5 Reasons why I love Reflexology

5 Reasons why I love Reflexology

5 Reasons why I love Reflexology

image of woman holding her own feet

Here are 5 reasons why I love Reflexology

1. It feels nurturing and safe.

If I had to pinpoint my absolute favourite reason why I love reflexology I’d have to say it’s because it makes me feel nurtured and safe. 

Unlike massage, it doesn’t involve you having to strip down to your underwear within the first 10 mins of meeting your therapist, so you don’t have to get overly vulnerable. All you need to is take off your shoes and socks, get snuggled under a blanket (if you’d like) and switch off!

As an adult, there probably aren’t that many times when we get to be tucked up under a blanket by someone else and asked to do nothing but rest for an hour.

That restful space can be incredibly healing in itself. Reflexology allows us to put our feet up, take time away from whatever is worrying us and to deeply relax.

2. It allows me to take a guilt-free break from everything else

There are times in my life when I need to put down all the other things that I am carrying and have time and space held just for me. This helps me to feel my best for other people.

I hold space for a lot of people including clients, friends and family so it’s important that I look after myself so I am able to effectively serve them. I need to replenish myself and recharge my own batteries to keep my own energy channels free-flowing so I can be my best for those around me.

If I am calm, centred, nurtured and able to cope with whatever life throws at me, I am way better placed to help other people.

 

3. It is gentle but powerful and can be adjusted to suit you.

The third thing I love about Reflexology is that it has an all-over-body effect, despite only working on the feet (hands or face).

Reflexology works on the principle that on the feet, hands and face there are certain areas (reflexes) which when pressed in a specific way help bring the corresponding organ, limb or tissue back into balance. It may sound a bit counter-intuitive to say that pressing on the feet can make the whole body feel better, but it’s true! I’ve felt it myself. 

Reflexology usually doesn’t tickle and the pressure we use can be adjusted to suit you. If you like a deep or firmer pressure, we can do that (up to a point!) and also if you prefer a lighter pressure we can do that too.

Please let your reflexologist know what pressure you prefer and ask them to adjust it if necessary.

 

 

 

4. Reflexology is fascinating

The more I learn about reflexology the more I am fascinated by it. You can learn so much just from looking at the feet (or the face) From where hard skin has formed, to the colouration of the skin, even sock fluff sticking to your feet in certain places tell us things.

We can also feel areas that are out of balance, normally we find either crunchy reflexes (often in the shoulders, jaw and neck reflexes, in particular) or we find areas that are full of a buzzy energy or feel flat or lacking in energy.

Often the digestive reflexes feel fizzy when we work over them which is always very interesting. No matter how many feet I treat I always seem to find something interesting or new most treatments! 

 

5. Reflexology has many Benefits

Reflexology has many benefits including

  • Helping release tension,
  • Relaxation,
  • Improved mood,
  • Better sleep patterns 
  • Promoting wellbeing.

It also helps us release endorphins which is one of our bodies feel-good hormones, soothes and allows us to unwind our busy minds.

If we feel relaxed, are in a better mood, sleeping well and not feeling tense, life is way better (for everyone!)

So what’s not to love?! 

Resources

My blog post ‘What is reflexology’

https://www.sarahcooper.co.uk/what-is-reflexology/

 My Blog Posts Category ‘Reflexology’

https://www.sarahcooper.co.uk/category/reflexology/

To Book a Reflexology Session with me www.sarahcooper.co.uk/book 

Read Article by Association of Reflexologists https://www.aor.org.uk/what-is-reflexology/

Watch this video made by the Association of Reflexologists entitled what is reflexology

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What do YOU love about Reflexology?

Please leave me a comment in the box below

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: What it is and what can help

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: What it is and what can help

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: What it is and what can help

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is the name given to a collection of symptoms that leave you feeling permanently exhausted. No matter how well you sleep or how much you rest, you still feel exhausted all the time.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is thought to affect approximately 260,000 people in the UK alone.

Like many syndromes chronic fatigue can flare up and get worse or you might find that it gets better or goes into remission for a while.

In extreme cases the patient may not be able complete simple every day tasks like getting out of bed or brushing their hair or teeth. When the flare passes, the person may be able to get through a day at work or meet up with friends.

What causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

There are various things that can trigger CFS including viral or bacterial infections, trauma and stress, imbalance of hormones, mental health challenges, problems with your immune system and genetics.

If you are chronically tired, think back to when you started feeling this way.

