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Can being more mindful ease anxiety?

Anxiety

Anxiety is an issue for so many people.

I have wrestled with anxiety on and off my whole life. 

It is like the quiet house guest who you forget is living in your house until they become really demanding and spoil your day. ​​Like many

Like many emotional states there are varying degrees of anxiety. For some people it is something which makes them feel sick and as though they don’t want to do something. Others though are completely crippled by its impact on their lives. Anxiety can make it impossible to leave the house, spend time with friends and even get a job. So can something as natural and ancient as mindfulness really help?

The short answer is yes, it really can.

The longer answer needs some science and some techniques, which will hopefully help you if you are struggling with anxiety. 

Are you ready? Take a deep breath and let’s dive in!

Let’s get the science out of the way then we can move onto the more fun parts of this longer explanation. When you feel anxious there is a physical change in your body, your breathing becomes more shallow and your heart rate increases. This change is then detected by your brain which sends chemical responses round your body; sending more energy to your heart, lungs and muscles and redirects blood and function to those areas and away from your brain.

This is where things start to get difficult because at this point our ability to think logically and remember all the times we have survived this situation before vanishes. Our brain is incapable of rational thought, problem solving and even recall when we go into this fight, flight or freeze state. 

In order to feel more calm and regain this mental function, we must breathe. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Unfortunately our state of mind is causing our breathing to be shallow and fast and unless we consciously change our breathing we will remain in this state and it may even escalate into a full panic attack. 

Learning some mindful breathing techniques is a great way to quickly and easily calm yourself when you feel this way. Something as simple as 7:11 breathing (7:11 breathing is simply counting to 7 as you breathe in and 11 as you breathe out) or following a video like this one I created for my Calmer Classrooms programme, can help you to calm down really quickly. The advantage of many breathing techniques is that you can do them without anyone being aware that you are implementing a life changing strategy.

Prevention not cure

These techniques are great when you are already in the grips of an anxious episode, but the real magic of mindfulness is that it can help prevent you from reaching that point. 

Mindfulness is the process of being present, being in the moment, being reflective. It helps us to appreciate what we have and doesn’t worry about what will be. It teaches us to focus on the task in hand and deal with what is coming when it arrives. Given that anxiety is effectively a fear of the future, of what might happen, just by shifting your focus to what is happening you are reducing your ability to feel anxious. Given that research has proven time and time again that as little as 9% of our worries actually come true, that means that up to 91% of our worries are actually worth worrying about. 

journaling

Mindful journaling

Another mindful activity which can really help with anxiety is journaling. The process of writing everything down that pops into your head allows you to process the thoughts more easily and often see the reality of the spiral you have got yourself into. Just buy yourself a notebook and take time every day to just write until you have no more thoughts left. Don’t think about what you are writing, just whatever comes into your head – write it down.

This process also helps you to see how infrequently our fears become reality. The other really useful activity is a gratitude practice. Writing down every day all the things you are grateful for. This helps to train your brain to look at the positives in your life rather than the negative, worrying thoughts. Once you realise how fortunate you are, you have a roof over your head, clean water to drink and clothes to keep you warm, you will worry less about what might be, but in all likelihood, won’t ever happen.

Mindful movement…

Living mindfully is also about listening to your body. Mindfully moving when we need to, and we do need to. Particularly if you are an anxious person making sure you get enough exercise is vital. When we exercise our body can process all the stress chemicals our body releases when we worry, so just going for a walk if you start to feel anxious, will instantly calm you down. It doesn’t have to be strenuous movement, just movement. You can dance in your kitchen, take the dog for a walk or do a spin class, just move! In addition to the checmical impact movement will have on your anxiety, moving will change your state and allow your brain to start seeing the situation differently. You will begin to process the information you are working through in a more effective and calm way and you will feel so much better.

Get outside, take a big deep breath of fresh and and move that body! 

mindful movement

If anxiety is an issue for you, or a loved one, start small. Implement small daily changes and begin to see how these little changes can have a huge impact on your reactions and how you deal with situation. You can get through this.

I have, and still do. One day at a time. 

 

For lots more mindful ideas to fit into your daily routine check out my article: Every day mindfulness or why not download my free ebook: You’ve Got This for lots of easy to implement mindful ideas.

The Power of Women’s Circles

The Power of Women's Circles

Women’s Circles are as ancient as time. There is documentary evidence of women coming together as long as 300,000 years ago. This is not a new phenomenon. It is something that has had a resurgence over recent years though particularly in the western world. 

 

Why are these gatherings becoming more popular?

Well, my guess would be that the more detatched we become as a society, the more we crave true, meaningful interaction and connection. Women’s circles are a gentle, but also powerful, safe space for us to share and learn. 

What was once created out of necessity, is once again finding its place in the world. 

Historical context

Historically many gatherings were based around the “Red Tent”, a time when women would come together, usually during menstruation, to heal and educate each other about fertility cycles and how the cycle of the moon. There is strong evidence that this method of women gathering at this time is physically beneficial as well as mentally. During menstruation our bodies are using more energy than during other times of the month and our physical reserves are used for releasing the unfertilized egg, so getting together with other women, resting and sharing time together benefits women physically. This is a concept which has also become incredibly popular again in recent years. Women gather around the time of the new moon, a time when most women have been found to menstruate, to set intentions and discuss themes of the month (often around astrologically significant events and changes). Obviously there is a strong social element to these meetings, but the traditional wisdom sharing and space holding is still the core.

Of course there have been times in our history when women wouldn’t have dared to get together in this way. A time when this kind of wisdom sharing, earned these gatherings names such as covens and it’s members were burned or drowned as witches. These wise and wonderful women were persecuted for no other reason than that the patriarchy of the time felt threatened by their understanding of natural healing and couldn’t understand their intentions in creating these spaces. 

Thankfully times have changed and women are able to gather and share this wisdom now without fear of persecution. 

I am delighted that women’s circles are once again on the rise. Women need time with other women, just as men need time with men. When we feel lost or down we instinctively reach out to the women in our life; whether it is our Mum, sister or female friends, we know that they will comfort us and help us make sense of what is going on. I wrote about the importance of female friends a little while ago, by all means have a read.

Women

The evolution of my women’s circle

You may have noticed that my website has had something of a make over in recent weeks, including a move away from the Super Woman analogy. The Super Woman Life is now simply called “Kate’s Circle”. The instant this change was suggested to me by my good friend, Callie, I knew it felt right.

