What I Learnt from Taking an Instagram Break

Social media is a huge presence in our lives these days, and the more I hear about the dangers of social media for young and vulnerable people, the more I hear of people taking time away from it too. The constant updating, notifications, liking, sharing, and everything else that comes with sharing your life online, can be overwhelming and at times intimidating. Whether you use social media as a simple communication tool, or if it’s part of your business as well, it can become a constant distraction and at times, a source of anxiety. In fact, research shows that the more time you spend on social media, the more likely you are to suffer from mental health issues. Multiple studies have begun to focus on the disturbing association between online social networking and a variety of negative feelings and psychiatric disorders such as low self-esteem, anxiety, feelings of inferiority and increased symptoms of ADHD (source).

I love instagram. I am a hugely visual person and use it for inspiration, amusement, research, and of course to see what my friends are up to around the world. Being a blogger, and now a PT, it’s expected that I share a portion of my life with the wider world, and even use the platform as a marketing tool for new clients. It can become an integral part of everyday life, and not always in a positive way.

social media, blogger, instagram, mental health

(Credit: Elle Linton)

After a particularly stressful end to 2017, the lead up to Christmas was an anxious time for me. I wasn’t feeling festive, and seeing everyone else’s seemingly happy posts about Christmas plans, romantic getaways and family gatherings filled me with both envy and sadness. Why wasn’t I feeling festive? Why is everyone so happy and I’m not? I’ll freely admit that I got caught up in the endless cycle of scrolling though instagram feeling that my life was rubbish and everyone else’s was great. Now, I know that social media is a tiny snapshot of someone’s life and that it should be taken with a pinch of salt, however, when you’re already in a low mood, it can be hard to find that rational voice in your head.

Feeling low, stressed, and generally overwhelmed, I decided to take a step away from the ‘gram. After a couple of days of feeling a little lost when I opened my phone, I soon enjoyed the break and only returned on January 1st 2018. With a better perspective on things, I now want to share with you what I learned with nearly 3 weeks away from instagram.

1. It’s a Habit That’s Hard to Break

The first thing I noticed when I deleted the app is that whenever I opened my phone, on the bus, tube, when I got home from work etc, the first thing I’d do is go to click on instagram. It’s purely a habit, much like checking the time, and checking my emails, and it took a while to break that. Instead, I’d tap on my favourite podcast, meditation app, or find some music to listen to instead.

2. The Reason I Took Photos Had Changed

I love photography. Since my teenage years I’ve always taken a camera on nights out, birthdays, family events, last days of term, even lazy days in the park as a student. I even took photography as one of my A-Levels.  I love having photographic memories of these events, and have piles of photo albums full of prints. Soon that changed from always having a camera, to always taking photos on my phone. No problem there, but when I deleted instagram, I realised that when I opened the camera on my phone, my thought process was to take a photo for instagram, not to take a photo to savour the memory. My reason for taking photographs had shifted. Over Christmas, I took photos that I wanted to cherish that might never appear on social media. One of my favourites being the three generations of women in my family….ok I did put that one on facebook eventually…but that wasn’t the reason I took it. Not to mention some hilarious photos of me with my nieces. Taking photos should be about the memory, not about the ‘instagram-ability’.

family, social media, women

3. Followers Come and Go

The burning question in your heads if you’re a blogger is probably ‘Did you lose a load of followers?’ – well the simple answer is yes…but not a lot. My following dropped by about 2%, that feels like quite a lot when I’m not a blogger with a huge following in the first place, but I really wasn’t bothered by that. The followers I regularly interact with were still there when I logged back in, my engagement didn’t take too long to return, and I expect most of the loss was from bots unfollowing a seemingly inactive account. Followers will stick around for fresh content from a calmer, less anxious me, and if they didn’t, well I don’t want them following me anyway.

