Exercise in Athletes During Pregnancy

Until recently sport culture has generally positioned motherhood into a woman’s post athletic life but in recent years many examples of elite sportswoman have demonstrated a successful return to sports performance at the highest level.

Research has confirmed that vigorous physical activity has no adverse effects on the course of the pregnancy, the labor, or on the fetus and is not associated with an increased risk of preterm birth or reduction in gestational age at delivery by women who were well trained pre pregnancy. Well trained women can benefit substantially from training at high volumes during an uncomplicated pregnancy. Such training has also been shown to facilitate a successful and quick return to competitive sport after pregnancy.

Whilst this is the case there is a lack of easily obtainable information regarding specific forms of exercise such as strength training while pregnant.

Athletes should have their exercise regime overseen by an expert health provider to ensure the safety and wellness of the mother and her unborn child. This is particularly important with the fetus as small for gestational age.

  • There are a number of forms of sport that are generally considered more unsafe and should be avoided while pregnant. These include:
    • abdominal trauma or pressure ie weightlifting, contact or collision sports such as rugby or martial arts 
    • those that involve projectile objects or striking implements ie hockey or cricket
    • sports involving falling ie judo, skiing, skating, horse riding
    • extreme balance coordination and agility sports ie gymnastics, water skiing
    • sports that involve significant changes in pressure ie scuba diving, skydiving
    • heavy lifting greater than submaximal high intensity training
    • altitudes greater than 2000 meters
    • exercise in the supine position or even motionless supine posture after 28 weeks of gestation

Some modifications to exercise techniques or programs may be required to accommodate anatomical and physiological changes as your body changes throughout the pregnancy.

All pregnant women are advised to do pelvic floor exercises to improve the tone of the pelvic floor muscles reducing the complications of pelvic floor weakness post birth including but not limited to urinary incontinence.

  • Avoid large increases in body temperature during exercise. Remain well hydrated, avoid hot or humid exercise environments where possible.
  • Use controlled stretching only.
  • Avoid wide squat lunges or unilateral leg exercises that place excessive shearing forces on the pubic synthesis and case pubis pain.

Come and see one of our physiotherapists that work in this field if you are suffering from pelvic pain, lumbar spine or other musculoskeletal pain during your pregnancy. We can also help you with designing an exercise programme that is suitable for you during your pregnancy as well as get you started on an appropriate pelvic floor exercise programme to reduce many of the complications that are common post childbirth.  

Also don’t forget to discuss your post-partum plan with your physiotherapist so you are comfortable regarding what you need to look out for, when and how you can start and what you can do to ensure the most problem free return to exercise possible post birth.

To book please call 07 576 1860 or email reception@buretaphysio.co.nz.

Exercise During Pregnancy

In the general population In the absence of contraindications all pregnant women are encouraged to be physically active for at least a minimum of 150 minutes per week. This should consist of moderate intensity aerobic activity. Depending on your usual volume of exercise it is common for this total volume to be reduced in the first and third trimesters due to a number of pregnancy related issues such as fatigue.

The below guidelines are a great starting point for exercising during pregnancy. These guidelines relate to those women who have an uncomplicated pregnancy. If you have additional health or pregnancy related concerns, please ensure you speak to your health care provider prior to undertaking exercise when pregnant.

  • Exercise during pregnancy does not increase the risk of adverse pregnancy or birth outcomes

  • Research says that pregnant women who were inactive prior to pregnancy should be encouraged to be active during pregnancy commencing low intensity activities such as walking and swimming and progressing to the lower end of the range recommended and national guidelines of 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day of activity on most days. If you are unsure throughout, please seek advice from your health care practitioner.

