low cortisol causes

Low cortisol causes and how to feel better

High cortisol gets all the limelight because of its reputation as a stress hormone. But when our cortisol levels fall too low or when they are low at the wrong times of day (i.e. in the morning when we need it to wake up) then it can be just as debilitating. Low cortisol causes us to feel tired, weak and unmotivated.

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Blood sugar irregularity
  • Low mood and irritability
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Often sick

Basically we can feel in a zombie state because our body needs a certain amount of cortisol to get up and go.

Low cortisol causes

How can we end up with low cortisol? It can happen due to organic problems with organs such as the adrenal glands which produce cortisol or the pituitary gland which sends the signal to stimulate cortisol production. In this case there are dectectable inflammation or damage to the tissues which can be measured with medical tests. Low cortisol causes can also be functional conditions where there is no visible problem with the tissue but it is not functioning as it should be.

There are several causes of low cortisol including:

  • Addison’s disease (adrenal)
  • Congenital hyperplasia (adrenal)
  • Pituitary gland failure e.g. brain injury or tumour
  • Chronic stress

The first three low cortisol causes are conditions you need to work with a medical professional. Today I will focus on the final one – stress. Low cortisol can occur after a long period of stress (high cortisol) when we reach what is commonly known as the burnout state.

low cortisol causes

In this case, cortisol levels will be unlikely to fall to levels that your doctor would consider a “medical emergency” but still low enough to affect the way you feel and function in your life.

The mechanism of low cortisol in the burnout state is not fully understood even within functional medicine. One theory is that either the adrenal glands which produce cortisol and other hormones can’t keep up and eventually fail to produce enough. This is known as adrenal fatigue in the alternative health world.

The other theory is that you continue to produce cortisol but after a while our cells become resistant to its effects. You might be left with that “tired but wired” feeling or feel like every minor stressor sends you into a meltdown. Without adequate cortisol to give us that warrior mentality we become much less resilient and more sensitive to stress.

What to do if you have low cortisol

Whatever the cause of low cortisol, it’s not a fun state to be in! If you think you might have low cortisol, you can consider a saliva based test. Forth offer these as postal tests for any of you living in the UK, I like the phrase “test don’t guess” and it can be helpful to have a baseline measurement before implementing any changes. That way you can more easily see what is working and what isn’t.

However there are some helpful lifestyle changes you can make to help raise cortisol naturally. These are generally low risk so you can try them even if you aren’t sure if you have low cortisol. The most important thing to do if you are experiencing low cortisol (besides speaking to your doctor) is to reduce your stress levels as much as possible. You can also support your body with good nutrition and nourishing practices such as restorative yoga and yoga nidra.

For nutrition I recommend the same protocol as for high cortisol to restore the nutrients lost through stress – check out this post for more info. Eating regularly to support blood sugar balance is also especially important when dealing with low cortisol. By this I mean balanced meals and snacks every 3 hours, making sure to combine carbs with fat or protein (or both) every time you eat. Making sure to incorporate adequate electrolytes too and by that I mean don’t be afraid to salt your food!

Some other lifestyle tips for boosting low cortisol:

  • Dance or zumba to raise energy levels and cortisol
  • Get enough sunlight especially in the morning hours
  • Relaxation and gentle yoga before bed to improve sleep
  • Breathwork practices focusing on the inhale to boost energy

Supplements for low cortisol causes

My favourite 2 supplements for adrenal health are Ashwaganda and Shilajit. Ashwaganda or Indian ginseng is an adapagenic herb which is used in Ayurveda to support the body during times of stress. It may help to reduce anxiety, improve sleep and balance cortisol levels. Shilajit is an amazing natural supplement for remineralising after periods of stress. It contains the full spectrum of natural elements plus fulvic acid which supports delivery of nutrients to the cell.

I really don’t recommend taking a lot of supplements as it can overburden the liver. It’s much better to take one or 2 high quality supplements targeted to your needs. I found a great supplement from a UK company called Nature Provides which includes both Ashwanganda and Shilajit and it’s now my go to. The recommended serving is 2 capsules but 1 gives 500mg of Shilajit which is already enough and means this bottle lasts 3 months.

Another great supplement for low blood pressure related to low cortisol is licorice. This can be taken as licorice tea or in tablet form if you don’t like the taste. These could be very useful for any of you dealing with stress, adrenal fatigue or chronic fatigue but make sure to do your research and check with your doctor before adding any new supplements into your routine. Especially licorice it’s important to make sure you don’t have high blood pressure already before taking this supplement.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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Signs of spiritual awakening and personal growth

We have finally reached the final post of the Women’s Wellness Challenge 2022! So far we have covered nourishment of the layers of your being, connection to yourself, others and the world around you and cultivating compassion and wisdom. Today’s final post in the series is about signs of spiritual awakening, personal growth and self-actualisation.

