Strong Saturday – Farnham Pilates Blog

Easy ways to stay healthy at home

It’s easy at times like these to slip into bad habits, so here is a reminder about some simple things you can do to ensure you stay healthy – and happy – at home.

Make the most of the first 10 minutes of the day and set the tone for the day ahead – exercise, stretch, sit, and breathe. Get dressed and some days wear a dress or your favourite outfit that you feel good in. 

Be kind to yourself – try not to put high expectations on yourself. We all have different worries and concerns and this time and this means that you may not “achieve” much, so be kind to yourself. Try to incorporate self-care in your day even if it is just to shower and moisturise with your favourite smell; I love rose products from the Body Shop and like to put orange essence on my wrists to lift my mood. Every night I put lavender drops in my bath and on my pillow (I’m a bit of a smell freak!). Do things to make you find the joy and happiness within you – what do you love doing? How about reading, jigsaw puzzles or knitting.  If you are missing the coast you could find the sound of sea on YouTube. Even a simple bath and early night will make a massive difference to your stress levels,  so get a good night’s sleep. If you struggle try breathing exercises 10 mins before. 

Make plans and goals for the day – do meal plans and batch cooking to make life easier, it is so much less stressful if you know what is planned. Do a shopping list and stick to the plan – this will also help you avoid overeating.  Batch cooking makes for a stress-free dinner as you just have to reheat what you have already made.  Try to think of non-food related treats, such as a special cup of tea, a walk around the garden or a face mask. To mix things up a bit, look out for local schemes to help the community through these times: for instance the Maltings in Farnham is running a jigsaw and games swap. And with garden centres opening up, a little gardening can be a great stress reliever and improve the view out of your window!

Create a new routine – we have come out of the initial holiday phase at Easter (even if you are working) and feel we need to achieve things so plan your day. Try and do the daily exercise, do a 10 mins exercise video then Pilates, also plan a walk. Even if you just dance round the kitchen it will make a big impact. 

Keep a healthy diet – your energy levels will be affected by what you eat, so be sure to focus on good gut health and keep your immune system strong. I swear by Symprove, a local firm (I don’t get commission!) https://www.symprove.com. Learn more about the gut here – https://www.symprove.com/gut-microbiome/. You have 70-80% of your immune system in your gut, so manage your immune system with good gut microbe. Lack of Vitamin D can have a massive impact on energy levels and there is evidence that it can reduce the impact of Covid-19, so ensure you get enough sun and consider taking a supplement. Eat regularly to help balance blood sugar levels and add more fibre into your diet. An easy meal could be lentil bolognaise with whole wheat pasta and cheese. 

LAST CHANCE to join before the price increases next week then the doors close at end of May. 

I have 2 types of membership – 

ZOOM I only do zoom classes for the clients that pay for the class membership on £45 a month. The classes are small – there are about about 4-8 people in each class.
Monday 2.30 back care 
Monday 8pm improvers (business class)
Tuesday 9.30 beginners mixed
Some Saturdays  

FACEBOOK The rest are on Facebook – those are for the clients paying £9.99 a month.
Classes 
Mon, Wed, Fri at 9.35am 
(some Saturdays) 
This includes access to the website with a library of videos.

Membership also gives offers you a private Facebook group and WhatsApp group where there are lots of classes, both recorded and live.

I want you to take this opportunity to try this deal as Prices are going up next week on Thursday 21st April.  

Class membership will increase from £45 to £49 per month.

Online membership will increase from £9.99 to £11.99 per month

“I LOVE THE PILATES COMMUNITY. YOUR TEACHING IS OUTSTANDING AND I FEEL “SAFE” THAT YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. PILATES CONTRIBUTES TO MY WELLBEING AND I SIMPLY LOVE BEING PRESENT. IT CAN BE VERY STRESSFUL WITH ELDERLY PARENTS SO I LOOK FORWARD TO PILATES AS PART OF HELPING TO KEEP MY MIND AND BODY WELL. THANK YOU.”

