How to invest in yourself!

So back at Radio Verulam today with the Gorgeous Danny Smith and I was inspired to chat about ‘investments’ by Curly Headed Boy.

It’s spring time, maybe you need a fresh look at your life and a bit of an overhaul?

The question is how to invest in yourself?

Money Saving.

Money Saving Tips
Money

We are quite strict that even from pocket money, our kids have to put something aside.  It’s just so that it becomes second nature to them and eventually when they start to earn money, they naturally expect to be putting a minimum of 10% away.  Otherwise, his head will be automatically working out how he can spend every penny.  Instead, he will automatically assume that some money goes into savings.

It’s not about how much money you earn.

Its about the amount of value that you get from it.

And how much money is left at the end of your month!

As he looks like he would prefer a creative career, he is going to definitely have to manage his money really well to weather the highs and lows, as it’s unlikely to be consistent.

Yes, he might be really successful, but it might not be long term, or he might get one big windfall, that he could blow through really quickly.  In fact we had an award system, where he earn’t quite a lot of money, and what inspired this post was that he agreed to put 50% of it away into savings.

Imagine if you’d put aside all that money since you were a kid?  At 45, I’d have a lot more going on!  Women need to be especially aware of the fact that we have a tendency to not prioritise our pensions ahead of the needs of our relationships or families.

If you would like to start, but can’t afford 10%, just work towards it.  £5 is enough, as it’s a step in the right direction.

Try to create 2 different savings options:

1) Savings forever (not to be touched apart from investing in houses/education)

2) Savings for fun (don’t pay for Christmas and holidays afterwards when the fun is over)

Check out the rest of my money saving tips here.  I have no doubt that they’ll help you out of a financial hole, make sure that you have more value from the money that you spend, and help you to be financially healthier.

 

Your Health

green and red healthy food

This should actually come first in my opinion.  There’s no point in saving money if you don’t have a good quality or long enough life.

I know that things happen, and we can’t plan for everything.  But there is no doubt that your quality of life will be better if you drink water, eat healthily, and exercise.

I like to focus on being HEALTHY, then FIT (no point in being fit without health), and STRONG (which means toned and tends towards slimmer).  Check out all my tips on how to get healthy without dieting or killing yourself with exercise.  It’s so easy to try to go for a quick fix, but we all know THEY DON’T WORK!

Then you need to remember that everyone needs downtime, otherwise the levels of cortisol (stress) just get higher and higher and higher.  That affects your immune system and leaves you open to illnesses and diseases, like my Fibromyalgia.  I know you will get stressed again.  But there will have been a dip, and that is what is important.

Remember, that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself!

 

Your Mind

Great books for mums
Books, books, books …

Have you heard the theory that if you spend 15mins extra a day learning something, then you will overtake your 99% of your peers within a couple of years?

That’s how I did so well in IT.  I wasn’t a natural at it, but I studied every night, and within a few years they’d forgotten my initial struggles.  Eventually I became a global guru – crazy!

You see it at school every day with kids.  The teachers nag parents to read once a night with their children, just for 5-10 mins.  It sounds like so little, that it’s easy to drop.  However, 3-4 years down the line, it’s really obvious which children did or didn’t get that time.  (I know that parents are often busy and it’s not always easy to fit in time with the kids).

However, as old readers will know, I’m not sure about the idea of pushing yourself to pay for a private education, as I’m not convinced it always pays off.  Hence we moved Curly Headed Boy from private back into the state sector.  So don’t assume that education has to cost lots.  Mind you, him being so keen on dancing is a bit of an investment!

I see it as an employer all the time.  Those in my team with a passion for learning are on Youtube and keeping up to date and improving constantly.  The others are just fine, but they don’t do as well and naturally don’t attract as many customers.

It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of time.  Just lots of little consistent bits, is what adds up eventually.

 

Your Community

Charity Shop Finds
Butterfly Sparkles!

I must admit that I believe that what you give out you get back.  If I smile at people, I tend to mainly get smiles back.  There are a few grumpy people, but the smiles I get back cheer me up.  It’s not any extra pressure on my day to make this little effort, and I get rewarded in bucket loads.

The same goes for ‘paying it forward’.  I don’t believe it’s right to be a martyr, or give so much of yourself that you damage your health and family.  But our community is important, and there are always things that you can do , however little.

Maybe it’s in helping to spread the word about a new small business on Facebook?  A simple share of one of my posts for Espiritu, is amazingly helpful.  I have lovely clients who regularly mention us whenever someone asks for a local hair/beauty salon or Spa.  I’m really lucky, so I like to help out other businesses where I can.

Perhaps you support the local charity shop where you can by buying from there and giving them things that you are finished with.  I’ve made amazing purchases in charity shops in the past, and my kids love them.  There was a really interesting post though over on a friend of mine’s blog, where she was feeling guilty about wanting to sell some more expensive items.  No you should never feel guilty – it’s not right to put yourself in trouble.

Or maybe it’s helping out at your kids school a couple of hours a week if you have the flexibility?

Remember, you don’t have to solve a WHOLE problem – that’s what often stops people from helping out, donating or volunteering.  Just help a little – and all the little bits add up.

 

What else?

What do you think that you should invest in?
What have I missed out?
Friendships? – I kind of fit that in with community, but many invest much more in their friendships.
Clothes? – I recently bought some clothes, as there is an expectation that I look a certain way for work, but I’ve never bought anything outrageously expensive, as I’m way too tight fisted.
Relationships? – So difficult to juggle with a family and kids, but they can last a lifetime, so worth investing in.
Houses? – With all the changes in our economy, maybe it isn’t a priority anymore to invest in bricks and mortar?
Watching TV – there is social side to this, where you can feel left out if you don’t know what’s going on!
Is it possible to have romance and kids?

How, why and what on earth is ‘Loving yourself’?

I was on the radio tonight with the ‘Gorgeous Danny Smith’ on his Drivetime show on Radio Verulam (you can listen again for a week here – monday 5.30-6pm), talking about ‘Self Love’.  It’s a bit cliched maybe, but also really important, and something I’ve been thinking about and wishing a few of my friends would practice more this month.

Why Bother?

Is it possible to have romance and kids?
A hug
First off, I need to explain to you why it is so important to you and to the ones you care for, and your success that you love yourself.
1) Healthy relationships – when you don’t love yourself, you will attract people looking for someone damaged.  Not being nasty, but they are either a hero type looking to rescue you (not always healthy, as it creates co-dependence) or take advantage of you (which can turn really abusive).
2) Your Vulnerability – This means that you will be much more vulnerable in your relationships, and often rather than considering your opinion of yourself to be really important, you can prioritise that of the person taking advantage of you, who is unlikely to give you a balanced view.  This could be someone tending towards the abusive side of the behaviour spectrum, or someone definitely that way, so the temptation to make you feel small and reduce your confidence will be too big for them to ignore.  I’m not suggesting that you become an arrogant person who only considers themselves – I’m just suggesting that ‘To thine own self be true’ is an old and wise adage (Danny being much younger than me, hadn’t heard this one!).
3) You Loved Ones – Meanwhile your ability to give the people you love what they deserve will be severely effected if you don’t rate yourself and take care or nurture yourself.  You won’t have enough energy to show them you love them or confidence to go out and achieve success and follow through of your purpose.

