2020 is Actually here!
and with it, I feel a combination of hope, wishes, and wonder.
To start this new cycle, and to help you set the foundations to create a year to remember (in a good way), I spoke to 2 of my most favourite clients to get some great insights on aligning our health and our mind, from the inside out.
It's a 2 part series and today, we start with Kate Barnes. An incredible health coach whom I'm proud to call my client, my own health coach and dear friend.
Kate is really passionate about supporting women and young families in thriving and making choices that regenerate and nourish, instead of depleting us in this fast-paced race. So let's dive in.
A Q&A with Kate Barnes
Q1. Dear Kate, my clients push hard. Committed entrepreneurs, many of them mothers with young children working long hours to build a brand. In this new year, what are the top habits too look out for? The non-negotiables.
I love this question, Cris. Time, energy and joy are our greatest resources and often the most limited. Giving priority to any one of the following three ideas will positively affect most areas of our lives!
I’m keeping them super simple in that you don’t need a lot of time and they’re FREE. Free medicine is easy to dismiss as it can seem almost too simple, but its potency is strong and often underrated e.g. sleep.
Let’s start with sleep.
Sleep is number one. When we start improving sleep quality (not quantity), it helps all areas of our life. Becoming an early bird rather than a night owl is also important (and it can be done)! Quality sleep is one of the best ways to protect our hormonal health too, which is important and often overlooked in Mums.
Quality sleep is;
- Getting a good 2 hours of quality sleep before 12am.
- Sleeping through the night.
- Waking up feeling fresh, well-rested and ready for the day, preferably naturally around 5 am or the dawn.
For example, quick tips to reduce stimulation and ease the mind before bed;
- Turn electronics off an hour before bed
- Dim the lights or pop on some blue blockers
- Create a beautiful evening routine at least half an hour before bed e.g. meditation, a 1 minutes cycle of deep breathing, gratitude practice etc.
- Journal for 5 – 10 minutes before bed especially if you have something troubling you or on your mind.
Our bodies are 70% water, we need to stay well hydrated with good quality, filtered and mineralised water. Good hydration is necessary for good energy, cellular communication, immunity and to feel good. Most of us are dehydrated without realising.
- Drink a large glass of water when you first wake up in the morning.
- Pop a jug of water with a pinch of good quality salt, on your desk or kitchen bench so you’re reminded to keep sipping away throughout the day.
- Keep a couple of water bottles filled up in the fridge ready to go.
- If you’re not already adding good quality salt or minerals to your food, start adding them in.
- Reduce caffeine.
We’ve shielded ourselves from the sun for many, many years, protecting our skin and health. Yet the sun is probably one of the most important factors for our well-being. It’s needed for immunity, hormonal health, cellular health and so much more. The sun is the key and its medicinal properties potent.
To learn more I wrote an article, https://www.katebarnes.com.au/sunscreen-the-myth/
- Without burning, spend at least 10 – 20 minutes in the sunshine each day, bare-skinned, (ideally barefoot) and preferably first thing in the morning.
- Pop sunscreen on only when you need to.
- If you fear the sun, learn to love it a little more.
Each of these ‘habits’ can require us to prioritise ourselves, so if you’re not already, please schedule you in to your diary for a bit of FREE medicine and reap the incredible rewards.
We know the value of movement and that’s a non-negotiable for me, something gentle or aerobic each alternate day so it becomes ‘second nature’.
Preferably outdoors and with an awareness of posture i.e. alignment / how we carry ourselves. When the body is well aligned our chemistry and biology within can ‘free flow’ – it’s so important and easily taken for granted. Iron out any ‘kinks’ with gentle walking, stretching, yoga, myofascia release, chiropractic, massage, swimming etc. You may even find there’s emotional trauma the body is holding onto too that the above modalities can begin to release.
Q2. And in your experience, Do you have any tips to keep habits and good intentions? What have you found works, to stay on track?
