WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

Wellbeing

Spa of the Week: Dharana at Shillim, India ~ For ES Magazine

Around the World, Commisions, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Natural Living, Pranayama, Review, Rituals, Summer, Sustainability, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Dubbed as “one of the most magical wellness destinations” in the world, Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa combines traditional therapies with advanced diagnostic technologies to help heal, prevent and transform.

The main pillars which underpin the Dharana wellness programmes at Shillim are preventative medicine, exercise, nutrition and dietetics, conflict resolution and spiritual wellbeing. The experts take time to look at both mental and physical health.

Tucked almost untouchably high up in the serene mountains of the Western Ghats, Shillim Retreat Estate and Spa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is recognised as one of the world’s top biological diversity hotspots.

Just a few hours from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, Shillim is a majestic paradise that feels like another world. Surrounded by forests, valleys, rice fields, bamboo plantations and nature like you’ve never seen before (especially during monsoon season), arriving at Shillim you are immediately grounded and centred by the surroundings, before you’ve even explored the resorts amenities or wellness packages.

Personalisation and Programmes

Ahead of my visit, I filled in an in-depth questionnaire covering a range of physical, mental and emotional topics. The Dharana team then decipher each guest’s unique current state of wellbeing ahead of their arrival, ensuring they put together an appropriate and entirely personalised programme tailored to each guests needs.

Specific results-driven programmes, such as de-stress, sleep, ayurvedic panchakarma, art of detox, sustainable weight management and many more, are available, the best part about Shillim is being able to work directly with the doctors and dieticians to set and reach your own goals.

This makes everyone’s experience at Shillim unique, and is more effective in providing not only short and long-term results, but also education, knowledge and lifestyle tools to take away with you, to incorporate into life back home.

Treatments

The therapies at Shillim were unlike any I have experienced elsewhere. Situated in private villas around the resort, each separate room was inexplicably tranquil. Like everything at Shillim, the treatments selected for you are also highly personalised to your needs, but range from a combination of deep tissue massage, Ayurvedic herbal oil massages, synchronized abhyanga massage, Indian third-eye head massage and much more - all of which are carried out using seeds, flowers, roots and oils grown and produced locally.

The benefits of each treatment varies, but each one helps to balance and align the body and mind, which I definitely experienced, drifting in and out of levels of consciousness and coming out of each treatment feeling simultaneously refreshed, awakened, buzzing and zen.

Beyond the treatment room

Treatments aside, all other aspects of Shillim support its wellness programmes, from the environment in which you live and sleep, the nature surrounding your every move, the food (all of which is made fresh, to your needs and requirements, with local and on-site produce) and the other amenities.

The efforts to balance, heal and transform goes well beyond the treatment rooms, with opportunities to experience mental and physical therapies in the form of meditation, mindfulness, movement (think yoga, hiking and pilates), sound healing, clay therapy and much more. It is, as they say, a way of life.

Verdict:

The approach to wellness at Shillim is refreshingly different. It is non-invasive, non-restrictive and the opposite of intense.

It is inspiring, then, just how powerful it is, and how transformative just a few days can be. It has the perfect balance of seriousness (working with on-site doctors to assess your health and develop your goals) and serenity, and the traditional Dharana teachings are accessible, non-intimidating and realistic. 

You’ll leave feeling...

Inspired, refreshed, cleansed, detoxified and lighter, both mentally and physically. You’ll enjoy reduced tension and mental clutter from all the treatments, improved digestion and enhanced energy levels from the clean and nourishing foods, sharper focus and concentration from self-development and meditation, and so much more. With the support of highly knowledgable and experiences doctors, therapists and other practitioners, specific ailments may be healed and personal issues overcome, simply after just a few days of deeply transformational TLC. 

The best part is that during your stay you truly learn so much – about yourself but also about wellbeing in general - and you adopt tools to take away with you, meaning you will leave feeling empowered to take control of your own life and capable to live much more fully. 

Why You Need to Visit Mumbai During Monsoon Season ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, Commisions, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Natural Living, Review, Rituals, Summer, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Last month I had the last minute pleasure of visiting India, somewhere I had always dreamed of visiting but just never quite gotten around to planning. It always seemed a bit daunting and something that would require a lot of meticulous organization and prior preparations. So, when I was invited to visit one of India’s “most magical wellness destinations” Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa, I jumped at the chance of experiencing India by following someone else’s lead and itinerary. 

Tucked almost untouchably high up in the serene mountains of the Western Ghats, Shillim Retreat Estate and Spa is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is recognised as one of the world’s top biological diversity hotspots. Just a few hours from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, arriving the other side of the hectic traffic and manic energy of the city, Shillim is a majestic paradise that feels like another world. Surrounded by forests, valleys, rice fields, bamboo plantations and nature like you’ve never seen before (especially during monsoon season), I felt immediately grounded and centred by the surroundings even before exploring the resorts amenities or wellness packages.

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Pre-arrival

Ahead of my visit, I was asked to fill out an in-depth questionnaire by the team behind the resort’s life science wellness program, known as Dharana. The questionnaire explored a range of physical, mental and emotional topics, and I felt instantly more connected to myself and aware of how I was feeling and what I wanted to get out of my visit. Aside from that, the questionnaire is a chance for the Dharana team to decipher each guest’s unique current state of wellbeing ahead of their arrival, ensuring they can put together an appropriate and entirely personalised programme tailored to each guest.

Upon arrival

Upon arrival I was greeted by the entire Dharana team and introduced to everyone who would be taking care of me throughout the week, from my dieticians and doctors to the chefs and therapists. Our arrival ceremony then commenced, with a selection of welcome rituals, starting with energy clearing (using burning sage and a Tibetan singing bowl), followed by a detoxifying footbath of lemongrass, ginger and Himalayan pink salt. The entire experience was incredibly grounding and really helped me to ‘arrive’ and feel settled and present after the long journey, transitioning into a much slower and calmer state of mind and pace of living. 

During my stay

Visiting Shillim, guests have the chance to decide exactly what kind of experience they want, or need. The resort is separated, with the Dharana wellness program and accommodation sitting slightly apart from the main resort where the majority of the apartments, spas and restaurants are located for guests not enrolled in Dharana programs. This gives a sense of ease to the resort, in a way that health and wellness is not imposed upon anyone. But for those who are keen to heal, cleanse and detox, to work on self-development or to achieve weightloss goals, there are plenty of options for everyone. The main pillars of their programmes are preventative medicine, exercise physiology, nutrition and dietetics, conflict resolution and spiritual wellbeing. 

I was on a more wellness-oriented journey which started with some incredibly interesting and insightful tests and assessments looking at my physical and mental health, including traditional Ayurvedic and naturopathic analysis combined with advanced diagnostics technology, such as gene testing and Oligo scanning which help to establish what’s going on internally on a physiological level (for example, revealing nutrient, mineral and vitamin levels, as well as levels of metals and plastics found in the body). After these tests, the team curated a more detailed program specific to my needs and requirements, and the week's activities were focused around getting me physically and mentally back into balance with my natural state, whilst using preventative medicine and other natural remedies to cleanse and detoxify.

After our morning movement, we sat down to personalised breakfasts, created with our individual Ayurvedic types and dietary requirements in mind. Each morning began with a juice and the food was often a mixture of sweet and savoury dishes, all relatively small portions but with a lot of variety. It felt satisfying and filling but was at the same time light and incredibly nourishing.  

Throughout the day, myself and the other guests went about our own schedules, which involved a combination of movement classes, pranayama sessions, meditation sessions, hikes, nature workshops, foraging, crafts, pottery and clay therapy, sound therapy, local village tours, volunteering on local plantations and more - all accompanied by an abundance of on-site spa treatments and therapies everyday. We enjoyed a combination of treatments, from deep tissue massage, Ayurvedic herbal oil massages, synchronised abhyanga massage, Indian third-eye head massage and much more, all carried out using seeds, flowers, roots and oils grown and produced locally. The benefits of each treatment vary, and a combination of several treatments was key to overall wellbeing, to bring the body and mind back into balance.

Lunch and dinner each day was similar to breakfast; a combination of small portions of different dishes with mostly curries, dhals, grains and vegetables. All of the food is made on site using local ingredients, such as rice from neighbouring plantations, to vegetables grown on-site and fish from the forest streams. Everything was incredibly fresh and pure, but without feeling restrictive or too healthy. You wont find juice cleansing, raw foods or other fad’s at Shillim, but instead warming, nourishing and grounding foods based on the five elements of Ayurveda (water, air, fire, ether and wind), aimed at bringing the body back into balance. Each menu outlines the nutritional values of each meal, which is helpful and useful to know, but not something they are too fixated on. It is all about the ritual of eating and fuelling the body with functional foods to help it thrive and function fully. 

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Development and transformation

During my visit, I must say I felt several small transformations, some physically but mostly mentally. During several treatments, for example, I would find deep relaxation and many inspirational ideas began to flood to me. Other times, I felt moments of enlightenment - or realisation – and felt clarity in certain aspects of my life.

Physically, I felt lighter, more energised and deeply cleansed from the food we were eating. My digestion was smoother, and despite early wake up calls, I had consistent energy throughout the day. 

Being in nature, especially with non-stop monsoon downpours, was deeply grounding and cleansing. The staff mentioned how monsoon season is one of the most detoxifying times to visit India and I really felt the benefits of this, as if the rain was washing away mental and physical blockages and encouraging flow. The energy and the nutrients of the rainfall also felt incredibly nourishing and powerful, and I believe it helped with things like water retention and dehydration.Leaving ceremony and departure

On our last day, the team carried out a Shanti Homa and Dhyani ritual ceremony to mark the attainment of mastering the lessons of Dharana and adopting them as a way of life. It was amazing to bring our time to an end, celebrating the week with the staff and other locals. The ceremony is intended to cleanse negative energy and to attract peace and positive energy into ones life, helping to move things along when they seem difficult or stagnant.

Post-visit

For our arrival back home, we were given detailed prescriptions of Ayurvedic tonics and herbal remedies, aimed to pacify our needs and help us reach our goals. We were given a structured daily plan, outlining what to take and when, as well as dietary guidance for life, outlining what we should eat in line with our Ayurvedic types to enhance digestion, energy and overall wellbeing, and to prevent discomfort and disease. Having these remedies and this advice, alongside the daily rituals I had learned throughout my stay, I felt fully equipped to keep the regime up when I arrived home.

The traditional Dharana teachings are not inaccessible, intimidating or unrealistic. The rituals we picked up were simple and short to practice, and the foods and meal plans are focused around everyday essentials and mostly fruits and vegetables that are accessible almost anywhere, and which require minimal cooking and uncomplicated preparation. This kind of retreat is key to overall wellbeing, as you adopt tools and genuinely become educated about yourself and life in general, meaning you leave feeling empowered and inspired to take control of your life and live more fully, using natural resources and remedies and becoming more mindful about yourself and your surroundings in the process. It really is a way of life we should be exploring more and taking inspiration from in order to slowly and consciously adapt our own daily lives.

Wake Up Well Rituals ~ For ES Magazine

Beauty, Commisions, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Movement, Pranayama, Rituals, Seasonal, Wake Up Well, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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This time of year, whilst full of hope, anticipation and new beginnings, can also feel miserable, especially as the weather gets colder and the days shorter and darker. 

For me, autumn is a time for slowing down and turning inward; think of it as hibernation for the modern human. I like to use the end of summer to regain focus and take stock of where I am and what I hope to achieve.

As with any seasonal shift, changes in the weather will affect us mentally and physically. It's common to feel low, suffer with skin problems and have depleted energy levels at this time of year. That’s why I find it useful to have a bank of reliable rituals on hand to help me feel supported and prepared for anything.

Below are my top tips for keeping skin vibrant and hydrated, for enhancing energy levels (especially as the mornings get darker) and for that all-important immunity boost.

Beauty & Skincare

Massage 

Massage is a really powerful and incredibly underrated ritual for all kinds of things, but particularly for boosting circulation (which will enhance your glow), reducing tension and encouraging cell renewal. I like to mix it up between using tools (like a jade crystal roller or gua sha) and just my hands. It’s super simple and you can work it into your current beauty regime, by simple spending around 2-5 minutes massaging the muscles in your face – focusing around the eye, cheek and jaw areas. 

Neti pot

A neti pot is a traditional cleansing method originating from the East. It is a way of cleaning the nasal passages (known as nasal irrigation), and is a ritual used to clear the debri and mucus from the nose and sinuses. It looks a bit like a mini teapot and you fill it with filtered water. It helps to clear the nostrils, helping breathing and oxygen intake, reduce dryness, ease sinus-related headaches, relieve allergy symptoms and prevent viruses and infections. As the seasons change, we are often at risk of seasonal viruses or just feeling a little rundown and out of sorts, so this can definitely help. I also find it makes my head feel clearer too.

Tongue scraper

Scraping the surface of the tongue is known to remove a build up of toxins which accumulates overnight, preventing us from swallowing and ingesting them. It's a really simple, energising and powerful ritual to add to your morning routine.

To Energise 

Tapping

Tapping is a simple technique known to promotes blood circulation and energy flow. It involves tapping and massaging parts of the body, using a combination of fists and fingertips to activate them and to release any tension, emotion or energy blockages held within. This is one of my favourite rituals and can be an energising practice to include in your morning routine if you want to raise your vibrational energy and feel balanced, lighter and physically less stiff. 

Yoga

Yoga doesn’t have to be an hour-long class or strict sequence, but can be as simple as a few stretches here and there, without any kind of ‘flow’. Downward Dog is one of my favourite yoga postures to stretch out the body and to encourage circulation around the body, whilst also reducing muscular tension.

Revolved Twisted Lunge is a warming pose that energises the legs and stimulates the internal organs to promote detoxification and digestion. This is also a great one to practice in the mornings as the temperatures get cooler.

Breathwork 

Pranayama, also known as breathwork, is one of my favourite tools for supporting internal cleansing and to enhance focus, concentration and energy levels. Ideal to practice in the mornings.

Breath-counting meditation is a powerful exercise for the mind which tidies away distracting thoughts, enhancing concentration, stamina and endurance. Try this to refresh your thoughts or stay on task at work or to feel more present.

1. Sit comfortably either on the floor with crossed legs or on a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes, bring your awareness to your breath and notice any natural patterns or rhythms. 

2. On an exhale, start counting silently from one. Then inhale, pause briefly once your lungs have reached full capacity, and exhale, silently counting two. 

3. Keep counting like this at the end of every exhalation until you reach ten, and then starting counting backwards, from ten to one. If thoughts intrude, you get interrupted or you become distracted and forget which number you’re at, simply accept it and start again from one. 

4. Once you are back to ‘one’, repeat the sequence, counting up to 20 or 30 or however far feels natural, and bring the practice to a close when you are ready to. 

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Nourishment

Herbal tonics 

As the weather gets cooler, our bodies begin to crave different things. Grounding ingredients and warm foods are often desired to bring our bodies into balance, and making infusions to drink is one of my favourite ways to gain warmth and nourishment, anytime of day.

Not quite as potent as ingesting the ingredients whole, infusions and teas still draw nutrients from the plants you are using, which are then quickly and easily absorbed by the body. They also help bring variety to the daily-recommended amount of water we should be consuming.

There are several methods for infusing, and the ratio of plants to water really depends on personal taste. For hot options, simply use hot water or hot milk to brew your choice of herbs, spices, flowers, fruits, vegetables or other plant-based ingredients (such as fresh basil, thyme, mint, cinnamon, chamomile,  fresh fruits or fresh vegetables (such as cucumber, carrot, beetroot). Brew them in a large jug, heat-proof bottle or even a large bowl to then decant into smaller bottles. 

Store in the fridge but serve warm. 

Seasonal ingredients

As the seasons change - despite the fact that most ingredients are available all year around these days – it is incredibly beneficial for us to incorporate seasonal ingredients into our diets. Autumn brings with it an abundance of earth and root vegetables, such as turnips, cauliflower, butternut squash, cabbage, carrots, kale, parsnips, potato, and so on.

