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Six Simple Steps To Self-Care

These tips for self-care will help towards achieving positive health and wellbeing. You’ve heard the expression ‘Charity begins at home,’  so does self-care. Let’s be honest if you can’t look after yourself and take an interest in your wellbeing, why should anyone else?

Successful people use simple mind hacks to boost their self-confidence while they sleep and feed their minds with personal development programmes and podcasts by day.

With the NHS creaking under pressure and GP appointments hard to come by, preventative steps to ensure our positive mental health and wellbeing  are more important than ever.

Tips for Self-Care

One Eastern approach to wellbeing is called Ayurveda, roughly translated as The Science of Life. I’ve loosely studied Ayurveda since 1984 by reading and attending courses but I feel as if I’ve just scratched the surface! It’s  a vast subject and one of the main things is to understand your constitution, also known as your doshic make-up.

A quiz can help you do this and it’s one of my favourite tips for taking better care of yourself so read on…

  1. Know yourself. Take the Dosha quiz here: Dosha Quiz
  2. As we move out of late summer, rethink your diet,  you’ll need to eat differently as the Autumn winds and damp weather take hold.  See my delicious recipe below.
  3. Keep negative thoughts at bay, use this  vibration meditation. Close your eyes, inhale slowly and on the exhale make the sound Mmmmmm. Feel the vibration on your lips and imagine it resounding around the inside of your brain. Do this for 3 minutes minimum. For a greater sense of calm try 7 or 21 minutes. It’s excellent if you suffer from insomnia,  obsessive thoughts and anxiety.
  4. Are you one of those people who feel irritated easily? Start the day with fresh lemon and warm water it’s cleansing for the liver and surprisingly, can calm your disposition.  If your digestion is feeling sluggish peel and slice fresh ginger, boil it and cool before drinking first thing in the morning. It feels very warming to the gut.
  5. If you have trouble sleeping, massage your hands and feet with warm sesame oil and go to bed wearing socks and light cotton gloves. Write down anything that could keep you awake . Make a list of all the things you have to do tomorrow, then forget about them until the morning. When there are things you need to get off of your chest, journal until you’re bored!
  6. Aim to bathe in nature at least once a week and preferably more often . Go for a walk in a park, woodland or  visit the seaside, blue and green are soothing for the soul.

Would you like to try a regular weekly online meditation class? 

I run a session at 8.30pm – 9.30pm on Wednesday evenings email me at sue@thestresshacker.com and I’ll send you details. Read some of the testimonies to hear what other’s say about it.

Recipe for Kitchari

Make the recipe below for yourself and see how nurturing it is. Let me know how you get on I love to hear your feedback.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice 1 cup mung dal (split yellow) I also use red lentils as I find them much easier to digest and quicker to cook.
  • Approximately 6 cups of water
    Roughly 1 inch of fresh ginger, chopped or grated – it really is easier to peel with a teaspoon!
  • ¼ teaspoon of rock salt
  • 1 tablespoon of ghee
    1/2 tsp. coriander powder
    1/2 tsp. cumin powder
    1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
    1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
    1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
    1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
  • It’s a bit of a faff measuring this out every time you make it,  I make it up in bulk and keep it in a jar and I tend to pulp it into a powder in a pestle and mortar (except the ginger and fresh coriander.)
  • A handful of freshly chopped coriander
  • A handful of  assorted vegetables ( these are optional)
  • Preparation – takes no time.

Cooking Instructions:

  1. Thoroughly wash your lentils in a sieve, make sure the water runs clear through them and leave to one side.
  2. Place a heavy bottomed saucepan on a high heat, when it’s hot, turn it down add the ghee, let it melt and throw your spices in (but NOT the fresh coriander) stir them into the ghee until the seeds pop (If you haven’t pulped them) Do NOT let it burn.
  3. Next add the washed lentils and coat them in the spicy ghee mixture, then cover until they become soft. (Check from time to time that it’s not burning and add a little more water if necessary.If you want more of a soup, add more water and don’t add rice. If you want a more substantial meal, add less water and add your vegetables for about 10 mins or less if you like them al dente.

