Self Care – Natasha Albright Owner and Founder at Natasha Essentials Wellness

Natasha and I connected a while ago through MIB International, our love of all things natural and chemical free living. I was interested in her use of essential oils to improve wellbeing and she was interested my use of organic foods and clean living improve health and chronic illness. Immediately we connected and knew there would be a chance to collaborate at some point soon. I wanted selfcare August to incorporate some of the business connections to help improve my customers knowledge but also to give other business owners the chance to showcase their wonderful talent. Without no further ado I will hand you over. Take care, Jojo xXx.

doTERRA Nature’s Essentials with Natasha Albright

Do you ever get asked a question that just makes you want to run and away and hide?  Well I have had such a question for a big part of this year and that is ’what can I do to relax and sleep better?’

It would seem that as well as throwing us in all sorts of obvious ways; 2020 has also had an adverse effect on our ability to relax, de-stress and actually get the sleep we need.

When lockdown first happened it did wonders for our sleep as a family. We no longer were slaves to the alarm clock; instead allowing our bodies to wake up naturally. There is something special about that feeling that you have had just the right amount of sleep and weren’t forced out of bed.

That was short lived however. Soon the lack of set routine coupled with the new found stresses got the better of me and my sleep routine. Trying to juggle home schooling whilst working and worrying about how safe my business and my husband’s job really were.

Why am I telling you this? I actually have a health and wellness business where I help people take a holistic approach to their wellbeing. My business is centered on essential oils and using them to support a healthy lifestyle.  Despite what many might assume, I too know what it’s like to struggle both with sleep and with my emotions at times. We all struggle with these things in our own way which is why I can have a hard time answering this question; there is no one quick fix.

Being busy and overwhelmed has almost become a badge of honour. We end up stressed, sleep deprived and overwhelmed yet we are too busy to really do anything about it. The very idea of taking time out to practice basic self-care ends up feeling indulgent when in fact it is a necessity.

Stress is not all bad; it can be a great motivator. Admit it; you have left things till the last minute giving you the adrenaline rush needed to complete whatever it is.  If however our bodies are under constant stress we start producing too much cortisol which leads to issues such as weight gain, negative emotions, joint issues, lowered immunity, digestive issues and so on.

So here are my top tips to help you keep your stress levels within a healthy range as much as possible:

Breathe. Before you roll your eyes; bear with me here. There is a reason this gets mentioned so often, it works! Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose, hold for a couple of seconds then breathe out just as gently back out through your nose. Then repeat a couple of times. This will help calm both your body and you mind while giving you a chance to process what it is that might be causing you to feel stressed. This is where I love to add a favourite essential oil. This could be something uplifting like orange or peppermint; something grounding such as frankincense or simply calming like lavender or vetiver.

Enjoy a hot drink. This will always work better with herbal tea or warm water with lemon as caffeine can have a negative effect on stress. Take the time to really enjoy it, wrap your fingers around your cup and savour the warm cosy feeling. This is the perfect time to focus on lowering your shoulders and relaxing your jaw muscles.

Natasha Albright - doTERRA consultant.
Natasha Albright – doTERRA consultant.

Go outside. We have been incredibly lucky with the weather recently which always makes this one that bit easier. Even when the weather is less than ideal, a few minutes of fresh air can do wonders.

If you can, take your shoes off for a moment and feel the ground with your bare feet. Whether it’s sand or grass, it will help you feel grounded.

Although I am a beach person at heart; if I am feeling overwhelmed or a little lost nothing helps me find calm and peace like walking through a forest and reconnecting with nature.

Get moving. Even if you find you can only squeeze in a few minutes a day, doing regular exercise not only releases stress it actually prepares your body to handle it in the first place. How incredible is that? If you really don’t feel like exercising, try playing your favourite song and have a little dance or at least sing along.

Ask for help. This might be one of the hardest things to do on this list but sometimes you simply need some support. Even if you feel it’s all down to you and you cannot share the burden; a hug or someone to talk to can make a real difference.

