I’ve been wanting to go to the Happy Place festival for years and finally went this weekend at beautiful Chiswick House. The festival promises to be ‘a creative space for self-love and happiness’ which it absolutely is. Not too big to be overwhelming, but large enough to attract fantastic speakers, teachers and independent retailers, all in the health and well-being space.
My two favourite speakers were Jonny Wilkinson (hell yeah!) and Dr Nerina a sleep expert. I’ve shared my top take-outs below and highly recommend a visit to the festival.
Fearne Cotton in conversation with Jonny Wilkinson -2 key takeouts:
1) On handling stress – “If you respect the unknown there is no pressure”. In moments of high stress, be courageous enough to relax into the moment. Feel the panic and anxiety, then explore it with great curiosity. Know that something is about to unfold, allow it to happen with an open mind and without expectations or judgement for the outcome.
2) On handling problems – Mentally we try to think our way out of our problems, wrestling with our thoughts. Physically we become still, often sitting hunched over in survival mode, our breath becomes shorter our energy diminishes. To solve a problem try doing the opposite. “Stand tall, breathe deeply, move slowly and ideally walk in nature. Notice how your energy shifts, your thoughts change. If that problem still lingers, you’ll likely find a different solution or way of looking at it. Notice the nature of conversations you have on a walk – they’re usually positive, energetic, creative and full of big ideas”.
+Jonny’s Podcast is ‘I am’ and he shared a book recommendation: The Things You Notice When You Slow Down, Haemin Sunim +
Dr Nerina – Nerina Ramlakhan – Physiologist, Sleep & Energy Expert
“Every choice you make, from the minute you wake up until the time you get into bed, informs how you are going to sleep. ‘Sleeping well’ is about living well. Or loving well. Because the more we love, the more we trust; we sleep when we feel safe. And when we feel safe we can let go of whatever is happening out there and we can sleep. We need to shift our nervous system into the parasympathetic rest and digest and that starts with what we do from the moment we wake up”.
Dr Nerina shared “five non-negotiables” of good sleep, five things we can do to shift our nervous system:
1) Eat breakfast within half an hour of rising. “If you eat breakfast within half an hour, it is telling the hunter/gatherer physiology that you’re living in a safe environment”. (Dr Nerina mentioned intermittent fasting and simply asked the question – if you’re doing this, how’s your sleep?)
2) Don’t use caffeine in place of food. “Eat, then have your cup of tea or coffee. Ideally no caffeine after 4pm, especially if you’re a sensitive sleeper.”
3) Drink a litre to a litre-and-a-half of water. “Hydrate the brain, so that your sleep bio-chemistry works more effectively and efficiently,”
4) Be earlier to bed, three or four nights a week. “This doesn’t mean getting into bed at 9pm fast asleep. Get into bed and rest – journal/gratitiude practice/read a book”
5) Rest in an environment that is free of technology. “no phones, iPads, screens, tablets. Turn the clock away so you don’t check the time during the night and start doing maths – subtracting and panicking!” This is how we recalibrate our sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system for better rest. If you struggle to drift off and are lying there worrying or having negative thoughts, try these tips:
- Power of Gratitude – place one hand on your belly/other on your heart – as you drift off to sleep say your thank yous for at least 30secs. We’re wired to remember the bad stuff but we tend to forget the good stuff so bathe yourself in positive thank you’s before bed.
- Love (bore) yourself to sleep – rather than counting sheep, love yourself to sleep. Say the words to yourself quietly in your mind “I love my left foot, I love my toes of my left foot, I love my left ankle, I love my left lower leg, I love my left knee etc……” and if your mind drifts start again.
#happyplacefestival #jonnywilkinson #drnerina #fearnecotton #healthandwellbeing #selfcare #selflove #wellbeing