    Note:
      If you’re adding some vegetables, wash and chop them into small chunks, you could use broccoli, courgettes, carrots, sweet potato, or some spinach or cabbage.
  4. Finally throw in a packet of 2 minute basmati rice (or a cupful that you might have already cooked) and stir in for 4 or 5 minutes.

In my opinion good cooking comes from tasting as you go along, after all you’ll be eating it so you’re the judge of it! If you’re feeling low or unwell, this is considered a ‘healing meal’ and is the perfect remedy for any body type or age group.  Enjoy!

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TEN TIPS FOR STAYING COOL

There are some interesting ways to keep cool during the summer heat and these are my suggestions

1. Use cooling herbs in your food such as coriander/cilantro and mint chopped into salads, soups, wraps and sandwiches. If you lack appetite, soups can be nourishing and served cold, think Gazpacho.

2. Foods such as coconut, cucumber and melon are cooling to the digestive system as well as refreshing to eat and drink.

3. Add coriander or/and mint sprigs to a jug of water overnight and cool in the fridge, sip throughout the day.

4. Type A people or (predominantly pitta dosha in Ayurveda) may need to cool down on the inside when you feel yourself becoming irritated and agitated. Cut down your To Do list down by half and remove the pressure, give yourself a break now and then!

5. Same as for No. 4 types, when you feel yourself becoming flustered and overheated try the ‘Cooling Breath’ Sitali or Sheetkari. ONLY do this in an unpolluted environment such as your bedroom with a window open (NOT for example near a busy road!) Sit upright. Stick your tongue out and roll it like a straw, then gently and slowly draw the breath inwards… then slowly and softly exhale through the nose. Repeat for 10 breaths. If you can’t protrude your tongue – don’t worry it’s hereditary – do this instead, bring your front teeth together and gently draw the breath in through the teeth it sounds a bit like ‘siiitth’ and exhale through the nose. Repeat for 10 breaths. It will cool your digestive and respiratory systems. NB you might belch or/and pass wind 10 minutes after, so make sure you’re among friends!

6. Keep a good quality bottle of Aloe Vera in the fridge and drink a shot glass every morning to cool down your digestive system.

7. Rub an ice cube on your pulse points when feeling overheated.

8. Keep a flannel in the freezer and place it over your forehead before going off to sleep.

9. It has to be said KEEP WELL HYDRATED! Drink plenty of water. Far better to sip throughout the day than to guzzle in sudden large quantities.

10. Keep your environment cool and clutter free, pull down the blinds and keep the curtains closed and windows open for a through breeze if possible.

I hope these tips help you to stay cool let me know how you get on.

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ANXIOUS, TENSE, NERVOUS? Beat Anxiety

Helping to beat anxiety

Years ago I suffered from anxiety in the form of IBS except it wasn’t called that then!  It presented itself as painful knotted, tension in my stomach accompanied by an array of negative doom-filled thoughts. Lovely!

In desperation I tried hypnotherapy.  I was hooked and undertook the training myself, as it was much like a good book that you want to share with others. That training signified the end of living with anxiety.

Having spent over 30 years working with people suffering with anxiety there are many ways to alleviate symptoms and to be anxiety free.

Needless to say I find it disheartening whenever  I read statements that say “anxiety will never go away completely” as this has simply not been the case with hundreds, in fact thousands of clients that I have worked with since the early 1990’s.

Whilst I agree that anxiety is unlikely to disappear by itself, I don’t think it’s helpful to ‘accept’ that it’s something you have to live with. I have even worked with clients born from anxious mother’s, who have been able to re-wire their minds and bodies and live anxiety free.

Surely it’s better to take action and discover ways to minimise and even get rid of anxiety, rather than to passively accept that you will always be this way.