I had already decided that the group should be a circle. There are so many powerfully symbolic reasons for using the word circle (perhaps I will write about that another day), and it encapsulated what our group is. It is a powerful, intimate group of women of all ages, coming together to love and support each other and share their wisdom. 

There is a gentle coaching element to the live sessions, and I guide the members through monthly themes and encourage them to dig deep, but the energy of the group, is very definitely that of a women’s circle, and I am very proud of that.

Women’s circles are incredibly powerful. When women come together they share deep and meaningful parts of themselves which they wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing in mixed company. This is something we have done since the dawn of time. The only difference is that historically we would have been sitting in our cave, around the fire cooking the meat that the men had hunted and brought home, and now we meet on Zoom or in person.

women

Amazing women

I have been very fortunate to have some of the most incredibly supportive and wise women in my life. From birth I had, not only my Mum and Grandma’s but also Great Grandma and many significant Aunts. Throughout my life I have had friends, teachers, mother figures, colleagues and of course my daughter, who have had an enormous impact on my ideas and my concept of self. I know that without their input I would be a shadow my the woman I am now.

 I love that I am able to share some of that love and knowledge with other women and in turn, learn from them and the significant teachers in their lives.

I truly believe that life is one long learning journey. If we are not learning and growing then we are shrinking and becoming stagnant. I take every opportunity I can to learn, whether it is formal courses, or a significant chat with a stranger in a queue at the shop. There are learning opportunities around us all the time and just as children learn most effectively when they are playing, women learn most when they are chatting and drinking tea (or any other beverage of your choice!). If there is cake or biscuits involved then the learning is heightened even further.

My women’s circles 

To demonstrate my point, every year Callie and I get together for a five day business retreat. We have done this for almost ten years now (with the exception of the last year when it hasn’t been possible).

It started as a way to get together and for me to have some intensive work time away from my children when they were little, but it has grown into one of the most powerful weeks of every year. We get more inspiration and more planning done for our businesses in that week than at any other point of the year. 

It never feels like work. We do some of the longest work days we do all year. New notebooks are always required. We chat constantly, visit beautiful cafe’s and eat amazing cake and we write and write and just enjoy each other’s company (and yes, this is an actual photo of one of our retreat trips to a cafe!).

cake

Since we started having these retreats our businesses have grown immeasurably and we love every minute of our working life. But it isn’t just about business growth. During those years we have gone from two women who met on Twitter by chance, to best friends. I was bridesmaid at her wedding in Italy a couple of years ago and I can’t imagine my life without her. She is just one of many women for whom that is true.

Every summer I am blessed to have a week with my family on holiday. My parents, my stepson and partner, his my sister and her family, my brother in law’s parents and sometimes his siblings all come together in a huge house in the country and we just enjoy spending time together. My favourite times on that holiday are often the evenings when the men are watching football or a film and the women find a quiet room and just sit and enjoy time together. My brother in law’s mum, is a wonderful lady and she will often suggest a topic for discussion, or pose a question and everyone immerses themselves in the experience and digs deep. There is much laughter, often tears but relationships are deepened and cemented and it is a truly magical experience. 

Some people spend time discussing who they would invite to their dream dinner party, I would have a women’s circle. It isn’t that there aren’t men I would like to meet, there are many, but my soul feels complete when I spend quality time with other women.

Do you feel nourished by time with other women?

If so you will love Kate’s Circle. Numbers are kept small to ensure that the intimate feel of the group is maintained but we do have space for a couple more women at the moment, so please do take a look and if it appeals to you we would love to welcome you into our fold. 

 

 

Quit making excuses!

Excuses

Do you make excuses for not making changes in your life?

In reality I don’t know anyone who doesn’t make excuses sometimes.

I know I do. 

My monkey mind gives me all the reasons I need to turn around and walk away from certian changes I need to make. 

This week though something shifted and I have made some huge changes, that, I have to be honest, were long overdue.

The thing is, I’m usually pretty motivated. If I set my mind on achieving something, I invariably do, but a few things seemed to come together to defeat me this time and I know I am not alone.

 

What has been the issue?

Well, this time last year I was feeling great. I had been going to the gym, eating well, rehearsing every week for the show I was due to be in and I was feeling strong and happy. 

Then lockdown hit.

I made a rookie error and decided that one way I could try to help my children feel less scared and have happy memories of lockdown was to allow a few treats in our diet that we wouldn’t normally have.

It worked. Every lunchtime we would get together, watch an episode of Dr Who (our lockdown 1.0 treat) and have some crisps or chocolate, maybe popcorn and a film in the evening. Everyone was happy.

It was a great idea, if lockdown had lasted for the 3-5 weeks we originally aniticipated. The problem is we have scarcely been out of lockdown since then and the treats, though in fewer quantities have continued to flow. We have all been missing our friends and family and food has been our comfort. 

This increase in treats, emotional eating and of course working exclusively from home so not going out as much (I walk around a lot when I am delivering training) has meant that I have put on a few pounds. Not a massive amount, but more than I am happy with. More importantly though I am also feeling sluggish, not sleeping as well and my joints are hurting even more than usual. 

This week I shifted my mindset.

change

More truthfully, my mindset shifted for me. 

I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling a change in the air. The world feels more positive, people seem to be looking forward to life opening back up and things feeling more normal. There is less fear in the news, the statistics are looking positive and everyone is starting to feel more buoyant.

I have also finally got to a point where I absolutely had to make a change. I can cope with feeling tired and sluggish for a while but I’ve had enough now. But what have I done?

Well, I have dramatically changed out diets. Treats are only for the weekends now. We have upped our vegetable intake even more and I have been trying to get moving more.

As someone who has never enjoyed exercise this is HUGE. Going right back to primary school, I was never allowed to participate in team sports because I was the only asthmatic in the school and the teachers were worried it would make me ill. as a result, by the time I got to High School I already associated sport with not only danger but also being left out and excluded.  As you can imagine, this isn’t a great foundation for building a love of exercise.

Imperfect change

Throughout my life I have made myself exercise. I went to step aerobics and yoga when I was a student. I even joined a gym and went religiously for 12 months before I got married. I walk and dance and have a sporadic relationship with yoga.

I have owned just about every type of gym equipment; exercise bike, rowing machine, air walker… always second hand and usually with a squeak or glitch that put me off using it. I have bought a kettlebell, I bought a dumbbell and then yesterday I took the plunge and bought a cross trainer. 