Sleep. Reducing stress will in turn improve your quality of sleep in of itself. A lack of sleep however can leave you feeling stressed. They are intricately linked. The best advice I ever received when it comes to sleep is to not over complicate it. Ever felt exhausted then pushed past it to the point where you then feel wide awake? This is exactly what happens if you have an elaborate and rigid bedtime routine; you end up missing your body’s own signals.

Here are my favourite things to bear in mind if you need a little help getting enough sleep:

Just as we do with children; adults also need routine. If you keep going to bed at the same time or close to, your body will not only expect it; it will also know what to do.

Create the perfect setting for a restful sleep. Having a tidy, quiet and relaxing environment will allow your mind to shut off. Even with the lights off your mind will know if your bedroom is untidy or showing signs of unfinished tasks. If you cannot put everything away, try moving them out of your room instead. Out of sight is out of mind. The same applies to do lists. Next time you cannot sleep due to thoughts swirling around in your head try noting them down. It really works! I always have a notebook by my bed just in case.

Choose your evening meal carefully.  Foods high in carbohydrates take a long time to digest and are energising, neither of which is helpful when trying to sleep. Look to healthy fats instead to stay fuller longer and you will be able to resist that late night snack too!

Wind down. Whether it’s reading a good book, taking a relaxing bath or doing a few stretches there will be something that you enjoy and helps signal to your body that it’s time.

Once again this is where essential oils come into their own. A drop or two of a calming oil in your bath, on your pillow or in a cold mist diffuser; you will not only sleep like never before, you will also wake feeling refreshed. 

So there you have it. As I like to say it is simple however it isn’t easy. Each step takes very little time yet we struggle to make them a priority in our lives.

My invitation to you is this; if you are struggling to relax or sleep choose one or two things from here and do them until it becomes second nature. It is at that point that you will be able to add more. Your wellness journey is not a sprint so do not rush it!

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You can link with Natasha via the below channels: http://www.mydoterra.com/natashaalbright
Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1750244618585701/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/natasha_albright_wellness/

Owner and Founder at Natasha Essentials Wellness. Natasha lives to help women on their journey to health. She is an avid essential oil lover and lives to empower Mums. She has a heart of gold and loves nothing more than helping one of her lovely customers find their empowerment to a new you. When Natasha isn’t working she is actively helping women business owners in her networking group and loves nothing more than a day in the great outdoors with her family.

Exercise and Weight Management – Alex Conboys Story

Alex and I met a few months ago in the Hampshire Womens Business Group immediately we connected through our love of clean living and our mutual need to help others see the health benefits from making simple life adjustments. Not only did our business values correlate but so did our personal values. As soon as I made the decision to run wellness August, I knew this was the chance to talk about Alex’s journey and the wonderful work she does. It is MY sincerest pleasure to bring you Alex’s personal story and her perspective on exercise and weight management. Jo xXx

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13 years ago, I weighed nearly 15 stone (93 kg). I’m 5’7” (1.7m) tall – this meant that at my heaviest my body mass index (BMI) was 32 which firmly put me in the obese category. I’d put on 4 stone in a couple of years – I used to be very active in my job as a professional sailor, and needed to consume a large number of calories every day just to give myself enough energy to do my job. At times in my sailing career we’d lose weight on a diet of 5,000 calories a day.

I’d always had to be careful of my weight, and the weight gain started for me when I stopped sailing for a living and my lifestyle became far less active. I ballooned. I didn’t really adapt my food intake to take the change in activity levels into account, and I’d just met my future husband. Like many people in a new relationship we ate out a lot with frequent trips to the pub, and before I knew it, I was 4 stone heavier. Because I was tall I carried the weight well, but it took a comment from one of my husband’s young nieces to make me realise just how much weight I’d actually put on and spur me into action.

Fast forward 13 years and so much has changed. At just under 11 stone (69kg) I am a healthy weight for my height. My husband and I married in 2009, by which time I’d lost nearly 3 stone through healthy eating and exercise (no diets) and whilst still overweight I was much healthier and happier with how I looked. I had more energy and life was great! And then in 2015 something happened which was to completely change my life – I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was able to keep running throughout my treatment (surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy) which helped so much in so many different ways.

