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Protect, Preserve and Conserve Your Life Force Energy

Get cosy in winter

As this year comes to a close and we move into the darkest most quiet time of the year give yourself permission to sleep longer, nap more often and generally hibernate. In this way you will emerge into spring with more verve and energy.

Get cosy in winter

5 Top Tips for Surviving Winter

  1. Keep your lower back warm. Kidneys and adrenals appreciate the warmth. Wear an additional layer around your hips, perhaps a thick warm scarf. Use a warmed wheat bag on your lower back if you’re sitting for long periods of time.
  2. Keep hydrated with warm drinks – try the winter drink recipe if you think you’re going down with a cold.
  3. We’re closest to Mother Earth at this time and as such a time for reflection, write down what lessons you learned in 2023, what you don’t want to repeat and what you’d like more of.
  4. If you’re too sedentary get up and Shake The Tree. Stretch up onto tip toes and raise arms and hands above your head with interlinked fingers. Make the sound Aaaah as you bring your arms down by your sides. Rinse and repeat.
  5. Finally, develop a strong building block by improving the quality of your sleep. Turn all technology OFF and leave it out of the bedroom. If you ruminate a lot, then write your thoughts down before you go to bed. A warm bath/shower an hour before bedtime and when your body begins to feel chilly that’s your body’s way of telling you it’s bedtime.
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5 Tips To Deal With Christmas Stress

A GIFT FOR YOU

People often ask me how to deal with Stress at Christmas time and there are ways to cope, so read on…

But first things first. If you have been or are going to be a client, Yoga student or customer at my little shop at The Stresshacker, then THANK YOU! I really value your support and to show my appreciation I attach a small gift that has HUGE worth. You can unwrap it at the bottom of the page.A GIFT FOR YOU

Do You Find It Hard To Be Honest?

One of the reasons people struggle with stress is because they have difficulty in telling the truth. I’m not suggesting you’re a liar but do you find it challenging to be up front about the way you feel?

Let me give you an example, Martin dreaded the thought of spending the Christmas break with his family. Whilst he enjoyed Christmas day with his Mum, Dad and Sister, the thought of the wider festivities on Boxing day, filled him with horror.

Why? Martin is an introvert and finds it extremely uncomfortable to engage in crowds, family or not! He avoids social gatherings at work and with groups of friends for the same reason.
After some coaching, Martin became sufficiently comfortable to own his truth, that he would rather stick pins in his eyes than attend the family party!

He decided to honour his truth and explained his level of discomfort to his family. In his eyes, being with them on Christmas Eve and Christmas day was desirable, reasonable and for him, a compromise but he would not go to the party. Being firm in his decision formed part of his coaching.

The outcome was interesting, his mother found it hard to understand, as an extrovert and somewhat of a people pleaser she attempted some emotional blackmail with Martin, but he was prepared for this and stood firm.

It was made easier by the fact that his father (also an introvert but hadn’t realised it!) praised Martin for being forthright and wished he’d been able to do the same!

His sister also empathised and thought he was right to speak out. His mother didn’t really ‘get him’ but wanted all to be well and was happy to make excuses for him with the extended family, which of course was more her issue than his.

By being honest with himself first, Martin was able to explore what needed to happen to find Christmas a less stressful and happy occasion and to live a more congruent life.

If you’re struggling to be more up front you’ll find Assertive Empowerment Now an easy way to sharpen your skills, it’s a training download that I created, you can get yours here
Meanwhile here are 5 Tips To Deal With Christmas Stress

1. Give yourself Space. Create a short Mediation practice that takes you out of the situation into another room. Even 5 minutes  now and then will give you time to relax and reset.

2. Use the 6 Healing Sounds. This amazing little technique can cool a hot temper and soothe stress in seconds. It’s an ancient tried and tested Qigong practice that I have recorded for you as a gift.

3. Use the 6 Healing Sou…no only joking but really, it’s that good and all you’ll need to calm your stress. It will also help you if you suffer from insomnia.

