Review of Extreme Self-Care By Cheryl Richardson

I know how tough it is to decide wether to read a book or not sometimes, so I thought I would review this lovely book for you by Cheryl Richardson.  You may get enough from these points, but if you like it, you might want to consider getting the book and working through each chapter over the next 12 months.

Here is my Facebook live video where I talk about why I decided to read this book and I cover each point in more depth:

Part 1

Part 2

  1. Where are you depriving yourself or over giving?
  2. Tell yourself you love yourself in the mirror 3x per day
  3. Be willing to disappoint people and be honest about what you do or don’t want to do
  4. Add rhythm and routine to your life, so it can flow more.
  5. Where can you let control and ask for help – she recommends a ‘things you can do to support me’ list.
  6. What is an absolute ‘yes’ and ‘no’ – reduce your To do’s by 30%
  7. Are you living or working in a soul nourishing environment
  8. Protect your sensitivity – reduce the noise & news if it affects you
  9. Take stock of your health and any actions that need taking
  10. Stand up for yourself
  11. What passion are you ignoring
  12. What is your first aid pack for when things go wrong?

If you have a question about this, feel free to pop a comment in my Facebook group ‘‘Create your dream life with the Mummy whisperer‘ and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.  If you’d like a bit more help with brainstorming the changes you need and challenging your assumptions, then feel free to pop me a message to book a 1to1.

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.

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?

 

Comparison – helpful motivation or the source of pain?

I was chatting to the lovely Danny Smith from West Herts Drivetime on Radio Verulam today about New years and comparisons ….. (If you fancy listening to us, you can do so here, but only for the next week).

Life Check

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

This is the time of year when people are looking at their lives and thinking of what they want for the new year.

Personally I hate new years resolutions – they don’t work.  It’s too cold and people are too tired to maintain them.  Spring and September is the time for ‘New Year Resolutions’.

But it’s a grew time for a bit of introspection over a cuppa or a glass of wine – how was last year?  how would you like this year to go?

How have you changed?

What did you do or buy that didn’t work for you?  Why?

What were the best things that you did?  Why did you like them the best?

What could you have done better?  Where would you like to improve your life this year?  What needs a bit of attention or work?

Comparisons

What makes a man sexyHowever, be careful of comparisons and wether they are helpful or hurtful.

It can be great to see someone turn their life around and inspire you into action.

What is less helpful is comparing yourself unreasonably with someone and not taking into account who you are and why you are already special.

The point to life is not to be like someone else.  The point to life is to be about YOU!

Mothers are terrible at this – ‘Why is my son not speaking as well as his friend’ I would hear someone say about their toddler?  Because his friend is a girl and they naturally speak earlier!

Because of my new Spa I’ve come to understand that hairdressers are also very tormented by comparisons.  Understandably I suppose, as their job is all about what something looks like and they know full well that their customers will be checking out how they look every time they come in.  There is a certain degree of expectation of them to be creative and look good.  Plus it is a very competitive industry.

This is great if it pushes them to be the top of their game, always on Youtube checking out the newest trends and keeping their area of the salon perfect and sparkly.

But it’s a shame when they are tormented by comparing themselves to other hairdressers.  We have several different characters of hairdresser.  We need them to be different.  We don’t want them to be the same.

This way I have the perfect hairdresser for the clients who need different approaches – older, younger, trendier, more nervous, more demanding etc.  It’s great to look at the other hairdressers and think ‘I can learn from them’, but not if they think ‘I wish I was like them’.

So don’t compare yourself to someone else and want to be them.  Just get ideas that suit you as a person and look to improve yourself (bearing in mind that we all have to do things that we are not naturally good at sometimes as well).

Everything has a Downside

Also think about why you think that person is so great when you are comparing yourself to them and have a look at the downsides.  You can’t pick one part of their character, skills or life and not have the rest.  So make sure that you appreciate that there is a downside to everything and that no one is perfect.

