WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

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

rituals

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

We Need To Talk About The Full Moon ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Lifestyle, Moon Time, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

Danielle Copperman, author of 'Well Being: Recipes and rituals to realign the body and mind', shares some insights into the affects of the full moon and practices to help you align with it.

The Moon and its various phases is something I have been interested in for a while now. Since first learning about how the cycles of the moon work and how they influence so many things - from animals and humans, to tides and climate - I have been curious to find out just how much the different phases can effect our day-to-day lives. There is a lot of information and many references to the moon these days, particularly to the full moon - which is mockingly blamed for manic mood swings and rolling bad luck. But just how much does the moon really influence us, how exactly does it influence us, and what can we do to really align with it in order to get the most from its powerful energy?

I believe that when we really tune in to what’s going on in the Universe, we can instantly begin to understand ourselves, our environment and others around us on a much deeper level. The phases of the moon is a good place to start, as it introduces you to the idea of energy, and how everything is interconnected. Everything is energy, and understanding how the energy of the universe influences our individual energies has been life-changing for me.

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 pinnacles of the moon's cycle and are therefore seen to be the most powerful. In this article I’m going to touch on the most popular and perhaps most intriguing; The Full Moon. More on the New Moon next time!

Full moons are powerful but not all are created equally. Usually, we will experience one full moon per month, however sometimes, if we’re lucky, we get two. You can get conventional full moons, but you can also get super moons, blood moons and several other more spectacular and energetically unique full moons. If you delve even deeper, you will learn that each full moon correlates with a certain star sign too, which looks at the full moon in relation to stars and other activity within the cosmos.

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What is a full moon?

The full moon is when the moon is at its fullest. It is essentially when the sun and moon are exactly aligned on opposite sides of Earth, and the entire face of the moon is illuminated by the sun. It is thought that this sense of illumination is present in aspects of our own lives, too, with certain things becoming more illuminated and amplified in the same way as the moon. For these reasons, the full moon is thought to be a time of change and transformation.

How does the full moon affect us?

Generally speaking, people tend to feel physical effects of the moon, as well as mental. Often, during or leading up to the full moon, it’s common to experience more bloating and a feeling of fullness, as well as severe fatigue. And on a more emotional level, the full moon is also thought to amplify mood swings, anxiety, more frequent low moods and sensitivity. It is also interesting to know that in our most natural and harmonious states (i.e. without drugs, alcohol, contraception, other medication and / or poor diet), women are supposed to menstruate either at the new moon or the full moon. It is not surprising, then, that if we are naturally intended to sync with nature, we must have some kind of intrinsic connection to the energies around us. When you also think about how the moon affects water and, more specifically, tides, it is interesting to notice that we humans are made up of around 75% water, and so, if the moon can dictate tides and influence the gravitational pull of our planet, it would make a lot of sense that it might also do the same to us on a smaller scale.

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

The time leading up to and during the Full Moon is a highly energetic one. It is a time when lots is in flux; it may feel like there is a lot bubbling away and like something is building up and you may feel unsettled, uncertain and ungrounded, but not quite be able to put your finger on it. Whilst the new moon is a time of intention setting and cleansing, the full moon is a much more active time where things seem to be really in motion and up in the air. If you are able to tune into the energy, you can often ground and go with the flow, and be entirely in your power - mimicking the energy of the moon and in fact being super productive and inspired. However, if you are not aligned with its energies, you might experience a constant sense of feeling overwhelmed, confused and lacking direction.

1. My first piece of advice is to honour your energy. Sometimes at a full moon you may have bundles of energy, whilst others you may be super tired and lethargic. The key is to accept however you feel, and understand that it is not necessarily because of anything you have or haven’t done, but is in some cases out of your control. Surrendering like this feels amazing, and it really helps you to tune in to what you need. Sometimes you just need to pause. And at the other end of the spectrum, if you have high energy levels and feel highly motivated, it is also important sometimes to slow down, and not to jump into any rash decisions or make any major changes. Whilst this time can be incredibly inspiring, it is sometimes still best to be open to what comes up, analyse it for a while, and not necessarily act on in straight away.

2. My second piece of advice is to start to take note of when the full moon is approaching. I would suggest downloading one of many free apps, or investing in a moon calendar, to ensure you can schedule in certain things around the full moon (such as seeing friends, a massage, or just doing nothing) and avoid certain things (such as intense exercise, important meetings or self-set deadlines). By doing this you can be not only more aware but also more prepared.

3. Thirdly, take it easy and don’t do too much. It is not just one day that the full moon affects us, unfortunately, but it is often just as difficult or emotional a time in the lead up to the full moon. My advice is to just keep aware of how you are feeling, and take it easy. Don’t try to do too much, instead, turn inwards and dig deep to discover what’s really going on, why you are experiencing certain thoughts or moods, and take time to be grateful for what you’ve got. Having a grateful attitude will attract more experiences and opportunities of the same vibrational frequency. This may sound a bit ‘out there’, but the more positively and abundantly you think, the more of the same you will attract, according to the unwritten law’s of the universe. So, take it easy, take time to take stock, and think positively.

4. Finally, a few tips on making the most of the full moon energy. How should you utilise this powerful time and what can help you in staying grounded whilst manifesting efficiently? For me, it is about taking time to pause and ask yourself a few meaningful questions. How are you feeling, physically and mentally? How is your career? How are your relationships? How is your fitness? Delve deep and try to find the root of any troubling thoughts or emotions, then try to set them right, or do something to change them. To do this, you might do yoga or try meditation, or even sound healing if you don’t have a independent meditation practice. Another thing you can try, to really tune in, is going for a walk, alone in silence or with someone else. Being in nature is incredibly powerful, always, and especially at this time of the month. I often take a cup of tea and walk around my neighbourhood with one of my friends when night has fallen and the moon is bright. Even just gazing at the night sky is an amazing ritual for instantly feeling grounded.

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Once grounded, it can also be useful to write things down or journal. You might want to write about how you feel or write answers to the questions you’ve asked yourself, or you might want to write down things you want to manifest or goals you may have had, or just random bits of inspiration that may have surfaced. I always find it useful to brainstorm at this time of the month, as i often feel quite unsettled and unfocussed. It works for me to brainstorm what i really want to be focusing on, and sometimes this means letting go of certain things or just saving them for another time.

Another way to really nourish and ground at this time, too, is to eat a really natural meal, either during the day of the full moon or the evening of, depending on the time. I like to choose fresh, unprocessed ingredients, such as vegetables and grains, and in the summer I'll keep these raw and in the winter, i'll turn them into some kind of soup, curry or stew, for a more deeply nourishing, comforting and grounding meal.

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So, a lot of information to digest, I know, but in a nutshell, if nothing else, the full moon should act as a reminder for you to slow down a bit and turn inwards; to recalibrate, take stock and to get focused on where you are and where you want to get to. It is a very personal time and can vary from person to person, from month to month, but I would strongly recommend getting to know the phases of the moon in order to get to know yourself a little more, to ultimately live a more informed and empowered life. Honour your energy, and if you're feeling active, get manifesting, and if you're feeling fatigued, indulge and take care of yourself! If nothing else, please go and gaze out at the moon and stars tonight; it will change your mood instantly!

