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Get Ready for 2024 with My 12 Top Tips

You may have seen some of this on my social media post - I thought I'd round them all up together here for you. You will no doubt see a host of fitness & wellness tips for 2024 in various news and social media channels however, I promise you, these are the ones that really count. Make sure you get to Tip 12 - this is the most important one of all. These tips are great to think about now on the eve of a New Year. I hope they will help you to make some positive steps towards a unique path of wellbeing that is totally your own. If you need any more help getting started, please don't hesitate to get in contact with us here . We have now developed a number of bespoke online and in-person programmes with mentoring, including pre-conception, prenatal, postnatal, peri/menopause, pelvic floor and strength training.

TIP 1 - Ask yourself what is it that you really want?

This is a pertinent  question to ask over the next few days. Our judgement is always clouded, post Christmas because of our immediate motivations, which tend to be - 'I have over indulged so now I need to purge myself'. Even if we tell ourselves it's not about that - it's still got an undertone that could affect our choices and influences for the New Year. The other factor is that if you are successful in the short term, ie , you go for it in January & you achieve your goal - let's say you cut out alcohol and make it to the gym 3-4 x a week for 4 weeks (good luck btw - I could not achieve that!) - you then go - "Oh well done me! I can stop now". Ring any bells?  Make this the year where you look long term on your goals with a clear focus 

TIP 2 - Write yourself a letter!

It's  a letter which says - "Well done .... (insert your name ) - you have managed to make yourself feel…… " This is a sealing promise to yourself to make your life better over the next year - you must keep that letter for a time when you've really had a chance to make some little but definite steps towards feeling better.  Word it carefully being very kind to yourself - whatever you achieve , how ever big or small is a massive step if it makes you feel good - you may need to write the letter a few times to get it right - how would you write it if it was a promise to a child or a loved one? This is the ultimate love letter to yourself but it should also get you thinking about what it is you need to do to help you get there. When life is so full of looking after others, this is not an easy task to do! But an absolutely necessary one. It's also a subject that we tackle in our mentoring sessions. In case you need a little support on this.

TIP 3 - Keep doing the small stuff! 

I talk a lot about the big stuff. - the weight training, the high intensity training, but this does not negate the huge importance of daily movement. Whether you are doing the big stuff or not - the daily movement matters. People who are generally more active are healthier in many ways - better weight management, better overall mental health and getting out and moving in great outdoors is key. 

They also go hand in hand for a number of reasons - the best way to recover from your big movement is to move gently. Also important to note that one person gentler stuff is anther persons big stuff. So when you look at it like that- All movement really is big stuff! It all counts. What's more, gently moving after a meal does wonders for your health and can help to combat blood sugar spikes - so plan some walks now and for 2024 and keep exercise as a sacred & beautiful part of your life. 

TIP 4 - Turn your health trade offs into health enhancers.

Doing one habit to counter act another doesn't work and whilst we want balance - this is not the way to go about it. We have to completely remove the idea of good and bad and at Christmas & New Year we tend to do this more than at any other time.  Consider doing things because they feel good and create positive vibes. You can not ‘burn off’ your Turkey dinner with a workout. You can however strike up a balance and, rather than work things in opposition, learn to optimise them by working them together so that one enhances the other.  All of this comes with developing your knowledge on exercise, nutrition , sleep and other lifestyle practices - which is what we focus on in all of my programmes. Here's some health enhancers for you to try...

  • Go to bed earlier so you can get up earlier & go for a walk. 

  • Plan & eat 3 balanced meals per day so you feel energised and ready to tackle anything and less likely to snack on processed foods. 

  • Start a craft or past time thats gentle on your pocket as well as your mind. - you can start making presents for next year!

  • Organise social events that keep you and everyone else active. 

  • See an exercise session as a way to get in some me time, time out from everything, peaceful & life enhancing.

TIP 5 - Consider how you view your movement..

How do you view your movement? As something you do in addition to everything else in your day or as a part of every day life? When we view movement as an essential life plan, when it comes non negotiable, you know you’ve cracked it right? This tip often goes along with something you'll have heard before - "Just find something you enjoy!" But that kinda leaves you hanging right? And what if you simply don’t enjoy pushing yourself, may be you can’t - may be you are in pain?  Push and Pain are to adjectives we often associate with movement. It conjures up feelings of fight, fear & aggravation, which can easily make it viewable as non-essential. What if I was to tell you that exercise will not only lower your pain but also heal you from that pain?  Suddenly it becomes something light and fluid and freeing rather than heavy, a chore and something you can do without.  See the difference? 

