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No matter where you are or what you’re doing right now, we encourage you just to take a moment to….

B R E A T H E

That’s right. Go ahead now.  Inhale deeply and fill your lungs with as much air as possible. Remember all those techniques your Pilates instructor taught you on the Reformer! 

Now Exhale deeply. As you do, allow all the stress, anxiety, negativity and fear that’s built up so far today to leave your body.

As you Inhale once more, be open to the possibility of health, abundance, optimism, and ease filling you up inside.

Feeling better already?

Great! So let’s tackle what’s probably a burning question on most people’s minds right now. 

“Just how you handle the stress of working from home?”

Good question.

Especially if you’re also juggling your kids’ schooling while trying to get in some mat Pilates classes with Contour online! If you’ve not yet tried one out, you can check out our schedule HERE. 

As a special BONUS for all our lovely members, we have a FREE Barre Class this Saturday at 10am with the always positive, happy and energetic Jessica. It’s going to be BOOTIFUL!

You can’t fail but feel better after a few Plies, Attitudes, Developpes and Rond de Jambe’s. Plus seeing her gorgeous face and those of your fellow Contourers will put a big smile on your face. Give it a go. We’d love to see you. This is the first of many FREE classes we plan to host so book on quick to avoid disappointment.

E-mail amy@reformerpilatesbrentwood.co.uk. 

Join the gorgeous Jessica for a bootiful Barre workout.

Dealing with overwhelm and anxiety

It’s so easy to experience feelings of overwhelm as you try to navigate these challenging times. 

Today we wanted to introduce some practical tips to help you through the difficult days ahead. At Contour Pilates we really do care about your mind, body and soul.

LACK OF STRUCTURE

This one can be a killer and you probably feel like your usual routine has been thrown out of the window. So create some structure by devising a new schedule and sticking to it. Create a realistic and workable framework for yourself. Make sure you include time for important phone calls with loved ones, sanity check and tea breaks as well as dog walking time if you have one. 

EXERCISE

Exercise is a proven stress buster. While the physical benefits are clear (weight loss and improved heart health) moving more also promotes mental benefits. You’ve all heard about endorphins. Those feel-good chemicals the brain releases when we exercise? You need your fix of those now more than ever. They’ll boost your emotional resilience and make you feel more capable of handling stress when it rears its ugly head.

DRINK TEA

We’re a nation of tea drinkers so this one should be easy to accomplish! The act of sipping a hot cup of tea is in itself very therapeutic and calming. Tea drinkers have been scientifically proven to recover from stressful situations more quickly than non-tea drinkers. Consider swapping to a blend of leaves including properties such as Lavender, Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Turmeric and Ginseng to promote an even greater sense of relaxation. We all need a little R&R. 

DISTRACTIONS 

Distractions are an inevitable part of any lockdown! Whether they come in the shape of a partner, emails, the kids or social media. They can eat into your time and energy, throwing you off track. Before you know it, you’ve been engrossed in a WhatsApp chat group for an hour without even realising it. (granted, it was deliciously distracting!) Again though, it’s so important to schedule your time.

BOUNDARIES

This is a crucial one, particularly if you’re not used to spending so much time cooped up indoors with your significant other, kids and pets. It’s even harder if you still have work to do. You need to agree to workable boundaries with your family. This will help to create some much-needed structure in your relationships so you don’t blur the lines. If you do have an important conference call, make sure everyone knows that you’re not to be disturbed.

PRIORITIES

Get your priorities right. We naturally have a tendency to tackle what we like and enjoy first. However,  if you successfully get your most challenging and demanding tasks out of the way, you’ll experience a profound sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. This in itself, will automatically make you feel better. 

REWARD YOURSELF

It’s important for you and your family to stay motivated, to keep up your unit’s morale. So if you are feeling overwhelmed with your current to-do list, break it down instead into more manageable task lists. As you tick them off, give yourself a reward. It doesn’t need to be food-related. Tempting as that might be. You’re not on a Christmas break. So step away from the biscuit tin and come up with different rewards. Maybe running a bath, taking 5 minutes to read or listen to the next chapter of a new book, or grabbing a herbal tea. 

LEARN TO SAY NO

This is a critical one but also a difficult one for many people, especially the mums among you. Your time is going to be challenged and questioned. You’ll likely experience more requests than ever before and have far more on your plate to juggle. So it’s essential that you learn when and how to politely say “NO!”.

SLEEP

Now more than ever, it’s vital that you look after and protect your precious sleep. This is the time when your body and mind get a chance to fully recharge. So avoid using mobile devices late at night as this will impact the quality and pattern of your sleep. Try as best you can to get quality sleep, aiming for a minimum of seven hours.

Final Thoughts on Managing Stress at Home

The bottom line is that although you can’t avoid stress entirely, there are plenty of positive actions you can implement while you are working from home to help you cope with overwhelm. 

Diet, exercise, meditation, regularly sipping on herbal tea and setting clear work/family boundaries are just a few. 