Simple Lifestyle Hacks for Surviving the Winter ~ for The Welle Co

Commisions, Beauty, Autumn, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Winter, Wellbeingdanielle copperman2 Comments
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WITH WINTER IN FULL SWING, THE DAYS ARE SHORTER, DARKER AND HARSHER, YET OFTEN WE FORGET TO TAKE THE TIME TO ADAPT OUR LIFESTYLES IN ORDER TO SURVIVE THEM. LONDON-BASED NUTRITIONIST DANIELLE COPPERMAN SHOWS US HOW.

Whilst we take care to brace ourselves for the freezing conditions (think more layers, bigger boots and larger coats), too often we forget to consider the areas of our lives impacted by the cooler weather other than our wardrobes. Instead, we carry on our lives as much as normal, trying to power through and forcing ourselves to continue our usual lifestyles whilst enduring winter’s side effects (such as low energy, low moods, low motivation, skin issues and much more).

For me personally, when the seasons change (and especially during the shift from summer to autumn/winter), I try to make small changes to all areas of my life to help me continue to thrive.

I find that I naturally begin to crave more seasonal foods (which I believe, if we are tuned in to listen to our bodies, is in our innate nature) and honour these cravings;

  • Swap out a few of my daily beauty products

  • Incorporate new rituals such as self-massage and natural movement (even if exercise is the last thing that I feel like doing!)

  • Make space for little moments to pause, take a breather and tune in to acknowledge and honour my energy at least once or twice a week – especially if there’s a lot going on in my life socially or with work. Sometimes, it’s important to learn how to say ‘no’ and the winter is a wonderful excuse for this, so use it!

These little life hacks make a big difference in my life.

Struggling to find the mojo to make it through to the summer with as much energy, inspiration, motivation and positivity as possible?

Try these life hacks and watch your mood improve (you’ll also benefit from supported physiological functions, a thriving immune system and vibrant, hydrated skin – bonus!)

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOUR CRAVINGS ARE TELLING YOU

We have cravings for a reason and our cravings speak to changes in our activity level, physiological responses and environments.

We crave carbs when we’ve worked out or run or walked for miles. We crave sugar if our blood sugar levels are dipping too low. We crave salt if our blood sugar levels are too high. 

Similarly, at different times of the year and in different climates, we need different things from our food, and nature knows that. It prepares itself for the ingredients that our bodies really need to flourish, and in winter, these foods are usually ones that keep our immune systems strong and keep our energy levels high. They’re also usually warming and grounding.

At the beginning of the year, my seasonal cravings usually include Brussels sprouts, apples, cabbage, chestnuts, mushrooms, dark leafy greens, earthy roots (like carrots, parsnips, pumpkin and beets), blood oranges and grains (like brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat).

I tend to prepare more cooked meals during these colder months as they are easier on our digestion, warm us internally and support circulation. I also try to incorporate apples or citrus fruits into most of my days too, for their abundance of vitamins to protect against viruses.

I also ramp up my adaptogen game during the colder months and add in some new ingredients to replace those I need during the summertime. Adaptogens, herbs and spices play a major part in my daily diet and I find the easiest way to use them is in smoothies or stirred through hot or cold water or plant-based milks. During the winter, I love the SUPER ELIXIR with cacao, mucuna puriens, ashwaganda, cordyceps, reishi, shilajit and maca that really do wonders to keep my energy levels and moods high (as well as keeping those dreaded winter illnesses at bay).

NOURISH YOUR SKIN

My skin always suffers during this time of year and becomes incredibly dry, fragile and sensitive, so I always make sure to switch my lighter and usually water-based summertime products with denser and oil-based products. I also exfoliate less (and use more gentle products when I do) and cleanse as usual. 

Once a month, I also do a steam with essential oils and throughout the season, I use all-natural, organic products made with whole ingredients (without nasty additives or chemicals) and most importantly, lots of natural oils (such as coconut, almond, shea, cacao and essential oils).

If you suffer from dry skin, I’d highly recommend using more oil-based products - or even just pure carrier oils - as they are gentler on the skin whilst providing rehydration and bringing balance back to your complexion. Many people falsely believe that oils will make their skin greasier and blemish prone, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In addition to being nourishing, these natural oils are often antibacterial and antiviral too and as such, keep skin clean.

STEP UP YOUR DAILY MOVEMENT

During the winter, one of the most important rituals to incorporate into your routine (at least a few times a week, if not daily!) is movement. It’s so important to keep things moving and keep your circulation in check with supported blood flow and oxygen intake. If you can’t bring yourself to work out or if it’s just too cold for a run, try to walk places as much as you can. Walking is enough to get your heart rate up so it’s a great option for those who struggle with finding the time or motivation for more strenuous activity during winter.  

It’s super important to find ways to move that are still gentle and not too stress-inducing, as this is a time when most other animals are hibernating… and to some extent, we should be too. But it’s important for us, as we continue to go about modern life and our daily responsibilities, to keep things moving. You’ll feel better mentally and physically for it!

SET YOUR INTENTIONS

Other rituals I like to practice during the winter and particularly at the beginning of the year in January include setting intentions and journaling. This really helps me to reflect on my achievements from the year, focus on what I have and note what I am grateful for – as well as helping me map out my goals for the year ahead.

I also like to use tarot cards or oracle cards if I’m feeling particularly lost, stuck or unmotivated in life. These cards can help to give you a sign, a message or just a nudge in the right direction, and you don’t have to be a pro tarot reader to use them. It works by simply putting your energy into the deck of cards and asking them questions on things you want to know or need some clarity or guidance on. I love this practice and even if it seems a bit ‘woo woo’, if nothing else it helps you to become present and grounded and always gives positive and inspiring information.

BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH THE COLD

This one’s going to hurt, but it’s actually really good for us - mentally and physically - to be exposed to the cold… not for a long time, perhaps, but for short intervals.

That’s why during this time of year, I try to take interval showers a few times a month, which means standing under cold water for 1 minute then returning it to warm water and repeating a few times. It’s like cryotherapy in your own home.

On the other end of the spectrum, it is of course super beneficial to be warm too, and so I’d suggest saunas or steam rooms to be incorporated into your rituals, at least once a month if you can.

When I’m in Sweden visiting my boyfriend, there are places you can go to jump naked into an iced-over lake, and then run quickly (with a robe of course) into a sauna nearby. It’s so invigorating, revitalising and energising and is a wonderful way to move energy, shift blockages and keep your metabolism active.

Danielle Copperman is a qualified nutritionist, food writer and chef based in London. She is also the founder of QNOLA. You can also find Danielle’s book, Well Being, on Amazon.

How to Self Massage ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Anytime, Beauty, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Massage shouldn’t be a luxury confined to the spa…

Having a massage is commonly seen to be an indulgent act of self-care; an expensive and quite frankly ‘extra’ luxury that only a fraction of us has the time and money to enjoy. It is very rarely seen as a necessary part of our wellbeing, and especially not a priority in our everyday rituals.

