The face of silent illnesses

This is the face of illness ……

Silent Illnesses

 

It doesn’t look particularly ill does it?

Honestly I don’t mind.  If I looked like I felt, it would be pretty catastrophic, and at least I don’t have that to worry about.  I don’t need lots of sympathy all the time either.  Although, I suppose it might be a helpful reminder to people that I’m not up to scratch.

I also have a big habit of ‘putting a good face on’ – one of my weaknesses/strengths who knows!

To those who know me well, there are dark rings under my eyes, a slight tightness to them due to the pain, I look a bit drawn, and my skin on my hands and feet is a mess – no sores or injuries are healing.  (Good news though, the hair on my legs isn’t growing either, so no need to shave – result!).

So what’s the matter?  Some form of Fibromyalgia flare up, brought on by a shock at work last summer, a years worth of stress, a lot of changes at Espiritu, a significant shock and concern over one of my children, and over work.  Apparently I then got an ear infection at the end of June and my whole body went haywire.  It’s the worst ‘flare’ I’ve ever had, with totally different symptoms from what I’m used to.

I knew I’d worked too hard.  So as soon as the project was finished, I took some time out and had a pamper at work.  But it was too late.  It started with feeling really tired for a couple of days – the kind of tired when there is nothing left in the tank.  Then I had some pain in my upper back.  Then it went into my head, down my arms and 111 had me rushing off to hospital with a suspected heart attack/stroke (I was shitting myself).  I was bedridden for 3 weeks, half of that pretty comatose.  The rest of the time I was in so much pain I couldn’t lift my head off the mattress.

WildBangarangEvilEric

I haven’t been able to wear Jeans all summer – that would hurt too much on my skin.  It’s either maxi-skirts, or leggings; thank goodness for the Big Hairy Northern one’s new business Wildbangarang – at least the leggings weren’t boring!  I can’t wear a watch or my normal heavy, sparkly jewellery because it would hurt too much (not a big deal I know, but it’s like a part of me has gone).  There are days when a bra is a big no no.  Glasses can be really heavy too – so for the first couple of months I was very limited as to how long I could wear mine.  I couldn’t even hold a phone to use Facebook – tragedy!

It’s amazing the difference between lying flat, lying leaning on a pillow, sitting with your legs up, sitting, standing and walking – I never understood that there was such a difference in how much energy it takes to do these things.  I love the ‘Spoon Theory‘ as a description of how forward thinking us Fibro-Peeps have to be – but seriously, to have to consider how long I can sit/stand is bizarre!

Did you know it’s tiring to watch TV or a film?  Although less tiring than Facebook, which I had a good break from.  And reading – wow it was a big day when I was well enough to read a book!
The Dr’s have been pretty pants tbh.  Eventually I was persuaded to go back on some pills (a light Nortriptyline dose, as I hated Amytriptyline last time) to give me a deeper level of sleep.  But when I went back for help, they just want me to wait to see the specialist.  In November.  Thanks for that – I couldn’t work, play with my kids or do anything.

Pilates and Fibromyalgia

The best help I had was from Teejay and Susan at Applied Pilates.  Teejay did some Osteolates on me and explained that I had some form of physical post-traumatic stress reaction.  Basically my body had shut down, there was no circulation in it, and the cells just had no energy whatsoever.  The remedy – no stress (slightly tricky as a new business owner!), lots of rest, and gentle sessions with himself or my girls at work to try to get the circulation and lymph system going.  It was a big relief to talk to someone who had so much experience of these sorts of weird physical reactions.  I think that what we always need is a plan – some form of hope is the first step to getting better.  Susan has been a constant source of support every week in the Pilates classes (using Stott Pilates machines, not mat work).  I’m not really ‘doing Pilates’, I’m just going through the motions to keep my body moving – it’s been more being there that has helped.

Most of the summer holidays was a massive juggle – rather than the normal holiday juggle of mine and the hairy one’s work, we also had to fit in my resting, or find things I could do with the kids whilst horizontal.  I am getting better.  But it is slow.  Oh so bloody slow – I’m not the most patient person in the world 😉

But it’s not all bad news:Hair Beauty Salon & Spa

It’s was a very busy 6 months at Espiritu, but we achieved a mammoth load of change, and it is definitely on the right track now.  It wasn’t a bad thing for us to have a quiet 3 months with little change.  It’s definitely taught me how to slow down and plan ahead to make the changes more manageable in future.

