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Five wellness tips to get you through 2021

Out of lockdown but still feeling overwhelmed and a bit anxious about you know...everything? We're with you lady, but listen up - with these five top tips from local wellbeing expert and zero waste Wonderwoman, Cata Parrishwain, we can all take a daily breather and learn a bit of self-love.

Get outside and count to five

Even if its a ten minute walk in the rain, do the Five Senses Practice as you do so. Its simple and you can get the kids involved too: List five things you can see (really look at them as if you’re going to talk or write up about them later), four things you can hear, three things you can feel, two things you can smell, one thing you can taste.

You’ll be surprised how quickly your mind stops overthinking – and how challenging it can be to identify different smells and tastes and sounds.  You might even get inspired to learn which different bird calls you can hear once you start to differentiate them regularly.

This practice is a valuable source of Vitamin D which we all need to top up on –  current government advice is to take extra vitamin D to in the winter and Norwich shop Naturally do a great high strength supplement to add to your morning routine.

30 plants in seven days

Eat a wide variety of plant based foods to super charge your gut health.  Recent research shows 30 plants in 7 days is what we’re aiming for to protect our gut from stress, infection, chronic inflammatory conditions or antibiotics.  When our microbes are fed with this much plant diversity, they improve our overall immunity and health, reduce inflammation and help to boost serotonin, helping us to feel happier.  But guess what – different herbs count, coffee counts, tea, oats, wheat: Just count each food that was a plant once and rack up your 30.  Encourage a bit of healthy competition and get your kids involved in writing down as many as they ate in each meal (chocolate counts) and see who wins each day.  You can sign up to weekly deliveries of good organic veg in Norfolk through Follands Organics, Resource General Store or national initiative Riverford. (Check out these yum recipes for winter warmers, too)

Sitting practice

Whether its meditation, a mindfulness app, free writing/journaling or watching the birds and branches in the garden, could you spend just ten minutes of each morning practicing sitting and not chasing down thought-funnels, to-do lists and anxieties – BEFORE you turn on your phone?

A sitting practice could consist of a cup of tea and a Five Senses Practice (see above) or a simple SIFTS practice – bringing awareness in turn to Sounds, Images, Feelings, Thoughts, Sensations. As the mornings are getting lighter, it will become easier to set the alarm and get up twenty minutes before anyone else, creep downstairs, put the kettle on, maybe light a candle to help you feel like this is just for you, and sit with the intention of letting go of your to-do’s for the next ten minutes. Every time they force in (which they will), just say softly ‘letting go’ or ‘letting be for now’ and come back to where you left off.

Move your booty

I don’t know about you, but I’m just not feeling like running right now. Daylight hours are short and winter feels like hibernation for me, so movement needs to feel nourishing, nurturing and delicious or I wont do it.  If your body loves to run or cycle or move fast through it though, do it, and whatever movement you do, really connect in with your what your body wants at different times in your cycle.  

If you want to explore beautiful sensation and embodied self enquiry I recommend following Mollie McClelland Morris (@mollieyoga) of Grace and Presence, Nina Haley Yoga of the Cycle Awareness School and women’s coach Diahann Holder. If you’re up for some personal trainer home truths and body strengthening, go follow the incredible Personal Trainer Georgina Cox who supports beautiful strong confident women. All these great women are on Instagram.

Three things practice

Ask your family or your zoom buddies if they will do a daily practice with you every supper time for a month. Each of you need to list three things you’re grateful for today, and three things you achieved today.  

Some days will be easier than others and some personalities may need a little encouragement. Those of us less inclined to find the positives will struggle most with what’s been achieved today – even if its that you responded better today than you did yesterday, you cooked a half decent supper or your child signed into online register on time for the first day this week, it goes on the Three Things Register. The idea is that over time, we increase our level and awareness of gratitude throughout the day (as we know we’ll be telling someone about them later) and build on our self esteem until we feel genuinely happy with what we’ve achieved because we’ve acted differently than we would have done had we not agreed to share in this way each day.  The three things practice is a beautiful way for sharing in the evening, and as some of us are spending more time with those we live with, its easy to help each other out with ideas if anyone gets stuck.

wellness, self love

The value in these practices are that they are not ways to beat ourselves up about what we haven’t yet managed, they’re the opposite. They ask us not to do MORE, but to do less and notice the impact of that; less of running straight into busy life first thing in the morning, less staring into a screen all day, less forcing yourself to do something you hate, less multitasking while you eat.  The key to health and contentment is not outside of ourselves, its right here if we make that decision over and over again to pause and bring our awareness to the helpful aspect of our present moment experience and not our whirring, often unhelpful brain.

Cata runs ethical zero waste shop Re.source on Timber Hill, as well as the embodied movement and mindfulness initiative The Wellhouse Foundation.

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