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Practising what I preach – When life gets “in the way”….

Insights...From the Desktop of Karin BraunerHi everyone!

I have been pondering on some things for the past few weeks. You might have noticed a lack of new blog posts or less original stuff on my social media platforms.

I’ve been in a bit of a health “pickle”. I am in the process of sorting it out but it takes time to find out what is going on in my body and how to work it out – tests, procedures, medication and other options.


I was stressing out recently, here are some of my thoughts:

“I haven’t written my post for today”

“I’m letting my audience down”

“My social media will stagnate and I will lose all the hard work I’ve done”

“I must carry on no matter what”

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I quickly realised that these thoughts weren’t helping and I gave myself a compassionate-but-firm “talking-to” and came to the conclusion that I need to strip things down to the bare minumum, which means:

  • Putting new blog posts on hold for the next month at least, and reassess at the end of the month.
  • Creating new content and scheduling content on Social Media is also on hold, but fortunately there is the “saving grace” of other people’s content – 80% of my posts should be curated content anyway so I will appease my “social media stagnation fears” by reposting, which takes seconds. If I don’t then I don’t, but the option is there.
  • My plans for online courses are also on hold.

 


In a way, this gives you an idea of what I’m working on, so it’s not a bad idea to let you know about my stripped back plans for the next month. Lots to look forward to for my audience, readers and followers, but also for myself….


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….It’s just not happening this month. I need to take the time off! (sounds like I’m trying to convince myself huh? well I sort of am, because I love my work, everything above makes me happy, but I need to take this time off to be able to do it to the best of my ability and without hurting myself!).

 

 

 


What I will be doing during this month:


  • I will look forward to my 2 weeks off I’ve scheduled at the end of the month (29th October to 9th November) for self-care. I find that having something to look forward to like a short break or holiday helps as there is a chance to fully relax and let go soon.
  • Focusing on client work, saving all my energy and willpower to do a great job with my clients, who deserve the high quality of counselling and tutoring services I am known for and that they signed up for.cropped-fullsizerender.jpg
  • Being true to myself and cancelling on time when I feel things might be too much. I had to do this last week and it was fine. It shows I’m human and clients were understanding. I must remind myself that this is unusual, this is not forever, and I’ll be back to my usual self in good time.
  • Resting and finding solutions through research and contacting doctors, pushing for the care I deserve – trust me it’s been hard work getting my needs met but I am practicing what I preach and persevering with looking after my health.

Book CoverWhat I’ve learned  – and have been reminded of – through this tricky health time in my life:

  1. I am not the only one struggling with health issues – other counsellors are struggling and doing the best they can.
  2. I am allowed to stop, take stock and rethink things.
  3. I have a clear plan of where I want to get to, and this means I can take breaks (day, week, month) when I need to, and when I get back to it, there is a clear guide to follow.
  4. People are very understanding and helpful in times of need.
  5. I deserve to get the care and support I need. It is there, it’s a matter of who shouts the loudest at the moment with the services.
  6. Time is short, but time heals and then there will be more time to do the things I enjoy.
  7. Relationships are important. My support system is so vital and everyone has been supporting me with thoughts, comments, reassurance and cups of tea or glasses of wine!
  8. I am practising what I preach. What I write in my book, what I tell my clients, I am doing it.
  9. am sure there are more…I will add them to this post as I think of them! Have you got any that you want to add here?

While I get back on track with my physical health, have a browse through my blogsite for some informative and interesting posts that I’ve already written -since August 2017 up to now.


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20 Self-Care Habits – Book Review #5 ***Book Out 31st July *** Bonus Video -A word from the author in this post!

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Click here to visit my website – read more reviews, download freebies, and more!

This book is exactly what it says it is, different ways to integrate self-care into your daily life. It starts off with an overview of why the author is writing about self-care, giving us an insight into her life.

Some introductions can be patronising but this was not at all, there was no judgment, and Karin suggests that you know yourself best. The book covers 20 different self-care activities ranging from the usual spending time in nature and putting yourself first, to ones we might not find obvious, such as personal space.