What is self-actualisation?

Self-actualisation is defined as reaching your full potential as a human. I understand it to mean realising your purpose in life and then walking that path with confidence and humility. Once we have taken care of ourselves via all of the other steps I have shared in this challenge, we will feel nourished, energised, connected, compassionate and wise – ready to be of service to the world and reach our full potential.

One of the signs of spiritual awakening is realising our true self, connection with the divine and reaching our full potential. Self actualisation is at the very top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is the final stage of development we can reach after we have satisfied our needs to:

  1. Physical wellbeing i.e. food, water, sleep and warmth
  2. Feel safe and secure
  3. Feel connected and that we belong
  4. Experience self-esteem, status and achievement

I love this simple diagram from Simply Psychology which shows the different needs. I consider each layer as steps toward spiritual growth.

When can we see signs of spiritual awakening?

We can start to see signs of spiritual awakening at any of the layers. But is is harder to focus on “higher” aspects of life when we are struggling to meet our basic needs. If we are stuck in striving patterns because we don’t have enough food, money or security to feel safe, we are going to see the effects in our relationships and other endevours. I know I have certainly experienced this myself!

Self-actualisation is not something that is easily obtained but it is for sure something we can all aspire to. It’s so easy to become trapped by poor physical health, anxieties and fears that hold us back or stress-filled life situations which don’t leave time or energy for exploring our potential. Sometimes the best we can do is to try to create a nourishing life for ourselves and to make the most of each day.

Of course it’s important to acknowledge that many people in the world simply cannot meet even their basic needs. When we are living in a crisis (and it seems like there is one after the other across the world these days), we are simply in survival and reaction mode. But imagine how the world would be if everyone had access to good food, shelter, security and connection and could reach their highest potential!

What it means to grow spiritually

Depending who you speak to, growing spiritually can mean different things. To me, the first signs of spiritual awakening are starting to become aware and attuned to our inner world and our connection to the world around us. Spiritual growth also looks like moving beyond the mundane, ordinary aspects of life and starting to see the magic and beauty around us. Living spiritually means living with purpose rather than on auto pilot and finding meaning in the things that we do.

As we say in yoga, spiritual awakening or enlightenment is realising that “we are the awareness in which everything is arising”. This means we are not our bodies, our thoughts, feelings or our life circumstances but we are the witness to all of that as we experience in deep meditation when we move beyond the ego mind. Those who have chosen a particular religious path might see signs of spiritual awakening as becoming close to God, Christ or another religious figure.

Everything that I have shared in this series so far is a step along the way to becoming more awakened and growing spiritually. I think this is a path we are all walking in life whether we realise it or not. Some might walk faster and others prefer to take their time. There are some slight detours we might choose to take that lead us along slightly different routes but at the end of the day, the destination is the same: realising who we are deep inside and becoming stronger, more content and of service to the world in the process.

Signs of spiritual awakening

In their personal wellness course which inspired this challenge, Well College Global shared some signs that you may be awakening or growing spiritually.

  • Experiencing a shift or deepening into your values
  • Feel like you are living your life with intention and purpose
  • The desire to support others in some way
  • Stronger connection to nature or a higher power
  • Noticing synchronicities and symbols
  • Listening and trusting your intuition
  • Being drawn towards nourishing practices and lifestyles
  • Expressing gratitude and curiosity
  • Dreaming more vividly
  • Cultivating nourishing healthy relationships

Remember though, these are just ideas. Spiritual growth can of course look different and depends entirely on your beliefs and the path you choose to take.

Final note

So that is the end of the Women’s Wellness Challenge 2022! What I had originally intended to be a 5 week challenge has ended up as 2 months but I am glad that I gave it the extra time it needed. I hope you have enjoyed following along with this journey. If you did please like and share your favourite posts with friends and family who might benefit from them.

If you got something out of this series and you are interested in going deeper, I would love to support you! I offer nutrition consultations and health coaching services, both online and face to face here in Athens, Greece. My passion is to guide women like you to nourish your body and take care of your self to find true health, abundant energy and balanced hormones which I believe is the root of feeling well in our female bodies.

I use a combination of western nutrition, coaching psychology, Ayurveda and yoga to support you in connecting to your self and becoming the best version of you. These are the tools I used to heal myself from chronic anxiety, digestive issues and missing periods and I believe whole heartedly in the power of a healthy lifestyle. You can also read testimonials from my lovely clients.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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what intuition means

What intuition means and how to tune in

One of the most important things I say to all of my coaching clients is that I am not here to give you the answers, simply to guide you to find the answers within. The same goes when I am teaching yoga. I am there to signpost my students but at the end of the day they intuitively know their experience better than I ever could. In this post we will talk about what intuition means and how to tune into it’s messages.