David Beckham had to worry about his wife and kids being kidnapped.  Katie Price has terrible insecurities and has had too much plastic surgery.  Some people have been motivated by massive traumas in their past.

See things clearly

When comparing yourself to what people have – houses, cars, clothes etc.  Think about why you like those things?  Maybe you can get them, but differently.

Do you really want a big house?  Or is it purely because you want access to somewhere for the kids to play?  Maybe if you look elsewhere you can get a big garden and afford it, or live somewhere with a great park?

Is it because you think that the area will be posher?  Maybe those people won’t be as nice to live next to?  I understand why you would want to avoid an area with a lot of drugs or crime, but don’t discount the areas considered less attractive – properly investigate them.

Often great success has come at a price of a lot of hard work or a great sacrifice – are you really willing to pay it?  If you are; great!  Put the work in and make a plan!  If not – stop wanting to be like them!

Don’t be fooled by a brand. What’s especially painful is seeing young kids spending money on a brand that is aimed at millionaires.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t aim high.  But by buying those things you will not be able to afford the other things in your life e.g. holidays, social life, exercise, good food etc.

 

What’s your worst habit when it comes to comparing yourself?

Or are you really good at understanding and appreciating that you are fabulous in your own right?

 

 

Is it possible to have romance and kids?

My Top 10 Tips for Making Sure You Are Safe And Sound In 2014

Is it possible to have romance and kids?
A hug

So for this months chat with Danny Smith at Radio Verulam on his Drivetime show, I thought we’d talk about ways to help you feel more secure in 2014.

(If you fancy listening to us, you can for ONE week only here, I’m at 5.30-6pm).

Christmas is a very stressful time that can make us feel insecure.  Plus, although it seems as though the recession is turning around, I think it might take a bit longer to kick in for some parts of the country than others.

Lots of things make us feel secure: friendships, relationships, health, jobs, money and family.  It’s about finding a balance that counts.

So for those worried about 2014, I thought that I’d give some tips on how to make sure that you are safe and sound:

1) Be nice.

I have a friend who is a ‘Nomad’ – i.e. technically someone who has nowhere to live.  She’s been a nomad for nearly a year, and has always had somewhere to stay.  The main reason being she is genuinely lovely.  People love having her around (check out her blog, it’s fascinating reading).  Being a nice person, must therefore be one of the the best insurances that there is.  Never ignore your friends; you may need them one day!

Always be gracious and think the best of people; it’s amazing what can happen when you are like that as opportunities can come from everywhere (and if you are ungracious you will lose out).

2) Ask for help

But of course, she wouldn’t have got any help if she didn’t ask!  If you let people know that there is a problem, then they will help out, and EVERYONE deserves help in a time of need.

There are also some great charities out there providing support like Homestart or food banks; there should be no shame in asking.  When I spoke to someone from Homestart last week, she said that this year there are families struggling terribly, much more than in recent years.  You are not the only ones.  (A HUGE thank you to all our customers, friends and neighbours btw – we managed to collect a staggering 85 presents for Homestart Watford this Christmas!)

3) Give back in return

In return my friend helps people out – she’s been a godsend for us for the past few months.  It’s quite true that people will get sick of a taker, but if you always make sure that you give in return (but don’t over give), then they will feel fulfilled by helping you.  It might be that you can’t do anything in return for a while, but that’s OK.  Also, it might be that you are limited in what you can do; don’t worry about that, and don’t under-estimate the value of what you CAN do.

4) Listen to your intuition

In a busy world, your intuition can save you time, and warn you of things that you are ignoring that could cause a problem.  Taking time to chill every day for a few minutes, try a simple meditation, go for a walk, or have a bath, can really help you to hear your intuition more.

5) Don’t ignore your debts

They just get worse when ignored.  You need to face them, be clear on your in and out goings and if there is a problem, get some advice and make a plan; check out the money advice service for free help.  Don’t ever think that you ‘have to spend money’ – don’t get into debt because you feel you should keep up with presents or socialising.

