Categories
health and wellbeing health, inspiration life coaching personal development stress management Transformational coaching

Sleep. It’s importance and 8 ways to improve your sleeping patterns, for a healthier lifestyle!

Hello there you!

How are you feeling today and did you get a good night’s sleep?

Are you getting enough sleep per night in general; i.e between 7-9 hrs? Are you struggling to fall asleep at the moment?

It’s tough sometimes to get the right amount, especially if you’re a new parent isn’t it? Or you could be going through other major changes in your life; should it be at work, your relationships, college or moving home.

But, getting the right amount of sleep each night is so important in order to decrease those stress levels; and to keep your anxiety levels controlled.  I know myself by not getting those early nights (my youngest is an early riser!) I don’t feel myself. Your concentration is poor the next day, then you reach for the junk food and you lack the motivation to exercise or to move forward with your goals. Getting those early night’s in helps your overall wellbeing and to control stress/ low mood.

Health problems

Sleep problems could cause health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression,  heart disease and reduced immune system function (sleepfoundation).This is not surprising as you do reach for unhealthy options when it comes to food ( I do and I’m also too tired to exercise if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep). But, I make sure I get those 8 hrs sleep each night, so I’m more motivated/focused to eat a well balanced diet, to exercise properly and to be more productive the next day.

Statistics

Research has shown:

  • That 40% of aged 18-24 struggle to fall asleep at night (sleep foundation)
  • 33% of people above 55 in the UK also struggle to fall asleep (sleep foundation)
  • 22% of people in general in the UK struggle to fall asleep (NHS)
  • 7-19% of the overall population struggle to get enough sleep (national institute of sleep)
  • 50-70 million Americans have chronic sleep disorders.

Sleep problems during times of stress

What problems do you experience during times of stress? Low quality sleep can affect your physical and mental wellbeing if not controlled/managed. Prolonged sleep problems can cause health problems/diseases.

Common sleep disorders

  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep paralysis

During times of high stress I tend to get palpitations prior to falling asleep. I’ve also experienced sleep paralysis a handful of times during my life (now, if you’re aware of sleep paralysis then you know how terrifying that can be! Not pleasant is it?)

8 ways to improve sleep (Sleep Foundation, NHS)

  • Avoid Caffeine (a stimulant) and alcohol just before bed (at least 2hrs) as they can prevent you from falling asleep or going into a more deeper sleep
  • Exercise throughout the day but avoid it just before bed
  • Make sure your sleeping environment is dark, relaxed and with dim lights if you prefer a light on
  • Put away those gadgets – I know how distracting they are.  When I take mine to bed I’m scrolling and wasting valuable sleeping time (we’re all guilty of this aren’t we?) I always leave mine downstairs now.
  • If you’re feeling anxious, do a bit of writing before bed and let those worries out. It really helps.
  • Listen to a bit of relaxation music to help you drift off
  • Stick to going to bed at the same time each night so it becomes a habit/routine over time.
  • Invest in a sleep tracker if you’re really experiencing problems with sleep.

Do you like your tea/coffee before bed and can’t do without? Maybe try some calming lavender herbal tea instead – to help you drift into a more relaxed/calmer state just before bed.

Concluding thoughts

We often forget how important sleep is – especially when we’re running around and busy with life. But, it really is the foundation to leading a more healthier lifestyle. When tired/exhausted you reach for unhealthy foods and that Caffeine to keep you going and you lack the motivation to exercise. Your anxiety/stress levels increase and you are more prone to health problems in the future.

Take a step back, look at how your sleeping patterns are and adapt (using these tips I’ve shown throughout)

What tips do you have that helps you with sleep?

Thank you for stopping by to check out my post. And, here’s to you having a decent night’s sleep going forward!

Categories
stress management, stress, health and wellbeing, life coaching, Transformational Coaching, work-life balance, personal development

Stress. Causes. And how to manage those stress levels; getting that spark right back!

Hello there you!