Vegetables grown in the earth are incredibly grounding, and cooking them and enjoying them warm is even more nourishing, providing our bodies with easily digestible meals to warm from within. Do a little further research on seasonal ingredients as we shift from autumn into winter and opt to swap salads and cold dishes for more curries, soups and stews. 

6 Online Workout Programs That Actually Feel Like a Workout (Plus, My Favourite Free Online Workouts)

Lifestyle, Movement, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

Online workouts have a bit of a bad rep, with many people finding them either hard to follow or hard to commit to without the motivation of a real trainer or a group class environment, or both.

I’ve been dipping in and out of online workouts for years as, sometimes, when I’m traveling a lot or living in temporary accommodation, it is sometimes the easiest and most accessible option for me. However, I always found it inevitably hard to motivate myself, and at times got easily distracted. Not to mention, there was sometimes a lack of genuinely good programs or videos available, and the ones I often most enjoyed involved subscription fees that I didn’t want to commit to long-term.

For the past few months, I’ve been splitting my time between living with my parents back in Bath for some peace and quiet, and with friends in London since I’m traveling and working abroad a lot. In Bath, there are only a few gyms local to me, but they are all a good 10-20 minutes drive away and, for me, that just requires too much time and effort out of my day. For this reason, online workout classes and free youtube videos have been my saviours. I have been researching and rediscovering some of the best online programs and, to my satisfaction, there is so much out there these days. The following list is a combination of the online programs, virtual training programs and free videos that I have been trying out and that have been totally life-changing for me. I’ve found it really easy to incorporate these things into my busy schedule, and have seen some of the best physical results of my life.

I’m due to be traveling for most of the summer, and spending some time abroad and on-the-go for work and other projects, so these programs and video classes will be my go-to, on-demand workouts until I am back and settled in London with access to my usual gyms and classes. I’m super excited to share these with you, just in time for summer, if you cant get to a gym or are bored of your classes or current regime, and want to save some money.

P.volve

P.volve is a smart, science-backed fitness program that helps you achieve your best body without strenuous strength training or intense cardio.

Their approach to fitness is to elongate your shape and builds strength without bulk, to help you carve out the most perfect body that’s right for you. While other programs rely on reps, the P.volve method is based on mastering precise movements that activate hard-to-reach muscles. Because when every movement is meaningful, you can create visible results in less time, using less energy.

The workouts are unlike anything you’ve done before, because the movements are not like anything you’ve tried before. They’re based on the kinds of movements you use in your everyday life (as in, not bicep curls) then carefully developed over time, incorporating neuromuscular science and functional science expertise. In other words, P.volve works with your body, not against it.

P.volve offer a 7-day free trial online and then the program is just $29.99 per month (and available worldwide). They also recently launched in the UK and host regular pop-up classes, so keep up-to-date with their next events online or on social media.

* Use code “COPPERMAN30” to get 30 days free streaming, too.

Fiit App

I have been using the Fiit App for a few months now, and love their on-demand, trainer-let workouts. The app contains all kinds of workouts, from pilates and yoga to hiit and cardio circuits, each one lead by one or several trainers specialised in each particular style and method. The videos are all consistent, too, filmed in the Fiit studios in the same format so that you are able to get used to using the app and following along effortlessly.

Some workouts are longer than others but most are around 20-30 minutes, meaning you can squeeze them into your day pretty easily.

Fiit also have a wearable activity tracking device, too, which you strap around your waist and connect to the app on your phone via bluetooth to track you effort, number of reps and progress from one class to the next.

In June, they also launched Fiit Club - a workout event on the app where you can train with others, and compete against your friends. Fiit Clube is a new kind of HIIT class where you compete on a live leaderboard, based on the premise that working out with others makes you work out harder. You have to upgrade to the premium membership (which includes a free Fiit device!) in order to enjoy this aspect of the app.

Otherwise, the app contains a few free classes, so take a look and perhaps try a few out before deciding whether to sign up to the monthly subscription.

* Get £20 off your membership here.

Megan Roup’s The Sculpt Society

I adore Megan Roup’s method, a mix between dance, cardio, barre, ballet and pilates. Megan's signature class brings an athletic approach to follow along dance cardio and light weight sculpting. This full body, non-stop workout will challenge you with everything you need in 50min to create a lean, sculpted, strong body. Sadly, Megan is US based, and evening her online program is currently only available to stream in the US. However, I have found a few free digital workouts on her website as well as on Popsugar, Youtube and Amazon.

Movement for Modern Life

Movement for Modern Life is a great website for all things yoga and, as they dub it, “yoga made easy”. Their online platform offers a vast selection of varied approaches to yoga, from gentle beginner classes to more intermediate / experimental classes - all guided by actual teachers. I find the videos super easy to follow, and at times just want I need to get motivated to start moving. You can also take part in challenges online, which help to further your practice and keep things interesting. Learn more about their unlimited-access membership, here.

Kayla Itsines

I used to follow Kayla Itsines workout regime a few years ago, before she had an app. I’d have print-outs of her PDF’s and would take them to the gym or the park to workout. I loved the ease of doing just a 20-30 minute workout but that genuinely felt challenging and demanding. Since then, I’ve used the app and other digital videos, and can’t recommend it enough. I saw results instantly and found it easy to do anywhere, with little to no equipment. At the moment, I prefer slightly gentler workouts, less weights and less intense Hiit sequences, however, from time to time, I dip in and out of Kayla’s programs still, especially before a big shoot (or holiday).

Model Fit Streaming

When I lived in New York for a few months, I visited the Model Fit studio a few times as had heard great things about their workouts. It was super challenging but in a controlled way, and wasn’t too intense or stressful, but more focussed and refined. I recently learned that they now have a streaming program, which offers easy-to-follow digital classes you can do anytime, anywhere, and for a length of time that works for you. “We pioneered and customised an approach to mindful and dynamic movement that builds graceful strength and confident presence. Our studios work with members to move with purpose and on purpose by marrying mindful nutrition with mindful exercise”.

The workout involves relatively light weights, and is considered low impact, focusing more on stabilising muscles and engaging them until they shake, working deeply into muscles that usually get overlooked, for the best definition you’ve ever experienced.

Enjoy a free 14 trial and learn more, here.

My Favourite Youtube Trainers and Free Youtube Videos

Madfit
Joe Wicks
30 Minute Barre Class
Pop Sugar
Pvolve
Megan Roup
Barre (ab focus)
Pilates
Tara Stiles
Cardio & Hiit


Links

Five Wellness Techniques to Keep You Zen Whilst Travelling ~ For Evening Standard

Anytime, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Movement, Natural Living, Rituals, Travel, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment

Regular travel can start to take a toll on both your physical and mental health.

To help reduce the side effects of long journeys and constant travelling, I’ve shared my favourite rituals that can be done anytime and anywhere to decrease stress, improve sleep, increase energy and keep you balanced while on the move.

While you can’t be expected to do yoga in the airport or start chanting on a plane, you can always find a corner to close your eyes and turn inward for a moment, requiring nothing but the power of your mind and breath.

It really is as easy as that.

Sensory meditation - to ground and arrive

A simple meditative technique to reduce stress, align concentration and balance emotions is to use your senses to redirect your attention.

This is a versatile practice, and will be different almost every time you practise it, because it is likely that scents, sights and noises will change from one day to the next. Use this technique when you find it particularly hard to focus, or feel overwhelmed with challenging thoughts, either first thing in the morning or just before starting work, to shift and reset your focus.

Sensory awareness meditation may be more powerful in an unfamiliar setting, so if you can, try to change your place of practice from time to time. It is best to practise with your eyes closed, as your senses may be influenced by things you see or you may find it hard to focus on senses other than sight if there are many visual distractions.

Method

1. Find a comfortable seated position and rest your hands on your knees, in your lap or by your side.

2. With eyes closed, bring your awareness to the rhythm of your breath. Notice how each inhalation and exhalation feels and notice where in the body you can feel the breath most. Breathe naturally with your attention on your breath until you come to a steady and comfortable breath.

3. Begin to bring your awareness to each of your five senses. Focus on one sense at a time, noticing how it feels and how it is stimulated in the present moment. Start with whichever sense naturally grabs your attention.

Hearing will likely catch your attention first. Notice the sounds within or around you, without judgement or hostility. They may be the sounds of your own breathing or internal movements. They may be sounds made by others close by or far way, by people you know or don’t know. They may be familiar or unfamiliar sounds. They may be clear or indistinguishable. Sit for a few minutes, acknowledging and accepting the sounds around you, and if any thoughts arise, simply use the sounds around you to refocus the breath.

If you find your attention drifting persistently, turn your focus to another sensation. Notice any smells around you, near or far, faint or pungent. Maybe you’ve lit a candle or applied some fragrance to yourself or the space around you. Maybe you smell food or plants, fresh washing or smoke. If a smell brings negative thoughts, turn your attention to more positive smells around you.

Perhaps the taste in your mouth becomes noticeable, next. Maybe there is a sight aftertaste from your last meal, or from smoking or brushing your teeth. If you don’t smoke and/or haven’t yet eaten, notice the inside of your mouth and how your tongue feels. Is it heavy or light? Is it soft or rough? How does it feel to move it slowly around the mouth? This may bring your attention to touch. How do things feel? How do your hands feel where they are resting, and what are they resting on? If rested on your body, do they feel warm or can you feel the warmth of your body beneath them? If on the floor or furniture, how does it feel? Is it cold? Is it soft or rigid? Are you comfortable? Notice the connection between your sitting bones and where you are sat. Do you feel rooted and supported by the earth beneath? Is the rest of your body comfortable in this pose? How do your clothes feel against your skin? If you want, you can even feel around you, resting your hands on any objects they fall upon and considering what they might be.

Maybe this will bring your attention to your sight. Blink your eyes open gently, take in your surroundings, noticing objects, shapes, colours, materials and light. Gradually trace the room, resting on things that catch your attention, and then pause, noticing how you feel after the exercise. Close your eyes again and close the practice with a few deep breaths.

Body scan - to calm and relax

Body scanning is an easy mindfulness exercise to relax the body, calm the mind and shift attention away from overpowering thoughts. It involves relaxing each part of the body by focusing on it for a few moments. Practising this meditation in the evening is ideal as it is best performed lying down, encouraging the body and mind to transition from “doing” to “being”.

Method

1. Lie on your back on a comfortable surface with your legs slightly apart and your arms by your sides. If you are not in bed, place a blanket over your body if you tend to get cold easily.

2. Focus on the breath and notice any thoughts or feelings that arise. When they do, try to turn your attention back to your breath and how it feels moving through the body.

3. Start by focusing your attention on the toes on your right foot. Be aware of how they feel and gradually move your attention up the right side of your body right up to your head, before continuing down the other side.

4. Settle here and notice how your body feels, both part by part and as a whole, and notice how your mind now feels.

Breath of Fire breathing exercise - to energise

This exercise is used for internal purification. It tones and cleanses the respiratory system by encouraging the release of toxins, and is intended to make you feel lighter in your body and mind. It involves short, sharp exhalations and passive inhalations, or vice versa. This is quite an advanced practice so familiarise yourself with other techniques before this one.

Method

1. Inhale deeply and then forcefully exhale to drive all the air out of the lungs and stomach.

2. Take another full inhale, and then begin to exhale forcefully through the nose. Try to start with 6–10 short, sharp exhalations, without taking an inhale (slight inhalation will occur passively). With each short exhale, draw the belly inwards, engaging and tucking the abdomen in and up towards your ribs.

3. After you’ve completed a full cycle, inhale and exhale fully for a few breaths, before repeating a few more rounds. I like to do around 3–5 rounds.

4. To close the practice, settle in your seated position and return to a natural, effortless breath.

Self massage for neck and shoulders - to improve circulation and reduce tension

This simple massage sequence is so simple yet so powerful. I do this anytime I travel, to reduce tension in my neck and shoulders, especially after long flights.

Method

1. Stand tall and relax your shoulders down your back, elongating the neck.

2. Support your forehead by resting it in the palm of your left hand and then let the head tip slightly forwards. Using the edge of your right hand (along your little finger to where your hand joins the wrist), use a gentle chopping motion to lightly tap up the base of the skull. Stay in this vicinity, working around the base of the skull and top of the neck. If tapping is too much, use sawing motions to release tension at the base of the skull and in the neck. Do this for about 1–2 minutes.

3. Return to standing and slightly tip your head back. Take your hands to your head with thumbs just under the ears, palms on the side of your cheeks and fingers along the sides of your face, fingertips on the temples (as if you were going to lean on a table with your head supported in your hands).

4. Then, use the pads of your thumbs to work around the base of the skull, pressing and massaging the area with however much pressure feels right (you will just know). Move your hands passively, however feels comfortable, and work inwardly with the thumbs from behind the ears towards the spine. Work for about 2 minutes, and feel free to use the thumbs at other points in the skull that feel tight, such as above the ears or the temples.

Journaling - to unwind and focus

Journaling is something I love to do anytime, but whilst travelling, especially travelling alone, I love to make time for it to jot down thoughts that come up. Usually, when I'm abroad or travelling alone, I am in a really calm state and love exploring new places which helps to switch off my mind. I find some of my more inspiring thoughts and ideas come to me in this state, and so spending a little time journaling is really useful. It can also be used if you are feeling stuck, lost or a little lonely, to let go of thoughts and any negativity and try to understand it more.

Another option is to practice stream of consciousness in your journal, as another meditation option, which involves simply writing as soon as you wake up, with no agenda or really topic in mind. this helps to clear the mind and enhances energy and concentration for the rest of the day.

Simple Sensory Meditation ~ From Well Being Book

Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Mindfulness & Meditation, Well Being Book, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

A simple meditative technique to reduce stress, align concentration and balance emotions is to use your senses to redirect your attention. This is a versatile practice, and will be different almost every time you practise it, because it is likely that scents, sights and noises will change from one day to the next. Use this technique on mornings when you find it particularly hard to focus, or feel overwhelmed with challenging thoughts, either first thing in the morning or just before starting work, to shift and reset your focus.

* Sensory awareness meditation may be more powerful in an unfamiliar setting, so if you can,
try to change your place of practice from time to time. (It is best to practise with your eyes closed, as your senses may be influenced by things you see or you may find it hard to focus on senses other than sight if there are many visual distractions).


Find a comfortable seated position and rest your hands on your knees, in your lap or by your side.

With eyes closed, bring your awareness to the rhythm of your breath. Notice how each inhalation and exhalation feels and notice where in the body you can feel the breath most. Breathe naturally with your attention on your breath until you come to a steady and comfortable breath.

Begin to bring your awareness to each of your five senses. Focus on one sense at a time, noticing how it feels and how it is stimulated in the present moment. Start with whichever sense naturally grabs your attention.

Hearing will likely catch your attention first. Notice the sounds within or around you, without judgement or hostility. They may be the sounds of your own breathing or internal movements. They may be sounds made by others close by or far way, by people you know or don’t know. They may be familiar or unfamiliar sounds. They may be clear or indistinguishable. Sit for a few minutes, acknowledging and accepting the sounds around you, and if any thoughts arise, simply use the sounds around you to refocus the breath.

If you find your attention drifting persistently, turn your focus to another sensation. Notice any smells around you, near or far, faint or pungent. Maybe you’ve lit a candle or applied some fragrance to yourself or the space around you. Maybe you smell food or plants, fresh washing or smoke. If a smell brings negative thoughts, turn your attention to more positive smells around you.

Perhaps the taste in your mouth becomes noticeable. Maybe there is a sight aftertaste from your last meal, or from smoking or brushing your teeth. If you don’t smoke and/or haven’t yet eaten, notice the inside of your mouth and how your tongue feels. Is it heavy or light? Is it soft or rough? How does it feel to move it slowly around the mouth?

This may bring your attention to touch. How do things feel? How do your hands feel where they are resting, and what are they resting on? If rested on your body, do they feel warm or can you feel the warmth of your body beneath them? If on the floor or furniture, how does it feel? Is it cold? Is it soft or rigid? Are you comfortable? Notice the connection between your sitting bones and where you are sat. Do you feel rooted and supported by the earth beneath? Is the rest of your body comfortable in this pose? How do your clothes feel against your skin? If you want, you can even feel around you, resting your hands on any objects they fall upon and considering what they might be.