I liked that each topic starts with a quote that ties nicely into the chapter and the author uses her own personal experiences to explain each habit, this makes the book feel like your speaking with a friend. The examples are easily relatable, for instance, in putting your needs first chapter, the example of lending a friend money, makes its easier to see how important your needs are when put in to a perceptible example of money.

The lay out of each chapter follows the same format, and this is something I particularly like a lot! The bullet points of how your life can improve with each habit are clear and concise, making it easy to digest.

22I especially liked the reflection time section at the end of each chapter, it’s almost like they’ve reached out a hand and brought you in to the book. It gives you questions to help you reflect on your own personal circumstances and how each habit impacts your own life, as well as prompting you to make changes to improve your own self-care.

Whilst I would not normally read an eBook, the layout of this book was so easy to navigate and read on my phone.

I like the idea of the printable reminders and planners, which are a brilliant addition to this book!

Self-care is over looked so much and isn’t something I ever thought about until I started my training as a counsellor. This book makes it so easy to see the little ways in which you can look after yourself without too much effort. I would recommend this book to fellow counsellors, students, clients and family members.

Overall, if you’re looking for a proactive book to help work on your self care then this is the book for you!

C.L.


BONUS VIDEO – A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR – KARIN BRAUNER


20 Self-Care Habits – Book Review #4 ***Preorder today! *** Bonus video in this post!

20 self care habits instagram20 habits of self-care is a practical and insightful tool for anyone who wants to make self-care a priority.

The overall message is much the same as other self care books however it is original in the reflection aspect. The think, feel and act sections are good prompts for anyone new to reflection in this sense.

I would say the book is aimed at beginners in self-care, and it is a great place to start. It could be all that a ‘newbie’ to self-care requires. As someone who has been reading other self-care books and undertaking reflections for over 3 years. A lot of the features were what I have already been introduced to. That being said, the think, feel and act sections did draw my attention to specific areas of reflection that I had not thought of in detail before.

These sections at the end of each chapter have echoes of what a therapist would prompt you to think about, which is understandable as the author is a counsellor. I do believe that the book being written by a counsellor who has experience on both sides of self-care, witnessing others struggles with the subject, has given Karin more insight into the needs of other people regarding self-care.

1Many other books are written with the author’s experiences and could potentially not have the same wide area of reflection to prompt. The fact that Karin clearly labels each part of the reflection into ‘think’ ‘feel’ and ‘act’ means that a reader can choose which parts of the reflection works best for them and skip to those bits.

The whole book is written with careful words and is laid out in such a way it would not scare off those who class themselves as not being readers. Other books can take a while to get to the point of the chapter whereas this book is precise.

My overall feelings on the book are that firstly I would recommend it to anyone who is new to self-care as a starting platform. In addition, with the reflection aspect it is original and for a new person to the self-care ideaology could replace the need for a therapist.

This could be hugely beneficial to someone who could not afford counselling.

On this note, It would be a good book for mental health teams, and NHS counsellors (who only offer 6 sessions) to recommend to people so they can learn to take care of themselves. The impact of this book, if recommended like this could be substantial.

J.T.


BONUS VIDEO – FIND OUT HOW TO – DEVELOP YOUR STRENGTHS, USE YOUR RESOURCES, IMPROVE YOUR LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS


20 Self-Care Habits – Book Review #3 ***Preorder your copy today! *** bonus video in this post!

20 self care habits instagram20 Habits of Self Care is exactly what it says on the cover  – a book about self care habits and I absolutely loved it.  Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down, not just because it was so interesting but also because of how easy it was to read.

After introducing us to the subject of self care and why it is so important, the author begins each chapter with a quote related to the topic being discussed which immediately got me thinking about the subject and how it relates to my own life.  The friendly, natural writing style enabled me to really reflect on how each self care tip already does, or could, improve my life and the personal experiences she shares throughout the book also helped with this.

