January blues getting to you too? Reality looms large and the thought of the school run tomorrow morning has me shuddering. And I think I’m finally understanding the allure of tea… it’s 4pm, 3 degrees, dark already and a third cup of coffee would not be my friend. So these are the little rituals to which I’m turning to get the happies flowing. I hope they give you some light relief too.
5 Ways to Return to Normality with Vigour…
1. Plan one thing you really look forward to and enjoy the anticipation of it. This can be as simple as looking forward to a solo walk on the weekend or something more grand like a planned holiday (Australia, you are on my radar!). Feel how just the thought of this buoys your spirits. I am really looking forward to settling in with Dave and the kids and watching his new TV show, ‘Let it Shine‘, on Saturday night! (more…)
“I’m stressed!” The modern catch cry! We all know that feeling of time pressure, mental overwhelm, sleeplessness, tight jaw, adrenals in overdrive… The thing is, stress isn’t going to go away. The day where there is an absence of stress is the day we are pushing up daisies. In fact, even positive and much longed for events can also tax our minds and bodies… Getting married, scoring that promotion, falling pregnant and then hells bells, adjusting to the demands of them being on the outside! We have to get a handle on stress because its effects are cumulative, too much stress is plain dangerous for our health and it puts the kibosh on happiness.
So what’s the solution? Daily nourishment, valves that release that mounting pressure, and simple mood boosters. These things must be at our fingertips touch when we need it the most and most of all, quick! I call it my ‘self-care toolkit’ and it helps me manage my stress. Even better, it helps me be the kind of mother, partner, friend and practitioner that I aspire to be. Win win! There’s nothing selfish about that.
10 ways to stress less:
- Breathe – it is literally impossible to feel stressed at the same time as breathing well. We still may be aware of uncomfortable sensations, thoughts and feelings but we don’t feel stressed about them while breathing well. How do we breathe well? Simply stop, be still, and feel your breathing. Relax into the sensations of the inhalation filling you up, a tiny pause at the end of the breath in, the surrender of the exhalation and the pause at the end of your breath out. Become your breath for as long as it takes to feel more grounded.
- ‘Put and ring around it’ – identify what it is that’s stressing you and put a ring around it. It’s not everything, it is just this one defined thing. And if there are multiple stressors that does genuinely make you feel like it’s everything, put a ring around this time. It won’t be like this forever. This ‘chunking down’ tool helps you get a better handle on life’s challenges.
- Are you ‘hangry’? Quite often when we’re feeling headless, it’s because we haven’t fed ourselves appropriately. Have some life-giving snacks at your fingertips because we’re not just feeding our body, we’re also nourishing our mood and mental clarity. Make sure you are well hydrated too.
- Move – this is not just about exercise, this is plain movement. If you’re feeling stuck, low or scattered, move your body. It is a natural antidepressant and research shows it boosts creativity so you will be more resourceful in your approach to problem solving. Nothing fancy or elaborate is needed, just a quick walk around the block can do the trick.
- Reach out – take some time to think about who is on your ‘team’. Who are the people you turn to when you need a kind ear, a sounding board, a cheerleader, someone to yoga with, coffee mate, movie buddy, for your body MOT (my physio and hairdresser are definitely on my team). Write down the names of these people and know that there are different times when they each come to the fore. When you’re feeling wobbly, take a peek at your list and reach out to the appropriate person. Social connection feeds the soul so make sure you are investing in these relationships.
- Scent – don’t underestimate the power of scent. It is so quick and effortless. Spritz your favourite fragrance or light a scented candle and stand tall. Take a few deep breaths and relish that moment. For added potency you can pair scent with affirmations too – use a phrase that channels how you want to feel.
- “I have all the time I need”…. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Even if you don’t believe it! This mantra will help you relax and feel a greater sense of spaciousness in your day. It might even help you refine your priorities.
- Mood boosting music – identify your happy tracks and press play when you need a boost. A dose of classical can be medicinal if soothing is what you need.
- Nature’s beauty – drink it in and let it blow away the cobwebs. Nature is another potent antidepressant and helps us connect with what matters most in life. If you can’t get out in it, seek it out from where you are. Maybe it’s the moving cloudscape during your commute or a vase of cut flowers on your desk at work. Be open to the therapeutic power of Nature and self-care becomes so simple and accessible.
- What’s your WHY – so often stress leaves us feeling a bit discombobulated. Remind yourself of the purpose behind your actions and this galvanises us when the tough gets going.
So, self-care needn’t be elaborate, take much time, energy or expense. Turn to these strategies when you’re feeling under the pump and feel the tension dissipate. Better still, engage in them regularly and you’ll have stress rolling off your shoulders before it raises your blood pressure.
These are just a selection of self-care activities. Book in for your complimentary 15 min phone call about how we can create your own bespoke self-care toolkit. It’s time to reclaim your vitality!
In the last few weeks I have spoken a great deal about living a purposeful and meaningful life – a life that is shaped and guided by our values.
Let’s dig a little deeper today and examine what values are and three ways to identify yours.
What are values?
Values lie at the very heart of personal meaning and purpose. They are defined by Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as “verbally constructed, global, desired and chosen life directions.”* Values are not goals, they are the guiding principles which shape and define our lives. You can think of values as a direction, with no end point, whereas you can think of goals as something that can be finished, checked off, or accomplished. We set goals in service of our values.
Values tap into what really matters to us as individuals, and what we perceive as a well-lived life to look like. You’ll know if you’ve tapped into a value because talking about it, thinking about, and acting in service of it will ignite in you a powerful feeling of vitality, energy and inspiration. Our values have the potential to light us up and wake us up… (more…)