What intuition means – the definition of intuition

A huge part of improving your wellbeing is developing the connection and trust in your intuition. The definition of intuition is:

“The ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning.”

When I talk about what intuition means for your wellbeing, I am talking about those subtle messages that you receive which guide you to make the right choices for yourself. By this I don’t mean when you figure things out logically but rather the answers which come up when you find stillness and peace within. Of course there is a place for logical thinking too but when it comes to your own wellbeing, there are decisions which cannot be figured out in such a rational way.

Your intuition can be thought of as your hearts’ desires, your gut feelings or your animal instincts. These are the messages that arise from the deeper layers of your brain via your nervous system and are felt as energy and emotion rater than as verbalisations. There is no weighing up the pros and cons of actions or following of a particular rule. Instead there is a deep presence and consciousness which guides you.

what intuition means
Photo by Luca Nardone on Pexels.com

Intuition and the subconscious mind

This doesn’t mean that you are just acting on a whim though, your intuition is guided by:

  • Past experiences and memories
  • Deeply held knowledge from your lifetime and previous generations
  • Sensory awareness of the situation

It is just that rather than using your brain’s frontal cortex to calculate the potential outcomes in the moment, you let the subconscious mind find the solution for you just below the surface. It can feel like the answer arises from nowhere but in fact there is work going on behind the scenes just below not in your conscious awareness. this means you are more centered and less influenced by external factors.

What intuition means for your wellbeing

There are so many opinions in the world today that it can be easy to get caught up in the shoulds and shouldn’ts and forget that you have the power to make your own decisions. Whether this is in the area of relationships, work, family or even lifestyle choices like your diet and movement routine, there is always someone who will tell you that what you are doing is wrong and that their way is better.

We are all unique individuals with our own life story, personality and physical make up. There is no one in the world who can tell you what is right for you. Have you ever made a choice for yourself which seemed like the right thing to do based on logical thought and other people’s advice but to you it just felt wrong? What was the outcome of the situation? Maybe you thought afterwards “I knew I shouldn’t have done that” or “Why did I think that was a good idea?”.

How to develop your intuition

Without a strong connection and trust in your intuition, you can easily be swept along with whatever the trend of the day is, whether it works for you or not. Instead I encourage you to start to foster this relationship with your intuitive knowing. There are several ways you can develop connection with your intuition:

  • Regular meditation practice
  • Journaling using stream of consciousness technique
  • Exploring art, music or any creative outlet
  • Spending time alone
  • Practicing yoga to release and open the pelvis and heart (increasing the prana or energy flow to these areas)
  • Looking for symbols and synchronicities in your environment
  • Being in the natural world

Intuition is a power that grows the more you use it. As you make choices that feel in alignment with your inner knowing and things work out, you will start to gain more trust in these messages.

Today’s challenge: Digital detox to tune into your intuition

One thing that constantly distracts us from our inner knowing is technology. It’s so easy to turn to Google whenever we have a question or to head straight to Instagram when we need inspiration or YouTube for advice. But what if these things didn’t exist? How did humans find answers before technology arrived? Probably they sat with their puzzle for some time and let the answers come to them!

Our minds are amazing, creative, inspired, inventive tools that we don’t make the most of. It’s so easy to rely on external answers rather than listening to our intuition. So your challenge for today (or any day this week) is to try a digital detox from all devices. Observe how you feel and any urges to use technology that arise. If you have a question or problem to solve, sit with it and see what comes up.

See you in a few days for the last post of the Women’s Wellness Challenge series which is about energy and self actualisation!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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how do you find your purpose

staying active in autumn

Why you should honour your personal values

If we want to live a life that is truly satisfying, it is so important to live in alignment with our personal values. These are the things that we prioritise when we make decisions and take action. Your values give your life meaning and direction and without them life can sometimes feel confusing and overwhelming. Living out of alignment with your values can feel uncomfortable and stressful and definitely does not support your wellbeing.

Being clear on your personal values helps you to respond better to challenging situations and feel like you are living life with purpose. By understanding our values we get a clearer image of who we are and what we came here to do. This supports our wellbeing by allowing us to create the life that leaves us feeling satisfied and connected to our truest self. We spend our time and energy on the things that bring us joy and fulfillment rather than letting the demands of society take first place.

Examples of personal values

The beauty of personal values is that there is no right or wrong – they are completely unique to you! Of course, your values will be influenced by the family and society you grew up in, your life experiences and philosophies and traditions you encounter along the way. But at the end of the day it is you who decides what your values are and what is important to you in your life.