Jayne

“SINCE DOING PILATES, I FEEL MORE SUPPLE, KNOW HOW TO STRETCH PROPERLY AND FIND THAT RUNNING IS MUCH EASIER. HANNAH HAS ALSO HELPED WITH MY POSTURE AS I SIT AT A DESK ALL DAY.”

H Mortimer, Surrey

Next week’s blog will cover stretches for homeworking. Check back then!

Squeeze and breathe,

Love Hannah x

How are you doing?

How are you? These are strange times and I just wanted to check in to see how you are doing? With so much uncertainty, I hope that you are able to spend some time looking after yourself and taking time to stay healthy.

I know that many people have turned to their kitchen for comfort – my children and I have been baking a lot, but it can be difficult with limited ingredients! I couldn’t get eggs the other day, so was pleased to find a recipe (below) for banana loaf made without eggs. If you use vegan chocolate it’s also completely vegan!  It’s a slightly difference take on banana loaf, with a moist, orangey taste, I hope you like it. A friend gave me a handy tip about bananas too – if you have lots that are on the turn but you are not ready to use them, pop them, as they are, into the freezer.  Frozen bananas are great for banana loaf and delicious smoothies too!

During lockdown, many people are getting used to the new normal of working from home.  As well as managing distractions, having no colleagues for support or water cooler catch-ups, and quite possibly becoming a teacher overnight (home-schooling, anyone?), you do still need to find the time and headspace to keep fit. Sitting at a desk, in an uncomfortable chair, every day may be giving you lower back pain or discomfort in your hips.  Here’s a great exercise to stretch your hip flexors:

Lunging Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneel on your left knee. Place your right foot flat on the floor in front of you, knee bent. Lean forward, stretching your left hip toward the floor. Squeeze your butt; this will allow you to stretch your hip flexor even more. Hold for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Switch sides and repeat.

If you need some daily motivation, you might like to try my 30 Days of Pilates programme for a special price of £5.99 – daily motivational videos and emails to keep you on track with your Pilates.  Click here for more details.  

Alternatively, a library of over 500 daily videos can be yours for just £9.99 per month with our Pilates Community online membership – and the option to join our Farnham Community Online Facebook Group to help with motivation and camaraderie. In addition, you will have access to 4 Facebook Live classes per week! Click here for more details.

Egg-Free Vegan Pecan and Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Loaf

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 ripe-to-overripe bananas, mashed (about 300g when peeled)
  • 75ml olive oil
  • 80g soft, dark-brown sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 clementines
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g vegan dark chocolate (70 per cent cocoa solids minimum), cut into small chunks
  • 100g pecans, roughly broken

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/Gas 4, and line a medium roasting tin or a baking dish with non-stick baking or greaseproof paper.
  2. Whisk the mashed bananas with the olive oil, sugar and clementine zest and juice until fairly smooth, then stir in the flour and baking powder. When they just start to combine, stir through three quarters of the dark chocolate and the pecan nuts. Smooth the batter into the prepared tin (don’t worry, it should look pretty doughy), then scatter over the remaining chocolate and nuts.
  3. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until it is well risen and a cake tester or skewer inserted in a non-chocolatey area comes out clean. Let it cool in the tin for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack. This is best eaten warm, but will keep in an airtight tin for two or three days.

Please – STAY INSIDE – and don’t forget to squeeze and breathe!

Love Hannah x

Pilates as a Christmas Gift

Need an idea for a Christmas present? Start Pilates in January …

Are you looking forward to Christmas or feeling slightly overwhelmed like I am? Did you read last weeks newsletter on how to keep calm over Christmas – the link is here !
If you’re looking to treat yourself or a loved one to a healthy present this Christmas, why not have a look at the below (or show someone this email and ask them to buy you a Pilates course?!). 

PILATES CLASS

Block of 12 for only £100 as a Voucher start on 6th January

PILATES EQUIPMENT

SPECIAL PILATES GIFT PACK– only £10 
This is an amazing pack of Fitness for yourself or family or friend – held in a tote bag “Love Pilates”, 2 resistance bands, yoga grip socks, fridge magnet with Pilates dates on, and spiky massage ball, there are instruction leaflets for resistance band  (combined value worth £20). 

FOAM ROLLER – £25 – only 2 available! 