4. Nothing Bad Happened

Taking a break from instagram didn’t ruin my career. I didn’t miss half a dozen events. I didn’t lose all my followers. I didn’t become an online outcast. Nothing bad happened. In fact, I found time and space in my life to meditate, have wonderful conversations with my mum / brothers / friends without the need to check my phone or photograph my Christmas dinner, or ‘insta-story’ our Monopoly game. Not criticising those who do that, AT ALL. This post is not about telling people they should spend less time on instagram. What I want to say is; if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the constant online stimulation, feel that you’re falling into the comparison zone, or simply need to step away from your phone….it’s OK!! If you do take a break, I’d recommend deleting the app to avoid temptation 😉

social media, instagram, blogger, mental health

(Credit: Elle Linton)

My instagram hiatus was exactly what I needed. Now I’m happy to not post for a day or two, happy to not spend half an hour each morning scrolling through posts in bed, and happy in the knowledge that while social media is a part of my life I enjoy most of the time, it’s also something I can step back from when I need to practice self-care. If you’re thinking about taking a break, give it a go!

3 Things to Do, and Not Do, in the New Year

You can’t escape the new year barrage of emails, marketing, tweets, and spam regarding resolutions and new year plans. Growing up, I’d always make New Year’s Resolutions, varying from keeping my teenage bedroom tidy (failed every year – sorry Mum), or doing 100 sit ups every night (unaware of how properly to train my body), to cooking from fresh every night (and failing in the first week). I’d forget about them by February and probably make the same ones the following year.

These days I don’t make resolutions, but I do think of what I’d like to achieve over the year. Yes, that might seem like a New Year’s Resolution to you, but taking away the pressure of sticking so rigidly to something makes it a whole lot more encouraging, besides, labelling something a ‘fail’ if you don’t achieve it isn’t the best way to start a year in my eyes!

new year, 2018, blogger, fitness, lifestyle

(Photo: Elle Linton)

This year, I’m sharing with you 3 things you might want to do instead of making hard and fast resolutions, and 3 things you perhaps shouldn’t do as the new year begins.

DO review your personal goals

You might have 1 year, 5 year, 10 year goals etc. As each year passes, maybe take a look at your progress. Are they still SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant/realistic, time-framed)? Do they need adjusting? Maybe you want to change your direction entirely…that’s ok too. Write them down, or not if that’s too much pressure for you.

DO think about what you’re feeling, not what you’re doing
So many ‘resolutions’ are centred around doing new things. Joining a gym, going running, drinking less coffee, more water etc. This year I want to focus more on how I’m feeling instead of what I’m doing.

Feel more confident. Feel more settled. Feel happier. Then look at what you can do to feel these things. If getting more confidence means gaining strength then by all means join the gym. To feel more settled, I plan on logging into my Headspace app every day. To feel happier I’ll plan to see my friends more, or go on long walks when I’m feeling low.

DO have a clear out

There’s no time like a new year to have a clear out of your clothes, kitchen cupboards or under stair storage, right? It’s quite refreshing to start the new year with a clean, tidy house, and you can also do your bit for society by sending all your unwanted items to your local charity shop.

DO NOT feel the need to reinvent yourself

That includes crash diets, detoxes and anything that includes the words ‘New Year, New You’.

DO NOT pile on the pressure

A new year can seem daunting, especially when all over social media you see celebratory year-end round ups, all those ‘In 2018 I’m going to….get married, become a Mum, travel every continent, get my dream job’ proclamations. The pressure to say something profound, or have a grand plan can build up and become overwhelming. Take some time away from social media if needs be, remember that people choose what they post, sharing only a snapshot of their lives.

DO NOT disregard the previous year

Good or bad, you can take what happened in the previous year and learn from it. None of that ‘good-riddance 2017’ – even if it was the worst year of your life – find a tiny sliver of silver lining. If it was a tough one, then focus on the strength you had to get through it. If it was fuelled by heartbreak, try to remember positives, did your situation bring to light the support of a particular friend? Force you to make new friends? Never just throw last year into the trash pile, there’s always something that can be salvaged.

new year, 2018, blogger, fitness, lifestyle

(Photo: Elle Linton)

So there you have it. Not ‘resolutions’ in my eyes, but things to think about. What ever 2018 holds for you, I hope it’s an amazing one. I’m sure there’ll be ups and downs, that’s what makes life interesting, right?!