6) As soon as possible save

Try putting a little away each week, even if it is just £1.  Even if you are in debt.  Aim to build up to 10% of your income.  This sounds crazy, but it has a magical effect and it’s never too late to start.

7) Have a to do list

That way, things can’t creep up on you that might cause you trouble.  But if you are very overwhelmed, put them on a ‘long term’ list and stick to 3 top priorities.

8) Take responsibility for your life

I don’t mean ‘take the blame’, but I do mean looking at what you’ve been feeling powerless about and taking responsibility for your part in it.  Your attitude will affect your job and your relationships.  Ironically it is very unattractive to be around someone who is full of excuses, always blaming everyone else and feeling victimised by situations that others see differently.  Whereas someone who is strong enough to see their mistakes and their part in a situation is much more attractive in a relationship or workplace.

9) Take care of your health

Don’t ignore those niggles.  Stop putting it all off.  One of my best friends died 2 weeks ago – sometimes the body gets irritated with waiting for us and there are no more last chances.  It doesn’t have to be momentous, just take little steps.  A little more exercise, drinking enough water, improving your posture and breathing, and eating healthier will make a big difference.

10) Make contingency plans, then put them away

I don’t believe in worrying.  But I do believe that insurance and planning ‘just incase’ is worth it.  But once you’ve done it, put it away until you need it.  Face your fears, don’t let them run you.

 

I wish you all a wonderful 2014, because we ALL deserve it this year!

 

 

 

 

A scary monster!

Facing Fear And Not Letting It Ruin You

Last month I talked about 5 tips for working out what to do with your life and making a big change with Radio Verulam.

This month I wanted to talk about what gets in the way: FEAR.

A few weeks ago someone asked me ‘Aren’t you scared about opening up your new Salon and Spa‘ – well I was fine until that point!  It put me into a bit of a tailspin for a couple of days I can tell you.  Since then I’ve seen a lot of people wreck or nearly wreck opportunities/jobs/relationships because of fear.

You can listen again to Danny Smith’s show <here>

The most important rule is NEVER MAKE A DECISION BASED IN FEAR – it’s bound to go wrong.  You need to get the fear under control before you make the decision.

 

Why Do Something About Your Fear

 

A scary monster!
A scary monster!

 

Obviously fear isn’t all bad, it releases adrenalin in our bodies and helps us to run away from baddies.  Plus it can be really fun; hence the kids love Halloween.

But it also has a huge amount of downsides:

Fear Of Decisions:

Worry about making the wrong decision paralyses us into doing nothing, when there could be something that we could do to resolve the problem. Problems don’t go away if you ignore them!
Or maybe there are so many options that we just feel too confuddled and bemused; I certainly had that when faced with all the choices of nails we could offer at the salon.
Or of not making an immediate decision/reaction, which makes us run around fire fighting like headless chickens, when a few moments of calm thought would have a better solution.

Fear Of The Unknown:

Fear of difference creates death and war, when thinking about it would help us realise that just because someone is different, doesn’t mean that we will ‘catch it’ or that they are judging us.  So many times mums who gave their babies formula react the minute I say that I breastfed, before they even know if I’m judgemental about it or not; it’s crazy.  And don’t get me on religion – argh!

Not knowing what’s going to happen is really scary, wether it’s pain, where a spider is going to go, or in my case soup (why are people drinking something that you eat is beyond me!).

Fear Of Not Being Liked:

We will always fail at this one, as only half the world can like you; but there will always be people who DO like you.  I’ve already (only 2 weeks in!) had someone be a bit mean about me due to the new salon.

Fear Of Death or Loss:

This is totally understandable, and also unavoidable.  But the problem is that this fear will push people away as well.  On our salon wall we have the saying “It’s not about the number of breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away”.  This won’t make loss easier, but it helps so that we can enjoy what we had and the time that we still have.

 

Recognise It

Fibro fog
Picture from Craig Martin Illustrations

Recognising when the fear hits is half the battle.

