Author Archives: Joanne Bull

Nourish yourself for a restful sleep

With World Sleep Day on Friday 19th March and I’d like to offer some ideas for you to support a better nights sleep.

Did you know that our sleep pattern is dictated by something called the circadian rhythm? This is managed by the section of the brain called the hypothalamus and is sensitive and affected by stimulants such as light, exercise and diet. 

World Sleep Day - tips for a sumptuous slumber!

One of the easiest ways we can influence our sleep health is by going to bed at roughly the same time nightly to embed (no pun intended!) a good pattern and rhythm. As well as this you could try some of these ideas.

  1. Leave a gap between work and sleep. An hour minimum and make a list of anything you need to empty out of your head for the next day.
  2. Turn your mobile phone off or turn off your data so no unwelcome emails or social media posts will interfere in your night time routine.
  3. Take a cleansing bath or shower to signify the working day is over and it’s rest time.
  4. Enjoy a calming herbal tea, there are lots of special nighttime blends on the market so pick your favourite
  5. Do some slow ‘nighttime’ yoga (restorative, yin or somatics) and meditation
  6. Write in a diary or doodle in a journal. It could be something as simple as expressing something that you are grateful for from your day.
  7. Listen to some relaxing music.
  8. Use calming essential oils. A few drops on your pillow or in a diffuser. You might try camomile, lavender, frankincense – see which you prefer.

As well as the above it is important to create a calm and serene bedroom so choose your colours wisely, a pale green is more calming than a bright red!

According to the Sleep Foundation your bedroom needs to be cool. They suggest around 15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius for adults, keeping it dark and having few electrical devices. An alarm clock versus a mobile phone is always best! With this almost cave like description you are setting the scene for a good night’s sleep.

As night time is about unwinding also avoid any stimulants; food, drink ,conversations or TV. 

And practice the tips above alongside relaxation techniques like yoga nidra so your body can learn how to unwind. This also allows for nourishing periods of ‘active rest’ which help us to rest and regenerate. Though these practices are generally short generally up to half an hour.

It’s also important to know that we are all different when it comes to our sleep patterns.

You might find it helpful to do this free quiz from Michael Breus aka The Sleep Doctor to see whether you are a dolphin, lion, bear or wolf. You’ll discover insights into how much sleep you need, your optimal times for waking and going to bed and so much more.

I found it insightful! And it’s a great thing to do as a family.

Once you know this information you can plan your schedule to fit in with your natural rhythms. Watch his TED talk for more information on that one 

Let me know how you get on and if you’d like to explore unwinding your mind and body why not try the Friday night Inner Calm session? This has gentle floor based somatic stretches followed by a yoga nidra. The perfect way to drift off into the weekend. 

Don’t just take my word for it though. A recent attendee Hattie Rogers said, ‘Thank you for last night’s session. Lovely, restful and restorative as always’.  No experience needed. Currently Fridays 6-7pm via Zoom. Book here to experience it for yourself. 

Let me know your comments on this topic.

Take care

Joe 🙂

International Womens Day 2021 #choosetochallenge

As the ex chair of the York International Womens Festival committee I have participated and organised many events in the past – this year it feels even more important that we have an event of BEINGness. It really is enough!

This event is about having a pause to appreciate all that you have been doing, to celebrate and to also let go of anything that you can so that you can feel lighter and ready for the rest of the day and your role as a change agent.

Active rest session for deep rest, idea for the stressed, exhausted and those with low energy. No experience required.

This will be a 30 minute ‘Active rest’ session of guided breathing and relaxation techniques. It will include a little gentle music and my voice. No experience necessary just come with an open mind and heart 🙂

Whatever your personal circumstances I believe that we are all able to create change in ourselves first and foremost and then within our community. Small steps, ease-full breathing and conscious movement can bring us back to our essential being-ness.

Forget about the DOing in this session all you’ll need to DO is book on and then come ready to listen, breathe and just BE! It really is enough.

International Womens’ Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

This years’ IWD theme is #choosetochallenge – so my challenge is to change how we perceive rest and relaxation – something flufffy and a ‘treat’ or, a conscious act of empowerment, nourishment and self care. We all need to make time for ‘active rest’.