  • There is strong evidence to support the benefits of physical activity for pregnant women including improvement or maintenance of:
    • muscle strength and endurance
    • cardiovascular function and physical fitness
    • decreased risk of pregnancy related complications such as hypertension
    • reduced back and pelvic pain
    • improved fatigue levels
    • improved mental health including reduced  stress, anxiety, and depression
    • reduction in excessive gestational weight gain and postpartum weight retention
    • fewer delivery complications
    • to aid in the prevention of urinary incontinence
  • Those who should be cautious with or complete low level exercise only with professional collaboration with medical personnel include those with a history of:
    • previous spontaneous abortion
    • history previous preterm birth
    • mild to moderate cardiovascular or respiratory disorder
    • anemia
    • malnutrition or eating disorder
    • twin pregnancy after 28th week
    • obesity  BMI >30
    • intrauterine growth restriction
    • other significant medical conditions such as poorly controlled type one diabetes or hypertension
  • There are contraindications to physical activity during pregnancy and these include those women who have below:
    • ruptured membranes
    • signs of preterm labor
    • hypertensive disorders of pregnancy
    • incompetent cervix
    • growth restricted fetus
    • high order multiple gestations eg  triplets
    • placenta previa after week 28
  • Woman who have experienced the following symptoms should seek advice from antenatal care provider before continuing exercise:
    • abdominal pain
    • amniotic fluid leakage
    • calf pain or swelling
    • chest pain tightness or palpitations
    • decreased fetal movement
    • dizziness or presyncope
    • dyspnea (shortness of breath) before exertion
    • excessive fatigue
    • excessive shortness of breath
    • muscle weakness
    • pelvic pain
    • preterm labor
    • severe headaches
    • uterine contractions
    • vagina bleeding
  • If any of the above complications relate to you please ensure you discuss any planned or proposed exercise regime with your lead health professional.

Our Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists can ensure you get an exercise plan that works for you and your pregnancy. To book please call 07 576 1860 or email reception@buretaphysio.co.nz.

Managing Pelvic Health in Men

There is currently a rising tide of interest, knowledge and training in Pelvic Health Physiotherapy in New Zealand. 

In society we hear more and more about pelvic floor muscles post pregnancy, helping control incontinence and reducing the complications of prolapses but what about Men’s Pelvic Health. What’s down there and what’s happening? Taboos are breaking down, guys are becoming more proactive about their health status whether they like it or not and Pelvic Health is a really important area.

Right Guys! Conditions of incontinence, bowel dysfunctions, sexual dysfunctions and Post Operative complications can now be dealt with and remedied by Pelvic Health Physiotherapy. In many cases we want to prehab your pelvic floor muscles to prepare them for future function and strength so timeframes to recoveries and returning to functional abilities is optimised. With 95-99% of males incontinent post prostate surgery, Pelvic Floor muscle exercises can reduce leakage timeframes from 12 months to 3 months as well as improve sexual function. Over 1 million kiwis suffer continence issues. 20% of people being Male yet 84% of people will suffer in silence and not go see their Health Professional.

Bureta Physiotherapy now has a dedicated Pelvic Health team passionate about Men’s and Women’s Pelvic Health, Mel Smith and Marcel Gyde are looking to break down the barriers, normalise pelvic concerns, and provide a professional and progressive physiotherapy service to the Men and Women of the Bay of Plenty. So lets not suffer in silence. Lets open our minds and take that first difficult step to gain your normal life back that’s challenging the future. 

To book a Pelvic floor assessment please call 07 576 1860 or email reception@buretaphysio.co.nz.

Marcel Gyde

Men’s and Women’s Pelvic Health Physiotherapist

Do You Suffer From Back Pain?

Lower back pain is common, with 40-80% of people experiencing it in their lifetime. Back pain can be extremely painful and debilitating and is rated 6th in the world for burden of disease, contributing towards 25-30% of medical costs.

Back pain is unfortunately re-occurring, meaning if you have had it before, you will probably experience it again in future. As physiotherapists, it is important that we equip our patients with the skills, strategies, and education for managing their back pain and preventing it from getting worse.

Back pain can refer pain to areas above and below the knee. It is essential when you present pain that occurs away from the lower back region, that the back is cleared as being the cause of your pain. Pain from the back can cause central, unilateral, or referred pain. The referred pain that one may experience can occur as gluteal, hip, groin, hamstring, shin, calf and even foot pain. Back pain can be associated with numbness and loss of muscle power of structures below the knee or above the knee. This is usually associated with a nerve root being pinched or compromised.

As a physiotherapist, when treating a patient with referred pain, numbness and/or muscle power loss, the aim is to try get the pain to ‘centralise’   i.e. move the pain away from the legs and bring it towards the back. We want the pain to stay in the back as this tells us that the nerve root is not being compromised anymore and we are on the right track to resolving the referred pain. Often when the pain centralises, the pain in the back worsens, although it may not feel nice, it is a good sign, and it is what we want to restore your full function and reduce your pain eventually.

