This month we invite guest bloggers Fola Ademoye and Narayani to talk about taking care of your own health.
If there is just one thing we learned in 2020, it is just how important being and keeping healthy is. Yes, that means looking after you! According to Public Health England, many women have suffered from mental distress as a result of covid and accompanying increases in workload.
So, we asked Soroptimist East London wellness experts Fola and Narayani for their top tips for taking care of you (without spending lots of money or time) in 2021 and will write them up in a number of blogs. First, we talk with Fola and Narayani and explore their top tip 1: get outside – even if it’s just stepping out the front door!
Top Tip 1: Get outside, start your health and fitness journey!
After the events of 2020, it’s become evident now more than ever just how much good the outdoors can do for you. Especially if that time is used to do some exercise.
Fitness and Pilates instructor Fola Ademoye suggests: Get outside and keep physically fit! She explains that even if gyms are closed, or access limited, there are still plenty of ways to gain or maintain a reasonable level of fitness and have fun at the same time. She suggests trying interval walking – with or without a friend.
Interval walking is simply where you walk at your normal pace for, say, 3 minutes and then do a quick burst of walking fast for 2 minutes. You only need your normal walking shoes and a watch with a second-hand. It is quite fun to see how many of these you can achieve over a few weeks. For example, you might do 5 blocks on day one (one block = 3 minutes walking normal speed and 2 minutes walking fast). You will have accomplished 25 minutes without even noticing. Ideally, says Fola, increase your blocks by adding just one per day. Within a week you could be doing a 60 minute interval walk. Even if you added one block every other day or every third day, you would make significant progress.
“Set yourself a challenge and see how you get on” says Fola.
Get Outside and Shift Your Focus, Shift Your Mood!
Yoga therapist Narayani agrees that getting regular exercise is a great way to counter stress. She suggests if you don’t feel up to interval training how about a walk around the block or to your nearest park. There’s plenty of research showing that just being in nature is good for our health. But even if there’s no green space near you, being outside you’ll get some vitamin D from the natural light.
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, Narayani suggests that one helpful technique is to focus on your feet as you walk. As you step forward with your right foot, mentally say “right” and then mentally say “left” as you step with the left foot. As a result, this simple walking meditation technique can help refocus your mind from worries to what is practically happening in your body at the present time. It can be very grounding since you are focusing on the feet.
When we’re feeling blue, just getting out of the house, even for 5 minutes can be great medicine. If a walking meditation doesn’t appeal or is not accessible to you, how about a quick “looking meditation”? Take 3-5 minutes and look around you, notice the colours, the shapes. If it’s helpful, imagine you are like a tourist visiting for the first time – who knows what you might see! Narayani explains, many people are strongly visual so what they see can impact on how they feel – for example, think about how you feel if you see a baby or a puppy. Looking at something different may temporarily distract you from worries. It will give you a break, and you might see something which makes you smile.
Narayani says there are many forms of meditation. Meditating on a regular basis even just for 5 minutes can help maintain our centre when life feels rocky. And remember, it’s not selfish, it’s necessary, to spend time taking care of you.
Want more wellness tips?
Fola originally started teaching fitness classes in 1985 and has continued teaching virtually non-stop. She spent most of her fitness career working closely with groups and individual clients to develop personalised health and fitness plans for them, including programmes for weight loss, muscular gain, and rehabilitation etc. Contact Fola at email@example.com and check out her website here!
Narayani is a yoga therapist (C-IAYT) with over 15 years’ experience. She helps people find ease in their bodies, peace in their minds and happy, useful lives even in tough times. She teaches group and individual classes with a focus on health concerns and building resilience and coherence in life. Contact Narayani at firstname.lastname@example.org and like her on Facebook and Instagram!
Interested in Soroptimist East London?
Soroptimist East London is a women’s organisation that empowers women for positive change and sustainable development in East London and around the world. We do it through volunteering, mentoring and advocacy. We work in partnership with other organisations and Soroptimist clubs near and far. Members come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and live, work or have personal connections to East London. We’re part of Soroptimist International a worldwide women’s volunteer organisation. We have clubs in 121 countries around the world and consultative status at the United Nations. You can find out more about what we do and how we do it by reading our blog “What Does Soroptimist East London Do?” and check out the rest of our website too!
If you’d like to find out more or join, please contact us by clicking HERE! We’re a vibrant and friendly group and new members are welcome.