The girls have been incredible.  To be able to be sick for this period of time and only manage a couple of hours a week is amazing.  I can’t thank them enough.  If it had been last year, we just wouldn’t have survived.  I know that I’m really, really lucky to have a team like them behind me.

Every now and again I do something a bit daft, that I know I’m not really up to, but feel that if I can’t then what’s the point.  So we had a couple of trips into London to see some shows.  I pay for these moments of madness, but do love the memories they give.

Par Sands Beach

We had a lovely week in Cornwall thanks to my brothers cabin, which was wonderful – can’t beat a British beach – and I’m sure that all the sea air through the sinuses and freezing cold sea (it’s good for pain) really helped.  I can’t wait to go back there next year!

Curly Headed Boy initially reacted pretty badly – it had been a tough 6 months with me working loads, and he was there when 111 told me to go to hospital.  He got scared.  He got angry.  He wasn’t really pleasant.  But over time he has calmed, and we have spent much more time together.  He has learnt to not be quite as scared of weakness, and we have had some much needed chats and cuddles.  Although there are some things coming up this year that he is worried about, I feel that we are on a much even keel; cross fingers.

Little Dimples is still a little spooked by it all and clingy at times.  Also angry at times.  And being only 5, she isn’t managing to process it as easily as CHB.  So she is my next focus.  But she has learnt to cycle without her stabilisers, yay!

I don’t have the excruciating pain any more.  I can manage a couple of hours at work, and am OK in meetings now, as they are sitting down.  I’m not good at standing up – I still get pressure in my head, neck, shoulders and arms, and I feel generally ‘wrong’.  I’ve got constant heart palpitations, but apparently it’s not dangerous.  My brain isn’t working quite right, but my sleep has improved.  And I get tired real fast.  There are not a lot of spoons left in my drawer!

And I have a plan ……  I’ll tell you more about it over the next couple of weeks.

I’ll try to keep my blog posts short and sweet, so that they don’t overload me.  But writing is an important ‘coming back to me’ thing and if the ideas I’m trying work, then it’s important I share them.  Sadly I’ve had to step down from my Radio Verulam gig though – it’s just not possible at the moment.  It kept me posting through these last 2 years, and I loved every minute of it.

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.

New Life Resolutions

By now most of you guys will have started and stopped your New Year Resolutions.  Never fear; that’s perfectly normal!

January is a time for reflection.  March and September are the time for new resolutions.

But I was thinking after seeing a funny YouTube video, getting a bit down about the state of the world, and after a team meeting at Espiritu, what 3 resolutions would make the biggest difference to this world of ours or more importantly mine 😉

So I thought I’d chat about it with the ‘Gorgeous Danny Smith’ on his Drivetime show on Radio Verulam this month.  (You can listen again for a week here – monday 5.30-6pm)

 

Step 1: If you can’t say something kind, useful or positive, then don’t bother

This is my new mantra at home with the kids.  What’s the point in wasting energy saying something something mean or teasing or sarcastic?  It’s not funny.  It’s pointed and if I’m going to get all ‘tree huggy’ about it, you can literally feel the energetic stabs at people.

I’m busy.  I’m tired.  I have not got the energy to purposely irritate someone – whereas Curly Headed Boy when in ‘stinky boy’ mode, loves to wind up his sister – WHY for the love of God?

I know that I’m a soft Bristolian, but seriously if what you are going to say picks on people’s insecurities, then it’s really not necessary.  And you might not be meaning to be mean, but are you really sure that the person you are talking to is as secure as you think?

I LOVE Michael Mcyntyre because he manages to be funny without being horrible about people.  Check out this hysterical video about leaving the house as a parent ….

 

Why on Facebook do people comment on something, expressing their opinions when they weren’t asked for?  Go and become more busy!  Even if they asked your opinion, is it really worth arguing about?

Work has been tough for me recently, rebuilding a business.  I need facts yes, and they aren’t always happy facts.  But what I need is people who are focussing on the facts and being positive and helpful.  But some people love a drama and being negative about stuff.  I get that this is the natural balance of life – in fact people who are very obtuse can be helpful.  But most of the time it’s just draining and ugh!