TOTE BAG – £2  – super for shopping  – bag video here

T-SHIRT  – £8 for a “Love Pilates” T-shirt

RESISTANCE BAND – only £5 with an exercise sheet – the band is a versatile product for exercise, rehabilitation, conditioning and toning. Availability in lighter resistance for the upper body and heavier for the lower body, its the perfect aid to keeping arms and legs toned. 

WATER BOTTLE – £4 water bottle with logo

SPIKY MASSAGE BALLS – £5 these 9cm balls can be used to massage the feet, elongate and release tight muscles and provide self-massage for the trapezius and lower back muscles. A great help to release over-tight muscles.

PILATES SOCKS – £5 Pilates/yoga with grip points and unique reflexology points. Ideal to use in Pilates or around the house – use them to ensure a safe and non-slippery work out. One size fits all. 

PILATES VOUCHERS – £59 for 2 (worth £106)
2 one-to-one personal Pilates sessions, for bad backs, injury rehab, core strengthening on Pilates equipment.  these sessions are worth £106!  

Sign up to the January Pilates classes 

Contact me for more information or any questions. 

Squeeze and breathe 
Love Hannah xxx

10 ways to reduce stress over Christmas

We’ve reached December! Festive greetings to you all at this wonderful, though at times stressful, season of goodwill. I’m struggling this week, there is so much to do and we place such high expectations on ourselves. I would like this Christmas to be about spending quality time together with family and friends, and not about presents presents presents! This week, I’ve put together 10 ways to reduce stress so you are not completely broken by the New Year, and so that you can take some time to enjoy yourself!

1. Silence your inner critic

Don’t worry if you’ve chosen the slow queue at the supermarket, can’t find the perfect colour scarf or are on a tight budget and fear friends will secretly criticise your gifts. It’s not the end of the world if it takes five minutes longer to get to the checkout or if that scarf’s a slightly paler shade of blue than you’d like. And anyone who judges a present’s worth on its monetary value… well, they’re not the best of friends.

2. Practise mindfulness

Accept that if you’re shopping for presents – either online or in heaving retail parks – it’s likely to be frustrating. When the wheel of doom sabotages an online transaction or a fellow shopper jumps the queue, try not to get anxious. Focus on your breath, be aware of the situation but don’t judge it or question why it’s happening. Accept it’s happened, calm your thoughts and slowly let go of the angst. Keep in mind that the frustration is temporary.

3. Duck out of the crowds

You don’t have to spend all day shopping (in fact, you don’t have to spend any time shopping at all if you don’t want to). A great way to hide is to pop into your local cinema and lose yourself in a movie. Public libraries are also a great place to sit quietly away from the hordes.

4. Show self-compassion

Whether it’s a night in reading a book, taking a long, luxurious soak in a hot bath, knitting in front of the TV or lying on the sofa listening to your favourite music, take time out of the festive preparation to do something you love. Indulge your senses, feed your soul and make time just for you.

5. Make time for meditation

If you can, schedule 10 minutes a day for some quiet time.

  • Sit comfortably somewhere peaceful, keeping your spine straight and gently resting your hands, palms facing up. Your eyes can be open or closed. If they’re open, focus on an object on the floor a few feet in front of you.
  • Take five deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Bring your attention to the rhythm of your breath. Don’t try to change it or try too hard to relax.
  • Pay attention to the full in-breath and the full out-breath. Focus on where you feel it most strongly.
  • Continue to observe the breath. If your mind wanders off, observe where it goes and try to bring it back. Don’t judge or get anxious if your thoughts are lively, just look at them and let them go.
  • When you’re ready, lift the palms of your hands up, open your eyes – or shift their gaze – and slowly take in your surroundings.

6. Head out for a walk

A leisurely stroll is a great way to alleviate stress, clear the head and lift the spirits. Don your warmest woollies and let nature soothe your woes. Observe the light, feel the ground under your feet and ponder the resilience of our winter wildlife among the sparse trees. For urban dwellers, respite can be found in city parks, gardens and squares. Wrap up, fill a hot flask and take in the scene, there’ll still be birds and probably a few squirrels too. You could even do this on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day – perhaps a slow, mindful pre-breakfast walk watching the sunrise could become a new festive tradition.

