#life lessons 101 – 3 step process to take care of yourself and get things done when you are overwhelmed

Being an Entrepreneur can be overwhelming at time. Heck being human can be overwhelming at times too! No matter who you are some weeks are just harder than others and in the last week, I have been feeling overwhelmed by everything. And this feeling has some pretty nasty side effects if you allow them to run you ragged.

You know you are feeling overwhelmed when life is like a constant trip on the never-ending hamster wheel. The diary is full of things you have to do and you have no idea where the energy is going to come from. The smallest tasks become insanely difficult. The more you try the more you just want to curl up under the duvet and do nothing until it all goes away. And I am sure you know from experience At these times it’s easy to allow the negative feelings to take over. To feel nonproductive, useless, not as good as everyone else. The guilt cycle gets triggered and alongside the hamster wheel, the negative thought spiral creates a hurricane in your brain.  When you get there you are in the danger zone for a stress meltdown.

And the strange thing is that when we are in all of this mental and physical chaos the majority of us still carry on forging ahead in the storm. Why? Well, sometimes you have to. Students, for example, can’t get away from the exam deadlines. Brides can’t give up on the wedding plans when they have a month to go. And as an entrepaneur, you know the only way to succeed is to keep on going. So  when we are totally overwhelmed how can we stop hitting the meltdown danger zone whilst still carrying on?

Can it be done?

Yes!

I have found a way to do exactly that. It’s a 3 step process that will get you through these times and bring you out the other side with the minimum of damage. With a little conscious awareness and a few actions you can and will get through this and this weekend is the perfect time to start.

Minimise

There are things we have to do, need to do and want to do. And we only have 24 hours in the day. So in order to get stuff done, we have to minimise our expectations to get things to fit into the time we have. Minimising seems hard but it isn’t I promise you try this process

Hit the calendar – work out how long your busy period will be. Now in that period remove everything that is unessential. This does not mean just getting rid of the things you want to do. Delegate tasks that you have to do or postpone the non-immediate ones. Now look for some spaces where you can do self-care and block those in.

Use your spoons – if you are feeling overwhelmed you will have low energy. Spoons theory was created for patients with mental health challenges. However, I find that it is applicable to all of us. Especially when we are overwhelmed. The basic principle is that you have 10 spoons of energy in a day. You take 10 minutes to work out which are 1 spoon, 2 spoon, 3 spoon and 4 spoon tasks. So doing the washing might be a 3 spoon task, food shopping or work a 4 spoon task. Now the idea is that you have 10 spoons in one day. When you make your to-do list make do a quick analysis and allocate the spoons accordingly to your tasks.

So my day today looks like this:

  • Pædagogisk meeting – 2 spoons
  • Work – 4 spoons
  • Quick clean – 1 spoon
  • Washing 1 – spoon
  • Bbq with friends – 2 spoons

That’s all I can do. Anything else has to be either delegated or left for another day. It keeps my energy use in check. I also do the same process for work tasks and allow my self 10 work spoons for each work day. Using spoon theory minmises your day and will give you time to relax.

Routine routine routine- Follow a fixed routine for the weekly chores. Make a food plan for the week and shop once. Do your washing on the same day. Dedicate x amount of time to the children before bed. Force yourself into a routine and the chores will become habits. Then the habits take less of your energy and become easier to do.

Energise

When you are overwhelmed you need more than ever to recharge. So energising yourself where ever possible is really important. Eat well. Get your 7 – 8 hours sleep. Help your focus by using focus music. Do 10 minutes exercise or walkievery dayday. Give yourself blocks of time dedicated to self-care. That can be anything from a facemask, to a netflix binge. Anything that will give you a good amount of downtime. Make recharging a priority in these days and grab every opportunity for relaxation you can get. I know you might want to go out and party, or socialise every evening however if your body doesn’t work nothing will. Make taking care of you a priority when you are overwhelmed and you will have the energy to come out the otherside

Self-care and success

I love personal development and in a perfect world, I would have my hour a day dedicated to this. However, in the next 2 months, it’s just not an option. Yet without this, I don’t feel as though I am succeeding and growing in my life and my motivation and self-confidence goes downwards. The last thing I need in a period of overwhelmedness. A simple tool has really helped me to get over this problem. Everyday I ask myself:

  • How am I going to challenge myself today?
  • How am I going to take care of myself today?