It is important that if you are presenting with back pain or your level of function has been compromised at all such as weakness in the legs, unable to have control over or bowel and bladder or numbness in a saddle shape distribution by your hips that you see a physiotherapist or a doctor for an assessment.

It is also important that if you have persistent night pain, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, or a history of cancer that you get assessed by your doctor or physiotherapist to ensure that there is no serious pathology going on such as cancer.

Things that you can do to reduce the re-occurrence of back pain:

  1. Exercise or move frequently.
  2. Avoid sitting or standing too long in ONE position.
  3. Ensure you are sitting with good posture at work, avoid slouching.
  4. Ensure you are getting up regularly from your desk chair.
  5. Ensure your work setup is ergonomically correct.
  6. Ensure you implement correct lifting techniques if your job is physical.
  7. Repeat your prescribed back exercises as maintenance or more often if you feel your back pain starting.
  8. Get your gluteal muscles strong and working properly so that you protect your back if working with heavy equipment.
  9. Balance the amount of time you spend sitting/ bending forward with standing and walking.
  10. Ensure you have a comfortable pillow and mattress so you are able to sleep comfortably.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any back pain you may have, please contact us to talk a qualified Physiotherapist

Written by Dunia Mouneimne – Senior Physiotherapist

The Underestimated Importance of Breathing

“But I’ve been breathing all my life, why do I need to ‘Practice’ breathing?”

.. is a common response I hear from clients who get given breathing retraining exercises as part of their rehab. Why should you practice something you do every moment without thinking about it, right?

Fatigue. Anxiety. Brain fog. Breathlessness. Headaches. Bloating. An upset gut. A tight chest. Dizziness. Numbness or tingling. Neck, shoulder or back pain. Poor concentration. Full body tension. Muscle ache.

Any of these symptoms sound familiar? While most these could be due to other medical issues, they are also all signs of a poor breathing pattern. Breathing is a natural, instinctual reflex that is necessary for our survival. However, the way that we breath can often become altered due to many subtle influences on our body over time. Factors like stress, hormones, poor posture, asthma, caffeine, perceived pressure, medication and having a blocked nose to name a few. Throughout our lives our individual experiences and thoughts can shape how we breath. This in turn can influence how we move, react and interact.

Our breathing pattern controls our body’s PH level, it transfers oxygen (O2) into our tissues via our blood and it is responsible for getting rid of carbon dioxide (CO2) as we exhale. When this delicate balance of chemicals is thrown out of balance our body internally responses in ways which cause some of the above symptoms and more. Often these changes can be subtle, however their long-term effects can leave the body working inefficiently and leave you with unexplained nagging symptoms.

One of the most powerful effects of our breathing pattern is the one that communicates to our nervous system whether we are relaxed, or we are in a state of stress or danger. Hyperventilation may make you think of a person breathing frantically into a paper bag, but this occurs anytime we breath faster than 14 breaths per minute. Breathing out too fast decreases our CO2, making our PH more alkaline. This reaction invokes the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), often referred to as the “fight or flight” response. The SNS is wonderful when you are trying to run away from a chasing dog or are late for a meeting, however if we continue to breath out too fast we can often stay in this mode longer than we need to. Robbing us of calm, relaxed, unstressed moments in our day. Decreasing our CO2 levels, ie. breathing out too short and sharp also effects the ability of O2 to be transported by our blood to our tissues. And we all know we need oxygen for pretty much every function of the body.

Ideally at rest, we want to breath 10-14 breaths her minute, inhaling through our nose into our belly. Another common poor breathing habit is when our chest and shoulders lift up toward our ears when we breath. If this is the case, we likely do not activate our diaphragm; the muscle that lives in our belly that is meant for breathing. This muscle functions similarly to our heart, in the way that it does not fatigue to the point it needs rest. When we breath with our chest, neck and shoulders we ask the muscles in this area to draw air into our lungs. The issue here is that those muscles like our arm and leg muscles are skeletal muscles, which means they work on a fatigue and recovery system, they can not go and go and go like the diaphragm. Breathing with your belly can be as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one if you are not used to it. There is often a subconscious drive to keep still through our lower ribs and belly as the want for a flat stomach is a social norm these days.