There are infinite number of personal values you could choose from. Here is an example list of values I have adapted from Better Up:

  • Altruism
  • Relationships
  • Friendship
  • Learning
  • Career
  • Self-respect
  • Open mindedness
  • Flexibility
  • Spirituality
  • Community
  • Inner peace
  • Adaptability

These are umbrella terms which can incorporate many other values within them. For example, the personal value of health could include physical fitness and mental health. The personal value of leisure might mean adventure, fun or excitement for you. Valuing community can incorporate kindness, justice and humility. You can be as general or as specific as you like.

How to use your personal values

Once you have identified your personal values, what do you do with them? You can use your values to set goals and to give direction to the actions you take each day. Check in with yourself regularly and ask if the life you are living is in line with your values. If not, what needs to change? If you value health, are you prioritising eating well, reducing stress and moving your body? If you value connection, are you taking the time to nurture your relationships and spend time with your loved ones?

Sometimes we don’t realise that we are acting out of alignment with our personal values. I heard on a podcast with Brene Brown the other day the concept of drifting. This is when we are unclear on our values and so we take the path that is set out for us by society or our environment. We act on auto-pilot rather than with purpose. Not to say that we take the easy path, often it feels very challenging as we are unconsciously acting out of alignment with our values. At some point we become aware and it is time for some big changes.

My personal values

My personal values have certainly changed over the years. In the past I valued achievement and career above all and had a strong spirit of adventure. These days I still love to explore and travel but I value family, relationships and my health more than success and achievement.

Sometimes I forget and I find myself working more than I’d like but to I soon realise that it is not what brings me fulfillment. Rather I am committed to building community and supporting women to improve their health and wellbeing and that’s why I show up here and to teach yoga.

*I am now qualified but I love the image!

You might also find your values change as you grow. When we are younger we might value adventure and excitement over security. Once we have children we could start to value family and spirituality more. Perhaps a stressful period triggers a shift in your values to health and leisure rather than career. It is therefore important to review your values every once in a while so that you are acting with intention rather than out of habit.

Today’s challenge: Identify your personal values

If the idea of values is interesting to you, today’s wellness challenge is to make a list of your top 5 personal values. You can use the list above as a starting point or come up with your own ideas. If you are part of the Moon Life Well Women Facebook group I will be sharing a worksheet to support you in identifying your values.

Once you have your list, take a moment to reflect on your current goals and lifestyle. Ask yourself – am I living in alignment with my values? If not, what small changes can you make to start to prioritise those things that are most important to you?

The next post in the final week of the Women’s Wellness Challenge will be about finding and living your purpose in life so make your you are subscribed to be notified!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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How to use gratitude practice for ultimate wellbeing

Welcome back to the Women’s Wellness Challenge! I took a week break due to some personal challenges so we didn’t quite finish in January. But now we are back and ready to take on the fifth and final week of the challenge. Today’s post is about the importance of cultivating the a gratitude practice to experience transcendence to higher state of wellbeing.

It might sound a bit woo woo but transcendence is simply the quality of being able to go beyond normal limits or boundaries. When it comes to your wellbeing, I see transcendence as going beyond what is considered “normal” in society. It is the power of positive psychology which focuses on taking yourself from surviving to thriving rather than just aiming to relieve suffering. Gratitude practice is an important tool which can support you on this path without you having to make major changes in your life.

What does gratitude practice mean?

Gratitude is a positive feeling that we can experience ourselves or express to others. It is the state of feeling thankful for something or someone in your life or even for life itself! When we feel grateful, we focus on something good that we have and we allow those positive feelings to grow. Sometimes gratitude can be a powerful and overwhelming emotion which can even bring us to tears.

We can start a gratitude practice by priming ourselves to see and acknowledge the good things in our lives rather than only noticing the things we want to change. This can be easier said than done because as humans we naturally want to look for problems and find solutions! But there are some simple habits we can build which can help us to experience feelings of gratitude more often in our lives.

For example:

  • Being in the present moment during our daily tasks e.g. enjoying a cup of tea or the process of getting ready in the morning
  • Going out of our way to thank others in person or writing thank you notes when they do something for us (or just for being them!)
  • Visiting beautiful places in nature or in the area we live and truly soaking in the view
  • Taking a moment to connect with the food that we eat at every meal and appreciating how nature created it to sustain us
  • Showing gratitude for our physical bodies through self care routines, healthy eating and appropriate movement
  • Leaving positive reviews to support a company after a good experience with purchase or service
  • Writing a daily gratitude journal of the things we are thankful for
  • Practicing a gratitude meditation such as the one in today’s challenge

These are all small things we can start to build into our lives to help us to start to feel more grateful and appreciative of the good things we have. Shifting your attitude towards one of gratitude can create momentum and become an upward spiral of positive emotions. On the other hand, forgetting to be grateful can lead to feelings of lack, disappointment and dissatisfaction.