Are you feeling stressed? What are the signs when it raises it’s ugly head for you? Are you feeling tired, are you going through massive changes in your life at present? You probably have so much going on in your mind at the moment. Juggling way too many balls, would that be right?

Stats

According to the Mental Health Foundation UK, over 74% of adults have felt stressed and overwhelmed over the past year (this is no surprise with COVID). A high figure to the amount dealing with stress.

There really are so many contributing factors to raising those stress levels. I know myself when stress hits – as those palpitations start as I’m about to fall asleep at night (best to avoid caffeine if this happens)

So what is stress and what are the triggers?

It’s when your body goes into the fight and flight mode and as a result your cortisol levels go way way up. Cortisol is the main stress hormone and works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood (webmd). It also increases blood sugar and regulates blood pressure. 

Do you have a poor diet? Are you an overthinker? A perfectionist that compares yourself to others?What is your working environment and relationships like?  Are you sleep deprived? All these tend to make you more prone to stress (Oh I can tick quite a few myself but I’ve learned how to manage those levels and to recognise the signs)

Oh do I know when I’m stressed as I feel irritable, tired and just not myself. And, I always crave that chocolate, or junk food in general (and that raises those blood sugars to a high level) I always get a head cold and those beautiful little bad boys called ‘cold sores’ always make an appearance too! I know it’s time to slow down and look after my own body when I get all these symptoms. Getting a proper nights sleep really is the key!

So how do you manage stress?

  • Rest
  • Exercise regularly as it regulates blood sugar and lowers those cortisol levels  (even a long walk in nature or a swim. It doesn’t have to be strenuous)
  • Plenty of early nights (aim for at least 7 hrs)
  • Eat healthy foods i.e fruits, green leafy veg, eggs, yoghurt, wholemeal instead of white. Nuts, meat and oily seafood
  • Take a b vitamin
  • Journal and write it out
  • Avoid caffeine just before bed and limit the amount you take throughout the day
  • Take a break from social media if it affects your mood as that can be a big one (very guilty of that myself but I’m aware of it and have cut way down).
  • Breathing exercises are a great tool for pausing and to reconnect with yourself. Inhale deeply through the nose for 3 secs, exhale slowly through the mouth for 4 secs (give it a try)

Long term problems

Stress really can take it’s toll on the body, making the risks higher for hypertension, stroke, heart failure, digestive problems and many, many other problems (mayoclinic)

Listen to your body

Check in with yourself

For a more stress free life

You owe it your body and mind

Conclusion

If you are feeling stressed at the moment (oh there is so much going on in the world it really is inevitable at times to feel highly stressed and overwhelmed) take a step back, look at your diet, changes that are going on in your life and remember: REST, SLEEP, DIET and EXERCISE are all key to reducing stress and controlling your cortisol levels.

You owe it to your body and yourself.

How are your stress levels at present?

Be kind to yourself!

And breathe…

Categories
acceptance growth happiness health and wellbeing inspiration journaling, gratitude personal development poetry community

New Year, Staying Present and Focusing on the Small stuff…

Hello there you and Happy New Year!

How are you feeling after the festive season? Are you glad to be getting back into a more structured routine?  I’m looking forward to getting back into a more healthier routine (too many sweets/tipples, but I enjoyed it all, and the banter that went along with it)
I had such a lovely time back home in Ireland catching up with family, and my brother who I hadn’t seen in over 2 years due to Covid! I was grateful every day!

Present moment:

“It’s the feeling you get when you are able to be touched

By the simple things in life: watching a child playing,

The leaves falling from a tree”

Richard Carlson

When life stood tragically still in lockdown, I soaked up the outdoors, connecting so much with nature and my family.  I then started to crave nature and became more self aware. I soaked up those giggles from our girls; realising there is so much beauty out there and the free stuff like fresh air, fabulous beaches, sunsets and mountains: are all breathtaking views that are food for the soul! Absorbing the “present” moment!