I urge you, do not leave a stone unturned in your pursuit of a solution for anxiety . There is a lot of help out there.  Make it a priority to find the right help for you and for ways to quash this debilitating state.

If you are unable to afford the services of other’s, do your own research, there is a wealth of information on the internet. I have written a number of blogs in an effort to help suffers of anxiety.

Here’s some things that can help minimise and even beat anxiety:

beating anxietyFoods to minimise anxiety

You are what you eat. It’s no surprise that a diet laden with sugary drinks and starchy carbs will leave you feeling agitated and lethargic.  Work with a nutritionist, dietician or Ayurvedic practitioner to find the best way of eating for your body type.

Movement to combat anxiety

Discover what works best for you, whether that’s exercise, yoga,  pilates, dance, swimming, tai chi or qi gong. Buddy up with a friend and see if a power-walk will help.

Therapeutic Interventions

Enlist help from qualified practitioners such as  Psychotherapists. Counsellors.  Life-Coaches.  Breath-work Practitioners. Yoga Teachers.

Self-Help

There are many routes to self-healing. You could try daily journaling.
Write something every day in a notepad – or at night if your anxiety is worse then – It doesn’t matter what you write. You can write about current life events, your thoughts and feelings about yourself or others.  It helps to externalise and exorcise your thoughts.

Reduce Your Adrenaline

Shaking out adrenaline by bouncing on your heels and shaking legs, body, arms, hands etc for a good few minutes is a great tip I call it Dump That Stress and made a short video click here.

Self-hypnosis

since anxiety for some is about loss of control, learning techniques that you can apply to yourself, might be a better approach for you.

Meditation

A great approach though is should be said that not everyone who suffers anxiety feels comfortable being still, so whilst helpful, it’s not for all.

Mind & Body Approaches

Many mind/body approaches work with the notion that the ‘universe’ along with the subconscious mind has no concept of past or future, therefore establishing clear affirmations, stated in the here and now is an extremely powerful approach to making change.

Because the language of the subconscious mind is symbols and images, meditating with the perfect suggestion in front of you can help accelerate the process.

At www.guidedloa.com Cassandra has developed a beautiful range of candles to help accelerate the manifesting process. They facilitate the notion that the universe appreciates and rewards gratitude. As such affirming with gratitude means that as far as your subconscious mind is concerned it is already happening and  the universe mirrors these thoughts.

MEDITATION CANDLE
wwwguidedloa.com

In another limb of yoga we have a  practice called Yoga Nidra where mind and body  are trained to be calm and relaxed.  Within the practice , when deeply relaxed, we are guided to move mentally between opposites such as hot/cold, happy/sad, heavy/light, by doing this we learn to develop tolerance, acceptance and resilience. It’s called a practice because repetition is the mother of all skill.

If you’re interested in trying out a class drop me an email and I’ll send you more information or try the audio programme YOGA NIDRA

Finally, have faith and belief in yourself, trust that you can beat anxiety – don’t give up.

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Anxious About The Ukraine?

Is Your Anxiety Creeping Up?

I’ve had quite a few messages from people who are struggling with anxiety about the attack on the Ukraine and I doubt anyone could fail to be affected by it.

But here’s the thing, if like me you are highly sensitive it’s a bad idea to listen, read or watch too much of the reporting. It is a trigger for anxiety,  it really can have a negative and detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing.

Isn’t that just being ignorant?

I’m not being an Ostrich or selfish when I say that I limit how much of it I allow into my world. I have made myself  ill in the past with anxiety by worrying and feeling anxious about things I have no control over.

These are some of the things I advocate that will give you a sense of control (instead of panic)

Take Gandhi’s advice and “Be The Change You Want To See Happen In The World”  (Apparently he didn’t phrase it quite like that  but you get the gist) Practise being peaceful, in this way you lessen inner conflict?