How To Do It?

Time for Change
So hopefully you have heard all this ‘put yourself first’ and ‘love yourself’ malarkey enough, for this post to be pointing you in the right direction.  The problem is, how to convince yourself you are worth it and keep at it.
1) Time: Honestly, this is something that takes a time.  For some it could be 6 months, but for many of us, it’s more of a ‘journey’.  The good news is, that once enroute, you will start to get immediate rewards; you don’t have to wait for the end when you totally love yourself unconditionally.
2) Compare like for like: You need to start comparing like for like.  That is, YOU ARE NOT LIKE ANYONE ELSE, so stop feeling guilty because you need more support than Mrs X or you aren’t as brilliant as Mr N!  No you are not as brilliant at that, but there will be SOMETHING ELSE that you are better at.  Yes, you might need more help or support than her, but you are in a DIFFERENT situation.  Plus you don’t know the whole situation they are in, as people always lie and keep stuff quiet!
3) Stop Aiming For Perfection: All this stuff you judge yourself for; what are your expectations, are they possible?  Maybe there is something that you could improve.  Great.  Go do it, and don’t worry about it anymore.  But I bet you a huge amount of stuff is things that aren’t that important, or aren’t you at all, or aren’t possible.  I have an issue where I don’t judge other people for their standard of living at all, but for some reason I have very high expectations on myself; ridiculous!  The true me is happy wherever she is, as long as she has access to fresh air, a few pretty things (gotta love some vintage pretties!) and happy kids.
4) Think about your loved ones: When you are struggling, think how will it help your loved ones for you to love yourself more.  You’ll be so much more able to be present with them, plus you’ll be mentoring a healthier way of living to your children.
5) Your Goals and dreams:  In order to achieve, we need to feel that we are worth it, and deserve the success and abundance.  So remember your biggest dream the next time you are mean to yourself!
6) Make mistakes:  Allow yourself the right to make mistakes, take responsibility for them and gain the confidence to accept them.  It is HUGE to be able to feel confident enough to accept when we didn’t get something perfect, or could improve something, or made a mistake.  It’s actually a lovely feeling to be able to put your hands up and accept responsibility for it.  Only then can you actually move forward and improve things as well.  This will ensure you are much better at your job as well; as an employer I can tell you it’s not the mistakes that bother me, but the backstabbing and trying to cover their butts that is the issue (don’t ever try that with me, I always know!).

What is it

Chance for a cuppa
Cup Of Tea and a chat is good for the soul
So you want to learn to love yourself?  How will you know you are doing it?  When you naturally act as though you have:
1) The right to the basics: Many mums refuse themselves tea, flossing and peeing, but we deserve those 2 minutes!
2) The right to health: We all deserve refresh air, exercise, fruit & veg, water, rest and sleep.  Yes, I know it may not be viable for you to get everything you would like (e.g. Mums), but we all deserve some time every week to nurture ourselves and look after our health.
3) Your thoughts:  Think kind thoughts about yourself and stop saying horrible things to yourself.
4) Friends: Busy lives are a given, but we all have the right to see/talk to  friends sometimes.  I’ve just seen a friend who I haven’t seen in 2yrs.  Yes, I would have loved to have seen her more, and no it wasn’t possible.  But I took the whole 2.5hrs available when I did get the chance, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  (Move soon please hun!).
5) Pamper: It might only be once a year, but we all deserve to have a haircut sometimes, or a treat.  I wrote lots of ideas in this previous post about pampering.
6) Hobbies:  Again I know that time is restricted, especially if you have a baby.  But life comes back to some form of normality (ish!) eventually, and everyone has some kind of creative urge or favourite hobby that is a break from every day life and expresses themselves.  I’m not good at it, but I love to draw, and have even made a few things with my sewing machine.
7) Good Boundaries: We all have the right to refuse to be treated badly.  I’m not suggesting you start an argument, or create conflict, or try to change your partner.  Just that it’s Ok to be clear on what behaviour you can and can’t accept.  How to explain to people and teach them how to treat you, is one of my most popular blog posts here

I hope that this blog post is the one that kicks you into action to show yourself more compassion, love, and appreciation!  If not, I hope that it’s not far off and the next time someone mentions it, you decide it is time.  Remember that everyone wants to be loved, but the most important person to love you is yourself.

Do you feel unappreciated?

I’ve come across a few people feeling unappreciated recently, so I thought I’d give some tips on how to deal with it.  As poor old Danny Smith on Radio Verulam is considered one of St Albans’ hidden treasures, I thought I’d go through them on his Drive time show.

Fancy listening to our dulcet tones?  You can listen again here.

Do you feel unappreciated?  Is it at work, at home with the kids or with your friends/partner?

The good news about feeling unappreciated is that it can be dealt with pretty easily ……

 

Tip 1: Have you told anyone?

To do list
To do list

When I worked in IT for 13 years, there was a well known phenomenon, which was that the men were much better at 1to1’s than the women.  Basically the men were much better at listing everything they had done, and blowing their own trumpets.  Whereas the women were more prone to being humble and discussing their development areas.  (Yes, I totally get that this is a generalisation!).

It happens at home too – many wives complain about their husband’s needing a medal for emptying the bin once a week ;o)

Meanwhile, women tend to leave the daily chores off their to do list, and not appreciate how much they are naturally getting done each day.  Hence their husband’s come home and ask ‘what did you do all day’ and it feels to them like they did nothing.

The key and easy way to turn this situation around is to tell people.

A good friend of mine makes a long list of everything that needs doing in the day and leaves it in a prominent position in the house.  By the end of the day, it has loads of ticks on it and her husband is awe inspired by how much she has achieved.  She makes sure that it includes things like ‘feeding the children’.

I’ve found that my children had NO IDEA how much I was trying to fit in to each day.  So rather than shout at them, when I was feeling really unappreciated, I waited until I had calmed down, and then I went through the list of things that I had to do.  I found them much more appreciative of what I did from then on.

Sometimes, people don’t appreciate what we do, because we’ve never explained what would happen if we didn’t.  I’ve heard of Mums who go on strike and stop clearing up or tidying up; that’s certainly one option.  I just explained to my kids that I know that they like to play and often we don’t have long, so I like to be able to find the toys quickly in order to make the most of our time together; hence everything needs to go back to where it came from.

I know lots of writers who feel gutted that their books don’t sell or their blog doesn’t get enough readers.  But often I find it’s because they aren’t willing to ‘pimp out’ their writing; i.e. no one knows about it!