It’s that stressed out fear, when your head starts to make up stuff about what could happen or what is happening.  The thoughts start to run around and around and around in your head.  This is when you start thinking things like:

Everyone hates me.

I’m sure that person thinks xyz about me.

I’m going to fail.

If I don’t do xyz, then the whole world is going to fall apart.

What happens if <some awful thing> happens.

The funny thing is that often it’s not true.  Especially when it’s down to what people think about you.  But it WILL become true if you keep thinking it.  The problem with fear is that it makes people behave strangely, and then people will react to you and then it REALLY goes wrong!

For instance, one of the questions that I asked my hairdressers in their interviews was ‘Whats’ the worst haircut you’ve ever done?’.  What I wanted to know was wether they had just packed the person off out the door, or wether they had the guts to face their mistake and deal with it.  I know that that I can walk up to one of my lovely girls and ask her to just take a little more off my fringe, and that she won’t react as though I’m saying ‘that was an awful cut’, when all I’m saying is ‘could you take a little more off?’.  I just need to know that I can ask her and that she isn’t afraid.

How does it make you feel?  Do you start to feel anxious and get palpitations?  The fear of the panic is often worse than anything else isn’t it?

Think about all those times when you’ve been ruled by fear and write down all the ways to recognise it in yourself, so that you can get better and better at it.

For me, I start to feel overwhelmed and stressed and things just don’t flow the way that they normally do.  I start thinking things like ‘I MUST advertise everywhere’ and wanting to make rash decisions.  There is a panic and a rush to it all.  Which is very different from the times when my thoughts flow fast, I’m in the zone and amazing things happen coincidentally/serendipitously that mean that changes happen fast and easily.

 

What to do

Look at things

1) Write down all your fears and why they are scary.

It’s never as scary when you actually face it and write it down.  Before that you are just scared and that fear is running around in your head.  Once written down it is less scary.

Plus it means that you can look at the fear and think about wether it really is as bad as you think.

Write down all your thoughts.  Then have a look at them – are they REALLY true?  Can you prove them?  Why are you scared of it?  What is the worst case scenario?

Also, you are more likely to sleep that way and then you will feel better in the morning.  Everything is better with sleep (see my tips here).

I did this for my fear with the salon.  When I thought it through the worst thing that could happen is that I could lose all my money and be a bit of a laughing stock for opening up a Salon and Spa in a recession.  There would be people who would probably be a bit gleeful about it – I’ve already met a few likely candidates for this.  But at the end of the day I would still have my family.

With your children or loved one, don’t just dismiss their fears.  Let them explain them to you and talk them through so that they feel heard.

2) BREATHE in through your nose and out through your mouth

Breathing in through your nose calms you down much more than breathing in through your mouth.  Once you calm down you can start to regain control of your body and see the options that are available to you.

Remember to eat too – everything is worse on an empty stomach!

3) Avoid things or people who make it worse

If you can’t deal with scary stories don’t read the Daily Mail.  If one of your friends freaks you out all the time, don’t see them as much.  Avoid googling things if you don’t think that you can deal with what you find; ask someone else to do it instead.

4) Plan of Action

Once you know what your fears are you can make a plan of action.  Even at if the worst possible outcome happens, there will be something that you can do.  Ask a friend to help you – one who is pragmatic, calm and practical.

5) Phobias

I really recommend therapies like EFT or Hypnotherapy if you have a phobia.  You don’t have to be limited by these fears forever, and there is often a reason for it, even if it isn’t obvious (I think my soup phobia is pretty obvious – my mother’s cooking!).
What’s your worst fear?  Do you need any tips for dealing with it?

 

 

 

 

 

Organising with a computer

Five Tips For Working Out How To Change What You Are Doing With Your Life

Radio Verulam's Drive Time With Danny SmithI was over at Radio Verulam with the gorgeous Dapper Danny Smith last month – sorry but I forgot to download the audio, so no dulcet tones this time!