Maybe this will bring your attention to your sight. Blink your eyes open gently, take in your surroundings, noticing objects, shapes, colours, materials and light. Gradually trace the room, resting on things that catch your attention, and then pause, noticing how you feel after the exercise.

Close your eyes again and close the practice with a few deep breaths.

Well Being With Friends ~ Amy Ward of Bug Clothing

Business Stories, Inspiration, Interview, Lifestyle, Essentials, Natural Living, Rituals, Sustainability, Wellbeing, Well Being with Friendsdanielle coppermanComment
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Amy Ward is the mastermind behind sustainable clothing brand, Bug Clothing. She seeks the objective to create garments by hand that reflect the ideology that we should all buy less and admire quality and consideration over quantity. She uses only natural fibres as the foundation of each garment, and each piece will be uniquely different as they are made by hand on a very small scale. The materials used are designer factory deadstock which would otherwise go to waste, meaning they aren't contributing to the reproduction of new materials.

Here, I catch up with Amy on some of her favourite and recently discovered lifestyle tips for living well and behaving ethically and responsibly in a consumerist society.

Favourite or recently discovered Book:

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, and How Should A Person Be by Sheila Heti.

Favourite wellness tip or tips:

I feel like I spend every moment of my day rushing from something, to something, to finish something. So I have decided to make sure I take time to feel and rub each part of my body when I bath. Squeezing and massaging your calves just feels great. We spend so much time stood, walking and using our bodies and I've only just started paying attention to my body and feeling grateful for everything it allows me to do. 

Favourite or recently discovered Podcast:

I'm really bad and listen to the same thing, I just adore The Moth. I love listening to it when i'm on a bus or walking. I really love to listen to stories of people from all different walks of life with a whole different set of experiences and perspectives, it really opens your eyes. I also listen when i'm doing long days/nights in the studio and have spent many'a'hours crying and laughing out loud. I also have really enjoyed 'Violet Sessions' - listening to inspiring people speak about their experiences and businesses is really interesting.

Favourite or recently discovered App:

MyFlo! My lovely friend introduced me to it. It's amazing for Women to keep track of their cycles and to get tips on which foods to eat and what exercises to do to relieve annoying symptoms of our periods. I was going through a phase where I was feeling really rubbish when I was due and said to my friend that I just always wanted to cancel my plans and hide inside, and she just said 'why the hell aren't you just doing that?'. Knowing your schedule and knowing when you might not be feeling great, and not overwhelming yourself with plans and events and taking time to just lay in the bath or just making yourself a lovely dinner that will make you feel good, is very very important.

Favourite or recently discovered Song:

Music, aside from food and cats, is one of my favourite things and is soooo important. My favourite song today is Angel by Fra Lippo Lippi

Sustainable / handmade fashion - tell us more about your contribution and passion for this mission, and give us a few simple tips for effortless changes in this area that anyone can make today:

I read an article a long time ago about how the rate of depression and anxiety is much higher in ours and the previous generation, and how this could be heavily linked to the fact that people spend a lot of their lives at desks on computers, as opposed to doing something physical with an actual physical outcome. The satisfaction I feel when I finish a garment, or a pattern, is just great, and seeing your accomplishments in a physical form is really rewarding. In our Grandparents generation there were far more makers, people mended things, made their own things, they were much more pro-active and nowadays so much of our lives is computer based and I think that can lead to you feeling far less satisfied with your days outcome. 
In the past makers, whether it be seamstresses/builders/carpenters/shoe makers etc weren't especially wealthy or valued, but in recent years people with skills and the ability to make are becoming much more valued. The skill and intelligence it takes to put something together is a wonderful thing and should be rewarded with equal pay. 

I think some people assume it's easy to make something. It's easy to take a garment from a store that you like, take this to a factory and to get it copied and produced, which is what a lot of brands do. And you could say you are getting things made locally, but do they know the conditions in which the people are working, what their rate of pay is, the hours they are working? I make everything within my studio, and currently am able to do this because my demand isn't ridiculously high and because me and my employees have the ability to physically make everything. I think people should delve a little deeper with what they are supporting and buying into. It's very easy with things like Instagram to be enticed by an aesthetic or the look of a lifestyle. But far past 'not currently recyclable', what does it mean to be ethical, anyone can say it, and a lot of people do without really assessing what that means.

Favourite or recently discovered Film / series / documentary:

Greys Anatomy. I don't know why. It just feels good and I love it. There's something nostalgic about it, the soundtrack reminds me of being a teenager and it has the same warming feeling that I get from watching Frasier.

Something you've done recently that felt really, really good:

Me + my partner got a dog! He's called Seabass, and he's very good for my soul. We leave our phones at home and take him for an early morning walk before work. It really helps to set your day up and an excuse to spend time outside whatever the weather is. Also seeing such a lovely innocent little creature running around and having fun is just the best.

Wellness tip to try today:

Look up at the sky! It's lovely and wonderful + we forget to look up at it.

Favourite or recently discovered sustainable fashion brand:

Penny Sage. Kate, the designer, designs everything and gets everything made by one lady who lives locally to her in New Zealand.

Favourite pieces from that brand:

They make a good range of styles and the pieces i've gotten are really well made staples that go with a lot of things. Like a pair of really durable jeans and an a-line denim skirt which I adore. Also, the trousers. Mostly they're the same cut which is super flattering and lovely. They have a button-up fly and are high waisted and just hold everything in place perfectly.

Favourite or recently visited country / city:

I recently went to Pollina in Sicily which was very beautiful, and the local wines were incredible 

A story from your favourite or recent travels:

I really love a lot of places, but my fondest memory that comes to mind was cycling around Southern Turkey collecting fallen Pomegranates. It was the end of their season (October) and they were just rotting on the ground. We rented a scooter and visited the fruit and vegetable market and bought so many wonderful things to eat, and also a bunch of walnuts which I also added to the dye mix. We also visited the local fabric shop and got some lovely Turkish cotton to use, I did some tests and different consistencies which was fun. The initial colour is a lovely pink, as you would imagine, but after rinsing the actual outcome was a really beautiful bright cardamom-y yellow. It was a really therapeutic thing to do. Especially as when you're in London it's quite difficult to find time to do fun, experimental things, there are always a lot of other responsibilities.

Favourite or recently discovered wellness product or tool:

Natural soap + shampoo bars by Funkysoap. They are based in Leyton so very close to me, and don't use plastic containers just lovely natural bars wrapped in paper. I felt really bad looking at my plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner and how we don't refill them we just throw them, so decided to use bars instead. And I love them. 

Favourite piece of advice, quote or mantra:

Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object - Hermann Hesse.

Something you live by - a mantra or general morals:

Everything will be better in the morning. Because sleeping on things always seems to be great for perspective.

Favourite remedy for illness:

Rest! Lots of sleep, baths with salts + oils. I have also recently taken to making some of my own natural remedies instead of using regular medical ointments. I sometimes suffer with impetigo when I am run down, and instead of using my usual cream, I instead made a paste of Tumeric mixed with coconut oil, and a lot of hot compresses, it seemed to aleviate the rash very quickly. My next task is that I am going to make a potion with sage to help with ulcers.

Best remedy for sounder sleep:

Hmmm, it's a tricky one because I could quite literally fall asleep in the middle of a motorway. I think fresh air and walking is a really great way to make sure you sleep well.

Favourite form of exercise:

I really love to stretch. Yoga is my favourite and only form of exercise. And when i'm home at waiting for the kettle to boil I like to stretch my body.

Favourite or recently discovered place / person for ultimate chill time:

I went to a Womens' Hamam in Kreuzberg, Berlin in December. The weather was rubbish out and the spa was so lovely and the people so friendly. There was a steam room and the tiled room with the metal pans for pouring warm water over yourself, which when you sit and do it for 20 minutes is super relaxing. After I sat upstairs in a towel reading my book and drinking Turkish tea and it was magical.

Favourite healthy food / drink:

Drinking vinegars! My partner just made a reaaaally great Rhubarb Vinegar that we drink with sparkling water and feel like we're being fabulous.

How do you achieve that work / life balance?

Oh boyyyy. Something I am very much still learning. I think it's just important to not overwhelm yourself (I do this often) and to remind yourself how important it is to do nice things, to appreciate the little things, and to eat a bunch of yummy things everyday. 

How do you remain mindful and conscious whilst successfully growing a business with purpose / promoting a more meaningful lifestyle and consciousness:

I think it depends on how your business came about. I struggle to separate myself from my business because ultimately I am my whole brand. I have to somehow be a business Woman when really I am a maker, so I never started a business with the intention of making money. I just wanted to make nice things and if I could create jobs for lovely and talented people and make clothes that supported other local businesses with buying fabrics and trimmings, then just great. I want to make sure the people I work with are happy, that they're enjoying what we're doing and also at the end of the day it's just clothes. I've never been driven by money and so this makes it really simple for me to produce new styles + clothing. I go by what I think looks great and hope that other people like it too. I think it's good to be transparent and I am working on a series of transparency posts, I want people to know what goes into a product. It's easy to idolise the things you see on Instagram and people are good at creating a mood, this is all well and good but I think it's very important to be real and to be humble. I have previously worked with large high street brands who have the ability to sell dresses for something ridiculous like £8. How is it possible? It's possible because everything is wrong. How is it that something that is better travelled than me and a lot of us, that is made up of material, that's been designed, that's been pattern cut, sewn, packaged and put into a commercial building, being sold for so little? This sets the precedent for how people value what they buy. Why would they buy an item of clothing for £180 if they think the worth of a garment is less than £8? Having a value is very important, things take time to grow, things need to be nurtured and cherished and in our consumerist culture we are all taught that things are very throw-away. I feel very passionately about it. And I myself have been blind in the past, we are raised the way we are and I completely understand that we are not all privileged enough to have the option to consider what goes into everything that we eat and wear, but luckily I do feel like people are becoming more aware. Hopefully big supermarkets will stop using 'not currently recyclable' plastics (idiots), and people will care more about who made their clothes, and the environments in which they are made. And hopefully people will have far fewer belongings, but they'll have really special things. Sorry about my rampage.

Favourite thing to instantly reduce stress:

Go for a walk and listen to a podcast, most likely The Moth, to get a little perspective and be reminded of the kindness of others. Also, I love to read poetry in the bath, things by Rupi Kaur, Key Ballah and Nayyirah Waheed.

First thing you do every morning:

Ask my boyfriend to make me tea

Last thing you do every evening:

I'm not religious but I have a little ritual of asking (in my mind) god/someone/the sky/whoever, to keep all the good people safe and happy and healthy.

Weekend rituals:

I like to have Sundays off, and I like to have a bath in the morning, read some of my book, drink lots of coffee, lay still for as long as I can.

Wake Up Well Workshop with Earl of East London at Bonds ~ August 4th & August 11th

Events, Wellbeing, Wake Up Well, Rituals, Natural Living, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment
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I’m super excited to be hosting one of my first events of the year, a Wake Up Well Workshop with one of my favourite stores, Bonds x Earl of East London.

Join us in their Kings Cross store this August for a Wake Up Well Workshop with a difference. We will spend the morning talking all things wellbeing rituals and discussing how to create sustainable and empowering morning routines, whilst enjoying energising hot drinks and a delicious Qnola brunch spread. We'll then make our own Wake Up Well candles guided by the Earl of East London team, using calming but energising components to create a powerful candle to take away and incorporate into your daily rituals. The event will end with a guided meditation intended to reduce stress, encourage focus and concentration and energise the mind. The meditation will be something you can practice independently at home, so you will leave equipped with tools to apply to your own daily rituals and to design a productive morning routine that you can practice anytime you want.

Wellness at Six Senses Kaplankaya ~ For Evening Standard

Commisions, Around the World, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Review, Rituals, Summer, Sustainability, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Just visiting Six Senses Kaplankaya offers an abundance of wellbeing, regardless of whether you then participate in any of their additional programs, packages or treatments. By that, I mean that the fresh air, the ocean, the warm weather and sunshine, the food made almost entirely from produce grown in the resorts own gardens and the untouched nature for miles is enough to calm to the mind, nourish the body, nurture skin, hair and nails and get squeaky-clean vitamin and mineral rich oxygen flowing throughout the body. However, if you want or need more, you will find exactly the thing (or things) at Six Senses Wellness Center; all with the guidance and support of in-house and visiting practitioners from around the world.

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The wellness center at Six Senses Kaplankaya (which, by the way, is one of the biggest in Europe) is built around a variety of theories and practices, from clinical and scientific methods, to more Eastern and spiritual approaches. At the foundation of what they do is the understanding that each one of us is different, and that each individual should be observed holistically and treated in an entirely personalized way. For this reason, the resort offers things like wellness screenings and bodpods which take a detailed snapshot of your current health and composition and which they suggest you do on day one of your visit, so that you can spend the following days enjoying the most relevant areas of the resorts programs and treatments.

Following that, you can either choose to embark on whichever one of their pre-designed packages or programs fits your needs, or to design your own completely unique schedule. The programs (such as mental detox, sleep and eat with six senses) offer a selection of different results; some being more psychological, and others being perhaps solely food-oriented. Depending on what you need, and also how you want to spend your time at Six Senses (since you may prefer to holiday rather than to detox, or to combine both in a more relaxed and flexible way), you can choose what is right for you with the support of some of the world’s most renowned practitioners to guide you.

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For those looking to detox

For those looking for an intensive program and a wholly detoxifying experience, the option is there to work on all areas of your health. You can enjoy tailored menus (which offer options designed with specific results in mind, such as better sleep, better digestion, general healthiness or detoxing and weight loss) and daily exercise classes or one-to-one sessions. For deeper work, the spa treatments and entire spa area (complete with hydrotheraphy, salt rooms, hammam and much more) are there to enjoy at your leisure. Practitioners are also on hand, offering things like deep tissue massage and body scrubs for physical detoxing, as well as more spiritual treatments which help to unblock negative or stagnant energy and to encourage positivity and a sense of clarity and happiness.

For those looking for some gentle cleansing

For those who want to enjoy the indulgences of the hotel whilst also doing a bit of work on themselves, you can take and leave whatever you wish, to ensure you create an enjoyable and relaxed experience that doesn’t feel to restrictive. You might not choose to follow a set diet and you might not wish to workout at all, but you can book in as and when you like for things like one-off classes (perhaps the gentler options like yoga and Pilates) and massages and other treatments. You can also opt for activities that feel more like a good time than exercise, such as swimming (in one of their pools or the crystal-clear ocean), water sports (like their catamaran-bicycles), local walks and hikes, cycling and classes like zumba. You’ll also find healthy options in all of the hotels restaurants, so if you want a salad or a green juice whilst also enjoying some wine and dessert, you can have it all!

For those looking for enlightenment

For the more spiritual or curious, and for those looking for a deep journey into the self, to take things one step further than a short-term diet or fitness program, and to equip you with rituals and skills to take away and apply to life back home, the resort offers all kinds of treatments and therapies to encourage relaxation, clarity, positivity and more. From energy healing such as sound baths, reiki, watzu (basically water shiatsu which I cannot recommend enough) and shiatsu, to meditation, chakra aligning and ayurvedic massage. They also run workshops and as part of certain programs supply gratitude notebooks, to encourage journaling and writing down whatever comes up during treatments or just generally during your stay. If you want to go even further, some practitioners even offer training for certain treatments, such as reiki, in case you want to learn the tools to practice on yourself (or others) in future.

As you can see, there is without a doubt something for everybody at Six Senses Kaplankaya, whether you want to do some deep detoxifying and self-development or prefer some serious relaxation with a side of green juice or yoga every now and then. Find out more about their programs and packages here.

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Natural Remedies & Tips For Handling Your Flight Anxiety ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Anytime, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Since I was too young to rationalise fear of flying, I have become a loyal member of the anxious flyer club. Sometimes it’s worse than others. Sometimes, the day before a flight, anxiety will kick in, manifesting in the form of physical tension and/or mental distractedness. Others, I’ll be fine, or I’ll convince myself I’m fine but the minutes the wheels start spinning I’ll lose my breath and start worrying incessantly and assuming the worst.