Alex Conboy running Farnborough Half Marathon January 2020.

As a result of this experience, I became fascinated with health and fitness, and to cut a long story short once my year of treatment was over, I qualified as a personal trainer. I now hold a specialist qualification in cancer and exercise rehabilitation and work with people affected by cancer to help them get fitter and feel better.

I also became fascinated by weight gain and metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes. I’ve always believed that there is far more to it than the simple “eat less and move more” theory. If it was that simple, why are over 60% of adults in the UK overweight or obese?

When lockdown happened earlier this year and I could no longer work with my clients I took advantage of the time available by studying for another specialist qualification in working with obese and diabetic clients. I learned so much on this fascinating course.

Diets don’t work for longterm weight loss! When we restrict calories, our bodies think we are going into starvation mode which leads to several things. Firstly, our metabolic rate reduces so our bodies expends less energy in normal functions. When we come off a calorie – restricted diet, because our metabolic rate is now lower, we put on all the weight we lost and more.

Secondly because our bodies believe that a famine is approaching, we preserve fat and burn muscle, which is exactly the opposite of what we are trying to achieve. In particular, under these conditions we tend to store fat around our middles. As a result, we can enter the classic yo-yo dieting pattern in which many people end up heavier than they started.

In addition, when we become overweight significant hormonal changes take place which make it harder for us to lose the weight. Our bodies work on a principle called homeostasis – which means that our systems are constantly trying to maintain what has become normal. When we lose weight, especially quickly, the principle of homeostasis kicks in so that our bodies try to regain “normal”, meaning that our systems make whatever changes are necessary to try to put the weight back on.

The best way to become a healthy weight – and stay there – is to make long-term, sustainable changes to diet and lifestyle. Change will happen gradually – long-term weight loss tends to be slow and gradual, to allow our bodies to adjust properly to the new way of being and the new “normal”. We need to be patient. It took me 2 years to lose 3 stone. I’m not going to go into detail about healthy eating here – there is no one-size-fits-all approach and I’m not qualified to give specialist nutritional advice. Just remember – diets don’t work for most people!

I’d like to explore in a bit more detail how and why exercise and physical activity are so important.

As I’ve briefly described, whilst there is a lot more to it than “eat less and move more”, one fundamental truth is the more we move, the more energy we expend. In addition, when our period of activity is over, we burn more calories while our body recovers from the exercise. All of which help!

Another great thing about exercise is how it helps to regulate blood sugar levels. This is of particular benefit to anyone who is insulin-resistant or has type-2 diabetes. Glucose travels from our blood stream into our cells through transporters, which are activated by either insulin or exercise. With insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, these transporters become resistant to insulin, and don’t work effectively so glucose cannot travel easily into our cells. Muscle contractions also stimulate these transporters – independent of insulin – allowing glucose into our cells where it is needed for energy, hence lowering our blood sugar levels. This is why movement and physical activity is such an essential part of managing insulin resistance and diabetes – in particular type-2.

Lots of other changes take place when we exercise -too many to list here – but one more of note is that during and immediately after a period of aerobic activity the release of our hunger hormones ghrelin and peptide-YY is reduced, leading to a suppression of appetite.

The most important thing is to enjoy what you do – otherwise it will become a chore. Government guidelines are 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week spread over 5 days at least – and this can even be done in 10-minute blocks. Be kind to yourself – regular exercises consider physical activity as part of their self-care!

If you haven’t exercised for a while, or are new to exercise, it could be worthwhile asking advice from a suitably qualified personal trainer, or your GP, about what would be safe for you to do. It’s very important to pace yourself – if you push yourself too hard to begin with you run the risk of injury – and it’s unlikely that you will enjoy what you are doing. Start with manageable goals – like going for a brisk 10 minute walk at lunchtime every day, building up to 30 minutes a day, and as your fitness levels improve you’ll be able to gradually increase your activity levels even more.