TIP 6. - Connect to your Circadian Rhythm

Cannot tell you enough how important this is.  The connection between daylight , melatonin and our quality of sleep has only been recognised in more recent years but it's a biggy! And yes - it needs to be daylight - the office lighting will not do.  Research shows that when daylight, particularly that early morning sun, hits the retinal pathways to the brain, it helps us to produce melatonin. What's more, even a small amount of exposure makes a difference. The more the better however so make the opportunity to go out in break times and lunch times too.  And if you want to know why sleep is so important - I have written a blog post on that too. Interestingly there is only one other thing that can have a similar effect - i.e. induce sleepiness earlier, which in turn can mean you get a longer sleep, and that's exercise 🙋🏻‍♀️ 😁 .  The studies on white (natural) light are fascinating, helping to effect brain wave activity, meaning you get better, deeper sleep.  Make it your thing, do it every morning. It's a game changer.  And very importantly, if you are at a time in your life when you simply cannot get enough sleep, getting this lifestyle habit set in stone now, will bode you well in the future.  So anyone with little ones waking in the night, future proof your later years by making sure you (and your kids for that matter) get it in the daylight as much as possible.  It's good to get your little ones in to better sleep habits too, even though they don't have much of a circadian rhythms yet!  Anyone who is peri/menopausal,  please try this and let me know if you notice any changes.  Read this reference Ref: PMC6751071 for a total explanation on all kinds of light exposure.  Don't forget to check out my blog post on Sleep and Blue Light too.

TIP 7 - Make Rest & Recovery days as important as your work days

This is another favourite topic of mine.  For exercise to count even more, you have to have rest and recovery. One of the things I have, in my 50's, become very conscious of is the fact that, post my last baby and all the way through my 40's, I was pretty much running on empty.  Not only did I have sleepless nights as all mums do, I was, unbeknown to me, entering peri-menopause. We also didn't know any of what we know now when it comes to training for women through the menstrual cycle.  Whilst I have continued to move, without fail, I became very injured in my 40's and unable to do a lot of the things I enjoyed and that had been a part of my career for the previous 2 decades.  I knew about the concept of rest and recovery - of course! But did I properly apply it to myself? No! It's so  important that we take days off and we really consider in that how to nourish and refill what is quite often, both physically and mentally, an empty cup.  Sleep is of course a very important part of that but so is nutrition, reading books, talking with friends, taking time to really, properly wind down. I learnt the hard way, and I'm still working on it! But I have healed my body from so many of those things that left me feeling broken by considering how I need to rest more.  So much so I can do more things now than ever before.  If you are feeling like this right now, please do consider joining our peri/menopause mentor programme, Contact us now and we will get back to you to arrange a consultation.

TIP 8 - Do Breathing Exercises Daily

This one just has to be in my top tips for 2024. We breathe 24/7 but do you know how you breathe?  Breathing consciously for 5-10 minutes daily is potentially one of the most powerful things you can do.  Find a time that works for you & I really recommend following @drlouiseolivertlc  who is a breath-work practitioner.  I have just completed her course & learnt loads.  For now though here's what you could do...

  • Find some where quiet & where you can sit tall. I sit on yoga blocks because it enables me to sit tall with my spine in the optimal position for my breathing muscles to work fully, all whilst being able to relax & focus. You can use a pile of books & a cushion instead. 

  • Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, tip of your tongue on the ridge above your top teeth, tongue spread out up on your palette. Louise says to create a light suction. This helps to open the airways so you can breathe more easily. It's also the correct position for your tongue, ie where it's meant to sit. 

  • Always breathe in & out through your nose.  This is how we are designed to breathe - not through the mouth. Go quiet on yourself. Focus on it, aim to calm your breath, listen to it. 

  • For good diaphragmatic breath you want to feel the rib cage expand at the bottom,  with expansion into the sides and back as well as the front. 

  • Breathe out & down therefore rather than up into the neck & shoulders which creates tension in this area. 

  • I like to visualise things anatomically - the lungs, ribs etc.  You can however use imagery - think of a balloon inflating, deflating or you can picture waves coming in & out of the shore. Go on - take yourself there!  Use this to slow your breath down, aim to breathe out for longer feeling a deep relaxation as you breathe out. 

The health benefits of this are phenomenal, not to mention how this transfers into everything you do. Breath is the most fundamental movement of all. I work with you on this in everything I do.  If you have difficulty with issues such as snoring, sleep or health conditions such as asthma, check out Louise's course. It's also a primary focus for my new pelvic floor programme, out in January.

TIP 9 - Get to know your Strength....

This tip is not about Strength Training! Although it is quite literally the most important activity you can do . Read my blog post here for why.