Have you always felt this way or has it got gradually worse over time? Did it come on suddenly?

Had you had an illness like Glandular Fever or a severe infection? Had something particularly stressful or traumatising happened around that time?  Does anyone else in your family also have it? 

 

 

 

What are the Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The main symptom is feeling constantly exhausted

Other symptoms include

  • Headaches / Migraines
  • Joint and Muscle Pain
  • Sore throats
  • Brain Fog/ Inability to concentrate
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness and Nausea
  •  Sleep disorders
  • Low mood

Like all syndromes, people may get some symptoms but not others or they may get all of them.

What can be done about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Until recently, the main treatment for Chronic Fatigue was a combination of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and GET (Graded exercise therapy)

Recently these treatments have been recommended to be removed from the NICE guidelines for being not as effective as previously thought.

There are other things that can be done to help people living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

These include looking at the individual symptoms and treating those. Also managing your stress levels and tweaking or adjusting your lifestyle according to what you’re able to do each day.

 

Speak to your GP

Sometimes exhaustion is caused by a lack of a particular vitamin, mineral or hormone so it would be good to speak to your GP about having a blood test.

Vitamin B12, Iron, Vitamin D deficiencies and thyroid disorders can all cause or exacerbate symptoms of fatigue.

It would be good to rule these out. They’re all usually fairly easy to fix too.

If you find getting to sleep, staying asleep or you find you snore a lot or wake up in the night, speak to your GP about this. They may want to run tests for sleep apnoea.

 

If you feel nauseous

If you are feeling nauseous and have little or no energy for cooking, try eating carbohydrate-rich foods such as sandwiches using wholegrain bread and some protein.

Having snacks based on carbohydrates and protein can help you have more energy. Eating a small meal every 3-4 hours can be helpful.

If you find that you have more energy in a morning, try using a slow cooker as you can pop the ingredients in there first thing and then when it’s dinner time you can come down to a hot meal without much extra fuss.

You can use frozen diced onions, frozen sliced mushrooms and frozen peppers to add flavour to your dish without having to do any chopping.

Helping Brain Fog

There are various things that can help brain fog.

Having a set place to put things like your glasses, bag and car keys can be a huge help. It’s one less thing to think about! I take this one step further and always put my car in the same part of the same car park when in town so I don’t have to think about where I put it! Do whatever works for you! 

Writing things down can be helpful.

Having a notebook can be very useful for coping with brain fog to help you keep track of things you need to remember! Or use the ‘notes’ facility on your phone or tablet.

Essential oils such as either Basil or Rosemary oil are great for helping brain fog. Diffuse a couple 3-5 drops in a diffuser (but not if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure)

Orange Essential oil is great for lifting low mood.

Always consult a qualified Aromatherapist before using essential oils. Always keep essential oils out of the way of children and pets

Muscle / Joint Pain in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients

One of the best things for muscle or joint pain is massage as it not only helps relieve pain and reduce stress and tension.

Whilst having strenuous exercise is NOT generally recommended for people with CFS, having a little walk even around the house can be helpful. Without gentle exercise you can find your body starts to feel tense and stiff. Having a short walk also helps your circulation and lymphatic system work effectively. 

Aromatherapy Massage using essential oils such as marjoram essential oil may be useful for this too.

Eating a Mediterranean style diet with plenty of olive oil and oily fish may be useful too.

Managing Relationships when one of you has CFS 

It can be really tough when one (or both of you) are unable to get out of bed or lead an active life due to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Communication is key. It can be hard understanding truly what it is like for the other person, especially when one day they may have some energy and the next they are bed bound. So if you feel something- tell your partner. Help them to understand your point of view.

Having chronic fatigue can play havoc with your self-esteem levels and your own feeling of self-worth. It can make you feel depressed knowing that you often can’t lead the full life you’d like to lead. Be as honest as you can about how you feel. Don’t be afraid to reach out for outside help too.

There are support groups and counselling available to help support you through this.

Over to you

Are you or your partner living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? What do you find helps? Please leave me a comment in the comments box below

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Resources

You may also like my blog post  5 Great ways to boost your energy naturally

or my article Why am I tired all the time?

NHS Article on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 

 

5 Great ways to boost your energy levels naturally

5 Great ways to boost your energy levels naturally

5 Great ways to boost your energy levels naturally

1. Have a good morning routine.

Your morning routine sets the mood for the rest of the day.