I only dedicate one task as a challenge one task as self-care. Some days it can be as simple as go to work and read a book for 15 minutes, other days the actions are bigger. The success of achieving these two actions makes me feel as though I have climbed a gigantic mountain. Which is exactly the dopamine hit my tired and overwhelmed brain needs! Success is one of the best motivators. For me, this has been the best tool I have ever found to survive the feeling of being overwhelmed. Try this tool every day for a week and you will feel on top of the world!

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When using this 3 step process you take charge. By taking charge you are in control. And that in itself stops the feeling of being overwhelmed. I recommend if you like me have a busy 6-8 week period coming up then please please book yourself a few days r and r at the end of it. Recoup and recharge and you will avoid the meltdown danger zone. Above all take care of yourself and be conscious of how you are treating you at this time.

Have a great weekend <3

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#lifelesson101 – 9 steps to recreating your body image by honouring your body with self-love

As I sit here at the end of a week where my self-love is in focus I am surprised to find myself feeling sluggish and worn down. Surely I should be feeling energized and in my inner goddess? I was highly confused by this predicament until I began working on the coming new moon ceremony for our local women’s circle. The theme this month is honoring our body as a sacred temple. It was a Eureka moment! I realized that whilst I had been working on my mental self-love processes all week I had forgotten one very important element of self-love. Honoring my body.

Now we all know that body image crisis is a huge modern crisis today. Schools are filled with unsure teens with low self-confidence, numbers of people with eating disorders are on the rise and yet the fashion and image industry dominates all forms of media. It is insane. (Yes that is my professional opinion). However, it is not a new phenomenon. If you look at cultural propaganda, even in the stone age, we as a species promoted our idea of the perfect male and female form. (Only then for women bigger was better. Male body image fashions have always leaned towards the strong and muscley, which proves women are more consistent in their tastes!)

So if we have this inbuilt need as a species to define which body type is attractive at a particular point in time how then do we break with this cultural tradition and honor our bodies as beautiful. Just as they are. Not as how society tells us we should be. Wauw well that’s a can of worms to open and one that could keep us here all week. However, I believe there is a simple answer. Really I do. I believe that by taking small practical actions we can recreate our own body image, find a comfortable place where we can honor our beautiful form and be confident in our bodies despite the world telling us we should be different.

Now, this is not a process we can do overnight. We can’t wave a magic wand and hey presto you love your body. Honouring your body is a process that comes with practice and commitment. Small baby steps, that eventually become habits so familiar you do not notice them. If you are having body image issues and want to resolve them or like me you have simply forgotten to honour your body in the turbulence of a busy life here is a guide to those baby steps to recreating your body image through a practice of self-love.

Remove the outside negative voices

Time for a media detox. Body guilt often gets ignited due to media. If you subscribe to magazines that promote a body type you will never have, then get rid of them. You do not need to consciously or subconsciously compare yourself. Subscribe instead to magazines that nourish your soul. Minimise your social media input, cut back on feeds that you can feel set of your body image guilt.  And Talk back to your TV when you see commercials that use body image to sell products. Talk back to companies with your wallet by NOT buying said products. Buy products that nourish you and you feel good about. Turn off the ads. Remember media pushed body image guilt is just as unhealthy for you as a toxic relationship. When you stop feeding it, it cannot affect you.

Remove the internal voices

The internal negative body judge is in all of us. And it’s a battle to get it to shut up. However, it is possible. One of my favorite ways is when my mind says I don’t like …. I add but I do like…. Sometimes I need to write this down to reinforce the process, it works.

Compliment yourself in ways that have nothing to do with your looks. We tend to focus so much on what we see in the mirror and overlook our many other amazing qualities. Are you a good cook? A successful person? How about a warm, caring, friendly, or positive person? Make a list of 10 things you like about yourself that have nothing to do with your looks.

A great way to change your thoughts is to change your passwords. Imagine typing in ilovemybody 20 times a day. The more you use it the more it sticks in your mind.

Ask your body for forgiveness

If we hurt a friend we apologise so why not do the same with your body? By apologizing to your body for ways you may have neglected or abused it, you communicate to your body genuine affection. Your body has a consciousness of its own and you can expand your body’s consciousness in positive ways by writing a letter of apology to it. Don’t get into your guilt, focus on responsibility for your actions.