4. Exercise. Get up and move! It’s a bad habit to sit for long periods of time. Take a short walk 20 minutes is fine. Or swing your arms up over your head and clap your hands together 50 times. Then hold onto a surface and swing one leg back and forth 50 times, repeat on the other side. Don’t take my word for the incredible benefits from this. Do it and see for yourself.

5. When the kids or family are driving you mad, HUM! Yes, Hum. Breathe in through the nose and feel the gentle vibration on your lips as you hum. When we get irritated and stressed we tend to hold our breath. Humming encourages letting go and  balanced breathing.

Open your gift here 

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My Top 10 Autumn Tips

Whilst we’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy the warmer weather, don’t be fooled by it, as late summer yields fully into Autumn the way we take care of ourselves now,  will dictate whether we have a cosy winter or one fully of colds and allergies.

As the leaves become crispy, dry out and fall to the ground, so will we unless we take sensible, self-care steps. Have a browse through my self-help tips to nurture yourself through to Winter and let me know how you get on.

My Top 10 Autumn Tips

My Top 10 Autumn Tips:

  1. Whilst we cling to the last of the late summer sunshine, remember that the air can be cold and drying, consider adding foods to your diet that are the opposite of cold, drying and still. Think of foods that are warm, stimulating and pungent such as garlic, onions, chives, black pepper, ginger, cayenne pepper, horseradish and mustards.
  2. Start the day with warm teas, slice some fresh ginger bring to the boil and cool to drink.Finish the day with a cosy cup of warm milk with a pinch of black pepper, a 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric and a little honey. It will give you a great night’s sleep.
  3. Although it’s a great time for clearing out your clutter  e.g. look at the sell by dates in your kitchen cupboards and take your unwanted items to the local donation hub or charity shop, it’s a bad time to set yourself up with big goals or deadlines.

    Autumn is a time of death, a letting go of things that no longer serve us.

  4. Instead, take the pressure off and slip slowly into the winter months by considering the equal and opposite; for example Autumn is chilly, blustery, with wind whipping up the leaves in swirls,  do the opposite, take  time to be still, create small spaces of quiet time to read and relax. It’s a great time to reintroduce  the practice of meditation. Take time to bathe in nature, wrap up warm and sit in your local park or take a slow quiet meditative walk.
  5. Emotionally this is again a good time for letting go of resentments and grudges. Remember though, that forgiving those who have hurt you, doesn’t necessarily mean that you allow them  back into your life. It does mean however that you can practice letting go by writing a therapy letters, journalling and even saying out loud “ I forgive you so-and-so  for… blah  blah …”   It really works, but don’t take my word for it, try it yourself!
  6. As well as being a good time of year for clearing out, it’s also a great time for creating clear boundaries. Are there people who don’t respect your boundaries? Take some time to consider how you will establish the boundaries, think about what you might need to do or say in this respect, so that you’re clear on how to move forward.
  7. As natural as it is for the leaves fall from the branches at this time of year, it’s all a good time to let the tears fall, go on, give yourself permission to let it go. You’ll likely find when you create time and the right environment, emotions will surface, especially sadness. Allow them space as this is the perfect time to release and clear space.
  8. As a yoga teacher I encourage the clearing of energy blocks in the body. As we practice bending, stretching, twisting, using breath and visualisation to release tension,  it brings a sense of freedom and space.  In this way we don’t somatise our ‘stuff’ or push our emotions even deeper into the body’s systems and organs. So don’t be rigid, bend and stretch daily. It’s one of the reasons that students feel so good after a yoga class.
  9. Now is the time to use more oils and balms to massage into dry skin. Try warmed sesame oil  rubbed into your feet or Vick rubbed into the soles of the feet, pop a pair of socks on and sleep like a baby!
  10. I’m going to share a secret, the best oils and balms come from Urbanveda and they have given a generous discount especially for  thestresshacker readers! So grab your discount on their fabulous products here thestresshacker20 . Also when you place an order they plant a tree!