Loads of people have been asking me about making a big life change, so I thought I would give some tips.  It could be any big change job, relationship, house, country, anything.

I’ve made several BIG job changes in my life.  I spent 13yrs working in IT.  When I say ‘IT’, I’m not talking doing a little bit of light computing stuff.  I’m talking proper full on programming and heavy duty stuff.  I was even a ‘software engineer’ at one point – this requires wearing sandals and being REALLY geeky!

But then I started thinking I wanted to do something ‘more important’ with my life and eventually made the crazy decision to give up an extremely well paid job to be a tree hugging hippy and heal people.  When I got more ambitious in the problems I wanted to heal, I moved towards more complicated therapy type techniques.

Suddenly I fell pregnant – as you know this was a big shock at 36, having spent 16 years thinking I was barren.  After Little Dimples I found it harder to work, and wanted to shift my focus to just mums, and so was born ‘The Mummy Whisperer’ and this blog.  Within a year, I was pretty much more of a writer than a therapist and loving it.  (Don’t forget 2nd edition of my book ‘Six steps to a sparkling you’ is out now).

Of course now I’m going into very new waters with the opening of my hairdressing salon and spa in Battlers Green Farm, Radlett in October!  This is not as random as you may think …. so read the hints below to see how I got here …

 

TIP 1 – Nature Never Throws Anything Away

Organising with a computer
Start them young!

So you want to make a change, but don’t know where to start?  Look back.  There are clues in your past.

Look for what you enjoyed, what you were good at, projects you did, qualifications, experiences, adventures.

If you are looking to move, think about all the places you have lived, or visited, or dreamed of.  Where did you feel energised?  Where did you feel calm?  Where did you feel suffocated?

For example, I’m Bristol born and bred, and must admit to missing it sometimes.  When we bought our house in St Albans, the view from my window is very similar to the view of the downs that I had as a child, so it was very comforting.

Draw a big squiggly line and plot all the big events and your ages, and look for patterns and clues.

Think about what you never thought there was enough of, or what you always felt was missing?  That’s probably a clue to a passion of yours.

I was a ‘young carer’, so I was pretty much always going to work as a nurse/healer.  My escape came from books, hence the writing.  With older parents, I was often a bit lonely and watched people for hours from our balcony, hence being fascinated by human behaviour.  My mum was a bit of a witch …. ;o)

Here you can have a bit of a reality check.  Yes, there are people who are suddenly discovered at 25 to have the voice of an angel – but I don’t trust most of those stories!  You actually do have to have an ability in what it is that you would love to do.  So just because you sang a lot as a 3yo, doesn’t mean that you are going to be the next success story on the X-factor.

I’m not a hairdresser (although I clearly see the link between hairdressers and therapists), but our business partner is, and between us we have all the skills needed.

 

TIP 2 – There’s a pattern in your ideas

notebook
I love a notebook

I got this tip from Oprah Winfrey 20yrs ago.

Get a notebook (I like pretty ones!).  Whenever you get an idea you fancy write it in the book, then write all the Pro’s and Con’s – there should be as many pro’s as con’s if you have researched it properly.

Eventually you will see that there is a pattern in the things that you are looking at.

For example, maybe you are always looking at careers that are creative, or something with a bigger challenge?  Perhaps all the houses you look at have big gardens and no neighbours, or do you love the idea of being surrounded by a community?

I chose to become a Reiki Master, because I didn’t want to go back to do a degree, but I wanted something with the potential to keep learning, teach others and work on animals too.  I chose Resonance Repatterning (Kinesiology based therapy) because I needed something stronger when I started to specialise in mental health issues.  Then I chose the Demartini Method because I felt fragmented and needed to bring my scientific side in to help with my tree hugging side.  Now I’m embracing my more feminine, intuitive, creative side.

 

 

Tip 3 – Once you are enroute you can settle down

Family gap year
Travelling the world in a motorhome

It’s horrid being unhappy.  I totally get that.  But DO NOT just jump out of it.  That’s not the way to leave (apart from in extreme circumstances obviously).

