Being well comes down to balancing body and mind. I first qualified as a yoga teacher 12 years ago, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago I realised there was a real need for a more holistic approach. We live in a fast-paced world and so many of us look outside of ourselves for success and happiness. Peachy With Zoe is, hopefully, an antidote to this. Through movement, lifestyle and awareness, it’s a reminder to slow down and look after ourselves, using a handful of simple ingredients. It’s a toolkit everyone can use, whether you’re looking to release tension, increase energy levels, aid sleep, balance your mood or feel more present.
There isn’t much calmness to my morning. I’m woken at 5am by our three year old, slurp a coffee, rush to fill lunchboxes and have a glass of kefir and a handful of nuts while finding clean uniforms and making the girls breakfast. It may not be a perfect morning but it’s all about mindset. I feel fortunate to have the chaos of children in my life, and sometimes ask them to share three things they’re grateful for at the start of each day. I love their answers – their sisters, the sea, trees, ice cream. Children have it sorted – it’s adults that need to relearn how to find joy in the small things.
Exercise doesn’t have to be prescriptive. A week of exercise for me is ever-changing. I have to fit it in around the demands of work and three young children, but a handful of runs, walking the dog and the odd half an hour of yoga is a good week for me. I also do lots of filming for Peachy With Zoe as well as live classes. Small amounts of movement throughout the day add up, whether it’s squats while the bath runs, running up and down the stairs, doing calf raises while the kettle boils or dancing around the kitchen with the children. You can lead an active life without having to ‘exercise’ for hours.
The biggest barrier to exercise and fitness is guilt. Since getting older and becoming a mother, I’ve started respecting my body rather than seeing it as something to like or dislike. In the past, I would always push myself – wanting my exercise to be as strong, long and calorie-burning as possible, and disregarding how I felt or what was going on that day. Now, I listen to my body. Some days, I’m exhausted, and a ten-minute meditation is as much as I need. Other days, I feel energised and will go on a hilly run. I try to take guilt out of the equation when it comes to exercise; it only gets in the way.
Wellness has been made inaccessible to many. Expensive kit and programmes seem to be the norm these days, which is great if that’s in your budget, but it shouldn’t put you off if it’s not. This was one of the reasons for making the Peachy With Zoe Platform affordable (it’s £6.99 per month for unlimited access to live and on-demand classes). There’s so much you can do if you’re on a budget – walking, running, dancing and swimming are all free. The only kit I can’t be without is my Salomon waterproof trainers for running, a Jade yoga mat and Yoga Matters yoga bricks.
Exercise outdoors if you can. As animals, we’ve distanced ourselves from our natural habitat and made life more stressful in the process. There’s so much joy in nature if we allow ourselves to notice it. We now know with scientific evidence what humans have always intuitively known – there are huge benefits to being outside in nature for our mental wellbeing, stress levels and longevity. We also know a lack of movement is one of the main causes of pain in our bodies, so it makes sense to combine the two together. Doing any type of movement outdoors holds far more meaning than being in a studio or gym.
Nothing beats yoga in an exotic location. The Six Senses in Koh Yao Noi, Thailand, has the most incredible outdoor yoga platform. At home in Hampshire, I often book in for a class at Amethyst Yoga or Stable Yoga. When I head into central London, I love The Power Yoga Studio, The Life Centre and Triyoga.
If you’re a beginner, it’s all about baby steps. Keep moving in a variety of ways and find something you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, it’s impossible to maintain momentum. Try boxing, rock climbing, yoga or martial arts. Add in small amounts of movement where you can – a run to work or back from the school run, ten minutes of skipping, or even some sit-ups while you’re on hold on the phone – as it all adds up. Tune into your body and notice any positive changes as you get fitter and stronger. Cultivating a positive mindset will give you the confidence to sustain healthy habits and achieve results that last.
You’ve heard it before, but a healthy diet is all about moderation. I used to try and control my eating, obsessively counting calories and weighing myself daily. When I eventually let this control and guilt cycle go, I immediately fell into a healthier eating rhythm and balanced weight, which I have since maintained. So much of our wellbeing is in how we feel, and this comes down to diet. Eat well, sleep well and look after yourself, but don’t forget how delicious and fun a pudding or the odd late night can be.
I am prone to anxiety. Over the years, I have found the best thing is simply not to run from my anxiety. Instead, to notice when it comes, acknowledge, and accept it, to put a hand on my knotted stomach or racing heart and take a few slow breaths. The more we try to fight or ignore anxiety, the harder it is to shift it. Exercise helps me relieve stress, but so does stillness. Five minutes of meditation or breathwork goes a long way.
Life has its ups and downs. I’m always telling my clients there’s no such thing as being constantly happy. If we can have a toolbox of support from breathwork, mindfulness, gentle movement, awareness reminders, music or a community of loved ones, this is when we will learn and grow towards a more consistent and balanced place.
I love finishing the day with an Epsom salt bath. My routine tends to kick in in the evening when there are no demands on my time. A long bath with lavender essential oil helps me unwind, and I always make sure my phone is out of sight. I’ll often do a meditation in bed before reading my book and drifting off.
I swear by holistic treatments. I have regular cranial osteopathy sessions as well as acupuncture to keep my nervous system and energy balanced. I used acupuncture when I was trying to get pregnant and really attribute it to helping us succeed. I love facials, too, either with the wonderful Holly from Staddle Stone Spa in Hampshire or Face Gym when I head into London.
Supplements keep us on track. I am prone to low iron levels, so keep things topped up with Active Iron supplements as well as vitamin D drops. I also take turmeric daily, which is a potent antioxidant, and when I feel run down I’ll take Symprove, a liquid probiotic, for a few weeks.
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