Wow! What a year it has been!
Some good has come of it, although I know that many things that could have gone wrong in 2020 have done so.
But let’s focus on moving forward.Continue reading
Wow! What a year it has been!
Some good has come of it, although I know that many things that could have gone wrong in 2020 have done so.
But let’s focus on moving forward.Continue reading
Hi, and welcome to this week’s blog post.
I would like to focus today’s post on “you”. You are my priority in this post.
Why? Because you should be a priority in your life at all times.
I’m going to tell you a few ways in which you can easily achieve making yourself a priority in your life.
Prioritising yourself and your wellbeing doesn’t mean forgetting those around you, it just means that you come first, and if you come first, you’ll have more time and energy to help and support and spend time to those around you.
Here are some ideas for you to ponder on, in order to get your wellbeing back to being a priority, or to improve the way you look after yourself:
Spend some time in quiet and solitude to figure out what helps and what hinders your wellbeing.
Think about what things you’ve stopped doing that you really enjoyed. Find out why you stopped them and work through those reasons so you can re-start these activities if and when you want to.
Use your resources. I talk about this in my book. We all have our resources and we all have people and things around us that can help us improve or maintain our wellbeing. Maybe you live near the sea or a popular place to run or walk, or a swimming pool. Maybe you enjoy indoor activities more. Look for the things and people that will help you achieve our wellbeing goals, and support each other to get what you want from the activities you engage in.
Remember, what worked for you in the past might not work for you now. Reassess how you’ve changed and work with that to add or remove things from your life.
As I discussed in the previous post, and in other posts, learning to say “no” will allow us to be true to ourselves and in turn this will maintain or improve our wellbeing and also our relationships, as there’ll be no room for resenting ourselves or those we don’t say no to.
Disconnect from all your electronics at least once a week. Leave the house without your phone or anything with the potential to distract you from “you” time.
Use mindfulness videos on Youtube or download an app like the CalmApp to meditate and learn how to slow your breathing down to help you relax and wind down, or just take a break when things are getting too much. The more you do it, the more effective the results are!
Find a group of people you can talk to about your deepest, darkest emotions, thoughts and plans. This could be friends, family or a therapist like yours truly.
You’ll see how things improve within yourself and your relationships as you put some of these in practice.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive. There are more resources out there to further support you with this.
Have you got my book yet? It is a great resource to help you work out how to improve your life and relationships through 20 easy self-care habits. Click here to find out more.
Hi and welcome to my latest blog post.
You might remember my blog post titled “What to do with the should do / have to / must do’s”, if not you can read it by clicking the title.
I am a bit of a rebel – healthy rebellion and within reason! – when it comes to society or people in my life telling me how I should do things.
Even if it’s things like “you should be eating better”, well thanks for the sentiment, but I need to come to that realisation myself so I can be congruent and in tune with myself and actually achieve this “eating better” that you tell me about.
It is even more poignant when people say things like “you have to be helpful even if you’re tired”, “why are you saying no to me when you used to always say yes”, and more like that.
If I’m helpful to everyone even if I’m tired, I will resent myself and others and be even more tired and less able to help anybody else!
If I say yes all the time, I’m denying myself much needed alone time or time to regroup and be on my own.
Anthony Delaney writes a don’t do list that adds to what I’ve written about above. I’ll leave a few bullet point messages I took away from reading this book a few years ago. You can read more by clicking on the link.
Fearing commitment to a person, a task, ourselves, will stop us from achieving those things that are within our grasp to achieve.
We all have amazing strengths and resources to tap into to improve our lives and relationships, and sometimes to improve the lives of others too! This is one of the reasons I wrote and published my book.
Having goals will help us make those commitments and challenge those things that are stopping us from moving forward and achieving them.
We might need to challenge some of the people in our lives that frighten us into thinking “what if it all goes wrong” and keeping us from trying and stepping out of our comfort zones.
We might also need to challenge our own thoughts – asking “am I good enough?” or impostor syndrome might kick in.
