Winter Well-being!

Winter can be a challenging time to keep our well-being up and our health balanced, here are the best ways I find to stay healthy and happy during the darker months of the year! 

  1. Stay hydrated. Even though it’s not as warm as Summer, we still need to keep our water levels up. I aim for 2-3 litres a day, but mainly drink this in herbal teas which have the added benefit of keeping you cosy too. You can find water in lots of great foods too, so plenty of soups and warming gravy dishes are great if you’re struggling to drink as much as you need.
  2. Get outside! Obviously we have less sunshine hours and overall daylight in winter so it’s even more important to make time to spend time outdoors to top up our vitamin D levels and boost our happiness. Make it a double well-being boost by taking a walk in the woods or on the beach- any time immersed in nature will make you feel better. 
  3. Following on from that, a walk is good exercise too and it’s vital to keep up exercising in Winter too. It’s definitely more difficult as we often want to stay wrapped up indoors rather than heading to a gym class or a run in the rain, but if we want to stay fit all year round we should aim for at least 30 minutes a day!  
  4. Keeping in touch with people. It’s easy in Winter to fall into a cycle of staying in and not seeing anyone. Darker evenings make us feel it’s later than it is and the cold can discourage us from venturing out. Turn your mind against this thought pattern though and aim to stay connected with others and to keep attending any events, groups, meet ups that you would in summer.
  5. Saying that though, any extra time spent indoors is a great opportunity for re-organising your living space. Having a good clear out will translate to a good shake up mentally as when our surroundings become cluttered this can be a reflection of mind clutter. So getting rid of what we no longer need can be so helpful for our mental health. It seems like a chore at first but once you get going it feels great and you can donate lots of things to charity shops too!

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Hope these tips help keep you feeling good over the winter months! Come back soon for updates on my Mind on Music Travels!

Best Wishes,

Bexi

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Everything at the Right Time!

Hi all!

Writing this during the second month of my year long tour to share the benefits of music and sound and raise awareness of chronic illness.

I’m travelling the North East this month and so far it’s really smooth (touch wood) lovely nice hospitals and a few lively community groups which have been a lot of fun! These few months have really opened my eyes to how much control I wanted over life and I’m learning to let that go now.

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Everything will happen at the right time when we’ve set things in motion. Earlier on in the tour, I was emailing and emailing places, ringing round and chasing myself in circles most of the time. It was no one’s fault- people have a lot to do and my emails probably just slipped through.

But then, slowly, replies started coming back and they were from great places that I was excited to work with- community groups and hospitals.

Things that are right for us can’t be forced and the right path won’t show itself at the wrong time because that would be a big chaotic mess! This is indeed why people who “should” be happy aren’t- they think they have the right ingredients- money, success, power but they took their cake out of the oven before it was ready, So they’re left with an underbaked life that needs more time to mature before they see the full picture!

So let things flow, of course put things out there and make plans, ideas but don’t worry about time frames and goals too much. This has been one of my lessons this year anyway!

I’ll do a more full update when we reach the end of this stage but wanted to pop by and say hello as it’s been a while!

I’m looking forward to a bit more time to write and share some ideas I’ve been thinking about with you all and I’ll be doing that very soon!

Best wishes,

Bexi

Get Turned Off: How I learnt to switch off the TV!

One of the great things about the Mind on Music travelling is that it has left me with a lot less time for idly watching random TV. My mind is much clearer and happier for it!

As a nation, we watch too much television. There’s no arguing with the statistics that tell us the average person watches five to eight hours per day in front of the TV. That’s almost a third of our lives! Before the 1930s though, television wasn’t even available to the public and during the Second World War, broadcasts were suspended. Afterwards, the schedule only contained three hours of broadcasting per day and obviously no catch up TV! Even during the 1950s when television started to become more widely used by the general public, it was upheld as special occasion. We can look to these past ways of living in order to enhance our present!

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Break the TV Cycle!!

Here are some simple ways from the past to break the TV cycle;

  1. Visit friends and family! This has the added bonus of helping others watch less TV too. The evenings are still light and even in Winter instead of spending your Sunday on the sofa, go for a walk with the family in Nature.  Decades ago, visiting others was a more regular occurrence as there was no Facebook to keep in touch with people!
  2. Cook. If you cook a meal with several ingredients, by the time you’ve made and eaten it, a few hours may have passed. The key is to enjoy the process of cooking for itself, not to rush through it and then hurry through the meal.This has the added bonus that you’ll know exactly what’s in your food, just as our grandparents did.
  3. Craft. Learn a new craft skill or re-engage with an old pastime you used to enjoy such as crochet, or playing an instrument. Hours used to be spent darning and mending old clothes but this is something we don’t have to do as much now. However this is a useful skill which has largely been lost and helped keep waste down so re-learning it will save you some pennies!
  4. Read.  There are also whole realms of imagination and information ready for you to dive into. You don’t need to read classics, pick up whatever you’re drawn to and get lost in another world.
  5. Rest Finally, know that it’s ok to sit in silence with your own thoughts! We feel we must be constantly entertained but this isn’t true. Some of our best ideas come to us when we’re resting quietly. Keep a notebook handy for these times so you can quickly jot ideas down. Years ago, people often daydreamed for hours, just wistfully sitting at a river bank, but in our ‘notification generation’ we feel a constant need to check our emails, social media, what’s on TV later…always doing instead of just being! Stop and remind yourself of this once in a while.

