I really enjoyed last week’s Supper Club. The focus was on relaxation, and we were joined by the brilliant Julie Newman Seunarayan, who is both a skin expert and an expert in holistic health from a background in yoga, fitness and hypnotherapy. She therefore had a wealth of knowledge to share.
We started the evening by inviting the guests to share their experiences with relaxation. It was a very varied response. One guest shared how she has recently made meditation, yoga and visualisation a non-negotiable part of her daily routine and shared the huge benefits this has had on her health and wellbeing, whilst others said they found relaxation very difficult! I do find it difficult to relax at times but am now certainly more mindful of making meditation and yoga a part of my regular routine. It doesn’t need to be complicated or time consuming. One guest shared that since her child started school, she has found she suddenly had an additional 15 minutes free time to her morning and has found herself enjoying a mindful cuppa looking out of her window into her garden. Finding moments of stillness and giving ourselves permission to relax are key! There was also plenty of discussion around gardening and the benefits of getting into nature for relaxation. What is important is the same as always, to find a way to relax that is meaningful to you, and something you will enjoy and look forward to. And of course, the other important element is the schedule it in until it becomes a habit/ routine.
Lifestyle advice is often common sense. Very often we know what we ‘should’ be doing but do not give it the importance it deserves. Many us can think back to a time when we made a conscious decision to make healthier lifestyle choices, and can also remember how good we felt as a result. Talking about it can really help us to remember what we have done or are already doing and to build on that. Again, it is so important it is personal to us so that we will engage in and maintain these healthy habits.
Again, I firmly believe that when it comes to making heathy choices, whether that it’s food or relaxation, it doesn’t need to be complicated.
There is no getting away from the fact that we live in a world with the potential to have endless demands on our time. In this technological age we can work 24-7 if we choose and we are always contactable. It can seem that there is always something to do! This of course includes all the pleasurable activities and opportunities that are available to us, and with social media we are always aware of something going on that we’d love to get involved in! All this ‘busyness’ can actually have a physiological effect on us. Most of us have heard of the fight or flight stress response, which can help us respond to a perceived threat or danger. It is a primitive response that prepares us to run from a sabre tooth tiger and can be useful when we need it to respond to a stressful event. Our pupils dilate, sugar is as released to make us run faster, our heart rate and blood pressure increases. The immune system goes into overdrive to protect us whilst non-essential functions such as digestion decreases. These are all useful when dealing with short term stress. However, if we are in a perpetual state of stress/ busyness this can have dramatic impact on our health. Chronic stress can lead to heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, hormonal imbalance, digestive complaints, anxiety and inflammation.
However, what I think it useful is that we all have the ability to switch of this fight or flight response by breathing! Lifestyle advice doesn’t get any simpler than that and is available to all of us!
Breathing deeply immediately relaxes the body because it stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from the neck to the abdomen and is in charge of turning off the ‘fight or flight’ reflex. For more information, please do check out this great article about it. Vagus nerve
However, we often need to experience things in order to implement them into our routine. Fortunately, we were all able to experience deep breathing at the supper club! Julie led us through deep breathing whilst also guiding us through a thoroughly relaxing scalp massage. How delighted was I then when I received a message from one of the guests just days later to say she had done deep breathing whilst looking out to sea from her seaside cottage?! Just brilliant!
I hope that you might all now be inspired to try deep breathing or re-establish your own personal form of relaxation. I personally find meditation apps such as Headspace and Calm very useful. However if you would like some hands on relaxation I would thoroughly recommend booking an appointment with Julie
We will be continuing this theme at our next supper club November as Su Menon joins us to talk about kindness, compassion and holistic fitness. Su is a total inspiration to me and I can’t wait to collaborate with her on this event and many more retreats to come! November Supper Club
Please book on ASAP to avoid disappointment. She is a very popular lady!
It will be a busy weekend for me as I am also cooking at another Tai Chi and mindfulness retreat that weekend with the lovely Julia Mitchell (who is also our guest speaker in December) Please click on the links for more information Retreat
I am delighted to be able to offer you so many opportunities to relax! I hope you will be able to join me at one of them! In the meantime, remember to breathe. It will have very beneficial effects on your health and wellbeing, its so simple and available to us all!!