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The Wellness Gift Guide 2017

*Not a sponsored post, apart from being a Sweaty Betty ambassador, I have no connection to any of these brands.

It’s that time of year when your inbox is flooded with gift ideas….Gifts for Her, Gifts for Him, Gifts for Teens, Gifts for Your Loved One etc etc. But what about gifts for the wellness warrior in your life? Be it your yoga bunny bestie, your personal trainer partner, or simply someone you know loves to look after their mind and body, everyone deserves a treat this Christmas.

I’ve actually not started my Christmas shopping yet, which is unlike me, so in order to give myself a little kick up the backside, I’ve compiled a little list of some ideas for you, ranging from stocking fillers to more extravagant surprises. Take a look, and get shopping!

Treats up to £75

Flo 260 Massage Bar – £7.99

gift guide, christmas, massage roller

(tkmaxx.com)

Whether you want to admit it or not, rolling has so many benefits! For those who don’t love a foam roller, these handheld rollers are a great idea to get deep into those sore muscles. They might not thank you immediately (rolling is painful at times) but they will in the long run.

 

Kikki-K Wellbeing Diary – £21

gift guide, kikki-k, diary 2018, wellbeing

(kikki-k.com)

Not just dairy, but full of inspiration and prompts for a happy and healthy 2018.

 

S’well Bottle – from £25

gift guide, christmas, health, wellness

(swellbottle.com)

I am a massive fan of S’well bottles…I have two! Keeping cold drinks cold for 24 hours, and hot drinks hot for 12 hours, I have a traveller one for coffee and a bottle as above for water. They’re also completely leak proof and come in so many gorgeous designs!

 

Lululemon Run It Out Ear & Neck Warmer – £25 each

gift guide, lululemon, running, christmas

(lululemon.co.uk)

No-one likes cold ears, or a chill down their necks, so these Lulu warmers are a great idea for outdoor training. Buy one, or both for the matching set!

 

Sweaty Betty Gym Clutch – £35

sweaty betty, gift guide, gym, christmas

(sweatybetty.com)

If you’re lucky enough to have a gym just a stones throw from where you live or work, you probably don’t need a huge gym bag to fill with unnecessary baggage. This little clutch from Sweaty Betty is perfect for your gym pass, keys, phone, headphones, purse and maybe a little deodorant for a post workout spritz. I love the colour, and if you are gymming it further afield, then you can simply sling this in your main gym bag to make sure you don’t forget your essentials!

 

Sweaty Betty Velvet Padded Bra – £45

sweaty betty, gift guide, christmas, luxe

(sweatybetty.com)

I’m honestly not sure of the usefulness of a plush velvet sports bra, but I love it anyway! In fact, Sweaty Betty doesn’t even name this a ‘sports bra’ so I vote it gets worn underneath a fancy New Years Eve outfit for some comfort! Maybe this can be a treat for the lovely lady in your life?

 

Cowshed Knackered Cow Spa in a Box – £65

gift guide, cowshed, christmas

(cowshedonline.com)

I don’t know any health and fitness person who doesn’t like a night of relaxation and indulgence. In fact, if you want to earn all the partner / sibling / bestie / housemate points, get home early, run them a bath with this gift pack and treat them to a calming pre-Christmas night in…..hmmmm can anyone do that for me?!?!

 

Indulgent gifts over £75

Urbanears Plattan 2 Bluetooth Headphones – £85

gift guide, urbanears, christmas, music

(urbanears.com)

If like me, you’re (ahem, or the person you’re buying for) constantly listening to music or a podcast in the gym or while running, then the new Urbanears wireless headphones are going to be right up their street. Foldable, and with 30 hours of wireless time, they’ll never be stuck with awful gym music again!