I love walking and I love going out for a walk, especially if I can walk with someone else and have a good chat. I can walk for miles. Some days though I don’t have time to squeeze in a walk outside, or it is really windy (which makes my breathing difficult), this way, I will be able to walk or even run, short distances between clients or pieces of work. 

I know that this is going to make a difference for me. 

Making changes is about small, consistent steps and being realistic. That’s what I’m aiming for. I find it easier to do 20 minutes a day than I do an hour three times a week.

The biggest step is already taken. 

Making the decision to change is always the biggest and hardest step.

Deciding to do something and for the right reasons is so important to achieving your goals. For example, my change isn’t about weight loss. That will hopefully be a welcome consequence of the change, but my focus is very clearly on strength and lung health. 

The condition I have (acromegaly) causing joint issues, osteoporosis and also heart conditions and I am asthmatic, so being able to make my body as strong as possible is so important, especially as I glide through perimenopause.

Whatever changes we want to make though we can choose to listen to the excuse monkey, or we can prove it wrong. For the most part I am an “I’ll prove you wrong!” person, but unfortunately I am also very persuasive and think things through thoroughly… and so does my mind monkey!

In the same way that I can talk myself into doing things, equally my mind monkey can find really good arguments for not doing things. I have spent years battling: I can’t do this, it’s dangerous for me, I will damage my joints, I don’t have time… but I have made a conscious decision to change those thoughts and I can’t wait to prove myself wrong!

Just to prove that I’m not making it up. My new cross trainer arrived while I was writing this blog. We built it and took this photo just to prove it. (excuse the state of my office, we are doing some home improvements and lots of things have been dumped in there so it is all looking a little messy!). I have already had a quick go on it but, I will be getting up tomorrow, putting on my gym wear and doing my first proper session and I genuinely can’t wait. 

 

What are you making excuses about?

Kate's cross trainer

We all have things that we tell ourselves that aren’t true. 

When you realise you are making excuses, ask yourself these questions: 

Is this true? 

How do I know it’s true? 

What would happen if I tried?

What’s the worst thing that can happen?

I’m not saying that you can do absolutely anything, we all have our limits. For example, I might be able to “run” a marathon one day on my cross trainer, but I know I couldn’t run one on a road because my joints would be too damaged. That isn’t an excuse, it is a fact. I’m not making my life better by damaging my body, this is about positive changes not being stubborn.

For you it might not be about fitness, it might be about getting the garden tidy, clearing out the spare room, leaving the job you hate… whatever it is you are making excuses about, I encourage you to stop and ask yourself the questions above and see what changes you can make. You might be surprised at the results.

 

Reflections – A look back on the last 12 months

Reflections on COVID 19

Reflections. This time last year we were all merrily going about our business without a hint of how life was about to change. As we approach our first anniversary of being impacted by COVID 19 I felt it was a good time to stop and reflect on how our lives have been changed and hopefully find some positives in a year of deep learning for everyone on the planet. 

There have rarely been events in history which have impacted the whole world. It could be argued that the world wars impacted the whole planet but there were many people who would have been unaffected even by those. During the last 12 months everyone in the world has been impacted in some way by the new virus, COVID 19. We have had travel restrictions, national lockdowns and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Have all the changes we have experienced been negative though?

I’m not one to let things get me down. I always look for the rainbow and the silver lining and the last twelve months has been no different. I’m not saying I haven’t struggled, I have, I don’t know anyone who hasn’t, but I have also been really grateful for the many wonderful lessons this time has taught me.

The impact of the pandemic has been wide reaching; health, work, school, financial concerns, job losses, mental wellness, bereavement, missing our loved ones so much it physically hurts… the list goes on.

Have I been personally affected by all of these and more? 

Yes.

Have I cried because I miss my parents and worried about the fact my husband’s work dried up last March and there is no sign of it returning? 

Yes.

But the last year has brought so many blessings that those things have been made more bearable.

I have loved spending more time with my children. It hasn’t been easy juggling home learning and work, but it has been so lovely having them home all the time. Having lunch together every day. Watching whole series’ together while snuggling on the sofa under a blanket. (If you’re wondering we did the whole of Dr Who during Lockdown and we’re about to finish the Marvel films as our Lockdown 3 treat.)

We have also walked more as a family

I am walking more than twice as far as I was before the pandemic hit. I walk to the shop to get a pink of milk, where I would have driven and convinced myself I didn’t have time to walk. We walk and talk and it has really helped us process everything we have been going through.

walking

We have done many jobs around the house that we didn’t have time to do before. We have sorted through the contents of the loft and organised everything. We have made a start on really organising our photos and all our precious memories, rearranged rooms so that they function more effectively for our growing family. We have done work in the garden and got back into growing our own veggies, which we hadn’t done for a couple of years.  

I have loved having a reason to send people gifts in the post. I have always loved sending little messages and gifts in the post, but the last twelve months has given me more reasons to share a smile and I have loved receiving thoughtful gifts from loved ones too. A cream tea from a friend, drawings from my niece and nephew or a bunch of flowers from my parents have given me a reason to smile for days.  

Time out

We have allowed ourselves to stop and breathe

Life is so busy usually. 

Between work, family, after school activities, socialising… sometimes it felt like we didn’t have a minute to stop and think about what we wanted to be doing. 

Personally, I have taken time to really think about what makes me happy. How I want my business to grow. What I want to focus on and who I want to serve. 

I have spent time talking to my children about their plans and dreams.

I am almost embarrassed to admit that I have done some online courses (I know such a cliche, but I love learning!).

I have adapted aspects of my business so that I am able to continue working online and there are many aspects of that which have worked brilliantly and I would love to maintain once all this is over. 

I have made sure that I have made the most of all the amazing tools at my disposal and kept in touch with loved ones via video call or messages. I know that I will keep doing that even when I am able to see them face to face more. Weekly chats with my parents and my sister on video chat have been a life saver. My brain actually convinces my heart that I have seen them after our call. Since they live too far away to see every week, we will definitely keep our weekly chats going.

I have also made a list of all the things I never want to take for granted ever again:

  • Visiting my parents and sister
  • Hugs (with anyone and everyone)
  • Playing with my neice and nephew
  • Popping to my inlaws for a cuppa and a chat
  • Cuppa with a friend
  • Having friends round for a catch up
  • Wandering round a shop browsing
  • Theatre treats
  • Gigs and concerts
  • Days out as a family
  • Trips to the cinema
  • Eating out
  • Weekends away
  • Trying on clothes/shoes in a shop
  • Being able to walk along a pavement without moving to the side for someone coming the other way
  • Going to a shop without getting glared at because of my face covering exemption
  • … the list goes on and on.