Each chapter relates to a different self care practice, all of which could be easily incorporated into even the busiest of people’s lives because of their simplicity.  What I really enjoyed is that the author doesn’t just introduce us to the concepts of self care practices but also makes suggestions about how, by using these practices every day, we can experience improvements in both our lives and our relationships.  She allows us to think about the importance of putting our own needs in front of those of others and reminds us that saying no isn’t a bad thing.

The reflective exercises at the end of each chapter provided me a fantastic opportunity to really sit and think about how when I haven’t put my own needs first it has negatively impacted on my self esteem or feelings of self worth and how differently things could have been if I had.  Including these exercises meant that I didn’t just rush onto the next chapter and by slowing the reading process down in this way it felt like the author was already encouraging me to slow down the pace I normally live my life.

As mentioned previously the author’s personal reflections really helped me really reflect on the importance of self care, but not only that they also made the whole idea of self care more relatable to everyday life.

Whether you are new to the idea of self care or an old hand, this book is a light, easy read which flows seamlessly from chapter to chapter.  Having already noticed the changes it has made to my life since reading it I highly recommend it.

M. C.


BONUS VIDEO – FIND OUT MORE – IMPROVE YOUR LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS


Self Care Book – Out Soon!

NEW BOOK


Dear readers,

I hope you have enjoyed the bank holiday weekend!

I will resume regular posts next Monday.


For this week, I would like to leave you with the news that I have finished writing my first ever book!

It is now in editing and can’t wait to share it with you all!

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It’s going to be on the topic of Self-Care, which is what I started writing about last August when I started publishing blog posts regularly.


I will be writing more blog posts or social media posts to talk a bit more about what you can find in the book –  what topics I’ve discussed, the resources you can use in your life after reading it, so you can get good at your own self-care, and other resources I’m putting together now – like a facebook group to carry on the conversation of self-care and get more tips and ideas from others interested in improving their self-care tools, skills and time spent doing these activities.

 

 

 

 

 


Looking after yourself by...

So today, I leave you with the links to my self-care blog posts, in the hopes that this will spark interest in the content of my ebook – it is not the same topics, but some are included and expanded on.

 

 


blog series on self care pinEnjoy the blog posts on the list below.

I am looking forward to sharing my ebook with you in the near future!

  1. Introduction
  2. Setting Boundaries
  3. Honour your feelings
  4. Unplug from technology – plug into nature
  5. My friend tells us about her self-care journey
  6. Being on your own
  7. Spending time with others
  8. Keeping fit

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NEW BOOK

Blog Series: Week 8: Look after yourself by…keeping fit [video content included]

Looking after yourself by...

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Today I’ve invited Becky Murrell to answer a few questions about the importance of keeping fit. She a Personal Trainer based in Brighton and Hove, as well as creating workout videos for her facebook and instagram community, and holding events in her local area.

Let’s get to the interview…

 


So, what does keeping fit actually mean?

To me, keeping fit means keeping active and improving your fitness. You don’t have to go to extreme measures to keep fit.

Fitness is personal to everyone and what works for one person might not necessarily work for another.

One of the hardest things to do is staying motivated and staying motivated is part of keeping fit. Whether that be going to yoga once a week or the gym every other day.


 


Do I have to be in a gym every day for an hour to achieve physical fitness and wellbeing?

Absolutely not!!

Some of the most effective exercises involve using your body only and can be done in less than an hour. You most definitely don’t need a gym to do that in.

Exercise is so good for the body but it’s only good for the body if it benefits your goals. You don’t need to slave away every day to reap the benefits.

Exercise should be enjoyable and you’ll have great results if your form is correct and the exercise is performed correctly.

Remember quality over quantity.

That’s not to say training every day is bad, it’s always good to mix it up and do some cardio, strength, mobility to help keep your body mobile and strong.


2How does keeping fit affect my mental health?

It’s in so many studies: when we exercise endorphins are released which makes us feel good.  Par of my Personal Trainer Qualification, was studyingthe benefits of exercise on mental health.