 

Tip 2:  How do you know that you aren’t appreciated?

There is someone lovely that I know, who often feels unappreciated.  The thing is that despite being wonderful, she doesn’t have all the confidence and self-esteem that she deserves; so she needs quite a lot of head patting, and sometimes life gets in the way of telling her how great she is.

It’s quite possible that whilst the thoughts in your head are telling you that ‘No one appreciates me’, that they actually do appreciate you.

Maybe they just haven’t had a chance or the time to let you know or show you yet?

Maybe you haven’t noticed or heard them when they told you how great you were; sometimes we only focus on the criticism, not the appreciation.

Maybe they don’t show you the way that you like the best, so you need to tell them to do it a different way.

The other day I was feeling glum about my blog.  But then I got an email to say I’ve been selected as one of the top 15 Fibromyalgia advice blogs world wide for 2014 and found I was in the Top 100 blogs on Amazon (yep, people pay to read my blog, when it’s free on the internet – it’s weird, but I’m not complaining!).  I basically wasn’t looking in the right place to see where I was appreciated.

So remember to:

  1. Assume you are appreciated.
  2. Look around and see if you are and where you are appreciated.
  3. You could always ask them!

 

Tip 3: Did they want your help?

Everyone is fabIronically sometimes we are right; we are not appreciated.  But not because someone took us for granted, but because they didn’t ask or want us to do what we just did.

Sometimes, we just don’t listen to other people and jump to conclusions about what they would like.

It can happen so easily ..

– The kids don’t appreciate the amazing meal we cook them, because frankly they’d prefer baked beans on toast

– The friend who we spend ages sending advice to or chatting to about their problems doesn’t show any appreciation, because she was quite enjoying the drama and never helped for resolution, she just wanted to moan.

– The partner who didn’t appreciate the expensive present we bought them, because they actually prefer a simple bouquet

– The work mate who didn’t appreciate all your hard work tidying up their area, because what they actually wanted, was for you to tidy up your own.

 

Be really careful when you spend your energy helping people, and first check that you are about to do the right thing.

 

Tip 4: Did it make you feel martyred or grumpy?

Very sadly, you could do something really important and really helpful, but because of your demeanour afterwards you will get no brownie points whatsoever.

I encountered this when I was in IT at one point.  I had the best customer service results, the best budget and always achieved my targets.  But my boss found me a pain in the neck because I needed to be patted on the head; he was the kind of guy who didn’t need any external praise at all, so he thought me high maintenance.  It might have been unfair, but it was the way he was.

Do you know someone who is grumpy all the way through doing their job/chores?  I bet it totally stops you from feeling grateful to them?  Like that stroppy child who tidy’s their room, but kicks and throws things all the way through the whole process.

What about that elderly relative who helps loads of people, but then spends the rest of their time complaining about how much they helped everyone?  They are real energy suckers aren’t they?

We are basically really demanding; we want things done PLUS we want them done nicely!

Don’t do something if you are too tired, or you don’t want to!  Let someone else step in and help out instead; share around the giving!

 

So if you want to feel appreciated make sure that:

Is it possible to have romance and kids?
A hug
  1. Don’t waste time helping people who don’t want help.
  2. Do things that people definitely need.
  3. Assume that people are grateful for your help.
  4. Tell them what you did; but maybe wait a little while and give them the chance to appreciate it first.
  5. Don’t do it if you don’t want to.
  6. Be nice about it and don’t undo your good work by being ungracious.

 

I’d love to know if you try these tips and how they help you?

Or hear your stories of people who you find it really difficult to be grateful to?

 

 

 

 

 

Frustration and anger

Anger – what the hell is it all about?

Frustration and angerI was chatting with Curly headed boy the other day, as he’d been giving us some serious attitude for a few weeks.  He was clearly angry with me, but I couldn’t work out what on earth was the matter.

So I picked one of those evenings – you know the ones when they want to chat lots, and talked him through anger and explained what it is.

The problem with anger, is that most often it comes from us not actually knowing how we are feeling and what has triggered us.  So it often doesn’t achieve what we really need.  By understanding it a bit more, we can make sure that things change.

I thought, maybe the gorgeous Danny Smith would like to chat about it over on Radio Verulam – if you would like to hear us chat about it, then you can listen again for 1 week here (I’m at 5.30-6).

 

So why do we get angry? …

1) Righteous Anger

This is the good anger.  The one you don’t want to suppress.  The one that will protect you and make you stand up for yourself.

This is all about when you know something isn’t right, it’s not fair, or is unjust.

It’s not always the right answer to compromise and keep the peace.  Especially when we are people pleasers!

It’s also a protective anger – this is the one you would see in me if my ‘mother lion’ got triggered.  It’s the the full on, controlled, ‘don’t mess with me’ anger.

 

2) Anger with someone else

Ironically we can often be angry with someone else, but get triggered by someone who isn’t actually anything to do with it.  They do something minor and then get it in the neck because we are so angry with the other person.

Sadly the person that we are angry with are often less intimidating and easier to take our anger out on as well, so we find someone who is less threatening that the real person we are angry with.

This is one of the reasons why it is so important to know why we are angry, because it’s not fair to be angry with the kids just because our boss is causing us trouble.  Or even worse in the case of a divorce, it’s not right to be angry with the kids when it’s got nasty between the parents.

 

3) Overwhelmed anger

This is when there is something else that has stressed you so much, that suddenly you flip at the slightest thing.  Stuff that would normally not bother you, that you can deal with, suddenly is too much.  It’s often nothing to do with the person who we are actually with.

This is something us Mum’s are terribly prone to doing – we get tired, overwhelmed and stressed, and then at the end of a long day find ourselves shouting at the kids and threatening them with something really over the top.

Kids are good at this too – if mine get angry, I will first check to see if they are hungry, thirsty, tired or need fresh air.  Then I look to see if they are over stressed for some reason.  The thing is that they are kids – I can’t expect them to manage their emotions, so if they are in one of these states I am much more cautious with my punishments.

Did you know that teenagers literally have all the wires (technical term!) not work in their heads properly?  They can’t recognise expressions as well as a toddler.  Hence they jump to conclusions and get grumpy at the simplest of things.  I used to find Reiki really helps them – it’s amazing how they can express themselves afterwards.  Anything where they get some relaxing downtime will help them come back to themselves.  (Plus food, drink, sunshine and sleep of course!).

The ideal here is to put our hands up and say ‘sorry’ – after all we all make mistakes and everyone gets tired and grumpy.

 

4) Not saying what we think anger

How often have you been angry with someone because they’ve done or not done something?  But did you tell them?  Or did you let it boil inside?

This encourages us to think that other people are to blame for how we are feeling.  But the question is are they?  Or is it purely our inability to deal with them?  I’m not talking about serious and obviously wrong behaviour that would trigger No1 – I’m talking about us all seeing the world slightly differently.

