My top travel tips to stay stress and anxiety free when travelling.
It has literally changed my life. This is what happened…
I seemed to get a cold every time I went on holiday! This had been the pattern for over ten years. It spoilt my trips and left me feeling miserable. I wanted to travel anxiety free.
Whilst swimming in Thailand a couple of years ago and having a chat with myself, the way you do. I was bemoaning the fact that I had yet another cold. I’m healthy (other than a mild lung infection) and found it puzzling.
“Not Another cold! Why?”I said.
I heard a voice inside reply ” It isn’t a cold. Your airways are inflamed from the air-con on the plane”Nothing more, just that! It was a real eureka moment as I recognised this truth.
I totally empowered myself with the following tips…
First I future-paced my self with an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) suggestion. “By the time I get out of the sea all inflammation has left my lungs.”
I swam a bit longer then got out. It was about an hour later that I realised that the ‘cold’ had gone, completely! I’d had it for five days yet it had totally disappeared! Not one more sniffle for the entire holiday.
Secondly I went to a supermarket and bought some masks. Next I bought a lightweight scarf to wrap over my mouth and nose.
Most importantly I wear it for the entire flight whenever I travel now. Only removing it to eat or drink. I’m effectively recycling my own warm breath and this appears to have worked.
I had started to feel wary and anxious about holidays because of the cold scenario.
But now I can relax in the confident knowledge that I’ll be okay.
I’ve had three long haul and eight European flights since then and not one cold or sniffle!
I tell my fellow passenger that I have nothing contagious just a mild lung condition that is irritated by air-con. I’ve only had one person move and that gave me more room – result!
In conclusion this totally works for me and could help you too. If you have experienced similar problems or have asthma this could be the perfect solution.
Wear a snood, scarf or gloves:
I’m now trend-setting with an array of snoods!
Especially on cold damp days or on public transport. I stay healthy and therefore anxiety free in the knowledge that I have fewer colds and infections.
Oh and another tip – wear gloves where possible in public places. It can cut down on germs.
Remember that Stress Free With Confidence is a reassuring programme to listen to if you have any fears around travel. Grab your CD or download at the shop here at www.thestresshacker.com
There, I’ve said it these are some of the charming names attributed to women experiencing menopause. Women who have reached a stage in their lives where they are no longer able to bear children. Names mainly levied on us by the patriarch of the past.
The reality of course is that Women are wise and when we realise that pretty much everything that walks the planet is born of woman, we are in fact Creators, Goddesses even.
When we consider the pain and suffering women endure to give birth to humanity, shouldn’t women be honoured, respected and revered at every stage of life?
Some stories portray the crone or hag as disagreeable, malicious, or sinister often with magical or supernatural abilities that can make her either helpful or obstructive. Well that’s pretty much true of all of us really, men and women.
And as if creating, birthing, nurturing and child rearing isn’t enough, woman have the menopause to look forward to with it’s myriad of symptoms.
There are hot flushes, dryness, sleep problems, excessive tiredness. Oh and then there’s the rapid mood swings, along with that wonderful feeling that your brain matter has been swapped for a cauldron of cotton wool!
Want to know about more symptoms? Google NHS menopause for more information.
Because so many of you have asked me to write about the menopause what I offer you here are my tips and beliefs for dealing with this phase of life.
It’s a time for cleansing on many levels and clearing out the crap!
Many women at this stage realise that they can no longer live incongruently or out of sync with themselves, it just doesn’t work anymore.
People, jobs, gatherings and even friends that were tolerated in the past have no place during the menopause.
Maybe the description of Crone as disagreeable, unpleasant and ugly arises because during the this phase, women often wont tow the party line anymore.
In menopause women are no longer prepared to bend and mould to the ideals of another or even their own earlier scripts.
Many women I’ve worked with yearn to return to themselves, to be more authentic and congruent, done with their roles and labels.
Some want peace, some want fun, or to be heard, whilst others crave adventure. It’s time to do it differently.
So let’s welcome the menopause and treat women in this stage of life with a reverence for their innate wisdom and knowledge.
We teach other’s how to treat us.
Like all things, that which we seek outside of ourselves must be found within first. What can you do today to welcome and revere yourself?
The Hot Flush
I remember the first hot flush that roared up my neck and face like an inferno. Feeling distinctly uncomfortable I got up to distract myself when someone brought me a glass of cold water. Its was a kind act of awareness, considerate and thoughtful. One that remained with me.