Open your curtains (and a window if you can) to let the sunlight shine in. Whilst the kettle boils for your morning brew, sip a glass of water. This helps stave off dehydration. Make your bed if you’re able to.

If possible go for a morning walk (or run if you prefer). It doesn’t have to be a long walk, a short walk around the block can be just enough. This helps your body to recognise that it is daytime.

If you’re chronically unwell or have issues with your mobility either sit in the garden or by a window or door, if you’re able to. Again it doesn’t have to be for a long time. Just a few minutes can be enough to make a difference. 

Have breakfast within an hour or two of waking up. Try to include some protein and carbohydrate in your breakfast. Try scrambled eggs with your toast, or a little peanut butter with your banana.

Protein keeps you fuller for longer and when in conjunction with some carbohydrate helps keep your blood sugar stable and your energy levels constant. Meaning you’re less likely to have an energy dip mid-morning

 2. Avoid Energy Vampires

Energy vampires include

  • Stress
  • Dehydration
  • Empty calories
  • Draining friends
  • Boring meetings
  • Pointless tasks

All of which drain the life force out of you and make your energy levels plummet.

Instead treat yourself to a regular massage or reflexology treatment, listen to your favourite podcasts or listen to relaxation music. Or learn mindfulness, or take a yoga class.

Keep sipping water throughout the day. 

Spend time with people who make you feel happy and who are on your own wavelength. Find support from other people who are going through the same things as you. 

Watch funny movies and make time for your hobbies. Whatever you do that makes time simply fly by. Do more of that!

Cross any pointless tasks off your list. If you don’t HAVE to do them, don’t do them!

3. Boost your energy levels by upgrading your nutrition!

Ensure all your meals include protein and some carbohydrates. It can be helpful to eat smaller meals throughout the day, spaced about every 3-4 hours.

Avoid eating heavy meals towards the end of the day.

Avoid empty calories (processed foods, refined carbohydrates, low-calorie drinks etc.)  They often cause your blood sugar levels to spike and dip which can leave you feeling more tired.

Avoid excessive caffeine. Caffeine in moderation can be helpful for boosting energy levels but in excess can affect your ability to sleep and leave you feeling drained.

Alcohol also negatively affects energy levels so avoid excess alcohol consumption, especially in the run up towards bedtime.

If you find that your energy levels are greater first thing in the morning, consider getting a slow cooker. You can pop that on in the morning and by dinner time you have a freshly cooked meal waiting for you.

If you find chopping vegetables too tiring you can buy frozen vegetables including diced onions, mushrooms and peppers. Whilst they might not be exactly the same as fresh, they can allow you to make home cooked meals, despite having low energy.

4. Stick to a routine

Our bodies seem to like knowing what to expect so keeping to a fairly regular routine really helps. 

Aim to get up the same time each day and go to bed at a similar time every night. Don’t be tempted to sleep in, especially if you’ve struggled to sleep the night before. 

Experiment with having naps. Some people find that having a nap helps their energy levels and other people find that having a nap plays havoc with their sleeping patterns. So do whatever works best for you.

5. Take regular gentle exercise*

Whilst you might think it makes no sense taking exercise if you don’t have a lot of energy but it can be helpful. It can also help you release endorphins or feel-good hormones. You don’t have to do anything strenuous.

Gentle swimming sessions can be beneficial or going for a walk or taking a yoga or pilates class.

There are also Gentle Yoga classes available for people who need something a little more nurturing.

Doing even 10 mins exercise once or twice a day can make a big difference. There are plenty of free and paid-for online exercise classes available

*If you have chronic fatigue syndrome or ME this may not be as helpful as it will for those who do not have it. Speak to your GP before increasing your exercise levels if you have ME or CFS 

 

What do you find helps boost your energy levels?

Please let me know in the comments below.

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My ultimate guide to creating the perfect lazy day

My ultimate guide to creating the perfect lazy day

What is a lazy day?

A lazy day is one of those dreamy, perfect days when you do as little as possible, all day! Some people call them ‘duvet’ days or ‘pyjama days’ or a ‘mini retreat’ yet the principle is the same. Lazy days provide the ultimate antidote to a hectic, adult lifestyle by allowing us time to rest, restore ourselves and recharge our worn down personal batteries. For just one day we can forget the hustle and bustle of daily life and start to go with the flow.

lazy day pyjama day

Why are lazy days so good for our wellbeing?