However, since studying Shiatsu and holistic massage last year, I became so interested in the benefits that massage has on both our bodies and minds, and how it can be used not only for relaxation but in many cases to prevent and/or to heal all kinds of physical and mental malfunctions.

When you think of massage, likely an image of a peaceful spa springs to mind, and you associate it with feeling instantly relaxed and calm. That, or it’s an unimpressive setting, maybe even a pop-up massage table in your own home, and a deep-tissue sports-style massage that leaves you grinding your teeth and in more pain than when it began. Either way, aside from it being used for pure relaxation or to reduce physical tension, there are so many other benefits of massage and issues it can ease.

Massage, of course, is relaxing, which makes it a powerful ritual to reduce stress, anxiety and even depression. Also, given the purest oils are used, it can help to make skin softer and more hydrated, and can even be used to soothe and heal irritations or imbalances. Massage can also be incredibly energising, which may seem unlikely when you think of how relaxing they can be (I almost always fall into a deep sleep during mine). But given the right techniques are used, massage can really enliven and invigorate the body and mind, and help enhance energy levels. On the contrary, it can also aid sleep and improve sleeping patterns. But perhaps one of my favourite benefits of massage is how it contributes to internal processes such as circulation, lymphatic drainage and digestion. It can help encourage circulation, reduce toxins, shift stagnant energy and diffuse internal blockages, and even improve digestive issues such as IBS, indigestion, bloating, constipation and more. And one last thing, if you think of the body in terms of energy flow and its meridians, massage used to reduce physical tension can help to redirect the energy flow of the body and mind, having major affects on the mental and emotional, reaching them through the physical and enhancing the connection and communication between the two.

Granted, this information is all well and good but it still doesn’t make going for a massage any more accessible for you, right? Well, the good news is, you can still reap the benefits of massage by doing it on yourself. Or, better yet, getting a partner or friend to help you out once in a while. Make it a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ kind of scenario? However you choose to do it, dissolve accumulated stress and toxins within the body and mind and enhance your mental and physical performance with a daily, or at least weekly, doses of massage. You can do a full body massage using your hands, with or without oil, improvising as you go, or if you need a little more guidance and inspiration, read on for massage sequences for specific areas of the body.

1. Neck and shoulders

These exercises are great for people who are especially stressed and who hold a lot of physical tension in their neck, shoulders and back. It is great for those hunched over desks all day too, and can even be done at your desk during the day. If you want to make it more of a ritual, use a little oil and take more time over this sequence at home after a long day. This sequence is also calming and relaxing as just the act of focussing solely on this massage can help activate the parasympathetic part of the brain, slowing busy thoughts and becoming a kind of gentle meditation.

How to:

Use the thin edge of your hand and in saw-like motions, gently hack at the neck, focussing on the trapezius muscle - the large muscle that holds up the neck and runs over the shoulders and shoulder blades and even around the upper back. Tilt your head to the left, first, and work on the right side of the neck, then repeat on the other side.

After you have done this ‘chopping’ motion, make a fist and gently use your knuckle to work around the shoulder. Have your right arm hanging loose and limp, and using your left knuckle, work in a sort of Mexican wave motion, moving the knuckles in a flowing motion over and around the shoulder. Then, release your fist and simply use your finger tips and predominantly your thumb to work more deeply into the shoulder area. Repeat on the other shoulder.

2. Face and head

These exercises are incredibly energising for both the body and mind, but are simultaneously calming. Working to energise the face and head increases alertness and can enhance focus and concentration, which makes these exercises perfect at the start of the day.

How to:
Using the fingertips of both hands, start by gently tapping them over the forehead and temples. Move the hands across the forehead and the temples, back and forth a few times. You can use as much or as little force as feels good. Gradually work your way in the same manner up the sides of the head to the top of the head, and move around the entire top, back and sides of the head a few times. Finish by bringing the fingertips forward again to the forehead area.

Next, using your middle three fingers, smooth the eyebrow areas from the centre of the face where they begin, out to the edges. Then get your thumb involved, smoothing it under the eyebrows as the fingers remain on the top of the eyebrows or just away from the face. Next, use the fingertips under the eyebrows on the upper eyelid bone to smooth and massage. I often get puffy here after sleeping so this is a great exercise if you experience the same.

Next, bring the fingertips once more to the temple and press with some force, massaging in a circular motion. Then bring the fingertips to the cheeks and cheekbones. Start by tapping the cheekbones with the fingertips, back and forth from the outer edges of the face towards the nose. Then massage the cheek area using circular motions. You can also smooth the area (this works best if using a light oil), starting at the edges of the nose and smoothing the cheeks a few times, out towards the edges of the face. You should work on the top area, the main middle area and the underneath of the cheekbones. Finish at the edges of the face, towards the ears, and using your index finger, press gently a few times into the bone that joins the cheeks and the upper jaw bone.

Then, work on the jaw area. From the cheek and jaw bone join, drag the fingertips down the sides of the jaw to the bottom join, where you back teeth meet. With you middle three fingers on the bottom jaw bone, had the thumb gently gripping underneath the jaw bone, and work in circular motions to move from the edges of the jaw in towards the chin. Repeat a few times and alternate between using circular motions and just smoothing in one swift movement.

Finally, use the fingertips to move above the jaw into the main fleshy cheek area, over the teeth and around the mouth. Work in circular motions or however feels good to massage into the muscles of the cheeks, and do the same around the area above the upper lip and below the lower lip.

Finish by working around the nose, smoothing up and down the sides of the nose and pressing with your index finger into the corners of the nose. Smooth from the nose slightly out towards the cheeks. This is especially good for sinus issues and to improve breathing .

Finish by using the palms of the hands to rub over the entire face, pulling and stretching however feels good or just lightly brushing over the face to complete the ritual.

*You could also try using traditional massage tools for face massage, such as a marble gua sha, a jade roller or other wooden or stone tools

3. Feet

We demand a lot from our feet to support us, perhaps more than any other body part, yet we rarely consider taking extra special care of them. The following massage technique helps to invigorate the flow of energy and relieve tension within the feet. Through working on the major muscles and pressure points (and meridians) in the feet we can aid many other organs and ailments in the body too, including aches, digestion and inflammation. These exercises are great towards the end of the day, and can also encourage lymphatic drainage, meaning diffusing toxins and waste matter. 

Read the full article here, and find out more about self-massage along with more rituals in my book, Well Being.

These Rituals will Help You to Realign with Your Intuition & Awareness

Anytime, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Natural Living, Ritualsdanielle coppermanComment

Last week, I co-hosted a Rituals & Spiritual Awareness workshop with my good friend Tamara Driessen (aka Wolfsister). We held the event at recently opened Glow Bar in central London and enjoyed pumpkin dahl, adaptogenic chocolate mousse and calming and grounding chamomile moon milk from my book. With the topic of rituals and spiritual awareness in mind, we focussed on talking about our personal journeys in spiritual awareness and in finding our own alignment and authenticity. It is a forever project, and it takes constant effort and constant reminders to stay connected and conscious, but read on to find out how it’s done.