After that I learned to stay present with flushes, other than to reach for a glass of water. You’ll also find an ice pack or a packet of frozen peas on your pulse points pretty handy at this point.
Instead of running away from or trying to avoid this physical phenomena, I urge you to stay with it. Dive into the feeling, embrace and welcome it in, there’s a wisdom in it somewhere.
That Which You Resist Persists.
I hear you say that’s all well and good but what if I’m in a meeting or an important event? Same advice – stay with it. Everything reaches a peaks and has to subside. The more you panic or try to stem it the more fierce it can seem. If you’re fidgeting around mopping your brow and looking uncomfortable people will notice more. Imagine you’re loving that feeling of warmth.
12 Tips for coping better with Menopause
1. When you feel a flush rising, aim to stop what you’re doing and sit down. Slowly sip a glass of cold water until it passes.
2. Allow yourself time and space to yield to the feeling. You’ll notice that when you do this, that the feeling passes more quickly.
3. Try this lovely yoga breathing exercise called Sitali. This is the version I practice and it must be done sitting in a well ventilated space. Not standing on the platform of the station or in a room blasting out air-conditioning.
4. If sleep disturbances are your main issue and you keep waking up or struggle to get off to sleep, treat yourself to my hypnosis audio program Sleep Well Now or read up on the tips in my book The Art of ZZZ’s
5. Where possible allow yourself some quiet meditation time on a daily basis.
6. Gentle yoga stretching such as yin and hatha yoga are ideal for personal practice. I prefer to practice and teach fluid movements with weight bearing poses and attention to the breath.
7. Yoga lowers blood pressure, counters stress and can alleviate pain and discomfort, do a littel each day.
8. Your temperature can go up and down like a fiddler’s elbow during the menopause, so invest in a proper silk pashmina, it will keep you warm when you feel chilly and cool when you’re hot! They’re also great for mopping up the excess schvitz!
9. Keep a fan in your pocket or bag it gives you a sense of control when your body heats up.
10. The homeopathic remedy Sepia worked brilliant for me, minimising symptoms such as brain fog and tiredness.
11. I’ve practised Ayurvedic principles for many years and found Pukka Herbs’ Aloe Vera juice to be the best. It’s cooling, great for the skin and helps with problems like constipation. It also acts as a carrier taking herbs to body parts that need them.
12. I would drink a shot glass of aloe vera morning and night and take the herb Shatavari – also from Pukka, which helps to combat the dryness that can come with menopause.
There’s a notion that we’re no longer in our masculine warrior phase, out there chasing and hustling a living. It’s time to sit back into the powerful energy of the feminine and allow ourselves to receive.
The feminine energy is depicted by the moon and in the same way that it’s cool brightness can throw light across a darkened sea. This can be a time of enlightenment as we take time to ‘be’ and receive our inner wisdom.
Naturally we’re all different and these are just things that worked well for me I hope they help you. Share your tips with me on my Facebook page thestresshacker or in the comments section below.
January is renown for being the worse month for depression and there are many reasons for it. With the build-up to Christmas and the hype over, the extra lights in these dark months taken down, it feels gloomy and cold. Some people may have got into debt, some are dealing with redundancy, whilst others wrestle with existing mental health conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder or clinical depression.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to detect that you’re spiralling into a downer, that’s great awareness and hopefully you already have some strategies that can help to pull you out of depression. Because this time of year can be particularly tough, challenge yourself to do something different to change your state.
I’ve put together three ideas to help shift negative energy.
Calm your mind with classical music, even if it’s not your usual genre (e.g. my usual choice is jazz) take a chance, open your mind and listen to a nice classical piece. Ask a friend for a recommendation or visit Classic FM until you find something that resonates most with you.
Apparently baroque is the best music to have playing in the background to help concentrate if you’re studying. So the next time you’re getting ready for work, or doing some mundane chores treat yourself to something calming and different.
On the other hand if you feel really heavy, stuck and lethargic put on something with a strong loud beat, such as We Will Rock You by Queen or the 1812 Overture to help you get moving. Put on your earphones and go for a stomping power walk whilst listening to some heavy rock. Whatever your choice of music make sure it’s one that will positively change your (emotional) state. Find a song you can sing along out loud to, it’s great for getting your breathing going (we don’t breathe very well when depression kicks in) … think Whitney Houston’s long held notes in I Will Aways Love You.
