Stop and smell the roses

Have you noticed things during the lock down you would not normally? Me too.

People’s houses? Pretty gardens? Graffiti? The other day while walking I noticed a fairy door on a local tree. I had passed that tree several times before but never noticed it. Always rushing, 101 things on my mind, just focussing about getting to wherever I was going instead of taking notice of the beauty around me. I don’t blame me. Life was going at 100 miles an hour. Working, events, cooking, taking the kids to activities – keeping all those plates spinning and many more. My day was packed from 6am to 10pm and I tried very hard not to let a plate drop – although I often did. Life looks and feels different now and I know it’s tough not seeing family and loved ones but maybe there are some new experiences we can enjoy now.

Personally, I am having a cuppa with my hubby at 8am every morning in the garden. We are spending more time as a family, exercising, listening to music, eating together, playing games and watching movies. (not previously easy with a 11, 17 and 19-year-old who were very busy with sports, school and college work and friends).  We are communicating.  The kids are developing new skills, running, cooking, playing instruments and even washing cars!

Take the time to stop while you can because our world will change again. We will reflect on this time and maybe bring some of the experiences with us. But for now, take it all in within the limitations of our movement allowances. Don’t have regrets. I was jealous at first that I did not live by the sea during this lock down and for those things I don’t or can’t have but now I am relishing the moments I do – to smell the roses, to exercise, to spend time with those I can. I know I am luckier than others who maybe do not have company in their homes. At the weekend I passed a young couple who had brought their chairs and a flask and arranged their seats within a safe distance outside the open window of an older couple. They were chatting, laughing and having a cuppa together. It made me smile. I hope you can find hope somewhere in this situation. Smile when you can, breathe deeply and take notice of the beauty around you.

The picture in this blog is of a rose which had fallen in our garden. We stopped and noticed it, brought it into view and now admire it.

Have you heard about ‘Earthing’?

Think about being barefoot in the soft grass. Think about swimming in the ocean. Think about running your hands through the sand. This is earthing – being in touch with nature.

It makes us feel good but we often only associate these feelings with holidays or weekends away. The earth and ocean can ground us – make you feel relaxed, peaceful and at one with nature. When you’re ‘grounded’ there’s a transfer of free electrons from the Earth into your body. And these free electrons are super powerful antioxidants.

Living in our cities ,surrounded by buildings, walking in shoes on our varnished floors and concrete paths, we are removed from that energy that grounds us so well.

Clinical observations at grounding experiments have shown:

  • Beneficial changes in heart rate
  • Decreased levels of pain
  • Decreased levels of inflammation
  • Increased sleep quality

Unconvinced? Take a look at This paper published by the US Library of Medicine from the Journal of environmental and public health.

Earthing is a simple therapy and it is FREE!! You can implement it straight away. The benefits are so worth it for your mind and body. With the longer evenings now, there is more opportunity to head to the park or beach after work – release your feet and plant them on the grass, sand or ground. It’s a lovely thing to do with kids too – getting barefoot often calms them down and helps them to relax.

Give it a go – just try it!

It pumps your body with antioxidants and has been known to help with back pain, high blood pressure and difficulty sleeping. I get barefoot every chance I get now.

Go back to nature – get outside, kick your shoes off, (unless it’s snowing, which is possible in Ireland in Spring!)  go for a swim in the ocean, or do whatever you can do to get in touch with nature – especially via the feet. If all you can do is run some cold water over your feet or pop out to your garden barefoot for a few minutes, do that.

Let’s get our shoes off and get back to nature!

Are you getting enough sleep?

Sleep is good for your heart, mind and weight. It’s a fact!

Are you tired? Struggling to get through the day? Feeling exhausted all the time? It might be worthwhile taking a look at your sleep pattern. The right amount of quality sleep can help protect your mental health, physical health and overall quality of life.