We’d love to see you virtually on the Mat and at the Barre as we continue at Contour Pilates to take care of your physical and emotional wellbeing. So please do join us for one of our online classes as well as a big old digital hug. 

If your inbox is anything like ours this week, it’s no doubt flooded with communications about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the increased importance of sanitation. It’s big business for anyone pedalling loo roll, hand sanitiser, good old fashioned soap, and FEAR! 

2020 sure has thrown its share of challenges our way (and it’s only March!) What with the incessant rain, Brexit, #Sussexit and now Coronavirus, the populist news has been having a field day.  

Sadly, there’s so much misinformation out there. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to believe. One thing we do know though is that armed with the right tools and knowledge, we can work together to stay fit and healthy.

This is not another Coronavirus Post!

This isn’t going to be another scare-mongering post about the symptoms of Coronavirus. Instead, we’ve put together our “mini boosters”. Call it preventative medicine if you like! It’s a specially formulated vaccine to keep your immune system at its peak. There’s no fighting in the pharmacy needed. This info is FREE FOR ALL!

Positively Well

The Global Wellness Institute has just launched its ‘Positively Well’ campaign encouraging us all to focus on building a strong immune system through exercise, healthy nutrition, stress reduction, optimism and more. We’re great advocates of that attitude here at Contour Pilates Reformer Studio in Essex. Not just during these challenging times, but all the time. 

Perhaps this pandemic will deliver one positive; forcing us to prioritise our wellbeing. 

Mini Health Boosters

So what can you and your family do to stay happy, healthy and positive through the days, weeks and potentially months to come?

Knowledge is Power

Try and avoid the temptation to obsess over every little bit of news popping up on your feeds from unsolicited and uninformed sources. Instead, follow closely the official government guidelines. The situation is changing on a daily basis. So make sure you keep up to date with the latest information HERE. If you are feeling unwell and do want to check your symptoms then refer to the NHS.

Fuel your Body with Immune-Boosting Colourful Food

Sadly, we don’t mean a bag of Skittles! Now is the time to eat the rainbow. 

You should aim for at least 10 (yes 10 not 5) portions of fruit and vegetables a day in as wide a variety of colours as possible. That way, you’ll maximise all those lovely plant-based antioxidants and nutrients that can positively boost your immune system and fight off pathogens. 

Did you know that fruits and vegetables fall into five different categories with each bunch having a unique set of disease-fighting chemicals called phytochemicals. So go ahead and have some fun at mealtimes, especially with your kids, by encouraging them to create a rainbow on their plates. 

We could test your knowledge but we figure you’ve got enough to worry about right now so we’ve put together a little chart for you. Ideally, go for 7 vegetables and 3 fruits from this list.

The Benefits of Healthy Fats

So many people run a mile at the mention of “FATS” but they have so many positive benefits. Not least because they assist the body in absorbing essential vitamins and minerals. You really can’t go wrong with avocadoes. organic meat, eggs, fatty fish, nut and seed butter and everyone’s favourite, a bit of dark chocolate.

Add Zinc to your Diet

Zinc promotes a powerful response in the body, warding off infections and helping to boost the immune system. It can be found in free-range meats such as beef and lamb, seafood including mussels and clams and also seeds like pumpkin and sesame.

One great idea is to make a morning smoothie, packed with your favourite colourful fruit and veggies, a plant-based milk such as coconut or almond and a handful of seeds. Delicious, nutritious and bound to put a spring in your step. Here’s one of our favourite recipes.

Trust your Gut Instinct!

Here’s a fact we bet you didn’t know! 70% of your immune system lives inside your gut. If you’re not already taking one, a daily probiotic can help. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer the food or drink variety. Other more palatable sources include leafy greens such as chard, kale and cabbage all of which feed our gut with good bacteria.

Walking on Sunshine

On days like today which have been GLORIOUS, get yourself outside and soak up all that lovely Vitamin D. It plays a powerful role in supporting the immune system. If it’s bucketing down again by tomorrow, then stock up instead on oily fish like salmon and herring, mushrooms which are a fabulous source of Vitamin D as well as organic dairy and eggs. Let’s face it, that Easter trip to Tenerife might not be happening this year.

Finally, move More

That’s right. Staying fit and active has so many benefits on the body, not least boosting the body’s ability to produce white blood cells which are an essential part of the immune system. 

So, taking our cue from the inimitable Bruce Forsythe……… Keep Planking! 

We’d love for you to keep coming to your Pilates classes for as long as you are fit and able to do so. For those of you who can’t, watch this space as we’re creating some home workouts to keep you on your toes!

Also, if you are interested in purchasing Pilates equipment bundles for use at home, just e-mail amy@reformerpilatesbrentwood.co.uk. You can be up and running within 3 days with your very own fitness circle, resistance band, set of hand weights and even a soft ball.

Stay healthy and positive and together let’s replace fear with wellness.

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