I downloaded the Gayatri Mantra (Click to view video about it) which I found incredibly peaceful. I noticed that after I’d listened to it for a while it, it continued playing in the background of my mind. It gets rid of some of the negative head mush and I’m left with a peaceful mind for quite a while. Traditionally it should be chanted 108 times. I turn to it now whenever I need to de-clutter my mind and it works a treat. My favourite version is by Deva Premal.
In our age of abundant technology many of us feel spaced out and insulated from the earth. Walking around in rubber soled trainers and padded foot wear means we miss some of the finer signals from the earth and this can contribute to feeling even more disconnected and separate.
Connect to the earth; she’s warm and nurturing! Don’t take my word for it, walk barefoot on some grass and see how long it is before your feet feel the warmth of Gaia. The energy that comes up from the earth through the feet stimulates hundreds of nerves in the legs and brings with it a sense of connection which you may feel as a tingling or pulsing sensation.
When you consider that no matter where we are in the world we are held by gravity to mother earth it seems daft not to spend a little time tuning in to it.
As always, I’m interested in what shakes you out of your depression so share it with me … it could helps someone else.
Yes it’s that time of year again! Tips For Revising For Exams
Many teenagers are revising at the moment and we all know how stressful that can be, so this week’s blog contains top tips for revising and staying cool, calm and confident through the revision period and beyond.
Create a timetable of study
Set short achievable tasks for your revision. It’s important to ‘chunk’ down. After all you can’t revise the whole thing in one go! So break things down into small chunks.
For example, you could revise in 20-minute chunks, set your phone (or alarm) when it goes off, change your activity for at least 5 minutes. Get up and stretch. Go and get a drink. Play with the dog! Then go back to revising. Naturally if you’re on a roll and studying well, you can skip a break and continue on for the next 20-minute chunk.
Look at the week and decide where, when and how you are going to revise. If you’re unsure, find someone who seems to revise well. Pick their brains and find out what they do to revise, where they do it and how, then copy that formula!
On The Day of Your Exams
Plan a good routine for the day. It might sound daft but it’s important know exactly where you’re going, it has been known for people go to the wrong place, out of sheer panic! Not you though. If you have to travel to your place of exam, do a dummy run a week before if necessary. Give yourself as much chance as possible to feel confident.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!
Even planning exactly what you’re going to wear so that you’re in charge of your own temperature will give you a sense of control (Layers are good).
Aim to be early and be prepared. Have your bag and any items that you might need, ready, well ahead of the exam day.
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Drink plenty of water during study periods and the exam; this has been linked to improved memory power. According to a study at the University of Wales (D.Benton, N Burgess – Appetite, 2009 – Elsevier.) ‘Recall was significantly better on the occasions when water had been consumed’.
Breathe deep then eat
Many students say they feel panicky prior to exams and suffer from anxiety. Many performers feel nervous before they perform and there’s at least one scientific study that says that nerves can help you to perform well, so maybe your anxious feelings are a good thing and they are going to help you to perform well!
Anxiety can sometimes make your tummy tense and your chest tight though and that’s not great. So try this, sit upright and rest one hand on your heart and one hand on your tummy. I call this the ‘Vagus Hug’ as it puts you in touch with a powerful nerve that runs from the brain through the heart to the gut and it is a powerful communication channel. Close your eyes and breathe in and count to 3 hold for a couple of seconds and as you breathe out to the count of 5 imagine your hands becoming warm and soothing to your tummy. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the tension melts. Don’t take my word for it, practice it and see for yourself.
Once you feel more relaxed ensure that you eat something prior to the exam. If you feel uptight make sure it’s something easily digestible. Protein is always good and can be easily digestible if it’s something light like an omelette or scrambled eggs. Plan what you will eat on the day – have everything ready.
Are your thoughts serving or sabotaging you?
Watch out for your thoughts they can either be helpful and positive or negative and damaging. Do NOT project negative thoughts into the future… that’s just daft since the future hasn’t happened yet!
You have a choice. What are you saying to yourself about your ability to study? What are you saying to yourself about the exam itself? Modern psychology and hypnotherapy knows that it is possible to ‘future pace’ suggestions.