 

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Get Outside!!

Sometimes we get stuck in cycles, especially in the darkest months of the year but Summer hasn’t left us yet so we can get outside and switch the TV off, just as we used to do in years gone by!

 

Best Wishes,

Bexi

Month One of My Mind on Music Travels!

Wow, well the first month of my travels with charity Mind on Music is complete! To read more about what I’m doing with the travel challenge see here and here! 

It’s been an incredible journey so far! I focused the first month on the North West of England, and here I’ve met many amazing people on the sessions. I’ve also met such brilliant staff across many hospitals and venues and seen the great work they’re doing for people.

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In Huyton, Merseyside

It’s certainly been a mix of emotions. Some sessions were extremely challenging, with several having abusive and violent patients. I know this was not their essential nature, but the frustrations of their circumstances so I wasn’t personally hurt but I felt for them and their families who have to deal with the different illnesses everyday.

One of the most amazing and emotional moments for me this month, was being asked to sing whilst a lady lay dying, her family there to watch her going. They wanted to create a jolly and peaceful atmosphere for her which I hope I helped with. It was an honour to be asked and I really hope I did help that lady and her family.

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In Warrington, Cheshire

Something I’ve learnt from this first month is definitely to slow the pace for the next eleven ahead! Some days I was doing three gigs a day which was do-able at the time through adrenaline and many banana smoothies haha but really not sustainable for a year long tour. I know I said I was doing a challenge but…! Seriously though, we all need balance in our lives and working so hard you’re exhausted and feeling ill at the end of the day is not helpful for long term health or for being able to help others. We all must look after ourselves as well!

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In Manchester!

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In Lancaster, Lancashire

I’ve also had some really lovely private gigs, so thank you to all who’ve booked me as they help me continue the charity work as the donations we receive don’t cover most of the travel and session costs.

The month in summary…

People reached: 115

Counties visited: Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Cumbria.

Important personal moment: Being asked to perform during someone’s final hours here on Earth.

Lessons learnt: Slow down!

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On the Wirral, Merseyside

Next month I’ll be heading to the North East, please do get in touch if you’d like us to visit or know of any venues we could be helpful in!

Best Wishes,

Bexi

Mind on Music: Why I’m doing this travel challenge!

Hi all!

Apologies for lack of posts this month, I’ve been planning away for the Mind on Music UK journey I’m starting next month. I thought this blog would be a good place to explain why I’m doing it and what I hope to achieve through it all.

Firstly, it’s not a challenge I’m taking lightly. I know it will be emotionally and physically demanding but I feel it’s the right time to do this. I need to stretch myself even further than I have in order to grow and learn more about myself and those I’m sharing this earth with.

The main aim of the tour is, of course, to help as many people as I can using the skills I have. I believe so passionately in the health benefits of music, sound and their associated practice that I want to take these techniques to people and places who may not have considered them previously.

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I want to raise awareness and stand for those facing chronic illness as they have voices too that are often ignored. Those living with dementia, chronic pain, mental health concerns and other conditions are often forgotten about and left, along with family, to just get on with things. This is not right. And it’s not the society I want to live in, and in order to change, change must come from us.

The famous (but actually misquoted) Ghandi phrase “be the change you want to see in the world” is a powerful one but the truth is, we are that change everyday. We are that change whether we sit and do nothing, actively do bad or actively create goodness. ALL of our thoughts and subsequent actions create change and we must decide what we want that change to be.

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Personally, I hope to gain more understanding of our true humanity and the lessons we’re here to learn. By connecting with more people, and particularly those I may be of service to, I really want to share more love and compassion so that others can feed from this and lift themselves up somewhat, however small from that connection.

I’ve felt the pull for some time now that I’m meant to be getting out there more, to be with people who need healing and love, which is why my singing seems to be taking me in a completely different direction than when I began as fully professional five years ago. That isn’t meant to sound patronising though I suppose it does in a way!  I still enjoy doing the fun private parties and celebrations and will continue to do these, I just feel as though my focus needs to be on using my voice to help others at this present time. I apologise if it does sound condescending, I’m doing my best and make mistakes like anyone but my intentions are pure I promise that!

I hope this explains a little of why I want to embark on such a journey. Or it could truly be for none of those reasons really and I may find the real reason somewhere along the way….