 

The key to this is to say something in a gentle and factual way (check out my post on teaching people how to treat you) BEFORE it becomes a problem.

This is often really difficult, because we ignore the first signs of small irritation or discomfort, and only take notice when it’s bigger.  So if you’ve waited too long, try to step aside, write down the facts and then have a chat with the person on neutral ground.

 

5) Pretending we aren’t angry

This is technically ‘not angry’, but we are angry, we just pretend we aren’t.

This is when people do those passive aggressive posts on Facebook.  Or make sarcastic digs that are meant to be ‘funny’.

It can also make us into bully’s (check out my posts on bullying – I just got picked as one of the top websites worldwide by an Anti Bullying website).

 

6) Serious anger issues

Then there are times when it’s not that simple, when the anger is too frequent and starts to control us.  When it means that we are aggressive, scary, violent, and it starts to affect our relationships.

If you have this sort of anger, then first check with your Doctor, as you might have a physical problem, that is causing it.  If it’s not physical then they should be able to get you help from someone specialised in anger issues.

It can even have physical effects:

  • Nausea
  • Increased thirst
  • Changes in thought patterns
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Addiction

Depression or Post Traumatic Stress disorder can make us angry instead of seeming down (check out my top books for depression).

 

No emotion is ‘bad’.  The question is ‘Do you let it rule you, or do you use it where it will help you?

 

Ten Tips On How To Take Care Of Yourself!

I’ve been wondering what to talk about with the gorgeous Danny Smith on his drive time show to Radio Verulam for a couple of days.

Should it be my improvement with Fibromyalgia, should it be that the minute the sun comes out we panic about bikini’s or should it be more relationship stuff?

But then I realised it’s all about something simple.

Something so simple that we are rubbish at it.

TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES.

Having Fibromyalgia has been my teacher in how to take care of myself.  So I’m not that bright either – it took a chronic pain condition to sort me out – doh!

So if you were going to start now, what would you need to do to take care of yourself better?

All of these things are possible, whatever your situation, age, or how busy you are.

(Click here to listen again for ONE WEEK only – monday 5.30-6pm).

1) Go outside

Mumwithenergy

It makes everyone feel better.  Walk, power walk, or run.  Whatever it is.  Go.  Out.  Nature has a way of healing us and making us feel better.  Even when it’s cold and wet (it doesn’t bother children after all).

We have a rule in my house – if the sun is out go outside, everything else gets delayed just incase the sun doesn’t last.  So homework, computer games, everything waits.

And if the sun isn’t shining, still go out, but take Vitamin D3!

2) Get moving

Did you know that we are meant to do 10,000 steps per day?  If you are starting on a health kick, this is a great place to start.

From there get your core strong and  to protect your back and improve your flexibility, so do Pilates, Yoga or Tai chi.  Remember, when you are 90, it’s going to be about your ability to balance as you walk, not wether you can run 10km.

There’s no excuse to not do it – stop doing so much of something else instead.

3) Music is food for the soul

Dance, giggle, listen to music.  Let it carry you away for a moment.

Go to zumba or a dance class; it doesn’t matter if you are rubbish.

Music is the best thing for bringing body, mind and soul together.

4) 30 mins rest

I know we are all busy and running around.  But 30 minutes with your feet up, not moving, relaxing once a week or when you are exhausted makes a BIG difference.

I’m NOT talking about vegetating in front of a TV program you will have forgotten in an hour.  Instead listen to music or read a book.  You could even try meditation even if you haven’t before?  Just be quiet for a bit.  Let your senses rest.

I love having a bath once a week on a sunday.  I do it first thing, so it just means I’m down a bit later in the morning, so it’s not a massive imposition on the big hairy northern one.

5) Keep your energy reserves

Healthy Eating For Families

A car won’t work without water, neither will your body.

It needs petrol, so do you.    Eat breakfast, even if it is just a banana.  For lunch and dinner eat a balanced meal with protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates.

Sometimes the batteries need a boost.  If you have a problem, try going to your local health food shop and see what supplements they suggest.

6) Pamper

Everyone needs a little pamper, wether you do it yourself or at a beauty salon.

It’s the act of showing your body that you are willing to spend some time on it once a week that counts.

I’m not talking about being a slave to the mirror.  Just about remembering that we are all beautiful and deserve to be taken care of.

7) Sleep

Actually sleep probably should be first, as without it, everything is much more difficult.  I’m constantly surprised about the people I talk to who are knackered, but who go to bed at midnight every night.

Go to bed the same time each night.  Get up the same time.  If you are tired, go to bed earlier.

Don’t drink caffeine, coke or eat chocolate after 4pm if you find it difficult to sleep.  (click here for my top 15 tips for parents and the rest of my sleep tips)

8) Your time is valuable

Protect your time.  It is valuable.  Learn to say NO more often.

Doing a good days work is healthy, but it’s not about working ‘harder’, it’s about using your intuition and finding ways to work ‘smarter’.

Think about the top 3 most important goals for you personally and for your work.  Now strip out all the time wasted on the stuff that you don’t have to do and that don’t achieve those goals.

9) Laugh

The Dalai Lama says the purpose to life is to be happy.  Watch happy films, listen to happy music.

Surround yourself with loving people who will listen to your woes and then make you laugh.

It’s not about partying hard.  It’s about having fun.  It’s light hearted, and will make you feel better.

10) Eat cake

I have a room at my Spa where women can bring their friends, have a pamper and then eat cake on vintage plates.  I LOVE cake.

Cake is a treat.  It’s a little bit naughty.  But very nice!

I take my daughter out once a week for ‘Willow Wednesday’ and we get a magazine and eat cake in a coffee shop.  It brings us together, snuggled up, reading about ponies and princesses.

 

If you want people to take care of you, you need to show them that you are worth taking care of by taking care of yourself!

It helps your loved ones too, because when you are healthier and happier, so are they.  So do it for them too!

What do you think to my top 10 – what would you have added instead, or not included?

 

 

Time to stop for a while

Meditation for stressed out beginners with little time who can’t Ohm!

Time to stop for a while
Pause

 

All cudos to those who can ’empty their minds’ or sit in a corner and ‘ohm’ for 30 minutes a day, but I just can’t do it.

I’ve tried ‘guided meditations’ too, but all that jingly jangly music irritates me, and I tend to already be swimming in the sea by the time they have stepped their first step on the sand!

Hence I didn’t do it.

 

 

Mistake on several accounts:

You don’t have to empty your mind or spend hours doing it.

It’s more like pressing [PAUSE] for a moment before you reboot your system.

Meditation is not a ‘nice to do’ thing, but a ‘have to do’ in our busy stressful worlds.

It reduces stress and saves time on packed busy days because fire fighting invariably leads to more fires.

It reduces pressure on the body and thus helps protect you from illnesses like my  Fibromyalgia.

It’s important for weight loss!