The sad thing is that human nature dictates that we will all be so grateful for all these simple pleasures for a short while, but within a few months that will become normal again and we will forget to be thankful for hugs again.

I have tried so hard in the past to not lose this gratitude for the blessings in my life.

I have been fortunate to live in some stunningly beautiful places in my life and the first few weeks I have walked round appreciating every building and cobble, then within months it is just life. 

When I first had my tumour removed and I was pain free I vowed that I would appreciate every day and be grateful every single day that I am alive and in less pain. I managed it for a few years, but after 13 years the novelty has worn off. 

Am I still grateful I am alive and painfree? 

Of course, but I don’t remember to feel that way every morning. 

It is just human nature that once we become accustomed to something we forget to appreciate it.

York

I would like to invite you to take the time to create your own list of things you have really loved during the last 12 months. There will be many things I am sure. 

Then create a list of things you want to try to appreciate for as long as possible, things you have missed or want to make the most of when life returns to normal.

Find out why it is important to appreciate the little things:

Mike Robbins – The Power of Appreciation

Rose Chachko – Appreciating the little things in life

 

Home Learning – A real parenting challenge

Home learning

 

If you are a parent you don’t need me to tell you how stressful home learning has been during the pandemic. Many parents here in the UK have been educating their children at home for almost six months out of the last twelve, it doesn’t get any easier.

During the first lockdown there was an air of excitement and schools were encouraged to do whatever was needed to get our children through this time of crisis. Parents were baking, gardening, colouring and watching nature programmes and that, perhaps combined with some worksheets, was deemed to be enough to get our children through this temporary emergency state. As the time frame has changed and we are now looking at at least twelve months of disruption to learning though, the pressure put on schools by the government has changed dramatically. 

They are now being expected to teach a full timetable, mostly on live video calls, and the government even encouraged parents to report schools to OFSTED if they weren’t happy. What an appalling way to treat a profession who have worked, alongside our other keyworkers, throughout this pandemic, working much longer hours and putting themselves and their own families at risk.

Before I go any further I want to assure you that, however you are feeling about home learning, your child’s teachers are doing their best. Often teacher key worker’s children in the classroom, while supporting the children working at home and worrying about their own children. They would much rather be teaching your children in school, it is easier for them and it is the part of the job they love the most.

Now we have established that noone is particularly happy about the situation we find ourselves in I want to reassure you. 

You are doing an amazing job.

You might feel like you are drowning some days, you might have lost your temper or had a good cry. Maybe you had a really big gin and tonic at 6pm yesterday, or ate a whole packet of biscuits. You are human. You didn’t plan your life expecting to have your children at home during the school term. It isn’t that you don’t love them. You may even be enjoying having them at home all the time. 

You aren’t a teacher – and even if you are, teaching your own children is a very different thing to teaching other people’s children. I would choose teaching a class full of other people’s children over teaching two of my own any day!

How can we make home learning manageable?

There are many things we can do to make this time easier for everyone. It is important to remember that everyone’s situation is different, and not all these points will work for you, or even apply to you. Hopefully though everyone will take something helpful away from this.

home learning child

1. Take a deep breath

Breathing exercises calm the body and help your brain to function more effectively. When we feel stressed or cornered our breathing becomes shallow and our ability to problem solve and process information logically is reduced dramatically. Take three or four deep breaths before you start and everything will feel easier and more logical.

2. Don’t try to make home learning school

Unless your child asks you to make your time learning together like it would be at school, don’t even try. Honestly, unless you have worked in schools recently, you probably don’t really know what schools are like and how children learn in school these days anyway. Make a space on a table or desk where you will do written work but if your child wants a snack during a lesson, and youthink that will help them concentrate, then there’s no harm in them having one. If your child is getting restless and fidgetty, let them go run round the garden for a few minutes. Create your own routine and your own rules.

3. Talk to the teachers

Teachers want to know how you are getting on. If your child is really struggling, you don’t have the equipment you need, or you are worried that you don’t know how to explain something properly, just talk to them. They may not be able to respond immediately, but teachers are working so hard to make this easier for everyone. They don’t want you to struggle alone. 

4. Prioritise

Depending on the age of your child you can probably prioritise certain aspects of their work. For younger children this will probably be reading, writing and maths work. Older children may be allowed to not attend all the online sessions if they need time to catch up with their written work. It may be better for them to attend the online sessions and not worry about all the written work. Ask the teachers and let them know that your child is struggling.

5. Use relaxation techniques

Managing our emotions has never been more important. Whether it is breathing techniques, meditation, yoga… use whatever you feel works best for your family to help everyone stay calm and happy.

walking

6. Get plenty of exercise

Exercise is so important for helping us regulate our stress levels, as well as keeping us physically well. With everything happening inside our homes at the moment and children spending so much time sitting in front of screens, just going for a walk every day will have a huge impact on their mood, as well as their physical and mental health.

Whether it is a family walk, bike ride or a play in the park, make sure your children are getting outside every day.

7. Make sure you are all getting enough sleep 

With no school run to be up for it is easy to fall into the trap of allowing your children to stay up later than usual and then let them roll out of bed five minutes before their first lesson. Children need to be awake and alert if they are going to learn, but equally importantly, it is while we are asleep that we process most of the stress chemicals our body releases during the day. Without sufficent sleep we wake feeling stressed and short tempered. 

8. You can’t pour from an empty cup

If you are one of the many parents juggling full time work at home and home learning make sure you don’t end up exhausting yourself. If you are working into the night catching up on your work so that you can be there to  help your children through the day you will burn yourself out and then you can’t help anyone. Your work is putting food on the table and a roof over your child’s head, that makes it your priority. Find something educational on the TV (BBC Bitesize has some amazing programmes on demand) and let them sit and watch that while you get some work done. Perhaps you could read a book together while you have a break or do a worksheet while you eat your lunch. As long as you are doing something, you are winning. 

 

Everything will be ok 

This isn’t a tip as much as a message.

Whatever you do or don’t manage to do during this time of home learning, please know that everything will be ok. Our children will be learning so many life skills at the moment. They have already learned to be so adaptable. They are learning to cope with changes to their routine, learning to process their emotions, perhaps to bake or cook, to be more patient with each other. They are learning that life is unpredictable but that everything will be ok in the end. It really will.  

When our children do return to school, and they will, every child in the class will have had a very different experience of home learning. The teachers are acutely aware of this and will be prepared to fill in any gaps and support the children as they carry on their learning journey, whatever point they are starting from. 