Challenge negative self-talk and self-beliefs, either with yourself, with a friend or with a therapist, and help yourself move forward with what is growing inside of you!
Fear of losing what we have could be another thing stopping us from setting goals or committing to achieve them. This point is all about priorities, which is a whole ‘nother blog post in itself!
Support groups in general, and those popping up on Facebook and other forums, like my 20 Self-Care Habits group, are there to remind us that we are not alone in our suffering, our struggles, or our joys!
Being with like-minded individuals allows us to realise that we are not on our own.
We can be real with ourselves and others because others are allowing themselves to do the same!
Also, when you voice your opinion or struggle in one of these groups, you are being an example for someone else.
It is so reassuring to know that we are not the only ones in a particular situation, and that we can help each other!
It goes without saying that I agree with this point and in fact encourage you to re-consider your reasons for wanting to please everyone.
It might be a deeply rooted way of being. Exploring it and figuring out how to change your mindset – if you want to change it – to freeing yourself from the need to please everyone, might be a great gift to yourself and those around you.
We’ve all heard the phrase “you can’t pour out of an empty cup”. This is so true!
If I run out of energy or people-pleasing fuel, how am I going to keep giving? I’m going to burn out and end up depressed or anxious or something else.
Make sure you take time to regroup and re-energise. It’s about you too!
Now, keeping with the cups theme – we are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
We won’t be liked by everyone. And that’s absolutely fine.
Think about this: do you like everyone you’ve ever met? did someone come up in your mind when you read this bit?
Ok then. You don’t like everyone. Not everyone will like you either.
This last point has a few things that we need to learn how to stop feeling guilty about:
for looking after myself
for setting boundaries
for doing things my way
for not being in control of everything
being real instead of pretending to be someone I’m not
losing my temper or keeping cool in difficulty
not having it all
not having all the anwers
not meeting everyone else’s needs
In his introduction, Delaney says he wrote this book to help his readers “slow down, relax, enjoy life”.
I hope this post has helped trigger your thoughts about how to achieve this in your life.
Last time I wrote to you, I was about to start a month off, which ended last week.
I had lots of thinking and resting to do – I was having some physical health issues that I wasn’t able to sort out with all that I was doing.
Taking time off definitely helped, and I am now raring to get going again!
Looking after myself, and helping people look after themselves, is something I am passionate about. I felt I needed to be an example of what I talk about, and this was a great time to “practice what I preach”.
So, what happened in this month?
I can feel the difference in my energy levels, and many of the symptoms I had are either significantly less intense or gone altogether.
I know some of this might seem obvious, but when we are within ourselves, we tend to see things less clearly than someone on the outside looking in.
I needed the time off to get a bit of perspective and get myself back on track.
I feel like I have given myself a great gift, which culminated with a little self-care holiday to Italy.
I also had space to think about what I want to do with my life and businesses for the next year or so. I have lots of ideas to implement and share with you all, so watch out for them!
I am back on track with my physical health, which helps in all areas of my life.
I hope you enjoyed reading my update, and do look out for new posts from next week on topics relating to relationships, self-care and supervision.
I will also be posting regularly on my social media channels, so keep an eye out for me!
I’ve got 2 facebook groups that I’d like to point you to:
I also run a tutoring group and service, click here to find out more!
If you want to find out a bit more about all the services I offer and to follow me on social media, click here for my directory.
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”
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:
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….
….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:
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.
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.
I 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!
BONUS VIDEO – A WORD FROM THE AUTHOR – KARIN BRAUNER
20 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.
Many 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.
BONUS VIDEO – FIND OUT HOW TO – DEVELOP YOUR STRENGTHS, USE YOUR RESOURCES, IMPROVE YOUR LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS
20 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.
BONUS VIDEO – FIND OUT MORE – IMPROVE YOUR LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS
In the opening chapters, ’20 Habits of Self Care’ makes a bold claim that by implementing some of the activities from the book into our lives, we can expect to lead an improved life. I was sceptical of this claim at first but by the time I had reached the end of the book I could see how by implementing some of the activities and ideas that most resonated with me, I could expect to see an increase in my mental wellbeing.