  1. If you believe in prayer, pray.
  2. Quieten your mind and body with a simple meditation of bringing your attention to your breathing hundreds of times throughout the day. Given you’re a microcosm of the macrocosm Be Peace.
  3. If you actually want to do something, dig deep and donate even the smallest donation will be of help to the Ukrainians in their time of need.
  4. Remember the ‘golden hours’ that set you up for how you’re going to feel during the day, are the first hour in the morning and the last hour at night.  This is NOT the time for catching up on the news, lunchtime or sometime through the day is better.
  5. I went online to Etsy Ukraine.com  and purchased some digital products in an effort to support.
  6. Campaign when and where you feel able to.

If you need additional help to stay calm, relaxed and free from anxiety try  Stress Free With Confidence the hypnosis MP3 that will ease your stress.

Finally if you’re still feeling stressed consider doing some research on the wonderful Ayurvedic herb Ashwaganda. The benefits include helping to reduce inflammation, combat stress and anxiety, improve memory and  help balance blood sugar as well as boosting muscle strength. Personally I found it really helped improve the quality of my sleep.

Thats all for now and thank you if you’ve taken the time to read to the end.

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Bullied. Why Me?

Over the years I’ve worked with many people whose lives have been devastated by bullying.

I remember a highly distressed client who was being bullied at the school gates by a group of mothers who didn’t want her in their ‘gang’! Her confidence had crumbled and she crashed between feeling depressed and  anxious. “Why do they always target me?” she cried in her first session.

Bullied

Later in therapy,  she remembered many memories of being snubbed and ignored by other children. She was always the new girl and had to change schools a lot throughout her childhood, because of her father’s job.

Luckily she was able to spot the link between the events and was motivated to heal.

Bullying can present itself in many ways and one thing is evident, that there is a correlation between people being bullied as adults and similar incidents of bullying in childhood.

Years ago, I did a lot of telephone counselling. One corporate customer kept us busy with staff who had been held up at knife or gunpoint during their work. I was shocked at how often this happened to them.

I was fascinated to discover  that pretty much everyone I worked with had been bullied in childhood. As they talked about the recent trauma,  their earlier wounds were revealed in what can only be described as an attempt to heal from the original traumas.

This idea is backed up by Louise Hay in her self-help book You Can Heal Your Life. She advocates addressing trauma from early life, to stop the cycle of  pain and suffering. Citing her own phenomenal journey through trauma to recovery from cancer, her book is still a best seller 30 years on.

Perhaps I should mention a self-help book I wrote with a colleague  I Just Want To Be Happy .  It’s packed with tools for empowerment and change. We also explore the link between childhood issues and how they impact  us adult life.

These cycles are sometimes referred to as Repetition Compulsion,  there’s more about that in this link

  https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/anxiety-zen/201603/why-do-we-repeat-the-past-in-our-relationships#:~:text=This%20relates%20to%20a%20most,is%20likely%20to%20happen%20again.

Thankfully there have been huge leaps in psychology, psychobiology and neuroscience. We therapists have an abundance of tools and techniques to help clients recover.

Nonetheless, if you don’t understand how it is possible to heal trauma, you could be forgiven for wanting to  avoid looking at a painful past.  Why would you want to revisit that!

But by  facing our underlying traumas we can free ourselves from the  past,  diminish fear and anxiety and arrive in the present feeling  safer, stronger and more resilient.

Once the work in the past is done it’s easier to learn tools and techniques to protect and empower ourselves.

Improved communication is a natural by-product of healing. In the absence of trauma the pre-frontal cortex (our front brain) functions more efficiently. As a result, the link between our feelings and thoughts is sharpened, as such we can defend ourselves faster.

Learning  skills like assertiveness techniques help us to stand our ground with the bullies.

Consequently when we’re no longer in survival mode (fight, flight and collapse) we can improve our health.  By learning how to relax,  improving our breathing,  strengthening our core and getting fitter we feel more robust.

These soft skills all add to a more confident, congruent way of presenting in the world and enable us to stand up to the bullies or at the very least spot them coming and move out of their way.