When you stop striving for “perfection”, you  automatically start to slow down and realise all that beauty was right under your nose (while your mind was full of worry and busy from those to do lists, lots of unnecessary clutter taking up space in your mind)

Poetry outlet:

I wrote the following ‘etheree’ poem as a reminder to absorb those precious little moments…  Being present certainly is the way to do it. Sounds so easy doesn’t it? It is when you practice being present every day but you have to work on it, enjoying the simple little things in life, changing your thought process to a more “positive” way of thinking and being extremely grateful.

Grab it

It

Starts with

Fresh air. Free

Flawless. Simple.

But so powerful.

When you stop. Soak it up;

like sand soaking salty sprays,

gentle yet ferocious waves. The

present is all you have. Grab it, then

bottle it. Capturing every small bit!

Bernie Egerton

Enjoying that fresh air and watching the girls happy out at the beach!!
My eldest loves rolling down those sand dunes… Absorbing it all !

Growing from within, self-awareness being mindful and always learning; are the components to reaching that place of peace and happiness. Getting the most out of life for “you” and yours.

Work on ‘you’ and believe in yourself.  Trust me, the rest will follow!! 

Categories
journaling, gratitude

Journaling, gratitude and 5 tips to help you practice daily!

Hello there you!

Do you journal and practice gratitude?

During Covid, so many of us have had time to reflect on life (I’ve been doing lots of soul searching) and to appreciate the simple things.

Practicing gratitude is something you can introduce into your life daily, to focus more on the positives in your life. However, some days it can be difficult to practice when you’re not in the mood, or life just becomes too busy and you have to dig that little bit deeper. But the benefits to your mental and physical wellbeing can be huge when focusing on the good in your life.

I started writing a journal during Covid and I finish each entry with a gratitude list; finding it helpful to be more present and focused (relieving stress and anxiety). It’s a great stress management tool.



5 Tips to help incorporate journaling and gratitude into your life.

1. Write, write, write! When putting pen to paper and writing in free flow – it helps you to process any overwhelming thoughts and it’s good to let it out. Get yourself a good journal.

2. Try not to get too focused on having to write everyday, but try to write as much as possible into your journal and always have that journal in a place where you can see it (as a little reminder to write).

3. Write a list of 3-5 things you’re grateful for each day – or even thinking about it as you wake up in the morning or before going to sleep at night.  It can be the simple little things and can make such a big difference.  The more you practice, the more habitual it should become and part of your thought process.

4. Write in the same place each time you journal, so it becomes a habit over time. I write at the table and have my journal and pen in a little basket on that table, so I’m not trying to find where I left it (cuts out the stress of looking for it)

5. Date each entry into your journal and write down whatever mood you are feeling that day. If you are looking back over your journal, you can pinpoint what triggers certain moods. 


Benefits to your overall wellbeing

Journaling can be great for your wellbeing; a good way to process your thoughts and to also document the ups and downs in your life. We all have those ups and downs – my goodness you’re only human after all.

Writing really is cathartic and practicing gratitude each day is a way to appreciate the little things – when you stop, listen to yourself and become more self-aware and present.

Being in the present moment really helps if you are feeling anxious/stressed and are constantly worrying about what’s going to happen.

Do you journal and practice gratitude? And what works for you? 

I hope this post has been helpful to you and helps to incorporate journaling and gratitude into your daily life going forward❤🙏

Thank you for taking the time to read and happy journaling!

Categories
health, inspiration motivation wellbeing

Atlantic Coast of Ireland, fresh air and soaking up the outdoors…

I was brought up in Donegal;  surrounded by fields, stunning beaches, mountains, sheep and cows. Breathtaking views…

Now, If you asked me about the Atlantic Coast when I was a teen (dying to move away from the place) I would have described it differently… Something along the lines of ‘it’s so boring and I really can’t wait to move to the BIG city’. Oh yes I loved moving to the big city at 18, for college, work, meeting new people, the nightlife and all that jazz. I had a great time (the mountains, beaches, sheep – not a second thought was given)

The importance of the outdoors and appreciating the ‘simple things’

Here I am writing a blog post about the Atlantic Coast of Ireland, older and wiser (ok, that might be debatable) as I’m visiting my family for a few weeks and it’s been over a year since I was last home (Covid wouldn’t allow and I now live in England)

Seriously though, I look out at the mountains every morning, I walk the beach every single day with my hubbie and girls (you can always wrap up) and I breathe in that fresh air.