 

Fitbit Alta HR – £129.99

gift guide, christmas, fitbit, fitness

(fitbit.com)

If chunky heart rate monitors aren’t your favourite thing, then the Fitbit Alta HR might be the best gift yet. The slimmest fitness tracker with heart rate technology, Fitbit have designed this in a range of attractive colours. Tracking exercise, sleep, heart rate and the usual steps etc. it’s a great gift for someone who’s either a fitness pro or just beginning their healthy journey.

 

Eastpak Stand Holdall – £200

gift guide, yoga, eastpak, christmas

(Emilie James / Eastpak)

Now this is a big indulgence, but since spotting it on the lovely Emilie’s instagram (@lovaine_james) I have been in love. Eastpak are moving with the times with this limited edition range, which also includes a gorgeous back pack. This weekend bag includes a yoga mat sling, making it the perfect gift for the yogi in your life. Not keen on the colour? It comes in a dark grey/black too.

 

The list could be endless, but I’ll stop there for now. Perhaps this will give you some ideas to share with your loved ones, or help you choose the perfect gift for the fitness fanatic in your life. And hey…..don’t forget your LOVELY personal trainer….treats are ALWAYS welcome. As is chocolate.

 

*As I mentioned earlier, no brand has requested these items to be featured in this post. All views my own.

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My Year – 2016

I love reading everyone’s ‘Year In Review’ posts. They usually highlight the best parts of the year, and look on any negative moments with reflection and resolution. I find myself feeling proud of fellow bloggers for their achievements, and can’t wait to share my own.

So here’s what I got up to in 2016.

1. Turning the Big Three-Oh

Yes folks, I made it to 30 years on this planet! While I didn’t have any life affirming revelations the moment I woke up on my 30th birthday, over the year I did find myself looking sensibly into the future. Inspired by my best friend working super hard to get on the property ladder, I looked into moving house myself, still renting for the time being, and from that started planning a whole new side of my career in the fitness industry. I felt calmer in my own mind, happy to be single, and not settling for something that isn’t good for me (OK, I’m still working on the latter).

new year, 2016, blogger

Credit: Will Patrick

2. My First Yoga Retreat

As part of my 30th birthday, my very generous Dad sent me on my first ever yoga retreat with my favourite teacher; Adam Husler. Having practiced for nearly 3 years, I was super excited to immerse myself in a week of yoga in the Spanish sunshine, improving my technique and my practice. I not only achieved those things, but also made a whole new bunch of friends and had the best week laughing, practicing and being kind to myself.

yofa retreat, 2016, new year, blogger

Credit: Adam Husler

yoga retreat, 2016, new year, blogger

Credit: Adam Husler

3. My Nutrition Qualification

This took longer than I had expected, and required a lot of dedication and hard work on my side, but in the summer I achieved my Advanced Diploma in Nutrition and Weight Management. I learnt that online learning is something that I don’t always find the time to do, and I should have made it more of a priority. In doing so, I became more organised with my time when it came to starting my PT course at the end of the year.

4. Becoming An Ambassador

One huge achievement for me was becoming an ambassador for one of my favourite brands; Sweaty Betty. I used to work for the company many years ago, and it is because of Sweaty Betty that I found my current place in the fitness industry, so I owe a lot to them and the inspiration I found in my colleagues. Check out their #31DaysToFit challenge for January, and join me in making January 2017 your healthiest yet.

sweaty betty, fitness, yoga, 2016, new year

Credit: Will Patrick

5. The Big Holiday

A big 30th treat to me, from me, was an epic trip to New York with my best friend of 28 years (who also turned 30 this year). Although I’ve been before many times, this trip seemed special. I’ve never walked so far, seen so many things, laughed so hard…or wanted to move there so much!  NYC will always have a special place in my heart.

nye, new york, 2016, new year NYC. new york, 2016, new year NYC, new york, 2016, new year