The brain (and body) likes to stay with what it knows, where it feels comfortable, so doing something new can ‘feel’ hard/challenging. It can help understanding and knowing that before we know it we create new patterns/pathways in the brain to create the habit.
A timeframe. Give yourself a timeframe e.g. 21 days to practise the new habit and reap the rewards.
Enlist support. From a partner, family member or friends. This is important to help us stay motivated, inspired and give accountability.
Intrinsic motivation. Aligning your new habit with a strong sense of purpose and how that purpose makes you feel e.g. sleeping better is going to give more energy, more energy to parent with more ease and joy, more energy to be even more productive and feel more confident or accomplished in business etc.
Q3. Let's talk about energy. We all want more of it, much more. What are you currently playing with, to increase energy in your clients and yourself?
I love this question Cris, our energy is one of the best barometers of our well-being, but there are so many factors at play so there’s ‘no one size fits all’.
Commonly in my clients with young children and working full time, getting quality sleep is key, as mentioned earlier.
We can fall into a trap of putting the kids to bed and then staying up late enjoying the peace and quiet, getting to bed after 10:30 pm and then being woken in the night etc. Sleep is the bodies own healer, the ultimate free medicine. When we sleep the body restores and regenerates. Getting more hours before 12am is probably the most important, especially for the nervous system.
Aside from sleep and meditation, there are 2 things I’m ‘playing’ with. Improving my Posture/alignment and learning more about this to support my clients and adding in lots more play (as mentioned earlier) and play!
Personally, I’ve stifled my ability to play and it’s so important for our nervous systems and it’s fun and to not worry about ‘getting it right’!
I’m loving the work of Joe Dispenza at the moment.
Q4. And what about burn-out? how can we start the year with a few things in place to avoid ending up there?
Such a good question Cris. I’m a big believer in ‘where attention goes, energy flows, outcomes grow’.
With time our bodies and brains get used to certain behaviours and thoughts that are automatic i.e. our ‘nature’ but don’t always serve us, diminishing our energy and our bright lights.
Taking time to slow down, (the holidays are perfect for this) to catch our thoughts and be aware of WHAT we are doing and thinking helps. It’s why meditation, breathe work etc is important.
So slowing down to be aware of the actions we’re taking is the key. Awareness first and foremost and to curiously question our thoughts and actions.
Michael Singers books helped me a lot with this and the work of Byron Katie. Highly recommend.
Q5. I know you talk a lot about the start of the day. How your rituals and breakfast set you up for what's ahead. Can you talk a bit about this?
Yes. It’s about energy again. When we feel good in ourselves we make better choices, so setting up the day with the right mindset and feeling good about ourselves, ripples throughout the day and those close to us.
I have many clients, especially mums who say they’re ‘not morning’ people, however, when they start improving their sleep, taking out stimulants and restoring their energy, they start to wake up naturally earlier and often with the dawn. Which is so restorative to our hormonal health in itself. It’s like magic.
Q6. Lastly, any thoughts on how we could cultivate a more loving relationship with our bodies where we feel more in-tune with it? I find me and my clients spend a lot of time on the computer and working and sometimes it's even easy to forget that we have a body in the first place.
Oh, Cris, I love this question it’s so important. In our modern world, our senses are stifled and when we feel we heal. To feel we need to move from our heads and into our bodies. Working long hours and mothering leaves little time for this, we need to make time for it.
It’s another reason Movement is so so important for us. Woman are naturally creative, nurturing and playful, adding more of this into our lives with dance, music, singing etc. more ‘feminine’ activities.
Remembering to stimulate our senses a little more is going to work wonders e.g. taking time to smell our food, the outdoors, the seaside, essential oils etc.
To take 1 – 2 minutes to enjoy an all-over body massage with essential oils, organic body oil and/or magnesium spray after the shower or bath is a perfect way to do this too. And really take time to appreciate our amazing body and all it does for us.
Sometimes these lifestyle choices can seem too simplistic in their effectiveness and so we quickly dismiss them as not being important. Yet they are incredibly potent and as soon as we prioritise them and believe in them, magic happens.