There are many ways that we can come together in community and when we acknowledge what we have achieved, the challenges that we’ve worked through and the struggles that may still be present it can help foster a feeling of empowerment.

I hope you will join me and do share with your friends and loved ones. Let’s #choosetochallenge

This a FREE 30 minute event – come with pillows, blankets and maybe headphones

And I’ve got a new booking system for these online sessions! BOOK IN HERE

Please you do not need to share your video on this Zoom call in fact it improves the call quality if you have it off. Make sure that you take responsibility for yourself during the call. I will offer prompts and invitational however it is up to you if you listen to them you may wish to just come together and rest, As I said it’s enough to do just this act alone.

Isn’t it?

See you soon Joe 🙂

Practicing mindful moments – 10 ways to keep you in the now!

Stay in the present moment………. be mindful not mind full!

What will lockdown mean this time round? Possibly juggling working at home? Homeschooling? Front line support work? It will be something different for each of us and I’m sure we’ll take a bit of time to juggle things around to find a new ‘normal’ routine. One thing that can help us during turbulent times such as these is to use mind tools like mindfulness to help us find a sense of inner balance, calm and to build.

This is where using mindfulness can come in helpful!

So with this in mind I’ve drawn up a list of 10 simple mindfulness exercise and prompts to help you stay present. Just in case you have missed the ‘mindfulness movement’ a quick revision.

Mindfulness is the practice of staying in the present moment. Being fully in the now and not living in the past ( history) or projecting into the future (fantasy). Mindfulness practices bring the mind to a focus something to concentrate on to avoid ‘thought tornadoes’ or focusing on things we have little control over. The simplest practices can have us using our breathe and sensory experience as they are with us always. I’ve given you a few more examples below.

Try these 10 mindfulness practices;

  1. Get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Make yourself a warm drink and savour the sensations – the heat, the aroma, the taste. Sit and enjoy it.
  2. Take your walk in a nearby park or green space. Keep your eyes wide open to what you can see around you.
  3. Listen to the birds singing. Can you distinguish between the different birdsong?
  4. Observe nature changing right in front of your eyes. Buds are appearing already.
  5. Feel your feet on the floor, carpet, earth notice how they adapt to the surfaces. Go barefoot if you can. How does it feel? Which do you prefer?
  6. Tune in to your body. Listen to the rhythm of your heartbeat. Feel your your breath and how your body breathes itself.
  7. Take a bath, light some candles and just enjoy the experience. The scents and how your body moves in the water. ( Take an Epsom salt bath to ease any tight muscles or overactive minds it will help you unwind)
  8. Immerse yourself in a book or a jigsaw. Just one activity. How does the time pass?
  9. Self massage your feet and hands. How do they feel? Are they sensitive? Dry? Just notice.
  10. Listen to a piece of classical music. Here’s one of the artists I like playing in one of my favourite places. How does it make you feel?

New to mindfulness? If you are a beginner to get the most of these mindful moments just focus on the one activity you’ve chosen and immerse yourself fully in it. Strictly no multi tasking or screens, leave the technology turned off or at least muted until you’ve completed your mindfulness practice.

If you are experienced in these ideas then flow between different sensations and observations.

These acts performed regularly will help you to stay present with what is. Just avoid the temptation to overstimulate your eyes with multiple screens. Do one thing at a time.

Choose whatever works for you and commit to them to help you through your days. See how time feels when you give yourself space to just do one thing at a time.

I hope it will bring you some focus and enjoy being curious to the world around you.

Keep well & stay calm

Joe

🙂

Let walking be your medicine!

Movement is really helpful for our state of mind and also our bodies natural immune cleansing system aka the lymphatic system which unlike the circulatory system doesn’t have a pump like the heart and so relies on movement to keep it going. The easiest exercise is to walk – it’s free and it can bring you many health benefits!

Energy boost by walking!

Here’s my 5 top benefits to get you out walking!

1. It may help lift depression

Exercise improves self-esteem, mood and sleep quality and reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed and staying active helps those who are depressed recover.