My recent experience with cultivating a gratitude practice

Recently I lost my way (as we all do from time to time) and found myself overly focusing on a couple of particular negative situations. Instead of appreciating the things I did have, I became overly attached to fixing what I thought was wrong with my life. I started to blame specific things for my negative mood and I felt like unless they changed, I could not feel well. I found myself justifying my feelings and indulging in my own pity party when in reality I needed some tough love!

My feelings of lack resulted in a decision which led me down a misaligned path. Only when it descended into chaos did I finally come full circle and realise how good things were to begin with. Nothing had changed except my perception. My experiences had changed my perspective and in the process I found a new sense of gratitude for my life situation. I didn’t even need to write a gratitude journal or gratitude practice mediation. Sometimes it is simply life that gives you the medicine you need.

Gratitude practice and positive emotions

Once I experienced this feeling of appreciation and gratitude, it was like a light came on inside of me. Where it had felt heavy and shadowy before was filed with a sense of lightness and ease. My physical and mental energy increased immediately, despite not having a good nights sleep, eating well or having time for my yoga practice over the last week. It really demonstrated to me the power of the emotional and mental bodies.

Research has showed gratitude is associated with improved mood, reduced stress, healthier relationships, more resilience, better sleep and lower inflammation – just to name a few! Cultivating feelings of gratitude for the beautiful things in our lives is therefore a natural medicine we can use to support our health and wellbeing at any time we choose. Sometimes it can feel difficult when our lives are not going the way that we wish they would. However, there is always something to hold on to and be grateful, no matter how small.

This little guy always gives me something to be happy about on challenging days!

Today’s challenge: Practice a gratitude meditation

Today’s simple task to immediately improve your wellbeing is to take 5-15 minutes to experience a gratitude practice meditation. Find a comfortable place to sit and listen to the guided meditation below. Observe your feelings before and after the practice then take a few moments to reflect and write down anything that came up for you. Listen to this guided mediation daily whenever you feel stuck in a rut and I guarantee you will at least feel a tiny bit better!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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Could curiosity be the key to better wellbeing?

As a Women’s Wellness Coach, one of the key tools I learnt in my training was developing my curiosity. This means truly listening to my clients, encouraging them to go beyond the surface and encouraging them to ask the questions of themselves that will give them the solutions they are looking for to resolve their health challenges. As coaches (or therapists, counselors, etc.) we are not there to have all of the answers but rather to support and guide people as they walk along a path to healing and self-discovery.

In today’s post, I want to share about the importance of developing your own curiosity when it comes to your health and wellbeing journey.

The importance of curiosity on your wellbeing journey

We live in an age of information where we can find facts or others’ opinions at the click of the button. It is easier than ever to turn outside of ourselves for answers, whether that is through books, research, or listening to others’ social media stories of healing. We no longer trust ourselves and have forgotten how to tune into the wisdom of our own bodies.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t seek external information to support us. But it does become a problem if we blindly follow advice without taking a moment to check in with ourselves and ask “Does this feel right for me?” or “Is this really working?”. Without this simple act of curiosity, we can end up taking actions to support our health that actually hurt us in the long run.

For example:

  • Following a diet that doesn’t work for our constitution
  • Exercising in a way that leads to exhaustion or injury
  • Spending money on supplements that are harmful or at least a waste of money
  • Chasing goals that aren’t aligned with our true values

All of these things can be harmful to our wellbeing as we are acting out of alignment with what our body and spirit really needs. If your healthy lifestyle feels like a chore or a stress, it is time to get curious!

Ways to exercise your curiosity

Curiosity is a state of mind rather than a skill to be learned. We are all born as naturally curious beings. As babies and children we face the world with wonder and awe and we want to know what it is all about. We use our bodies and our senses to explore and experiment as we build our understanding of the way things work. We enjoy learning new things in school, are interesting in meeting new people and are fascinated by the natural world.

As we get older, our ideas about the world start to become more solid and fixed. We stop questioning so much and tend to believe that we know exactly how things are and what is possible. We can become stuck in a rut with daily routines that don’t always support us but have become easy and habitual. Until our health reaches a crisis, we might not notice that our lifestyle is having a negative impact on our health – because we don’t ask.

Becoming more curious can be as simple as asking questions like:

  1. What do I need right now to support the 5 layers of my being?
  2. How do I really feel about this life situation?
  3. How does my body-mind respond to this diet/exercise/routine?
  4. What truly interests me that I would like to learn more about
  5. Where/what can I explore that is new to me?