Life can be hectic, fast-paced and stressful. Having a lazy day is the complete opposite of this. It allows you time to rest and unwind and to allow the stress to start to leave you. Often when life is going at 100 mph it can feel like we don’t have time to catch a breath, to be able to think things through or to plan ahead. It allows us to press ‘pause’ for the day so we can catch up with ourselves, restore our bodies and take a nap!

I remember once being very busy, and feeling like I had a thousand things to do every day. My daughter told me to ‘just breathe’ I remember yelling ‘I DON’T HAVE TIME TO BREATHE!’ I know, I know! Of course I had time to breathe, even though at that moment in time, it didn’t really feel that way!

Lazy days allow us to rest and restore our body and calm our frazzled minds, even if it is by binge-watching a box set on Netflix or reading a great book!

 

lazy day sleep

How do I have a lazy day?

Firstly clear your diary of anything else. Put ‘busy’ in your diary to protect your time. Ensure you don’t have any meetings, mum/dad’s taxi runs to do and ensure that the wider family and your friends know that you’re not available (unless it’s an emergency!)

Next think about what your ultimate lazy day is going to look like. For me it is sure to include a pot of nice coffee, maybe some beautiful stem ginger biscuits. I’d need a good book and / or a magazine, and some chocolate. I also love making and eating soup (and find soup making deeply relaxing) I also love pre-baked bread buns which take 10 mins to finish in the oven.. I’d need access to some paper and a pen as I love writing and find that deeply relaxing too. I love giving myself a holistic facial using beautiful facial products and hot cloths so I’d need that too. You could treat yourself to a face mask if you wish.

Ensure you’ve got the yummy food you’re going to eat, already bought, or the takeaways menu to hand.

Once you know what you need in order to have your perfect lazy day, ensure you have it all to hand ready. You might like to create the ultimate ‘lazy days’ playlist on Spotify with all your favourite lazy days songs on it.

Switch off your alarm clock so you can let your body wake up naturally!

 

Decide what you’re wearing

What to wear for your ultimate lazy day is up to you. I’d wear something that’s comfortable and fairly floaty, so you can move/nap with ease. Some people love pyjamas, others love having a long hot shower or bath and then popping on some comfortable clothes like leggings or a tracksuit. I have a stash of what I call ‘daytime pyjamas’ which are pyjamas that are too thick and warm for wearing in bed, but perfect for mooching around the house in on a lazy day!

Enjoy your day!

Enjoy your lazy day. Listen to what your body needs and give it what it’s asking for (within reason!) If you need to nap, nap!

If you need to stretch a little bit, look online for a yoga workout or go out for a short walk. If it’s a nice day and you have a garden, you might want to spend time outdoors in a shady spot.

Read if you fancy that, or do some art or sewing. Or whatever it is that you love doing and that allows you to relax. There really are no rights and wrongs with this as long as the goal is to rest and relax for a while.

Resources

My favourite soup recipes are here

Blog Post: How to create the life you want

Over to you! 

Please let me know what your perfect lazy day would look like in the comments box below!

What is stopping you from achieving your dreams?

What is stopping you from achieving your dreams?

What is stopping you from achieving your dreams?

We all have our dreams, our ultimate goals. But we don’t all manage to achieve them. Why is this? Often it can be as simple as giving ourselves permission to try, to give it a go. To see what happens. To experiment, to play. We might be scared that it might not work well. That we’ll fail or embarrass ourselves or somehow looking stupid. Like that one time as a child when we stepped out of our comfort zone and ended up humiliated because it all went wrong. Or maybe we were chastised for daring to dream.

Maybe as teenagers we got into trouble for staring out of the window in class. For dreaming of becoming a ballerina or a train driver or writing bestselling books, or being the next big pop sensation headlining at Wembley. But instead of being encouraged to think big and to try for the Royal Ballet (apply for a train drivers course!) we are told not to be so silly and told to get a ‘proper’ job. One that can comfortably pay the bills. Maybe one that means we need to be in an office, in a suit, or driving a fancy car. But whilst this is what some people dream of, if it’s not for you then that’s ok. It is ok to create a life that makes sense to you. Even if it makes sense to no one else around you.

Well-meaning adults tried to keep us safe by telling us that what we dreamed of simply wasn’t possible. Maybe whatever we dreamed of didn’t sound possible. That’s not to say it wasn’t possible. A lot of children dream of becoming an astronaut.  Now not all children will achieve this goal, but some of them will and have become astronauts. So it’s important not to dismiss out of hand our dreams. Dreaming elevates our thinking, it makes us think expansive thoughts and helps our powers of creativity and logic. Dreaming is so important. We need to reach out for our dreams and see what steps we can take to help them become reality.