6. Trying Something New

With my Dad living just 10 minutes from Nazaré in Portugal, one of the surfing capitols of the world, it seemed right for me to give it a go! Search Nazaré online, and you’ll see articles about 100ft waves and a Big Wave surf competition. Fear not, I’m not going to have a go on them, but I have been learning to surf with an amazing local surf school Surf4You. With expert 1-to-1 tuition from Miguel, both he and his colleague Henrique have made me fall in love with a new sport. It’s tough, and I ache all over, but I love it, and will be no doubt be popping by for a lesson every time I visit Dad.

surfing, travel, 2016, new year

Credit: Henrique Silva @ Surf4You

surfing, travel, 2016, new year

Credit: Henrique Silva @ Surf4You

surfing, travel, 2016, new year

Credit: Henrique Silva @ Surf4You

7. Moving House

I love my job at barrecore, but I make it no secret that my big plan is to have my own studio one day. Right at the end of 2016, I made a big move towards that. After 7 years in my little 1-bed flat, I decided to move, taking a risk by increasing my rent, to a 2-bedroom place. Why, you ask? Well, that spare room is to become my little PT room, so I can start to see clients in my own space. It’s a tiny step on the road to a fully fledged studio, but a brave one for me, and I’m so excited. Stay tuned for how I’m going to kit it out once I’m a fully qualified PT (because having that qualification is important to me).

new year, 2016, blogger

Credit: Will Patrick

So I’ve had a very lucky 2016, no major injures, lots of travel and achievements in my career. It’s not all been rainbows and unicorns of course, I’m still dealing with the constant pain of hypermobility syndrome, having other ailments investigated and let’s not forget, my major self-esteem slump in the last couple of months.

But I’m writing this post on New Year’s Eve, on a plane home from my Dad’s place in Portugal, with the sun setting on the horizon and looking forward to an awesome NYE night out as soon as the plane touches down. Life is good, and I’m super grateful for every opportunity I’ve been given.

Happy New Year Folks!!

Getting Stuck in a Rut

I have been feeling a little burnt out recently. I’ve struggled to find inspiration for blogging, studying, cooking, eating and looking after myself. As a result I’ve been neglecting the blog, getting behind on my studying, either skipping meals or eating rubbish, and feeling guilty about all these things, making me feel even more anxious. Everyone gets stuck in a slump (or a funk, as I like to call it) sometimes, and despite what you see on social media, life isn’t perfect for anyone. The trick is knowing how to get yourself out of a rut, should you find yourself in one.

blogger, life, lifestyle

A week or two ago I decided to work gently to get out of my funk, and not put pressure on myself to get perfect at everything, all the time. I thought I’d share with you some of the things I’m doing in the coming weeks, to get back on track and feel like myself again!

Blogging

Unless you have deadlines from PRs or brands, it is not the end of the world if you don’t post for a week or two, or more. Be honest, if you’ve given yourself a personal task of 3 or 4 posts a week and you’re stressing out because of it…give yourself a break! Set aside time per week for writing and photographing posts, and work for quality, not quantity. Your readers will stick by you, and they’ll appreciate better content from a non-stressed blogger!

Studying

I’ve recently started studying for my Level 3 Personal Training qualification, and I’m finding it hard to get the balance between work, study and actual relaxation. I toyed with the idea of creating a Bullet Journal to organise my thoughts and my time, but realised I already have so many diary-type things I can use! I recently contributed to the Passion Planner kick-starter, and was sent one of their planners, which I’m going to use instead. I love the fact that the days are broken down into individual hours, which suits my varied work schedule. I’m trying to be creative with the spaces given, taking the time to make the pages colourful, adding a bit of mindfulness into my scheduling!

passion planner, blogger, life, lifestyle

Hopefully, if I can see my schedule on paper, it will be easier to stick to, and I can get a better balance!

Food

This has been a big one for me recently, I’ve been so uninspired by food that I’ve either skipped meals (BAD TASH) or been lazy with basic stodge or UberEats. As a result, I’ve been fatigued, achy and have unnecessarily lost a bit of weight. Not good! This is not an easy one to deal with, especially when you’re not a great cook, like me!