* If you missed the event, join us for our next Full Moon workshop on 25th Nov.

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Intuition and Awareness

These terms are often loosely tossed about, and whilst you might be familiar with them, do you really understand them?

Intuition is basically instinct. In a nutshell, it is the ability to understand something based on instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning or actual fact. It is within our innate nature to ‘just know’ or ‘have a feeling’ sometimes, that you just might not be able to explain.

Awareness is slightly different, but the two go hand in hand as, to hear or notice your intuition, you must be aware. Awareness, in this sense, is being in a state that is alert, open and conscious of things around you. It is possessing knowledge, perception or an opinion on any thing or situation that is outside of your own mind and body. Self-awareness is another story, but it all plays a part in contributing to your overall awareness of life and of others, and the awareness that everything seems to exist and occur inter-connectedly.

Both intuition and awareness require presence before anything else in order to be fully operational and authentically accurate. We have lost touch with our intuition for a number of reasons and in a number of ways, and we have reduced awareness in many aspects of life. A lack of being truly present is a huge contributing factor. We are more connected with each other than ever, thanks to technology, but we are literally wired and are connected to other people or other things so often that we rarely have the time or space to feel connected to ourselves and to the present moment. There is always someone or something else that requires our attention, and most often these relentlessly demanding situations exist in the past or future. Our minds are often stuck overthinking something that has happened, or planning and prepping (and worrying - let’s be honest) about things to come; things in the near or distant future that have not happened yet and may not ever happen. Sound familiar?

In order to be able to connect to your intuition and in order to be more aware, it is crucial that you find ways to be present, if not constantly, at least more frequently than you do currently. Having rituals that can help you to feel grounded and really ‘in the moment’, is essential for you to be able to reap the rewards and make the most of all the wisdom you’re intuition is trying to share with you. No one knows you like your intuition, let’s be real.

You’re intuition is magically capable of bringing forth ideas, thoughts, emotions and actions that truly align with your authentic sole purpose. Thats why it feels so good! You know those moments when something just clicks? Something just comes to you? Something just feels right and makes immeasurable and indescribable sense? Most moments like these often occur to me whilst I’m either in the shower, chopping or preparing food, during yoga or meditation, or in bed whilst I’m trying to sleep. It is in these moments, amongst others, that we are forced to be and naturally drift into a completely present place. These are all examples of when you are at your most present, and it is in these moments that your intuition can really speak to you. You are suddenly more open and aware enough to allow and to hear your intuition guiding you, and it is these thoughts, or epiphanies, that are most aligned with the true you, and, thus, make the most sense. They are reflections of a deeper part of us; one which is usually suppressed or unnoticed as we go about our busy, modern lives. I have some of my best ideas just before bed or in the shower, and this is because our minds are focussed either on just one thing or on nothing in particular at all; certainly not all the thoughts or worries of the day that usually arise as soon as we wake. When you are present, the daily noise and the messy thoughts are temporarily silenced and, feeling clearer and more organised, your intuition actually has a chance to give its input. It is truly powerful and we don’t reach or remain in this state for very long at all, which is how we end up feeling so overwhelmed, lost, unsure, fearful, low, depressed, confused and miserable; all at once. You know the deal.

So how do you know become fully present and how can you enhance your awareness on a daily basis in order to ensure you are on the right track, aligned with your sole purpose and functioning on a more spiritually-aware level? It takes time and constant reminders, and it takes consciousness, understanding and the responsibility to take control of your life in a way that allows you to live in the present moment as much as you possibly can. Not all of these rituals may be suitable for you. I believe the teacher appears when the student is ready, meaning when you are in the right place for them to resonate with you (if they don’t right now), they will be here whenever you are ready.

Rituals

Make Time & Space; Reduce the Speed at Which You Function

The key to becoming more present is actually as simple as just making more time. We all complain there are not enough hours in the day and we are, in many ways, more stressed than ever (although the things we are stressed about are not stressful at all in comparison to what generations before us or less fortunate communities are faced with - but thats another story, for another post). For many of us, if we’re not doing several things at once, we’re thinking of several things at once, and our minds are moving at a million miles an hour, hardly connected to our bodies and focussed on so many things that they’re barely focussed at all. So slowing down the pace, taking more time and care over things, and just making a window of time to let yourself fully focus on each task or thought you are faced with, is a simple change you can make today.

Pause

Similarly to making more time, pausing is a powerful concept to become familiar with. As well as making more time wherever possible, consciously scheduling time or setting reminders to just pause at intervals throughout the day can actual mean you end up more productive because of it. Taking a break, removing yourself from a situation, or just changing surroundings and finding a few moments to be away from others can be so nourishing for the mind and soul and allow for less rational and rapid thoughts to subside, giving way to more meaningful and natural ones. Try to pause several times throughout the day, and especially at moments if and when you find yourself dealing with particularly challenging or stressful situations. It always helps to take a step back, process and observe the situation and come back to it again with a clearer (and more intuitive) mindset.

Journaling, Brainstorming and Stream of Consciousness

Writing your thoughts out on paper in physical form is a powerful ritual to get familiar with. I don’t journal everyday, and if you feel the pressure of having to, you haven’t fully understood the concept of journaling. It isn’t supposed to add to your workload, and there is no right or wrong or set way of doing it. But however it comes to you, writing or brainstorming can help to process and organise your thoughts, and analyse them almost as an outsider, as if they are separate from you. By doing this, you clear space internally for more truthful and authentic thoughts to present themselves, and you can really put things into context and let go of things that perhaps make absolutely not sense or are simply not worth worrying about. Stream of Consciousness is something I have been practicing for a few months, which involves simply starting to write whatever comes to you the moment you wake up. The content will be completely improvised and unplanned, with no real direction or meaning, but that is what makes it so powerful. It is freeing, it is creative, and it helps you to connect to your subconscious layers as you transition from being asleep to being awake; before you start concerning yourself with the day ahead. You may be surprised what comes up.

Yoga & Other Movement

Yoga is a must for me, but it took plenty of time for me to get used to it and to enjoy it. I still don’t always enjoy it, but I enjoy the way it makes me feel and the constant reminders if brings for self-awareness and self-development. I find it really helps to ground the egotistic mind and really puts things into perspective. Meditation is also a ritual I regard highly and, although my practice is often inconsistent, I know I can turn to it in particular moments. Use a meditation app, the rituals from my book, Well Being, or find some classes to attend and learn how to meditate yourself from a teacher. And if you don’t like yoga or meditation, simply go for a walk or find some outside space to just sit and be still. These too are forms of meditation; meditation does not have to be a structured practice or follow a specific routine. Almost any kind of exercise is meditative to me as it has the same affect as meditation; forcing the mind to focus solely on one thing. Any thing, whether it’s exercise or not, that forces you to focus and centre the mind, counts as a form of meditation.

