Tag Archive for: feel better

Easing Stress at The Shoulders – How to Relax at Your Desk

This bonus length Charlene’s Wellness Bite features @CJMindBody yoga & meditation teacher taking us through four movements and stretches to ease stress around our shoulders and neck.
Plus…a simple breathing technique to help us calm our minds and bodies.

Easing stress at the shoulders from Charlene Hutsebaut on Vimeo.

See more from Chris at chrisjamesmindbody.com

Also find Chris on twitter & facebook – @CJMindBody

3 Tips to Cope During Stressful Times at Work with @cwnutritionyoga

Nutritional Therapist & Yoga Teacher Charlotte Watts shares 3 nutrition tips to cope during stressful times at work. Following our natural body rhythms throughout a day while meshing them with healthy, nurturing choices can be very beneficial.

3 Tips to Cope During Stressful Times at Work from Charlene Hutsebaut on Vimeo.

Lifestyle Tips to Recover From Viral Meningitis

This is my experience of recovery. I am not a doctor or nurse but someone who has gone through viral meningitis and has an education in health & fitness. Here is my story and my tips on recovery from my professional point of view. Please always seek the support of your Doctors & health care professionals.

I contracted viral meningitis in the Spring of 2010.  I went from being an active, healthy and vibrant personal trainer to someone who had no energy, gained 2 stone and had almost died.

I feel it all started at the beginning of 2010 when I was making a move out of my first home in London.  I had been there for almost nine years with the same lovely flatmates.  Along with the stresses of running my own personal training business I found I was quite exhausted.  Once the move had happened I then took a trip for Easter to Canada to see my family.  Within two weeks of my return to London I had contracted viral meningitis and was in Kings College Hospital.  When I was admitted to Emergency I had seen at least five doctors within 12 hours as they were not sure what my illness was.  They suspected Lyme Disease as I had just been to Canada and could have been bitten by a deer tick.  I went through two lumbar punctures before a diagnosis was made.  These were not fun, I can assure you.

Signs & Symptoms of meningitis

What I didn’t realise at the time was actually how sick I was.  The consultant along with her student doctors were very clear that I was to rest once I left hospital or I would take longer to recover if not be back with them again.  It was when one of my close friends said she had lost a friend in her twenties to meningitis that I realised how serious my situation was.

As a personal trainer and someone who had been active her entire life I found not being able to carry out my usual exercise routines very difficult.  I took the time off from work which I thought was sufficient as I needed to find a balance because I needed to work to get paid.  I spent about four weeks at home doing what I could from the computer and then got back out to see around six clients per week for about six weeks.  I increased my hours from there as I was feeling better.  It was my formal exercise and fitness that took the longest to regain. I had to be patient and find a way to accept that my body had changed.

Through the process of having been sick, my inactivity and perhaps the drugs I had to take hospital I quickly gained about 2 stone (28lbs).  This was very unlike me as I had been about the same body shape and weight since my teens.  It was very disconcerting to not only be heavier and not feeling myself but also that I had to hold back on doing anything about it.

In the end it took me around 2 years to gain my fitness levels back to where I was before and feel strong in my work and activities.  It took me three years to lose the 2 stone (although overall it only took 8 months once my fitness levels allowed me to be active).

My tips for recovery from my own experience and as a health professional are:

    • take things slowly, you will need more rest and recovery than you used to
    • accept that your body has changed
    • find strategies to deal with stress in your life (meditation, walks in nature, quiet time, breathe)
    • get enough sleep for you
    • ease back into work if you can (tell your employer what you need or if you run your own business get some help)
    • strategically plan your return to exercise – small steps are best (the good thing is your body will immediately tell you when you have had enough because you will feel knackered)
    • Choose exercise which supports your calming parasympathetic nervous system such as grounding forms of yoga, pilates, weight training
    • nurture yourself with healing food
    • discover mindfulness – be in the moment

I strongly feel that my stress levels at the time of contracting viral meningitis were a key factor for me personally.  I realise this is controversial in the medical community.  I would like to see more research into this.  I feel this as well because after many tests while in hospital and in the weeks after no doctor could tell me why I had gotten viral meningitis or how to recover other than resting.

I am happy to say I am back to my old active self now and must thank my wonderful partner Jez, my family and my amazing personal training clients for sticking by me through a very scary period of my life.  Despite not being as fit as them for some time they knew I still had the knowledge and enthusiasm to guide them in being healthy and fit.

Visit Meningitis Now for more information

6 Sneaky steps to slim your tummy – Week 3 – Stress

How was week two of your “6 Sneaky steps to slim your tummy”?

  • Were you able to decrease your alcohol intake? – How did this make you feel each day?
  • Were you brighter on the mornings where you had no alcohol the night before?
  • Did you tummy feel a bit better?


I would love to know! Share your stories with me on any of…



Week 3:


We now know that stress plays a big part in holding weight around our waists.

This has to do with our stress hormones being pushed out of balance when we are under constant stress with no time for adequate rest.

Do any of the following statements resonate with you?

  • “No matter how hard I exercise I still have a belly.”
  • “I work long hours and work out hard and still can’t shift my belly.”
  • “I am exhausted all the time to the point that my legs always feel heavy and I have no energy to work out.”
  • “When I wake up in the morning, even after a good amount of sleep, I still feel wiped out.”

These are just several statements I have heard from new personal training clients who are totally frustrated.

Some stress is fine and our bodies are capable of dealing with it but problems arise when we can’t recover and recharge.



Getting stress levels down, therefore balancing our hormone results in:

  • a healthier body shape, including your tummy
  • improved moods
  • better feeling, regulated energy levels throughout a day
  • less inflammation in our bodies, meaning less chances of injuries and future disease

Do you notice that these insights are the same for week 1 (decreasing sugar)?