Nourish where it’s needed

We often neglect parts of our body in our busyness. Think about how you shower. Your self care routine. Do you stand on your feet all day but don’t give your tired feet a foot bath or a massage? Do you work at a computer all day but forget to stretch out? Do you work outside and not mosturise your skin? A foot massage, mousterising or even stretching can take s 10 minutes out of your day max.  Nourish the parts of you that need it daily and you will feel reengerised and cared for.

Make self-care a regular thing

On the subject of care, how often do you do it? I have in the last few years got into the regular habit of self-care. A face mask, a hair mask, a trip to the sauna. (Gods I am grateful for the Scandinavian habit of having a sauna at every swimming pool!) I aim to do some physical self-care every 14 days and I feel great at the end. All rejuvenated and loved. Set some dates in your diary for your self-care days and treat your body as well as you would treat a loved one.

Bless your food

Honor your body by honoring your food. Take time before meals to be grateful for the food you are about to eat and the effect it will have on your body.  As you do this mindfully and positivity you will notice a calming inside of you as well as a feeling o. This honors your relationship with food, with your body, and with yourself. As well as gently making you conscious of what you are putting into you body and why you need it.

Dress to honour your body

Dress for the body you have today, not the body you will have or had before. You deserve to look and feel your best right now. Clean out your closet and donate all of the too-small , don’t wear anymore or used to wear clothes to others in need. Keep only the clothes that fit and flatter you and most importantly that make you feel good.

One of my favourite sayings is “What thoughts am I wearing today?” If you want people to be positive, treat you with the respect and value you for your true worth, then you need to show them how you love, respect and value yourself.

Look in the mirror as you dress in the morning. Ask yourself –

-What thoughts am I wearing today?

-What am I telling the world about me?

-What message do I want to send into the world today?

Show the world the beauty you see inside you, how much you value you, externally. You will find that people reflect it back to you. Dress  to honour the body and thoughts you have.

Treat your body with love

We all know that exercise and eating healthily is good for us. Personally, I suck at this. Mr. T is one of those uber healthy people that can avoid everything that is bad and do a lot of exercise. I am more of a Dawn French chocolate loving, duvet on the sofa kind of person. However, our bodies both deserve love and respect.  If you like me cringe at the thought of a gym and love the salty fattiness of Chips, then here is a trick that will help.

Listen to your body and make conscious choices. Eat when you are hungry. Eat until you know you are full and not more. Ask yourself if you are eating from physical need or emotional need, from habit or boredom? Importantly notice how you feel after you eat. If a certain food makes you feel bad then don’t eat it.

Similarly with exercise. Listen to you body. If you feel tired when lifting you need to build strength. If you are having back pain it is likely yoga and stretching will help. Stairs are hard work then you need some cardio. Find exercise forms that fit into your life and follow your needs. Change the focus of your exercise from I have to do this to be healthy to this is an act of gratitude to your body for it allowing you to be alive and experience life.

Thank your body every night

Before you go to sleep at night take a moment to check in with your body. If you like you can do a body scan. Thank your body for being there for you. It could be you say something like. ‘I am grateful to my heart for pumping my blood around my body’, ‘I am grateful to my lungs for breathing in oxygen’. Or you can be more general. Just take a moment to recognise what you body has done for you today and be grateful

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Honouring your body will recreate your self-image to one filled with love and beauty for your physical form. Remember without that form you would not be here. It is your responsibility to take care of it. Not in the way society tells you to but in the way you know to be right for you. Treat your body with respect and it will respect you, and so will other people.

So the question remains, how will you honour your body today?

Let me know in the comments

Have a lovely weekend <3

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An easy ABC guide to making self-love a daily practise

One of my goals for this year is to work on my self-love and build self-love into my life routine. Luckily the internet has a mountain of advice and inspiration. However, a lot of it is very vague. I understand, and practice, the art of non-negative thinking. I remind myself to stop the guilt cycles and use gratitude regularly. And from this intermittent focus, I know that I love and appreciate myself more. I am more comfortable with who I am and where I am in my life. Yet something is still lacking.

Self-love needs to be something we can realize and feel on a daily basis. I realized recently that my self-love attempts we effective, but sporadic. I want to have a stronger foundation in loving myself- who doesn’t? And the only way to get better at anything is to focus and to practice. Like anything else in life if we make it important we focus on it and grow.  So I have decided to take the next step, level up at self-love, by making the art of self-love a daily practice.