 

I’m going to give you several ideas for quickly taking a pause in your day, and you can then proudly say that you ‘meditate’ every day!

 

3 Rules For All Options

1) Breathe in through your nose (it calms you) and out through your mouth

2) Breathe into your abdomen/tummy – you want it coming out as the air goes in, and then flattening as the air goes out.

3) If a thought pops into your head, don’t worry about it, just stop thinking about it and go back to the exercise

 

A Quick Reconnect Option

Can't sleep during full moon
Nature is a great grounder

This can be from 30 seconds to 3 minutes.

Follow the rules while standing, sitting or lieing down, whatever works.

Imagine that there are roots coming out of your feet and going down into the ground.

Imagine that as you breathe in and out there is energy coming up to your from the ground and all your stress is going back down into the earth.

Imagine a string from the top of your head up into the sky.

Imagine that as you breathe in and out there is healing coming down from the ‘universe’ (or whatever you like to think as out there) and all your pains and worries are leaving as you breathe out.

Keep breathing a little longer now with energy coming into you from both the earth and the sky and your stresses and worries going out.

 

Making a Cuppa, Showering or Brushing Your Teeth Or Anything

Chance for a cuppa
Cup Of Tea and a chat is good for the soul

Make a habit of taking a pause and being really PRESENT (i.e. not worrying about what happened or what is to happen) during one of your normal daily routines.  You are going to focus on just that exercise for the next 1-3 minutes.

Follow the rules above.

Focus on the SIGHTS, SOUNDS, SMELLS, TASTE and TOUCH only.

Obviously this is tricky when the kids are in the room and it can be difficult in the early months to get any time without a child – do what you can and adapt the idea.  It can even be done with children e.g. while cuddling a child to sleep or feeding them.

For example:

Making tea – the sound of your feet moving across the kitchen, the sound of the water going in the kettle, the heaviness of the kettle as the water goes in it, the slight coldness of the water splashing, the click of the kettle going back on it’s stand, the boiling of the water, the smells wafting out of the fridge as you open it to get the milk etc etc

Showering – the feel of the water (this is great for imagining it washing away all your stress), the temperature in the room as it warms up and gets steamy, the smell of the soap, the look of the water dropping down, the shinyness of the taps, the sound of the water dropping etc etc

Brushing your teeth – the sensation of the toothpaste hitting your tongue, the sound of the brushing in your head,  the different areas of your teeth, the sound of the water, the taste of it when you swill your mouth out, the coldness of the tap etc etc.

Lieing next to a child as they fall asleep – this is a great exercise because calming yourself will calm them more quickly.  Focus on hearing their breathing, maybe the feel of their skin if they need you to stroke them, the temperature in the room and feel of the bed, then REALLY notice their hair, eyes, ears and hands.

 

During Walking Or Exercising

Running Tips
Running can be a great meditation

Anything from 5-30mins.

If you get a chance to go for a walk or a run, cycle or even a swim on your own, then you can extend the exercises above.

Start with a quick reconnect (you can do this on the move once you’ve practiced it a few times).

Use the 3 rules.

Plus be present by focussing on the SIGHTS, SOUNDS, SMELLS, TASTE and TOUCH.

If you can be out in nature that is ideal as it is grounding, but needs must and a treadmill or pool will also work.

You will find that as it is probably a longer period of time that thoughts will start to pop into your head more often.  I find it particularly difficult to do with without ideas for blog posts to pop in (I ask them to come back later!).  You have 2 options on how to deal with these thoughts:

1) Notice what the thought was about, don’t beat yourself up, and move on to focussing on being present again.

2) Notice the thought and rather than ‘thinking’ about it, keep noticing it.
This is more tricky, but what you are aiming to do is to be ‘present’ with the thought or worry or stress.  So don’t try to fix it, don’t think about it and don’t worry about it.  Just notice it.  How strong is it?  Where does it affect your body?  How strong is the effect?  You are basically saying ‘yes, hello worry, you don’t need to worry, I’ve seen you’.  Over time it should lessen it’s hold on you, a bit like an insistent toddler or dog that nags and nags until it knows you’ve seen it.

 

So there you have it, 3 different ways to add ‘meditation’ into your day as easy as pie.  They follow the concepts behind Zen or Mindfulness meditations, but from the perspective of a busy mum, who hasn’t got time to study anything really complicated!

If I get a chance I’ll do a blog post soon about Shamanic meditation and the ways that you can use meditation to actually ‘answer’ questions or help you make decisions.  It’s pretty cool!

Have a go and let me know how you do – if you have any questions, just pop them below in your comments.

 

 

I’m not talking about emptying your mind

Stress

Where to go for help with stress: A summary of different therapies

Stress
Stress

So, you are stressed, unhappy, discontented, dis-satisfied, miserable, unhappy, overwhelmed, down, depressed; and it’s been a while.

Your body is now rebelling and you are getting problems with your sleep, stomach, memory, exhaustion and aches and pains.

You’ve read all my stuff about what stress is with some hints and tips on what to do.

You’ve checked out my favourite books for when you feel overwhelmed or depressed, including mine.

But you need some outside help from a professional, so where to go?

I’m going to give a brief introduction to some of the therapies that might help.  They are all my views, based upon my experiences, so some people may disagree!  However, the idea is to have a look and see which ones jump out to you as suiting you.

 

Counselling

Who are you ?
Who are you ?

Available free from NHS if you can wait, or private.

Tends to be pretty cheap e.g. £40 per session.

Face to face.

But takes a long time.

Basically the idea is that you talk about stuff, so that you can dig down to find out ‘why’ you feel the way that you do.  It is really useful if you aren’t sure why, and for some people just understanding can shift the problem.

The downside is that for others, they just get stuck deeper in the story of their lives and become more of a victim.

 

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

Available free from the NHS if you can wait, or private.

Tends to be pretty cheap e.g. £40 per session.

Face to face or over the phone/skype.

I love CBT, it’s what got me interested in personal development in the first place over 20yrs ago.  It helps you to tackle the thoughts that are running around in your head and look at life a different way.  The idea is that by behaving differently we will get a different outcome from situations.

I think it is quicker, but maybe less deep and therefore if you don’t understand much about your thought processes/past it will be difficult to use it to get over bigger problems.  Plus, behaving differently doesn’t always make people react differently.

 

Coaching

Tends to be private and ranges from cheap to very expensive.

Face to face or over the phone/skype.

A coach is more focussed on the present and giving you goals that you can aim for and less about trauma’s from your past.

Be careful and thoroughly check their training and experience, as currently there aren’t any laws about who can and can’t call themselves a coach.

Some people use NLP (neurolinguistic programming) in the coaching, to help you.  Simply put they look at how your language affects your mind and therefore your behaviour.  I personally find it a little too orientated towards the mind.  I prefer a more intuitive approach with a more feeling/heart centered objective.  It can feel very manipulative, but it is’t without merit.