I make sure I instill the importance of the outdoors and it’s beauty to my little girls as they grow. They absolutely love the outdoors (I love watching them skip through the fields like little lambs) There is nothing like a walk in nature to blow away those cobwebs. How I took it all for granted when I was younger…

Muckish Mountain ❤
Girls enjoying the hens, ducks and geese at my cousins farm
Happy out at the beach 💖💖
Muckish is always there ❤
Moo
I love walking the beach at sunset…
Stunning 💫
Tory Island in the background and still surfing/paddling at 9 pm
My other half soaking it all up ❤💛


Take yourself outside and soak it all up… It’s the simple things in life and nature is always there. It really is good for the soul.

Haiku

Fresh air clears the mind

Warming the soul, the outdoors

Soaking up those views


Thank you for reading my post – have a beautiful day and fill up those lungs with plenty of fresh air. Go on, get that jacket on and go for a good brisk walk ❤

Categories
managing stress wellbeing

Stress: 5 tips to avoid/manage those stress levels

Ah yes stress…

When I look back over the years at the amount of times I’ve been completely stressed, there have always been the warning signs. But, oblivious, I ploughed on with whatever I was doing – then it’s too late to nip it in the bud.

For me, stress leads to cold sores. They’re awful – hideous in fact and sore. But unfortunately it’s something that’s been the bane of my life since childhood. They always surface when I’m tired, or burning the candle at both ends. When that tingling starts it’s too late and you’ve 2 weeks looking like someone has come along and bust your lip (and I would always get more than one at the same time).

Recognising the signs

So how do you know when you’re stressed? Listen to your body, be mindful and look out for the warning signs. Are you feeling tired? That’s always the first indicator for me

As I get older, I try to manage my stress levels, so as to avoid any signs and basically being kinder to my body. Low and behold those little blisters are a very rare occurence these days (once you start listening to your body). I still get them, but not like I used to.

5 tips to avoid/manage stress

1. Eat plenty of vitamin c (oranges, carrots, spinach, broccoli or whatever you like that’s high in vitamin c ) and get yourself a good tonic as part of your daily diet. Diet really is so important and drink plenty of that water. If like me you’re prone to getting cold sores: take a lysine supplement along with a b complex supplement daily. This can prevent them (great tip from my pharmacist friend)

2. If you have too much going on: do up a list of what’s important – write it down from high priority to low. Whatever is at the bottom can wait. Write it out.

3. Don’t be afraid to say no to people – go with your gut, if it doesn’t feel right, or you’re too tired then don’t do it. I know it’s easier said than done. I used to be the biggest people pleaser (not anymore). Manage those stress levels. Remember ‘you’ and your health matters most. Your body will thank you later.

4. Exercise, but don’t over do it. It doesn’t need to be strenuous, every little bit helps and fresh air is always good for the soul.

5. Last but not least: be kind to yourself, listen to your body and if you are feeling stressed, take a break. Go for that weekend away to recharge. Go to a spa, connect with nature. Leave the kids with family or friends for a few hours for some ‘you’ time.

Taking action and nipping it in the bud

I always know when Im feeling stressed. Mostly, I’m fatigued. I then listen to my body and start looking at my diet.

I hope these tips (that have helped me) help you when feeling stressed.

Listen to your body

Check in with yourself, be

Mindful and stress free

Connectwithpoetry.com

Further information

Long term stress can take its toll on the body, making the risks higher for hypertension, stroke, heart failure, digestive problems and many, many other problems. Lots of interesting information here to research further:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037

I’d also like to add I’m no medical practitioner, but I’m sharing what has helped me during times of stress.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my post. Be kind to yourself and your body.

How do you manage stress and do you recognise the warning signs? 

