Healing Yourself: World Mental Health Day

Wow, what a tough year we’ve all had so far, hey?

I’m sure like me, it all started out with the potential of this being the best year yet, watching all those things we manifested come into fruition. But 3 months in, everything came to an abrupt halt.

Holidays were cancelled, gyms closed and life as we knew it quickly diminished.

Writing this makes me feel so vulnerable, and I was debating on whether to post it, as I don’t want this to seem ‘all about me’, but in this age of sharing, you never know who may be able to relate. Although I’m dealing with my own stuff, I am here for you if you need it too!

Throughout lockdown I’ve been dealing with the passing of my grandma, splitting up with my boyfriend, the passing of my uncle and some pretty like changing stuff from 2019. Along with the uncertainty of my income as a self employed person, living alone.

It’s really taken its toll on me. Not being able to readily do all the things that you may have done in order to ‘take your mind off everything’ or get the help, or connection that you really want.

Some days I’m fine and super productive, other days I’m questioning why and what the fuck am I doing.

I’ve got some amazing friends and family who have been there to lend an ear on the phone, a walk in the park, lunch date, or ready to receive a 25 minute Whatsapp voice note haha!

But at the end of the day, it’s you who needs to do the work. Other people can help you, guide you, but only you can help yourself.

As we head into winter, my least favourite time of the year, where I’m usually planning to leave the country and spend a few months in the sunshine, this year I’m setting up to do it alone, and not just with the lack of a partner, but with the prospect of little to no friends and family gatherings.

The one thing I love most in the world is to travel. Many times I have left the UK to explore, learn more about yoga, meet new people, learn more about myself and yes, I’ll admit seeking refuge from my problems. Now, with the prospect of having to self isolate upon return from another country, it has forced me to stay put. I’m just not sure if I could get through 2 weeks of self-isolation in my cozy city centre apartment.

So I’ve been forced to sit with my emotions, instead of running away. And it’s been a hell of a messy journey!

Healing IS messy.

And with the prospect of a 2nd lockdown, it brings anxiety, triggers, and feelings of not wanting to be alone.

Although I’m in a much better space now, there is still work to be done. Yoga, spirituality, and self-care has never been so important to me, learning over and over again, that “with each step we take toward the light, the Universe rejoices. When we let go of our suffering, we participate in the salvation of all living beings”. (Meditations from the Mat. By Rolf Gates & Katrina Kenison)

This year has been hard for us all, big, little or small, we have all been affected and we all need healing.

But instead of focussing on ‘2020 being the year everything was ruined etc‘, let’s try and focus on 2020 being the year of GROWTH. Perhaps the growth we didn’t intend on having, but hey, life throws us these challenges when we least expect them, right?

I saw this beautiful quote in this book I’m reading, “Every blade of grass has it’s angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow’.” – The Talmud.

Once in a while, try to sit with yourself, experience your emotions without bottling them up, speak up when you need to, cry, scream, laugh, sing at the top of your lungs, don’t hold onto your emotions, don’t let them get stuck in your body. It’s all part of your healing and growth.

Sometimes we have to go through the dark, challenging times, to flourish and come out the other side, and into the light. Send some love to those angels whispering ‘grow’.

I am sending you all the love through this strange, strange time, and I hope you are doing OK. Remember to take care of yourself!

Nicole xx

Are you struggling to find some much-needed healing time for yourself? Check out The Soul Space and see how it can help you to find some much needed ‘me’ time.

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10 Things To Do in Lockdown To Stay Occupied

When you’re not working, scrolling through Instagram or planning your next getaway for when all of this is over, take a look at some of my tips.

 

 

1.     Get a bike

OK so we all had bikes as kids, then what? We learnt how to drive and riding a bike was no longer cool. I bought a bike last year prepping to move to London, but those plans never went ahead for various reasons, but boy has my bike been put to good use. During lockdown bikes have been sold out ALL over the UK When, but if you haven’t got one yet, add it to your list, search for 2nd hand ones, ANYTHING, because the freedom of cycling around your city is a feeling walking, running or driving doesn’t give you. Let your inner child PLAY and EXPLORE!

 

2.     Play old school music really loud and sing on the top of your voice or put Radio 1xtra

I’ve been really loving old school funk and disco to pull me through some boring, sad and lonely times. I’m an avid 1xtra listener but it has really helped me pull through when I’ve really needed it. Tune in Mon-Thurs 11-7pm for Yasmin Evans and then Mista Jam giving you all the VIBES that you need in your life.