7. Play a game

Come the big day, remember you don’t have to stop behaving like a kid just because you’re no longer 10 and under. Laughter is good for the soul, eases tension and gets you in touch with the present moment. Playing a game with family and friends is a great ice-breaker, and really brings people together.

8. (Over) indulge – if that’s your thing

Don’t be frightened of embracing the festivities. It’s a time of year when excess is positively encouraged. Listen to your body – it will tell you when you’ve really had enough. But by the same token, practise mindful eating and drinking.  Before reaching for another drink or canape, just pause and minute and consider if you really want it, or if you are just mindlessly consuming. Take time to actually enjoy what you are eating or drinking!

9. B r e a t h e to reduce stress and relieve aches and pains

Cooking, cleaning and socialising all take their toll. If you find you’re getting overly anxious about the roasties or worrying excessively about who’s not getting on with whom, step away. Head to the quietest place you can find, observe your breath and breathe deeply. Taking a few deep breaths all the way down to your stomach and breathing out slowly will help to calm your mind, body and nerves. Here’s how:

  • Sit in a comfortable position with your hands gently resting on your knees, palms facing upwards, or in a mudra position, where the first finger and thumb are touching.
  • Breathing gently, take a moment to allow your body and mind to settle. Then slowly close your eyes and imagine a big, bright hot sun.
  • Now, take a deep breath in all the way down to your stomach, for a count of three. As you are breathing in, picture a hot sun in your mind’s eye.
  • Hold this image for a count of two or four, whichever feels most comfortable.
  • Gently breathe out for a count of six and, as you breathe out, imagine you are the sun radiating light out into the world.
  • Repeat this pattern for three to five minutes and observe how your body feels. You may feel warm energised light bright afterwards.

10. Enjoy yourself!

Perhaps most important of all, enjoy yourself!

Squeeze and breathe, Love Hannah x

Exercise at Christmas

Exercise at Christmas

Christmas can be a fantastic and exciting time but also full of stresses. Many mums that do regular exercise find it hard as the classes and bootcamps tend to stop the same week as the kids break up from school. There are things you can do at home but it is hard to keep motivated with all the temptations around at this time of year. Also I find it hard as it gets colder to resist the warm, unhealthy drinks and biscuits!

Its also hard for mums to stick to a routine and getting a workout in when there are so many demands on our time leading up to Christmas. Decide what you’d like to fit in and try and follow these 10 simple steps –

1. Move more – don’t stay in one position for too long a time when you are cooking, cleaning or relaxing on the sofa – get everyone one up and moving or out, for example on a walk, treasure hunt, races or competitions.

2. Workout first thing – before anything else happens. “There are just too many activities and commitments that come up,” says Angela Bekkala, clinical exercise specialist, mum of twins and creator of Happy Fit Mama. I run early so “You’re finished before the kids wake up!”

3. Put it as an appointment in your calendar – Hopefully your partner is supportive. If you worry about spending time with them as they are not working, it’s a great way to spend quality time together. Or if they can help with childcare you do the same for them. I have had comments of people saying it’s selfish, but its not – its about your health and sanity. Get grandparents to help, you only need 30 mins to fast walk or run!

4. Plan in what you enjoy and want to do – aim for 3-4 activities a week – DVD, online workouts etc. On Periscope Rachel Homes does a 7am workout, or maybe run, walk to get fresh air, or arrange to meet or pick up a friend then you cant cancel.

Classes available locally to Farnham with children

Bootcamp Tilford with Belinda Andrews 14th and 16th December – 9.30 Tilford Green – back on wed 6th January.

Farnham Pilates – last classes 17th-18th Dec – 8.45 and 9.45am – wear Christmas hats bring a friend or children.

Sweaty Betty does classes inhouse too.

5) Don’t worry about what you wear –  I put the clothes out the night before and dress in the dark and don’t look in the mirror. Then I enjoy the shower or bath later and then do hair and make up and feel much better in myself.