As a regular flyer, I have, however, found ways to manage these inevitable side effects, since travelling is a big part of my job and I don’t want to miss out on things just because the journey frightens me. I have developed a set of simple rituals, which reduce stress and anxiety, reduce physical tension, silence my worried mind and just generally put me at ease. I know a lot of people struggle with flight anxiety and general fear of flying, and for that reason, I wanted to share them. Below, find some of my favourite natural remedies and simple rituals to help calm the mind, reduce stress and ease physical tightness and tension, to support you all the way to your destination, and back.

1. Avoid coffee, or all caffeine if you can

Caffeine can often enhance nervousness and anxiety, depending on your personal physiology and the way you metabolise it. Some people are fine with caffeine and metabolise it slowly meaning it is manageable, however others metabolise it quickly and that’s when you end up with intense and often buzzy energy spikes. For me, caffeine messes with my adrenals and that extra spike in whatever it is really throws me off whack and makes me feel more on edge. It makes me feel tense and tight and unable to relax, so if you know you get anxious or nervous flying, avoid caffeine as much as possible, pre-flight.

2. Aromatherapy is out of this world effective

One thing I discovered long ago was aromatherapy and the power of scent to heal the mind. For the past few years, I have been travelling with aromatherapy balms and essential oils, and as soon as I get into my seat, I douse myself in it. I rub the balms or oils on my wrists, neck, temples and even under my nose or on my upper lip if I need extra intensity. I use scents that are relaxing, uplifting, grounding or mood boosting, and they honestly help so much. Not only is the scent incredibly healing on a deep physiological level, applying these oils or balms enhances the ritual of breathing deeply, encouraging you to take a moment for some deep inhalations and exhalations. I couldn’t recommend this more, for a quick, relatively cheap and easy-to -do-anywhere remedy.

3. CBD

You’ll be familiar with CBD by now, I’m sure, and I personally use it in several areas of my life to encourage relaxation and to reduce stress, anxiety and physical pain or tension. For flying, it comes in handy as a way to reduce stress and anxiety, calming the mind and helping you to generally chill the F out. I take a few drops internally about half an hour before my flight, and if I’m feeling really uncontrollable, I’ll top up when I settle into my seat too. It helps to just take the edge off my nerves and gently slow the mind, making me quite unfazed and unaffected by my formerly overpowering thoughts.

4. Sleeping aids

Sleep is sensible option if you want to get through a flight, and is my best piece of advice if you would rather just sleep through the whole thing. To do this, for those unable to silence their mind or those who find it difficult to sleep in such uncomfortable and unfamiliar conditions, I present to you, liquid melatonin and magnesium supplements and / or spray. Melatonin works best for me (it knocked me out for almost the entire flight from LA to London) but magnesium is a slightly milder option known to encourage sleep and relaxation, and to relax and repair muscles. Obviously there are also stronger, over-the-counter or prescription options too, but these are my favourite supplements for naturally topping up hormones and chemicals we already hold within us. Oh, and a few other tips for sounder sleep: earplugs, eye masks, socks, a blanket and a cushion or neck support if needed.

5. Eating

Something I discovered works well for me only recently is fasting during a flight. Sure, that’s pretty easy on most flights around Europe, which are a maximum of a few hours long, and sure, that sounds impossible for long haul flights but, hear me out. Fasting, and ultimately giving the digestion a break, allows your energy to be used elsewhere, and also means running less risk of inflammation or bloating. For me, I get a tense stomach and hold anxiety and stress in my stomach area, so having a break from digestion food helps to keep my stomach from being under too much pressure to work hard. When I fast on planes, I notice I feel much less tense and whilst stress still has its side effects on me, my stomach feels generally lighter and more at ease that when I eat whilst be incredibly stressed. If you get anxious and, like me, hold these emotions physically in your stomach, your energy is used on your body’s stress responses, anyway, and so doesn’t have spare energy to use on digesting food. If you can, eat before and after a flight but not during. If you must eat, opt for really hydrating, whole foods like fruits or raw vegetables, which are not so hard to digest, and which don’t dehydrate you (like nuts or salty foods).

6. Breathe deeply and often

This one is another favourite of mine, especially when about to take off. For me, the take off is the worst part for me, and I’ve learned that regulating my breath by practicing deep breathing and / or pranayama techniques really helps me. Not only does it take my mind off my worries to focus on the sequence of my breath, it also just fills my body with energetic oxygen, which is needed all around the body. When we’re stressed, we tend to hold our breaths or adopt a rapid, short breath, so when you notice this next time you’re anxious on a flight, either take about 6-10 long, deep breaths (with your eyes closed also helps), or look into some more advance pranayama techniques to try.

7. Listen

This one might seem obvious, but it’s effective. I have to listen to music during take off, to drown out the noise of the aircraft. Sometimes, any beeps or other unfamiliar noises (like the wheels going up or someone dropping something on the floor) trigger an extra pang of anxiety and concern, so listening to music really helps me. It doesn’t really matter what kind of music you listen too, but I’d recommend something relatively fun and upbeat, or calming (but loud enough). Nothing too heavy, loud or aggressive though as this will just make things worse. It might be useful to make an ‘In Flight’ playlist. Another option is to listen to audio books or podcasts, to take your mind of things.

8. Keep hydrated

Planes are incredibly dehydrating, so be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after flying. Try to avoid alcohol or caffeine as these are dehydrating, and could also contribute to your levels of stress or anxiety. Water is the one.

9. Prepare

This is an important one. Be prepared for your journey and allow enough time to get to the airport, to avoid added stress getting to the flight already feel anxious about. Being bored and waiting around is better than being late and frantically faffing through the airport, a hot and stressed-out mess. On another note, if you want to be really prepared, use the day before to spend time downloading and organising the apps you might need during the flight, as well as playlists and / or videos.

10. Keep busy

Keeping busy and having plenty to do during a flight is another good way to keep your mind distracted from the anxiety of flying thousands of feet above ground with absolutely no control over the matter. Download something to watch (if you flight doesn’t have entertainment screens), listen to music or podcasts, read, write, draw, look through photos (I always find this incredibly calming), play a game, meditate and so on. Whatever you do, just don’t sit there worrying.

11. Gratitude and positive thinking

This also helps me to calm my mind and feel better, and serves almost as a meditation of its own. I use a diary or the notes on my phone to write down a list of things I am grateful for, too, which makes me feel positive and acts to distract my mind from my worries.

12. Walk around

During the flight - whenever possible - try to get up now and then to stretch or stand. This can help boost circulation and prevent stiffness and inflammation, but can also help take your mind of things, too. Standing with both feet rooted on the floor can help you feel more grounded, and even doing stretches at the back of the plane can help boost energy flow and enhance positivity. I like to stretch or do some gentle Qi-Gong-style exercises, and also incorporate breathing with this. It just helps to keep energy moving and to avoid stagnant energy or blocks, and also keeps you busy.

13. Watch the air hostesses

This might sound weird and a little creepy, but whenever I’m nervous, either during take-off or turbulence, I look around to see how the air hostesses are acting. They take multiple flights a day (just imagine if bad flyers like you and I had to do that and be grateful that we don’t), and I always think that if they don’t seem worried or concerned, then everything is under control. Of course some things that you worry about might be out of their control, but it just helps in the moment to know that as long as the airhostesses are going about their duties calm and collected, there is nothing immediately to worry about.

14. Self-massage

Self-massage can be a great tool for relaxation. Try to develop a massage technique to use on your hands, feet, head, face, temples and neck. There is no real right or wrong way, just gently massage wherever and however feels good. It might help to close your eyes, too. If you want to go one step further, do some research on specific pressure points, and specific meridians or points associated with stress or anxiety.

15. Try these apps

Soar is an app that helps to calm anxious flyers and reduce nervousness, panic and claustrophobia. It offers written articles about flying, videos and even things like gravity monitoring and turbulence predictions. The Breathing App is also useful if you want to master your in-flight breathing rituals, and some of my favourite meditation apps include Insight Timer, Headspace, Breathe, Buddhify, Calm and Inscape. You can also find apps with white noise, too, to encourage sleep.

16. Meditate

I’ve mentioned this within some of the other points, but meditation is such a simple method for calming a worried mind and instilling relaxation and clarity and helping you to feel present. Meditate as you take off, during the flight and then just before you land or during the landing. Just 5 or 10 minutes each time can help reduce stress and silence your thoughts. See point 15 for recommended apps.

17. Visualisation

Usually I advise people to focus on the journey (of life), not the destination or endpoint, but when travelling, the opposite makes more sense. Focus on the destination, not the journey. Visualisation is a powerful tool (a type of meditation depending on how it is practiced) for enhancing mood and reducing stress and anxiety. Try to develop a visualisation practice, perhaps visualising things like pleasant memories in the past, hopes and dreams for the future, or perhaps most easily, the destination you are heading to. If you are going on holiday, visualise where you are going and what you will do. You could visualise the hotel or accommodation, a beach, the ocean, the pool, the food, people you might be meeting once you get there, or random people you might come across. It could be anything and it doesn’t have to be accurate; let your mind run naturally wild and go with it.

18. Ensure your energy is topped up

This topic has sort of been touched on in point 9, but as well as preparing and making sure you are not going to stressfully be finishing packing before your flight or face last minute issues or delays, be sure to have prepared for your flight on a deeper level. The night before, as much as possible, ensure you get a good night sleep. If you need to be up early for the flight, sleep well the night before the night before, or nap during the day before your flight. This will ensure, no matter the time difference at your destination or the jet lag, that you have your energy reserves topped up as much as possible.

Remember, when it really comes down to it, you have very little control over the situation once you’re on that plane. There is not much you can do, and worrying certainly isn’t going to help anything, it will just make the whole ordeal much, much worse. Try to sit back, relax and enjoy the journey as much as you can. I hope one or several of these tips will help you through your next trip!

Well Being with Friends ~ Josefina A. Theo of Casa Raki

Interview, Natural Living, Rituals, Well Being with Friends, Wellbeing, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment

In my latest Well Being With Friends conversation, I chat to Josefina A. Theo - founder beautiful sustainable swimwear brand Casa Raki. I picked up some new insights in the world of sustainable fashion and manufacturing, along with other stories and suggestions for daily life and balanced wellbeing. From recent reads and favourite wellness apps, to travel memoirs and mantras to live by, I hope you discover a selection of new things to try and to apply to your own lifestyle, to assist and support your journey of self-development and prosperity.

Favourite or recently discovered Book:

Tokyo Blues by Haruki Murakami (English version)

Top wellness tip(s):

Do yoga every day!

Favourite or recently discovered Podcast:

I'm pretty old-school and still haven't gotten my head around to podcasts, yet.

Favourite or recently discovered App:

Vivino for wine ratings and reviews.

Favourite or recently discovered wellness guru, personality or website:

I’m a recent Goop convert, and love their amazing wellness tips.

Favourite or recently discovered Song:

Contra la Pared by J Balvin / Sean Paul.

Favourite or recently adopted daily ritual or habit:

Swapping coffee for decaf coffee.

Sustainable / eco beauty - your favourite beauty rituals and ingredients or products for good skin?

Gazelli Skincare.It's amazing.

Favourite or recently discovered Film / series / documentary:

Quicksand on Netflix

Something you've done recently where you felt super present, content and grateful:

A picnic I had last weekend with my best friends at the top of Col de Vence, the most beautiful natural setting, with the best company and the best food and wine. I felt very grateful for life in that moment.

If we were to try just one thing for our wellbeing, what would be your one tip:

Yoga changed my life, I would honestly recommend practicing it regularly, It's not only great for the mind, but it's a game changer for the body as well.

Favourite or recently discovered sustainable fashion brand:

I would say my own as I'm the biggest fan of our mission, but If I had to pick another one it would be Patagonia. They've been championing sustainability for almost over 50 years and are way ahead of the curve. They should be an inspiration to all sustainable brands starting out today.

Favourite pieces from that brand:

Weirdly I would say their wetsuits, they are amazing quality and they last a lifetime. I grew up surfing in them Punta Del Este.

What are your core values when it comes to sustainability and sustainable business and fashion? What are the key practices within Casa Raki and why do you do what you do? How do you evolve the business ethically whilst keeping up with trends and larger more commercial brands?

As a business we try to be as sustainable as we possibly can. We always pick a sustainable option for our production if there is one available. It is challenging for a young business to do, as recycled materials, organic cottons, etc are usually more expensive than the ordinary options but the options are readily available and of equal if not better quality. I don’t just want aspects of the company to be sustainable, that is no longer enough. I want the whole company to be sustainable; from our fabrics, supply chains to the way we treat our workers while passing on a fair price and wonderful product to the end consumer. I decided against trends because I believe it encourages an unsustainable consumer behaviour, so we are going against the grain with reasonless, timeless styles that are not trend-driven.

Favourite or recently visited country or city:

My favourite country of all time is Brazil. I would highly recommend everyone to go and explore the north of the country, especially. There are some amazing natural hidden gems and I am constantly finding inspiration for the new collections there.

A story from your favourite or recent travels:

Swimming with sharks on our honeymoon! So scary but exhilarating!

Favourite or recently discovered wellness product or tool:

Jade Roller, a bit late to the party, but wow what a great gadget!?

Favourite piece of advice, quote or mantra:

Take it easy and don't be too hard on yourself! My mother keeps repeating this to me weekly.

Your favourite remedies for illness:

My sisters tip: raw garlic! It's incredibly healing.

Tips for better sleep:

Eye masks! I’m a recent convert.

Favourite or recently discovered place or person for ultimate chill:

The Rectory Hotel in England; a lovely place for a city escape.

Favourite or recently discovered healer:

Acupuncture is awesome, I recently discovered it and it has helped a lot with anxiety and stress for me.

Favourite or recently discovered wellness cafe, restaurant or store:

Milk Beach in Queens Park.

Favourite healthy food or drink:

My old time favourite, Acai.

Advice for that work / life balance:

Switch off as soon as you come home, leave your phone and computer in your bag.

Business advice for business owners, self employed or anyone keen to start their own business:

Never give up! There's a lot of obstacles on the way, but don't let them bring you down. And always have a solid business plan in place first. Unfortunately, good design is not always enough to keep a business stable.

Favourite thing for instantly reducing stress:

Take three. deep. breaths.

Spiritual practise:

Meditation.

First thing you do every morning:

Meditation.

Last thing you do every evening:

Read a book.

Weekend rituals:

Walking our dog in the park.

Complete this sentence. What works most for me is:

Doing a lot of Yoga weekly and enjoying being present. Spending as much time as I can with all my close friends and family who make me happy every day just by being there.

Wake Up Here: Danai Resort & Villas ~ For Suitcase Magazine

Wake Up Here, Wellbeing, Travel, Summer, Lifestyle, Commisions, Around the Worlddanielle coppermanComment
2018_05_12_DANAI_Sunrise Beach Shot_126.jpg

A haven of relaxation on the island of Halkidiki, Danai Beach Resort and Villas marries modern comforts with all the charm of an authentic Greek retreat. 

Surrounded by lush pine trees and sandy beaches, and perched atop the rich, earthy cliffs that line the Aegean coast, Danai Beach Resort and Villas is one-of-a-kind, to say the least. While nature itself is enough to bring a sense of calm and tranquility here, Danai’s beautiful design and architecture, private beach cabanas, award-winning gourmet restaurants, top-of-the-range spa treatments and staff that will feel like life-long friends by the time you leave, invite guests to experience a whole level of relaxation.

Located in the remote Greek peninsula of Sithonia on the island of Halkidiki, Danai began life as a modest family home. Today it’s full of character, combining refined modern interiors and accessories with an authentic Greek aesthetic. Thick white pillars and marble floors, which feature heavily across the resort, are brought to life with bright bougainvillea, rattan accessories and antique furnishings.

As a family-run business, Danai is on a mission to make you feel at home. Staff operate across different areas of the resort, so you’ll often come across the same friendly faces again and again. This sense of community is what makes Danai so special, and once you’re welcomed into it so warmly, you’ll find it harder than ever to leave.