Now that you are doing something about it, you know you are enroute, so something will definitely change.

Once you are looking, does it really matter if it takes 1yr, 5yrs or 10yrs?

Normally it is better to work through your issues with a situation, and come to terms with it before leaving.  It means you are less likely to jump out of the frying pan into the fire!

Try not to jump to conclusions.

Just because you learn’t Reiki doesn’t mean you are going to become a healer – it could just be that you are going to use it to de-stress yourself and find something else.  Plus there are all sorts of ways of incorporating your ideas.  For example, I will be able to bring ‘healing’ to thousands of people with the hairdressing salon – I don’t have to actually heal each person personally.  Just because you just bought a sewing machine, doesn’t mean you need to start up a business making stuff.  Just because you write a blog, doesn’t mean you have to make money from it or sell a book.

Remember, some things in life are purely for your enjoyment, not to be turned into a career.

It’s frustrating when you know you are going but you don’t know when it will happen.  But give the universe a chance to help you out, rather than pushing it – I missed out on a very helpful redundancy package because I pushed!

 

Tip 4 – Vision Board

content
content

I’ve been ‘revising’ all the stuff I learnt 13yrs ago and one of the most fun things has been creating a vision board with Melanie at Therap Healing.  These are great for inspiring you with ideas, and then focussing you on getting them.

Basically, I spent a couple of weeks printing off pretty pictures of things and quotes that interested/inspired me.  I knew it was likely to be something to do with my book/work, kids and getting healthier.  So that was where I focussed.

Then it was off to Mel’s.  We did a little meditation to help us connect to our wiser intuitive side (logic will only get you so far).

Then it’s time to stick pictures on our vision board, eat cake, and gossip!  FUN!

Stick the vision board up somewhere for you to keep reminding yourself about.

This helps you to focus on what you want to achieve and can give some really amazing insights – like the fact that somehow or other I would like to have a place by the sea one day.

I remember 8yrs ago doing one of these to help me finish my weight loss off.  I drew a picture of boots (you know how you can’t fit into normal boots when you are over weight) and also a pole, because I really fancied learning to pole dance.  SIX WEEKS LATER a pole dancing class started up at my gym.  Maybe not that spooky, but if I hadn’t put it on my board I might not have had the courage to try it (btw I believe all women should do a 12 week pole dancing class – it’s fabulous for the spirit!).

 

Tip 5 – Cosmic Ordering

Full moon is magic
Full moon is magic

Action is important.  But sometimes worrying about HOW on earth you are going to achieve something, will just get in the way.

When you are clear what it is that you would love, you can literally ‘order’ it from the universe.

There is a great book by Barbara Mohr on Cosmic Ordering, which was made famous by ‘Noel Tidy Beard’ as my friend calls him (Edmonds) in his book ‘Positively happy’.

There are some thoughts which when I have them feel really ‘heavy’, they sort of bounce – I know those ones are automatically ‘ordered’.  But you can make up any method you like to ‘order’ stuff.

You could write a letter to the universe and post it.  Or ask the new moon for it.

No, I don’t think that ordering £1million or a Ferrari will work.  It’s got to be something heart-felt.

 

But remember to enjoy today

Change is stressful.

Not changing is stressful.

Remember, it’s not about where you were, or where you will be, but the fact that it is all one long journey.  Don’t miss today because you are worrying about yesterday or tomorrow.

What’s your favourite tip for making a change in your life?

 

 

 

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

My Big Secret Project Is …….

I’m at last going to tell you what my ‘Big Secret Project’ is!

It might seem a bit random, but I’ll explain myself in my next vlog, as it’s a really interesting story of how things all add up together sometimes.

So drum roll please …….

(Oh yes and as you can see Little Dimples was REALLY helpful with the whole videoing process – not!).

 

 

Agony Aunt for Mums

Problem Corner – How to ask for help when you have been self-sufficient?