 

Step 2: Treat each other with respect, as you would wish to be treated, and give them the benefit of the doubt.

KArma

It’s pretty easy really – but actually in our busy modern lives we often don’t do this.  We jump to conclusions, and tend to think the worst of people.  We seem to have lost some of the traditional ‘British’ politeness, and whilst we probably needed to loosen up, I rather like the old kinds of values.

So …

If you don’t want your sister to snatch a toy from you, then don’t do it to them!

If you want the kids to talk politely to you, then be respectful towards them.

If you don’t want someone to judge you, then don’t be a cow to them.

If you don’t want your other half jumping down your throat, then don’t jump to conclusions with them.

If you’d like someone to be nice to you when you are old, grey and lonely, then maybe be thoughtful of that old neighbour or relative now.

This obviously goes wrong if one person likes being kicked and the other person doesn’t.  Sometimes the other people don’t change their behaviour.  But generally speaking it works well.

There’s a woman called Byron Katie who has written an interesting book called ‘Loving What Is’ which suggests that due to the ‘Law of reflection’ (i.e. we just see ourselves in other people constantly), if you are upset with someone for doing or not doing something, it’s because it’s reminding you of you.

Other people think of it as the ‘Law of Karma’ i.e. what comes around goes around.  Curly Headed Boy has a tendency to wind up Little Dimples into doing things that he knows will be annoying for me.  The other day it backfired when it became annoying for him, so he pleaded with me to stop her.  At which point I was REALLY mean and suggested that I would step in when he mended his ways in teaching her more annoying stuff.  This has proved more difficult for him than you would think; so she is still annoying him mwahahah!

(p.s. I don’t believe that Karma is a judgemental thing as some do – more that it’s an ‘experience both sides of the story’ thing – plus it’s really complicated, so I only use it for more light hearted issues, not ‘why am I disabled’ etc).

Plus, there’s the whole ‘she/he did it first’.  To which my answer is ‘I can’t remember which one of you first wound up the other after Little Dimples was born, so who has done it today really doesn’t matter, as we don’t know who actually did it first’!

Imagine if countries thought this way, instead of Tit for Tat or Eye for an eye?  Imagine if they said ‘enoughs enough, lets call it a day’.

At least if we are kind to each other we won’t be exasperating an already horrid situation.  There are so many cases that we are dealing with now, where the people involved had something horrible happen to them not so long ago.  It could have a real impact if we all decided to treat each other with respect and compassion.

 

Step 3: Speak Your Truth

Rant with Megaphone

However, I’m not saying that you should become a mouse who lets everyone walk over you!

Or that you aren’t allowed to be angry.

Or that you aren’t allowed to expect fair justice.

Or that you aren’t allowed to stand up for yourself or protect yourself.

 

It’s really important to always say how you feel.  Saying how you feel means you aren’t attacking the person with insults e.g. instead of saying ‘You are always horrible to me and so stuck up’ you could say ‘I feel that you don’t listen to me or treat my ideas with respect, and it makes me feel unappreciated and angry’.

Saying how you feel stops resentment from taking over and you from then acting out that resentment.

I’ve written a whole blog post on ‘Teaching people how to treat you‘ – it’s definitely worth having a read if you want to know more about this.

It’s also really bad for your health to let that stuff fester inside of you.  If you find it’s just not practical to say how you feel (i.e. you might get hit or lose your job), then you can write it all down and burn the letter or imagine telling the person what you think in a meditation.  It can be amazingly cathartic and nearly as good as the real thing.

 

OK, so I know I’m being a bit fluffy and naive.  However, the fact is, if I smile at someone, a huge percentage will smile back at me.  If I scowl back at them, pretty much all of the people will glare back at me.  I can’t change the world, but I can insist that my kids learn some rules, that my workplace is a lovely place to work for my team, and that I follow these rules as much as is humanely possible.  At least I might make my little corner of the world a nicer place to be.

 

 

Why Pampering Is The Best Present You Can Give

Pampering – it’s one of the best presents you can give YOURSELF or your loved ones!

It might sound a bit ridiculous for the owner of a Hair & Beauty Salon and Spa to say this: But I hadn’t understand HOW important it is until recently.