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Change, Change, Change.

Keep The Change

How do you deal with change? Do you embrace it or fear it?

There are many reasons why change can be scary, such as conditioning. Your parent’s worldview, their fears, worries and concerns create the environment in which you develop and their views can become yours by default, unless you challenge them.

Also, current affairs, no one in the world can have escaped reports of the C Virus. Keeping it in perspective though is another matter and someone with a demanding schedule may, for example, find it easier to deal with than someone who lives alone and listens to incessant daily news bulletins becoming more anxious by the day.

We like to be comfortable and in control and when we ‘know’ the outcome it makes us feel safer, so it becomes easier to stick to what is familiar.

Use it or lose it

Strangely this can work against us as we get older, although our steady routines and familiar routes may offer us comfort, for the brain to stimulate growth and carve out new neural pathways, we need to do something different, challenging. And change requires retraining the brain.

The definition of change is to replace something with something else, to upgrade, substitute or improve.

I did this some years ago when it became apparent that I wouldn’t be having children, I decided to start singing. Strangely one of the first songs I sang publicly was a popular Billy Holiday number, called ‘You’ve Changed’!

I really had to push myself out of my comfort zone and learn something totally different from my ‘day’ job as a Psychotherapist. Not only learning the words to new songs, becoming familiar with music charts but I really had to overcome my fear of standing up in public and singing. This is akin to standing naked in front of lots of people by the way!

Lighten The Load Learn Something New

Learning something new and honing that new craft will help you to become more resilient and flexible both mentally and it seems emotionally. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change itself. As a hypnotherapist I can vouch for that. When a programme (a habit) is no longer serving you, for example over-eating. Change it! Upgrade to a new programme that curbs that behaviour and offers you new ways of thinking and feeling about food.

We should welcome change because it fosters resilience, you may have heard the adage that the strongest tree is the bamboo because it bends deeply in the wind and will not snap during a storm. Can you bend naturally with the changes that life throws at you? Because one thing is certain, all the while we’re living there will always be change so better perhaps to learn how to embrace change than to engage in a futile attempt to resist what is?

Finally, I conducted my own mini survey and asked some people I know who have survived various adverse experiences, how they coped with change.

My neighbour Major George Whittingham coped with lockdown by learning a new piece on his euphonium each week. This was in preparation of a performance to an appreciative audience of neighbours and passing traffic! He also says his faith and an exercise of daily gratitude are the two things that have helped him through life’s challenges and at 95 he has had a few.

A friend who has survived several devastating life changes told me the best way she knows to cope with unwelcome change is to “Go with the flow, look forward and don’t dwell on the past.”

Surprisingly change becomes safe and familiar again when practised often enough. If you don’t believe me? Try this, fold your arms. Comfy? Probably because you folded them the way you always do. Now unfold them and fold them the other way, with the other hand resting on your upper arm. Feels odd doesn’t it, repeat it a few times and you’ll notice it begins to feel more normal.

I wish you well with your new normal and if you need any help with that check out some of the programmes available for you in my shop or practice your flexibility by joining my online yoga classes. Drop me a line for more information.

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5 Simple Ways To Boost Your Mental Health

This year Mental Health Awareness Week 10 – 16 May uses the theme of nature to support our wellbeing.

Since emotional wellbeing plays a significant role in positive mental health, we have to feel better in order to have positive mental health and for that we need to change our physiology.  Here are my top 5 tips for feeling better.

1. Shake It Off
Firstly we need to move. Even if you can’t get outside in the open air you can open all the windows to change the air in your space and disperse any heavy negative energy. Do that now!

Next stand with your feet hip width apart and bounce up and down on your heels, now begin to shake your fingers, hands, arms, shoulders and hips. This is one of the quickest ways to disperse stress. Keep shaking and bouncing for a minimum of 2 minutes, this will change your physiology and emotional and psychological state.