Now as those of you who are regulars at Re:root know, I love practical actions. I think doing something practical enhances our focus and makes for a great reminder (albeit daily or weekly) to focus on personal growth. And like most of you, I have a busy schedule. So I needed to create a daily self-love practice which didn’t eat into my schedule but was manageable and easy to implement. Sounds impossible? Well with a little prep and commitment it’s as easy as ABC. If you would like to boost your self-love a little every day, here is a practical guide you can use to initiate your self-love journey.

A:  Analyse your options

First, do a little google-fu (or check out some of the self-love ideas on my blog by searching under self love) and find some inspiration of self-love practices you would like to try. Some of my favorites are:

However, there are millions of ideas out there so dig deep and find a bunker of inspiration. Now write all of your ideas down. And note what are things you could easily do on a daily basis, weekly basis, monthly basis.

B: Build your practice

Now build a practice up for this month. Don’t try to do it all at once. I would recommend adding one simple self-practice into your morning routine and another into your after work/ end of the day routine. In your week try to add one bigger self-love practices and in your calendar plan one of the biggest self-love activities you would like to try. So you could end with a plan that looks like this

Daily:

Mirror work in the morning.

Give me a hand massage on the way home from work

Weekly:

Buy me flowers or give myself a facemask

Monthly:

Have an evening at home with a good book, music, nice food, candles and wine. Write me a love letter.

Try out different activities and find out what works for you.

C: Choose and continue

After a few weeks, you will have found what works in your life rhythm. So choose the activities that fit, that you like and that gives you the biggest boost of self-love and then simply continue your practice. Keep self-love activities an important feature of your to-do list and weekly planning. By making it important to love ourselves we show other people how much we respect ourselves and they will begin to mirror that behavior in the way they deal with you.

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Self-love takes time and dedication. You cannot get up one morning and say now I love myself completely and implicitly. However, with regular practice you will find that eventually loving yourself is as second nature as breathing. May 1st is the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane, the festival of love. So I have decided to give myself a self-love boost with an intensive week of self-love practice just because I can! I can highly recommend it as a way of checking in and kick-starting a journey of making your relationship with yourself the most important one you have. Let me know in the comments your favorite self-love practices and lets’ inspire each other in love.

Have a beautiful week <3

To fall in lovewith yourselfis the first secret tohappiness (1)

Lengthen your day with time management

Finally, the days are getting longer. The sun is shining and our spirits are lifted. However, for some, life still feels like a constant treadmill of never-ending tasks. There is never enough time to do all you need to do let alone, to do want to do. You can relate I’m sure. I have had many clients in the last few weeks who feel this way. They all want to be more productive. To step off the treadmill and feel energized and most of all have time to spare. The impossible dream right? Wrong!

The simple fact is that either the day runs you, or you run your day. If you want to have more time you need to be the boss of your day. And that means a structure, routines, and planning. I can feel some of you out there cringing. The idea of following a structure seems unnatural and constricting. However, I promise you that by consciously structuring your life and building routines you will actually free yourself up and give yourself even more time. Now I can also hear some of you saying I don’t have time to sit down and plan my day, week or month. To you, I say you these few minutes a day will give you more time than you thought possible.

Time management is one of the most common challenges I solve with coaching. And one of the things to keep in mind is that there is no one fix formula that works for everyone. We are all different and therefore we need different systems. Some of us like to keep things regimented, some like more flexibility. Some people have a system but don’t know how to prioritize. Some people just need a regular routine. If you want more time I have a sure-fire strategy that will help you to approach the challenge of lengthening your day and creating more time for yourself in only 6 weeks. And why 6 weeks I hear you ask? Because to make the long-lasting change, you need to make strong foundations. 6 weeks gives you enough time to find out what works for you and how to fit it into your life. Here is the 6-week strategy to get you started.

Lengthen your day 6 week  strategy

Week 1: Create some routines

Have a look at your week. Write it down, What tasks do you have to do every week. How often do you do these things now and how often do you have to do them? If you shop for food every day, could you cut it down to 3 times a week or once a week? Can you do your washing in one day or two? Do you really have to hoover daily or can you do this once a week? Does it take time to decide what to make for dinner? Can you make a food plan or pre-make the weeks food on a Sunday? Make a week scheme for your weekly tasks. Put this somewhere you can see it and try it out. You may find you need to play with it a bit over the next few weeks to make it fit in a natural way but keep going. Routines save so much time. Keep this habit routine for the full 6 weeks.