6. Its not always possible to exercise without the kids – so include them or watch online and do it in front of them. I think its just as important for them to see me working out and that I find it important to look after myself.

Ditch the ‘either-or’ attitude. Children instinctively love to move. Resistance bands are great for playing with and balls make fun mini trampolines. Also as your children grow older, workouts can be bonding time. I’d like my oldest daughter to run or cycle with me, if its a one off they wont do it, but if its regular they will understand it’s important and will want to come with you, or simply bribe them for that Saturday night movie and popcorn. I ran a dash for colour for Phillis Tuckwell this September and my daughter and I had great fun throwing powder at each other! Other ideas could include taking the kids to the park and do step ups, tricep dips, running races and they love a circuit or obstacle course. It doesn’t need to be long, just a quick workout – 10-15mins raising your heart rate is better than nothing.

7. Do you get Back pain? – stop what you are doing, think about your posture. Have a look at our 5 days of short stretches and the relevant blogs. I am also running a 6 week programme for you to follow – details here.

8.Walk or cycle to friends for Christmas drinks or the family drive and you walk or run and meet them there. Make the most of any time you have and make time.

9. Analysis your time – Can you not go on Facebook/cooking/ cleaning for 10 mins. Swap activities or plan ahead and do bulk cooking. Get the kids to help and delegate. I find December is the best month as they have to be good and help otherwise Santa may not come! We do a points system for pocket money and points are taken off for not helping. They don’t get tea if they don’t help. I know older ones have homework but when they are hungry they will do anything to get the food quicker!

10. Don’t beat yourself up – if you don’t get time. Don’t set unrealistic expectations. Even 10 mins a day is great but even every other day is a good start!

 

Mindfulness for Mums at Christmas

Mindfulness for mums at christmasXmas time can be stressful for mums with so many demands from work, household, family, kids plays, concerts, costume organising, parties – shall I go on? The main thing that gets missed off is you and your exercise. It is important to schedule time out for you to do exercise, eat healthily and spend the Christmas holidays to reset, reboot and recoup your body!

I’ve heard mums say its the kids holiday not theirs, as they have so much to do. That’s true when they are young as the focus is on them, and then teenagers just want to relax but set some goals and prioritise for you as well! Also you either love it or you just want it over. I love Christmas but that includes the food and drink and all the naughty things, but just stay relaxed and keep a positive mindset and tell yourself you will enjoy this lovely time. It’s also a reflective time and a chance to think about what is a priority to you and how to make it possible!

I am struggling fitting in the London Marathon training, as a non morning person it is a struggle to get up at 5.45am and run, but I’ve been doing it for 4 weeks now and trying not to think too much about leaving the warm bed and just getting it done. As I’ve been getting out 4 times a week my fitness has really improved! But I’m very aware as the holidays start and the weather gets colder it is hard to keep going or get started!!

My method to stay focussed – I’ve got reminders on my phone and it seems to be working, my husband is amazingly supportive and runs with me or gets me up!! I do find I’m multi tasking all the time and finding it hard to concentrate when I’m tired but I keep saying to myself in my head – “keep going” its like a little cheer and if I stay with a positive mindset it works wonders. This blog is more about our mindset and enjoying Christmas and staying fit healthy and happy. Comments about your struggles or ideas always welcome –

1. Be Present – enjoy the time with the kids, partner and family. Its so special when they are young, be in the here and now. Watch old movies with them (don’t check your phone), play games and enjoy the rows or banter (monopoly takes hours but we have bought a quick one!)

2. Gratitude – Encourage the kids to talk about what they are grateful for over Christmas ie food and presents compared to those with nothing or very little. At bed time we talk about what was the best thing they did and what they are looking forward to the next day.

3. Reflection – Reflect on what you and the kids need in life- take your life, and encourage the kids to, in their own hands. It is possible to say no to some things..

4. Expectations – Don’t have high expectations yourself ie of the perfect house/being tidy – it wont!

5. Be nice – Compliment the family before they can annoy you! If you have a critical relative just smile and nod – think happy thoughts (beach, sand!)

