This month the lovely Carina from Birch Relaxation is my Wellness Q&A Guest.
Carina and I have become fast friends since connecting on Instagram and regularly chat about books, travel and our current life stages.
She has also become an extremely grounding person for me on the platform as her calming approach to social media and quirky quote posts stand out in a sea of business-related content and ‘hitting 10k’ type posts.
Reading through Carina’s answers to these questions has also made me feel that we are a little similar in the way that we both faced the same struggles when living in London and all we want now is to live a peaceful and mindful life.
This Q&A is full of lots of golden nuggets (sadly not the edible kind) so I hope you take something away from it.
♡ Thalia xx
Hello, I’m Carina.
I love yoga, plants, the stars, the moon and being in nature.
Basically, the wonders of this world and the Universe are magic to me.
My aim is to empower others to understand how to bring relaxation into their lives, and why it is so important for a happier and more fulfilled life.
I use a holistic approach combining yoga, breathwork, meditation and relaxation techniques that focus on calming your mind, body and soul. All of these practices can then help to transform overwhelm, stress and anxiety into a state of calm, peace and contentment.
More on my well-being journey
I’ve been practising yoga since my mid-twenties and it has helped me to feel grounded, alive and aware – on and off the mat.
A few years later I completed my yoga teacher training with Yoga London to expand my knowledge of the asanas and to gain a deeper understanding of the philosophy side.
I dreamed of becoming a full-time yoga teacher however stayed in the humdrum of working a 9-5 job to support myself.
I had recently come out of a long-term relationship and moved to London on my own so was scared to take the leap at that time.
London is a great place and I’m glad I got to experience it. However due to the stresses and strains, I felt with work and in my personal life over the years I was there, I became a bit lost and overwhelmed.
The constant “I’m fine” persona was rather draining, and I desperately wanted to get myself back to a more balanced and contented existence.
Yoga was always there for me (when I chose to practice it) and I also started to practice breathwork and meditation more often, which really helped me to come back to myself.
During the pandemic, I realised this is where my passions lie and I want to help others by sharing the simple techniques and practices that can be used to relax and soothe away the stresses of today.
I’m complimenting my yoga teacher training with further studies in breathwork and mediation plus relaxation therapy, face yoga, yin yoga, to help expand what I can offer.
Wellness Q&A with Carina From Birch Relaxation
What does a healthy work-life balance look like to you?
Being able to switch off at the end of my working day/week is very important to me.
In my office job, I would worry about what I could have done and what I had to do the next day, often as I was trying to get to sleep and as I was stirring in the morning.
Not the best way to end or start the day!
I’ve taken the leap and will be leaving my current 9-5 job at the end of this month to focus on my own purpose and business – a big shift for me after 17 years in that kind of employment.
So, it’s going to be interesting to see how I balance my own work and life now.
I’m going to ensure that I work mindfully, plus I love Thalia’s slow morning approach and will adopt this as part of my new routine. As well as allowing myself time to relax and practice self-care daily.
We don’t need to be ‘doing’ all the time – that is unsustainable.
How do you make sure you are regularly prioritising your mental and physical well-being?
Walking and being in nature is a massive tonic for me and my well-being. If I haven’t been for a walk outside for a while, I can feel myself getting all antsy.
Even when I lived in London I would walk to/in the nearest green space for an instant hit of calm. I love a tree and believe woods have magical powers that make your worries melt away.
I am lucky to be currently living with my parents by the sea in Devon. Now I’ll walk to the beach and ground myself on the sand, paddle in the water and watch the ever-changing sea, which is immensely humbling.
I also try not to beat myself up if I haven’t managed to complete all my practices or meditated that day for example.
Some days things don’t work out as originally planned and I’m much better at accepting that now and not being disappointed with myself.
I would like to journal more – I have all the notebooks ready and waiting! I can’t help myself when it comes to stationery and am a bit old-fashioned as I love good old pen and paper.
How do you show yourself self-love and self-care? Are there any particular activities you indulge in and what inner work do you do?
The main elements of self-care are my yoga and relaxation practices.
Connecting to my breath is a big liberation for me mentally and emotionally as well as physically.
I will meditate on my own or often listen to guided meditations. There are some amazing ones on the Self Care Space by Phoebe Greenacre.
Again, a walk or time out in nature is like a warm embrace. Walking barefoot in the grass or sand. It may just be me, but I find walking in the wind very empowering too!
Listening to music – mostly chilled tracks but having a good ol’ boogie to 90’s music makes me feel very happy.
Face yoga and massage makes me feel healthier and relaxed. The act of gliding delicious smelling oil onto the skin is so peaceful and calming.
I try and do a face mask once a week and love a relaxing bath although I don’t have them as often as I would like.
Reading – fiction or non-fiction, I love books.
Before I go to bed, I’ll practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) for a good night’s sleep. I’d normally get up numerous times in the night to go to the loo and PMR has helped me to sleep through and feel much more refreshed in the morning.
What is your favourite productivity hack?
It’s so easy to just sit at the computer or continue with work for hours at a time.
So I try and take a break every now and then – either for a cup of tea away from my workspace, a bit of a stretch/movement/meditation, or a potter outside.
It gives my eyes a rest, my body a chance to move about and gives me time to reset my brain.
And rather than staring at the same task or suffering from the same creative block, it helps me to look at things with a new perspective and energy when I return.
Which self-help or personal development book would you recommend and why?
A book I’ve read recently is Discover your Dharma – a Vedic guide to finding your purpose by Sahara Rose.
I love her way with words. She has a great way of explaining the principle of dharma and motivating you to define what brings you happiness and lights you up.
She is also extremely funny!
Another wonderful book is Yang Sheng – The Art of Chinese Self-Healing by Katie Brindle, where she details the self-care aspect of Chinese medicine.
Introducing some of the simple practices and ideas, like body tapping and qigong exercises, have helped me feel healthier and happier.
Chinese medicine believes in prevention on a holistic level over ‘cure’, which makes perfect sense to me.
Not a book as such but looking into my natal chart and human design profile have also really helped me to understand myself better and give an insight into my quirks and shadow side.
Actually, some of it is pretty mind-blowing and makes me more in awe of the Universe and what it can show us.
All you need is the date, time and place of your birth plus a bit of patience as there are so many aspects to them both that I am still exploring what it all means for me.
I realise the question asked for one but as a self-confessed book worm and research-geek, I couldn’t help myself!
What would you say to your 21-year old self?
Go on more travels and adventures around the world.
And lastly, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
You may miss out on your life if you wait for the perfect timing.
Don’t worry about everything being perfect.
Embrace the messiness and do what you love.
Where to find Carina and Birch Relaxation
For more mindful tips on how to cultivate more relaxation in your life, follow Carina on Instagram at @birchrelaxation
And to learn more about Carina and how she can help you, head to birchrelaxation.co.uk
She currently has a free guided meditation resource to help you drift off to sleep which you can download directly from her website.
One last thing…
If you are a health and wellness entrepreneur and would like to collaborate with me on a guest Q&A and reflect on your well-being journey, then please get in touch via my contact form or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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