We find out more about the Motivations, inspirations of Charlotte Watts author of The De-Stress Effect and her top tips.
Tell us more about The De-Stress Effect and what inspired you to write it?
The De-Stress Effect combined my work as a Nutritional Therapist and Yoga Teacher, to meld nutrition, mindfulness, yoga and exercise as the best combination to truly de-stress. This means treating our bodies as they are designed, with plenty of nourishment, rest, care and enjoyment.
I was inspired to write The De-Stress Effect as for many years I had been trying to find a way to bring nutrition and yoga together, truly holistically rather than having them sitting in separate boxes – related, but not really interweaving. Further work into mindfulness over the last 4 years was the thread that enabled me to link how stress affects the nutritional choices we make and then bring in nutritional knowledge to help us feel more grounded and help the adaptation and resilience that leads to stress coping.
I came to nutrition and yoga through my own ill health many years ago and so The De-Stress Effect presents all the ways that can work to help people break the stress loops that lead to symptoms like anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks, IBS, sugar addiction, headaches, weight gain,
How does your approach differ to others?
I feel that there are a lot of regimes out there today, with specific routes to follow and although I do offer a clear 6 week nutritional plan to follow as a frame-work, the book is also designed to be able to dip into and explore as feels right. As people express their body stress in individual ways, there is advice throughout for different Stress Suits – Stressed and Wired, Tired, Cold, Sore, Bloated, Demotivated and Hormonal. This helps the reader to understand what is going on for them and target their needs with simple changes that really work. Of course, many of us experience more than one, but any change has a domino effect and can provide the energy and motivation to try more.
There is a big emphasis on exploring what feels right for you and learning to connect in and trust your gut feelings. Treating yourself as a friend and finding as much pleasure in life as possible are key to keeping up changes that also serve your health. Finding your own rhythm with food, relaxation, lifestyle, meditation, yoga, movement – whichever elements you choose to bring in – can create easy habits that simply become part of your life.
How much does your previous yoga training influence your work today?
My original 500 hour yoga teacher training was with the Vajrasati School of Yoga in Brighton. Jim Tarran, the founder, had been my teacher since 1997 and his approach steeped in Buddhism always brought a dimension of kindness and gentleness (strength with ease) that allowed me to build my resources back up from fatigue, depression and anxiety. I’ve since trained with great teachers like Judith Lasater, Tias Little, Donna Farhi and Cathy-Mae Karelse who follow the ethos that going deep and truly connected is what yoga is all about. I feel many classes today play into the ‘doing too much’, ambition and striving that so dominates our culture and is a deeply ingrained source of stress for many. Learning to do less, simply be and stay with intensity and strong sensation is the basis of my teaching; we can still work strongly, but without a sense of rushing to the next thing. That attitude feeds out into all of my work and runs throughout the book.
What would your top tips be for anyone experiencing chronic stress?
Firstly step back and give yourself some space to gain some perspective. At this state, the ‘constant alert’ mode can have us trying to continually fix and unable to let go and relax. Before you feel you’ve reached breaking point (or even if you have!) find something that helps your nervous system feel soothed – if you find it difficult to be still, go for a walk in greenery or a gentle yoga class and if you are physically exhausted yet can’t switch off, try a massage, steam, Epsom salts bath or any immersion in warm water that helps bring you down. Stretching, restorative yoga and soothing music can all help. From there you can begin to explore which elements of your life are making you feel unsafe (the benchmark of stress) and where you can prioritise more time to take care of your yourself, especially if you tend to look after others first. If we’ve been in constantly heightened mode, it can seem scary to come down as inherently we know we may go into a period of restoration, but this is when we need to start listening and go with the flow – let yourself be tired! There is plenty of support to move through this in the book.
If you could be a fly on the wall and observe anyone (and we mean anyone) for a day, who would it be and why?
My daughter at school! She’s five and in reception and has this other little world where I have very little idea what goes on. I would love to see her interacting with the other kids, how she acts around the teachers and just going about her day. She is so excited to be learning everything about the world and is at an age where she still has a lovely innocence and wonder, with a great sense of self-possession and awareness.
What would a typical day for you look like for you and are there any daily healing or beauty rituals you incorporated into your day for your own wellness needs?
I don’t have a typical day as sometime I have my daughter with me and sometimes she’s at her Dad’s. I teach classes which differ in times and then see clients randomly, may go up to London and have different work demands all the time! I do like it like that, but there is an element of being quite scattered and I have a tendency to go from highs to lows, which I am mindful to watch. This means that I factor in rest times (I had chronic fatigue, so energy conservation is crucial to me) and watch for the signals for when I get overwhelmed. I’m an introvert, meaning I need to recharge away from people and at home this will mean lying on the sofa listening to an audio book as a break (Sherlock Holmes at the moment!) or usually do a 20 minute Savasana (yoga relaxation) or mindfulness meditation to punctuate the day. As I work from home, I’m lucky enough to be able to take an Epsom salts bath in the middle of the day when I have to teach a yoga class late that night. I will often go out to a yoga class as working in my home often makes it difficult to switch modes to practice there. Walking is my sanity necessity, if I don’t walk enough daily, I can soon feel stagnant, mood drops and sleep suffers.
Charlotte Watts is author of The De-stress effect, a great resource that can take you through a transformative process to help find new relationships with your body, food and health attitudes. Don’t miss out on this new revolution in eating, exercise and relaxation that will return you to vibrant health by gently bringing balance back to your body and your life. Buy The De-stress effect here today
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