Breathing well can even mean the difference between a calm logical reaction to something a loved one says, or a fly off the handle emotional reaction. In other words, breathing well strengthens the area in the brain which reacts with calm logical through to stimulus called the hippocampus. If we are in a state of hyperventilation and stress and our SNS is in control our reaction will more likely be processed by another area of the brain called the amygdala. The Amygdala reacts based on previous stimulus threat and can cause those irrational, inappropriate reactions.

So, for all those achey necks, stressed out brains and feelings of overreaction out there, give your body the well-deserved rest it is screaming for. Sit down, place a hand on your belly, once you have exhaled fully, breath in through your nose slowly to the count of 4 and let your belly rise up into a big balloon. Then breath out SLOWLY, for longer than you breathed in. Feel your body pause and rest here for a moment and then repeat.

The way you breath is one of the most underestimated but essential aspects of your health and wellbeing. These are just a few of the amazing ways our breathing can improve our daily function and help us to live a more enjoyable life. If this has rung some bells for your body and you are ready to make lasting changes, book a breathing assessment at Bureta Physio by calling us on 07 576 1860 or fill in the form below.

Melanie Smith BHSc Physiotherapy

Physiotherapist & Qualified Bradcliff Breathing Practitioner 

Knee Pain and Tramping

Knee pain does not mean you have to stop what you love! If you enjoy hiking, tramping, mountain running, even walking up and down the mount here is some advice for you.

People often experience knee pain when walking up and down hills, especially in an overnight or multi day tramp. This blog will address different approaches you can do to reduce the load on your knee joint and therefore decrease knee pain.

Our knee has two joints, one where the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone(tibia) meet, called the tibiofemoral joint. The other joint is between our kneecap (patella) and the thigh bone (femur) called the patellofemoral joint.

Strength Exercises
Biomechanics the way we move, is an important aspect to work on. When walking downhill, your tibiofemoral joint has a compressive force of 7-8.5 times your body weight, even more for females.[1] When running, there is 4 or more times your body weight or more your knee has to absorb.

Firstly, we want to offload the shock absorbed by the joint and ensure our muscles take this load. We do this by strengthening the proximal muscles which include our gluteal and core muscles. Off loaded (non-weighted) exercises e.g. side planks, clams etc. are a good place to start strength work. Working into a loaded position such as lunges, bulgarians and step ups are then going to make it more functional for walking.

Ensuring our other leg muscles are also strong is beneficial, such as calf muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings and your feet muscles. This aims to offload the knee joint and make the surrounding muscles absorb the load. Seeing a physio or other movement specialist will be vital to make sure your technique is good to target the right muscles, otherwise there is no point in doing these!

Walking Technique
To decrease the body weight compressive force your knee joint has to absorb, you can shift your weight onto your heels, sit back, keep your knees bent and land softly when walking downhill. Slow and controlled is the secret. Running downhill or walking with straight legs is not beneficial.

When increasing your speed on any incline or terrain, make sure you do not increase your stride. Lengthening your stride, increases the load on your knee.
When walking uphill try pushing through your heel and squeezing your gluteal. Aim to not let your knee go over your toe or drop inwards.

Other Helpful Tips
The lighter your tramping pack, the less load through your knees.  Clearly there are health and safety essentials for tramping but try not to overpack. Same with your own body weight. The less you weigh, the less load your knees/legs need to absorb when going downhill or have to push uphill.


Shoes Comfort is essential. Hiking boots versus trail shoes is the big debate and this depends on what you feel comfortable wearing. Make sure you have completed some big walks in your shoes before undertaking a multi-day hike – avoid those blisters!

Hiking poles
I am a big believer in hiking poles. They can offload your knees by 30%! So, if you have any knee issues or are worried about hiking, I recommend investing in some poles. They will last you a lifetime. Make sure you get adjustable hiking poles. Poles should be longer when going downhill and shorter when walking uphill.

Note: When walking on flat surfaces your elbows should be at 90 degrees. This is to protect your shoulders.

Recovery
After walking or running, especially on a multi-day hike, recovery is key. Stretch or roll your thighs/quadriceps, calves, glutes and hamstrings at the end of walking activity. If you’re out in the bush, find something you can use e.g. drink bottle for rolling your thighs.

