Going back to school in September is always rough on the system. Learning your new class names and getting to know the ins and outs of the little munchkins in your class, add in new class germs and you know you're going to get a cold in the first few weeks! Septemberitis is a real feeling! The summer holiday seems like a long forgotten dream and you're running on too many cups of coffee and a dodgy chocolate find that has been in the paper cupboard for an undetermined amount of time!
This year it's going to be even more interesting. The pressure that school staff have been under over the last few months has been ridiculous. If you've actually had a holiday and time to rest, I'm really proud of you. Rest is vital for our immune system to be able to function well. You've not only got to deal with the usual school shizz but also re-introducing children to a structured learning environment, attempt to keep social distancing and deal with the C word (not that one you filthy beast! The other one)
This is you on a normal September, you're flipping superheroes!
So how can we keep you in tip top condition as we enter a completely different world than we're used to?
We're going to start with building a good base of health.
When our body is well nourished it is able to function optimally. We all know that we need to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg each day and a wide variety of of healthy fats but that can be easier said than done.
I like to make sure that I'm getting my daily intake of vitamins and minerals through good quality supplements (like doterra's Life Long Vitality) to make sure that I'm getting everything my body needs. Now supplements aren't created equal. I'm sure you'll have seen articles saying that by taking supplements you're just going to create expensive wee as many of them aren't bio-available but by choosing a supplement that is bio-available you're doing your body a massive favor!
There's also the arguement that we don't need to supplement if we're eating a wide range of fruit and veg. 50ish years ago this would have been true but because of unsustainable farming practices this is no longer true. Sadly many of the nutrients that were in the soil that we grow our crops in have become severely depleted because of intensive farming and a lack of crop rotation. Now not all farming is done like this! There is a huge movement of farmers who are working hard to enrich the soil that they farm and ensure they're working in a sustainable way.
The next time you do your veg shop make sure you take a look at the farm you're buying from and look into their sustainability statements.
Building this foundation of good health is more than just taking a supplement and hoping for the best though, it's about finding foods that make you feel good and nourish your body at the same time. I love Deliciously Ella's cook books, Jack Munro's books and Anna Jones's books too. Anna Jones has the best seasonal recipes so you know that the ingredients will have been picked when they're at their best.
So have a think about how you're going to plan your meals for good health over the next few weeks. I swear by meal planning to make sure that we have a dinner for every evening plus leftovers for the next day's lunches. It means that we don't reach for the unhealthy sandwiches and biscuits but make choices that fuel us well. (Not that there's anything wrong with cake! I'm writing this whilst eating a cinnamon roll with a side of grapes! It's all about balance my loves!)
Another thing to consider is your water intake. These autumn months don't naturally inspire us to drink lots of water so feel free to load up on herbal tea!
I love to have warmish water in my water bottle (Al got me this one and it keeps a steady temperature for around 12 hours, I've also had the corksicle bottles and they're great) with a couple of drops of doterra's lemon essential oil to keep me hydrated and supporting my immune system. Also just smelling the lemon smell is uplifting and it comes with incredible health benefits as well.
We've got the basics covered above, now let's get into the habits/rituals you can work with to keep your head in a good space and your body functioning well.
Movement is a vital part of keeping our bodies and minds functioning optimally. It's also a huge part of keeping your immune health in check as well.
Find a form of movement that makes you smile and try to weave it into your week. It could be an online yoga class or some weight training. Whatever makes you feel good and get a sweat on is what you want to be incorporating into you week. Try writing it into your diary and set yourself a goal. Maybe sign up for a challenge or a race (if running's your thing). I personally love the Barrecore workouts, they're really effective and you can tell you've done something the next day. I've recently downloaded the FitOn so will see how we get on with that as well. That one is a free app with access to hundreds of different workouts.
Movement keeps us supple, gets the blood pumping and creates head space. These are all vital parts of overall health.
Creating a morning and evening routine will also help your mental load as it reduces decision fatigue. Knowing what you're going to do every morning and sticking to it will support you in making better decisions throughout the rest of the day.
My evening routine includes: wiping down the kitchen, getting the coffee maker ready, putting lunches out on the sides, filling the diffuser and picking out what I'm wearing the next day. Each of these acts makes the next day so much easier! It takes hardly any time at all but I know I'll be in a better mood when I wake up and all of those little jobs are done!
It also helps me win down for bed so that I'm in a calm head space for a restful night's sleep. I make sure I have a calming diffuser blend on and roll ADAPTIV on my heart center and pulse points. I then read and have a sleep easy tea it's a wild evening in the Coupe/Fuller household!
My morning routine is simple. Coffee, movement, meditation and journaling. I also add a swipe of my OnGuard roller on my feet and ADAPTIV on my pulse points to support my immune function and stress levels. That's it. I've tried mega complex morning routines but they just don't sit well with me. I get so stressed about not getting everything done that I end up in a worse mood than if I had stayed in bed until 5 minutes before I needed to get up.
I wrote a short guide to setting your morning up for success over here, if you'd like to download it and have a read.
I'm sure you've read all about the importance of creating mindfulness practices and 'self-care' practices to help reduce stress. I'm sure you might have even had an INSET or staff meeting about it too. But something that I hear a lot is how are we meant to fit it in?
If you've crafted your morning ritual then you'll already have a little bit of mindfulness in your day. Even if it's taking some deep breaths as you wait for the kettle to boil.
Mindfulness isn't something that has to take an hour of your day. It's about creating space in your mind. Like I said above, it can be as simple as taking deep breaths whilst you wait for the kettle to boil in the morning. One of my favourite ways to turn this simple act into more of a ritual is to roll my favourite relaxing oils into my palms and smell them as I wait for the kettle to boil. I love the doterra Essential Aromatics touch range for this as they're already diluted and ready to go. The one I turn to most while at work is probably the Motivate roller. It's a perfect pick me up for when your energy is beginning to drop. I also love InTune for if you need a bit more focus.
Self-care doesn't have to be time consuming or ridiculously complex. It's making sure you have moments to support your wellbeing, not just scented candles and baths.
Planning in regular weekends where you have no plans so that you can recharge is a huge show of self-care. Rest is truly radical self-care and vital to keep your body working at it's best. Plan in those quiet moments and make sure you stick to them. We can't wait until we're on the edge of burnout to start looking after ourselves. We want to avoid getting there in the first place.
If you're reading this and thinking that it all sounds great but you're not sure where to start then I have some options for you!
If you have a few friends who feel the same way about self-care (know they should do it but not sure what to do) then feel free to book a bespoke workshop! I can come to you and teach you all I know about taking care of you!
If you need some more intensive work then book yourself into the Renew You program. We'll uncover the blocks you have to self-care (anyone else think looking after themselves is selfish?), discover wellbeing practices that work for you and create a plan of action which you can be held accountable for (in a gentle, heart-centered way).
If you're a leader reading this thinking that your team needs this, then please do send an email and we'll put our heads together to see how we can best support your team.
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