Try This Autumn Meditation

Sit in an upright chair, close your eyes and allow your awareness to move down to your chest   ……. allow yourself a little time to tune into the quiet rhythm of your breathing ……..  then allow the breath to drop a little deeper down into your abdomen …….  and simply enjoy the deep sense of calm and relaxation that diaphragmatic abdominal breathing brings.

Rest here a while as you observe the miracle of life force and energy moving in and out of your body without you having to do anything at all.

Just Be.

Enjoy!

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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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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.

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Open Heart Therapy

Release Old Hurts

When a client asked “What is Open Heart Therapy?”   We went on to talk about the effects of being emotionally hurt, I think most of us have some experience of this.

Does anyone sail through life without being wounded at some point? Heal Your Heart

When we feel hurt, scared and rejected the natural response is to withdraw, close down and push away in order to protect ourselves.

This shutting down often takes place in the heart area. It can be a gradual closing down from small childhood hurts to a more sudden snapping shut after a major rejection.

The fall-out from this ‘protection’ can be devastating and one of the consequences is poor communication. In our efforts to keep ourselves safe, we can end up closing down in the throat area, meaning that open honest conversation is a no-go.

Instead of juicy heartfelt conversations that lead to  real intimacy and healthy relationships, important dialogues  left unsaid will have negative effects.  Couples I’ve worked with talk about avoiding direct eye contact, instead talking about mundane things like the weather or “What’s for dinner.” Humour can also be used to avoid genuine connection or worse still, no conversation at all as couples polarise to opposite ends of the bed, room, home or country.

Rather than searching or waiting impotently for someone else to provide the magical key that will open our hearts and free our speech, it is possible to take control and do it ourselves.

In a secure environment we can gently work on the business of improving our relationships, with ourselves first and then as a natural evolution, with others.

The benefits of this heart work are manifold as we learn to accept our unique selves and practice self-love,  we can breathe more easily, feel authentic, empowered and more comfortable in our skin.

When we fill our own cup first, we have more to offer others, you cannot serve from a depleted cup.Release Old Hurts

Back in 2004 I ran the first ‘Open Heart Therapy’ workshop in Holmes Place and a few times since then but NOW definitely seems the right time to open up the heart chakra and get the other centres energised and spinning.

If you’re ready for the ‘Open Heart Therapy’ challenge you can book your space on this Saturday’s workshop Registration closes Friday 5th  March 2021 at 1.00pm. Book here or drop me an email at Sue@thestresshacker.com to join us.

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‘Open Heart Therapy Workshop’ Personal Development

Open Your Heart Therapy

In 2004 I ran my first personal development ‘Open Heart Therapy’ workshop and whilst successful, I sensed it was ahead of it’s time.Open Your Heart

So many people are saying it’s the right time for personal development and the success of last weeks Open Heart Therapy workshop proved it for me.   

But what does Open Your Heart even mean? As a therapist of 30 years I know too well how people shut down when they’re hurt. Whilst that’s no revelation, it is interesting to recognise that it’s the people closest to us who are capable of hurting us the most. 

It’s the friends, family, lovers and partners who we allow to get close, those who we open our hearts to  that we can feel most wounded by.

When we are honest and open-hearted  we can be vulnerable. If  betrayed and hurt in that space then naturally we lose faith and can be loathe to experience that again.

If you burn your hand when you put it into a fire, ouch! It hurts. You’d be crazy to do it again. The same kind of things happen when we’re hurt emotionally.

Fundamentally the heart is a pumping muscle  which can tighten and contract  like any other muscle in the body. With sufficient reason(s) to become restricted, it can metaphorically,  close down and because it’s a muscle it can’t  judge and can shut out people who haven’t hurt you.  

The consequences of emotional numbing in the heart  can have  the knock-on effect of deadening  passion in other areas  of life, we can feel drained have that “whats the point, who cares” type of thinking .

In addition, being emotionally blocked can also inhibit our ability to speak our truth openly and assertively.

This is because the energy centres above and below the heart are adversely affected.   We can feel weakened energetically, loose will-power and find it hard to fight addictions or stick to a healthy lifestyle. 