Often when we think of self-care, we think of treating ourselves; whether that be to something nice to eat or time doing an activity we enjoy. Whilst this can fulfil part of our individual self-care needs, the self-care habits in this book go deeper than this and are about shaping our overall wellbeing rather than a quick pick-me-up. The ‘habits’ are ideas that can be implemented into one’s life and therefore become the everyday rather than a special treat.
One idea that resonated with me personally was the concept of personal space in relation to technology.
Technology and personal space are not something I have put together before and this has encouraged me to have some downtime from my mobile phone. Perhaps I will have my time away from technology whilst spending time in nature, really focusing on my surroundings rather than hiking through a park with my headphones on thinking that I have ‘done’ nature for the day.
There is a running theme throughout of improving self-esteem and I would say that this book is ideal for someone who is looking to boost their mental wellbeing and/ or self-
esteem. If you are someone that is suffering from depression, implementing some of the activities in this book may well be very useful for you but self-care may begin with fulfilling basic needs such as looking after health and hygiene. In that case, this book may be the next step.
This book appears to be written from Karin’s own journey of self-care. A lot of examples are written from her own personal experience which gives credibility and integrity to the ideas that are
discussed. I particularly liked the practical nature to this book. It’s concise but has many ideas for personal reflection (making it personal to each reader) and practical ideas on how to implement some of habits into your life. Rather than being a theoretical book that is read and then stays on the shelf, I can see how the activities and ideas could become part of the everyday for both myself and my clients.
Watch this video to find out more about the book…
Karin Brauner’s recently published book on Self Care is the first and only book you will need to buy on self care. Whether this is the first time you have dipped your toe in the world of wellness and self care or you are well versed on the subject, this is the only book you’ll even need. Well written, with easy to follow instructions on how to reframe your life, this is a self care book with a difference.
The author is honest with the reader right from the beginning , she doesn’t sugar coat the reality, that living your true life, will require hard work, and dedication to understanding yourself. That is just one of the reasons why this book is different from the rest, she is not offering a quick fix, there are of course little exercises that can be done in times of needs, but she is offering much more than that, she is offering a mindset reset, one that will change your whole life and you’ll finish the book knowing yourself better than you ever thought possible .
The book starts out by concentrating on the importance of boundaries in your life and highlights the tools needed to start structuring your own life with boundaries, dealing with ‘your mind, body, sprite and relationships’. You will learn how to structure your life in a way that is dictated by your needs and not societal demands.
As you realise that you too are worthy of happiness, the author guides you through the difficult relationships you may have to navigate, by not shying away from conflict, but meets them head on bringing about a new respect for both you and your relationships.
Each chapter has a different theme that you can dip into at any time you are struggling with that particular issue in your life. You are given tips for improving the situation, but more importantly how to reduce the likelihood of coming across these situations again, you will have learned the tools to deal with the next step when needed. Each theme is fully explored, then you will be lead through a series of visualisation exercises and given options for alternative outcomes, it’s the ultimate learning tool.
As you continue your journey into self awareness, it will become easier to identify old patterns, and make new behaviours. The author gives you the power to say No, and in a world where saying yes is the only answer, you are helped to take back your power and own your own destiny and regain that control of your life.
Through a series of visualisation exercises, meditations, reframing and life hacks , you will learn how to take responsibility for your decisions. You will end up confident in your identity and living a life that is true to who you are at the core.
You learn how to trust yourself, after all who knows you better than you do, it’s time to start listening to yourself and this book gives you the tools to do so.
Watch this video to find out more about the book…
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!
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.
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.
Enjoy the blog posts on the list below.
I am looking forward to sharing my ebook with you in the near future!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
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…
I am happy to present a guest post that Nikki Meadows from The Richness of a Simple Life has invited me to write for her community!
Emotional overwhelm is something that gets us at some point – or many points in life. When we are in it, it’s hard to know what to do to solve it, avoid it, and prevent further overwhelm.
