It’s been a lovely month of ‘false spring’ with the warmer temperatures making it easier to get outside tidying the garden after Winter & making plans for the sunnier months. I’ve not only been doing this with my garden but also my own mental & physical health. Personally I like to do an annual MOT, some stuff involving professionals like a Mole Map (see here) & blood work (here is an alternative to your GP )and others a personal review of how I feel, how I am sleeping & my nutrition. It is so easy for the months to pass & aches or constant tiredness to become our ‘norm’ so I like to check in with myself.

I mentioned this habit to a GP friend who said it maybe worth promoting the idea as many issues are more easily dealt with if caught early, so here’s a quick review.

Depending on how much you are willing to spend, obviously there are many many options & I am happy to refer you to trusted knowledgable colleagues. I am lucky to work in an industry where you meet many wonderful people who can support our well being.

Firstly the results of my review included having a couple of moles removed. This was recommended after a mole map showed changes since my last one 3 yrs ago. I go here.… yes it isn’t cheap & although they recommend annually, personally I budget for every 3 yrs as I am not high risk (Use Tab25 on booking for £25 off). I also had a review of the nerve damage in my left leg after my spinal surgery 6 yrs ago; this showed healing is still happening & that my yoga practice is still promoting a physical ableness beyond that which the nerve activity show as possible
. Another plus for regular yoga practice!

I have annual blood tests from my GP ( I smile, say please & they’ve so far said yes!) for cholesterol, fasting sugar, thyroid, iron etc. Here is an alternative if your GP isn’t as helpful as mine! I have high cholesterol which I manage with lifestyle & diet so I like to ensure it is not sneaking up as I get older! This year I have found my iron to be even lower than my previously low levels (I don’t eat meat which doesn’t help!) so I am investing in an iron injection here as I have heard positive reviews & hope this will improve my need for lots of sleep! I am definitely more tired than a year ago & hence why I do these annual reviews.

If you are a spreadsheet addict this could be an opportunity for you! One of my students has a spreadsheet of his sleeping patterns, weight and daily nutrition consumption (simpler if you use an app like My Fitness Pal or the Zoe Nutrition app(discount here)). This allowed him to notice when his sleep started to change, exercise seemed tough going & his calorie consumption snuck up (often a result of the body needing energy for some reason) & hence he noticed a serious health condition early.  Through Yoga In Cheshire we have discounts of 10% at Venturi Cardiology (email Chloe at and of £25 at a local Mole Mapping clinic (quote Tab25 on booking) so please know I am trying to help in your quest for better health!

I also review my mental health. For me this may again refer to my sleeping patterns, my inclination to socialise or practice yoga. How my meditation practice is feeling. Did you know your microbiome (gut health) is also very important for mental health? So that course of antibiotics for a winter bug could affect your willingness to smile… did you know you make your happy hormone, serotonin in the gut so if you don’t feel happy then we can look into increasing diversity of food choices to eat ourselves happier. I do think that awareness is often the first step of if I am taking antibiotics then I make an effort to take pro and pre biotics as well as increasing the diversity in my diet. As I spend many of my days out ‘on the road’ I have a pretty standard packed lunch and favourite food options so I do need a prod to move away into eating something different! 

Before I trained as a yoga teacher I assumed my mouth breathing was just a result of an often broken nose (I rode horses & took many risks…not all of which played out well!). Now I know that we should ‘breathe through our mouth as often as we eat through our noses!!’ There is a fabulous book (also available on audible while you up your daily step count) about breathing…from mouth taping at night to why your nostrils get erect throughout the day. It is a good read or listen. See here. Another recommendation is this book on sleep. The more we know about how we should do things correctly, things we often take for granted like sleep and breathing…the better we can feel.

So many issues are ‘modern day’ problems. We have so many labour saving devices that actually affect our health negatively. From owning cars meaning we don’t think to walk places, to washing machines reducing the need for more effort than hanging out wet clothes to dry. Admittedly I would struggle without either but we do need to take steps to literally do that…take more steps, move more and find ways to be active. From bone density to cholesterol levels, from mental health to toilet patterns we need to move our bodies. One reason people in hospital offer suffer with constipation is that bodies are designed to move to literally keep things moving! I know people don’t often talk about pooh…but we are starting to a little more and maybe you can join Zoe in their research and sign up here! Make your pooh matter!!! Help research here 

There is also an initiative called Future health where they are trying to collect & research our health now to help provide information for the future. Sign up here….and you get blood tests done for you which maybe easier than via your GP. More than 5 million people are involved to help find new ways to prevent, detect and treat disease. 

So maybe this week is a time to evaluate your health. How do you feel. Pause and ask yourself what changes you would like to make. Can you batch cook for the week to give you nutritious home cooked meals, maybe walk to the shop rather than drive, eat 30 different plants a week (red wine and chocolate count as 2!!). Could you add a 2 min meditation or breathing practice to your day…maybe before you leave your car to enter the office. Can you get a regular bed time (more important than a regular wake time), maybe have a day a week where you eat plant based? Can you add to your step count…I will suggest aiming for 10000 3 days a week…so a walk in your lunch break or after breakfast will all contribute. An extra benefit of increasing your step count is getting out in nature…even trees & green spaces in a city count. Our minds need nature so much and just opening a window does not count as getting fresh air’. It is better than nothing…and do be kind to yourself when making these changes. Sometimes good enough for today is a good bench mark. Although maybe a little better tomorrow is also a good plan!! For our health inside and out. 

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