Week 2: To do lists

Each morning at breakfast make a todo list. (Personally, I find it helpful to make a weekly to-do list just so I have a place to store all the things I have to remember and then I make my daily lists from this). Don’t overbook yourself. 3 to 5 things to start off with is fine. Don’t worry if you don’t get everything done. 70% achieved is perfect anything above that is a bonus. If you only manage one thing then check in with yourself. Do you need a break?

I highly recommend prioritizing your task load. Using a system such as ABCDF (see Step 4) or the Spoons theory (This is a system for people with mental health issues that ANYONE can use, just create your own spoons system). Both are great ways to check in with your time and energy. And use it productively.  

Week 3 and 4:  Try a time management technique

There are lots of great systems to help you manage your time. Choose one of the following and do it for two weeks. People say 14 days is enough time to create a new habit. I say it’s enough time to try out a new habit and see if you like it or not. Review the system you chose. Does it work? Can you tweak it to make it fit your life better? Or does it simply not work for you?

Time blockinghttps://justagirlandherblog.com/how-i-organized-my-whole-life/ (Some of my clients like to block the hours to specific tasks others like to use colors to block out the day and then choose their tasks)

Todist aphttps://en.todoist.com/app?lang=en (I love this app, it has improved my efficiency 100%)

Do it tomorrow – Try Mark Foster’s simple and effective system https://www.time-management-success.com/how-to-improve-time-management.html

Zen to Done– a habit changing, flexible system

https://zenhabits.net/zen-to-done-ztd-the-ultimate-simple-productivity-system/

 

Week 5 to 6: Try another time management technique

So if you have found a way to tweak last weeks system then try out the new version. If it hasn’t worked for you then try a different technique. Don’t forget to review it. By now your routine will be formed and you will have better prioritizing skills. You may find that that is enough for you to have more time. You may find that you really benefit from using a specific system.


Now all you have to do is continue the great habits you have formed in the last few weeks and enjoy the extra time you have on your hands and do something you really want to do. Or alternatively kick back relax and do nothing at all!  Tune in on Friday for this weeks #lifelesson101 with tried and tested tips and tricks for easing into healthy time management and creating the time you want!

Have a great week <3

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#lifelessons101 – Recovering quickly from a conflict at work in 8 minutes

This week I had the horrible experience of having an unexpected conflict with an almost stranger. I had begun a new contract and one of the employees I was working with decided to be very angry with me in public. I held my ground. Kept things civil. And managed to bring the conversation to a good and constructive resolution. However, as you can imagine it was not the nicest of experiences. I was shocked by the whole experience. I have never before met anyone who thought it was ok to be so rude to a new co-worker. However, that’s by the by. After this conflict, all kinds of emotions surfaced that I had kept under control during the conflict. I was angry, sad, a little scared, and worried that the incident had happened so publicly on my first day. All at once I felt a myriad of conflicting emotions and completely unsettled. However my work day had to go on and as a coach, I needed to get out of my stuff quickly and move on to hold the focus on the people whose lives I am supporting and empowering. Basically, I needed to process and feel grounded and secure quickly.  

We all have experiences like this that we don’t have endless time to process before the events of the day continue. And more often than no we suppress the emotional and rational thinking journey until much later in the day. When we are tired. And what happens? We either take it out on someone else, work ourselves up making a mountain out of a molehill or we blame ourselves and destroy our self-worth with negative thought spirals. Not handling with emotional incidents, such as a conflict at work, has bad consequences.  So ideally we need to process these events in the short time we have so they don’t build up into something much bigger later in the day.

Going back to my situation earlier in the week. I had about 8 minutes in between the conflict and my next client. A minute amount of time to process and realistically you cannot in such a short space of time really process the emotional impact of the situation. What you can do however by using some simple tips and tricks, gain control over your unbalanced emotions after a conflict in a healthy way. E.g NO SUPPRESSING! The great thing is that if you use these tools you can emotionally process the situation quickly, in the here and no so you don’t get caught up in the aftermath of stress later during your day.

Here is my guide to recovering from a conflict at work in 8 minutes, doing even just one of these things will make you feel better. However, combined they give you an extremely powerful experience just when you need it the most.

Get alone

Go somewhere alone as soon as you can. If you are feeling a bundle of post-conflict emotions you don’t want an audience. Take a quick break, go to the loo or shut your office door for 5 mins.

