, cucumbers, celery, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, grapefruit, cabbage, cottage cheese, radishes, spinach, broccoli, carrots, apples, pears, pineapple, yogurt, grapes, and kiwi.

8. Drink before going outside: in all temperatures, the body evaporates fluids to keep our bodies cool in hot weather or when exercising and to generate more energy to keep us warm in cold weather.

9. Always measure out 2 litres of water every morning and attempt to drink it all by early evening. By measuring it out saves you the task of having to remember just how much you have, or haven't drunk that day!

10. Set a timer: Use your phone to set a timer to go off every hour. When it does, drink out of your pre-measured allowance.

Now we see why it is so very important to 'up' our water intake!!!!!

So, whats stopping you? 

Go on,, Get filling those water bottles!!!

Keep well

Stay safe

And be kind to yourself

With love, light and blessings

Sharon x

The Real Christmas and The Fake Christmas

December 2020

I’ve been thinking about Christmas, mental health and mindfulness. It struck me that this season is a time when even people who don’t usually struggle with stress, anxiety or depression could be more at risk of that negative spiral of difficult thoughts and moods; especially given the current challenges that we are all having to negotiate.

Apart from anything else, it’s easy for self-care and mindfulness to get lost in the chaos of Christmas. Many of us have family to navigate and to-do lists that fill every spare minute. Late nights and indulging in rich food and more alcohol than usual can also affect our moods. Then there’s the additional pressure to make the festivities extra special, to match how we are told Christmas ‘should’ be.

Finding that mental space and consciously managing our wellbeing is extra important at this time of year. These tips are based in the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy approach. I find it helpful to keep them in mind at Christmas...........(especially this one!!!!)

Catch yourself making comparisons

The media spends November and December telling us how our Christmas ‘should’ look. For well over a month, we are bombarded with images and ideas about what the perfect day should be. No one is lonely, no families fight and everyone is cosily wrapped up in warm woollen knits. The most untoward thing that might happen is a teenager won’t wear his Christmas hat, or a mother gets slightly flustered over the turkey. Never mind though, everything is almost instantly resolved with a hug and a rueful look.

‘…remember that we are being forced to measure our experiences against something fake’

And we all respond by sharing our own creations on social media. This picture of me in a woolly scarf drinking a mulled wine matches how things ‘should’ be at Christmas. Look, my experiences matches!

So when watching adverts or scanning social media makes you feel jealous or inadequate, remember that we are being forced to measure our experiences against something fake – and when they fall short, we can easily make ourselves feel worse by allowing that negative spiral of thoughts and judgements to get in.

Reject perfection

A sure-fire path to a stressful Christmas is to build a picture of perfection in your mind, a list of ‘shoulds’ that you struggle to live up to. Instead of trying to create perfection and beating yourself up when you fail, take a ‘good enough’ approach. Lower your standards and embrace imperfection. Focus on the good rather than worrying about the not quite right.

Think flexibly

‘…be gentle, think flexibly’

Thinking rigidly means you are less able to cope when something goes wrong. Be prepared for things to turn out differently to how you pictured them to be. Different doesn’t mean worse. Be open to change.

Create a mantra

A mantra is just something to come back to, something to ground yourself when you’re feeling stressed and emotions are running high. It could be “I’m not going to let myself get sucked into this comparison game again, I’m comparing my experience to something that doesn’t exist” or “be gentle, think flexibly” or “embrace imperfection”. Whatever works for you. The point is to step outside your current situation for a moment and remind yourself of the bigger picture.

Use the noise

Christmas is notoriously noisy – but you can turn this to your advantage. Practice using any loud noise as a remind yourself to check in with how you are feeling in yourself right now and to take a few long deep breaths.

Start again and again

Mindfulness is sometimes described as the practice of starting again and again. During mindful meditation we regularly notice our thoughts have wandered and, each time, we gently bring our minds back to the awareness of the body.

‘…take some time for yourself’

If something goes wrong or everything blows up, it’s easy to think we’ve failed and to give up. But there are always going to be trickier times. That’s life. It doesn’t mean we can’t start looking after ourselves again, from this moment.

Be gentle and don’t judge yourself

Perhaps most importantly – don’t judge yourself if you do find yourself making comparisons, getting stressed or forgetting to take some time for yourself. Even just recognising the importance of caring for your mental health at Christmas is a step in the right direction.


Keep well

Stay safe

And be kind to yourself

With love, light and Christmas Blessings to you all

Sharon x