How do you perceive yourself from a body strength perspective? This is important. We have been conditioned to think our physical strength is non existent. From the looks women get in the gym to the constant assumption we simply don't have the strength to lift heavy stuff.  I think I have had this happen at least 10 times in the last 3 month with carrying heavy things from shopping to Christmas trees to just shifting stuff from car to house. I know it's nice when some one 'carry's your bags' for you 😏 🤔 - but it's far nicer when some one doesn't assume you can't lift something and instead compliments you on your strength. You are so much stronger than you think.  A study comparing women's to men's strength showed that women gained as much strength as men in a short 12 week protocol. Men may have been lifting heavier but they didn't gain muscle at a faster rate than women, despite having far more lean muscle tissue. Since I started The Strong Sisterhood, 7 weeks ago, I've seen women go from picking up 1-2kg dumbbells to 10k dumbbells - in Just 7 weeks!  Research proves that any woman at any age can increase their strength. Whatever your issues, there are ways to over come and move with load.  Which is what I'm here to help you with.

It's not surprising you and I doubt our ability. We've  been hoodwinked for generation after generation into thinking we just aren't strong enough. 

You are stronger than you know. Now I want you to start believing it. 

And should you decide to start harnessing that strength, aside from all the health benefits, I guarantee you that your confidence will sky rocket too! ❤️💪🏽  (Ref: PMC4756754) If you'd like more help you can join our online Community Forum - The Strong Sisterhood for free, join my Strength Training Online Programme or join our Classes in Balham. or Strong Class on line

TIP 10 - Create Space in your Body

What do I mean by creating space in your body? Am I talking about mobility? May be!  In one sense, yes I am. There's no doubt what I'm asking you here will give you physical space and that can be in your joints or within moving cavities of the body. But it goes beyond that.  It transcends mind & body in that it's not something you can learn. Whether it's through meditation, a form of yoga or martial art - all of these things can help you to get there but it's up to you to find it, or at least let it find you.  It's where athletes go when they are in the zone - it's about finding your very own intrinsic space which is unique to you. I often hear people say - 'oh I can't get on with Yoga' or 'I find it impossible to meditate' .  It's not the movement or mode it's all about you being comfortable in letting go. How do you get there?  You get there by focusing on you intrinsically.  Slowing down helps, but that's not always the case - I can find space on a run as much as I can through a meditation.  Oh and by the way - it's not something you can tick off a to do list!  It many ways it has to find YOU!  So how do you let that happen? - by moving of course - whether that's to focus on your breath, the rhythm of your heart beating or your feet stepping, the feel of a stretch, a muscle move, to hear your breath or to simply hold still and allow yourself to feel your facial muscles let go.  Space in your body is beautiful and wonderful. It calms, it heals, it processes, it allows you to not only let go but also move forward.  So go move and find some Space and don't forget to let me know when you've found it 😉

TIP 11. - Eat the mince pies (or whatever takes your fancy) - NO GUILT!

Our relationship with food is dependant on our emotions. Eating, whether for pleasure or pain is built into our psyche and not something we can easily dismiss.  Too often food is set as either functional or pleasurable, naughty or nice.  This sets it up  within a black & white lens - the "Eat less Move More" brigade is tied up in this. It is not helpful & it's based on out dated science.  Food should never be placed within a battleground, or a boxing ring in this case. I was appalled to hear a radio show this week where the presenter was suggesting that obesity could be solved in a simplistic way.  It is complex, it's driven by food & drink industries who are largely, along with governments, to blame. So go gently on yourself.  Celebrate Christmas & New Year in a way that gives you something back. Go eat the mince pie.  God knows how many calories it has - who cares!? You & your mental and physical health are far more important. Let's focus on that shall we? You matter most, not the numbers on scales or the calorie count on a box. This is of course a metaphorical mince pie! And one which we associate with feelings of guilt, restriction and the concept of 'bad' or 'naughty'.

TIP 12 - Is to go back over tips 1 - 11!

I hope you've enjoyed my little tips so far - but this one is perhaps the most important of all...These tips are not about me telling you what is best, it's more about you going on a journey of discovery. I simply want to make you think & in a way that will cause you to act. Not in a "I must do this" way but through a compelling feeling that comes from your very soul. So my last tip is to go back through all my tips and see which one really does give you that deep feeling of connection and then go do it!  That's what I want for you most. 

So much love to you all and thank you for following, whether recently or over the years. Wishing you all the very best for 2024. I have a feeling that this year is not going to sail by, but it is a year in which we will be able to reflect, hold things a little more lightly than in 2023 and in doing so, make some definite changes for the good. Don't forget to make the most of our NEWYEAR2024 code to get 15% off all of our programmes.

Jane x

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