 The most important thing we can do for our children right now is make sure they are happy, that they feel safe and loved and they are ready to return to school. For our children to be happy and calm we need to somehow manage to remain calm and happy too.  

If you need help with your child’s wellbeing or you are a teacher looking for wellbeing resources please do visit my Calmer Classroom website. 

 

You Are Important

You Are important

Do you believe you are important?

That’s quite a difficult question for most of us to answer I think. Of course the answer is yes, you are important, but do you believe it?

Over the last few weeks I have had the honour of interviewing many amazing women for my The Super Woman Life series. They all had one thing in common. None of them believed that they had done anything special, or that they were anything out of the ordinary. 

Let me tell you these are incredible women, they have achieved amazing things against unbelievable obstacles and they are inspiring so many people, but they can’t see it. They think they are just “normal”.

Of course, the reality is, they are normal.

We all are.

 

Does that make us any less impressive, or any less important?

 

Hell no!

Part of the issue, as I see it, is that we all grow up looking up to someone. It may be our parents, grandparents, teachers, celebrities… whoever it is that we admire, we put them on a pedestal. They are perfect. They have achieved phenomenal things and inspired us to be the best version of ourselves we can be. 

Then as we grow, we update our idols. We begin to look up to other people in our industry, friends who have survived and celebrities who reflect everything we want to be. 

We continually update our list of people we admire but at what point do we allow ourselves to be on that list?

 

Well, the sad thing is, most people never do.

We are all achieving amazing things, overcoming our fears, learning, growing, helping others… changing the world, but we are unable to see it.

I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people in my life, and from a young age too.

Important

My background

I didn’t grow up in a show biz family or anything but I loved theatre and did a lot of musicals in my teens and twenties. I did all sorts of shows, I even did one night at the London Palladium. I had friends who did pantomime, I wrote for the local newspaper when I was at school writing reviews for plays and shows we had seen with school. As a result I met, and often spent time with, lots of celebrities.

Alan RIckman

These are some of my most treasured photos of me meeting Alan Rickman following an interview I did with him for the local newspaper. Even at 17 years old, I wasn’t star struck, I had met enough actors and performers to know they are just people. I worked with Jane MacDonald on a show and at one time was meeting so many “famous” people I don’t even have any photographic evidence because it just didn’t seem like something that significant (and of course we didn’t all carry a camera phone in our pocket then!).

Despite this, I have still struggled with feeling overwhelmed at the thought of talking to some people I have interviewed. 

Imposter Syndrome

I still don’t feel starstruck at the thought of talking to, or meeting, celebrities. What I do struggle with is interacting with people I really admire. People I feel have achieved so much more than I have. My imposter syndrome comes out to play and I ask myself questions like “Who am I to interview them?”, “Why would they want to talk to me?”, “What have I got to contribute?”. Sound familiar?

What if I told you that everyone feels the same way?

I have spoken to many people in the public eye and rarely do they think they are any better than everyone else, most are still amazed that they are recognised and that anyone listens to them. More importantly most would still be surprised if someone they look up to approached them to do some work. 

Last week I interviewed the beautiful Theresa Cheung. Theresa is an author and spiritual expert. She has also been one of my greatest teachers. 

A few years ago now Theresa contacted me by email. Having read Theresa’s books for many years, at first I thought it was spam. Imagine my surprise when I replied and ended up chatting with her on the phone about a project she wanted me to work with her on!  I was blown away. Why on earth would this best selling author want to work with me?

Well, she was searching the internet and I had written about using Star Wars to help children with mindfulness.  She was looking for someone with an understanding of the spiritual aspects of Star Wars and before I knew it I was on a panel at Comic Con! Here we are with some of the other contributors to the project!

Why I chose to Become the Force

We have kept in touch ever since so when I started my Super Woman Life interview series I contacted her to ask if she would be interviewed. Bearing in mind she was on Russell Brand’s podcast recently and has been featured on various TV programmes talking about how we are all coping with lockdown and the dreams we may be haivng, I was honoured when she jumped at the chance. Not only that but when I interviewed her last week, she spent the first few minutes complimenting me – you can imagine how that surprised me!   

That was what got me thinking about this subject. It doesn’t seem to matter who I meet, who I work with, there will always be people who I admire and look up to, and who I am amazed want to work with me. 

For me it is a sign of respect. I am in awe of their knowledge, their skills and their strength.

 

Gaining Perspective

Some of the women I have interviewed for this amazing series have wondered why I have approached them. What have they done that’s so remarkable? Why would anyone be interested in them? Yet some of them have actually cried as they watched back their interview and heard them telling their own story. We are all capable of incredible strength and courage when necessary, we just get on with it. When we see that same resilience in others we are amazed at their courage. Somehow watching themselves back on screen enabled them to detach from their own story and see their own strength, their achievements and their own ability to inspire others.  

We are all SO important. 

If you have any doubt about that, just stop to think about what the world would be like without you. That’s a bit intense, but if you are still struggling with believing your are important, that’s a great way to realise how many people love you, need you, would miss you, you have an enormous impact. You are incredible.

 

Accepting compliments 

I am slowly learning that I can look up to people and still be important and have an impact myself. Admiring others doesn’t mean I don’t respect myself, or that I feel unworthy.  

Learning to accept compliments and praise is something many of us struggle with. For years I would bat away compliments with a justification or a dismissal. Over time I have learned to say “thank you” or “that’s so kind”. Sometimes it still takes effort to do that, but I am getting used to it and you can too. Next time someone pays you a compliment accept it graciously. It isn’t big headed or showing off, it is being graceful and grateful.  

I’ll start you off. You are amazing. You have achieved so much and I am so proud of you for the way you have coped with this year. I love you.

 

Do you want to read more about confidence? Have a look at these articles.

Body Confidence Reading List

Empowered Feminine Reading List

Shift your focus

Shift your focus

Focus on the positives. 

We are often told to shift our focus, aren’t we? To stop focusing on the negatives. We know it helps us feel better, more than that, it can completely re-wire our brains. Evolution has taught us to pay more attention to anything dangerous or scary in order to keep us safe. Which is great, and really important, up to a point. We need to remember that fire is hot and it can burn us. It is important to be wary in certain situations, such as when we are near a wild animal. All those situations require us to be cautious and we should remember the danger. 

It is this level of danger that our brain has been trained to focus on though, and it finds it difficult to scale down the reactions when the situation is something less life threatening, such as an interview or meeting that we are worried about.