Breathe Better

With stress levels higher than ever, and a significant symptom of stress and anxiety being shortness or incompleteness of breath, we could all get a little better at this thing that fuels our existence. Breathing is not just something we do for the sake of it, taking in oxygen is crucial for all the vital processes of the body to function. If you’re not breathing fully, you’re restricting the life flow going into and out of the body, and not just your body but your cells, organs and so on. Try to be aware of your breathing, especially in stressful situations, and either practice taking a few deep breaths (maybe during one of your daily pauses, as discussed above), or find a Pranayama ritual that works for you (you can also find some of those in my book).

Be Creative

Whether or not you are what you perceive to be skilful or not, being creative is one incredibly way to really tune in and become present. If you can be creative (be that drawing, painting, making a collage, taking photographs, writing or whatever), you’ll find yourself in that place where your mind sort of wonders from the things it’s been getting worked up over, to a much stiller place of pure peacefulness. Focusing on something like this for which you have no expectations or desired results in mind is incredibly freeing and will help you to feel more present immediately. Don’t be judgmental, self-conscious or embarrassed - just try it.

Human Connection

There is nothing, nothing, like the power of human contact and connection for soothing the soul and calming the mind. Whenever I feel stuck, lost, worried or just generally low, I speak to friends or family, or whenever possible, see them. Speaking to others helps to rationalise your thoughts and provides alternative input and analysis to your own internalised worry. And, there’s nothing like a good hug from someone you know and love and who knows you and loves you back. Sometimes, there are no words, but time just spent together, and just the fact that someone cares, is unbeatable. Your mind will settle and you’ll find your energy begins to match that of the person you are communicating with, making you - you guessed it - more present.

6 Morning Rituals to Try For a Better Day in the Long Run ~ for Byrdie

Commisions, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Setting Intentions

Intentions help you to bring awareness to what you want to achieve and can instil a sense of clarity and focus from within. Your intentions aren’t set in stone and can change daily—even hourly. The only thing that determines their potential is making them authentic and backing them with belief.

Start the day by repeating your chosen intentions for however long feels right to you; if you make a conscious effort to acknowledge things happening around you, you’ll notice that the things you wish to attract come to you in some way. Take inspiration from the suggestions below, being sure to understand what it is you want:

I intend to forgive.

I intend to make more time for myself.

I intend to spread kindness.

I intend to be content and not compare myself to others.

Journaling

Journaling is a powerful tool to release negative thoughts and frees up space to focus on the things you do have and are grateful for. Writing a journal first thing in the morning can help you to declutter the mind and let go of anything that may be worrying you. Spend time acknowledging thoughts in order to accept them, appreciate them and use them productively to move forwards.

Neck Chopping and Self-Massage

The benefit of neck chopping and self-massage in the morning is that it’s super invigorating. It helps to encourage circulation, blood flow and awakens and stimulates the muscles whilst loosening them and relieving any tension that may be present upon waking. Here’s how to do it:

Stand tall and relax your shoulders down your back, elongating the neck. 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 one to two minutes.

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).

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 two 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.

Shaking

This may seem a strange concept at first, but shaking is an amazing technique to get energy moving around the body. You can do it upon waking or even whilst waiting for the kettle to boil. It doesn’t have to be done every day, but when things feel a little stiff or heavy it is such a simple technique to invigorate the body. Here’s how to do it:

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms hanging loosely by your sides.

Keeping it loose, start shaking your right arm, whatever way feels good. You might shake from your shoulder and upper arm, or from the wrist and elbow. Shake for around one minute, and then repeat with the left arm. Then, shake both arms together, for around the same amount of time if it feels comfortable to do so.

Next, work on your legs, starting with the right and then the left. Move from the thigh or the feet, as if your toes are kicking water. After shaking, massage one hip and then, with your hand in a loose fist, tap down the outside of the leg, and up the inside a few times. Repeat on the other leg.

Finally, return to standing with feet shoulder-width apart and shake your entire body. Bending at the knees, shake from the shoulders, the core or the pelvic area, however feels good. Stop and rest, grounded and supported by your feet and take a few final moments to notice how each part of your body feels.

To close the practice, take a big inhale and lift your arms above your head. With your left hand, grab the right wrist and guide it gently towards the left, taking a gentle side-bend stretch. Return to the centre and repeat on the right-hand side. Lower the arms to end the practice.

Mindful Eating

Our modern culture runs at a high speed in order for us to fit everything in, and as a consequence, our breathing, sleeping and eating patterns have begun to suffer. Functioning at a constant fast pace is productive in many ways, but counterproductive in others. If we move through life too quickly to allow basic bodily functions to occur and focus on too many things instead of them, we stop operating at our full physical and mental potential. This is true at all times of the day but is particularly important where eating is involved. If we don’t slow down when we eat, we can end up creating more stress and imbalances within the body, and no matter how “healthy” the food is, feeling good isn’t going to come easily or occur just by eating a kale salad.

Oxygen plays an important role in the digestive process, and since we restrict our intake of oxygen when we are stressed or rushed (due to shortened or restricted breathing), eating in this state is simply not the way to do it. Slowing down, taking more time to eat and ensuring you’re breathing in a way that can distribute adequate oxygen around the body is an essential part of eating well.

We need to make time and oxygen major components of every meal, and start to really slow down and breathe whilst we eat, to concentrate on our food and the acts of eating, digesting, burning and absorbing.

Here are two ways in which to be mindful about eating, start with breakfast but try to be mindful at every meal:

Slow down. Stop what you are doing, or at least try to reduce your level of activity before you start eating.

Breathe. Take a few moments before a meal to regulate your breath and check in with yourself.

This can help you assess your true appetite while fueling the digestive process. A simple breathing practice to regulate “stress breath” can shortcut the stress response in as little as one minute, which puts the body in a more optimal state to receive and use food.

Hot Palming

This simple action is really soothing and relaxing for the eyes. With so much “screen time” these days, our eyes are not only very active but are also dazzled by the artificial light of our devices. If you practise yoga in the morning add this to the end of your routine or simply before bed.

Sit or lie in a comfortable position, either on the bed, the floor or on a chair.

Bring the palms of your hands together in front of you and begin to rub them together rapidly, creating friction and heat.

Quickly cup your hands slightly and then gently place the heated palms over closed eyes. Breathe deeply and enjoy the heat spreading across your eyes, the darkness offering a welcome break from the light. Stay in this position for a few moments and then release the hands and gently blink your eyes open again, or head straight to sleep.

See full article here.

A Few Recent Natural Beauty Finds

Beauty, Essentials, Monthly Essentials, Natural Living, Ritualsdanielle copperman2 Comments

I try to keep most of my make up and skincare products as natural / organic / vegan / ethical as possible. admittedly, it’s not always possible, and some products are ‘better’ than others in terms of their virtuous efforts. Below is a selection of beauty products I’ve recently tried or discovered, and I hope it makes navigating the beauty scene a little easier and with a little more education and understanding. I found the majority of these products via Showcase Beauty - a site showcasing a selection of indie / luxury / natural / sustainable beauty brands, all in one place. Enjoy!