Now Danny Smith at Radio Verulam is a big fan of a pamper, so I thought I’d chat with him about it, about how under-estimated it is.  People think of it as a treat – whereas, I’m beginning to understand that it’s essential.

If you missed us, you can listen again for a week here.

 

What is a pamper?

Chance for a cuppa
Cup Of Tea and a chat is good for the soul
A Pamper is time.
Time for yourself.
Often considered a treat.
Normally associated with something relaxing or revitalising.
Misconstrued as expensive and something that only happens sometimes unless you are really rich.
Many people only think of a pamper as a beauty treatment or Spa service, however, I think of it as anything that makes you feel special and wonderful.  It’s something that brings joy to your life; but you need to be fully present with it and fully ‘in the moment’ if you are going to get all the benefits.
It’s more like a special moment, that can be anything from 5 mins to a whole day.

Why is it important?

Life Is Not Measured by the number of breaths we take ...
Life Is Not Measured by the number of breaths we take …

 

I know we have busy lives, so you might have a pamper one day, but still have to go back to reality and the stresses of every day.  I used to think that therefore it wasn’t that important.  Especially when I was focussed on the therapies I used that clear out old hurts and traumas; I often forgot about daily life.
But I’m convinced that if I’d spent more time thinking about myself on a daily basis I wouldn’t have got Fibromyalgia and now be faced with all the struggles physically, emotionally and mentally that limit me.  (I might have got my head around them, but still, I could have missed that whole learning and gone straight to the winning line!).
A pamper will reduce your stress and cortisol levels.
Why bother you might think?  Because stress increases your cortisol levels, which affects your sleep, your quality of living and attacks your immune system.
A strong healthy body means that you can make the most of the good days and sail through the bad days.
So to me, that is a great investment – we never know how long we have here on this earth, so every day is important.

How often?

6 Steps To A Sparkling You
6 Steps To A Sparkling You
So many people I know think that having a yearly pamper is enough.  Or maybe a quarterly one.  Some go as far as making it monthly.
Since writing my book ‘Six Steps To A Sparkling You and Enjoying Being a Mum’, I’d increased it to weekly.
But with some recent huge stresses in my life, I realised that I need it DAILY.
Do you think that is really greedy?
Maybe it is.
But being faced with panic attacks, heart palpitations and constant sugary feelings, I realised that I didn’t have much choice.
So over the past 6 weeks, I’ve been coming up with different options for pampering.

Self Pamper

Great books for mums
Books, books, books …
Remember that it’s about bringing a moment to your life, with some joy, and a feeling of happiness or calm.
Often it’s about adding something to make the moment more special.
What works for me is:
  • A 15 min walk in nature.
  • Popping to a coffee shop with Little Dimples.
  • A bath with a lovely bath oil, candles and calming music for 30mins.
  • Going to Pilates
  • A massage/manicure – I know it’s a bit obvious, but it can’t be beaten.
  • Watching a rubbish catchup TV program in bed (I don’t get to watch TV very often, so it’s a treat for me)
  • A catchup with a friend without kids 😉
  • Reading a book, snuggled up, with a smelly candle and lovely music
  • Doing a meditation

 

Pampers you give

I think that our houses are pretty full of STUFF!  So if you can give a ‘pamper’ or something that your loved one can use to self-pamper, then you are not just giving them a short moment of relaxation.  You are also giving them the opportunity to have a healthier, happier life for a period of time.
So they make a great Birthday or Christmas present.  Or maybe a spontaneous present to show how much your appreciate them!
Here are some ideas:
AromaWorks Candle
AromaWorks Candle
  • Candles: but be careful to get them ones that will keep them healthy – I prefer beeswax candles, because Paraffin wax candles are the ones that make all that black smoke.  Think about the black marks they leave on a wall, and then think about your lungs.  We sell Aroma-works candles at Espiritu, and because they are beeswax, they smell all the way to the bottom of the jar.

 

Spa Gift Voucher

  • Gift vouchers: most beauty salons or Spas will let you choose a gift voucher for something specific, but let the person in question swap them if needed.  I recommend that you choose a specific one; if you are unsure the girls at the salon will be able to guide you as to what is ideal.