Primers or muscle activation before starting for the day is a lot better than stretching. Ask your physio to provide some glute primers.
You can add nutritional supplements to help recovery or decrease inflammation such as omega 3’s, ginger and turmeric, but consult a nutritionist for more advice regarding this.

If you have any questions or concerns re any knee pain you may have please contact us to talk a qualified Physiotherapist

Written by Annaliese Horne Physiotherapist


[1] Kuster, M., Wood, G.A., Sakurai, S. et al. Downhill walking: A stressful task for the anterior cruciate ligament?. Knee Surg, Sports traumatol, Arthroscopy 2, 2–7 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01552646

The Importance of Resistance Training

Resistance training is regarded as any type of exercise that builds strength and muscle mass but it is not just for the gym-bro’s and rugby players – It has a wealth of benefits reaching far beyond getting bigger, stronger muscles. This blog will outline some key benefits of resistance training and then explain why it is an important part of rehabilitation from acute and chronic injury or pain.

Slows down muscle loss as we age:

Muscle starts to deteriorate when we reach our 30’s. After age 40, we lose on average 8 percent of our muscle mass every decade, and this phenomenon continues to accelerate at an even faster rate after age 60. Studies show that this loss of muscle hastens the onset of diseases, limits mobility, and is linked to premature death. Resistance training slows this down by working the muscles at a level where they are forced to adapt and maintain, or even improve their strength and size.

It keeps our bones nice and strong:

Similar factors that help you maintain muscle are the same factors that keep your bones strong and dense. As you age, your bones become more brittle – a process known as osteopenia. The end of the spectrum here is osteoporosis, where your bones are at a much greater risk of fracturing. Resistance training helps delay this process from occurring and can even reverse the process once started. Consistent evidence also suggests that exercise therapy and specific resistance exercises for the lower limb reduce pain and improve physical function in hip and knee osteoarthritis.

You live longer:

Research shows those with higher muscle mass tend to live longer than those with less muscle. This relationship remains after accounting for traditional markers of disease, and it showed that low muscle mass was an even better predictor of premature death than obesity.

It helps you lose fat:

Probably the best way to burn fat and hold onto muscle is to combine a good diet with resistance training. Throw some aerobic exercise into the mix as well and you have yourself a recipe for optimal health and a better quality of life.

So where does resistance training fit in to your rehabilitation programme?

For a start, as a protective mechanism, resistance training has been shown to reduce acute sports-related injuries (i.e., joint sprains, muscle strains, etc) by over 30% and overuse injuries (i.e., tendon pain) by 50%.

If you are unfortunate enough to already have an injury, resistance training makes up the bulk of your rehabilitation to best prepare you to return to sport, work, or just life. This is because when we injure a joint, we naturally have an inability to fully contract the muscles around that joint due to pain, inflammation and/or swelling. Once this process – called arthrogenic muscle inhibition – kicks in, it is a “use it or lose it” situation. Our body cannot utilise the muscles to their full potential, so the muscles become weaker. Progressive resistance training therefore helps to reverse this process and gradually re-train the muscles to become stronger and function better than they did prior to the injury so the joint can tolerate sport/work/life again.

Resistance training is the closest thing to the fountain of youth that we have. To attain the above benefits, the World Health Organisation recommends we perform resistance training exercises that work the full body at least twice per week.  These results take time and adherence to a structured, progressive programme to achieve. That is where your physiotherapist can help. Come talk to us at Bureta Physiotherapy + Wellness if you have any questions regarding the best way to achieve your goals.

Written by Grayson Harwood Physiotherapist

How to Bench Press Using The Proper Technique

Bench press is a very popular exercise in the gym and is commonly referred to as a compound movement. This means it utilises the entire body. When bench press is performed correctly it is a great functional exercise to improve power and strength in the push motion.
Consequently, considering the large amount of force applied on the body and the need to use the whole body in unison it does create potential for injuries. In this blog we will address the common mistakes seen and how to correct them.

Below is a Bench Press checklist to ensure you have proper technique.