Curiosity can also support healthy relationships as we take the time to listen to our loved ones and learn about their feelings and experiences. It can be the antidote to judgement if we meet someone new. Without curiosity, we might write someone off before we get chance to really know them and miss out on a great friend or teacher. Everyone that we meet has an interesting story to tell, if we take the time to listen.

Checking in with your body

I meet so many women who have developed health issues, in particular hormonal imbalance because they didn’t listen to their body. If you have read my story, you will know this was the case for me too. Subtle signs such as tiredness, cravings, injuries, mood swings are our bodies’ way of telling us that something isn’t working. If we learn to notice these messages early on and course correct, we can support our bodies’ to stay in balance.

So as you make changes to support your health in the future, stay curious. Always check in and listen to your bodies’ response and take note of your:

  • Energy levels
  • Mood and emotional stability
  • Sleep quality
  • Digestive function
  • Libido
  • Strength and stamina
  • Skin and hair quality

When your lifestyle is balanced and in alignment for you, you will experience balance in all of these areas. If something feels off, ask yourself what needs to change? You might think you don’t have all of the answers but if you find quiet and stillness within, your intuition will guide you.

Today’s challenge: Get curious

Now we are in week 4 of the Women’s Wellness Challenge, it’s time to get curious and ask yourself what is working and what isn’t. Reflect back on everything you have learned and any changes you have made and truly ask yourself if you are on the right path. If you would like to do an-depth assessment of your wellbeing, check out the downloadable Wellbeing Questionnaire  to see how you are doing on the 6 areas of holistic health.

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

  • Please like this post and share to support my business
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brown wooden arrow signed

Guided meditation for developing your unique wisdom

Today I want to share a guided meditation to support you in tuning into your inner guidance and developing wisdom. I do have more I want to share this week on the topic of developing wisdom but for today, I will leave you with this lovely guided practice by the Mindful Movement. Sometimes life gets in the way of our plans and we have to just go with the flow. Listening to my own inner guidance, I needed a break today so I will be back with a new topic post for you all tomorrow.

Today’s challenge: Guided meditation for developing wisdom

Commit to practicing this guided meditation at least once this week. Create time in your day, find a calm and comfortable space, preferably somewhere quiet or use headphones if that isn’t possible. Take a few moments to relax into your body and connect with your breath before you hit play. If you have something on your mind, feel free to set an intention and ask for guidance. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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Grow your wisdom to support your wellbeing

We have arrived at week 4 of the Women’s Wellness Challenge which is all about growing your wisdom. I hope you are enjoying the challenge so far, whether you are following along with me in January 2022 or you have found this post at some point in the future. This weeks’ topic of wisdom is an interesting one and I am so glad that Well College Global included it in their Personal Wellness course which inspired this challenge!

What does it mean to be wise?

The Cambridge English dictionary defines wisdom as:

The ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgments”

In general, wise people are not simply those who have amassed large amounts of factual knowledge but they are those with real life experience, empathy and grace. Some famous wise people include:

  • Mother Theresa
  • Gandhi
  • Socrates
  • Winston Churchill
  • Lao Tzu

All of these people show wisdom in their own way, whether it is intellectual pursuits, philosophy, leadership or charity work. What they all have in common is the ability to read a situation and know what to do. They are usually action takers, change makers and creative thinkers.

Many religious or political leaders, scientists and activists could be called wise, but equally others in the same life role can be lacking in wisdom. Similarly, there are plenty of normal people who have developed wisdom during their life. This is one reason why it is so sad that we spend less time with the elderly nowadays. Older people have a huge amount of life experience and often have a lot of wisdom we can learn from – they have seen it all!

Why is wisdom important for your wellbeing?

When it comes to your wellbeing, having wisdom allows you to make decisions for your health which work for your individual body and your unique life circumstances. It means you will be less likely to get caught up in the next new health trend and end up harming your body.

Speaking personally, when I was younger I got caught up in many fad diets and unsustainable lifestyle habits in the name of “health”. It took me many years to develop the wisdom to be able to make truly healthy choices and to intuitively know when something is not right. This meant going against the grain, giving up diet culture and learning to listen within for guidance.

Wisdom helps you to find meaning an purpose in your life and to create strong, supportive communities. When we become wise, we realise what is truly important in life and can let go of anything that is not aligned, whether this is the belief that more money, less kilos or the perfect marriage will bring us fulfillment. We learn to be fascinated by the twists and turns of life and less caught up in perfecting the details.

Wisdom allows us to relax more into the flow of life. When we have the wisdom to know what we cannot change and accept it, our stress levels are hugely reduced. One of my favourite quotes is:

How can we grow our wisdom?