We go into our primitive fight, flight or freeze response for these situations too, which unfortunately changes our body physically, preparing it for physical battle, not mental challenge. Our recall and problem solving ability are reduced and priority given to the need to run and hit. Not very helpful.

The last few months have been challenging for everyone. We have had a physical threat to our health, the emotional challenges of not being able to see our loved ones, financial worries… Many of us have spent the majority of 2020 in an almost continued state of fear and anxiety. 

This has impacted on our ability to sleep, eat and affected our mental and physical wellbeing massively. 

I am going to be completely honest with you, (because that’s what I do!) I was doing ok, I was focusing on the things I could control; caring for my loved ones, working, getting my daily walks in… then a couple of weeks ago something changed. 

I started reading lots of the articles shared by some of my friends on social media about the some of the darker aspects of this pandemic. I began to feel very scared and although I wasn’t feeling that way all the time, I did notice the impact it was having on my mental health.

Social media is a blessing and a curse. 

I am fortunate that most of the interaction I have online is positive and happy, because I don’t put up with anyone being any other way. The minute someone starts to be offensive or aggressive they are blocked.

 

social media

At the moment though I have a different issue. The people I really love and align with morally and spiritually, are all sharing articles about the awful things which are happening and might be happening, disguised by this pandemic and the related consequences. This is all very plausible, almost impossible to prove or disprove – I mean, who can we trust for certain as an information source these days? As a result there possibilities are swirling and my head is spinning. 

At the start of this week I had a massive rant to my family. It was completely fear based. That was the point that I realised I had been sucked into a wormhole of fear and frustration. 

I made a conscious decision that day to focus on the things I can change. To focus on my family, my friends, making my life as positive and happy as I can. I started planning fun activities for Halloween and thinking more about Christmas plans (who knows what we will be allowed to do by then!). I am concentrating on spreading joy and happiness, not fear and anxiety. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are still aspects of what is happening nationally and globally that concern me greatly. Until I work out what I can do to really make a difference to those, I am going to focus on me and the energy I am putting out into the world. 

Think positive

I know it’s easy for me to say, “I shifted my focus”, I have been learning how to do this for years. How do you actually change the focus of your thoughts? After all, it is out thoughts that control our thoughts, isn’t it? Firstly it is important to say that these are helpful tips for someone who has got stuck in a cycle of negative thinking, if clinical depression is causing the fear and negativity, this advice may be beneficial but it may not be enough. I would always recommend seeking a professional for help if you feel that you may be depressed.

Make a choice

Well, as with so many things, the first step is making a decision. decide that you aren’t going to allow the negative, fearful thoughts to dominate your mind any more. Whenever you find yourself thinking something negative or fear based just make the choice to think about something positive instead. Once you have acknowledged that you are in this thought pattern that is the first step. If necessary, decide upon something that you will choose to think about every time you have a fear based thought. Perhaps when you notice the thoughts you will think about your children, dog, an event you are looking forward to? Whatever it is make that switch as quickly as you are able to.

Be kind to yourself

We are all guilty of being more compassionate with others than we are ourselves. When we give ourselves a hard time that makes it even easier to amplify the negative thoughts. If you are feeling down don’t beat yourself up about it, treat yourself kindly. Make a hot drink, have a bath, put on your favourite Netflix show and give yourself time to move through the emotion. We are all going through a challenging time, many of us have had months of uncertainty and there is currently no end in sight. If you have put on a bit of weight, not been as productive as you wanted to be or been a bit short tempered with your loved ones, take a deep breath and forgive yourself.  

Surround yourself with positivity

This might sound obvious but if you notice that you feel anxious or even angry when you have watched the news or been on social media, stop paying attention to them for a few days. Give yourself time to reset. Equally if there are certain people who are making you feel frustrated or fearsome avoid them for a fews days, weeks if you are able, to allow yourself time to collect yourself. You can also prepare yourself for seeing them by protecting yourself energetically before you see or speak to them, this will reduce the impact of their emotions on you. (For full instructions on how to protect yourself energetically have a read of this blog.) Equally important is surrounding yourself with people who make you feel happy and calm. If you are fortunate enough to live with your loved ones at the moment give them a big hug and show them that you appreciate and love them. Watch a film together and snuggle under a blanket. Comfort yourself and enjoy the company of loving people.

Get outside

Never underestimate the power of nature to calm you down and help you forget your worries. Just going for a walk in the fresh air will make such a difference to your mood, if you can get outside to a green space full of grass and trees, even better. The combination of fresh air and exercise is really powerful for all things mental health, but particularly if you need reminding of your blessings.

nature

The most important thing you can do for your wellbeing is acknowledging that something needs to change. It crept up on me and I am usually so careful about what I pay attention to; I avoid the news, negative people and keep my social media light, but at the moment it is difficult. We all have to find the balance between being informed and not allowing the fear in. 

If you need any additional help with your wellbeing or you are worried that you are past the stage of these suggestions being helpful please do contact your GP or consider contacting one of the many amazing mental health charities.

Samaritans

Mind

Change your relationship to change

“Change: has been the topic of the month in The Super Woman Life club for October.

Change is probably the word I associate most with Autumn. The changes seem so apparent at this time of year. The leaves on the trees turn from green to gold and then fall to the ground. The days get shorter and the nights longer. We all reach for our jumpers and boots and huddle round the fire with a hot drink. 

Everything about life seems to change in the Autumn. 

I don’t know about you, but I love it. I love getting under a wamr blanket with a cuppa or a hot chocolate and watching a film with the family, or reading a book, or even doing some work. Everything feels happier and more acceptable with a blanket and tea.

Changes in nature are out of our control. We can’t decide that we want it to be Spring, or that we would like it to snow today and make that happen. We accept the changes and we often embrace them. They are predictable to a degree. We don’t often get weather that is completely unexpected. We grow used to what weather we should expect depending on the season we are in (and I am saying this as a resident of the UK, where the weather can seem really unpredictable at times!).

There are other changes that we accept. We know we will grow older every year, every day actually. With that ageing comes a string of changes; growth, learning, changes in hair colour, number of teeth, height. We may not necessarily embrace all the changes as we head into old age, but we can pretty much predict what they will be. Just as when we are children we know we will get taller, stronger, learn to talk. We know that our hair and nails will grow and that will will learn something every day. It is expected and because of that it feels safe.