Pamper Parcels

  • Pamper parcels: I was sent THE MOST AMAZING box a couple of months ago from this lovely new company.  It had every thing you need for a pamper: a bath oil, candle, body moisturiser and of course chocolate!  The great thing about a ready made box like this is that there is no way that you could put it together yourself for the price.  Plus, if you aren’t artistically skilled, they have put it together with such cute little touches, that it adds to the whole experience.  So I can really recommend them!
Make your own pamper box
Make your own pamper box
  • Make a gift box yourself: However if you are artistically skilled, then hows about putting together your own box?  Rachel’s Organics sent me a lovely treat about 2 months ago.  It had a pair of warm wooly socks, 3 of their gorgeous mousses,  tea lights to put in the glass jars when I’d eaten the yummy desserts, a lovely silver spoon engraved with my blog name, and the cutest little Prossecco bottle.

 

Maybe the biggest gift we can give or receive is time and a moment?

I’d love to know what your favourite pampers are?

Have I convinced you to pamper yourself some more?

 

Disclosure: Although I’m not doing any reviews this year, I couldn’t resist when Pamper Parcels offered me a lovely pamper box in September, as they’d seen from Twitter that I was a little stressed.  A huge thank you to them, along with Rachels Organics who sent me a lovely box full of gorgeous chocolate & vanilla desserts and some really cute goodies in October.  I think that a little part of me was beginning to understand the POWER OF A PAMPER, but their thoughtfulness was really kind and helped me REALLY understand how much I needed it.  Thank you guys – you were like a subtle message from the ether – way more subtle than the panic attacks I had, but I put your boxes to good use then!

What to do if your job or business don’t seem to be doing well?

So I’m back with the gorgeous Danny Smith on Radio Verulam – thank goodness he keeps asking me in, otherwise I’d never get around to blogging.

Check out all my previous posts in the run up to Christmas if you need tips on what to buy, how to afford it or how to deal with the stress of it.

This time I thought I’d look at a slightly different side to Christmas; the stress of someone in a job that isn’t going well, or a business that needs a big improvement, especially when you know that ‘Christmas is coming’, along with a pile of bills!

This is probably the last in my posts about business and careers (although you never know!).  Remember beforehand I wrote about:

1) How to pick a business or career:

  • Having a Passion for it.
  • That it has the potential to make the kind of Profit that you would need and deserve after the investment of time and money
  • And That there is a Need for it.

2) Tips for Getting or Keeping a Job

  • How easy it is to make a good impression when you apply
  • Then when in the job that there are easy ways to keep making a good impression:
    • Work Smart
    • Do your job
    • Give to get
    • Be professional
    • Understand the brand

 

So are you not doing as well in your career as you hoped?

Or is your business not performing?

And you are doing all the above things?

Then there are 4 simple things for you to look at:

1) You are panicking

Frustration and anger

If you panic, you are going to run around like a headless chicken, fire fight, and probably make things worse.  It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy – the person who worries about losing their job, often behaves in a way that means that they will lose their job.  The fear will control their brain and mean that they aren’t working smart, or doing their job well.

Plus it’s important to keep your focus on what you DO want to happen, rather than what you DO NOT.  Our subconscious doesn’t pick up the NOT – so often we end up following the WRONG direction.  I’ll give you an example: it’s well know that when you want to lose weight, you need to focus on becoming healthy and slim, not on losing weight; otherwise you often gain weight.  Or how many times have you told a child to be careful to NOT do something; and they immediately do it.

Even if you are just breaking the problem down into daily steps, just focus on them one step at a time.  For instance, I’ve been through a restructure at work, so there was a lot of reorganisation needed and recruitment; it’s like a puzzle, you take each step slowly and start to fit everything together.  You don’t need to know the complete path when you start, you just start moving forwards slowly.

Here are some more tips on dealing with stress.

2) You are not letting people know

Rant with Megaphone

So you have a great business, or are wonderful at your job, but aren’t getting the recognition that you deserve, or the customers are going elsewhere?  Are you actually letting people know?  Are you clear on what your ‘USP’ is (Unique selling proposition – i.e. what you are good at).

Have you made sure that a company or customer looking for you can find you?  (E.g. google, Facebook, twitter, website, signs, brochures etc).  If you haven’t, then your customers often think that you aren’t interested in their business.