Research by Cop MacDonald shows two key ways to grow our wisdom:

  1. Via the influence of other wise beings.

    This includes the books that you read, the podcasts that you listen to, the art that you see as well as real life teachers, mentors and guides. In the peak of social media, this is more important than ever. Anyone can call themselves an “influencer” without having real wisdom or life experience. It’s up to you to use your intelligence, intuition and perceptive capacities to know what is good for you and what isn’t.

    I regularly carry out a social media clean up to make sure that the energy I am allowing in through these channels is in line with what I want and who I want to be. Some of the wise teachers I currently follow include Uma Dinsmore Tuli, Alexandra Pope, Dr Ray Peat, BKS Iyengar and Marianne Williamson. This doesn’t mean you should follow them too, but rather find your own teacher that can inspire and guide you on your path.

  2. Through wisdom building practices

    As well as learning from others, we can develop our own wisdom from within. One of the main ways to do this is simply through mindful living. By that I mean living with intention, purpose and with an awareness of your life experiences and how you can learn from them. In addition to daily mindfulness practice, formal practices of meditation, journaling and menstrual cycle awareness can help you to tune into your inner wisdom.

    Self-reflection is an important tool in yoga to tune into the physical sensations, energies, emotions and thoughts that arise in your experience during a practice. The same goes during any life event – pay close attention and it will always have something to teach you. It is so easy to live life in auto-pilot but only when we are truly present can we fully experience life and learn its’ lessons.

Today’s challenge: Who are your wise teachers?

I hope you enjoyed the first post of this week about wisdom and your wellbeing. Your mini task for today is to make a list of all of the teachers in your life that you consider wise. This can be people that you know in real life or those that you learn from through books or other media. Any one that you look up to and learn from can be considered your teacher.

Once you have your list, you can review it and see if there is anything missing to support the area of your wellbeing you wish to develop. If you get stuck, go back to the 5 areas of whole being nourishment to learn about the different layers of your human experience.

The rest of this week we will be focusing on specific ways to grow your wisdom including meditation, curiosity and having a light heart. If you’re interested, make sure to subscribe by email to be updated on the next post!

Over to you…

  • Comment: Who do you consider your wise teachers? I’d love to hear from you!
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what's the definition of compassion

How to choose compassion over judgement

Following on from the previous topic of self-compassion, today I want to talk about choosing compassion for others over judgement. Showing compassion has positive impacts on our wellbeing as individuals but also for society as a whole. It helps to strengthen our character and build resilient and connected communities which support our health and wellbeing.

Compassionate thoughts and behaviours help to:

  • Improve your mood
  • Reduce anxiety and stress
  • Increase feelings of connectedness
  • Promote trust and bonding in relationships
  • Increase your overall happiness and wellbeing
  • Boost your life and work satisfaction

See Psychology Today: 20 Reasons Why Compassion Is So Important in Psychology

Why is judging others bad for our wellbeing?

On the other hand, judging others leads to conflict and separation. Instead of healthy and supportive communities, we create divided ones that feel unsafe and untrustworthy. Not only that, if we think unkindly about others, those thoughts remain inside of us. If we critise others, we are more likely to criticise ourselves and attract criticism from others too. Next time you feel like judging someone, ask yourself how you would feel in their situation? We are all part of common humanity and yet we have our individual differences and life circumstances which shape our beliefs and drive our behaviours.

When someone says something we don’t agree with, we can often mistake these feelings for a dislike of the person as a whole. They could be the kindest, most interesting person but if we disagree on a core level (e.g. religion, politics) we can disregard them and even feel hostile towards them. We are seeing this today with the “vaccine wars” with friends and neighbours becoming aggressive towards each other because they disagree on a fundamental level about this one thing. Such conflict is driven by fear and by not seeing the whole picture. We tend to focus in on the small things and forget the things that do connect us.

Can we become more compassionate?

Compassion is a natural trait that we are born with as a result of evolution. Children show compassion to different degrees but research shows that compassion is also a skill that can be learned and refined. There are many education programs aimed at increasing compassion amongst school children or in the workplace. The outcomes of these interventions show increased levels of compassion and wellbeing amongst the participants.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out this interesting report on compassion and wellbeing from the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion.

Ways to show more compassion to others

We don’t have to become Mother Theresa or Gandhi to receive the benefits of compassion for our own wellbeing and that of those around us. Small actions that we take daily can have a huge effect. Some ways in which we can show kindness compassion to others:

  • Truly listen to a friend (without distraction or interruption)
  • Smile and say hello to a neighbour
  • Volunteer for a local charity
  • Help an older relative with shopping or housework
  • Support a colleague with a difficult task at work
  • Celebrate and share the joy in others’ successes
  • Comfort someone going through a difficult time
  • Buy a hot drink for a homeless person
  • Donate old clothes to a charity
  • Adopt a stray animal and show it love

Sometimes it might feel like we don’t have time to show compassion. We are so busy with work, families and the thousands of other demands of modern day living. But simple acts of support and kindness to others will energise you and boost your mood, helping you to get these things done with a smile. In addition, as the old saying goes, what comes around goes around. If you offer compassion to others, they are more likely to behave compassionately towards you too.