Changes we create…

Some changes we create, such as deciding to get fit or lose weight. Perhaps we make the decision to work on our mental wellbeing by meditating every day or doing more gardening. Perhaps we decide to make more effort to change our outside world by decorating, rearranging a cupboard, tidying up more often or recycling more. These are all changes we consciously make. These are the most amazing changes. This type of change empowers us. It helps us grow. It makes us a better version of ourselves and fills us with a sense of achievement or pride. This change is magical. We are in control and we embrace it.

Some change though, catches us out.

Redundancy, illness, bereavement… the list goes on. Changes over which will have no control but that we aren’t prepared for can derail us.

Any change in our outside world which is outside our control can have a huge impact on our internal world and, as a consequance, our mental health.

change

How can we stop ourselves from being floored by unexpected change?

It is important to remember that feeling anxious about change is normal. We are pre-programmed to feel safe when things stay the same. New things may be dangerous so we instinctively avoid anything which has the potential to cause us harm. We are often scared of failing too. Perhaps the change means we have to do something we have never done before, it may be a new job which has different demands or moving to a new area where you have to make new friends. We often convince ourselves that we are not capable of these challenges and as a result we stay in the safety of our familiar life and routines.

However, if we never change, and everything always stays the same, we never experience anything new. We never learn anything and we can never discover new pleasures either.

Imperfect change

What can you do to overcome your fear of change?

Accept that being imperfect is exactly what is required of youYou don’t have to be the best. You might have a quiver in your voice when you do your first presentation for your boss, that’s ok. Just by standing up and speaking you have learned to overcome that fear. You have grown and achieved something amazing.

Accept what you can control. All too often the changes that make us most uncomfortable and afraid are caused by someone else’s decisions. We have to accept that sometimes these decisions are signs that we aren’t supposed to spending as much time with them, or even that we shouldn’t have them in our lives at all. We can only control our rection to changes that occur, we can’t always change the decision.

Your life is your choices. Your life isn’t pre-destined. It is a collection of choices and changes. By choosing whether to embrace the changes that occur or reject them you are writing your life story. Sometimes we have to make that big scary decision to embrace a change in order to create the life that we know we are meant to be living. Grab that opportunity with both hands and hold it close, if you run away who knows when it might present itself again.

Take control of the situation. This may sound silly but if you make the decision to accept the change and convince yourself that it is something you want to happen, it suddenly becomes something you can cope with. This isn’t possible with every change, for example it wouldn’t work with grief, but even with illness, you can decide that it is a necessary rest and reminder of your own mortality. Appreciate the lesson in the situation and be grateful for the opportunities it presents. Harness the energy of the change rather than letting it control you. Make the most of what life has given you.

Burn your script. So often our resistance to change comes from a belief that we are not living up to the life we always thought we would be living. We have created a story of what our life will be like, often from an early age, and any deviation feels like failure. It isn’t failure, it is just another choice, another path you can decide to take. Stop and really think about why you feel that your script it the right story. Often we are trying to live our life according to a very outdated idea of what we sould or shouldn’t be doing. Burn that script and enjoy living the life you have been given. Everything will feel so much better.

So, as you are huddled up under your blanket this Autumn,take a moment to reflect on your relationship to change. Do you embrace it or does it fill you with dread? What can you do to make it more manageable?

If you would like to know more about The Super Woman Life  and the many and how it can help you to feel more empowered and calm, you can find out more here.

Cosy change

Personal Wisdom

Personal Wisdom

Recently I have been paying close attention to my personal wisdom. I have realised that during these times of uncertainty and overwhelm that it is more important to me than ever before. 

When I was younger too often allowed my personal wisdom to be shouted down by the loudest or most authoritative voice on a subject. I was reluctant to speak out about things that concerned me or let the most seductive arguement win me over. 

The older I have grown the less I concern myself with the opinions of others. Increasingly I feel confident that if I am true to myself then I will attract people who feel the same way.  

There are many issues we are being challenged to take sides on at the moment; covid-19 regulations (mask wearing, social distancing, school return etc), Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+, poverty, homelessness… the list goes on and on. 

I am not one to ruffle feathers, especially unnecessarily, but I am no longer prepared to be pushed into making decisions for my family which go against my personal wisdom in order to conform either.

Personal Wisdom

Challenges come in all shapes and sizes

I have also become increasingly aware that I need to be more proactive in my approach to certain issues. For many years I believed that by not agreeing with someone I was showing that I was against what they were saying. That simply isn’t true and over recent years and months I have seen the importance of speaking out when someone says something I disagree with.

 

Not all decisions are on a global scale though, or even a national scale.

Personal wisdom is deeper than being true to yourself on public issues such as racism and sexism though. It is also important to listen to that still small voice when it comes to making choices about small scale things like exercise, self care, diet, career choices, social engagements. 

There are times when I listen to my inner voice if I am feeling tired, which I often am due to my acromegaly, or if my family need me. It isn’t wrong to prioritise that over work. Of course it is also important not to let people down for no reason, but if I can possibly rearrange something, I will now. There was a time when I would have pushed through no matter what for fear of letting someone down. 

Now though, I sit quietly, take a deep breath and listen to my inner wisdom. There have been times when I have ignored that voice, but I invariably regret it. Sometimes I think I should do something but when I really listen I realise that it doesn’t feel right. It might be a feeling in my upper stomach, just below my rib cage (solar plexus). Other times it’s a nagging feeling I just can’t shake. However I hear that personal wisdom though, I know to listen.

 

Being true is more important than being perfect

Do you know what? Since I started listening to my personal wisdom and tuning in to find out if I should go ahead with something I have had more support and my business has grown.  

I spend a lot of time talking about self care and the importance of making healthy decisions. If I then push through no matter what, who is going to listen to me?

By listening to my personal wisdom I know that I am being true to me. If I am always true to me then I will be consistent in everything I say and do (hopefully!). 

Does that mean I am always right? Hell no! 

Does it mean that I always try my best to do the honest thing, the caring thing, the thing which will help others the most, sometimes the thing that will help me the most? Yes, I hope so. At the very least I will always be able to hold my hand up and my head up high and say “I did my best with what I knew at the time”. 

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

Maya Angelou

Poet

It concerns me that these days many people jump on a bandwagon of beliefs without stopping and listening to see that is what is true to them. We see waves of beliefs and movements rise up and people are keen to be seen to be supporting them. Now many of these absolutely should be supported by most, if not all. Sometimes though, it is important to step back and look at where this wave started before we decide to jump on board. 