 

Hypnotherapy

Normally private.  Starting to get more expensive probably £60 or more.

But quicker.

You MUST get a well trained, well experienced hypnotherapist.  But if you get one, this can be a quick method of going into the past and working out what is causing your pain and then dealing with it.  Make sure that if they ‘remove’ a negative habit that they replace it with a positive alternative.

 

tapping points
Picture from Nick Ortner

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)

Private.  But can be cheap and you can learn it yourself.  Probably £60.

I suspect the usefulness of it depends on the experience and intuition of the practitioner and how comfortable you feel with them.

EFT has been around for a while, but I didn’t become interested until recently.  I think that it has settled down now and is a very well established option.  The idea is that by discussing our problems whilst tapping on certain meridian points (energy points in the body), it reduces how upset we are about it, then we will be able to see things differently and find a new way of seeing our life or tackling the problem.  It can be very light e.g. just looking at a headache, or go deeper into why.

The great thing is that you can learn it yourself and therefore also use it at home for smaller issues.  I really recommend Nick Ortner’s book ‘The Tapping Solution’.

 

Kinesiology Based Therapies

Private.  Much more expensive.  But much quicker.

I learned a form of kinesiology 10yrs ago (Resonance Repatterning) which is very quick at dealing with people’s problems (I used to specialise in serious mental health issues).  The body has a muscular on/off reaction which you can use to check what beliefs and problems you have.  It’s great because it bi-passes your opinions and the potential biases of the practitioner, to make sure that you actually get to the ‘real’ truth really quickly.  Then a healing technique will be used to ‘shift’ the problem and replace it with a more positive option.

There are several different options, some more structured than others.  It can be a bit wacky, but very effective.

Nutritionist/Naturopath

Supplements
Supplements

Normally private (dieticians might be free).  Mid-priced around £60

It’s amazing what physical problems and some emotional ones can be resolved with the help of a nutritionist (better than a dietician in my opinion) or naturopath.  The naturopath training is longer and more rigorous, but they are also more likely to suggest bigger changes to your patterns and they can suggestion supplements and herbs to help you out as well.

Never under estimate the power of a simple supplement, mineral, vitamin or herb.  In fact if you start to take a few, I would recommend checking in with a professional to make sure that the combination you are taking is OK.

 

 

Herbalist/Homeopath

Private.  Often after a long initial session, they can help you quickly and you only pay a small amount.

I’m a big fan of homeopathy, but it hasn’t worked well for me so far.  You get a little sugar pill that is meant to redress the balance in the body and can help with emotional, mental or physical problems.

Herbalism has helped me a lot and is of course where modern medicine started.

 

Reiki

Reiki
Reiki

Private.  But normally cheap and you can learn it yourself.  Probably £60.

Reiki is a lovely form of hands on healing where the practitioner gently touches or hovers their hands just above the body.  It can help physical, mental and emotional problems.  I became a ‘Reiki Master’ 13 yrs ago – it’s not that clever actually, it basically means ‘teacher’.  I LOVE Reiki for it’s simplicity.  But be warned, some of the people who do Reiki are mad as a box of frogs (in the nicest way!) and although it has improved, there is no standard teaching, so some people mix in other alternative therapies e.g. crystal healing and all sorts.

Please don’t jump to learn it straight away – take some time out for yourself first.  If you do learn it, remember to focus on just yourself and your family first.  Don’t run off to heal the world!

There are also other forms of healing.  Some people are just ‘natural’ healers, i.e. they are born with or got the ability to give healing to people.  Others are ‘spiritual healers’, which means that they believe they get help from other spiritual beings.

 

Physical therapies

Private.  Can be cheap if you find someone local, but expensive in salons.

E.g. Massage, Reflexology, Shiatsu Massage, Bowen Technique, Chiropractor, Osteopath

You could easily get a lovely therapist to give you a massage or reflexology session, talk through your worries and get a lovely relaxing treatment at the same time.  This is a very viable alternative and helps support the body while you are stressed.

 

More

Demartini Method – this was the final therapy that I learned (I’m a senior certified facilitator).  It tends to be more expensive, but very transformative and is based upon the healing power of gratitude.

Meta Medicine – a great method for discovering hidden reasons or potential events that had a hand to play in physical illnesses.

The Work of Byron Katie – A very simple method with just 4 questions, that you can also read about and use in your own life.  I find that one of the questions reduces about 80% of my stress levels.

 

Overall

My advice is that we ALL need OUTSIDE help from time to time and sometimes our friends and family are not the right people to help us.

However, it would be unwise to ALWAYS rely on outside help as that doesn’t help to improve our self-esteem and sense of independence and self-sufficiency.

When picking someone to work with, they need to be strong enough to challenge you a little, otherwise you won’t be able to break out of your patterns.  However, you need to have a good rapport with them and feel very safe and certain of them – that is probably the most important thing.

You are also looking for someone you appears to be pretty sorted, or at least more sorted than you are in the particular area of life that you are struggling with.  It’s fine if they have experienced the problem, it’s just that you want them to be past it!

Another ‘rule’ is not to ‘overwork’ yourself.  So don’t have a massage in the same week as a therapy session etc.  Always leave time for you to adjust after a session.

I hope that this gives you an nice easy introduction to some of the options, therapies and alternative treatments that are available.  You are very welcome to tweet/facebook me for more information or if you hear of a therapy I haven’t mentioned.

Have you used any of these?

Did you find them useful?

 

Tips for dealing with Christmas

7 Top Tips on How to deal with stressful people at Christmas or special occasions

Tips for dealing with ChristmasIf you ignore the money worries, which are frankly caused by buying presents or stuff for people, then the next biggest cause for trouble at Christmas or other big family events and parties is PEOPLE!

So this months feature for Danny Smith from Radio Verulam‘s drive time show (92.6FM) was all about them and how to deal with the stress.

I love people, but Oh My do they know how to cause trouble when more than one of them gets together, in fact some of them love causing trouble!

So here are my seven top tips for avoiding arguments and break downs/ups during Christmas, family parties or any big special event.  Anything from dealing with your family, the in-laws, your other half and over excited kids.

(I’ll pop the audio at the bottom as soon as I have it).

 

Tip 1- Hold your tongue and don’t get drunk!

Go out for some fresh air

 

I’m not being a spoil sport, but drink and stress don’t go well together.  In fact neither does lots of sugar followed by a sugar low (check out my healthy eating for rubbish cooks for ideas to counteract that sugar buzz).

Take a breather, and get out for a walk.  Just 10mins walking round the block can help you have patience for a few more hours.  It’s pretty easy to come up with an excuse; say you are feeling odd, or have to deliver a card urgently, or need to buy more milk (hide the extra in the garage).

Remember to BREATHE and especially breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth in equal measures e.g. a count of 4 in and 4 out.  The nose will calm you down and it’s important to balance the in and out breaths.