Remember in a 1to1 it’s always important to talk about your strengths as well as your development areas.  If you don’t, I can promise you that the other person is definitely talking themselves up.  It’s not boasting if it’s factual e.g. ‘I did this project and the result was xyz’ or ‘We have an 80% customer return rate’.

As a business you need to let people know why you are different from the restaurant down the road, or the other cupcake makers.  What makes what you do special?  This is where a clear niche makes your message clear, and ironically brings in more people who don’t quite fit your niche.

Don’t get fooled into thinking this needs to be expensive.  Or that everything has to be done all at once.  There are loads of marketing, customer service, PR and sales techniques that are free or inexpensive.

 

3) You are letting your self-confidence or self-esteem issues get in the way

 

Fur Monster

We all have baggage; people or situations that have knocked our confidence or made us doubt ourselves.  But if you let that show, then why will other people or customers trust you?  I’m not talking about walking around pretending all the time and being fake.  I’m just suggesting that if you are not sure of why you are fabulous and why customers should come to you, then they won’t come.

When I worry; and of course I do worry, as setting up a large hair and beauty salon and Spa inspired by the days of good service and glamour is a risk – people do sometimes prefer the dull and noisy salons elsewhere.  Then I remind myself of a few things:

  1. My job is not to convince everyone – just the people who would love to come to me and prefer it.  In fact it’s my duty to let them know, so that they get the opportunity to come.
  2. I remind myself of what I’m good at (and what I’m not good at).  That way I remember what my own personal USP is, and I make a backup plan for my weak areas.  Accepting responsibility for yourself and not blaming others is really important here.

4) It’s not exactly what you are meant to be doing

diamond heart
Sometimes we spend years not doing well in careers we never wanted or running businesses that don’t make our hearts sing.  What’s the point in that?  Yes, I know that there are practicalities to providing for a family and paying the bills, and it’s not always easy to change things.  But I can also guarantee that it’s very difficult to be successful at something that isn’t really YOU.
Are you really sure this job is for you?  Are the hours suitable to what you love in your life?  Do you really want to become like the people you are with?  Is it really how you would like to spend the next few years?  I had a couple of people come for job interviews recently, who didn’t really want to work at MY spa.  One just wanted a couple of extra days work anywhere; that’s fine, but Espiritu has a very specific ethos and I’m looking for people who are banging down the door to work there.  The other just applied because she was told to, and was trying to appease someone she loves; a recipe for disaster.
Now if this is where you find yourself, then what I recommend is that you make an exit plan.  It might be 1 to 10yrs; but it will be a plan, and if you are steadily working towards it, that is all you need.
If you would like to do something else, but it will earn you less money, check out my posts on how to get more value for your money, so that you don’t need to earn as much.
If it’s skill levels, then you just need to make a plan to train up.  But keep at it; I had a lovely girl apply for a job, but she hasn’t been constantly practicing her trade and has become rusty, so I need her to go away for 6 months, do lots of practice and then try again.
You may not know exactly, but have a hint, so work towards that at first, and all will become clearer.  (But be careful of ‘the grass is greener’ fantasies, and make sure that you look at the downsides of all options).

What’s the worst thing that could happen?

You know something has got to change right?  So you could try these ideas, and they might not work; in my humble opinion they weren’t meant to work then, and there will be something better out there (if you’ve followed everything from the last 3 posts).  You’ll also know that you really tried your best – better that, than not putting your whole effort in.
We ALL fail sometimes.
We ALL make mistakes sometimes.
It’s how you react to that, which will determine how your life unfolds.  You can still be happy, but poor (I’m not suggesting that it is heaven being poor, just that it’s not necessarily hell either).
Good luck to you – I know it isn’t easy.  Let me know if you have any specific questions that maybe I can help you with.  Or if there is something you want me to go into more detail on.
Look at things

Top Tips For Getting A Job Or Keeping A Job

Last month I chatted through top tips for starting a business or finding a business, so this month the the gorgeous Danny Smith on Radio Verulam I thought I’d talk through jobs for those that I put off starting a business 😉  I know that with Christmas coming up there will be lots of job opportunities, and then afterwards, some lucky people will get the chance to stay, so I thought that tips put together from 13 years of working in IT, 15 years as a therapist and a year as an employer might help!