Equally there are other issues which are going on under our noses every day which we aren’t made aware of by big movements, but which deserve just as much outrage and airtime, such as human trafficking. It is important to listen to your personal wisdom and decide which issues you really want to fight for and fight with all your heart. It isn’t possible to stand for everything but please, stand for something. Whether it is animal cruelty, global warming, save the bees, pollution, homelessness, #metoo, FGM, the legalisation of cannabis, paedophile rings… the possibilities are endless, there are so many things we need to sort out in the world. But if we all listen to our still small voice and give ourselves wholeheartedly to one cause we will do more good than by standing for everything but only enough to share a meme on social media and maybe sign an online petition.

 

Be brave. Be bold. Be the hero of your own story. 

Stop the elderly relative who is being wittingly or unwittingly racist in their language (remember you can challenge them without being disrespectful. Acceptable terms have changed greatly in my life time and certainly have over the generations). Challenge the person who throws litter on the floor. Educate yourself about the big issues of our times and then decide to be the voice of change. 

No-one is perfect but we can all make small changes, in line with our own situation and belief system, that when combined with lots of other small changes, creates big change.

We all stayed home for a few weeks during lockdown and the impact on the environment was massive. Many environmental groups recommend making one small change such as getting a milk man who uses glass bottles. Once you have got used to that change, you can make another and another and if everyone was to do the same thing the impact would be immense.

If every time someone said or did something sexist they were challenged on it perhaps they would stop. They may not, but they would at least realise that others don’t necessarily share their attitude. 

Whatever your religion, political view, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality, gender you are a human and you have an obligation to care. Whether you channel your caring energy into donkeys, children, refugees, clean water or keeping theatres open doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we care. So listen to your personal wisdom. Go deep inside yourself and find what you are really passionate about, and do it. Whether it is growing organic vegetables for your family or marching on human rights be the change you want to see in the world.

The Next Step – Coping with the Easing of Lockdown

The Next Step

As the UK begins to ease lockdown measures and life begins to return to a new normal, what is the next step?

Unfortunately for many there is still a lot of uncertainty. I know many therapists who were counting on being allowed to open on 4th July like hairdressers, who are now having to make very difficult decisions about the future of their business. 

This next step feels uncertain and for many is inducing more anxiety than going into lockdown. 

We have spent months being told it isn’t safe to go out, that we mustn’t see other people apart from for essential errands and now suddenly we are able to go to the pub or go clothes shopping and many are very wary.

You see the problem with deeply imprinting a message that we have to stay at home to stay safe, is that, we all then immediately feel unsafe leaving our homes.

Most people are aware of the powerful impact of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and affirmations now. We understand that repeating a message or hearing a message repeated many times imprints on our unconscious mind and can be life changing.

Unfortunately that means that “Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives” the government’s lockdown message to the UK population, is now so firmly imprinted that many people are now feeling uneasy, and unsafe, leaving their homes. 

Lockdown

If you are reading this then chances are you are more than familiar with this phenomenon.

What can we do to make this next step easier?

Well, there are lots of things, from research to energy protection. I’ll go through a few things that I am personally using to help me cope with this next step to normality.

Rationalise 

This is almost the opposite of the advice I would usually be giving but do some careful research from sources such as WHO. We have been bombarded with statistics during this pandemic which isn’t particularly helpful. Imagine if everytime we turned on the news we were told how many people had died in the UK today. We would all be living in a permanent state of fear.  Look carefully at the statistics. Often they can be more reassuring than you might imagine. 

Take sensible precautions

Continue to wash your hands regularly, avoid large gatherings and generally take the advice we are being given to make sensible judgment calls. If you feel unsafe going somewhere and you don’t absolutely have to go, then stay at home. If you have to go to the shop, hospital etc then wear a mask or face covering. 

We are all longing for time with loved ones and a good hair cut but if your intuition is saying “wait a bit longer” then listen to that. 

Breathe 

Many people who struggle with anxiety notice a dramatic change in their breathing. Given the respiratory nature of the current pandemic, and the necessity to wear a mask on occasion, this can then be esculated in our minds to a frightening level. Be aware of your breathing. Use a simple breathing technique such as 7-11 breathing (breathing in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11) to regulate your breathing if you begin to feel anxious. Having something to smell, such as an essential oil on a tissue can also be helpful in regulating your breathing.                 

Avoid watching the news 

This advice may appear to contradict the first tip but there is a difference between educating yourself and being bombarded with what often feels like propaganda. It also means that you can choose to research the important facts when you are feeling emotionally strong, not all day every day. For the most part if you are on social media you can pick up everything you need to as far as announcements and key facts.  

Meditate 

Meditation is a great way to calm your body and mind. It doesn’t have to be for longm just 5-10 minutes meditation is enough to make a dramatic impact on your wellbeing.  

If you are new to meditation there are some wonderful apps such as Headspace, which can be a gret introduction to the practice. If you would like to learn more about meditation or book an introductory session with me have a look at my meditation page

Get mindful

Finding ways to be incorporate mindfulness into your day is another great way to ease anxiety. Mindfulness is not a complex practice, it is simply the art of being completely present while you are doing anything. It may be washing up, gardening, playing golf, walking to the shops. Whatever you choose to do, being 100% present means you are doing it mindfully. By not allowing your mind to be constantly racing and thinking about a million things at once you will give your mind time to process everything it is already working through. If you would like to learn to be more mindful and how you can incorporate these life changing but simple techniques into your life find out more here.  

 

“My philosophy is worrying means you suffer twice – Newt Scamander”

JK Rowling

Author, Fantastic Beasts

There are many uncertainties at the moment, but one thing is certain, worrying won’t solve anything. 

Easier said than done, I know.

It is important to regain some perspective as you take this next step. To stop and think about all the things you would miss if we continued to live in isolation. It may be that you have enjoyed the extra time with our children or time to get on top of jobs at home. Perhaps you have enjoyed the fact you were able to work from home, or maybe you have rediscovered a hobby you didn’t have time for. It has been a time of self discovery for many people. As a population we have learned many lessons too. We have consumed less, gardened more, travelled less and repaired more, spent less but appreciated more. It is important to try and take these lessons with us as the restrictions on our lives ease and we take the next step into this brave new world. 

Life will continue to be different for a while yet but if we are sensible and make choices which reduce the risk of a second wave we can begin to send time with our families and friends again. More people can return to work, which will ease the financial fears many have at the moment (in addition to all the other anxieties).  Whatever your circumstances I hope you are safe and well, that you feel secure and loved and that you feel strong enough to deal with this next step. Remember, you are stronger and braver than you will ever believe, you’ve got this!

 

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