2. Keep your feet hip width apart. Raise your arms palms up to meet each other and back down 5 times then arms out in front of you and up beside your ears and down beside you again. These two movements involve your cardiovascular and respiratory systems thus changing your physiology.

STAYING ALIVE

3. Add music to the above two movements, loud strong beats if you’re prone to depression and slower calming sounds if you’re prone to anxiety. Or  better still, dance like no one’s watching to your favourite song.

4. Surround yourself with Blue and Green… in this instance I’m referring to nature. Do your best to get out to your nearest  coastline and walk beside the sea whatever the weather.  Alternatively immerse yourself in the green of a park, woodland or nearest countryside walk. Spend at least an hour and make sure you take some time to look up, this will without a doubt, leave you feeling  calmer and more grounded.

5. Finally sit in garden, park or woodland and soften your gaze as you gently focus on a flower, tree or the general landscape. Aim to stop your eyes from grasping and looking  intensely at the scene, instead allow your eyes to softly ‘absorb’ your surroundings. From time to time in this mindfulness exercise be aware of your inhalation and exhalation.

I hope you find this helpful and of course you wont know unless you try! To make it easer I’ve added a short audio clip to help. Listen below:

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What? Having Trouble Sleeping?

Woman Struggling To Sleep

Mistakes That Stop You From Going To Sleep

Are you having trouble getting to sleep? You're not alone according to research a whopping 36% of UK adults struggle to get to sleep at least on a weekly basis. Almost 1 in 5 have trouble falling asleep every single night. Nearly half of the UK have trouble falling asleep at least once a month.

Woman Struggling To Sleep
Restless Sleep

Make a note of my  best sleep tips:

1. STOP STIMULATING YOURSELF!

One hour before bed STOP drinking, especially alcohol and anything with caffeine in.

STOP scrolling, watching TV, working on devices, and listening to the radio or podcasts. Even reading is a No No if you want to get to sleep and stay asleep.

2. START BEING SMART

This is what to do with that hour. Once or twice a week oil up! Especially if your skin is dry. Massage, using warm sesame oil. Cover your entire body gently massage your face, your ears, up your nose and in between your toes!  Allow the oil to soak in for 20 minutes, then have a warm bath or shower you will sleep so well.

Prepare: Get things ready for the next day during this hour. If there are things you feel you have to do, make a note of them before you go to sleep and decide to do them first thing in the morning.

Head trash? If you’re plagued with thoughts this is the best time for you to journal. Scribble it all down to empty out your mind.

Still awake? If you’re still obsessed with thoughts, sit upright, close your eyes and gently hum… feel the vibration on your lips as you exhale the hum - do this for 10 minutes it will help your mind to quieten and sleep to come.

Still can't sleep?  Why not? Write down the following sentence and then the next 50 things that come to mind. " I can't sleep because..." Let's face it, you're the expert on you and somewhere you know what the problem is - unearth it and deal with it!

3. AND DO THIS...

Are your feet cold at night? Massage warm sesame oil into your feet and put socks on - you'll sleep like a baby!

To show baby sleeping
Sleep Like A Baby

Meditate for 15 minutes. Sit upright ideally on a hardback chair. Close your eyes. Bring your awareness gently to your nostrils and follow each in breath, pause, exhalation  and the following pause... rinse and repeat.

Don't go to bed hungry or full, both get in the way of a good night's sleep. Exercise a little discipline and aim to stop eating and drinking after 7.00pm. Plan to eat aa more substantial lunch.

If you’ve missed out on sleep - Don’t nap, go to bed a bit earlier instead.

Set your alarm for no later than 7am. Don't play the alarm game... you're an adult! Get up and get on.

This is by far the best tip, go for a brisk 30 minute walk within two hours of waking up.

Download my Sleep Well Now programme and bundle for minimum effort.

The problem of poor sleep won't improve unless you do something different. These tips will help you to reset your sleep pattern and cultivate healthier night-time routines.