This post talks about just that – what you can do in the middle of the emotional storm! Have a read and do leave your comments for me and Nikki either on her site or below this post!
This week, it is my utmost pleasure to introduce Tami Bauer, my best friend since we were 5 years old!
This woman is such a powerful example of what a massive change you can make when you finally take the steps to look after yourself, by finding a way – or in Tami’s case, a variety of ways – to do so.
As everything to do with emotions, scars from the past, things we have ignored or ‘swept under the carpet’, they catch up with us and demand our attention, one way or another.
I asked Tami about her own journey to successful self-care and how she keeps it up, with everything life throws at her.
In this video, Tami answers some questions that we all can learn from, and have probably asked ourselves. Maybe it has stayed at the asking stage for some of us.
Take some inspiration from Tami’s journey, and let me know how it goes! Taking the first step is the hardest but possibly the most rewarding in the end!
She goes through some of the things we have already spoken about in the past blog posts – setting boundaries, getting rid of toxic people or comments people make, being more assertive, being kind and compassionate to yourself, and others.
Below the video, I will leave the questions I asked Tami so you can follow the video or skip to the questions you want to know more about.
What led you to start your journey?
What was the first step you took to look after yourself?
Did the other aspects of your journey come after this?
Who has supported you throughout this process?
What do you do on those days that it’s difficult to keep up with the diet, the exercise routine, the positivity to carry on?
If you could speak to the Tami from 20-25 years ago (you must have been between 11-16 years old), what would you say to her now?
How about 15 years ago (aged 22)?
What advice would you give to people in a similar situation to you in regards diet/food related issues? in regards to exercise? and in regards to mental health/healing past hurts?
Thanks Tami for this in-depth and very personal account of what your journey has been like, and how you are better off for braving it all and powering through day to day!
In the past editions of the series, we have looked at how to set boundaries and honour our feelings. This week we will look at how to look after ourselves in the “plugged-in” environment we live in 24/7/365 nowadays.
We need technology to communicate with loved ones and friends all over the world, we need it for our business – heck I need it for keeping tabs on my blog, followers and potential clients contacting me for counselling or tutoring! – But do we need this 24/7/365?
It’s hard to disengage, it’s like we’re going to miss something great if we disconnect for even 5 minutes!
Recent studies and articles have mentioned how technology is affecting our mental health – getting a like on Facebook, a retweet on Twitter, a follow on other social media platforms, can mean a good day for someone…a negative comment can do the opposite altogether. Also, sitting in the “in my phone” position gives us back problems, neck pain
and possibly even headaches! Not to mention the fact that it separates us from what is happening in our environment.
Now I’m not saying get rid of your technology, I would be a hypocrite. I’m not getting rid of my technology either! It’s just how we manage and balance life with technology in it.
So what alternatives do I suggest for you this week? Have a look at what Ecotherapists recommend:
This could mean an art activity while you fill your home with things you’ve found on a hike, a walk or a visit to the local garden centre.
Position your furniture -maybe a chair or your bed – in such a way that you can see a tree or a nice plant from your window.
Getting indoor plants is an easy way to bring nature in, especially if you live in a city or a block of flats. Horticulture is a good way to re-engage with nature: grow plants in a window box, help a neighbour with their garden, get an allotment, go to pick-your-own farms and get fresh and organic vegetables for your dinner.
Listen to sounds of waves, birds, and other sounds of nature you enjoy.
Do more activities outdoors
Spending time in nature is free, so that’s a bonus!
Fit in a short walk around a park before work or on your way back. Do more exercise outdoors, with the fresh air.
Go for a walk along a beach and pick up curious objects along the way.
Meditate – find a favourite spot and just sit in silence, learn to “be” rather than “do” all the time…
Go bird watching. Go for wildlife walks where you look for animals in their natural habitats.
Visit a local farm.
Pet sit your neighbours’ animals. Or get a pet yourself is this is possible!
Hang bird feeders to attract birds, and maybe even build nests for them.
There is much that nature can give us that technology can’t – not all the time anyway. Sometimes just a short walk without our phones could do the trick. Or sitting at the beach looking at the water and listening to the sounds of the seagulls, the waves.