 

 

3.     Reorganise your drawers and cupboards

There is something to cathartic about organsing and throwing unwanted stuff away. You know those kitchen drawers and bedroom cupboards that you just chuck things into, yes those, go and clear the crap out of those. Ahhhh and breathe!

 

 

4.     Zoom your friends

Zoom wine nights are the new staying in! Houseparty app is pretty funny too, not for chatting but for being stupid with the family yes!

 

 

5.     Laugh with yourself

I live alone so I have to laugh with myself, at the TV, at me suddenly breaking into dance, and those hilarious Tik Toks!

 

 

6.     Cry with yourself

Feeling emotional? Let it all out. The pop some banging tunes on. This playlist helps me.

 

 

7.     Learn something new

I’ve been making my own soy wax candles with essential oils. Macrame is next on my agenda!

 

 

8.     Binge watch Netflix

My fave things to watch have been; Money Heist aka La Casa De Papel – you’ll be saying it in Spanish by the end if you watch it in Spanish with English subtitles; it’s the only way!

Sex Education – for all the jokes, Dead to Me – its stupid and unrealistic, but enjoyable, Self Made – because Madam C.J. Walker is a real G, The Last Dance – because just wow, Selling Sunset – a girl can dream right?, and the following aren’t on Netflix but you’ve all got a naughty website that you watch things on ey 😉 Insecure – all the jokes, sex, love, break ups, friendships, How To Get Away With Murder – it’s been going for a few years but the finale season has just finished… OMG.

 

 

9.     Make your own food

So remember at the start of lockdown when there was a flour shortage because everyone was baking banana bread, well ditch the cakes and make soup!

My fave soup to make is sweet potato, courgette and broccoli. Dash some garlic, red onion, turmeric, paprika, pepper, ginger and cumin with some vegetable stock!

I’ve been buying gluten free granola recently and getting through it in a couple of days, throwing the pennies away. Do you know how cheap oats are?

Here’s my recipe:

4 cups of oats, 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, cinnamon, pinch of salt, 1.5 cups of raw nuts/seeds, 1/2 cup of syrup/honey/agave. Mix together, spread evenly and pop in the oven, at 200 degrees for about 25 minutes (until golden brown). Once cooked and cooled, add your extra bits; dried fruit, coconut flakes, chocolate chips etc!

 

 

10.  Need a decent online workout that’s actually going to work?

I stumbled upon @CiaraLondon’s live workouts and noticed she had a membership for £15 a month. I thought fuck it, I can spend more than £15 for a takeaway, at least this is for a month, let’s see how it goes. Well, I’m in month 2 and LOVING it! I love the gym and my PT, but boy am I getting all the gains. With over 18 sessions a week for you to choose from, she’s got it all popping on her @bodybyciarasquad, working out with 2000 other people LIVE on Instagram. She better not stop after lockdown as I’ll feel lost without my daily 12pm workout!

 

 

Speak of which, I’m off to work out right now!

Laters! xxx

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6 Ways to create a yoga space at home

Missing your yoga studio?

Me too.

But we must make the most of this situation! The good thing is, we’re all in this together.

Sometimes practising at home can be quite distracting, maybe you notice the floor needs cleaning, or you spot that cobweb on the ceiling. Let that all go and create your zen space, a space to get away from the news, people chatting about the news on social media, and enter your calming zone.

Some people normally prefer to practice yoga at home whilst some people prefer to practice at a yoga studio. Right now, we don’t have a choice but to practice at home, so I wanted to share a few tips with you, to get the most out of your home studio.

    1. Find a quiet space, that’s ideally free from clutter, or move it all over to one side of the room, out of the way.
    2. Light some candles, burn some incense or pop some essential oils in your diffuser. Set the mood by turning off the main light and pop the lamp on instead.
    3. Put some music on of your choice, as most classes will be led with no music, as sometimes the sound of music doesn’t transfer well through online recording.
    4. Do you have house plants, or maybe some flowers? Pop them into your space, bring some outdoors, indoors.
    5. Have you got any crystals, seashells, or anything else that you consider calming, grab those too.
    6. Then last but not least, roll out your mat, grab some cushions and blankets to have at the ready. Have you got yoga blocks, if not a few books will do the job!

Grab your phone or laptop, find me live on Instagram & Facebook at nicolewindleyoga or join my Zoom classes for £5 here.

Happy practising! We can do this 🙂