Categories
covid restrictions, living through a pandemic,

Final lockdown lifting in England with mixed feelings: holidays, and reaching out during these bizarre times…

Hello there you!

So this week in England, our PM Boris Johnson announced that most restrictions will be lifted by 19th July, i.e all face masks and social distancing scrapped (apart from airports where a 1 metre rule will still apply and its entirely up to each individual about mask wearing). I know I’ll still wear mine in smaller spaces and on public transport. Also a new Health Secretary Sajid Javid was appointed in recent weeks (tut tut tut to the previous ones shenanigans). Working from home was also announced to be no longer mandatory from 19th July.

Now. I’m very mixed about all this as I’m sure you are too. Especially with this awful Delta Variant floating about and with cases rising every day: with predictions of over 100,000 cases by August.

Its been the most bizarre, challenging time for humanity. Like reruns of the Twillight Zone. Naturally people are worrying if we’re heading for another full lockdown again and if more variants will pop up. On the up side however, the vaccines are rolling out at a fast pace in England and anyone who is fully vaccinated don’t need to self-isolate from 16th August, if they’ve been in contact with someone who’s had a positive Covid test that is.

Holidays/breaks:

Have you been on a holiday yet or do you have one planned? I’m hoping to get away myself in August with my family, although there is always that ‘what if’ little doubt in my head as to whether lockdown (sick of that bloody word at this stage) will happen again. But at the moment I’m remaining positive/focused that we will have that holiday!


Clouds always pass

Believe

You’ve got this

Connectwithpoetry.com

Clouds do always pass and its all about floating with whatever each day brings: bit like the weather. Knowing this will pass, brighter days are ahead and learning to live with Covid. Something that will always be part of our lives going forward. These are challenging, daunting and confusing times for us all.

Reaching out:

Reaching out, talking to each other about your worries during this time is so important if feeling overwhelmed with the whole situation. Normality is very much at a standstill, although slowly returning. Being realistic and honest about how you are feeling with others can help with any anxieties.

Brighter days are ahead and we’ve come so so far since that first lockdown on 23/03/20; before there was even a sniff of a vaccine.

How are you doing/feeling about it all? Are you nervous about returning back to work in the office and the commute? Will you scrap your mask wearing come 19th July?

Thank you for reading my post, stay safe, keep going and society will get through this. Encouraging, supporting and being kind to each other.

Categories
health and wellbeing

Cutting down on the rich foods and a bit of exercise for a healthier you!

Hello you!

So for the past month I’ve been cutting down on all the sugary, fatty foods to lose a bit of my mama weight! I have to say I feel so much better and not as bloated (I love my bread and chocolate treats).

At first it’s tough, as I’m following a certain plan (not a diet) and your body is like “hey where’s my sugar and what’s going on here?” But when sticking to plan and recognising the overall benefits it has to your health in the long run, it makes it easier to focus and plough on through with your weight loss journey.

Balance:

Being a Libra myself, it’s all about the balance! Making sure you get the ‘balance’ right with enough proteins, fats, carbohydrates, calcium and iron (the list is endless)

Also drinking plenty of water to flush out those toxins helps. Aim for 8 glasses a day they say (I like drinking a pint of cooled boiled water as it’s easier to drink)

White to wholemeal:

Changing the white breads to wholemeal, white pasta to wholewheat and adding unsalted/lighter butter to your diet for the extra fibre that your body needs.

Grilling instead of frying.

All these little tweaks to your diet aids your weight loss journey, making you feel better.

Let’s not forget plenty of fruit and veggies…

Exercise:

Along with cutting down on the aul lockdown munching (done plenty of that over the past year) I’m making a habit of going out for a 20-30 min walk everyday. Soaking up the beautiful outdoors, being mindful along with getting fresh air into my lungs. The best bit about it? It’s free…

I know it sounds hard to cut down, but ‘you’ start to feel so much better and it’s just about tweaking your diet and adding plenty of water.