 

Tip 2 – If you do too much for people they will treat you like dirt and show no gratitude

 

This is a very ironic but massive rule to learn in life.  There should always be a balance between how much you give and receive in return.  If you do too much, then the people you did it for will subconsciously feel guilty and then resent you for being a martyr and doing too much.  It pretty much always goes wrong and is one of the biggest causes for an argument.

Instead learn the art of delegation and get everyone involved in helping, even if it’s just with hoovering the lounge and setting the table or doing the clearing up.  Ask people/family to bring provisions or look after the kids with a winning ‘I know you’d love to help’ kind of smile.

Make sure you set their expectations early on, so that everyone knows what the plan is e.g. I’ve had a chat with Curly Headed Boy about the order of events on Christmas Day and that his Grand Dad has had a terrible Flu.

 

Tip 3 – if you are really sure of yourself you don’t need to convince other people you are right

What is success and failure

 

Some people are like energy suckers and love a good argument discussion they drag you into ‘debates’ which become heated and unpleasant.

Just remember this rule:  It really doesn’t matter if people disagree with you, because 50% of the world always disagrees with you.  So there is no need to try to convince them or win the debate.

If other people start up a difficult conversation, just interrupt and suggest to continue it at another time or place; after all you are in charge (if it’s not your party, maybe make a distraction instead).

 

Tip 4 – being clear about your boundaries

Often we get really upset because we have just had hours of abuse or nit-picking.  The key is to knock it into touch at the beginning and do it early enough before you are too upset.

It’s not about shouting at people or telling them what you really think.  They key is to say how you feel e.g

When xxx does/doesn’t happen
I feel xxx
If it continues/happens again thenconsequence you are willing to go through with that isn’t inflammatory>

For example:

  • When things like that are said I feel hurt, so if it goes on I’m going to go and have a little walk or watch TV.
  • When no one helps me to tidy up after lunch I feel really unappreciated and don’t feel like doing any more
  • I get stressed when the kids are running around me when I’m cooking, I need someone to play with them please, otherwise it might be dangerous.

 

Tip 5 – learn from your mistakes

Ok, so you might not manage all this, or some of this advice might be a little late.  Don’t get bitter, just make sure that next time works for you!

If you are a bit stressed the night after the event try counting your blessings before you go to sleep, as there is bound to be something from the day that went well, even if it was just how helpful someone was in the midst of the chaos.

 

Tip 6 – make a plan b

Face your fears, and work out what’s the worst that could happen and hen make a contingency plan and store it away.  This is not about worrying about something, this is about sorting out your ‘insurance’ and popping it in a drawer to be pulled out in an emergency, just like we do with cars.  Also, when faced, our fears are often never as bad as we think they will be.

Ideas could be to pull out board games to calm down hyper kids, or to have a new film up your sleeve for when everyone needs a chill.  Maybe putting on some music would help put people in the festive spirit, or going out for a walk stop people from getting too stir crazy.  A big pot of coffee might help with the family drunk, as will not having too much alcohol available for them.

(If however there is domestic violence in your house, I strongly suggest that you get advice from a professional about holiday periods.  Plus be very careful if you are planning on leaving soon, as it’s the point of separation that can be the worst).

 

Tip7 – but expect the best

Is it possible to have romance and kids?I bet you are looking at me with misbelief at this one, but seriously, miracles do happen!  So the most important tip is to focus on how you would like the event to go, rather than on what you don’t want to happen.  If you focus on people misbehaving it tends to happen, maybe because you behave in a way that prompts it psychologically.

This is particularly true of children and awkward relatives.  If we expect kids to be badly behaved we tend to get on their case really quickly, thereby over-controlling them, and making them feel suffocated.  Being nervous around a tricky relative will put them on their guard as well, thus bringing out the worst in them.  Drunken relatives, may still drink, but it’s possible that they fall asleep in the corner, rather than cause a massive problem!

 

I hope these tips help, as memories from special events can last for a lot longer than the actual event.

Feel free to add your hints and tips or success/disaster stories.

Remember there are lots of other tips on here about how people behave and how to feel more contented and Christmas.

How to show your kids you love them

Do our kids really know that we love them?

How to show your kids you love them

We love out kids right?

Even when they are being little sh*ts!

But we do get frustrated and angry sometimes.  We do let ‘life’ get in the way.

And with horror we sometimes realise that our kids don’t know how much we love them.

It can even get to the awful stage that they get hurt and angry and tell us that they hate us.

 

I remember with horror the night I tucked Curly Headed Boy into bed 6 months after Little Dimples was born and said ‘You do know I love you as much as her don’t you?’ and this sad little boy just shook his head.

HOW COULD HE NOT KNOW I LOVED HIM WITH ALL MY HEART?  I was always telling him and hugging him.  But life is difficult with a new baby in the house.

 

So, if you are having problems with your kids and they are attention seeking (i.e. being sh*tty), saying they hate you or feeling distant from you, here are my three top tips for turning it all around with a little routine at the end of bed time every night.

 

1) Three Best Things

This is a good calming exercise for the end of the day and helps them learn to see that life is never all bad.

Everyone says what the ‘3 Best things’ were that happened today.  It’s basically counting your blessings.

You do it too, so that they get an idea of what is going on in your life (how many times do I realise that the kids are blissfully unaware of what Mummy does all day!).

There are ALWAYS three things if not more, so keep helping them to look even if it’s just for a sunny day or cup of hot chocolate (coffee in your case).

 

2) I Love You …

I want my kids to know that I love ALL of them.  Every little last bit of them.  I don’t love them despite the bad bits, I love them totally.

So every night I say …

I LOVE YOU

From the top of your head, to the bottom of your toes <point to top of head and toes>,

From your squiggly insides to your outsides <tickle tummy>,

From your naughty side to your good side <point to one cheek and the next>,

From here to infinity <point to the nose and up into the sky>

 

3) Special Together Time 

Oliver James has written a whole book on this called ‘Love Bombing’ which is currently on my ‘to read’ list.  The theory is that you spend a day with one  of your kids and from the beginning to the end it’s all their decision about what you guys do.

Now this doesn’t work for me with Little Dimples being so young, and it would be really difficult for a single parent to do regularly.

But the concept is good; make sure that in a month you get to spend some time alone with each child doing something that brings you closer and reconnects you.  If you make it a habit, then they will know that they will get this time, so they don’t have to kick off to get your attention.  If you can only get 15 mins, then make the most of what time you have.  An hour would be fab; whatever you can manage.

Then maybe once a year try to get half a day with each child on their own for a special treat.

 

 

Is it possible to have romance and kids?

I’d Love To Hear Your Stories

It happens in so many relationships that people don’t feel loved, despite us thinking it is obvious.

And I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of saying hurtful things to each other when we are tired and upset about things.

Just remember that if your kids are angry with you, it’s probably just covering up some hurt, so all they need is for you to understand their emotional immaturity and help them feel better.