6. Take some time for you – Give yourself permission to think about you what you want to schedule in, i.e. 10 mins bath, chill out before the next family or social event. To totally relax and recharge, why not try our mindfulness video.  This is just £4.99 and you can put it on whenever you feel stressed to help you recharge and reset. Click here to find out more.

7. Balance – Even out the days events. If you are too busy or stressed the body goes into survival mode and store fat! Get fresh air, go to the beach, chase each other!

8. Meditate – when washing up to just clear your mind.

9. New years resolutions – if you don’t do something to make you happy / help you / please you NOW then when will you?

10. Food – have a day off unhealthy food, think 80 / 20 rule. Healthy veg soup with left overs?

11. – Sleep – Get 7 hours plus to reduce stress.

A good way to get set for this season would be to come to our Pilates and Wellbeing day on Thursday 10th December 12-5pm at our Pilates Garden Studio in Rowledge. All are welcome, bring friends and children. There will be the chance to try the reformers, a Heated Pilates session, 20 mins massage with Aase Waterman, Reflexology, and Reiki. Click here to find more details.

Or, to have a tool you can rely on to help you reset and rebalance whenever you need to, why not download our mindfulness video. It will take you through 10 minutes of exercises that will help you keep balanced over the busy festive season with breathing and relaxation exercises, which can be done when you need to. It is just £4.99 and you can click here to find out more or pay via the paypal link below to have the video sent straight to your inbox.

Have a lovely festive season with your loved ones but don’t be afraid to take time for you too.

Put your name in the box and follow the buy now link to make secure payment of £4.99 via paypal to get the Mindfulness video link straight to your inbox. Any questions please email hannah@farnhampilates.com

Me-time relax breathe

 

Why you need a spa break!

spa break hampshire

Join us at Champneys Forest Mere for a wonderfully relaxing weekend.

Do you know how important it is to take time out for yourself to help you relax, switch off and come back to daily routine feeling a new person. Do you have time to stop and think about YOU??

Why you need time out!

Every May and October we organise a Spa retreat at Champneys Forest Mere in the lovely Hampshire countryside. Women can join us for one day or the whole weekend. On our spa day we take time to do exercise, connect with yourself, relax and have a few laughs! It doesn’t matter how fit you are as there is a choice of classes and activites and full use of the spa. Why you need time out –

Simply put – You time is essential to spend time on yourself! Why?

Improve self-awareness
Increase emotional intelligence
Strengthen relationships
Assess your happiness levels
Evaluate who you are and your behaviour to yourself and others
Help you hear your inner voice
Positive impact on friends and family

Do you get ‘You Time’? Do you get enough? We work on mindfulness and helping you enjoy the NOW !

You will come back –

With work/life balance

With renewed energy and feeling creativity

Boosted confidence

With perspective as you’ve had time to examine thoughts and behavior

Grateful for your loved ones and what you have

Some time of self-evaluation

Lower stress levels

A stronger person for doing something for yourself for a change

Happier and able to handle what life throws at you

This will create a positive impact on friends and family

A women is like a teabag. You can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Our next Spa Weekend starts 16th October to 18th October and here is the fantastic programme.

Day of activities all optional

Arrival 9am

spa break Hampshire

Pilates classes will be on offer

Welcome to the resort and selection of refreshments including yoghurt; granola; mixed berry compote pots; mixed fruit platter; mini muffins; fruit juice and tea/coffee

10.00-11.00 Pilates class -optional

11.00-11.55 Stretching and mindfulness meditation -optional

Bikes can be organised

Use of spa facilities all day

Access to up to 20 different forest mere classes

Personal training also available (extra)

Three course hot and cold buffet lunch

5.00- 6.00 tea and cake

Depart 6pm or stay the night

But don’t take our word for it, here are some of the past participants comments …

“Thank you for a great day! I really enjoyed it and came back feeling very refreshed and wished I had stayed the night and enjoyed a few glasses of wine on the terrace overlooking the lake….amazing view.”
GK, Farnham

“The spa day organised by Hannah was really enjoyable – doing Pilates with a view over the lake was wonderful and the meditation session afterwards helped us all relax so that we could enjoy the rest of the day; lovely lunch, some exercise and a lot of sitting around in the sunshine and chatting. What more could we ask for?”
HH, Haslemere

“It was nice to have a day doing something different with a very nice group of ladies.”
JC, Farnham

Tempted? To make it even easier for you to indulge we are offering a very special discount for this week only.