2018_05_12_DANAI_Beach View Bar_034.jpg

Rooms

At Danai, the mantra is to never, ever “copy and paste” anything, which is why you won’t find two rooms or villas the same. Each abode is a canvas of whites and creams, bathed in natural light that pours through floor-to-ceiling windows. Yet as modern-chic as that might sound, bohemian accents and local, artisan-made ornaments enhance the character and charm of each space.

Some rooms boast private pools, while others flaunt impressive balconies overlooking the resort, its gardens and the sea. Opt for Guest Rooms and Suites if you’re visiting alone, as a couple or for a short time only (also perfect if you’re on a budget). Deluxe Suites (often with two bedrooms and ocean vistas) are ideal for those who want something a little more spacious, while Pool Suites are ideal for honeymooners who want a private dip. Alternatively, splash out on a Villa if you’re travelling with a larger group, for a longer period of time or if you’re expecting guests.

What’s for breakfast?

Pretty much everything you’ll find in Danai to eat is either sourced locally (from neighbouring farms) or produced on site – you can really taste the difference.

For breakfast, head to the terrace of the open-air Andromeda Restaurant, which, situated on the edge of the bluffs, is prime territory for gazing across the still morning waters. The breakfast spread doesn’t look unlike an art installation, featuring a selection of bread and baked goods, cheeses, cold meats and fish, a hot food station, traditional pastries and a build-your-own-bowl area, complete with fresh and dried fruit, nuts, seeds, cereals and granolas. Plus, the selection of freshly made Greek yoghurt and local honey – varieties include pine, blossom, thyme and more – are the best you will ever try. If nothing takes your fancy, order à la carte and enjoy eggs with a Danai twist.

How about lunch and dinner?

With three restaurants to choose from, you wouldn’t get bored if you dined within Danai at every meal time. Enjoy fresh fish, seafood and daily barbecue specials at The Sea Horse Grill – it’s the most authentically Greek of the restaurant options and situated in a secluded terrace by the beach. You can also order any time of day to wherever you’ve set up camp on the beach.

For a more modern take on Mediterrenean cuisine, try Andromeda Restaurant, situated among the impressive pine trees – it offers an al fresco dining option on warmer evenings.

For special occasions or as a treat, experience the award-winning The Squirrel restaurant, considered one of the principle culinary hot-spots of Greece. Its tasting menu spans French and Mediterranean fare, served in multiple courses and paired with wines from Danai’s on-site wine cellar.

Suite service is also available, and if you’re staying in one of the larger rooms or villas and have a large party or outside guests to entertain, the staff will gladly arrange a bespoke dinner party.

Further afield, local road-side or sea-side tavernas offer quintessential Greek cuisine in a slightly more informal environment. Get stuck in to trays of taramasalata and fava, and enjoy fresh and simple dishes, including grilled fish, seafood paella, mussels soup and some of the most decadent desserts of your life.

Is there a bar?

On a lower tier of the resort, just beneath the restaurants and edging closer to the beach, you’ll find The Philosophy Seaside Bar. Lounge in bamboo armchairs and cushioned benches as the sun sets, and later gather around the communal table at the bar.

If that’s not your vibe, Danai also boasts one of the best wine cellars in Greece. Enjoy a tour or a wine tasting session, or casually converse with the wine cellar’s passionate sommeliers to choose a bottle that suits you, then enjoy from the comfort of your room, balcony, patio or, better yet, the beach.

Amenities

Danai is the ideal place for anyone who wants to wake up late and follow a long, lazy breakfast with an even longer, lazier day on the beach. Although, there is more than enough to keep you entertained if you’d like something a bit more lively, or if you’re travelling with friends, family or young children.

Aside from the private pools, you’ll find a communal outdoor pool at the centre of the resort, as well as an indoor pool inside the spa area. You will also find a selection of spa treatments (including massages, facials and a nail spa), relaxation facilities, a state-of-the-art gym complete with a timetable of yoga, pilates and fitness classes (during the busier months), a private tennis court and table tennis. The concierge can also organise bike rental and external sports such as golf, horse riding, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing.

As for watersports and beach activities, book out a private beach cabana or, for a more active day at the beach, enjoy access to paddleboards, catamarans, waterskis, canoes, banana boats, donuts, seabobs, windsurfing, and more. Go a step further and arrange a day out on Danai’s super yacht, known as The Bird. Available to rent for between four and eight hours with staff and catering (and the best Aperol spritz you’ll ever drink), The Bird is the most luxurious way to explore the coast. Discover hidden coves and stop by private beaches along the Sithonia coast and Mount Athos peninsula. (Shared yachts and speedboat tours are also available, departing from the private beach and heading Neos Marmaras or Mount Athos).

Danai also has its own quaint “high street” of boutiques, which you’ll pass by to get from your room to the restaurants and to the beach. Find clothing, accessories, holiday essentials, toys, gifts and more, from local, national and international labels.

If you fancy trying your hand at something new, too, perhaps dancing, painting or cooking, it’s useful to know that the team will gladly arrange a private instructor. Day trips and excursions are also available on request.

Things you should know

Nikiti is the nearest town to the resort. While Danai have drivers and The Bird, if you want to explore independently, hire a car. Enjoy walks in the hotel surrounds or, further afield, find a selection of towns and villages to explore within Sithonia, Kassandra and Athos.

Whether you’re on the beach or by the pool, if you’re prone to suncream-smeared sunnies or overheating, the beach staff are at your beck and call, popping by regularly to offer sunglass polishing and to hand out semi-frozen flannels infused with refreshing essential oils.

If you’re visiting for a special occasion, the staff are eager to get involved. They will enthusiastically curate a celebration or prepare a surprise to ensure your experience is unforgettable.

Within a short walk you’ll find

The beauty of Danai is its seclusion and the way it has pretty much anything you could need all in one place. Within a short walk, you can enjoy 320m of private beach and explore the resort’s farmland and herb gardens. Explore local nature trails, most of which are unofficial – so you almost have to pave your own path.

* Danai Beach Resort & Villas (www.danairesort.com/+30 2375 020400) offers junior suites from £375 on a B&B basis, based on 2 people sharing.
** Danai Beach Resort & Villas (www.danairesort.com/+30 2375 020400) will offer The Bird from 3,250€ for 4 hours and from 4,450€ for 8 hours.
*** Danai also has its own wedding planner.

Well Being Around the World: Austria ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, City guides, Lifestyle, Travel, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment

My first encounter with Austria was at the age of 17 whilst I was interrailing around Europe with my best friend. That visit, fuelled by copious amounts of Viennese baked goods, was somewhat different to how I’m about to depict the country here, which is in a much more wholesome and, I hope, inspirational light.

Earlier this year, I visited two small towns in Western Austria, and as part of a new series of articles exploring Well Being Around The World, I wanted to share some of the local and traditional rituals I discovered during my stay, that I feel we can all learn from and apply to our own daily routines.

Rituals

1. Nature & The Great Outdoors

Since I was visiting a ski resort, it quickly became apparent to me just how much the great outdoors and nature are celebrated and valued in Austria. I guess it could be different in the larger towns that aren’t necessarily towered over by mountains, but there is certainly something about the fresh air and surrounding landscapes which not only bring a sense of safety, security and calm, but also awe and wonderment which is instantly grounding and gratifying.

I visited both Innsbruck and Mayrhofen, and both were relatively small towns encapsulated by mountains. For me, waking up each morning was just mesmerising, and I found it hard to imagine anyone getting stressed or feeling overwhelmed by insignificant worries and problems when the view was such a spectacle. It triggers a sense of wonder, and stands as a reminder that we are part of something much, much bigger than our own little lives.

Being in nature is known to have profound affects on health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Things like fresh air and sunlight support skin and complexions, as well as providing vital vitamins and nutrients (hola vitamin D!). Things like plants, greenery and natural formations are known to benefit things like eyesight, focus and concentration and are also known to provide and stimulate certain vitamins, minerals and hormones (that’s why being around green spaces with plenty of plants often makes you feel happy and relaxed!). Not to mention, trees and plants help to cleanse and purify the air, and thus increase the air quality and make breathing more enriched and nourishing. Natural formations, such as rocks, mountains and earth are also known to be grounding and relaxing and to support mental health. Just think of them as different and larger forms of crystals!

As for the great outdoors, Austria is full of adventure and activity. Locals and tourists unite for daily hikes, rambling, cycling and skiing and swimming, when the weather permits. I noticed a lot of people walking, and the people we met often said they rarely drove, except for long distances. I certainly didn’t notice any traffic jams or rush hour on the same scale as London. The cities seemed incredibly bike-friendly, too, something that seemed preferential to locals for ease, to stay active and to reduce pollution (that fresh, fresh air!).

Skiing and swimming are of course more season-dependent, and more extreme ways to keep fit and stay active. However, having it on your doorstep wouldn’t seem so extreme after a while, I don’t think, and some people we encountered said they often make the journey up to the slopes during the winter even if it’s just for an hour or two of solo skiing; in other words, a full-body workout, without the confines of a gym and with the benefits of being in nature.

Swimming is a different ball game altogether. Since I visited in Winter, wild swimming was not particularly on my radar, but locals are known to enjoy icy, outdoor swimming even during the winter, which is known to increase metabolism and boost circulation, amongst other health benefits. The practice is incredibly invigorating and revitalising, and in Austria, with the water coming straight off the mountains, think of all those vitamins and minerals (like a cross between hydrotherapy and cryotherapy)! There are many natural pools, often surrounded by Alpine backdrops and lush greenery, making the whole experience incredibly grounding and nourishing. Some pools become filled by the melting snow from the mountains - the water crystal clear but incredibly cold. In larger pools and lakes, water can get to around 16-20 degrees during the summertime, and serve as a way to cool down as temperatures rise. Want to go a step further, nude swimming is also quite a thing!

2. Saunas & Spa Therapy

Like many Alpine countries, as well as Scandinavian and Nordic, Austria’s spa game is strong. You won’t struggle to find a sauna or spa, something we tend to view as an indulgent luxury rather than a daily necessity. Saunas offer incredible benefits for skin, circulation, lymphatic drainage, immunity and much more, and I for one find a sauna a week to be deeply cleansing as well as relaxing. It helps to purge impurities from the skin and detox from within, through sweat and respiration. The only thing is, they’re not so widely available or accessible in the UK or larger cities, and if they are, they usually come in fancier forms and with a larger price tag.

3. Mid-afternoon Coffee (& Cake)

The Austrian cafe culture introduces another ritual into the day, incorporating an important pause amidst work and other duties. What I loved particularly about going for coffee was that, in Austria, it must always come with a glass of water on the side. I love this as I am all for staying hydrated, and coffee can be incredibly dehydrating. Take note!

Austria is of course not the only culture to advocate regular coffee breaks or a more thorough coffee ritual than we are used to in the UK (we’re looking at you, France and Italy), but it is nice to see so many people actually enjoying a break, and not just working through it or drinking take-out on the go. Their coffee break often comes with a side of cake or strudel too, which is not so ‘wellness’ physically, but, hey, it’s mentally good to treat yourself and do something you enjoy. And it helps to notice that in most cafes, these traditional baked goods are often freshly made and handmade, unlike the processed fare you find in mainstream supermarkets. So that kind of makes it ok?

4. Day of rest

Something I always love about visiting particularly European destinations is how they have held onto the tradition of closing shop at least one or two days a week. In Austria, there’s no (or very few) shops open on Sundays, meaning locals simply adapt their consumer habits accordingly. I like this not only as it means workers will get more rest, but it encourages people to consume less, or at least take a day off from shopping, allowing more time to do something more wholesome.

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Food and Recipes

The food in Austria is not overtly nutritious, or at least that’s not the talking point when it comes to food. You’ll find most delicacies include generous helpings of potatoes, cheese, dumplings and pasta, alongside other traditions like schnitzel and goulash. It’s all quite heavy, but after all that exercise, it kind of makes sense!

When eating out, though, you will always get a homemade feel from what’s on offer, and whilst there’s often lots of flavour, it all seems to be kept quite simple. There’s often a steady ratio of meat or fish to vegetables, and everything seems quite authentically done, unlike fast food or take away fare.

It is apparent that growing your own and using local produce is commonplace, and even in the supermarkets, you will often find locally produced fare, and not much overly processed stuff at all. There is a lot of fresh meat and bread, even in small convenience stores, and what’s more, I enjoyed that their fresh fruit and vegetable aisle was mostly unpackaged.

Recipes

Below are 2 recipes inspired by those I tried during my visit, made with all-natural ingredients, vegan and gluten-free.

Celeriac Salad - Serves 2-4

Celeriac salad is a common side accompaniment for main meals in both Austria and Germany, and I love the earthy but fresh and hydrating flavour it offers to other dishes.

Components

500g celeriac
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons boiling water
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons soy or coconut yoghurt - optional

Method

First, peel and grate the celeriac finely, or shred it in a food processor to make it into thin, long threads.

In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, boiling water, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper together until combined. Next, add the celeriac and stir to coat, then spoon in a tablespoon of yoghurt, if using. Stir to combine again and add more yoghurt if desired.

Season again, to taste and serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

Porcini Mushroom and Potato soup - serves 4

Potato soup is a staple on almost any menu in Austria. Usually made with bacon and heavy, I’ve adapted to make this vegan and slightly more nutritious, by using mushrooms as a meat replacement, and dairy-free cream alternatives.

Components

500g medium potatoes
20g Porcini mushrooms
1 white onion
1 medium carrot
1 parsley root (can replace with parsnip or celeriac)
½ celery stick, plus leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
500g vegetable broth (or water)
Small bunch of lovage leaves
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons coconut milk (or soy or coconut yoghurt, or Oatly creme fraiche)
Handful of fresh parsley

Method

Start by soaking the porcini mushrooms for about 10-15 mins in warm water.

Next, roughly chop the vegetables (potatoes, celery, carrot, onion and parsley root (or parsnip or celeriac) and place them in a large saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil.

Next, add the lovage leaves, caraway seeds, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add stock or water along with herbs and spices. The liquid should cover the vegetables, so you may need to add a little more accordingly, depending on the size of your vegetables.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and transfer to a blender or use a hand blender to puree the soup, until smooth.

Add the coconut milk (or plant-based yoghurt or cream alternative of choice) and blend again.

Finally, chop the porcini mushrooms roughly into small pieces, add to the blended soup, season for a final time and garnish with fresh parsley.

* If you like chunky soup, sauté the carrot in a separate pan and add to the soup, once blended.1.


Resources

Where to stay

I stayed in an airbnb in Innsbruck and a local hotel/guesthouse in Mayrhofen - most of which are complete with an onsite spa, gym and restaurant.

Featured Wellness Destinations & Other Places to Stay

Hotel Aurelio Lech

Geinberg 5

Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol

Getting there

Flights into Austrian towns are easy and often, but if you want to look at more sustainable ways of getting there, there are plenty of train and bus routes, and driving is often doable with a few stops along the way. It really depends on the number of people traveling though, as to which option is more eco-friendly, so do some research, and perhaps try to choose a destination where you won’t need a car or public transport once you’re there.

Well Being in the local area

Innsbruck:

- Olive, vegetarian restaurant
- Ludwig, Vegetarian restaurant
- Rauch Juice Bar
- Coffeekult, cafe
- The Breakfast Club, day cafe with gluten-free / vegan / vegetarian options
- Haepinest, cafe
- Akropolis, restaurant
- Das Schindler, restaurant
- Lichtblick, restaurant
- Oniriq, restaurant
- Die Muhl, restaurant
- Nordkette Cable Car
- Spa’s (research local to your destination)
- Skiing (research local to your destination)
- Walking / Hiking (research local to your destination)

Mayrhofen:

- Goldkind, cafe with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options
- Schneekarhutte, restaurant with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options
- Hikes, walks, skiing, activities
- Spa’s (research local to your destination)
- Skiing (research local to your destination)
- Walking / Hiking (research local to your destination)

* Whilst I am not saying Austria is necessarily the wellness capital of the world, and whilst I am not disregarding their love of cakes, cream, potatoes, cheese and strudel, I do feel we could learn a thing of two from the Austrian culture to assist and inspire us in our own quests for wellbeing. For me, wellbeing is not a “one size fits all” scenario and I have always felt that we can learn so much from different cultures, both wellness-focused and otherwise. The aim of these features is to provide a broader approach to wellbeing, one that travels a little beyond green juices and boutique fitness classes and into long-standing traditions that have been used for centuries. Many of the practices I tend to discover are often nothing very new at all, but are instead incredibly simple, as well as being much more authentic and sustainable than the latest trends we tend to get over-excited by.