Further information, clockwise from top left:

La Montaña Galán de Noche Candle - Hand poured by artisan candlemakers and made from quality parrafin wax infused with natural essential oils.
Madara Oil-to-Milk Face Scrub - Gentle, oil-based organic face scrub.
Kure Nail Varnish in Cappuccino - Non-toxic, 85% natural ingredients and free from Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate, Synthetic Camphor, Tolune.
La Montaña Candle Gift Set - Hand poured by artisan candlemakers and made from quality parrafin wax infused with natural essential oils.
Studio 10 6-in-1 Mascara - Made with jojoba and argan oils; fragrance, alcohol and paraben free.
Jane Scrivner Peace Body Bath Oil - 100% natural products. jojoba oil, coconut oil and 1% grapeseed oil. essential oils of bay, benzoin, chamomile, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, myrrh, sweet orange and pettigrain.
Madara Peel Face Mask - Vegan friendly. Certified natural and organic.
D’Alba White Truffle Mist Serum - Contains pure white truffle, avocado and sunflower oil, as well as 7 Swiss Alpine plant extracts.
Evolve Superfood Serum - Packed with highly effective natural superfoods; partially organic.
Kure Nail Varnish in Parisienne - Non-toxic, 85% natural ingredients and free from Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate, Synthetic Camphor, Tolune.
Antonia Burrell in Facial in a Box - A 7 step treatment that enables you to experience the Antonia Burrell Face Lift Facial at home. 100% natural, organic brand.
MyRoo Superfood Balm - This fragrance-free multi-functional balm combines raspberry seed oil's anti-inflammatory properties with cucumber seed oil to protect and strengthen. Also contains cucumber, raspberry, mango, papaya, carrot, avocado and olive.
Swiss Clinic Pink Clay Mask - An innovative, mess-free clay mask, enriched with peptides and Argereline, that effectively detoxifies and softens your skin on the deep.
Evolve African Orange Aromatic Body Wash - Made with a base of organic shea and aloe vera, fragranced with warming blood orange and vanilla, with notes of spicy black pepper and cedar wood.
Connock Kukui Oil Wonder Balm - A nourishing multi-tasking balm that can be used just about anywhere skin needs a little TLC. Made with a nourishing blend of 100% natural ingredients - kukui oil, monoi, cocoa butter, mango butter and beeswax.

3 Breathing Rituals That Will Calm You The F Down ~ for Byrdie

Commisions, Mindfulness & Meditation, Natural Living, Pranayama, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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I don't know about you but I can get stressed out. Modern life isn't exactly a walk in the park. But thankfully, you don't need to spend loads of money or time ridding yourself of worry. Apparently, breathwork is the secret to a calmer day, according to wellness guru Danielle Copperman, who practices breathing exercises on the daily.

We've talked about the importance of breathing before and how it can be a simple, quick and free way to de-stress when life throws you a curveball. But, Copperman doesn't just wait use breathwork as a cure. She uses it as a preventative, too. There is one breathwork sequence she uses on the regular and two that are cooling, great for hot, humid summer days.

So what are you waiting for? Breathe your way into a better day.

Breath Retention Pranayama

The morning is an ideal time to practise pranayama (prana meaning life force and ayana meaning to extend or draw out) before your mind has the chance to start worrying too much about the day ahead. When you wake up with morning anxiety, focused breathing is a simple technique to help stop any kind of irrational thoughts and negative feelings in their tracks, preventing them from developing into a full-blown bout of stress that’ll stay with you throughout the day. Meditating in the morning instils not only a sense of calm but also an established sense of awareness and consciousness, which in many ways will help you experience more deeply, and feel more present in each moment.

1. Stand, sit or lie in a comfortable position, preferably in a quiet and undisturbed environment. Rest your hands on your knees if sitting on the floor, or by your side if standing, sitting on a chair or lying down. Notice any internal or external sensations such as thoughts and feelings or outside noise and distractions, and without trying to change anything, focus on nothing but settling.

2. With eyes open or closed and breathing in and out through your nose, become aware of the rhythm of your breath, relaxing your shoulders, your neck and your head. Begin to deepen the breath, taking a long inhale through the nose and exhaling fully to expel every last inch of the breath from your lungs. Observe how the breath feels entering and exiting the nose and the way the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.

3. On an inhale, notice when your lungs reach full capacity, and pause for a moment before exhaling fully. As you take your next inhalation, count the length of your breath, in seconds, pause at the top of your inhale for the same number of seconds you inhaled for, and exhale for the same number of seconds. Repeat this cycle a couple of times, and if the breath allows, gradually increase the length of each inhalation, breath retention and exhalation, keeping the ratio 1:1:1.

Allow a few weeks of practising daily before extending the length of retention. Over time, increase to 8 seconds, but beginners are advised to work at 4 to 6 seconds. The practice should feel natural, effortless and entirely free from strain. As you retain the breath, feel as if the oxygen is sinking in and distributing itself, filling the tissues of your body.

4. You can either repeat the same counts in one practice (for example, working to a count of three for your entire practice) or you can increase the number of counts within one practice (for example, working to a count of three, inhaling, pausing and exhaling, and then increasing to a count of four, inhaling, pausing and exhaling, and then increasing again to five and maybe six, to however many seconds you can breathe comfortably).

5. Practise for up to 5 minutes, and sit in stillness for a few moments to readjust, before continuing your day. Once you are familiar with this practice and feel comfortable to develop further, work to a ratio of 1:2:3, for example, if you inhale for the count of 2, hold the breath for 4 and exhale for 6.

I don't know about you but I can get stressed out. Modern life isn't exactly a walk in the park. But thankfully, you don't need to spend loads of money or time ridding yourself of worry. Apparently, breathwork is the secret to a calmer day, according to wellness guru Danielle Copperman, who practices breathing exercises on the daily.

We've talked about the importance of breathing before and how it can be a simple, quick and free way to de-stress when life throws you a curveball. But, Copperman doesn't just wait use breathwork as a cure. She uses it as a preventative, too. There is one breathwork sequence she uses on the regular and two that are cooling, great for hot, humid summer days.

So what are you waiting for? Breathe your way into a better day.

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PHOTO: COURTESY OF DANIELLE COPPERMAN

Breath Retention Pranayama

The morning is an ideal time to practise pranayama (prana meaning life force and ayana meaning to extend or draw out) before your mind has the chance to start worrying too much about the day ahead. When you wake up with morning anxiety, focused breathing is a simple technique to help stop any kind of irrational thoughts and negative feelings in their tracks, preventing them from developing into a full-blown bout of stress that’ll stay with you throughout the day. Meditating in the morning instils not only a sense of calm but also an established sense of awareness and consciousness, which in many ways will help you experience more deeply, and feel more present in each moment.

1. Stand, sit or lie in a comfortable position, preferably in a quiet and undisturbed environment. Rest your hands on your knees if sitting on the floor, or by your side if standing, sitting on a chair or lying down. Notice any internal or external sensations such as thoughts and feelings or outside noise and distractions, and without trying to change anything, focus on nothing but settling.