First things first, I bought a bunch of my favourite foods that are nutritious and easy to cook to stock up my fridge. Think simple stir fry ingredients, fish, vegetables, meat etc. planning in my head all my favourite easy meals for the days ahead. I’ve never been one for meal planning too far in advance, but I might try that too, writing down each meal I’m planning and on which day.

food, blog, blogger, life, lifestyle

Next, I decided to go through my recipe books, get rid of the ones I never cook from, and highlight the nicest looking recipes from those I’m keeping. I’m moving soon (more on that in a minute) so the clear-out is needed anyway. With all these tasty looking recipes marked, all I have to do it pick a day and buy the ingredients.

Finally, with food, I know I have to be gentle. I’m never going to restrict myself to never eating a pizza or take-away again, because that’s unhealthy mentally in its own right, but I’m trying to lose the guilt associated with those treats. Once every two weeks, when I’ve not only taught but taken class as well? That deserves a treat. Every week when I’m simply too lazy to cook? That’s when I can be a bit more strict and make the effort to make something, even if it’s super simple. But Sundays are always for pancakes or waffles…

life, lifestyle, food, blogger

Life

Finally, and this is another big one, look at the bigger picture. This can be scary. Is there something else happening that might be affecting the smaller elements of your life? I remember when I was younger and something upset me, my mum would notice if my reaction to the initial situation was too big, and she’d always asks what else was the matter. She was rarely wrong, and invariably I’d end up telling her all about something else that was happening which I’d been trying to hide.

blogger, life, lifestyle

So when I couldn’t get myself out of my funk, I looked at what else might be bothering me. After a lot of contemplation, more than I can go into here, I decided that I needed to make a big change…and that big change is to move, after 7 years in my current flat. Now, I didn’t come to this decision lightly, I’ve considered moving before but have always found a reason not to (budget, nothing available, too intimidating) but this time something was different. As soon as I started flat hunting and planning a move, I felt so much anticipation and my mood brightened. That increased further when I found a place I loved and got my rental offer accepted. Now I’m moving in less than a week and I couldn’t be more excited. My funk is lifting and I’m happy to be planning not only the new place, but also planning new business ventures and other things for my future.

Getting stuck in a rut can be scary, depressing, worrying and seemingly never-ending. For me to get out of the downhill spiral of negative feeling, I not only had to put more emphasis on the positive things in my life, but I also had to face those negative things and deal with them. Burying your head in the sand, or just ploughing through, might seem like a good solution, but it is only temporary. Change in itself is scary, but it is also cleansing, cathartic, and energising. I am looking forward to my new challenges, new space, new scenery, and getting my groove back, ready for 2017.

life, lifestyle, blogger

Credit for Photos 1, 5 & 6: Will Patrick

Sleep Hack Your Way to Better Recovery*

Sponsored Post in Association with Leesa* 

We all complain about being tired from time to time, but have you ever stopped to think about how your sleep is affecting your workouts, and your recovery from those workouts? I’ve teamed up with mattress company Leesa to share with you all how vital your sleep is for your health and fitness and, more importantly, how to improve your own sleep patterns.

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, welllness

During exercise, the body not only uses up its fluid and energy stores, it also breaks down muscle fibres throughout (oh that familiar DOMS pain). Refuelling and rehydrating are probably the first thing you think about post-workout, but do you think about how your body is going to recover overnight as well? It’s all well and good ensuring your body is replenished, but research suggests that sleep deprivation can decrease production of glycogen from carbohydrates. Glycogen storage is essential for energy production in the body, and if it’s not optimised, through lack of sleep, your post-workout nutrition becomes less beneficial.

Research also shows that lack of sleep increases your cortisol levels, the hormone linked to stress, meaning that during your activity, you could suffer from fatigue, low energy or irritability. Sleep deprivation in the long-term can also attribute to such complaints as depression, anger, confusion and mood swings.