These are good enough reasons for personal development and attempts to heal the heart.

The thing is muscles need stretching and exercising and this is what my Open Heart Therapy workshop offers it aims to help you to move forward and heal the past if you’re ready. Are you ready for some personal development?

Testimonies:

“It totally met my objectives, mentally and physically.”
DB 12/02/2021
“It also made me very aware of the impact of parents’ behaviours on their children…Yes, would definitely recommend…”
NS 14/02/2021
“I’d like to say it was very good the workshop today, very beneficial and very well put together…I have already recommended it to other people!”
MF 12/02/2021
“It went really quickly – I would like to do it all over again!”
SB 15/02/2021

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5 Great Ways To Get Through Lockdown

If you are going to get through the 2nd lockdown with your mind intact and with a stronger bounce-ability factor it may well be down to you and you only!

Grow Up

Before you read this, grab a notebook… this could be your most valuable resource as the weeks go by.

I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, DON’T text or type, WRITE. There’s something about engaging your mind and handwriting simultaneously that makes these exercises much more powerful.

What if it’s true that no-one knows what you need better than you?

Then all you need to do is answer these questions and take your own advice and follow your own prescription.

1. Stop Scaring Yourself!

How do you do this? Write down 7 or more things that you think that make you feel worried, anxious and scared.

Include any pictures, images or past memories that you constantly revisit, you know, those things that help keep you in a state of fear.

Now write down as many ways that you could stop yourself from doing this, for example “I could choose different thoughts” (write down those different thoughts).

Choose different images, find pictures in magazines that are uplifting and positive. Put them where you’ll see them regularly, if that’s not possible stick them inside a cupboard or wardrobe door.  Look at them a lot.

Create New Movies: Re-run any memories or flashbacks that are negative but this time with a positive outcome. For example if you have pictures in your mind in which you are the victim, now see the perpetrator(s) being disempowered in as many ways as possible.

Keep running the new images with brighter colours for example  seeing a bully as smaller, insignificant and dis-abled from their bullying ways. Regularly revisit this new ‘memory’ until you feel bored with it.

When you do this exercise always leave yourself looking bigger or taller stronger, more empowered and assertive.

2. Pull Yourself Together

Look again at the image of the Russian Dolls above and remember that you carry all of you inside. This means that more often than not your scary thoughts have nothing to do with the here-and-now!

It’s true; you may be having “What if” thoughts that have no bearing on your current situation. They could be coming from a younger you. Equally so you may be constantly spending time in the future worrying about what could happen tomorrow, next week or even a year from now.

When we consider that truly the only bit that’s real is now, why are you spending your valuable energy roaming back into the past and forwards into the future?

If you really stop and think about this, it means that you’re constantly cheating yourself out of  time and the ‘now’!

The chances are that every anxiety provoking thought is either about something that’s already happened or something that might happen. Practice being here now more frequently and one way to do this is to link something to a scary thought.

For example you’re thinking “ What if I can’t pay the next heating bill”

Shout inside your head “Get Up And Shake Off” Now stand up, feet apart and shake your hands and arms. Quickly! Shake each foot and leg … just like swimmers do before a race, shake off the excess adrenalin. Do this for a minute then take a deep breath and as you breathe out make a loud “Haaaaa” sound repeat twice.

That’s it! Do it every time you have an anxious thought, this way you’re changing your ‘state’ empowering yourself and getting back to the present.

3. Laughter Is The Best Medicine.

Remember who and what makes you laugh. Find as many films, jokes and books that make you laugh. Be sure you talk to the friend who makes you laugh (the one you have that chemistry with) regularly.

4. Exercise More

You must be sick of hearing this by now but someone has gone to the trouble of researching this and there’s tons of evidence to show that a brisk half an hours walk does wonders for the mind and body.

If you need a goal see how quickly you can reach a destination each time you  walk.

If you need motivation buddy up (at a distance) or meet your walking buddy a location for incentive.

See what the NHS has to say about the benefits of exercise.