Now I’d like to add I’m no nutritionist but I’m sharing with ‘you’ whats helping me on my weight loss/healthier lifestyle journey. I feel so much better and plan to stick to it.

Hope these little tips help you! And please do comment on what helps you on your healthier lifestyle journey. Would love to hear.

Have a beautiful day, stay safe, be kind to yourself and ‘your’ body.

Thank you for reading 💖

Categories
health and wellbeing mindfulness

Reflecting on recent lockdown lifting, new-found hobbies and mindful moments!

So things are starting to slowly open up again in England. Evenings are brighter, weather is just so lovely and there really is a buzz around the place. How are you feeling? Are the many months in lockdown making you feel nervous about normality returning and visiting places again? Its only normal to feel this way if you do. Its been a tough year.

I’m not going to rush back to non-essential shops just yet, but I’m enjoying meeting up with friends again for leisurely walks outside in parks, with take away coffees and a bit of banter!

I’ve really enjoyed the reflective work and my new hobbies (poetry writing and cardmaking), connecting more with nature and appreciating things you really took for granted when life was full of hustle and bustle before the pandemic.

Once cases get to a very low level, I’m really looking forward to getting back home to Ireland and seeing my family again. I’m sure you also look forward to that day and where you and I are mask free – with social distancing no longer being part of our norm.

This pandemic has changed us all in so many ways, having to deal with a huge wave of events, losing loved ones and having the virus. Its a time of constant reflection, looking at the small but important stuff that makes a huge difference to all our lives.

Mindful moments:

Throughout the pandemic I’ve been practicing mindful techniques and just being more ‘aware’ of the moment and appreciating the simple, yet powerful things in life.

So much beauty is out there when you stop, look around and look up.

On a recent walk with my daughter we discovered this little bee burrowing in the ground, flapping its little wings and it really was amazing to watch. We both enjoyed that moment in a little area with lots of pretty flowers. Nature is ‘always’ there.


My little lady admiring the tall tree 🌳©️Bernie Egerton 2021

Daffodils are such lovely spring flowers 💐 ©️Bernie Egerton 2021

Busy burrowing bee 🐝 ©️Bernie Egerton 2021

Things are slowly going back to normal, new-found hobbies have surfaced throughout this pandemic and small mindful moments can be so precious.

Have a lovely day/evening, stay safe, keep smiling – look up and around you, enjoying those mindful moments ❤

What have you enjoyed during these strange times?


Categories
wellbeing

Some days are harder than others during a pandemic. Thats ok… You’ve got this, and beauty is around you!

Some days you think “I’ve got the hang of this new lockdown way of life”, then others you think its difficult. Missing your family, friends, a fun day out, and even a trip to the hairdressers (goodness, my roots are very ashen looking these days!) All the things you take for granted. Going out for a good blast of fresh air to blow off those cobwebs – really helps your soul. I love going for a walk, soaking up the outdoors and snapping a few beautiful nature pics along the way.



Here in England, all non essential shops are re-opening soon and outdoor dining – so it will make it that bit easier and hopefully avoid another spike in cases – lets remain focussed & optimistic

Breathe in that fresh air, notice all that beauty that surrounds you and go with each day as it comes. This is new to you and I, but we’re riding this storm together, learning and growing each day and have been for over a year now. Days filled with hope are here, now a vaccine is well and truly rolling out.


©️ Bernie Egerton connectwithpoetry.com

Sitting in the garden with a hot cuppa, a stroll in the park while the sun is shining and watching your family playing together: the simple little precious mindful moments that make a challenging time seem so much brighter. Focussing on whatever those ‘special’ things are, that make all the difference in ‘your’ life.

Be kind to yourself and be gentle to yourself. There is so much love and hope surrounding you during a time, when some days it really does feel like that light is harder to grasp. Some days are challenging, and thats ok. Focus on what gives ‘you’ joy.


©️ Bernie Egerton connectwithpoetry.com

Heres to the light at the end of that long pandemic tunnel getting closer each day.

Stay safe, keep smiling and keep writing!

What gets ‘you’ through these times of uncertainty? ❤