As someone who personally has anxiety and previously had depression I can first hand say that exercise is the number one reason I am able to control that.

Exercise is so wonderful for so many reasons and one of those reasons is helping you feel in control. When I exercise I feel I am on control which is so important because anxiety and depression can make you feel helpless.


 


Do you have any tips for people that might find exercising a bit difficult to schedule into their daily lives?

Absolutely. The truth is when we enjoy something we find the time to do it. If you can’t find the time then you haven’t found the right exercise for you.

Don’t pick an exercise that others like – find something that meets your needs, that you enjoy.

Pick the right environment that you will feel comfortable in. Invest time in finding what makes you feel good.

We are all able to schedule stuff in if we really want to. Keep looking for that perfect exercise for you and you wont look back.


How does diet enter into this?

Diet is extremely important; however I believe balance is important! Life is for living and we should all have a treat.

If you have specific goals to look a certain way or enter a competition then diet is the most important thing because you can’t out-train a bad diet. But if you want to enjoy food and exercise without be strict then eating healthy most of the time and having a treat is absolutely something I recommend.


 


Any final thoughts on self-care?

Self care is so important to ensure you have a healthy and happy life. A lot of people think looking good is the main part of self care but actually there are more important things like our wellbeing, our mental health, looking after the inside of our body, having balance and being happy, getting enough sleep. All these things form part of self care.

The human body is amazing, you only get one. We should be doing all we can to keep it healthy happy and balanced.


To read more about Becky’s personal training classes and events, and watch some more of her amazing workou videos, go to her Facebook page. You can also follow her on Instagram.

 

 

Blog series: Week 7: Looking after yourself by spending quality time with family and friends

Looking after yourself by...

Last week we talked about having time on our own so we could re-charge our energies to be able to function well in life, relationships and possibly also meditate and get creative.

This week, we are talking about the opposite side of the spectrum: spending time with others, i.e. friends and family.

So, why is this important, you ask?

Well, according to research, spending quality time with others leads to increased wellbeing, mental health, and will also allow us to live a stronger, healthier, longer, and most importantly, a happier life!

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Peer relationships begin to be important – if not the most important – part of our lives during our teenage years. These early friendships, and also relationships with siblings of similar age, help with dealing with self-doubt, self-consciousness, fear and loneliness during those confusing years.

It is in these relationships where we start learning who we are, what we like, what we don’t like, and who we can trust with our feelings and struggles. Later on, these relationships might strengthen or be replaced by others, and change in the way we engage, including what activities we engage in with them.

Talking things through is something that friends and family can help with. We can be there for one another, and share the load, the stress, and look for a solution together, or just sit next to each other. Being understood by our loved ones relieves some of the pain and allows us to share the experience and not feel alone with our struggles.

When we engage with others, we might plan activities that we might not do if on our own. We might go for long walks or cycles, eat at a new restaurant and pick the healthier dishes.
Laughing with others increases endorphin levels and therefore increases happiness and reduces cortisol levels and therefore reduces stress. This in itself should make it more appealing to keep and develop relationships with others.

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Creating memories is also a good reason, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or cost much at all!

So, schedule time for friends and family, create memories that will last a lifetime!

I hope you are enjoying the Looking after yourself Blog Series

Tomorrow, I will be posting on how to look after yourself by spending time with family and friends.

Next week will be the last post of the series, so I thought I would start by thanking you for reading and following so far!

I hope you will stay with me for the next series on dealing with Mental Health Issues: “In Therapy: working through…” and tell your friends, family, and colleagues about it!

In this new series (Mondays), I want to talk about particular Mental Health issues and how to work through them in therapy and also giving some tips on what you can do on your own, some food for thought, and signposting to services that could be of help.

Do contact me if you have any particular topics you would like me to discuss – anxiety, depression, relationship issues, shame, loss, will be some of the topics but there are so many more!

As information is a bit low sometimes, or at the very least confusing! I am also going to post mid-week (possibly every week or every fortnight!) about Counselling and Psychotherapy modalities — how they work, why they work that way, and how they can help with the Mental Health issues discussed above.