2. With eyes open or closed and breathing in and out through your nose, become aware of the rhythm of your breath, relaxing your shoulders, your neck and your head. Begin to deepen the breath, taking a long inhale through the nose and exhaling fully to expel every last inch of the breath from your lungs. Observe how the breath feels entering and exiting the nose and the way the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.

3. On an inhale, notice when your lungs reach full capacity, and pause for a moment before exhaling fully. As you take your next inhalation, count the length of your breath, in seconds, pause at the top of your inhale for the same number of seconds you inhaled for, and exhale for the same number of seconds. Repeat this cycle a couple of times, and if the breath allows, gradually increase the length of each inhalation, breath retention and exhalation, keeping the ratio 1:1:1.

Allow a few weeks of practising daily before extending the length of retention. Over time, increase to 8 seconds, but beginners are advised to work at 4 to 6 seconds. The practice should feel natural, effortless and entirely free from strain. As you retain the breath, feel as if the oxygen is sinking in and distributing itself, filling the tissues of your body.

4. You can either repeat the same counts in one practice (for example, working to a count of three for your entire practice) or you can increase the number of counts within one practice (for example, working to a count of three, inhaling, pausing and exhaling, and then increasing to a count of four, inhaling, pausing and exhaling, and then increasing again to five and maybe six, to however many seconds you can breathe comfortably).

5. Practise for up to 5 minutes, and sit in stillness for a few moments to readjust, before continuing your day. Once you are familiar with this practice and feel comfortable to develop further, work to a ratio of 1:2:3, for example, if you inhale for the count of 2, hold the breath for 4 and exhale for 6.

Cooling Breath

These two cooling techniques are ideal for regulating body temperature. The sitali involves creating a straw-like shape with the tongue and inhaling through it; as the air passes through the tongue, it collects moisture. If you can't roll your tongue, use the sitkari method. This technique is also thought to reduce anxiety, regulate the natural appetite and hydrate the system.

Sitali

1. Sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor with crossed legs on the floor or on a chair with your feet flat, however is comfortable, ensuring the head, neck and spine are aligned.

2. Close your eyes and breathe naturally for a few moments. Relax the mouth and then drop the jaw open, as if you were about to make a low ah sound.

3. Curl the sides of your tongue inwards to form a tube-like shape, and then poke it out of your mouth slightly, but with little effort.

4. Inhale deeply through the tongue, as if drinking the air in through a straw. Focus your attention on the cooling sensation of the breath and the rise of your abdomen, rib cage and chest. Retain the breath here for 5 to 10 counts, or release it instantly as directed in step 5.

5. Draw the tongue back inside your mouth, bring your lips together comfortably and exhale slowly through the nostrils.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 10 to 20 times, or however many times feels comfortable, and bring the practice to a close when you feel cooled and content.

Sitkari

1. Sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor with crossed legs on the floor or on a chair with your feet fat, however is comfortable, ensuring the head, neck and spine are aligned.

2. Close your eyes and breathe naturally for a few moments, then gently bring your lower and upper teeth together. Part your lips as much as you can to expose your teeth.

3. Inhale slowly through the teeth, letting the air flow through the gaps between each tooth, and focus on the feeling of the air against your teeth, entering the mouth, filling your abdomen, lungs and ribcage, and on the hissing sound of the breath.

4. Close your mouth, relax the jaw and the teeth and exhale slowly through the nose.

5. Repeat steps 4 and 5 10 to 20 times, or however many times feels comfortable, and bring the practice to a close when you feel cooled and content.


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You'll Look Weird, But This Morning Ritual Will Boost Your Energy ~ for Byrdie

Commisions, Ritualsdanielle coppermanComment
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Tapping (aka the emotional freedom technique) has been around in one way or another for thousands of years, but it's Roger Callahan, MD, who is regarded as the founder of modern-day tapping. Back in the '80s, his concept known as "Thought Field Therapy (TFT)" launched.

Callahan discovered that by tapping acupressure points in different meridians of the body, he could relieve pain and anxiety. While it may sound quite out there, TFT was found to help war veterans with PTSD in a 2013 study. On Callahan's website, he says TFT should be used in addition to your medications to reduce the risk associated with continued medication use and to enhance their effect rather than as a replacement.

But what if you don't suffer from pain or anxiety? Does tapping have a place in your daily routine? Danielle Copperman, the author of Well Being, thinks so. "Tapping is a simple routine that promotes blood circulation and energy flow, refreshing and invigorating the body," she says.

"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," says Copperman.

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Your 10-Step Guide to Tapping

1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and bring each hand into a loose fist, keeping the wrists soft, supple and easy to rotate.

2. Starting at the head, use your fists (or fingertips if you prefer), and with both hands, tap over the entire surface of your head. Tap the back of your head and your upper neck; then make your way around the sides and up over the top and the crown of your head. Tap for a few moments in each place, keeping the power behind your hands gentle—you're tapping, not hitting or punching.

3. Use your fingertips to massage the head and then bring the fingertips down past your forehead and across your entire face. Use a similar motion to applying moisturiser or washing your face, concentrating on the eyebrows, under eyes, cheekbones and jaw.

4. Work down the neck, squeezing and massaging whichever way feels good. Move the head and neck to accommodate your actions, tipping the head forwards, backwards or from side to side. Massage the back of the neck and stroke down the front of the neck until you reach the chest area.

5. With one hand, hold the opposite elbow and tip your head toward the arm that is being held. Make a loose fist with the free hand and begin tapping the opposite shoulder, focusing on the muscles around the neck and shoulder and as far down the back as you can reach.

6. Release the supported elbow and continue working on the arms, tapping down the inside of the arms and tapping back up the back of the arms. Do this three to five times, ending at the shoulder rather than the wrist. Repeat steps five and six on the other arm.

7. Begin to tap across the chest area, tapping normally as you breathe out and more gently when you need to inhale.

8. Bend at the hips and fold forwards with your legs slightly bent. Release the head, neck and shoulders toward the floor and begin to tap the centre and sides of the back, moving to the lower back, the hips and then the buttocks. Use more force on the buttocks if you feel a lot of tension.

9. Tap down the outside of the legs to the ankles and up the inside of the legs to the top of the thighs. Repeat three to five times, ending at the feet. Using your fingertips and focusing on one foot at a time, rub the Achilles tendon, ankles, heels and the top of the foot. (If you experience pain in the back or feel light-headed, do this sitting down, on the floor or a chair.)

10. To end the practice, roll up slowly—one vertebra at a time—and stretch tall toward the sky. Release your arms, close your eyes, roll your shoulders down and away from your ears and stand, taking a few moments to notice how your body feels, and how it differs from before the practice.

See the full article here.