  1. Wrist
    • Should not be extended, bar placed on centre of palm and gripping with thumb
  2. Forearm
    • Forearm should be vertical throughout the entire movement. This is to avoid rotational forces on your elbow / shoulder.
    If your grip is too narrow this will make it difficult for you to maintain a vertical forearm.
  3. Shoulder
    • Arms at 45-70 degrees from your body. Greater than this and you put a lot of force on the front of your shoulder which can cause Anterior Impingement.
    • Avoid over gripping with your lats. The lats counteract the action of your pecs therefore you are making the movement inefficient by making them work against each other. Allow your shoulder blades to glide on your ribcage easily.
    • Avoid over rounding your shoulders forward when lifting the weight off your chest.
  4. Mid Back
    • Avoid over-arching your upper back, this can cause excessive compression and unnecessary bracing.
    • Look out for rotation in your trunk when pressing, this could be from overactive obliques and/or lats
  5. Neck
    • Should be relaxed and long on the bench
    • There is no need for tensing your neck muscles during a bench press
  6. Legs
    • Hips stay on bench, glutes squeezed
    • Feet on the floor

There are many benefits to checking your form in the gym, these include

  • Help correct misinformation; unfortunately, not all information out there is created equal, so it is important to analyse where the source is coming from.
  • Identify training errors that could be contributing to your injury and thus speed up your recovery
  • Return to sport optimally
  • Prevent injury
  • Create proper neuromuscular body patterns that will carry over to your daily life

Ask about our gym biomechanical assessment with one of our qualified physiotherapists by contacting 07 5761860 or emailing reception@buretaphysio.co.nz.
We can address any technique or training questions. This can be done at our clinic or at your own gym.

Written by Physiotherapist Lucila Gatti

When Life Throws You a Curveball – Part 2

As the country (NZ) wraps it’s head around the second wave of COVID-19; it would be easy to allow feelings of disillusionment, anxiety and frustration to kick in. Here’s some tips on how to keep your cool over the coming weeks in level 2 and 3.

Everyone has their own war stories, be it self isolation, work stress, cancelling dream holidays, wedding plans disrupted, and running out of toilet roll. It doesn’t matter who you talk to, what their age is, the dreaded C word is the first thing on peoples minds.

If the latest announcement has sent you in to a spin, here’s some simple hacks to keep your body and mind on track.

Nourish your body by making sleep, exercise and good nutrition a priority

When under stress it is really easy to let go of the well-being basics but I want to encourage you to make sleep, exercise and fueling your body a priority starting from today!.

Sleep

Easier said than done I know but start with these simple hacks and if you want more in depth suggestions, keep an eye out on my social media platforms and website www.freshcoaching.me/blog

Turn off electronic devices 1.5 hours before bed

Dim the lights 1.5 hours before bed

Consider taking tart cherry juice before bed

Listen to a guided meditation or sleep cast

Take electronics out of the bedroom. Go back to a good old fashioned alarm clock or even better a light therapy alarm clock (simulates sunrise so you wake up naturally instead of a blaring alarm clock sound!)

Make your bed time routine as consistent as possible with the same bedtime.

Exercise

We are born to move! Don’t over think it. Use Mel Robbins 5 second rule to get you off the couch and outside. (Literally count down from 5-1 and kick yourself in to action) Remove potential excuses. Get your exercise gear out so you trip over them getting up in the morning. Put it in your diary and make the commitment to yourself that you will move that glorious body of yours! Arrange a baby sitter or find the perfect youtube video ahead of time.

Fuel your body

You know what’s right for your body and if you listen, your body will give you signals to let you know what is working and what isn’t. Instead of giving you a comprehensive list of what to eat, here’s my offerings to you.

  1. Stick to 3 meals a day.
  2. Use your common sense when it comes to what to eat. Good, wholesome food. Unprocessed and as close to nature as you can get!
  3. Always sit down to eat.
  4. Chew your food fully.
  5. Slow down and taste your food!
  6. Only eat at the dinner table. (This hack will stop you eating unnecessary calories throughout the day)

Be a role model

Kids pick up on energy and conversations. Funny how they can’t hear you when you ask them to put their school bag away but when you’re talking to your partner or friend about something they pick up on every word. It’s our opportunity to be a role model by holding fact based conversations, keeping drama to a minimum and pointing out the good in a situation. Show them articles of the medical teams working on the front line. Statistics of those who have recovered. Monkey see, monkey do. Looking after your mental and physical health, doing good for others and sticking to the facts will go a long way in keeping the children in your life calm, secure and connected.