(Please do let me know if they help – I’d love to know!).

(You can listen again for a week here – I’m around 5.30)

To Get A Job

Look at thingsObviously it’s not all about you – sometimes there will be so many people going for a job, that there is a little bit of luck involved.  In that case I like to have the attitude that the ‘right job’ will come along, but help it by making sure I’ve done all I could.

1) CV – Adapt your CV for each interview.  I get people sending CV’s that list EVERYTHING, and they are clearly applying for different jobs.  I tend to ask people to send me a simple list of what they can do (or can’t is often easier) and where they worked and how long for.

2) Don’t Use Text Speak – Yes, I’ve had people using text speak in their emails or Facebook messages.

3) Don’t discuss your nights out – Yes, I’ve had someone discuss how wasted they were from the night before!

4) Clean up your Facebook – either make your Facebook private or clean it up – drunk pictures with a spliff don’t do you any good.

5) Be clean and appropriately dressed – an office job means a suit, a beauty job means great nails, hair and makeup.

6) Be on time – and set off with time to spare.  Although, I actually employed a girl who was late, because she handled getting lost so well and didn’t cry!

7) Don’t lie – there is no point, it will come out later that you mislead your employer and they will be very unhappy.

8) Google the company – make sure that you’ve done some research.  So many people apply for my Spa and don’t even know it’s in Radlett with free parking, but difficult to get to if you can’t drive.

Update:

During the show Danny and I had an interesting chat about wether people should ask about the pay early on.  For myself with the pay structure being pretty similar across my industry, I’m looking for someone who is most interested in our Salon, but with a healthy interest in their compensation.  So anyone who’s first question was about the pay in an email, I tended to ignore.

But Danny raised an important point: For some people if they are offered a job that will put them in a worse position than they are in currently (if on benefits), then they need to know earlier in the day if there is going to be a problem.  In this situation I would explain to the company in question your requirements in as polite and professional a manner as you can – that the pay structure isn’t your primary concern, but because of your situation you need to be sure that the pay is over a certain minimum amount.

Also, it can be very frustrating when going for a job, where the company knows your current pay level, but then offers you less; we all automatically assume they will offer more.  In which case, turn all the tips I’ve suggested above on their heads, and now you know how to NOT get offered a job!

 

To Keep Your Job

Tips on keeping a job

I’ve spent years as a manager, as has the big hairy northerner, and we have had many conversations about how crazy having staff can sometimes feel.  I remember my husband saying ‘I just need them to be able to add up correctly’ – which considering they were qualified accountants, wasn’t unreasonable!  Whatever kind of job you are doing, these rules will apply, from a shelf-stacker to a CEO.

1) Work Smart

Being busy, isn’t enough.  What you need to do is ‘work smart’, i.e. do the job, don’t do stupid things.  (Unless you work in one of those ridiculous firms that only care about the time you arrive and leave).

2) Do Your Job

If your job is at all complicated, then you won’t have the headspace to get involved in someone else’s job as well.  So focus on getting yours right and don’t worry about the others – that’s your managers job.  I had to sack a really lovely person for this, because she ended up making lots of mistakes in her own job, and I was gutted.

3) Give To Get

I heard this phrase last week and it really works in the workplace.  Generally I would say that giving is just a great thing to do, without expecting anything in return.  But this is more about the fact that if you would like something from your employer (e.g. promotion, training, pay rise), then you need to prove yourself to them.  An attitude of ‘expectancy’ or ‘I deserve more than this’, tends to be very wrong – it often means you don’t understand what is going on in the business or what is generally available.

4) Be Professional

It doesn’t matter how much you work smart, do your job well and prove yourself to your company, but if you behave unprofessionally then it’s a deal breaker.  There is NO industry (sorry Gordon Ramsay!) where it is OK to be sexist, racist, rude about disabled people, swear at people or steal stuff.

5) Understand The Brand

Learn about your company.  There will always be a case of ‘if the face fits’, especially if there is a strong brand image.  For instance there are some companies that have really strong brand images – some you might never be able to fit, but others might just take a little effort e.g. how smartly or fashionably dressed do they like you to be?  How strong on customer service are they?  What are their values – do you understand them?  (Here is my vague excuse for putting Wolverine in – after all he wouldn’t be great in a job that required calm and measured responses!)