 

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10 Steps To Stay Stress Free After Lockdown

Going back to work after lockdown will have it’s challenges for sure. Because there’s a tendency in life to cling to the familiar, to feel safe and secure, change can feel threatening. Are there steps we can take  to feel more in control and stress free after lockdown?

Read on for some suggestions on how to make your re-integration as stress free and smooth as possible.

Indeed let’s also remember, that whilst the more extrovert among us may be excited at the prospect of returning to work and re-engaging with an audience, other’s may well
dread the return to work for that very reason! Just the act of interacting with gregarious

Outgoing Personality
Stress-free and ready to go!

colleagues can be draining, anxiety provoking and far from stress-free for those with more introvert tendencies.

Rather than worrying about what might happen,  aim instead, to discover how to ring fence yourself and reduce the risk to your mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Write a personal risk assessment and find stress-free solutions for your particular situation. Have a look at some of my suggestions below

You may wonder, can there be certainty in such uncertain times?

Perhaps a level of acceptance is a better state to aim for than a sense of certainty because we are in a state of flux and futures are uncertain for many of us.

Yet the fact remains, we want to feel in control and there is so much in life that we have no control over,  the sooner we accept this, become flexible and adapt, the less stressful life will be.

Taking Charge of life
Stress-free and back in control

How can we handle the stress of not having control? In this link I explain the Circle of Influence and Circle of Control a tool that facilitates the discovery of personal ways to feel empowered and stress-free.

In fact, something as simple as learning a gentle breathing technique can quell a rising panic allowing you to regain self-control in the middle of a meeting or on the train going to work.

 

Before returning to work make a list of some of the things you are in control of.

Below are some tips about how to stay stress free after lockdown.

1. Consistent Clear Communication

This might be expressing to your line manager/supervisor/boss that you’re struggling with an aspect of the return to work. If you find it difficult to verbalise, write a private and confidential email outlining your concerns.

Likewise where possible, suggest one or two solutions to the problem you’ve identified, such as split working from home/office. Changing hours or asking for clarity on the troubling issue.

This way you take both the problem and the solution to your boss, who may also be struggling with issues.

2. Listen to yourself first

Your body will give you very clear signals of discomfort and distress if you tune-in and listen.

Try this, a minimum of 5 minutes quiet time each day can be enough to pick up on a tightened chest, or a churning stomach. If your body is light and buoyant all is well. Feelings of heaviness, constriction are not good signs, what do you think that’s telling you?

Pay attention to these feelings and aim to explore and address the issue causing these problems, talk them through with a trusted friend, colleague or engage a therapist or coach.

We know that there is a global collective grieving at this time but what we don’t know is who is grieving, or what or whom has been lost. It could be a loved one, a job or an income. Never has there been more of a need for kindness, compassion and understanding.

 

3. Listen and be prepared for emotion

Besides listening,  know that we can’t fix other people’s stuff so don’t even try! What you can do is offer people time and space to listen, really listen and it’s one of the kindest gifts we can give another. Even identical twins suffering the same loss will experience their bereavement differently, so we should never presume to know what someone is feeling or when.

It’s much easier to ask them, “How are you?” and then listen, you may pick up the signal immediately that they do not want to talk about it or maybe if you stay quiet for just that tiny bit longer, they will share something with you.

Again, prepare yourself to be uncomfortably comfortable in the face of emotion. People who you least expect to be emotional may break down and cry in your presence. Be with them, hold the space for them and resist the temptation to hand them tissues, put an arm around them or placate them with platitudes.

Consequently they  are more likely to benefit and recover quickly if you don’t react in this way. That’s empathy and compassion and can help them enormously.

4. Find Your Balance

Aim for balance and work out how you can achieve that? What do you need to do to re-energise? Do you need to stop and give yourself a short break to move around for example? Are you the type of person who needs to eat a little and often to keep your energy high? Are you sipping any water regularly? Is your head feeling hot? Perhaps you need to take the EarPods out of your ears to give them a rest.