So, check yourself:
how will you balance all that nature brings with all that technology brings, how will you get what you need from both while at the same time looking after your mental and physical health?
What can you do to reach a better balance which won’t mean giving up on the life that you’re used to with technology around?
Is there a park near you that you can go to more often? Could you read your kindle book there instead of indoors? How about starting an adventure and growing your own plants for the first time (those are my first little plants on the photo)?
Any more ideas? Drop me a comment below!
Welcome to week 3 of the blog series Looking after yourself! Thanks for following and I
hope you enjoy this one on honouring your feelings!
So, what does it mean to “honour” anything or anyone?
The Cambridge online dictionary defines honour as follows:
to honour is to show great respect for someone or something, especially in public.
So, for the purposes of this article, honour means to show respect, and it is interesting that it says that this is especially the case when in public. So if we are talking about honouring our feelings, we must do this both when we are on our own, but especially when we are in the presence of others!
Wow! That is powerful!
In order for others to honour us and our feelings, we must show them how we honour ourselves and our feelings!
I mean, really watch your reactions, both physical, emotional and in your thinking. All of these things we do that we usually take for granted or are sub-conscious and automatic, will tell us what we need to know about how we really feel about something. This in turn will allow us to make a decision of what to do with that person, situation or thing we are dealing with.
Trust your “gut” and bodily responses
That gut feeling that everyone talks about is on the go all the time in our lives. The difference is whether we listen to it or shrug it off, only realising later on that if we had listened to it we would have avoided an argument, an accident, an uncomfortable situation.
Our bodies tell us a lot about how we really feel about something or someone – we might start shaking when an old boyfriend walks past, we might clench our fists when near that person that hogs all the attention with silly stories, or we might feel sad when going past a particular street where we used to hang out with that friend that is no longer with us…
So what should we do about the gut and bodily feelings? Listen to them, respond to them. Maybe get away from that person that angers you; go work through your sad feelings, maybe all you need is a little cry to honour yourself and that friend you lost.
Get out of your head and into your heart
Don’t get me wrong, thinking is as important as feeling, but when trying to honour our feelings, we need to stop that voice that starts judging, saying things like:
“oh your friends won’t like that you’re telling them they upset you”
“you should put their feelings before yours”
“it’s not socially acceptable to think about your own feelings and much less to let others know about it”
“you are going to end up without friends if you say/do that”
If you are going to have a thought about how you’re feeling, let it be something like this:
“I am entitled to feel this way, I am not hurting anyone with how I feel, I need to be true to myself or these feelings are going to get bigger and then I will explode, It’s better to deal with them right now”
Process past hurts
There is a lot of value in working through issues from our past, when others might have not honoured us or our feelings and left us hurt and vulnerable. We might repeat these learned painful patterns with others if we don’t work through them.
I am not saying it will be easy, but learning how to process that anger, upset, sadness (etc…) that you might not have been allowed or known how to work through in the past, will be a step in the right direction.
It will allow you to name your feelings, to understand what you might have felt at the time, and feel those un-felt feelings, which will free you from those “ghosts” of the past.
Giving these un-felt feelings space to come up and out means you are honouring your past self’s feelings and therefore it will be easier to honour your feelings from now on.
If you feel it – value it, it must be important!
Last week we talked about valuing ourselves – part of this is acknowledging our feelings are important. We will never feel anything out of thin air or without it having a real meaning for us.
If we understand this, then we will be more assertive and more able to honour ourselves, to set those boundaries with ourselves and others.
It is like creating a habit, it will take time to set clear boundaries with others, and it will
take time to value your feelings and not feel ashamed or mean when expressing them; but once you do, it will be great!
Following these tips will help you can assert yourself – to yourself and others:
you will be able to accept all your feelings, to express how you are feeling – to yourself and others – and more importantly to be caring, compassionate and empathic to yourself about what you are feeling.
This in turn will lead others to do the same for you, and maybe even start being more caring to themselves!