SOPHROLOGY SCIENCE


Sophrology was first coined in the 1960s by Alfonso Caycedo, a Colombian professor who specialised in psychiatry and neurology. It uses gentle movement, breathing and visualisation to help us tune into our bodies, expand our consciousness and ground us in the present. It's been scientifically proven as a useful tool to manage stress and anxiety and boost resilience, and therefore is a practice worthy of introducing into our perimenopause phase of life.


SOPHROLOGY HACK


Next time you are feeling stressed or anxious, try this integration exercise called the clearing breath that works across the different parts of the body. You can do this seated or standing. It works by placing fingers either side of a point on your body, taking a breath in, holding your breath and tensing the muscles in that region, and then sharply exhaling out your mouth to empty your lungs.

Close your eyes. Hold the tips of the fingers of both hands on a point in between your eyebrows. Breathe in. Squeeze all your muscles in your head whilst holding your breath and when you are ready, exhale out any tension with a heavy longer breath out of your mouth. Next move your fingers to the front of your collarbone, below your neck and repeat the clearing breath. Now move your fingers to the point at the centre of the breastbone. Clear the breath & release tension out. Next move your fingers to an inch above your belly button. Repeat.  Move your fingers on to an inch below your belly button. Practice your clearing breath. Finally put your fingers on your belly button to connect with your whole body. Now you are tuned into your body, notice how you are feeling right now. Heavier/lighter, warmer/colder, tense/relaxed. Know that you have the power to change your mood at any point in the day!


Today's tip was kindly brought to you by Laeticia Dehauteur, experienced sophologist for providing today's tip. Find out more about her services at www.laetitiadehauteur.com


Sign up to our 4-week online HALO course, starting April 20th. Register interest at hello@overthebloodymoon.com




MOOD SCIENCE


A significant drop in oestrogen levels that accompanies perimenopause can lead to low mood, depression and anxiety. Declining oestrogen means we no longer produce a decent level of serotonin (our happy hormone).  This can be made worse when we eat sugary or processed foods, smoke, drink alcohol and caffeine or eat food that we have an intolerance too. Attention is diverted away from hormone production, as it focuses instead on managing blood sugar or detoxifying the liver.   Whilst foods don’t actually contain serotonin, you can promote your mood by eating foods that contain amino acid tryptophan, as serotonin is synthesised from this. Here are some happy foods to add to your shopping list: eggs, cheese, pineapple, kiwi, grapefruit (avoid if on tamoxifen and SSRI anti-depressants), banana, tomatoes, tofu, salmon, turkey and seeds (sesame, pumpkin and chia seeds)


MOOD HACK


Kick start your day with these delicious no-flour banana pancakes courtesy of @Midlife Kitchen. Place 2 ripe bananas in a bowl and mash with a fork. Whisk in 2 eggs and combine well. Stir in seeds mentioned above. Heat a non stick frying pan and spray with a little olive oil. Add small scoops of the mixture to the pan so they remain soft and easy to turn. Sprinkle with a dusting of cinnamon whilst cooking. Fry until golden (3 minutes of each side). Serve with grapefruit slices for an added boost of happiness and natural yoghurt


If you found this helpful and would like to learn more, sign up for our paid-for HALO online course, starting April 20th. Register interest to hello@overthebloodymoon.com

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CAFFEINE SCIENCE


I know you're going to hate this one but caffeine really is the devil once we hit perimenopause. Caffeine can be found not just in coffee but in tea, green tea, matcha powder, energy & fizzy drinks, chocolate and some cold & flu medicines & cough syrups. We all know it's a stimulant. It interferes with the body's natural energy balance, making us feel like we need to drink it to stay awake but in fact it is messing with our natural energy levels. The more we drink, the more we have to drink to feel awake and because it's addictive, we end up in a vicious cycle. Caffeine blocks adenosine, your body's natural sleep-inducing agent. As it stays in our system for up to 7 hours, it makes it harder for us to fall asleep and can make us wake more often in the night. Caffeine slightly raises the heart rate and narrows blood vessels and whilst we may enjoy that fluttery sensation in the morning, it raises cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to that of someone experiencing acute stress. Not great for anyone already feeling anxious about the pandemic. Caffeine has been scientifically proven to be a trigger for hot flushes, palpitations, headaches, itchy skin and insomnia, in perimenopause. Enough said?

CAFFEINE SUBSTITUTE HACK


So, it might be hard to go cold turkey on your morning coffee but replacing it with decaf means you are only intaking 3% of caffeine and often still get the same taste and placebo affect as drinking the real thing.  Once you've weaned yourself to this version, try 100% caffeine-free alternatives, such as chicory root or ramon seeds coffee which contain anti-oxidants, good for heart health. Replacing caffeine is made easier with hot water-based tonics. Try dropping in a cinnamon stick with a slice of orange and teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or adding in fresh ginger, lemon and manuka honey. It takes most people up to 9 days to wean themselves off caffeine without any withdrawal effects, so whilst you're home-based, you've got nothing to lose! Make a note in a journal over the course of a week to see the impact it has on your sleep and anxiety levels, as tracking progress helps new habits stick!


If you found this helpful and would like to learn more, sign up for our paid-for HALO online course, starting April 20th. Register interest to hello@overthebloodymoon.com

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