Well Being Support Series

Lifestyle, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle copperman2 Comments

Just coming on here to tell you all about the new ‘Support’ section of my website; a series of worksheets, digital workshops and other formats of support-based, interactive content. The intention is to provide powerful practices to encourage you to develop on your own personal journey of wellbeing, and by providing worksheets, workshops and other exercises, I hope it will help you a little more deeply and on a more personal level than my regular content.

To kick it off, I’ve shared my first worksheet covering the topic of Daily Rituals. It outlines just 10 simple rituals that I have tried and tested over time and which I think can really contribute to enhancing your life, both physically and mentally. I like to think that this worksheet will provide simple, digestible and achievable reminders and prompts for you to adopt one or several wholesome practices that can support you at different times of the day. For me, these rituals have helped increase my energy levels (both mentally and physically), improve digestion, enhance positivity, reduce stress, boost productivity and focus, and eradicate unhealthy thought processes, such as limiting beliefs, judgement, doubt, fear and comparison.

You will also find some information on private consultations as well as a question space, where you can leave me a question about absolutely anything and I will do my best to get back to you with some overview advice. I have decided to set up a space here for confidential questions, following on from the huge response I had to offering monthly consultations via Instagram’s direct messages.

To find out more, click the ‘Support’ tab at the top right of the site.

How To Stop Procrastinating

Inspiration, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

How to Stop Procrastination Forever

This blog post on how to stop procrastinating comes at the end of an unproductive day for me. I mean, in reality, I think my unproductive days are equal to many peoples idea of a productive day, but in comparison to my own productive days, unproductive days suck, and leave me feeling super flat and frustrated.

I’ve done all I urgently needed to do today, but I think that’s half of the struggle. Being your own boss and running your own projects can often mean you have to create more work for yourself. So, when you have slightly quieter periods, its crucial that you motivate yourself to go out and find future work or at least plan for it. I had the good intentions to focus on so many things today, and whilst I had the time to make space for them, I found myself procrastinating with unimportant emails, faffing with new software for my website (which took time and resolved nothing), posting a little on Instagram and generally just hanging out on my laptop but with not much to show for it.

It’s days like these - or should I say Monday’s like these, mostly - that really drain me and zap my energy. I always know the minute I wake up that it’s going to be one of those slow-burning days, lacking inspiration or enthusiasm, and where lots happens and I do lots of little bits, but I don’t actually feel like I’ve gotten anything profound or productive done at all.

Today, a lot of positive things happened and lot of important things on my to-do list actually did get done. But, I think, because none of them were incredibly engaging, I didn’t feel as excited as I should have done. I received some exciting emails, I arrived on my new modelling agency’s website, I sent some emails I’d been avoiding for some time, I planned some new projects for Qnola, amongst other things, yet none of these things made me feel like I’d done enough by the end of the day.

One thing in my way was severe whiplash from my recent ski trip to Austria, making my neck excruciatingly tight, my head painfully heavy and my mind dizzy and distracted by a dull and constant headache and a lack of appetite and, subsequently, energy. I also had a little jet lag and was probably overtired, but we never make excuses for ourselves when we’re busy being hard on ourselves, do we? If it was anyone else, I would have told them to take a break or take the day off, but because it was myself, I forced myself to power through and well, yep, it didn’t get me much further than having a day off would have done; may as well be honest with you.

It has however, inspired this late night blog post which I hope in turn inspires you next time you hit a productivity block.

Causes of procrastination and why we experience productivity blocks

A number of things can affect our concentration, motivation and productivity, from one day to the next.

  1. Your job and / or the task at hand. If you hate your job or if whatever you need to do makes you miserable, your motivation is going to be low. Passion is the secret to guaranteed productivity, motivation and drive. Don’t freak out if you hate your job, just don’t blame yourself for lack of drive if that is the case. It’s the jobs fault, not yours. You’ll see when you eventually find what truly lights you up (disclaimer: It’s a forever-project).

  2. Your energy levels. Have you slept well? Have you slept long enough? Are you generally well rested? Have you eaten? Have you eaten too many sugar or caffeinated foods? Have you exercised? All of these things will affect your physical and mental output.

  3. Distractions. These come in all shapes and sizes, from things like matters in your own private life, new stories and office conflicts, to constant texts or emails, external noise from colleagues or things like the radio, or internally muttering coming from your own thoughts.

  4. Time constraints. Sometimes, deadlines can be more overwhelming than good, and can restrict you from doing your best. Other times, they can be too lenient or long, allowing more room for procrastination. Try to find a schedule structure that works for you.

  5. Misc. There are plenty of other things that can induce productivity blocks. I touched on internal muttering of the mind, but more specifically, things like comparison, self-doubt, self-worth, confidence and fear can powerfully affect and dictate how productive your are, or you allow yourself to be, I should say. All of these things have a way of mentally holding you back, by making you feel either incapable, unworthy, undeserving, or all of the above. These kinds of things often arise to challenge you, and in moderation, they’re good traits to carry, but when they become too much and stop you from doing things, they become detrimental to your life and mental health, and prohibit you from living life authentically. Tiredness, lack of sleep, lack of nutrients, external or societal expectations are amongst some of the reasons these thoughts and feelings surface now and again. Meditation and mind-mapping can help silence these self-limiting beliefs and help you regain control.

How to approach procrastination and productivity blocks

What to do when you feel a wave of low-productivity approaching (or when you wake up feeling a lack of inspiration or motivation) and how to avoid it.

  1. Understand that it’s just one of those things / one of those days; notice it, allow it, and whatever you do, don’t judge it or try to change it. It will just. make. things. worse.

  2. Once you’ve noticed you’re having one of those days, start a fresh to-do list. Sometimes, on days like these, you have to break things down really basically. It may seem condescending but making things a simple as possible will really help you to concentrate. Make things easy, digestible, plain and simple. It’s important to be gentler, more patient and more understanding with yourself, as the more pressure you put on yourself, the more overwhelmed and anxious you’ll become. Go slow and try to do one thing at a time. And if this means cutting down your to-do list for the day, so be it.

  3. Drink plenty of water. Down 1-2 glasses of water as soon as you feel this dip in productivity. Follow that with a herbal tea, and even better, bring in a fruit and vegetable based juice or smoothie, for extra and instant nutrients.

  4. Prioritise natural, whole foods. You need your nutrients, and your brain needs as much fuel as it can get. I’d suggest raw or cooked vegetables, foods high in omega 3 fatty acids (like avocado, nuts and seeds), and if you don’t have much of an appetite, incorporate adaptogen powders, tonic herbs or other superfood powders, or take multivitamins and other supplements to support cognitive function.

  5. Take time to breathe deeply. On days when either you just don’t feel productive, or when you feel overwhelmed and unfocussed, stopping to concentrate on your breath can be powerful. Close your eyes and take 3, 6 or 12 long deep breaths, taking full inhalations and forceful exhalations. This should help to reset a few things mentally, and will instil inner calm and peace, if only for a moment.

  6. Try to have just one to-do list. I am guilty of having to-do lists on my laptop, in my digital calendar, in several places on my phone, and then still go about making a handwritten to-do list. It’s never a good idea but I also can’t seem to stop myself. Learn from my experiences, and try to just organise your to-do lists for the present day in one place. Try to keep it neat, and prioritise things in order of urgency.

  7. Don’t

  8. Go

  9. On

  10. Instagram. Honestly, I have now sincerely warned you. There is nothing for you there, and certainly nothing that will help you on a day like today. Perhaps the odd inspirational quote, but you’ll likely pass hundreds of other overwhelming / soul-destroying / envy-inducing snippets whilst your there, that with either make you feel down, jealous, frustrated, unworthy, incapable, negative, depressed and, oh, unproductive once more. Just, don’t do it.

  11. Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’ve done ‘enough’. Sometimes, in a days work, you merely plant seeds. You send emails and might not hear back straight away'; you plan projects but have no completed work or outcome to show for it (yet). Try to think of some days as planting seeds, and cultivating. It is all part of the process and things can’t always happen instantly. Imagine the seeds becoming whatever you desire or whatever they are destined to become, and then wait patiently for them to evolve. But know that results don’t always come instantly. Trust the process and do what you can, with what you’ve got. Remember there is no rush, and whatever will be will be.

  12. Get some fresh air. Take a walk in nature or just somewhere local you can go that’s outside. Even just a change of scenery. A trip to a coffee shop or another public place during your lunch break. Any of these things can contribute to lifting your mood and encouraging a new wave of motivation or inspiration.

  13. Indulge in time for yourself, particularly at the end of a day that you feel has been a bit of a flop. Take a bath, read a book, watch something on television, hang out with friends. Do something thoroughly relaxing, and enjoy thinking about how much better the following day will be. Get some rest and know that you will wake feeling more refreshed than ever. And if you don’t, know that that’s ok. Sometimes these things come in waves. I’ve had weeks and even months of low productivity, low moods, low motivation and lack of inspiration and enthusiasm, and it isn’t easy. But trust that it is all part of the process, and that when the time is right, things will become easier and a little more effortless. It depends on a lot of things, but it will come.

How to stop procrastination now

As with anything, I believe there can be important groundwork to be done and foundations to be laid before productivity blocks arise, in order to actually avoid them, more or less completely. Take into account the topics from above, but in general, to avoid the approach of productivity blocks in the first place, try the following 10 steps to stop procrastinating.

  1. Eat well

  2. Stay hydrated

  3. Move. Exercise daily, even if it’s just walking or stretching

  4. Breathe

  5. Talk to others. Also, ask for help if and when you need it. Asking for help regularly or delegating tasks to others around where you can you will help take relieve some of the pressure you’re under, and should help you to feel generally less over-worked and overwhelmed

  6. Read positive quotes or inspirational memes. Or, write some of your own. Write a positive affirmation or thought as a way to pivot any negative thoughts you might be having. For example, if you think something like ‘I hate my job, I will never get a job in fashion like I want to’, write down an opposite thought like ‘I look forward to finding my dream job, and I already love working in fashion’. Thinking more positively and acting as if you are already in the situation you want to be in has profoundly powerful effects on the outcome of your situations

  7. Practice non-attachment. Simply work as much as you can, and get stuff done, but don’t put pressure on the outcome or the reason behind doing something. For example, don’t write an article just so it will be published. Write the article because you want to, and in practicing non-attachment, the outcome and result of you doing so will come willingly, and when it is destined too. And in the meantime, you won’t be putting pressure on yourself or the situation for it to be anything other than what it is

  8. Get outside in nature, often

  9. Give yourself permission to have regular breaks. Even if its just 10 minutes per day. Schedule a time to just be. To welcome silence or stillness. This should keep your productivity nicely topped up

  10. Get enough sleep

A Note on Fruit

Beauty, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Sweets + Desserts, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Fruit causes all kinds of controversy within the wellness industry, and for years and years I was genuinely scared of it. An ex-personal trainer once told me the fruit I was eating was what was prohibiting me from losing weight, and that I should only be eating berries, if anything. That was almost 5 years ago, and it’s only been in the last few months that I’ve finally felt confident enough to bring fruit back into my diet. I’m here to tell you that I not only feel amazing, I’m looking more toned than ever too. Below, I’ve outlined a few pieces of advice that helped to encourage me to incorporate fruit back into my diet, along with a few common misconceptions on fruit and weight management.

1. People think fruit makes you gain weight because it contains sugar. To some extent, this is a valid theory, but the sugar in fruit is not the same as processed or isolated sugars. Fruits contain sugars, sure, but they also contain fibre and all kinds of vitamins and minerals, in balanced and natural amounts; not to mention all the water they also contain. Fruits are created in naturally appropriate proportions, meaning one portion of fruit provides a balanced amount of sugars and other macronutrients. So when you eat fruit, you’re not eating pure sugar like you would be with most processed snacks and sweets.

2. Fruits contain around 60-95% water, and so are some of the most hydrating foods. I truly value hydrating foods, for general wellbeing but also to aid digestion and to reduce fatigue. Staying hydrated fuels most of your internal processes, and also reduces the risk of headaches, stomach aches, constipation and other internal side effects. Whenever I’m abroad in a hot climate, fruit for breakfast is not only one of the most common options, but also the one I naturally crave too. Getting fruits in in the morning will help to keep you hydrated, and will also kick start your digestion not just due to the water content but also the fibre.

Staying hydrated also helps to manage water retention. Eating hydrating fruits alongside drinking plenty of water, I’ve noticed, reduces inflammation and puffiness that I sometimes notice from water retention. I notice within about 1-2 weeks, alongside working out consistently, I feel more toned and have more noticeable definition in my muscles.

The water in fruit also helps to assist the body’s detoxification process, flushing the system and also keeping cells fully functional.

3. Fruits are also super easy to digest, and whist some people think this is a bad thing, it simply means you get the nutrients and goodness in pretty quickly, and it isn’t too taxing on the digestive system. This means you won’t feel sluggish or heavy, or tired, since the energy it takes to digest is saved and can be used elsewhere.

4. Fruits are also low in calories, and previously you’ll have noticed I don’t like to count calories too much, and enjoy high calorie foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados. However, if losing weight is your main goal, thats a different story. You cannot lose weight unless you have a calorie deficiency - meaning you consume less calories than you expend. Fruits are low in calories and so when I have a big job coming up or want to tone up and slim down, I love eating loads of fruits as they keep me full, keep my digestion active, keep my energy levels high and don’t rack up the calories.

5. Pretty much every cell in our body’s run on glucose, which is ultimately sugar. Eating healthy, whole carbohydrates like fruits & vegetables means you’ll likely notice higher energy levels. There’s a few arguments on this matter, as some people like to eat low-carb diets in order to trigger a fat-burning state (when there is no glucose to use for energy, the body turns to fat cells to convert them to energy). This sounds good in theory as people like the thought of our body’s automatically burning fat without us having to think too much about it, but it also takes a lot of consistency (and energy) in order to reach this state. It’s much easier (and more sustainable) to use glucose from healthy carbohydrates for immediate energy.

6. Fruits are full of life, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These are essential in order for us to thrive, and the wider variety of vitamins and minerals, the less your body will lack in certain things and subsequently, the less random cravings you will experience. Getting enough vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is crucial in order to keep digestion smooth and to keep skin, hair and nails healthy. Not to mention energy levels high and cellular activity operating as it should. When you cut things like fruit out of your diet, you are cutting out so many vital components. Existing solely on fats and proteins will not give your body what it needs, and will not be sustainable over time.

7. Beyond fruit being food and fuel, is is also healing. It is not just a means to and end of hunger, but it can actually prevent and cure disease and discomfort. It is like medicine. Natural, cheap medicine.

I love this article by the Medical Medium, if you want to learn a little more. It discusses when we lost our way in diet, when we began being fed propaganda about food, and when we became scared of it. It also discusses the main benefits of fruit and why it should be such a vital part of our diets.

I hope this has inspired you to rekindle your relationship with fruit. I know it can be intimidating, but after 6 months of unlimited fruits, I am actually slimmer, lighter and more energetic than ever.

How To Spring Cleanse Your Life ~ For Ecoage

Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment
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Last week marked the first official day of spring, and with what might just be my favourite season of all approaching, I wanted to share some of the practices that I like to incorporate into my day-to-day routines during this seasonal shift, along with some tips for adapting to this transition from one season to the next.

Four times a year, we experience a shift between seasons, and whilst the actual exact shift usually passes unnoticed, when you really take time to pause and acknowledge it, and to tune into whats going on beyond your own little world, it will begin to bring your attention to just how interconnected everything is, and in turn, this will allow you to make more sense of your moods, thoughts, emotions, feelings, actions, experiences and the general behaviour of you and all other living things and beings around you. It’s quite fascinating, and you will come to learn that things going on around you are happening in your favour, and to support you. For example, different foods will grow in abundance depending on your local surroundings, as nature adjusts to the new season not only for its own welfare but to provide us and other living things with exactly what we need.