Achieving your dreams: How do you make your dreams become a reality?

Firstly we need to decide what it is that we’re dreaming of. And make sure it is your dream, not clouded by anyone else. If you, at the bottom of your heart want to live in a log cabin, in a wood, with a camp fire then that is absolutely fine. If you want to be earning a million pounds a year (or a week!) then that is fine too.

But make sure it is your dream. No one elses. Only you can dream your dream. Ignore what your parents think you should do. Nevermind what your nana, your children, your boss, your partner, your dog wants you to do. Dig deep and consider what YOU really want.

My Dreams

I know that for me, a simple life is very appealing. I like being able to wander around at home wearing my fluffy socks and to have the freedom to decide what I do with my days. I know that I don’t want to have a coprorate 9-5 job, stuck in a stuffy office.  The whole thing sends shivers down my spine at the very thought.

If I wasn’t a Reflexologist I would definitely be an author or writer and if that didn’t quite pan out I’d love to go back into catering. I love listening to peoples’ stories and know that regulars at a coffee shop would provide me with a wealth of interesting stories and passing chatter.

I’d also love to be able to create coffee art, have a small home which was cosy and warm and be surrounded by friends and family. I want to easily pay my bills and have plenty of free time. I’d like to spend rainy afternoons curled up on the sofa with a pot of tea and a good book. Or take a walk in the sunshine. Build snowmen on snowy days. Make lots of delicious soup and crispy crunchy croutons. Like I say. A simple life would be perfect for me.

Your Dreams

But what about you. What do you dream of? Do you need luxurious holidays in the sun a couple of times a year? To have a nice, shiny new car. Or a big house? Do you like luxuries like expensive skin care? Do you want to work with animals, or spend more time in your garden?

Maybe you want to see your grandchildren more? Or work only part time hours? Or maybe you’d like a holiday cottage by the sea where you could get away from the madness of your daily life and simply relax? Maybe you crave the bright lights and hustle of a big city?

Or would you rather be on an island on your own, for at least some of the time? Do you dream of moving to France to drink vin rouge and eat du fromage whilst listening to the sea gently lap on the harbour wall? Work out what it is that you want and then figure out what one simple step would be towards that goal.

image of achieving your dreams

Achieving your dreams: How would it be possible?

For me it could be to reduce my working week down by one day and to take that as a day to write. Or it could be to find a job in a little coffee shop where they could teach me to make cafe art! Or my first step could be to give myself permission to reach for my dreams, to realise my goals. To stop dismissing them as a whim or a flight of fancy. To see how possible reaching my goals would be.

This week another of my friends has published a book which has highlighted the fact that it IS possible to write and publish a book. I just need to give myself permission to start to write. To knuckle down and figure out what book to write. To decide on a topic, to lay out the bones of the chapters. To think about who would want to read what I have put. Who NEEDS to hear what I have to say?

I firmly believe that we all have something to say that would help others in some way. If only we could settle down to actually write it. If we believed that it was possible. If we only knew that it was going to be a success and would be well recieved. Rather than imagining that it would end up on some publishers slush pile with a cup of cold coffee dripping onto our lovingly prepared manuscript.

I got into website design in a simliar way. One of my friends had his own website back in the days when hardly anyone had a website. I asked him if I needed any special skills or training in order to create a website, I thought his answer was going to be something like ‘I did a computer course at university and then I created a website’ His actual response was something along the lines of ‘nip down to the newsagents, find a computer magazine, they’re bound to have some free webdesign software on it, buy that and have a play’ Well he made it sound so easy! Bearing in mind that until this point I’d never downloaded a cd onto my computer, let alone created a website. It all sounded a bit well impossible at first!

Anyway lo and behold I popped down to my local paper shop and bought a magazine, downloaded the software and had a play with it. It took a while for me to work out how to get my website online but hey I did it and never looked back really. I just needed him to tell me that what I thought was impossible was actually possible. He never told me to stop being silly. Nor did he berate me for dreaming of having my own website. He just calmly broke down the stages from concept to creation as simple as that! You could do the same to help you achieve your dreams. 

 

 

Over to you!

What do you dream of doing?

Please let me know in the comments below 

Further reading

If you like this article you might like to read my article about creating the life you want. 

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