Agony Aunt for Mums
Agony Aunt for Mums

 

I’m so glad that this regular reader of my blog has asked this question, partially because she ACTUALLY asked and partially because it’s brilliant.

How DO you ask for help, when you’ve been self-sufficient and looking after yourself for 60yrs?  

But at the same time helping others and helping your community?

Here is her full question:

I have a subject you might want to write about, it’s how to ask for and to receive help.  You are the first person I am asking for help.  My husband will go home from the hospital tomorrow.  As you know he will need my close attention for several weeks as he recovers from 7 broken ribs and a broken wrist and we need to avoid pneumonia by walking and getting him to breath as deeply as possible.  I am not working so I am available 24/7.  Still it is a lot to cook, clean, care for him around the clock and try not to worry about money.

I have a couple of communities of people that he and I are involved in, but not many close friends.  I have always been self sufficient and since I am a person who has devoted myself to my family and I recharge by being alone, I have not had to ask for help much.  I do enjoy cooperation and I do help other people when ever I can, but again I am not a really social person.

So now I will need help and I want to receive it.  I feel fear about it.  I fear being viewed as thoughtless, inconsiderate or something else undesirable because I ask for something wrong or make an assumption somehow, or put someone out and they feel uncomfortable.  I can’t be responsible for other people’s responses, but I am not perfect either and may make mistakes.

I don’t know what is okay to ask for.  Food seems okay, but there are four people in my house (my husband and I, my 32 yr old son and my 11 year old granddaughter).  Should I just suggest a pot of soup?  Not everyone knows there are four people to feed, do I have to say it or just be grateful for whatever they bring to share?  How do I handle this when they volunteer to bring food or when I want to ask for them to cook something?

What work should I do and leave for others to do while I sit with and care for my husband; mow the lawn, watering my flower pots and garden, cook, clean the bathroom, do the dishes?  I feel caring for him myself is my top work priority.  Seems icky to ask someone else to clean the bathroom.  Yes, my son will do some of the housework, but his idea of keeping house is a lot different than mine.  I am thinking of asking my son to take on keeping track of the meds and doing most of the walking with him (my husband cannot fall with his ribs broken).  My husband is walking fairly well, but we must be careful.

I get embarrassed if my house is dirty and cluttered when people come, and it is not an easy house to keep clean because it is over crowded, cluttered and needs new paint and flooring in the kitchen and bath so it looks dirty easily.  I feel the state of the house reflects on me.  How can I get myself not to feel ashamed or embarrassed?

Could you please give me some advice?  Maybe your advice could help others as well and maybe even you your self.

 

The Gift Of Asking

Presents
The right present

Lovely, lovely J, from your posts, and questions I know that you help out the community a lot.  But you have not been giving your community the gift of a chance to help you!  This is not fair to them.

Think about it this way, by helping you they get:

  1. A guilt free chance of asking you for help in future.
  2. Or asking someone else in the world of ‘what comes around goes around’.
  3. The satisfaction of knowing that they have a purpose and did something useful.
  4. The opportunity to get closer to you

 

Not Being Really Social

Phone
Call us!

Don’t be daft – you built up a friendship with me over the internet having not even met me!  We are all social, in our own ways.

I know a lovely mummy blogger who believes she is not social (in fact several will now be wondering if I’m talking about them, as there are so many!).  But she is ‘social’.  Maybe she doesn’t go out lots, but has an active community online.  Maybe she is nervous and shy, but nervous and shy people make good friends.

In fact the other day I purposely called my ‘not social’ brother, because he is just that – quiet, reflective and a listener.  I’m not sure that he actually said much, but do you know what; talking is very over-rated!

 

Being Judged For Asking

Rubbish Mummy Cook
Rubbish Cook in ‘real life’ action

People who are nervous of asking for help will probably judge you.  In fact 50% of the world will always be judging you negatively.

Focus on the ones who wont be upset about it, and who will be chuffed by it – look at me, despite being up to my eyeballs, I’m so chuffed you asked, that I have written a blog post immediately for you.