Rather than a negative spiral of judgement and conflict, you will create a positive spiral of understanding and mutual support!

Today’s challenge: Random act of kindness

Today’s task to improve your wellbeing is to choose one small act of kindness you can do to show compassion to someone in your life. You can use the list above for ideas or think of your own. Pay attention to your feelings before and after – hopefully you will experience a boost in your mood and happiness as a result of showing kindness to another human!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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meditation for self compassion

Powerful meditation for self compassion

What does self-compassion mean?

Welcome to week three of the Women’s Wellness Challenge! Thank you again to Well College Global who have inspired this series. I hope you have enjoyed the first two weeks on the topics of nourishment and connection. This week, we will be talking all about compassion, starting with self compassion. I will share with you what this means, how to practice it and my favourite meditation for self compassion.

Compassion is important not only for our own wellbeing, but for the wellbeing of others and our society. With everything going on in the world at the moment, I think we could all do with a reminder to have more compassion! But what does this really mean? Compassion is the ability to have awareness and understanding of challenging emotions and the urge to do something about it.

This can include having empathy for others who are suffering and the desire to help them in some way. We can also show compassion for ourselves which is what I want to focus on today.


What does self compassion mean and why is it important?

Self compassion means being aware of our own emotions and responding with care and kindness. It also means listening to our needs and taking the time to meet them, rather than ignoring or judging them. Self compassion is a tool that we can use to support our wellbeing in difficult moments. It is a way of responding when life doesn’t exactly go to plan and prevents us from spiraling into self-hate if we don’t meet our own expectations.

Dr. Kristin Neff, a leading researcher in the field of self compassion states:

“Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?”

If you are lacking in self-compassion, you might find yourself often:

  • Blaming yourself when things go wrong
  • Criticizing parts of yourself
  • Being overly harsh towards yourself
  • Ruminating on past mistakes
  • Speaking unkindly to yourself

Experiencing these things on a regular basis will negatively affect your overall health and wellbeing. Particularly on a mental and emotional level but also physical as critical thoughts create tension which blocks the energy flow throughout your body. On the other hand, sowing yourself more compassion means you will respond in a more helpful manner when things go wrong, making you more resilient and able to bounce back.

You might also find this post helpful : Nourish your mind with kind thoughts

How to practice self compassion

The first step towards developing self compassion is becoming mindful of critical thoughts and not allowing them to take over. So often we live life in auto-pilot and our subconscious mind runs riot. We could be speaking harshly to ourselves all day long and not even notice because we are so used to it. Small comments like “I am so stupid” or “I never get anything right” might go unnoticed but it doesn’t mean they have no effect.

Starting to pay attention to how you think and speak to yourself can be challenging at first as you become aware of the hurtful things you say to yourself. But once you are aware, you have the power to change things. Replacing critical thoughts with more kind and understanding ones is not always easy but you do have this choice. It is important to remember your inherent worth as a human being and care for yourself as you would a friend or child in moments of need.

You can also practice self compassion by:

  • Using positive affirmations or mantras
  • Letting go of perfectionism and unrealistic ideals
  • Maintaining self-care rituals that nourish and relax you (more on that later in the week)
  • Practicing meditation for self compassion
  • Keeping a self compassion diary

Using these tools daily over a period of a few months can completely turn around your attitude towards yourself and enable you to live a life of balance and wellbeing!

My favourite meditation for self compassion

I want to share with you my favourite guided meditation for self compassion by the Mindful Movement on Youtube. Practice this meditation 1-2 times per week for a month and watch your relationship with yourself transform. Remember that this is not selfish! Showing kindness and compassion to others starts with offering these things to yourself.

Today’s challenge: Keep a self compassion journal

I recommended this task in my previous post on self-compassion but I will repeat it today as I think it is a very important exercise!

1. In carry a small notebook with you over a 24 hour period and whenever you notice a self-judgement (positive or negative) pop up, write it down, especially any judgements relating to your current health goals

2. At the end of the experiment, reflect on what you have written. How many times did you judge yourself? In what situations? Were your judgements mostly positive or negative?

If you find that you are often criticising yourself and your day is packed with negative self-talk, it’s maybe a good idea to focus on developing your self compassion. You can start by going through every negative item on your list and thinking of how you would respond if YOU were a coach and speaking to a client trying to improve their health. Developing your own inner coach or cheerleader is the most powerful thing you can do to reach any goal you have in life!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.

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