Pay £50 deposit this week and get the Day spa for just £85 (full price £120) and night £159 (full price £267)

£30 extra single supplement, (extra £10 for Saturday night).

To book on contact hannah@farnhampilates.com. We look forward to meeting you.

 

 

National Work Life week – how’s your balance?

National Work Life weekIt is National Work-Life Week starting on Monday 21st September with the aim of highlighting the importance of maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Having a lifestyle mix of work, family and health is an important challenge many of us face today with studies showing that those working 55 hours a week or more have a 35% increased risk of suffering a stroke than those who work 40 hours or less.

Maintaining work and a healthy lifestyle is one of the most challenging aspects my clients face and I even struggle at times especially on children’s holidays. Finding the right balance between family, work and looking after yourself can be very stressful and it’s often difficult to get the mix right. We can end up sacrificing our own wellbeing to work or spending time with the family but in the end if we aren’t looking after our health then everything suffers.

Regular exercise boosts energy levels make you feel more alert and happier. It can really make a huge amount of difference in how you perform at work and helps clear your mind and put everything else in perspective.

Here are five easy tips on how you can make improvements in your work-life balance.

• Work out or walk with your partner and friends.
• If you have young children taking it in turns in the evenings to run or go to classes helps encourage each other.
• Do try and get 10 minutes of exercise done first thing even before children are up, then it’s out the way and you will feel so proud of yourself!
• Exercise with the children encourage them to go exercise i.e a bike ride or log onto you-tube, or buy an online programme like the Yummy Tummy 6 week programme for mums.
• Take up Pilates classes. New classes started in September all around Farnham but the Farnham Pilates new studio has small group reformer classes and an open trial day 24th and 25th September.  For details of our classes click here

This weekend I am speaking at the WIFE conference in Guildford (Wome in Fitness Empowerment) all about youtime and how you can obtain a  better balance. If you would like to join us and see other inspirational speakers such as Anna Kennedy OBE who took part in The People’s Strictly the you can find out more here.

And for more info on National Work Life Week have a look at their website here

 

Is your life balance not weighing up? Life balance for busy women

#Life balance by Hannah Epps
Life balance for busy women
Why do we need to worry about doing something for ourselves or something for us? Because as busy mums, sometimes we are so busy doing things for others, caring and organising and just being so busy we don’t get time to clean our teeth or do exercise or cook a healthy meal, do our hair or finish dressing! But it is essential to have time to ourselves or do something for your mental and physical wellbeing, so even unwinding and relaxing can reduce blood pressure and help you slow down otherwise we will make ourselves ill. Also, we might be out having fun or being with the family but forget to enjoy it. Or be so stressed, that drink with a friend becomes a drunken night, as it’s the only way to switch off our busy brains. Life is about moderation but if you are there for others ALL the time it can mean your needs are not being met.  It is not selfish to need more time for yourself, it is a way to improve yourself.

 

Calming down or being aware of the moment (called mindfulness) helps you reset your brain to get rid of anxious thoughts. So even having a moment to think or visualise your “happy”, favourite place in your mind, can help you calm your breathing so you don’t lose your temper, shout or answer snappily to your husband or child.For you to be happy, relaxed and capable of living a busy life without becoming ill you need to lower your cortisol that raises stress levels. Mums feel so guilty about taking time off due to money issues, or ethics from our parents that lead us to have a strong work ethic. Also as mums we know if we just get these things done then we can sit down and relax or finish other projects.
Life balance for busy women
How do you know if you are stressed ? Do you have any of these symptoms?
– Easily distracted
– Forgetting keys
– Late to appointments
– On edge or short with people
– Feeling overwhelmed, trouble breathing or hyperventilating
– Trouble with sleeping
– Worried
– Over sensitive to what people say, over analysing
– Gaining weight or over drinking
– Struggle with relaxing or switching off
– Loss of focus, trouble with concentrating and even trouble with making decision because mind too busy!