Have a blooming good rant

When we have been in a verbal conflict we need to process verbally to release the stress created. So have a rant. I find for me that contacting someone neutral, preferably a friend, not a partner, ask them for permission for a 2-minute rant and then some comfort. (You do not want to go on to solutions before you have processed your emotions). If you cannot talk to someone talk to the air as though someone was listening. Get it out of your system.

Swear like Father Jack Hackett

If you remember the iconic tv series Father Ted you will remember Father Jack Hackett. The elderly, senile drunk priest who swears loudly and constantly.  Swearing when we are in a temper somehow helps us feel better. I find a long list of profanities starting with Bugger F*** W**K and ending in Arse goes a long way to help me release frustration. Here is where FB is a godsend. If you can’t swear out loud at work typing with the caps lock on, to an understanding friend is a great alternative. Profane your heart out.

The Japanese self-relaxation technique

This simple easy and you can do it without anyone seeing you. To give a quick Screen-Shot-2016-12-22-at-11.06.32-AM-750x559background, in this Japanese self-relaxation technique each of the fingers in our hand represents a different kind of emotion or feeling. The concept is to balance all the opposing energy forces in your body. Start this by taking one finger at a time, grasping it with the opposite hand and wrapping every finger around it.

Hold each finger for one to two fingers. Wait until you feel the pulse. This is when you know it’s working. To aid in relaxation, apply slight pressure to the center of your palm with your opposite thumb and hold for at least one minute.

It’s quick, easy and it works. Follow this video on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3-O7gPsQK0

8-minute rule

This is an extension of the 5-minute rule. Put your timer on for 8 minutes. Allow yourself to rant, to talk, to cry, to swear and to do your Japanese relaxation. When that timer goes off ask yourself 2 important questions.

  • Can I do anything about this? (constructively not destructively)
  • Do I need to do this now?

If you can’t do anything about it or you do not need to do anything about it right now then get on with something else. Do something you can be constructive and productive about.

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Of course, after 8 mins you will not be completely recovered from the conflict. However, you will have given yourself 8 minutes of expressing your emotions, your frustrations in a healthy way. By the time you get home, the incident will still bug you, but it won’t be emotionally running the show. Go home, talk to someone about possible ways of handling it and pour yourself a big glass of something nice and do something good for yourself. Conflict at work is inevitable. However, conflict at work ruining our whole day doesn’t have to be

Happy Weekend 🙂

a gift

Balancing challenging yourself and taking care of yourself for healthy personal growth

As I sat down to write this week my mind was a blank, so I turned to two of my friends in despair and asked for inspiration. One came back with the answer: Write about how you shouldn’t be afraid of your own limits, challenge them. The other came back with: Write about that about you need to be in balance before you can you grow stronger in your day to day life

I know chalk and cheese right?

Or maybe not….

I realised that both of these answers were actually about the same thing growing in life by challenging yourself and by taking care of yourself. But how do you walk the fine line between the two? How do you both challenge and take care of yourself?

We all know that challenging yourself and taking care of yourself are essential parts of life. Without challenging ourselves we don’t grow and without taking care of ourselves we don’t have the energy to grow.  Both boil down to self-care. Many people think that self-care is simply remembering to take time out or have that me time. However, self-care is also about stretching ourselves, overcoming challenges and pushing ourselves to be the best version of ourselves. In pushing yourself to grow you explore the full being of your potential and by doing that from a healthy place of balance in your life you give yourself the best possible foundations to grow from.  

If you want to push back your boundaries and meet a new challenge head on this spring then here is a guide to how you can create a balanced foundation of self-care so you can grow healthily in your life today.

Identify how you want to challenge yourself

Be very clear about how you want to challenge yourself. How do you want to grow? We all have limited or limiting beliefs. By pushing them we expand our boundaries. So where is it you want to grow too? Brainstorm all the possible things that are challenging for you in your life and then from each challenge identify where you want to get to with each challenge. Is it you want to lift more weights at the gym, even though right now 2 kilos feels like 100, or do you want to go to more social events, despite your shy introvert nature? Get clear about your goals.

Are you in a strong place right now?

Look at your life. Really look. How much time do you have? How much energy do you have right now? What are your responsibilities? How much time and energy have you got that you can dedicate to meeting a challenge right now? Really analyse what is going on for you. There is no point in saying you will go to the gym for 2 hours every day if you, in reality, can only fit in 2 trips a week.  Do a life MOT and clear up your life a bit before you decide to plot in your challenges.