Restorative rituals for on the road ~ for Suitcase Magazine

Commisions, Wellbeing, Travel, Rituals, Pranayamadanielle coppermanComment

 

If your lifestyle requires you to travel regularly, you’ll notice it taking a toll on you both mentally and physically. To help reduce the side effects of excessive travelling, I’ve come up with three simple meditations that can be done anytime and anywhere to decrease stress, improve sleep, increase energy and keep you balanced while on the road.

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.

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Body scan: to encourage restful sleep

Body scanning is an easy mindfulness exercise to relax the body, calm the mind and shift attention away from overpowering thoughts. It involves spot 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.

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Nadi shodanana pranayama: to increase energy levels

This is an energising, cleansing and detoxifying practice that enhances concentration. It involves alternating breathing through the nostrils to control the breath in a way that rejuvenates the nervous system and balances both sides of the brain.

Method

1. Sit in a comfortable position, either on the floor with crossed legs or on a chair with your feet flat, ensuring that the head, neck and spine are aligned.

2. Decide how to use your hands to control the nostrils; one thumb to close off both nostrils, your thumb and index finger, or your thumb and ring finger (the vishnu mudra method).

3. Close your right nostril by pressing the thumb against it gently. Inhale deeply through the left nostril and hold your breath, then move your thumb to your left nostril and close it. Exhale through the right nostril. Keep the thumb on the left nostril and inhale deeply through your right. Hold the breath and then close your right nostril again. Exhale through the left. Repeat 10-20 times.

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Ideal destination visualisation: to reduce stress

Visualisation is a powerful tool for quietening the mind and instilling a sense of positivity within. It involves tuning in and blocking out external distractions and the noise of the mind in order to deeper into the subconscious. This reduces clutter in the mind which subsequently diminishes anxiety, giving more positive parts of the mind a chance to be active. Practise this on the plane or before bed to encourage sounder sleep.

Method

1. Sit or lie comfortably, somewhere private if possible.

2. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Take three long, deep breaths and then let it settle into a natural rhythm.

3. Focus on your third eye (the space between your eyes/eyebrows) and imagine you are arriving at your favourite destination or somewhere you would love to be. This could be a specific place or a vague environment, such as a mountain, a field or the beach.

4. Visualise yourself in these surroundings – how it looks, smells, feels. Are you alone or with people? What can you hear? How does it feel to be there in that moment?

5. Continue with this visualisation for as long as feels right. If your mind begins to wander, bring it back to this place and return to the scene in your mind, trying to notice new things each time. Let your mind wander without force or resistance.

6. Practise this ritual for 5-10 minutes. When you are ready, deepen your breath and start to make slow, subtle movements; wiggle your toes, move your fingers, roll your shoulders. Gently open your eyes if you have the space or privacy, take some gentle stretches.

 

Ultimate Wellness Tips Every Woman Should Know for a Healthier Life - For Glamour

Commisions, Wellbeing, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment
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We all want to live a more fulfilling life, right? Well, there's one gal happy to help us out.

Danielle Copperman, aka Model Mange Tout, has penned a new book quite fittingly titled 'Well Being', and has shared her ultimate wellness mantras with GLAMOUR to celebrate.

"Inspired by ancient traditions and slightly adapted to fit easily into busy modern lives, these wellbeing rituals help to give a sense of purpose and structure to each day," explains Danielle. "When your body and mind connect on an energetic level, they become powerful tools for dealing with the side effects of modern life. Instead of abiding by certain rules or forcing habits, it’s about discovery, progression and evolution."

Journaling

It's time to do a Bridget Jones and whip out your notepad. According to Danielle, journaling is a powerful tool to release negative thoughts and free up space to focus on the things you do have and are grateful for. "Writing a journal first thing in the morning can help you to declutter the mind and let go of anything that may be worrying you. Spend time acknowledging thoughts in order to accept them, appreciate them and use them productively to move forwards," she advises.

Tapping

Love a quirky new wellness trend? It's time to get acquainted with tapping - a simple routine that promotes blood circulation and energy flow, refreshing and invigorating the body. "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," says Danielle. "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."

Hot Palming

We're all for new beauty tips and tricks to incorporate into our routine and this simple action is really soothing and relaxing for the eyes, especially after a long day, according to Danielle. "With so much ‘screen time’ these days, our eyes are not only very active but are also dazzled by the artificial light of our devices. If you practise yoga, add this to the end of your routine or simply before bed," she said.

Here's how to do it...

1. Sit or lie in a comfortable position, either on the bed, the floor or on a chair. Bring the palms of your hands together in front of you and begin to rub them together rapidly, creating friction and heat. Quickly cup your hands slightly and then gently place the heated palms over closed eyes. Breathe deeply and enjoy the heat spreading across your eyes, the darkness offering a welcome break from the light. Stay in this position for a few moments and then release the hands and gently blink your eyes open again, or head straight to sleep.

Mindful Eating

Anything with 'eating' in the title has our attention. So what's 'mindful eating' all about?

Explaining the concept, Danielle said: "Our modern culture runs at a high speed in order for us to fit everything in, and as a consequence, our breathing, sleeping and eating patterns have begun to suffer. Functioning at a constant fast pace is productive in many ways, but counterproductive in others.

"If we move through life too quickly to allow basic bodily functions to occur and focus on too many things instead of them, we stop operating at our full physical and mental potential. This is true at all times of the day, but is particularly important where eating is involved. If we don’t slow down when we eat, we can end up creating more stress and imbalances within the body, and no matter how ‘healthy’ the food is, feeling good isn’t going to come easily or occur just by eating a kale salad."

See full article here.

Upcoming Well Being Events

Events, Well Being Book, Wake Up Welldanielle coppermanComment
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I'm super excited to announce a series of events I'll be hosting in the coming months. The first few are taking place in March in London, and I've got some really exciting retreats lined up over the summer, so stay tunes on here, on instagram and via my newsletter (subscribe at the bottom of this post).

March 17th

A Wake Up Well Workshop at Essence Cuisine in East London. I will be sharing an insight to my well being philosophies, focussed on the theme of Waking Up Well through food and other rituals. I'll be teaching simple Morntime rituals (including tapping and pranayama) which will then be followed by a functional feast, courtesy of Essence Cusine.

Guests will also have the chance to have a private one to one consultation with me, where I will outline which recipes and rituals in the book will best support each individuals current needs.

Book tickets here.

March 22nd

A free Wind Down Well event hosted with one of my favourite yoga teachers, Pip Roberts. The morning will consist of an energy workshop followed by an relaxing yoga flow and yoga nidra, and finished with a selection of functional food and drinks.

To book, email hithere@qnola.co.uk.

+ We will require a £5 deposit for the ticket to secure your place at the event, which you will receive back on the morning of the event.

March 28th

An evening gathering with Toni Jones of Shelf Help, at High Road House in London. The evening will consist of a Q + A between Toni & I, and I will also be offering private one-to-one consultations on how to best use my book, Well Being, so bring your book if you already have a copy, or you can buy one on the night. 

Book tickets here, by contacting Toni at tonilouisejones@gmail.com.

+ This event is only open to Soho House members, but look out on instagram where I'll be releasing a pair of free tickets.

See full events calendar here.