Spring is a time of cleansing, and when I think of Spring I think of detoxing, new beginnings, resetting and rebirth. It is a time of freshness and newness; a time of hope and anticipation; a time of faith and excitement as the warmest and brightest part of the year approaches. Having spent long wintery months in the shadows of gloomy weather and arctic temperatures, forced into hibernation, Spring brings with it this joyful and vibrant energy, and as our natural surroundings begin to flourish and bloom, our own cycles and energies do too. Or so they should. If you are not entirely in tune or in sync with the seasons and the natural cycles and phases of the Universe, the following practices are intended to help you to get there, by boosting your energy levels (bringing them in line with the energy of nature), boosting your mood (bringing it in line with the frequencies of nature) and cleansing your body and mind through food, movement and other rituals. Try a few of these practices to not only look and feel more thriving physically, this Summer, but also to let go of anything that feels heavy with negative energy, and to adopt a powerfully positive mindset, to attract all that you desire in abundance.

1. Food & hydration

In Ayurveda, the same way living beings have doshas, seasons do too. Spring is known to be the kapha season, which starts off somewhat wet and cold in March and develops to become still wet but much warmer between around June / July. In early kapha season, the world is slowly coming out of hibernation and things are beginning to awaken and reemerge with new life. Kapha characteristics are known to be heavy, slow and cool, so it is good to incorporate practices that make you feel light, active and warm, such as detoxing your diet, exercising regularly, eating warm foods and getting under the sun whenever it’s out.

During kapha season, when we want to adopt more vata and pita habits in order to balance the kapha energies, it is a good idea to cleanse internally, by really purifying your diet and detoxifying any internal build up. Luckily, spring’s produce supports this, providing us with light and hydrating ingredients that are high in vitamins and minerals to aid detoxification. As well, further cleansing can be done where needed, to gently purge and reset the digestive system (in other words, if you’ve never had a colonic, now could be the time).

Try incorporating some of the following ingredients into your meals and habits into your daily routines to cleanse from within and to eat as nature intended, with ingredients determined to support us this season.

Spring ingredients:

To eat in ways to support you during the spring, eat both seasonally available and abundant ingredients, but also be mindful to eat in ways that balance kapha energies. For example, avoid oily, greasy, heavy and dense foods, and instead opt for lighter and drier ingredients. Enjoy warm foods rather than cold or entirely raw foods, and favour rough, fibrous ingredients more than soft or smooth ones (such as banana and avocado).

Asparagus
Broccoli
Dandelion greens
Lettuce
Fennel
Spinach
Peas
Potatoes
Strawberries
Carrots
Green Beans
Garlic
Leafy herbs
Rhubarb

* Take into account also your own Ayurvedic constituency, as this will determine more personally what you need and also what you digest best.

As spring approaches, I would suggest a 3-7 day cleanse incorporating both spring produce and kapha balancing ingredients, with a daily eating schedule looking something like this:

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Hydration:

Start the day with two glasses of water (around 1 litre in total), on an empty stomach. Add a dash of fresh lemon juice, sliced cucumber, ginger root, turmeric root, a stick of activated charcoal or apple cider vinegar, to flavour the water but also to awaken the nutrients of it and add more nourishment to each sip.

Throughout the rest of the day, ensure you drink a minimum of 2 litres in total. Try to avoid drinking a lot during mealtimes, and instead be mindful to time it by drinking at least 1/2 an hour before a big meal. Small sips during or after a meal are fine, but it is preferable to drink a little while before eating if you can.

Breakfast:

Try to have breakfast after 10am, when your digestion is more active and energetic. If you get hungry before, try to enjoy a liquid meal, such as a juice or smoothie, or some plain, fresh or cooked fruit.

Lunch:

Try to make lunch your biggest meal of the day, and try to enjoy it between 12pm and 2pm, when the digestive system is most active and efficient. During a cleansing period, try to base your meals on raw and/or cooked (ideally not fried or roasted, but boiled or steamed) vegetables, whole or psuedo grains, and ethically sourced meat or fish. Foods like salads, soups, stews, kitchari, dahl, curries, or mixed vegetables are advisable. Try to avoid processed condiments or dressings, and select seasonal ingredients as much as possible, as they are in season for a reason!

Dinner:

Try to keep dinner relatively small compared to lunch. Try to eat by 6pm, as the digestive system is thought to slow between 6pm and 10pm. Base your meals on the same ingredients and ideas as lunch, and try not to snack before bed. Avoid rich or sugary foods and substitute with fresh fruit if you really crave dessert. Also enjoy herbal tea if you need something else later in the evening. Try to drink a small glass of water before bed (and take any relevant supplements such as probiotics before bed, too).

Snacks:

Try not to snack at odd times throughout the day, but instead snack directly after your main meals. Enjoy fresh fruits, raw vegetables, natural and wholesome dips (like houmous) and / or nuts and seeds. Also enjoy hot water (which is known to nurture the digestive system), herbal teas, coffee, cacao or other adaptogen drinks whenever you feel hungry. Light liquid ‘meals’ are also advisable, such as juices or smoothies.

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2. Movement

This season is a great time to get active. Emerging from the still and stagnant winter months of surrendering to home comforts instead of persevering, Spring brings a new energy of lightness, strength and resilience. With a sense of newness in the air, it’s time to start afresh, dust off your trainers and get moving.

Exercising regularly, even if thats just walking (aim for 10,000 steps a day if you’re not otherwise active), can help with the body and minds detox processes, and will also encourage circulation, digestion and lymphatic drainage. Not to mention, it will also increase mood, stamina, focus, concentration and positivity, so, you know, there’s really no excuse. It’s also interesting to know that as spring’s energy is associated with kapha characteristics, it is thought that living beings tend to have more strength and endurance around this time of year too, so it shouldn’t feel quite as much of a struggle as it does during the winter, when you generally feel more lethargic and sensitive.

Massage is another form of movement you can really benefit from at this time of the year, and a practice that further supports detoxing and lymphatic drainage. Try using a body brush before or after showering, and or indulge in self massage (either with lotion or oils). Even better, get a partner or friend to massage you, or treat yourself to a professional one. Focus on the neck, shoulders and back, as well and the legs.

3. Rest and recuperation

You’re gonna like this one. Getting enough rest, despite the fact we’ve basically been sleeping all winter, is still advised during early spring. Whilst the sun rises earlier, it is advised to go to sleep earlier and rise earlier too, to sync as closely as possible to the cycles of nature. So, I’m not about to tell you to enjoy your lie in’s, but I am going to suggest keeping an eye on your sleeping habits, and ensuring you get enough sleep and rest to aid physical and mental detoxing, and to ensure your energy levels are topped up (and, again, aligned with that of springs own energies). A nap here and there wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.

As well as sleeping enough, be sure to practice some grounding rituals, such as meditation or breathing / pranayama techniques. This is important as towards the end of spring can become quite an energetic and buzzy time, so feeling grounded, present and supported is crucial for keeping physically and mentally balanced and for remaining tuned in to yourself and all around you.

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4. Space

This section brings me to one of my favourite parts of spring. I can feel my desperation to clean, tidy and declutter bubbling away as I get restless towards the end of winter (having been feeling too overwhelmed or lazy to approach it), but as spring arrives, I immediately want to clear the air, make some space and get rid of things I don’t use or need anymore.

The infamous spring clean. It’s a tradition for a reason, and not one to be ignored. Regardless of whether or not you do it in spring, I think at least one annual purge of your possessions is crucial for sanity if not for sight. Rather than getting rid of a little bit here and a little bit there throughout the year, an actual appointment of sufficient time gets the job done much quicker and more efficiently (and less painfully, too). Over time, our belongings build up, and if we’re not constantly replacing things, then we’re constantly adding things, which, not always, but often means that old items get buried or forgotten.

A good old fashioned spring clean is crucial to refresh a space and to clear the energy, but it has also been known to benefit our own wellbeing too, enhancing productivity, positivity, concentration, motivation and peacefulness, reducing the stress and anxiety often brought on by tidying being another overwhelming task on our to-do lists.

It’s important to note that you should cleanse your space and belongings mindfully, though, and instead of throwing things away, finding ways to recycle them - either by giving to friends or family, charity, vintage shops or even selling them on sites like eBay, Depop and Vestaire Collective or at markets if you have the time and a little patience. Try not to let anything go to waste.

Another way to enhance your spring cleaning rituals is by smudging. Using sage or palo santo, or even incense or essential oils in a diffuser to clear any negative energy. Did you know, energy from arguments or other negative situations and occurrences can linger in the air or in areas of a room where they took place, and smudging is known to cleanse these ‘bad vibes’ and reset the energy. I love to smudge a few times a month, either after an argument or bad news, or if I’ve just had a stressful or frustrating day.

Finally, when cleaning after you’ve decluttered and tidied things away, choose your cleaning products with care. Opt for natural, non-toxic products from brands like method or ecover, or even make your own, using natural ingredients like bicarbonate soda, vinegar, oils and essentials oils. There are plenty of recipes for these online and in my book, Well Being.

5. Mindfulness

Finally, mindfulness, as always, is a powerful ritual to keep up during the spring. Practicing regular meditation, stream of consciousness (writing without agenda as soon as you wake up, before checking your phone, speaking to anyone or getting out of bed), positive thinking (writing down or simply thinking positive thoughts about the day gone by (if practising before bed) or the day ahead (if practising in the morning)) and / or gratitude (writing a list of things you are grateful for), will help to keep your energy positive and abundant, which will in turn attract experiences of the same frequency. Furthermore, as this season resembles new beginnings and new life, letting go of negative habits or relationships or removing yourself from negative, draining situations is crucial in order to open up new opportunities and to ensure you can attract what it is you truly desire. It is an exciting time and with just a little bit of extra focus and attention, it can be powerfully transformational, rewarding and fun.

An Ode to International Women's Day, Plus Free Independent Empowerment Workshop

Lifestyle, Rituals, Wellbeing, Guides & Coursesdanielle copperman2 Comments
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International Women’s Day is always an exciting one.

The first gathering held in 1911 (!), #IWD stands as a day to remember, appreciate and celebrate the efforts and achievements of women passed, present and to come. It remembers the struggles of individual figureheads and entire movements, celebrates accomplishments and progression and motivates a call to action for continuous dedication to the pursuit of gender equality.

The day unites female communities all over the world and should stand to encourage and inspire women to not only feel empowered to stand up and speak up, but also to support other women around them in doing the same. The energy and activity we create as a whole is far more influential than what we can do alone, after all.

Whilst we can’t all be Emmeline Pankhurt’s, we can start by doing some important work on ourselves, to find our power, uncover our truths, and harness our feminine energy this #IWD. As female rights have certainly come a long way, in modern society with so many things running on masculine energy, it can be hard for us to make ourselves heard, or even to hear ourselves, for that matter. Take some time this #IWD to nourish yourself, to pause and to prepare for the next phase of female fearlessness and fruitfulness. Enjoy the following independent workshop which I have formatted into 4 simple prompts.
Note: you might need a notebook nearby.

1. Self Worth

I am becoming more and more aware of the importance that self-worth plays in our personal achievements. Self-worth is basically how we subconsciously value ourselves, and this is ultimately associated with how deserving we believe ourselves to be. In other words, our self-worth and how we view ourselves sets the tone for the kinds of relationships and experiences we deem ourselves deserving of. What we attract is ultimately a mirror of our own self-worth. Meaning, if we think negatively of ourselves, we will attract experiences of the same negative energy in line with our self-limiting beliefs. Our self-worth is how we communicate to the Universe what we believe we deserve to receive, which means if you feel incapable, unworthy and guilt and shame around what you feel you deserve, you will attract very little of what you truly desire. Whereas, if you raise your self-worth and feel fearlessly deserving, and clear about what it is you deserve and desire, the Universe will respond in ways that match this confident, assertive and determined energy.

Our level of self-worth is often all that stands in our way. So this International Women’s Day, and the day after that, and the day after that, start to change the way you speak to yourself. Change the way you communicate with yourself. Change the way you value yourself. Change the way you feel about yourself. And change the way you believe yourself to be. Change your story, and you will change the kinds of experiences you attract.

Start by getting clear about what you want to attract, and then use the following affirmations to change the way you think, feel and exist. The following affirmations are more generic, but if you have specific goals, work them into the mix too. This exercise is not so much about visualisation or planting seeds and setting intentions. It is about getting used to changing they way you communicate with yourself, and in turn, changing the way you communicate with the Universe. It is about changing the way you think, feel and believe.

I am enough.
I am successful in everything you do.
Nothing about this day needs to be perfect.
I am smart; I am educated. I know all that I need to know, right now.
I am capable.
I am not stuck.
I am exactly where I need to be, right now.
I am powerful.
I am strong.
I am beautiful.
I am healthy.
I am grateful.
I am abundant.
I am determined.
I am willing.
I am worthy of what I want.
I am capable of what I dream of.
I am in control.
I am working hard.
I deserve whatever I want.
I am open to what I need. I am open to be shown the way. I trust that whatever I need will come to me, exactly when I need it.
I have faith. I trust the process. I believe.
I am ready.

2. Empowerment

In changing the way you view and communicate to yourself, you will begin to notice a shift in your energy. If you truly believe in the things you are telling yourself, it is guaranteed to lift your mood and raise your self-worth and you’re frequency. This way of living is an empowered one. There is no place for fear, worry, concern or shame. There is no place for feeling unworthy or non-deserving. There is no place for holding back or feeling bad for what it is you want. You can’t help what you desire.

Feeling more empowered will help you to draw in exactly what aligns with your power and energy. It will help you to draw in exactly that which matches your desires and your reasonings, and as long as your self-worth and your goals are really true to your authentic self, the Universe will respond.

3. What do you want?

Getting to the root of what you really want is perhaps one of the hardest things to decipher. With so many expectations from society or, more locally, from friends or family, and with more distractions than ever, it is hard to tune into our innate desires. It is hard to listen to ourselves, and it is hard to really find what it is we actually want. Not just what would be nice. Not just material things. Not just achievements that we believe will make us ‘look good’. But deep down, what we really want, and why.

Asking the ‘why’s behind what it is you think you want is a grounding method to apply to this exercise, as it helps to really establish the feelings, emotions and outcomes associated with what you desire - or what you think you desire. And you’ll be surprised. The ‘why’s will reveal more accurately what it is you want, on a much deeper level, and will help you to align with your authentic self. This will then help you to uncover a real sense of purpose, too. For example, if you want a better job, why do you want a better job? For more money? And why do you want more money? For security? Or do you want a better job because you want to be viewed as being more successful? Why do you want to seem more successful? For external validation? For yourself? To feel more worthy? You may find that the ‘why’s behind your initial desires can go on and on, but go with it until you come to an answer that is more aligned to an emotion, a mood or a feeling. Often, you will get to a way you want to feel, and in fact, if you do the work in Step 1 (self-worth), you will become aligned to these feelings in more empowered ways, and in ways that don’t necessarily require instant action or much to change at all.

Start by using a few of the following questions to dig deep. It is advised to journal during this exercise.

What do I want?
Why do I want that?
What will that change?
How will it make me feel?
What will this improve?
What kind of life do I want to live?
Where do I see myself in 1 year from now? In 5? In 10?
Why do I see myself there?
How do I wish to feel?
What do I want for myself? What do I want for others?
Why?
Who do I want to become?
What kind of life do I want to live?
What do I want to achieve?
Why?

4. How can you support others?

Whilst steps 1-3 are focussed on self-worth and self-strategising, they are crucial steps in becoming a more empowered version of yourself who can then in turn empower others. You may find you feel more empowered and more determined, and you may learn things about yourself that you can share with others to help them too. Once you’ve done the work on yourself, do the work with others. Use your desires and goals to help others, and use your newfound power and enthusiasm to support them.

shall i do an online course / PDF on this. leave a comment below.

Empowering Female Finds & Other Useful Items

This book.
This book.
This book.
This book.
This book.
This book.
This book.
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This.
One of these.