The people who would judge you are frankly pants (hmm I think pants are trousers in american – I mean knickers!).  Smack your hand every time your worry about them, because they are not worth it!

It is not something to be proud of that you are capable of doing everything!  It’s not good for you!

Yes, there are people who I feel ask too much.  It’s when they ask, and then don’t make any changes to their lives that I get tired of it.  Or when they moan, but don’t want to do anything about it.  This is not what you are doing; you have a specific reason, specific problem, and need specific help.  It’s not like you are intending on throwing him off the roof once he is better so that you can do it all again!

 

Who To Ask and What To Ask For

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

Keep an open mind on who to ask for help.  And regularly journal how you are feeling so that you can work out what the problem actually is.

For example, asking me is a perfect way to ask for help over the internet.  Keep doing that – we might not be able to offer practical assistance, but if we can reduce your emotional burden it will all go a lot more easily.  Plus you can ask for healing and prayers, which have been proved to help massively.

YOUR SON – it’s not helping him to let him get away with not understanding what you mean about housework.  He is a grown man.  So sit down and have a think about it and write very specific lists.  When things are specific about what to do and what the end result should be, he should be able to get it.  Yes, it is ideal to work to his strengths, but don’t let him get away with that male excuse of ‘oh but I’m not really any good at it’!  If you think that he will absolutely keep your husband from falling, especially as he is stronger than you, then this is a good job for him.  However, the role of carer and the forethought required is difficult; if he doesn’t have that skill then he will have to do the practical things.

Your grand daughter – I ran a whole household (3 brothers 20yrs older than me) when I was 10yrs old and cared for my sick mum; this was too much, but do not underestimate the self-esteem and experience she can gain from doing really helpful things around the house.  She can cook, she can tidy, she can clean, and she can help your husband keep his spirits up.

Your community:  I would ask for rest bite – times when people come to watch over your husband for an hour every week so that you get some time to YOURSELF.  Otherwise you will only make matters worse by getting sick yourself!  It is also wise to find new friends at any time of life, in fact it’s something I’ve been focussing on for the last 6 months and I can tell you it’s been a wonderful boon to me.

Food – a great idea.  All you need to say is that if anyone could possible help in the next few weeks, you could really do with some soups, casseroles, stews, pies etc for ‘My family and myself’ – at that point they should realise that they are making for more than 2 people and give you a bit more.  Weren’t you involved in a local food community?  Is there a chance that there are people growing lovely vegetables and fruit that they could bring round for your son and grand daughter to cook?

 

Housework

Getting our kids to do their chores
Hoover that floor child!

Yes, you will have to reduce your requirements of what gets done and how often.  Again see the ‘pants’ comment above for anyone who would dare to judge your house whilst you are nursing your husband.

Here is a list to give you an idea:

Bathrooms – once per week.
Kitchen worktops – every day.  Rest of kitchen – once per week.
Hoovering – if you don’t have animals like mine, I bet you can just hoover half the house every other week.
Dust – seriously, dust just comes back!  It doesn’t need doing every week.
Bedrooms – definitely can get away with once a month at a pinch.

But you do have the right to space.  You do have the right to ask your son and grand-daughter to keep their stuff in their space.  For example, you could ask that the main ‘visiting’ areas are on a daily basis cleared of ‘stuff’; the hallway and kitchen perhaps?

Tackle the decluttering later – I can help you with that too!

 

Finally

Is it possible to have romance and kids?
A hug

Just so you know you are not the only one, I have written about asking for help before.  These posts might help:

Be careful the types of people you ask for help, they aren’t all ‘ideal’.

A time when I needed a mate to help brainstorm a problem and reduce my stress.

A time when I had to ask for help from in-laws and strangers

A time when I felt guilty about asking for help

 

I’m so glad and touched you asked!  Give other people that chance to help you and get close to you.  Remember:

No man is an island!  (Or woman for that matter!).

 

To my readers: do you have any tips or similar experiences that you can share with J?