Founder of the eponymous lifestyle coaching company, bestselling author and friend of The White Company Louise Parker shares her expert advice on how to look after yourself and feel your best during these uncertain times. Whether it’s making sure you get enough sleep, finding 10 minutes to do some stretches, or giving your eyes a break – if your job involves staring at a screen all day, the building blocks of the Louise Parker Method all add up to help optimise your health and wellbeing.
We like the sound of that! Here are some of Louise’s tried-and-tested top tips…
1. WFH quick wins
We are thankful we’ve been able to seamlessly continue supporting our clients, but that’s not to say the shift from cosy clinics to home working isn’t something we can relate to. We do miss the buzz and community. I’ve dipped into quite isolated weeks in recent years to write my books at home and it’s taught me even more about the importance of some peace and pampering. I hope you find some of these useful!
- ‘Think in ink’ always adds more power to what you strive for. I start each day with a few moments to sit down and reflect on what I wish to achieve. I set three ‘to dos’ and do them well – and let the other tasks follow. I’ve found the unachievable is, in fact, unachievable and it simply feels good to mentally tick off your big three.
- Setting a routine that grounds you in uncertain times, but is flexible to what may pop up, will really help you set up and wind down from your day. We can only influence what we can control, so I try to bend calmly with the realities of life – be it a demanding working day, or children – or both.
- Punctuate your daily routine with what we call ‘Pleasure Pops.’ It’s what I believe to be the ingredient to shift a routine to a ritual. A little moment of joy and an environment conducive to pleasure will shift the mood of your day. The impact on health and habits is astonishing. It may be a cup of warm tea, 10 minutes taking a well-earned soak in the bath, or simply sitting back with a book. It’s so easy to overlook these precious moments in times like this – I’m reminding myself to do even more of what lifts me, not less.
2. Living well
Your environment is key and impacts your mood and healthy habits, so do allow yourself to take these moments for pleasure and calm. We know the impact it has on overall wellbeing and it can really play a part in moving ourselves towards a lifestyle you find pleasure in every day.
- I light a scented candle at the beginning of a workout and blow it out at the end. This simple little ritual turns my workouts into time that feels like a pleasure and not a chore. Our senses are powerful. Once the candle burns out, I’ll gift myself another. I adore the Orange Rind scent for uplifting moments.
- I find an ordered, calm space – sprinkled with some beauty and effort – helps me feel and, therefore, focus better. So before I start any work, or begin to unwind, I’ll declutter my surroundings and put everything in its place.
- Our senses really do lift our mood and have the ability to help us shift habits. Take the time to notice the softness of your sheets when you get into bed. By popping some more comfort into your bedroom, it will help you look forward to the pleasure of an early night. If you don’t feel good in a space, stop and think about what you can shift to make you feel better.
3. Thinking successfully
An optimistic and malleable mindset is incredibly important, particularly in times of uncertainty, as it can help us to look at situations openly and with optimistic solutions, preventing what we call ‘stinking thinking,’ which can keep us stuck in habits we want to move on from.
- You’re likely to have thoughts and feelings that change throughout the course of the day – even the hour. I try to notice these thoughts, realise most of them last 90 seconds and what follows is up to me. They are real feelings, but they don’t need to last. We teach our clients skills to reframe thoughts for positive behaviour.
- Remember you can reframe your thoughts at any time. It’s a little thing to be aware of and it often allows me to shift the course of my day, rather than getting stuck on something cross, like spilling my coffee.
4. Digital detox
We coach globally, so the benefit of technology is not lost on me, but it can be a double-edged sword. We have days where most of our daily interactions require digital devices – so it’s even more important we integrate activities which aren’t linked to our screens. We all know we need to better manage our digital consumption, and these suggestions are a good starter.
- Step back for a minute and identify what’s helpful and lifting you up and what’s distracting and isn’t serving you well.
- Be mindful when sending messages and consider if they are necessary. Be cognisant of whether hitting ‘reply all’ is really to everyone’s benefit. I turn off notifications which add nothing but another ‘ding’ I don’t need.
- I am all for having no screens, or anything digital, in the bedroom. It helps keep it as a sanctuary of calm. I put my phone away and set it so I can only receive urgent calls from my immediate family.
- A digital detox will help you rest and revive. It’s something our clients often struggle with, but sleep science and the results from our clients really tell us it works.
5. Embracing evenings
Getting a good night’s sleep is key to helping the body regulate your hormones for optimum health and wellbeing. Create a beautiful sanctuary that will allow your mind to associate it with a space for peace and serenity.
- Invest in the best nightwear and bed linen you can afford. It will serve you for years and I find it keeps gifting me back that ‘feel-good’ factor – it’s a healthier reward system.
- Using pillow mists regularly can help remind your mind it’s time to start winding down and I keep them on little trinket trays beside our beds. My children learn to love bedtime when we bring in little pleasures!
- Surround yourself with things that make your heart leap. A picture frame reminding you of a precious moment, your favourite blanket on the bed, and a book you can’t put down – I love real books and try to do easier reads at nighttime.
- Take a moment to lay your clothes out beautifully for the morning – small routines, like these, will help you begin your day with that little bit of order and calm.
We share this advice as we’d coach it, with kindness, compassion and flexibility. We all have moments when we think ‘it’s different for me,’ as time can feel like our greatest restraint. However, I hand-on-heart promise you this: when you lean into some of these little practices of ours, you will earn that time back and your service to both yourself and others will increase ten-fold.
Wishing you well.
Love, Lou x
Your wellness checklist
Established in 2007, the four-pillar method is coached by registered dietitians and personal trainers from Louise’s Walton Street and Harrods clinics in London, and is available worldwide. To discover more about the Louise Parker Method, visit https://louiseparker.com/, or follow @louiseparkermethod for more health and wellbeing information.