Make a list of resources you need to keep with you to help you to feel balanced and in control.

5. Ask yourself good quality questions

“What do I want. What do I need to feel more balanced now?” Listen to your response, that’s your prescription, your wisdom so why not take your own advice!

6. Work Smarter

Because many people will be returning to a backlog of work and since multi-tasking has been debunked,  avoid that! Instead aim to spend longer at the outset and create a clear plan of action.

Besides prioritising tasks with a simple A,B,C,D method  which will quickly provide order, you’ll also have a more realistic view of your workload.  This will give you greater sense of control. You will also be in a better position to manage your expectations and communicate your position to colleagues or staff.

7. Set Realistic Goals

In addition to creating  a schedule of work, aim to set small pragmatic goals. In your planning phase work out roughly how long each task will take, block that time out in your diary/calendar with the time span. This keeps goals realistic,  also schedule in short breaks, to stand up and stretch, have a comfort break or a drink.

As a result of  utilising steps 6 and 7 you offer yourself an opportunity to validate your efforts and recognise your achievements. In this way you’re not waiting around for someone else to pat you on the back. Say ‘Well done”  and reward your good behaviour with a treat. A luxurious bath, a walk with a friend or carving out some time to read a book.

8. It’s OK to say No

Furthermore practice saying a good, clear No try saying it  out loud now! You can be pleasant but firm when you say No. “No, I already have more than I can realistically handle” No I simply do not have the available time. No, it’s not my responsibility, I cannot take that on” Get used to that word in your mouth and throat.

In fact I often have clients’ practice saying No in front of a mirror in as many different tones and volumes as possible. Add to this good body language, such as a firm hand extended away from your chest with a big “No” should you need to communicate your position more clearly, will speak volumes.

9. Connect At Your Own Pace

You’re either itching to get back out with friends and family or feel the need to connect slowly.

First it’s your business is to know what you want and need. Secondly negotiate with yourself to establish what feels right and manageable for you. Thirdly practice out loud explaining to your friends and family how you need to proceed and see how you can arrive at a workable compromise between their expectations and yours.

10. Recognition And Validation

Finally, Be Your Own Cheerleader. Just be kind and loving to yourself. You will get the best from yourself by being supportive and gently encouraging. Watch out for the inner critic, sack your ‘Judge’ and pump up the volume on your balanced assertive adult self!

There is no ‘right’ way to do this only the way that is right for you, so aim to honour and respect your needs and keep your communication honest clear and consistent.

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The Mistakes of International Women’s Day

So here we are in International Women’s Day 3021 – yes you read that correctly – and the pay gap has finally balanced out. Well you’ve got to have a dream haven’t you?

You Said Mistakes, What Mistakes?

It’s Time For Balance

Just one of the mistakes is that in most countries there is still a substantial gender pay gap that according to some reports https://ourworldindata.org/economic-inequality-by-gender could take 100 years to balance out.

And lucky for you that you’re not female working in agriculture in rural India where they are purportedly underpaid by as much as 34%

Why should women work more and get paid less?

Want to know another mistake? It’s this, despite women collectively being at the forefront of the race to combat Covid-19 – we’re talking health care workers, scientists, doctors etc – globally they are still paid 11% less than the men in their fields.

Men, we  also need your voice here, to speak-up and speak-out for your female colleagues who are being  undervalued, undermined, underpaid and mistreated. We are your mothers, sisters and daughters, help us fight this worldwide  inequality.

How can you support International Women’s Day?

https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/international-womens-day?gclid=Cj0KCQiAs5eCBhCBARIsAEhk4r6W3ecsZmAFPxC0IsL_WugloPqMg

Also on a local level you can help the women in your community by supporting their businesses. Aim to buy their products, use their services and recommend them to others. You can do this by sharing in social media and word of mouth.

Never tear down her Crown, always straighten it and champion each one another.

On a personal note self-care is a must check out my SCABTS in a past post… these are ways to take care of yourself.