2. It’s brilliant for your brain

A King’s College London study suggested fitter legs are linked to a fitter brain, as we get older. The study of twins found that simply walking more can improve brain function in later years.

3. You’ll live longer

A Cambridge University study suggested a daily 20 minute walk could reduce the risk of early death. It found twice as many deaths may be due to lack of exercise than obesity.

4. It’s as good as running

In fact, it might be better. US researchers found that running reduced the risk of heart disease by 4.5% while walking reduced it by 9.3%. High blood pressure and high cholesterol risks were also lowered by more than running and diabetes risk was reduced equally by running and walking.

5. It helps heart disease and osteoporosis

Not taking your daily walk? Feel like you’ve not seen sunlight for days? Vitamin D levels can really be effected if you are choosing to stay indoors. So instead get out and soak up the sunshine vitamin whenever possible. It will not only boost your energy, it’s also essential for maintaining a healthy heart and strong bones.

Here’s a short and fun video explaining more about why 10,000 steps is the optimal distance to walk!

Despite the continuing lock down period it is essential to make the most of your exercise time and being in nature to get your free daily healthy dose of mental and physical wellbeing. And if you are under an extended lock down period you could sit in your garden or near an open window listening to the sounds of nature or listen to nature sounds or guided relaxations with nature sounds as this will also bring you some benefits.

Keep well & stay calm

Joe

🙂

Being present – the greatest gift of all

At the moment we are all living in a different world one that we could never have imagined at the beginning of the year. For some work continues though the office commute has now gone and been replaced by a walk downstairs or to the home office, some juggle their work day alongside home schooling and others head out to work as ‘normal’ to supermarkets, hospitals and in the various other front line support roles.

One thing’s for sure there is nothing ‘normal’ at the moment. It’s a different ‘normal’ and one that brings with it highs and lows, times of sheer joy and happiness ( like playing online bingo with the family) and moments of sadness and longing ( for the hugs you so miss from family and friends).

During this ‘home stay’ period my daily meditation practice has been a real life line helping to keep me balanced and my resilience levels topped up. A few minutes every day to just sit and be with myself and to allow my thoughts to settle and sometimes feel like they fly away.

It’s also the reason I decided – well it felt like I was being given a divine message during one of my meditation sits – to just go and share this with everyone! So I came up with a plan a free 6 week meditation campaign called ‘Rewire for health’ made up of twice weekly live guided meditation sessions and some teaching nuggets from me so you could learn along with me picking the recordings you felt more helpful or just trying your own.

Despite technical challenges like wifi issues, broken routers and all that jazz I can hardly believe that it’s now in it’s fifth week!

There are now over 16 different recorded guided meditations of different lengths to pick and choose from plus teachings to give you a bit of the science etc.

It’s going to be available on my Youtube channel (until the end of the Summer). It’s FREE for you to use as I wanted to make sure that money would not exclude anyone – meditation is a life skill I wish I’d learnt at school! Luckily nowadays it is happening for kids (along with mindfulness lessons) these are vital life skills for mental clarity, physical ease and emotional resilience something that we need heaps of right now and in our modern day, fast paced world where we’ve forgotten the importance of going slow.

It’s never too late though.

You just need to make a start.

No BS about there isn’t enough time in the day – you need maybe 3 minutes to begin. That’s it. 3 minutes every morning ( ideal time before the brain gets’ all busy) for a week and then stick with that or slowly increase – at your own pace – just make sure you commit and within 4 – 6 weeks your brain will have already begun to rewire itself into a more calmer you (watch the videos to find out more about that!)

As my favourite green guru Yoda says

‘Try not. Do or do not. There is no try!’

So be like Yoda.

Trust me you will not regret it.

As the gift of being in the present moment is the greatest gift you could possible give yourself.

Please share this information on with your family, friends or even work colleagues as this meditation stuff has a wonderful way of rippling out into our families, communities and work. Let’s help as many people around us whatever their age to tap into this ‘inner’ resource and connect to a place of inner calm and transformation that lies within us all.

If you’d prefer more help and support feel free to get in touch here I’m happy to create a bespoke training package for you including personalised recorded guided meditations.

Stay well and keep calm

Joe

🙂