 

All these are signs that you need to STOP... Yes friend you need to take some time for yourself. Life isn’t a race, slow down and enjoy it. Simple indulges like a movie, spa day or long walk can be amazing for your wellbeing. At Farnham Pilates we work out hard in class then spend time stretching and enjoying the silence and relaxing. The key is to find something you enjoy doing so much and that you feel real benefits from, that you have to make time for it. We would love to help you find that balance at Farnham Pilates.  If any of the above resonates with you then you will be interested to know that we are running a 10 day body reset course.  This course is delivered by email every day will help you listen to your body and teach you ways to fit time into your busy life for you so that you are a stronger and healthier person.  To sign up click here.

When I realised I needed more #metime

I need more me time

When I realised I needed more #metime – by Hannah Epps

We are all so busy in our lives that we can be too busy to see the damage this is doing. Last week I mentioned to friends that I needed more me time as I was feeling overwhelmed with work, teaching and all the kids activities I had to plan for. People offered to help and it’s just giving me a little for time to step back and prioritise. I was at the stage where I was tearful and needed to take a walk and sit and work in my favourite place, Frensham Ponds! Sometimes asking for help is the hardest thing, but it is something we all need to do from time to time.

I asked friends, work colleagues and other fitness friends what do you do for me time? From responses it’s so interesting that many feel too guilty to take time off or don’t know how to do it with young kids at home. Even reading a book for 10 mins at nap time can help your brain re- set. As you may know as a busy mum of 2 and my husband building a studio I’m always late and I’m really working on that. My mum always used to do “one more thing before we got out of the house” – I promise I’m working on it.

I have felt guilty about not being in a “proper” job and I also feel guilty when people think I just “teach pilates”. However, running your own business for 10 years, doing your own admin, bookings and social media, your time is so limited that I often feel guilty about not spending enough time with the family. Out of this own guilt I do so many play dates, parties, dinner parties, kids sleepovers, fundraising, charity dos (The Strictly Experience I did for Phyllis Tuckwell raised £26,000) taking hours making and cooking dinner and cleaning for all the family and fitting in dog walks, I have realised I’m not doing as much exercise as I used to.

I need more me time

Challenge yourself to have an hour unplugged today!

I’m not getting enough ying and yang in my life.  I need more balance and when I got a bad back 3 months ago it forced me to stop and reassess what I needed to get that balance. I had to work out what the best thing was for me to do. Yoga was hard so I went back to basic Pilates. I missed running but did fast walks and just sat to think and breathe, spent time with the family with no iPhone! This helped me come home refreshed ready to face questions, busy house work, family arguments.

It got me thinking that I was probably not alone with not having enough time to myself. I was so worried about people not having time to breathe that I did research with friends, fitness colleagues, business owners and got great feedback about what busy working mums do –
Long walks (with or without the dog), yoga, pilates, meditation, or just mindfulness, 8 mile hikes, gratitude diaries, beauty/spa treatments, cycling, open water swimming, just having a shower or time in the garden– the results were quite different but all great personal activities that make a difference. You can see some of their lovely videos on what they do for me time here.

With my new studio nearly finished it has been a great space to “just breathe” and if stressed I have a “special happy place” I visualise to lower my heart rate – especially over the summer when the kids are rowing.

Write yourself your Perfect me time list- so you can plan 2-4 things weekly. Create your own space strategies – screen time off, write a gratitude diary and be aware of being happy and enjoying he moment rather than thinking and worrying #justbreathe! Try this, it will change your mood and if stressed, take a deep breathe and #justsmile.  And just stop and unplug everything for time in quiet silence! It’s essential to us to contemplate and assess!

This will enable you to be a stronger or better mum, wife, daughter.

I’m off on holiday next week for time with the family and hoping to totally unplug and recharge myself.  This video has really inspired me to do this. All work and no play certainly makes us dull in many ways.

 

Will you arrange Me time ? Look out for our next blog to see the dangers and symptoms of not taking time for ourselves or sign up for our FREE 10 day Body reset email course and get on track for a stronger, healthier and more fulfilled you!