Practices for this week:

  1. Think about your stress levels.
    1. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 (totally relaxed man!) through 10 (exhausted and not able to deal with stressors)
  2. What is your optimum number of hours sleep in a night?
    1. Aim to get these hours regularly
    2. Create a calming bedtime routine starting about an hour before you want to be asleep
      1. For some people this includes turning technologies off, packing their lunch and bag for the morning, bath, reading a book, sleep
    3. Notice how you deal with stressors each day.
      1. Be mindful when finding yourself in a stressful situation
      2. Take some deep breaths
      3. Focus on the moment – remember you will be fine
    4. Exercise.
      1. Yep, exercise does cause stress and breakdown of our tissues in our bodies. This is meant to happen and is healthy when we get enough rest and recovery between sessions.
      2. Genetically some people need more rest than others. If you know from past experience that you are regularly very sore post workout or take days to recover then you may be one of these people. It is beneficial for you to take more time to rest. If you still want to be active then make your next day of movement an “active recovery” such as a very light bike ride, walk, swim, core or stretch session. You will find your workouts and energy eventually swing back up therefore allowing you to feel and see better results from your performance and body.  And remember you are reading this because you are interested in your tummy feeling better. More rest will help.
      3. Your genes may not be a factor but your stress levels can be!
        1. More is not better when you are feeling stressed and exhausted.
        2. Rest and recovery are even more important to you right now.
        3. Shorter, quality workouts are key with ample rest.
      4. Feeling stressed? But haven’t been working out then start out slow.
        1. Be sure you are sleeping enough each night.
        2. Start with 10 minute quality workouts every other day.
          1. Weight training and walking are a great options.
        3. Find 10-20 minutes each day to sit quietly with no noise or technology.

Press here for Week 4


Need some helping planning your rest and recovery?


Check out my EBOOK – “Simple Healthy Living – A Guide for Busy People”

You will find lots of tools and tricks to guide you!




Remember each week keep the practices from the previous week going.

So, sugar will be taken out for all six weeks…..

Alcohol is being decreased.

Now we are decreasing stress through adequate rest, being in the moment, taking some time to ourselves and choosing quality (not thoroughly exhausting) exercise.

Press any of the above points to review that week.


Want to really get to the causes of your stress?

I recommend the book “The De-Stress Effect” by my friend and colleague Nutritional Therapist Charlotte Watts.  See my contributions in the exercise chapter!

Press on the book cover below to find it!


I would love to know how you are doing over our six weeks so…..

Chat with me on twitter – facebook – instagram

Let’s have some fun!!!

Find other great workout & wellness stuff on my shop!


6 Sneaky steps to slim your tummy – Week 2 – Alcohol

I hope you enjoyed your first week of “6 Sneaky steps to slim your tummy”!

  • How did you find decreasing your sugar intake?
  • Was it easy or difficult?


I would love to know! Share your stories with me on any of…



Week 2!!!

pint of beer, slim your tummy

Alcohol is our focus this time around.

As many of you know I am a very realistic and nurturing personal trainer. I never tell anyone they need to completely give up alcohol unless they know they have an all or nothing type personality.

I do believe that less alcohol is better when trying to slim a tummy, or at least get rid of a bloating feeling.

Who out there feels lethargic and bloated after a night of drinking?

Trousers a bit tight? Belly pinching on the waist line?

I personally can’t stand that feeling!


Alcohol can affect our bellies for two reasons

Glass of water, stay hydrated


It is high in sugar, which we discussed last week in the post here and it is a diuretic which means it can cause your body to flush out too much water.

In a weird way this means that because your body is losing water it will hang on to whatever is left in the body and cause you to look and feel bloated.

The latter can also be caused by the stomach lining becoming inflammed or irritated by the alcohol. Because the stomach then doesn’t do it’s job properly there is a cascade of irritation all the way through the intestinal tract.


Staying hydrated

Drinking less alcohol and more water is also important because we are then keeping our cells hydrated and functioning optimally.

When our cells can do their jobs they flush out toxins better which means a healthier and slimmer feeling body.

The reality is you can help yourself feel better all around when you decrease alcohol intake.




Less alcohol each week can:

  • slim your tummy because of less bloating from the stomach and intestinal tract being irritated
  • allow for increased energy
  • keep you hydrated which allows for overall optimal body functioning

Practices for this week:

  • if you know you are an all or nothing person then take out alcohol completely for the next 5 weeks
  • for those who can have a little bit of alcohol and stay at those guidelines then choose a block of days each week to go alcohol free
    • ie: Sun-Thurs – no alcohol
  • do allow for any functions or parties you have coming up and adjust your alcohol intake days accordingly
    • ie: if you are taking Sun-Thurs off alcohol but have a party on a Thursday then have a bit but then take Friday off | In other words ebb and flow with any given week
  • swap water for alcohol
  • eat before you drink – most likely you won’t want that glass of wine once you have eaten
  • the less you have the better you and your lovely tummy will feel!

Press here for Week 3



Review from last week…

Alcohol is high glycemic so last week’s recommendations are still relevant.

If you want more information and guidance on sugar I highly recommend the following from a few colleagues of mine:

VIDEO: by Nutritional Therapist – Angelique Panagos – “Can I eat sugar and still be healthy” – find it on her homepage

Book: by Nutritional Therapist – Amelia Freer – “Eat.Nourish.Glow”


Get in touch!


I would love to know how you are doing over our six weeks so…..

Chat with me on twitterfacebookinstagram

Let’s have some fun!!!

Find other great workout & wellness stuff on my shop!