Practice acceptance

My friend Henry Fraser (inspirational guy, check him out www.henryfraser.org) uses the phrase ‘accept and adapt.’ The term is also widely used in the military where at any given moment the best made plans can blow up and they are left thinking of their feet with life or death decisions to make.

Practicing acceptance is very different to giving up. It is a choice. It is empowering. It makes life much easier to tolerate.

I have long been a migraine sufferer and learning the art of acceptance has been a revelation for me in terms of how I handle them. Gone are the days where I get an attack and fight it, get cross with my body, stress about missing work, letting clients down and the the kids eating toast for tea. By letting go, accepting that what will be will be, being open to the possibility that it’s just a migraine allows me to go in to a calmer space, less resistance, less stress and ultimately less pain.

This is true of so many scenarios in life. I see clients pushing their problems up hill. Feeling the résistance with every step , almost as if it has to be difficult in order to be worth it.

Think of a situation that you are resisting. How much precious time are you spending dwelling on it? How much of it can you actually control? How much freer would you be if you took a breath, and let it go?

Know that you are not alone

Opening up may seem alien to you but the chances are other people are feeling similar feelings to you. Opening up to people that you trust can be one of the most helpful things you can do. If you feel alone and would like free support from a trained counsellor, MIND have a 24 hour helpline. Simply text or call 1737 and someone will be there to talk.

To read Part 1 click here

Written by Anna Veale at Fresh Coaching. Visit http://www.freshcoaching.me to connect with Anna.

When Life Throws You a Curveball – Part 1

As the country (NZ) wraps it’s head around the second wave of COVID-19; it would be easy to allow feelings of disillusionment, anxiety and frustration to kick in. Here’s some tips on how to keep your cool over the coming weeks in level 2 and 3.

Everyone has their own war stories, be it self isolation, work stress, cancelling dream holidays, wedding plans disrupted, and running out of toilet roll. It doesn’t matter who you talk to, what their age is, the dreaded C word is the first thing on peoples minds.

If the latest announcement has sent you in to a spin, here’s some simple hacks to keep your body and mind on track.

Check in with yourself

How are you feeling? Learn to notice the subtle signs your body gives you throughout the day. Tight chest, butterflies in your tummy, lump in throat, shallow breathing. These signs when unnoticed can generate negative thought patterns which in turn exacerbate the physical symptoms.

Once you recognise your stress signals, take the time to stop and breathe. 5 slow deep belly breaths will take your body out of it’s stressed state and you will immediately feel restored. TOP TIPS: If your mind is too busy, give it something to do. Count backwards from 100 as you breathe slowly and deeply in and out through the nose. To enhance your feeling of wellbeing, make your exhale longer than the inhale. Breathe fully and deeply in to the tummy.

What are you thinking? We see what we perceive. Be aware of your thoughts and ask yourself ‘are they are true?’ and ‘are they helpful?’ With a minimum of 60,000 thoughts running around in our mind on any given day, it makes sense to acknowledge our thoughts and give the unhelpful ones the boot. Call yourself out when you think or say something negative. Is it true? Is it helpful? How would an optimistic, objective bystander see the same situation? TOP TIP: We all come with our own map of the world and see things in different ways. Many of our beliefs are created as a child. When you catch your thoughts, use it as an opportunity for a clear out. Are these beliefs outdated? Are they even yours? If so, what new beliefs can you substitute? If you want something or someone to change, go inwards and ask yourself how you could see things differently. There is no space for judgement here. Just a brilliant opportunity for growth.

Check in with others

Get out of your head and be of service. How good does it feel when you do something for someone else? Boost your feel good hormones by showing kindness, gratitude and thought to others around you.

I just called to say I love you: Pick up the phone and check in with your family, friends and neighbours’. Actually sit down and fully engage in the conversation. Notice how grounding this is for you both.

Pay it forward: On a recent road trip I stopped in to the BP garage and ordered a cup of tea. When I went to pay, the cashier said that someone had paid for it on my behalf. I cherish my tea, but THIS CUPPA was even more special. I took each sip with a grateful heart to the person that paid it forward on to me. Find a way to pay it forward to a stranger, friend or colleague and feel incredible knowing that someone out there will be filled with gratitude BECAUSE OF YOU.

Stay tuned next week for Part 2 “When life throws you a curveball”

Written by Anna Veale from Fresh Coaching http://www.freshcoaching.me