In Interview for International Womens Day ~ with Daisy London

Interview, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Wellbeingdanielle copperman2 Comments

Model, founder of Qnola and author of the Well Being book, is there nothing that Danielle Copperman can’t do? To kick start our inspiring women series, we caught up with the beautiful Danielle for a coffee to discuss how she juggles such a busy lifestyle and left ready to take on the world and with a slight girl crush.

How did your journey into health and nutrition first come about?

It all started when I first moved away from home and began modelling full time. It was quite new to me to be buying and cooking all of my own food, and not only did I need to keep from going hungry, I also needed to keep in shape for the job. At the time, there wasn’t as much available or any truly reliable advice around. I began eating salad without dressing on and granola multiple times a day, as I thought it was super healthy. I soon decided to research things myself and eventually started studying an A level in biology and then a diet and nutrition diploma in my spare time, alongside modelling. It was this research that lead me to discover the many lies that are fed to us from huge corporations. I started asking loads of questions and eventually, having tried paleo and other diets, decided the easiest way was to cut out any processed manufactured packaged products and eat whole ingredients in their intended form. This was where I first got into nutrition, and as a subsequent, after starting my business, Qnola, and experiencing severe stress and burnout, I got into yoga, mindfulness, meditation and other holistic rituals that make up my current wellbeing ethos and methods.

Tell us about your Qnola business and how the idea of it came about?

Qnola is my brand of quinoa granola products and other all-natural, vegan and gluten-free breakfast goods. I was inspired to create the brand when, after making it for myself, I began making it for my friends to take to them during fashion week, since we could never got truly healthy food backstage at shows. From there, the concept just spread by word of mouth. I began to get orders from other models, and then as Instagram became big and people began using it more, people would post photos of their Qnola and tag me in it. Eventually a cafe approached me to supply them, so I decided to really dedicate all my spare time to it. I did a lot of research, registered my kitchen with the health & safety authorities, trademarked the name, got my insurance and then began developing a full range of flavours and eventually packaging. It snowballed from there, and my second stockist was Selfridges Food Hall. Madness.

 We love your book! Why a book and did you love the writing process?

Thanks! Well, it all started with my blog. It received so much interest and press that I was approached by publishers to turn it into a book. After a few years of focussing on my Qnola business, it was the right time to focus on a book. In terms of the writing process, it was intense. I was writing all day and often cooking well into the night, testing things a few times and getting so frustrated when things went wrong. I put a lot of pressure on myself during the 6-8 months of writing and literally poured my heart into it.  You battle with self-doubt and worry for how the book will be received and what people might think. You over analyse every single word!

The book is about well being in the modern world, and contains natural recipes and ancient rituals intended to ease the side effects of modern life. It focuses particularly on recipes and rituals to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, poor digestion and lethargy, and increase positivity, calmness and relaxation, energy levels, focus, concentration and general wellbeing, both inside and out. The book contains over 200 recipes for food and natural beauty remedies, as well as over 50 rituals. Each section is broken down into familiar times of the day; Morntime, Daytime, In Between Time, Evening Time and Night time. From a nutritious breakfast as you run out of the door in the morning and a quick meditation practice to take a breather from a stressful day to a functional pick me up snack for long, lagging afternoons at work or even a restorative bedtime drink to help slow down a busy mind and encourage sounder sleep, it’s in there!

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find my inspiration all over the place. In the past I took inspiration from traditional recipes that I loved and replaced some ingredients with more natural, healthful ones. More recently, I find inspiration in the places I travel, the people I meet, the experiences I have, art, film, music, books, all sorts. Having my own brand and business, I never really switch off and so I could be having dinner with friends or just watching a crappy series and somehow find something that sparks a lightbulb moment. I think the key is to be constantly open and aware, and present, and then these kinds of coincidences or messages present themselves anytime, anyplace.

You are one busy lady! Is it hard to balance work life balance?

So, so hard. I really need help! I am in a kind of transitional period right now, and so the idea of hiring and delegating intimidates me. It is so hard to balance work and life simply because work is my life, and my life is my work. My daily life is how I communicate a lot of my ideas, and whilst I am truly passionate about what I do, it is really hard to switch off.  I would say that yoga, reading, painting and also sewing have been great for helping me separate work from actual real-time life. It can be easy to always live in planning mode; preparing for new collections, next blog posts, new events etc so these kinds of activities help to divert my attention when I need to most.

What’s a typical day in the life of Danielle Copperman?

There really isn’t one, however I try to ensure I have some kind of structure to my morning and evening routines, especially when I’m at home in London. I try to exercise once, sometimes twice, everyday. These are my non negotiables and the times in the day I try to really keep consistent, no matter what else I’m doing or how much I’m running around! Generally though, I’ll wake about 8, do some form of exercise or just 10 minutes of yoga or meditation in my room. I check emails and get onto anything urgent first, then I’ll get ready to work from home, a cafe or friends house. I usually have a few meetings, either with my modelling agents, prospective stockists, advisors, brands or press for collaborations. Everyday is unpredictable and whilst it can make me short of breath with anxiety and stress, it keeps me on my toes and I love it! I get bored easily and could never do exactly the same thing day in day out. I feel incredibly grateful I get to, most of the time, do what I love and set my own schedule.

What are your favourite healthy eating spots in London?

I can usually find a healthy option in most places, but if I’m going out specifically for a health feast, I love Farm Girl, The Good Life Eatery, Redemption, Detox Kitchen, Wild Food Kitchen, Farmacy, Hemsley Hemsley Cafe, Malibu Kitchen at The Ned – there’s so much choice these days!

How do you like to relax?

I meditate, do yoga, go on a run, chill with my boyfriend and have sleepovers with my childhood friends (it warms the soul so much), watch a movie, go on an evening walk with a mug of herbal tea, have a bath…the list goes on. I also love to go home to Bath regularly where I grew up and where my parents still live in the countryside. It’s such a nice peaceful escape from the big city life. 

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What does jewellery mean to you and what’s your favourite Daisy jewellery piece?

Jewellery has always been a major part of my life. From growing up and wearing heirlooms from my grandma’s and great aunts, I always felt jewellery held this meaningful value. As a teenager, I used to scour antique shops, car boot sales, charity and vintage stores to find pendants. I had all sorts and loved how each one told a different story, coming from different eras. As I’ve grown up and defined my own style a little more, jewellery for me is like perfume or lip balm – I can’t leave the house without it. If i forget to put earrings in I feel bare. I personally prefer gold plated things, and these days keep things quite minimal. I love that stacking is in style, and so wear multiple necklaces at once and too many earrings (i’ve got now 9 ear piercings), daily. I wear quite plain outfits most of the time, so I love to let jewellery bring things to life. I’m a sucker for statement earrings and love textured details too, like the Estée Lalonde ring and bracelet I have. My favourite Daisy piece at the moment I think is the Aphrodite Gold Necklace. I love the femininity of it, and love it even more knowing it is a helping raise awareness and support for those affected with cervical cancer.

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Well Being New Moon Rituals - For Ecoage

Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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In my last post for Eco-Age, I shared some insights into how the full moon affects us, along with practices to assist in aligning with it and adopting and utilising its power. Each lunar cycle gives us the opportunity to delve quite  deeply into ourselves, and to use the energy of the universe to attract our true, authentic desires.

For ease, I’ll recap briefly here. The moon holds a different energy at different times of the month. The moon’s cycle is around 28 days, and during this timeframe, it goes from new moon to waxing moon to full moon and then waning moon. When the moon is waxing, it is essentially growing, and as it grows, it brings an energy of abundance, meaning this time of the month is an ideal time for you to manifest what you want. When the moon is waning, it is essentially shrinking, and that is why this time of the month is an ideal time for letting go and cleansing; be this physically (like tidying and decluttering) or emotionally (like letting go of negative thought patterns or challenges in career or relationships, etc etc). And that’s why the full moon and the new moon are seen as such transformational times. They are the pivotal moments in the moon's cycle and are therefore seen to be, in some ways, the most powerful. My previous article was dedicated to the full moon, so it’s time to take a look, now, at the new moon. 

Where the full moon is a powerful and energetic time and one often associated with transition and change, the new moon is a more settled time, and one of reflection and turning inwards. This phase is much calmer and brings with it a sense of stillness; its energy being much subtler and gentler than that of the full moon.

What is a new moon?

The new moon is when the moon is practically invisible to the naked eye. Having been on a cycle of shrinking to a thin sliver since the full moon - also known as waning - the new moon essentially disappears from view completely. The new moon is when the moon is directly between the earth and the sun, and the alignment of the Sun, Moon, and Earth leaves the side of the Moon that faces Earth in complete darkness. This is why, to us on Earth, it appears the moon has more or less disappeared. 

The new moon marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle. The energy usually associated with this phase is hope, clarity and anticipation, but not all new moons were created equal. Sometimes around the time of the new moon, you may feel this hope, clarity and anticipation, along with confidence, acceptance and a wave of inspiration for new beginnings. But other times, you might feel more sensitive and experience uncertainty and lack of direction, which is also fine too. Each new moon is a supportive time and allows space for you to understand how you’re feeling and whatever you may be going through. 

Since the new moon is a time at which the moon is not illuminated at all (unlike the full moon when it is fully illuminated), the darkness we experience on the planet is thought to present itself in our personal situations and physical and mental circumstances, too. For this reason, the new moon is thought to be a time of journeying inwards; a very personal time of really getting to know your goals, sowing seeds and setting intentions, to set the tone for, without wanting to sound too intimidating, the rest of your life. The lack of light brings with it a sense of mystery and uncertainty, and can mean we sometimes feel less clear about things; almost, i guess, as if we were feeling in the dark. We may feel we don’t know what we are doing, where we are going or what we even want. And similarly, the motives behind the activities of others may also be unclear or lack in sense. But don’t panic or get too frustrated or overwhelmed during this darkness, or when things seem unclear, and the future unimaginable. Be mindful that everyone is to some extent in the dark with you, just in they’re own unique ways. The good thing is, this darkness is temporary, and you should recognise this as a metaphor for your own personal troubles and challenges. 

How does the new moon affect us?

The new moon marks the first phase of the entire moon cycle, starting from seemingly nothing, growing into the full moon and then shrinking again at the end of the cycle before starting again. In this respect, the new moon is a fantastic and powerful chance for new beginnings. Physically and mentally, it is a time of cleansing and detoxing, and is the chance for us to let go of anything holding us back, and say goodbye to things that no longer serve us. It is a calm time of the month, making it perfect to set out plans, get clear of your goals and spend some time setting intentions, without haste and without any expectation of results or clear destinations in mind. It is a time to sow your seeds and set them free, and then sit back and do all you can to attract them into being by stepping into your power and becoming as magnetic as you can (that means acting, thinking and existing in line with you soul and your authentic goals and desires. Put simply, like attracts like, so act in ways you wish to be rewarded).

In a time of darkness, there are less distractions, and this energy offers us the chance to take stock and focus on what we’ve got and what we want. Whilst it is a nourishing time and one to move through carefully, it doesn’t mean we have to stop or slow down completely. Sure, we should move cautiously, but we should also enjoy the opportunity to be busy, by setting intentions and doing some behind-the-scenes groundwork in preparation for the next phase of the month, and, more specifically, the next full moon (when these kinds of intentions often come into cultivation). Around the new moon is a good time to actively consider what you want to manifest for the rest of the month (and ultimately the rest of the year and the rest of your life, without getting too ahead of yourself), so set your intentions and vow to be focussed and put in the consistent effort. 

The New Moon can sometimes bring a new wave of inspiration, motivating us to be more original, inventive and creative in our thoughts and activities. This period brings with it refreshing, new ideas and solutions to challenges or road blocks that perhaps have been persistent or stagnant for some time. On top of that, instinct is thought to take centre stage during the new moon, meaning, when we’re in our power, we can be (almost) effortlessly on track. The importance of tuning it and becoming aligned, present and fully grounded must be reiterated here, as only when you are in your power can your intuition and instinct be heard enough to guide you. The new moon is a very magnetic time, full of new ideas and opportunities and has the chance to present many spontaneous and unplanned - even unimaginable - experiences, but if you’re not tuned in, you’ll miss them, and this entire phase of the month will either pass you by entirely, or effect you in more negative ways, leaving you feeling stuck.

How to adopt the energy of the new moon and how to handle whatever comes up:

The new moon is an opportune time to initiate new projects and set intentions and goals in the direction of your dreams. Whilst it is a calm time, it should ideally be a period of hard work, too, unlike the Full Moon, which is more a period of fruition and reward. It is a crucial time to get clear about what you want, and so setting intentions is a non-negotiable. Below are a few other tips on working with the energy of the new moon to really get the most out of it, and yourself:

1. Rest and recharge. 

The new moon is a time to rest and recuperate and with the darkness bringing an element of silence and stillness, you too should adopt the same qualities. Meditate, go on long walks, be in nature, or just surrender to doing nothing. Have baths, do face masks, get a massage, go to a gong bath or sound healing workshop. Whatever you do, do it with ease, and make sure its nourishing you and giving your the chance to charge your batteries; god knows you’re going to need all the energy you can get to fuel all these intentions and new beginnings. *Some people find it particularly hard to sleep at the time of the full and new moons (this is known as being lunar sensitive). If you experience this, melatonin drops or supplements, as well as magnesium should help. You could also try calming essential oils on your pillow.

2. Turn inwards and ask questions. 

Take the time to get to know yourself on a deeper level. I find the best way to do this is to write things down and / or brainstorm. Ask yourself some serious questions, and get to the roots of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, what you want, and why you want it. This internal dialogue is crucial in making sure you know what you want and can clearly set intentions, without distractions. You should also take this time to ask yourself what is no longer serving you and / or what is in your way. The new moon is a time of letting go and cleansing, so take this opportunity whilst setting intentions for things you want, to let go of the things you don’t.

3. Follow your instincts.

Again, by turning inwards, you’ll find yourself more grounded and centred, and more aligned with your truth. By resting and recharging, you’ll be in the best frame of mind and will adopt an optimal frequency, to be able to notice, understand and trust your natural instincts. this will help you in making big decisions, starting new projects and ensuring you are on track with what you really want to be doing and where you really want to be going. 

4. Think positively.

Not only important around the new moon, thinking positively is so underrated. Its easier for us to think negatively, and we need to be more conscious when thinking positively which is why we often lose touch. However, the frequency of your thoughts ultimately attracts experiences of the same frequency, so thinking positively is crucial if you want positive things to happen. Whilst setting intentions, keep a positive mindset, and try to hold at least one positive thought in your mind each day. Not only will it change your mood, it will change the kind of energy (around you and of others) that you attract, and ultimately, your experiences. Setting intentions is like planting a seed. You must consciously nurture it with everything it needs (positivity, hope and trust) and keep the weeds (negative thoughts, people or situations) out of the way. 

5. Eat well.

Similarly to the full moon, I’d advise to eat nourishing and fresh foods as much as possible. Not only do highly processed foods interfere with your body and mind's natural states, the way your digestion and water levels react to the new moon may be more sensitive than usual. Generally, the new moon, whilst the moon is shrinking, means our bodies are in a mild deep-cleaning mode. Some people believe that they feel thinner and feel, whilst satisfied, less full and sluggish around the new moon. It is also thought that the new moon is a suitable time to lose weight without a lot of effort, since sometimes appetites are reduced. Be sure to stay hydrated too, and eat seasonally to really get in sync with nature.

So, a lot of information to digest, I know, but in a nutshell - if things are unclear as the new moon approached, it’s time to let go and trust. Tune in, get to know yourself and listen to your intuition. Set your intentions inline with your truth, and sow your seeds, then do all you can behind the seeds to support them. If nothing else, the new moon should act as a reminder for you to turn inwards, set your sights straight and try to turn any negative thoughts into positive ones. Let go of things that are standing in your way or putting a strain on you, and try to use this time to get excited about the possibility of new beginnings. Know that you can find your power quite easily (once you’ve filtered the distractions and let go of any expectations others might have you confined to), and once you do, you will realise that deep down you have the power and ability to achieve whatever you dream of.