So the solution is to get a great night’s sleep of course!! Around 8 hours is best, but talking from experience of crippling insomnia throughout my late teens and early twenties (and even sometimes now too), I know it’s not always as simple as that. I’ve learnt some techniques in my time to help me get to sleep, so I’m going to share with you my favourite sleep hacks, to help you get the best night’s sleep!

Make Your Room Your Sanctuary

Your room, and your bed, should be the most comforting place in your house. It needs to be a welcoming place where you feel calm and safe. Depending on your preference, you can go for crisp white, opulent deep shades, or like me, soft muted tones and pretty lighting. I try to keep my bedroom nice and tidy, I make my bed every morning (come on, simply pulling the covers over and straightening the sides takes literally 10 seconds) and change the bedding every week. Then, at night, I look forward to snuggling up in my little sanctuary of peace and tranquility.

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness

Plan Your Evening

If you need to go to sleep at 11pm in order to get a solid 8 hours of shut-eye, then getting off the sofa and beginning your bed-time rituals at 10.50pm isn’t going to work. You’ve got to do the washing up, tidy away any mess from the day, get your bags ready for the next morning, remove your make-up, wash your hair maybe…all this means you won’t get near your bed until 11.30pm or later. Plan these things earlier in the evening, and make getting into your cosy bed at 11pm on the dot your priority.

Unplug

Back when my insomnia was at its worst, I had a TV, DVD player, laptop, and phone all in my room. I would typically get into bed and finish some uni work, chat on MSN, check myspace (yes, I’m that old) and watch TV for another hour before actually trying to sleep. It’s no wonder that I would be awake until the early hours with my mind buzzing. I get that it’s not easy in a house share where you sometimes need to escape to your own room to watch your cheesy rom-com in peace, but these days the only thing that enters my bedroom is my phone. I use it as my alarm, but I do get annoyed with myself when I give it one last check before I turn my light off. Remove all those distractions, and ban yourself from checking your work emails/facebook/instagram after a certain time in the evening if you’re likely to over-think what you’ve seen.

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness

Write It All Down

If what’s keeping you awake is the endless train of thoughts that scurry through your mind, then try writing them all down. A diary, bullet journal, thought book, call it what you will, but writing down all those nagging thoughts, be they worrying, happy, silly or mundane, might just help to switch off your brain a little.

Stretch It Out

Now, I’m not suggesting throwing yourself into an hour-long yoga session just before bed, but some gentle stretches can be useful to unwind and prepare your body, and mind, for sleep. Try laying down with your legs up the wall, taking some gentle twists or forward folds before bed. You can even simply sit and take 10 deep breaths in bed before settling down. Yogic breathing can be helpful as the exhalation stimulates the nervous system to release and certain poses, particularly those with your head below your heart, can also help to relieve tension and relax.

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness

With all these sleep hacks in place, it’s also important that you’re comfortable in bed! Having the right mattress can make or break your sleep. I’ve been testing out Leesa’s mattress for the last month or two and I love it. It’s supportive and firm, but equally soft and  luxurious. With 5cm of cooling Avena foam on top of 5cm memory foam, it holds the body’s contours and relieves pressure without feeling too hard to sleep on. All of this on top of 15cm of durable core foam, I definitely feel a bit like the Princess and the Pea (without the actual pea of course) atop all this bedding! A good mattress definitely worth the investment. What’s great is that, with Leesa, you can try the mattress for 100 days, and if it isn’t working out, they will arrange for the mattress to be collected and donated to a charitable donation, offering you a full refund.

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness

Saying that though, I won’t be returning mine! You can grab yourselves a cheeky £50 discount on a Leesa mattress of your own using my link!

Leesa Mattress, sleep hacks, sleep, wellness

This is a sponsored post in association with Leesa. All views my own, please see Disclaimer for more information.

Sources:

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/sleep-athletic-performance-and-recovery

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4008810/