 

Best Wishes,

Bexi

…And Breathe! How Breathing Can Help our Health

Part of the work I do at Mind on Music is encouraging people to enhance their well-being with different exercises they can do themselves such as singing for health techniques. Before we even start to make a sound though, one of the simplest yet most effective (and probably my favourite) is working with our breath.

Across the world in different cultures, focusing on our breath is held as highly important. In Hindu culture, and so in yoga, the breath is called Prana and the focus on it- Pranayama. A lot of the exercises I do with the groups I work with are inspired by and based on yogic traditions. I am not a trained yoga teacher and do not claim to be able to teach yoga. However, we all learn from our daily lives and because I do so much yoga, I incorporate the things I’m inspired by along the way into my self-practice and also into the activities I bring to the groups.19398978_10155394488934414_355127316_n.jpg

One of the best methods of breathing work I’ve found is simply to count our in and out breaths, aiming to increase the length of time we can breath in and then exhale for.

Start with four beats in and four out, with a little pause in between and gradually increase this as you feel ready to. This will slow the breath down, in turn slowing your heart rate and bringing you into a calmer, more peaceful feeling. This is a very old and well-known way of stilling ourselves, yet in our busy lives we forget even how to breathe properly!

This way of breathing has us concentrate so that we can also begin to breathe fully, as many of us live taking in shallow, half-breaths. To breathe deeply, expand your whole abdomen so that your diaphragm (the muscle just at the base of our lungs) contracts and pushes your stomach forward.

It can take some time to strengthen our diaphragms as it is a muscle so just like we wouldn’t expect to lift heavy weight immediately, it can be an ongoing process before we can breathe in this way. But by focusing on it for a few minutes each day, this will be a great start towards making your respiratory system stronger and more resistant to illness, so hopefully avoiding the many colds that go round!

Breathing techniques are great for those with Asthma, COPD, and other cardiovascular problems too. They can also be very helpful for those with chronic pain as the slowing of heart rate can reduce pain as well as the attention being diverted for a time too.

Give the above technique a go this evening and see how you feel. You might want to go out in nature or create a healing space in your home with your favourite, relaxing things around you such as having a bath or a natural candle. That said though, you need no special equipment, only the space that you currently occupy and you don’t even need a quiet room, though to begin with you may prefer to be alone.

I would just say that if you do have any illness, please consult your doctor if you feel the need to do so before trying anything new and if you begin to feel dizzy or out of breath whilst undertaking the work, then do take a break or stop.

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Create Your Own Healing Space!

To recap:

  • Start with an in-breath for four counts, pause then an exhalation for four beats also.
  • Build this up slowly, adding a beat at a time until you feel you’ve reached your limit. With regular attention, you’ll notice this number rise over time!
  • To breathe fully, expand your stomach as you breathe so you’re using your diaphragm. Again, in time this will be easier!
  • You can begin this practice anywhere, but either outside in nature, or in a healing space you create can be extra special.

Thank you for reading, I’ll be sharing more techniques very soon so please do pop back!

Best Wishes,

Bexi

Mind on Music Travel Challenge!

Sorry for my quietness this month so far! The reason is I’ve been squirrelling away at home, planning some very exciting things for the charity I recently set up- Mind on Music!

Mind on Music aims to promote health and well-being through the use of music and sound. We work with people who have a range of dis-eases such as chronic pain, mental health issues, dementia and POCD, in order to help them discover ways they may be able to cope with their challenges and even overcome them.

From August this year, I’ve decided to take this work around the WHOLE UK for ONE FULL YEAR! I’ll be spending each month for the next year travelling around a different area of the UK, visiting hospitals, community centres, schools, projects, anywhere the charity can help. I’ll perform for those who just want to be cheered up, I’ll run workshops for those who’d like to get involved and create and I’ll speak for those who wish to listen and learn about how music and sound can benefit them.

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With lovely Elsie, smiles like her’s are why I do this!!

I need to learn a lot more too so I’ll be taking lots of training sessions along the way as I still have so much to discover about the power of music and sound and other therapies and I’m so excited about this.

It’s going to be a huge challenge both professionally and personally but I know that I’m ready for it and that this is what I need to be doing right now to help others and connect with as many people as I can.

I know some of you feel as though the world is becoming more hateful and whether this is the truth or whether it’s fear inducing media, it doesn’t change the fact that we need love and hope more than ever. If I can give this is in any small way to people along this journey then that will make it worthwhile and it’s the underlying reason for undertaking such a task.

I’ll be documenting it all on here, my facebook, insta and twitter in videos, blogs and pics so you can all come on this journey with me! Well you’ll feel like you are the amount I like to post haha!! I’ll still have lots of other posts though too, all the usual health, travel, spiritual, life posts so don’t worry (Oh you weren’t?! 😉 )

Thanks for all your support so far, I’m so thrilled to be sharing this next step with you all!

Best Wishes,

Bexi