All children love their parents, it’s just that things like guilt, fear, anger, hurt etc can get in the way of our relationships with them.

 

The key is to make it a habit to show them you love them and build daily confidence in your kids.

Do you have little fun things you do with your kids to reconnect?  I’d love to know.
If you try out these tips, let me know how they go!
Radio show about stress

Are you a stress junkie or got your stress habit under control?

Radio show about stressSo last months LifeStyle feature with Radio Verulam and the lovely Dapper Danny Smith on his Drive Time show was all about stress.

Sorry for the delay in posting it, my life has been a bit stressful!!

The big question is, when should you do something about being stressed and when is it just normal every day stress that goes away?

Hope you enjoy it and find it useful.

(You can either read it, or listen to the audio at the bottom if you prefer to listen to my dulcet tones!).

 

What is Stress

Life is always going to have it’s ups and downs, and we’ll be disappointed if we think that it’s possible to remove stress or difficulties from our lives.

But what we talked about on the show was the fact that some stress can be healthy and in a weird way enjoyable, whereas long term stress can start to have a detrimental affect on us.

So how can we tell?

It’s when it gets out of hand, and you are either constantly in fight/flight with constant adrenalin or totally shut down.  

It’s an inbetween place between a difficult day and more complex problems of mental/physical health.  So from that perspective it’s a good place; because it’s like a warning sign and opportunity to put things right in your life.

I was a massive stress junkie when I worked 13hrs a day, 6 days a week in IT and could easily smoke, drink coffee, nibble my nails, eat chocolate all at the same time; which is why they sent me on a pile of personal development courses and I ended up with my fascination for it.  People think I’m pretty calm nowadays, but I do get stressed, maybe I just know more about dealing with it, or getting rid of it, that’s all (or I’m a good faker!).

So what causes stress?

Finances: at the moment is obvious!  Being out of control, sticking your head in the sand and feeling powerless with long term financial problems which will take time to resolve is very difficult.  Check out my posts about saving/managing your money, especially the last two I did for Radio Verulam on budgeting.

Physical pain or problems: This I’ve had lots of experience with for the last 6 months or so and started to understand how very stressful it can be.  Especially constant pain for older people or some physical challenge that is stopping you from doing things.  Check out my posts on Fibromyalgia for more info.  Update: Your body can also come under stress due to allergies, intolerances, over exercise i.e. anything that put’s pressure on it and makes it feel concern for it’s safety or that it is under attack.

Work: some people love the stress of work; I love the excitement or nerves of being on radio and used to find it really helpful when I was a trainer in IT.  However, you can end up overworking, or underworking or doing a job you don’t enjoy which can be constantly stressful.  It does depend on the person though; if I’m bored I’m very stressed, whereas other people would love a job that was less challenging.

People: People get everywhere don’t they and they don’t half cause a lot of trouble!  Friends, workmates, partners and kids are all potential creators of stress.  Holding onto things that have caused you pain/trauma, that will sit in your body and eat at you.  Remember, it’s worth letting go because it’s not about them, it’s about the price you pay for still being hurt or upset about something.  Doing what other people think you ‘should’ do, can make you very stressed.

The good news is that we can’t always change the world around us, but we can change how we see it; so we don’t have to stay stressed.

 

How you know whether you are stressed?

Exhausted Mums

People often ignore stress, and that can be wise if short term; I’m not recommending that you become worried about stress as it can be really healthy.  After all it’s the stress that raises our adrenalin levels that got us running away from those dinosaurs all those years ago, and now keeps me on the ball when I’m doing something scary like a radio show!

But one sign that it needs looking at is when it is long term with no let up (i.e. more than a few weeks or months).

There will be also be an obvious hint because your family/friends/body will tell you.  They’ll either be getting grumpy with you or if you’re lucky they’ll sit you down with a cuppa/glass of wine and ‘give you a good talking to’.  Your Body will either keep getting sick or ill or give you stomach cramps.  It will keep giving you warnings and when you don’t listen it keeps upping the ante so that you listen to it.  (It’s trying to be helpful, even if we don’t see it that way when we have a headache!).

As the stress kicks in we become more worried, have memory problems, become indecisive, our thoughts start to control us, we have less rest, our brain going constantly, we get moody, isolated and start to feel helpless.

So don’t ignore stress as ‘just one of those things’.  

It’s not ‘one of those things’.  

It’s a sign that a change of some sort is needed, or at least a plan for a change.

Look after yourself when you are stressed, and don’t let it turn into a full blown illness or depression.  I’m a good example of ‘cobblers shoes’; I’ve been pushing myself just a little too far, for just a little too long, because I’ve always been able to cope.  But I didn’t make the time to go to Pilates or rest and my body is well and truly telling me off about it.

When we don’t reduce the stress it becomes a cycle where we eat worse, drink more alcohol/caffiene, eat more chocolate, go to bed later, and then pull away from friends who would be able to help us and become isolated.  So we get more stressed!

 

What to do about it?

Body:

This is the great place to start because if your body is happy, your emotions will be steadier and you’ll have more energy.  From there you will be able to tackle your problems more easily.

Exercise 3 times per week even just for a brisk walk, get some fresh air, get a little out of breath even if it’s just 15 mins per day.  This isn’t about becoming a Triathlete, this is about having some fun and rejuvenation.

Eating healthily (there’s loads of information on my blog about healthy eating, even if you are a rubbish cook like me!) has an AMAZING affect on us; never underestimate the power of nutrition to make a change in our lives.

Supplements are a great way to support your body; probiotics for your digestion, Omega oils for concentration,  Vitamin D if you miss the sunshine.

Drink water, have a habit like drinking a glass whenever you brush your teeth or come back in the house. Remember your body is like a car which won’t work without oil; we don’t work without water.

Sleep; start following a regular repeatable sleep pattern and stick to it!

 

Head:

Is it possible to have romance and kids?Now it’s time to calm those brains down.  (We’ll come back to ways of letting go of your problems, pains and hurts another time when we have more time).

Each night Count 3 blessings a night; it’s a great way to go to sleep and I promise you that you will have 3, even if it’s just a good cup of coffee or a sunny day.

Go on a complaining diet and stop talking about the stuff you don’t want or like in your life.  Seriously, no talking about the horrid stuff, no thinking about it, you are totally banned unless you are sitting down with someone to make a plan to change it.

Write down your problem; either just once to find a solution to your issue or every morning as recommended by Julia Cameron in her book ‘The Artists Way’.

Check out my favourite books that can help when you are overwhelmed or depressed.

 

Fancy Listening to me say all this with the added bonus of Danny?  Check out the audio here:

 

There are so many more things that you can do to reduce the stress, that we are going to have to come back to this subject at some point in time!  But I hope that this gives you a good starting point.

If you’re a Mum (or Dad) then you might like to check out my Kindle book (you don’t need a kindle to read it) for just 99p as well.

In the meantime remember that ‘this too shall pass’.