An example of a good future paced suggestion is “I now revise easily, effortlessly and concentrate with focused attention whenever I revise.” Or “On the day of the exam I feel confident and relaxed. My recall is sharp and accurate I breeze confidently through each question.” Notice the suggestion is phrased in the ‘here and now’ which is important, since the subconscious mind doesn’t have a sense of past or future, so it prefers suggestions as if they’re already happening.
Obviously if you haven’t done the study or the revision in the first place, this can’t come true but if you’ve done the work – then trust your subconscious mind to serve you. You could be amazed by the results.
Finally, listening to Stress Free With Confidenceevery night will definitely help you to remain calm and to feel more confident. I suggest listening for a month leading up to the exam and also through your revision period. Listen on ear-phones each night as you drift off to sleep and let it work for you.
Good luck with your exams and remember you are still a wonderful unique person whatever your results.
You know those days when you’ve planned to do all kinds of things but when you wake up you feel ‘little’ and it’s about as much as you can do to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other let alone tackle anything more challenging.
Has your inner child – you have many – taken over?
Here are just some of the symptoms you might recognize when your inner child has taken over:
You have a feeling of inner collapse.
You feel stuck.
You have ‘the fog’ your brain feels as if it’s been swamped in fog and you can’t think straight.
Your voice has a different quality, quiet and childlike.
You can’t get on with anything and even the simplest tasks seem overwhelming.
You have a wobbly, shaky feeling inside or a heavy weight in your stomach/chest.
You don’t want to engage with anyone let alone go to work.
You don’t feel in control
One or any of the above is an indicator that you’ve morphed into child mode and you can stay stuck in this state for minutes, hours and even days.
How did this happen?
There can be many things that flip us into child mode, for example a dream from the night before, a film that you recently watched or an item in the news that has triggered you emotionally. Sometimes an argument with a family member, a run-in with a work colleague or a falling out with a loved one can be the negative trigger that awakens your inner-child, even hearing someone shouting can be enough for some people to trauma trigger their inner-child.
Does it even matter what caused it? We can get hung-up on trying to discover the trigger, which can cause other issues such as avoidance behavior, which in turn creates other problems such as phobias and addictions.
So what do you do? How do you get out of this state?
Firstly there’s some homework to be done. On a good day when you feel adult, and a bit more optimistic about life and yourself in general, make a list of what is going on around you that allows you to feel this way.
I’m wearing bright colours.
I’ve been for my run.
I’ve spent time with good supportive friends this week.
I’m eating sensibly
I’m sleeping well because I haven’t been watching the news.
I’m meditating regularly or listening to an audio programme
I’m planning to go to my yoga class.
I’ve been listening to music
I’ve been reading/watching positive thinking material/sites
I’ve spent some time in nature, been to the park or the coast
Revisit this list regularly if it’s in your notebook or stick on the inside of your wardrobe or cupboard where you see it daily and it can work on you in a subliminal way.
Read this list out loud on a day when you’re stuck in ‘child’ and aim to apply as many of the things on your list as possible.
2. Get some light into the room you’re in, open your blinds/curtains.
3. Nurture yourself, prepare some comforting food and a warm drink, have a warm bath and massage yourself gently with body lotion. Or gently scrub with a loofah both of which can help you start feeling again.
4. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down some questions to ask your inner child such as “What do you want or need so that you can feel better” Listen intently for the first answers that form in your mind and write down the answer which may be something like, “ I want to feel safe, or I want to be loved” Ask next , “What can happen now so that you can feel safe or loved”?
Develop a written dialogue with that part of yourself until you can a) feel a difference and a healthy distance between you and the inner child and b) have an idea of what that part of you needs in order to feel better.
Aim to meet the needs of that part of you maybe with an imaginary cuddle or you may decide to cancel your visit to the family party because that part of you would benefit from some quiet time instead.
5. Call a trusted friend and see if they can help you to morph back into ‘adult’.
6. Do something that will help you to feel grown up and back in control. Perhaps do some gardening, baking or some yoga.
If this is something that happens more often than you would like, maybe it’s time to engage the help of a professional and help your inner-child to grow up. Talk to a counsellor or therapist. Perhaps a personal development course would give you some tools for dealing with these feelings when they surface. Remember too in the shop here at thestresshacke.com there are lots of audio guides, to help you get the best out of yourself.
One thing is for sure, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got so do something different and help yourself to feel better.
This self-care will contribute to a better sense of wellbeing and confidence. Take good care of you because you do matter.