Don’t forget you can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Connect with me on LinkedIn!

If you want to collaborate with the series in any way – maybe with a guest post of your own in a related topic, or to make an appearance in one of the topics I’m posting about, drop me a line and I will be more than happy to have a conversation with you and come up with great content for everyone to read and get something out of!

Enjoy the rest of your day!

 

Blog Series, Week 6: Looking after yourself by…having a bath!

Looking after yourself by...

Yes, you read right…but having a bath is not all I want to talk about this week.

What this article is really about is this: being on your own.

Now I realise that society tells us that being a hermit or isolated from others is a terrible, terrible thing. But I’m not talking about being on your own all the time. I am talking about taking the time to be on your own, to re-charge your energies and therefore be able to be with others feeling better about yourself and them!

For me, I need to disconnect from people to re-charge. Doing my counselling work is different though. It is more when I’m socialising that I feel drained by the end of it. So having my own space is important to me.

Others might re-charge by actually spending time with others, which will be the topic of next week’s post!

So do I feel lonely when I spend time on my own? Not at all! In fact I believe it is necessary for everyone to have time on their own once in a while.

Solitude is important to replenish yourself with what you need to be able to do life and to weather everything it has to give: problems, fun times, strong emotions, as well as it replenishes us in order to be able to give to others, to do our work well, to live well.

Here are some suggestions of how to be alone – without feeling lonely – and getting the most of that time:

Have a bath

I learned from a young lady with Autism that I used to support. When she had a bit of a difficult day, she would ask for a bath. Sometimes she would have 2-3 baths in the space of 7 hours, but it really relaxed her! At this point I hadn’t had a bath since playing with my sister when we were little, and saw no benefit – just a waste of time and water.

But having tried it since then, I am definitely a fan!

Get some Epsom Salts, Lavender Salts, some candles and your favourite music, and relax!

Try it and drop me a line below with the results!

It will also give you a chance to meditate and reflect on life, your plans, your relationships, or just a chance to zone out and enjoy time to yourself.

Get to know yourself better

Struggling with daily life-Need someone to talk to-I can help you.Click here to find out more. (1)

Meditating will allow you time to think about the things that you have done in your life in the past, what you are doing now, and what you want to do in the near and distant future.

Getting to know yourself better will also allow you to change the way you are in relationships, to begin new ones or end the ones that are either toxic or not good for you in other ways, to set clearer boundaries that make you happier, and to find ways to care for yourself that match your personality and needs.

Reading / writing / journaling / drawing / colouring / singing / cross-stitching or crocheting

This is a bit of a varied list, but not all of us are good at all of these or would necessarily enjoy some of these as a relaxing activity!

I particularly would prefer to read or write, which is what I am doing right now! Be true to yourself and find what works best. Remember, it’s about relaxing and looking after yourself. You have enough “work” to do in other areas of your life, this is a gift from yourself to yourself, something easy and lovely for you to enjoy!

Have a nap

This is one of my favourite activities, anyone that knows me will vouch for this one!

Sleep is a great way to disconnect from everything around us and, I find that it helps to work through problems or to think through what to do next – for example what to write on my blog next comes up for me after a nice bit of sleep!

So you need sleep not only to get your body and your brain to rest, but also to process your emotions, and any issues, problems or situations that might be going on for you right now.

Cook a nice meal for yourself or cheat and get a take away!

Cooking can be a very relaxing activity for some of us. Others might just go for the take away menu and make a call, which is perfectly fine. I like doing that too!

There is something in preparing our own meal, there is something caring about it. Meditation can also be done during this time as you focus on chopping, frying, preparing.

Find something you enjoy, find its recipe and ingredients and enjoy!

Exercise / go for a walk

In a few weeks time, I will be talking about the importance of keeping fit, so will keep it short here.

A great space to meditate is amongst nature, amongst the fresh air. So you get two things for the price of one! And both are free!

So go for it, try one or two or all of these and let me know how it goes!

Until next time…

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