Many people still have a horror of “exercise” – with bad experiences of PT lessons at school. It can help to re-think what exercise is. Any form of physical activity will help, such as walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift, or parking further from the entrance to the shops so you have to walk a bit further. Try dancing round the house from time to time! The gym is not for everyone – doing the gardening or the housework will help. If you have a desk job, make a point of getting up and walking round the office for a few minutes every hour or so if you can.

The most important things to remember – are be kind to yourself, and keep moving as much as you can. Pay attention to what you eat too, it is not possible to out-exercise a bad diet.

If you would like any help, or would like to chat anything through then please get in touch!   I am happy to offer a free introductory session to anyone who would like to explore further how physical activity can help, would like some nutritional advice or would like some help with setting goals or coming up  with a plan that is right for them.              

Fit for Life – https://www.fitforlifept.co.uk/
Find Alex and fit for life on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AlexConboyPT/

Alex Conboy owns Alex Conboy Personal Training.   She is a mobile1:1  personal trainer specialising in cancer and exercise rehabilitation, She also holds a specialist qualification in working with obese and diabetic clients, and has nearly completed an additional qualification in exercise and physical activity for people with mental health conditions.    Alex trains her clients outdoors – in public parks or in or in her client’s gardens in the Alton and Basingstoke areas.    

In addition to her personal training, Alex set up the Basingstoke group of 5k Your Way, which is a support group with a difference for anyone affected by cancer. When Alex isn’t helping others appreciate the many benefits that exercise and physical activity bring, she flies gliders, both as an instructor at Lasham and also flying her own glider cross-country. She also loves running and walking her dogs in the stunning countryside where she lives.

What is raw honey? Why Should we use it?

Honey us yummy! Pooh Bear loves it… so does Paddington… so do humans. But, have you ever truly wondered what honey is, where it comes from and why it is so delicious??

Honey is made from honeybees and is a sweet, golden liquid that they produce in their hive (aka. nest). The honeycomb is shaped by thousands of small hexagons all linked together; this is where the honey is stored.

When honey undertakes the term ‘Raw’, it signifies that the honey comes straight from the honeycomb, with no pasteurization or heat treating.

What does your honey REALLY contain you ask?
To be quite honest it is made up of bee pollen (Honey is the result of flower nectar processed by Honeybees through enzymatic reaction and dehydration), beeswax and will naturally contain body parts of dead bees in the hive. Yuk!! With this knowledge in mind beekeepers always pass the honey through a sieve to ensure any unwanted impurities are caught before it is bottled.

This next question is courtesy of my 7-year old daughter… Am I eating bee poo??
For those that are curious…. Nope! What happens to the bee poop then, you wonder?!  Bee poop is the non-digestible fibre in honey and pollen that bees eat as their only source of food.

During ancient times, people would have used raw honey, but today, most people use pasteurized honey. Whether this is due to cost, ease of buying everything all in one place, who knows. What we do know is that by buying honey from our local shops we are supporting small businesses and shopping local, while benefiting our health.

Honey naturally offers some the following healthful properties:

10 Benefits of using honey to help the body heal.

I hope this has shed some light on one of natures wonders. Do you eat raw honey? Have you felt the benefits of it? Are you going to try raw honey?
Comment below and let us know!

If you are looking for a locally sourced honey you can find it in store here.

Jojo xXx

Jo - Owner of Ecological Footprints, UK!

Jo is an entrepreneur, writer, and investigator for all things healthy for the mind, body, soul, and planet. And, not to dismiss, a long-term collector of allergies, intolerances, and chronic illnesses! In early 2020, after a stark realisation that her health was being impacted by her current direction in business, she redirected her career, using years of personal research and development to launch Ecological Footprints. A lifestyle brand for the whole family (furry kids included), selling a wonderful selection of plastic free, biodegradable daily living products, a food shop full of gluten free, dairy free, nut free, vegan foods, and a safe place for us all to explore her blog – her journey into eco-friendly sustainability, clean living to maintain health & chronic illnesses and yummy free-from recipies for all the family. When she’s not working you can find her spending time with her family, enjoying the countryside or in her little organic veggie garden!