5. Forgiveness

Forgiveness

If you’re beating yourself up for something you did in the past that was wrong perhaps it’s time to forgive.

Mistakes are valuable ways of growing and learning, just ask a Scientist, they constantly get it wrong, until they find the right way.

What I’m saying is, it’s normal to screw up you’re not perfect and never will be!

If you hurt others by screwing up and you feel brave enough and it’s appropriate, then contact them and tell them how sorry you are for the pain or trouble you caused. Don’t look for forgiveness from them, that’s your business but aim to make amends if and where you can.

With that done, if you can be sure you will not repeat that behaviour then forgive yourself and practice forgiving yourself until your wrongs sit more easily with you. You do that by saying “your name… I forgive you, you are forgiven now.”

It’s remarkable how many people beat themselves up for years for things they’ve done. I’m obviously not condoning bad behaviour but if you’re genuinely remorseful, would never do that thing again… then be kind and gentle to yourself and forgive.

If you need to take a short break  away from the family or just to reset remember to help yourself to my 7 Minutes of Zen download…this is what one person said “It’s fabulous!”

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Enhance Your Mental Health And Wellbeing

the stresshacker, yoga nidra, dynamic sleep, audio programme

Happy Mental Health Awareness Day!

You may have been wondering where I’d got to and why I haven’t written many blogs recently. Thank you for emailing and asking it’s prompted me to let you know that in the spirit of mental health awareness I have been taking care of my own wellbeing.

At the start of the pandemic in March like many, I began working from home, with clients online and teaching zoom yoga classes, my working week soon became busy. As a result I found myself pretty much cooped up in one room for quite long periods of time.

Although I’m fortunate to have a great view of some trees and sky the fact remains it’s a small room.

To counter stress, the threat of any mental health issues and to keep active, I started cycling and got hooked!

I love the freedom it offers and have discovered places in my area that I didn’t know existed. This activity is so good for the mind because cliché or not, it is true that a change is as good as a rest.

As a result, I have developed more resilience on all levels in addition to feeling fitter; I’ve improved lung capacity and muscle strength

Is your main trigger for frustration technology?

Early on in Lockdown, I had some really frustrating IT issues, at one point my entire website was wiped, boy did that stress me out! In an attempt to stop myself from throwing the laptop out of the window and to protect my mental health and wellbeing, I took off on my bike instead.

And this is when my mental health awareness kicked in

because within 10 minutes I observed a complete shift in my thinking and noticed that I was simply enjoying the moment. Looking at the trees and breathing in the fresh air I felt free and happy. I’d let all that tension and aggravation go by changing my activity.

But how do you make that kind of shift in your wellbeing if you don’t happen to like cycling I hear you ask. The answer is to change your activity sufficiently to alter your emotional state, which will in turn will affect your mental health positively.

Fortunately there’s a really easy solution and that’s yoga.

I’m not even talking about poses or sequences here. I’m talking about Yoga Nidra the practice sometimes called deep yogic sleep.

Here’s how it works, by regular practice we train the body to relax quickly and develop the ability to step back and observe the impact that certain thoughts, ideas and images have on the physical body.

As such we develop awareness, more self control and as a by-product better mental health. Yoga Nidra teaches us to detach from things that can trigger unwanted emotion (unless someone wipes your website that is!) helps us to develop mental resilience and to feel more empowered.

If you want to join us in a live class on Thursday evenings drop me a line or pick up a copy here https://www.thestresshacker.com/product/yoga-nidra-dynamic-sleep/

Here are just some of the things people say after a session of yoga nidra.

“ I slept for a straight 9 hours afterwards!”

“ … a lovely relaxing class”

“I couldn’t wait to go to sleep, and slept longer than usual. Yesterday felt super refreshed”

“Just what I needed, and feel totally rested”

“Wonderful class I enjoyed it so much, had a full 8 hours sleep last night”

Yoga Nidra  is an effortless way to enhance your wellbeing and really does require minimal effort.

Thanks for reading and enjoy!