4 Steps to Sleep Better

I think that we’ve all been there. You can’t sleep! Dreaded insomnia!

A worrisome thought, a stressful day, a difficult period of time in your life and you can’t sleep. Maybe you can’t fall asleep, maybe you wake up at 1 am and can’t get back to sleep, maybe you open your eyes at 4 am and that’s it you are up for the rest of the day or perhaps you sleep a full 8 hours only to wake up still feeling exhausted.

I understand I have been there.

The results of sleeplessness are significant and detrimental. They include risks of developing obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, increased anxiety and mental stress and of course the increased risk of driving a car and accidents.

In short, it is much better for your health and sanity when you get 7- 8 hours of shut-eye every single night!

  • Sleep helps boost your immune system and helps ward off the flu or cold.
  • Sleep improves your memory. Research demonstrates that sleeping after learning can improve memory retention.
  • Sleep can reduce anxiety and mental stress.
  • Sleep improves coordination.
  • A good night’s sleep makes you feel great.

So how do you improve your sleep?

  1. First and foremost you need to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day and this includes weekends. Did you know that you have an inner clock that determines when you feel energized and when you feel sleepy? For instance, perhaps you have noticed that at certain times every day you may feel more energized or less so. This is due to your internal clock called your circadian rhythm. By sticking to a consistent bedtime and rising schedule you will regulate this clock and increase the likelihood of better sleep!
  2. Exercise regularly. I know you have heard it a million times before but people who exercise regularly fall asleep faster and experience a deeper more restful sleep. What do I mean by exercise? Walk at least 30 minutes 5x’s a week. If walking 30 minutes is too challenging at first do what you can and work up to it!
  3. Make your bedroom a sanctuary. Get the TV out of the bedroom. Make your bed cozy and comfy. Use soft lighting. Try a sound machine to stifle disturbing noises. I use this one here is a link to AmazonListen to quiet music. It may sound crazy but I like to listen to soundtracks of distant thunderstorms! Avoid caffeine. Instead, drink herbal teas such as my favorite Celestial Seasoning’s Sleepy Time.
  4. De-stress before you close your eyes. I am going to teach you a very simple breathing practice that will calm you, reduce stress and anxiety and prepare you for a restful night of blissful sleep. I call it Exhale and Wait to Breathe. It is based on breathing practices developed by FM Alexander, the creator of the Alexander Technique. I have created a short instructional video that you can access below. Breathe like this 3-5X’s before crawling under the covers and closing your eyes.

My name is Mary Derbyshire. I am a fitness and movement coach. My methodology is the Alexander Technique, a mindfulness-based practice that teaches you how to move better. When you move better you feel better and when you feel better your whole life improves. You can get my Amazon best-selling book Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence here.

This post includes affiliate links to products that I use and reccomend.

1.Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_chassenet’>chassenet / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

 

How To Lessen Anxiety With Mindfulness

Being with my horse is another way to lessen anxiety.
Me in my happy place with my pony Tonka.

Let’s talk about anxiety.

Do you get anxious from time to time?

I do. A lot.

This may come as a surprise to some, but I am an anxious person. Perhaps that is why I teach people how to move better and feel better. Have you ever heard the expression “You teach best what you most need to learn”?

I needed to learn how to be less stressed and anxious.

I have been teaching movement, fitness, and the Alexander Technique for many years. For those of you who are not familiar with the Alexander Technique, it is a mindfulness-based practice that teaches you how to move and think better. Practicing the Alexander Technique is an exercise in mindfulness.

But let’s get back to anxiety.

You see people come to me to resolve anxiety issues. How could I be an anxious person if I truly practiced what I preached?

Well, the answer is simple.

Life is hard and at times life is incredibly hard for all of us.

I have discovered though, that the tools I have learned through the Alexander Technique have definitely made my life easier, less stressful, and thus less anxious.

I want to teach you these practices.

Here are three things that I teach my students to help them cultivate mindfulness and cope with anxiety. I have created three videos to make the instruction easier.

De-Stress With The AT Lie Down

  • The first video teaches the AT Lie-Down. Practicing the AT Lie Down once or twice a day for 15-20 minutes can be life-changing. Finding a quiet spot in your home or office and lying down in this way not only does wonders for your back, neck or whatever ails you but it also provides you with the opportunity to really stop and let go of emotional, psychological and physical tension. At first, if you cannot last the full ten-fifteen minutes, and most people can’t, then start off a few minutes at a time and increase the time incrementally. You may listen to quiet music if you like, but I prefer to practice in silence. There are many health benefits to being silent for extended periods of time. Silence can improve memory, regenerate brain cells, reduce stress, and increase creativity. You can click here for the video.

Reduce Anxiety With Mindful Breathing

  • The second video teaches you a very powerful way to calm down through breath. I call it Exhale and Wait to Breathe. Have you noticed that when you are stressed and anxious that your breathing becomes more shallow? For many of us, our voices go up a notch! Exhale and Wait to Breathe is the answer to that problem and many others. When we consciously attend to our breathing we can redirect our moods in a very powerful way. A breathing practice will improve your energy level, slow your heart rate and reduce anxiety. I always end my Alexander Technique sessions with this breathing.  Click here for the Exhale and Wait to Breathe video.