 

Let me know what you think and if these tips help you to get and keep a job this Christmas!

Keep at it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to start your own business?

Wow it’s been a while!  Sorry about that – this business malarky is taking up a lot of my time.  But as I’m popping back in to speak to Danny Smith on his Drivetime show for Radio Verulam, I thought ‘maybe I should start blogging about what I’m doing’?

I saw a mum on Facebook the other day asking for advice on starting a business, so I thought that having worked for myself for the past 15years, I’d give some tips on starting your own business.

There are lots of different types of business.  For some reason I feel that Espiritu Salon and Spa is more of a ‘Business’, whereas before I was just ‘working for myself’ as a ‘job’ or ‘career’, but it really doesn’t matter what kind of business you start up, the same rules apply.

I’ll probably do a series of blog posts (if you like them!), so that I can break it down into manageable chunks.  But it’s a good time of year to be thinking about this sort of thing as September has a great ‘new start’ vibe.

 

Passion

Is it possible to have romance and kids?
Heartfelt Passion Helps

 

Whatever this business is, it’s going to take your time, energy and resources, so you need a passion for it.  Not a fickle passing fancy, but an interest that has been long standing.  My dream to own a Spa where the hair, beauty and holistic therapies were all combined has been there for the whole 15 years.

How do you know if there is a TRUE passion for it?  I’ve watched and listened to people over this last year and here are a few key hints:

  • You’ve thought about it loads and talked to different people about it
  • You’ve planned it – in your head, on paper, everywhere
  • You’ve researched how to do it on the internet, read about it and maybe taken qualifications in it.
  • You know your strengths and weaknesses (no one can do everything) and have a plan to cover the areas that aren’t your strong ones.
  • You are willing to spend time, money and change your lifestyle for it – this is the big one, are you willing to stop watching the TV, stop seeing friends, and limit your budget because you are focussed on your business?

Passion is key, because it’s going to be harder than you think, and affect areas of life that you never expected, so it needs the passion to keep it going!  Wow I sound a bit gloomy don’t I, but it’s not; it would only be gloomy if I didn’t have a passion for what I’m doing.

 

Money

Money Saving Tips
Money

It’s got to make a profit, otherwise it is just an expensive hobby which will do your self-esteem no good; the question is how much?

When thinking about the business, think about how long before it could go into profit and how much profit you need.

  • Maybe you are giving up a job for this, and although you can cut back on your lifestyle to a degree, there are bills to pay?
  • Or maybe this is the beginning of something bigger that will grow when your kids are in school, so for the time being it just needs to pay for a few treats for the family?
  • If there is a big investment, it really needs to be able to pay itself back, as well as pay you, so that is something to consider.
  • Think about the sacrifices that you will have to make; it needs to make enough profit for it to be worth it.

One thing you can be sure of: It’s going to cost more than you thought, and take longer than you thought to go into profit.

But don’t get fooled into spending lots due to your newness to the industry.

Desperation isn’t good, so make sure that you have a buffer to keep you going.

And never fall for the ‘get rich quick’ schemes; nothing happens without hard work.  I know a pile of people who did weekend courses and

 

Need

Rant with Megaphone
Letting people know

You might be really passionate about something, and not mind how much profit you make.  But at the end of the day, other people need to think that it will be interesting too, otherwise you will have no customers.

Is there a market for it?  Do people really want it, or can you persuade them that they do?

What is your brand, ethos and USP?  What is the point to your business versus all the others?

Make sure there is a market for it – Know your market/niche – don’t try to be everything for everyone. Decide on your brand – your ethos, niche, the point to you.

Learn this lesson (it took me years to believe it!): Decide on your ideal customer, identify your niche, stick to it and you will have MORE customers!

But at the same time, don’t focus/be to rigid on this being ‘the one’ business you ever run; things often change and one thing will lead to another.  I’ve gone from being a reiki healer/master, to holistic therapist, to coach, to ‘Mummy Whisperer’, to blogger, to author, to owner of a Spa.  It might sound a bit random, but there is sense in the journey.

 

Got a question about a business?  Let me know – I know how tough it is and would love to help!

Started your own business?  What tips would you add to choosing a business?

 

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?