Your circadian rhythm or your sleep/wake cycle is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain. Outside factors can also impact it. When it’s dark at night, your eyes send a signal to the hypothalamus in the brain telling it that it is time to feel tired. Your brain, in turn, sends a signal to your body to release melatonin, which makes your body tired.

Your circadian rhythm works best when you have regular sleep habits, like going to bed at night and waking up in the morning around the same times from day to day (including weekends!). When things get in the way like a late night, change in the clock or jet lag it disrupts your circadian rhythm, which makes you feel out of sorts.

Without sleep, restful and restorative sleep your body will not be able to recover from the stress that has been placed on it during the day or rebalance, heal and rejuvenate itself properly. Sleep helps your brain work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is preparing for the next day. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and coping with change. This is not helpful in this fast-paced world we live in.

Sleep also plays an important role in our physical health. Sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. There is more I am afraid…. sleep deficiency increases the risk of obesity. It affects how your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls your blood glucose (sugar) level. If that’s not enough sleep also helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones. When you don’t get enough sleep, you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested. Sound familiar?

Sleep or lack of can also affect our growth and development and plays a role in puberty and fertility.  It affects our immune system and can result in difficulty combating common infections.

Convinced that sleep is important? I hope so, so how much sleep do we need?

We are all individual and have different sleep requirements so the real test of whether you had enough sleep is whether you feel refreshed in the morning. The restorative sleep takes place usually between midnight and 4am. This is the time you should be in a deep sleep.

A good tip to identify if you are getting good quality sleep is to keep a sleep diary for a couple of weeks. Write down how much you sleep each night, how alert and rested you feel in the morning, and how sleepy you feel during the day. If you are not refreshed and have any of the sleep deprived symptoms mentioned in this blog consider making some changes. Chronic stress, high sugar diets and technology are often the major culprits (sorry!) but we can make small changes which will make a big difference.

Why not try out some of these tips:

  • Spend time outside everyday (when possible) and be physically active
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, cool, and dark
  • Avoid caffeine before bedtime
  • Avoid smartphones sand tablets before bed – the blue light hits the back of your retina and sends a message to your brain not to make any of the sleep hormone – melatonin. (With tv it is more about what you are watching)
  • Don’t bring the phone to the bedroom
  • Eating little and often during the day – no large meal at bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol before bed
  • Have a cup of camomile tea or peppermint tea before bed
  • Use of lavender oil (on the pillow or soles of the feet)
  • Try to keep to the same sleep routine
  • At least an hour before bed write yourself a ‘to do’ list for the next day
  • Magnesium is good for sleep – nature’s tranquilliser – a few almonds or cashew nuts
  • Relaxation techniques (breathing/meditation/bath).

Good luck and sleep well

Autumn is a time for change

Welcome to Fabtrition and my first blog. I hope you enjoy it.
Autumn is a time for change. It does not seem long since we were basking in the glorious summer sun we had this year. Our landscape is now changing around us. The grass is a luscious green, the leaves red, orange and yellow and the skies are rustling up a mix of weather to keep us on our toes. Nature can inspire us, clear our heads and focus our thoughts. I often think of September as the start of the year as opposed to January. January can seem bleak while September is a bag of surprises. A chance for a new beginning.

People around you may be moaning about the weather and reporting lack of energy as they are spending more time inside. Challenge yourself this autumn to think positively. Head outside, embrace the autumn season, clear your mind and make some decisions that will help you to change your life for the better. Let autumn inspire you to create new goals and adopt new habits that will help you start living your life to the fullest.

It is a wonderful time to consider your health status and what you want for your future. Take out a pen and paper and make a list of your health goals. It may be increased energy levels, better heart health, healthy weight, less stress, toned body, clear skin or run 5 k. Whatever it is write it down and take the first step this autumn towards achieving it. You deserve that. Invest time in you and your future.

One of my personal health goals this autumn is to work on my upper body strength. I have enrolled in ‘Hell and Back’ to provide incentive!

Autumn is a time of change. Channel the energy around you to make some personal changes for your health. Health for life is my motto. What’s yours?