A Little Movement Refreshes

  • The third video is titled A Healthy Back is a Supple Back. This short practice revitalizes you in a couple of minutes. Sometimes just moving a little can make you feel much better and less pressed. This is an excellent movement series that is especially good if you have been sitting in front of your computer for a while. A mini-break if you will to de-stress and feel better. Click here for the video.

Here is another blog I wrote about how the Alexander Technique changed my life. Click here for the post.

My name is Mary Derbyshire. I am a fitness and movement coach. My methodology is the Alexander Technique, a mindfulness-based practice that teaches you how to move better. When you move better you feel better and when you feel better your whole life improves. You can get my Amazon best-selling book Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence here.

My interactive book is jam-packed with instructional videos that you can easily access with a smartphone or with a Kindle, iPad or computer.

So I’ve just given you some good information about easy practices that can help you address anxiety. I have also created a course that teaches you how to sit better. If you would like some more instruction on how to sit better you can sign up for my FREE video course Sitting for Success here.

If you would like to learn more ways to improve mobility and get out of pain sign up for my course 5 Ways to Heal Back Pain here 

Please feel free to ask me questions.  I am passionate about teaching you how to move and live better. Moving well is a critical component of aging well.

XO Mary

 

This post may contain affiliate links. 

3 Ways To Mindfulness

This post may contain affiliate links.

Have you noticed mindfulness is all the rage right now?

If you are not familiar with the concept here is Wikipedia’s definition “Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.”

That may sound a bit obvious but we live in such a go-go world. We rush around as if we are skimming over the surface of life. A mindfulness practice will change all of that.

Some people cultivate mindfulness through meditation and bring their attention to the breath or a repeated word or mantra.

Alexander Technique practitioners practice by paying attention to ourselves. We pay attention to how we move, react, and think. This attention to self is a mindfulness practice.

In fact, it has been said that the Alexander Technique is Mindfulness in Activity!

So why would we practice mindfulness?

Well, it has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and depression.

Mindfulness also increases immune function, improves higher brain function, lowers the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases one’s awareness, increases clarity in thinking, and cultivates feelings of calm and peace.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

And guess what – no side effects!

But it is the way in which mindfulness brings about a deepening and a more meaningful existence that really inspires me. There is no doubt in my mind that practicing the Alexander Technique has completely changed my life. You can read about my first experience in this blog post.

3 very effective ways to bring mindfulness into your life. These are simple but profound. Do not underestimate their simplicity. Simplicity can ensure profound change. Simplicity is good.

  1. Stop! Really, really stop. Stop and pay attention to your senses. Notice what you see. Notice what you hear. Notice what you smell. Notice what you touch. Notice what you taste. Paying attention to your senses is a most effective way for you to slow down and take in your environment, live in the moment and bring about mindfulness.
  2. Exhale and wait to breathe. We Alexander Technique folk approach breathing very differently than other practices such as yoga or meditation. Instead of starting with a deep breath, first, exhale whatever air is in your lungs and wait. Wait until you feel a little tug in your diaphragm area at which point you allow the air to come in through your nose. You repeat the process several more times. You are not trying to hold your breath but rather are waiting to feel the need to breathe again. Here is a video I made about breathing.
  3. Practice the AT Lie Down. Lie down with your head on some books 2-3X’s a day for 15-20 minutes. Not only will this practice do wonders for your aching neck and back it will make you feel more at ease and connected with the world. Here is a short instructional video I made about the AT Lie Down.iframe src=>

So you have learned 3 very simple ways to improve your life.

My name is Mary Derbyshire. I am a movement and fitness coach and an Alexander Technique teacher and have been in practice for over 20 years. I teach people how to move better. HOW you move is at least as important as moving more. You can work with me in many different ways. You can sign up for my blogs when you enter your information in the 7 Ways to Turn Back the Clock. In my FREE video course Sitting for Success, you will learn how to sit better with improved posture and less pain. Click here for the FREE video course. I have also created a mini-course that addresses back and neck pain called 5 Ways to Heal Back Pain you can get that here. I have also written an Amazon bestseller Agility at Any Age: Discover the Secret to Balance, Mobility, and Confidence. The book is interactive with 40 videos that help you learn how to move better. You can access the videos with a free app called QR code reader or if you buy a Kindle version you can access the videos on an iPad or computer. You can purchase the book from Amazon here.


Let me know how you get on! I love hearing from my readers!

 

5 Ways To De-Stress Your Holidays

Do you find the month of December challenging?     

The expectations, the family obligations, the social gatherings can really add up to some serious stress!

That is why this year I have created a mini course to help you counter the stress of the holiday season.

5 short videos that teach you simple but powerful and effective ways to be happier, feel lighter and less stressed out!

I have been teaching the Alexander Technique for nearly 25 years and one of the amazing effects of a an AT lesson is that you feel incredibly calm afterwards.

I just had a new student start with me last week and she remarked that she can not remember a time has ever felt so relaxed.

In this short video course I teach you several of these stress- busting practices. You can get the course here! https://app.ruzuku.com/courses/25154/about