Choose 1 or 2 challenges to start with

Don’t overload yourself. If you try and challenge everything at once this is a recipe for failure. Choose 1 or max 2 challenges to go for right now.  Make sure they fit in with the time and energy you have available. Or that you can make the time and energy available.

Plan your baby steps

Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes small actions to overcome a challenge. What are the baby steps? What will be the level-up landmark points? Make a timeline of how you want to meet your challenge and put the dates in your diary.  Check in on your progress each week.

Get support

Pushing yourself can be scary. Sometimes you will get demotivated. Sometimes you will fall off the wagon and need help to get back on. So make sure you have someone to support you.  Before you choose a person work out how you might need them to help. Do you need someone to help you be accountable? Or do you need someone to help motivate you when you want to quit? Then ask for the help you need before you need it.

Plan some rewards and some breaks

When we have achieved something we feel great. And nothing gives a good hit of dopamine-like a reward for a job well done. Plan some rewards for when you have successes. And make sure you celebrate your achievements. Equally important is to plan breaks. Pushing yourself is all well and good but push too hard and you will snap. Plan when you will push and when you will press pause.

Keep an eye on your energy levels

If the car isn’t running at optimal it will be harder to get up the hill. Keep an eye on your energy levels. It may be that you need to have a downtime day or that what you thought was a baby step is actually a mountain you need to scale. Take your time and listen to your body. Physically and emotionally. Just because you have low energy doesn’t mean you quit you just move the finishing line a little.

Keep it real

Don’t get complacent keep checking in with your goals. Be aware of what you are doing and how you are moving forward. If you are not making headway, find out why not. What can you do about it? Do you need to push harder or in a different direction?

Daily check-in

Each day, at the beginning of the day, ask yourself two very important questions.

  1. How will I challenge myself today?
  2. How will I take care of myself today?

Decide on the actions you will take that day for both and do them. This keeps the challenge and the care relevant to your energy levels on a day to day basis.

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The biggest trick to finding the balance of self-care when challenging yourself is to be conscious of your progress and conscious of what you need. Don’t expect to move mountains in a day. Keep a steady pace and keep going.  With conscious planning and attention, we can eventually move mountains whilst taking care of ourselves.

HAve a great week <3

Challenges are what makes life interestingovercoming them is what makes life meaningful

Stopping the destructive argument spiral and find solutions quickly

Who among us enjoys having arguments? Not me, not anyone I imagine. However, unfortunately, they are part of the human condition.  To fight is part of human nature. We can’t escape that fact. Arguments whether at home or at work often follow the same pattern. The tension starts to rise, responses start to get personal, and you go around in circles without getting anywhere. Even though we don’t like arguments it is easy to get caught up in them and when we do we lose sight of the bigger the picture. The solution.

Recently in our social circle, there have been a lot of minor conflicts. The sort that can really spiral out of control, get ugly and break up friendships. At first, Mr. T and I got drawn in. Our emotional buttons were pressed and it got personal really quickly. Luckily we caught ourselves in the spiral and through openly dialoguing together we managed to stop the destructive argument spiral and fast track to creating a solution and end the argument. The result? A slightly shaken friendship, which still exists, an agreed-upon way forward and no major wounds on both sides.

As we went through this process it seemed to reflect in our wider world and we noticed both my clients and even our family members were struggling with arguments and conflicts. Each case had two common elements:

  • Personality and values clashing
  • A breakdown in communication due to emotional triggers

Basically, everyone was fighting from an emotional standpoint, not a rational logical approach. Everyone was taking it personally which no-one could think rationally. And if you can’t think rationally then the solution will always seem impossible.

So how do you fast track to a solution and get out of the destructive argument spiral when your buttons get pressed?  The answer is simply by a little personal reflection and mature action you can from A to C and avoids B (the bolloxs) relatively quickly.

Stop

When you get into an argument and you can feel it is starting to get out of control the most important thing you can do is to stop. Take a step back and breathe. In an argument situation, your blood pressure rises, your breathing and heartbeat increases and your body fills with stress hormones. The fight and flight mechanism kicks in and messes with your immune system. Not to mention your whole body goes tense, neck, back, and shoulders, as well as your teeth, get clenched. Needless to say that in order to think rationally you need to retake charge of your body and calm it down. And this takes time. Give yourself at least 15 minutes to calm down so you can move from the fight into solution.

What buttons are being pressed?

Now you’ re feeling calmer have a look at what buttons are being pressed. When Mr. T and I were in the argument with our friend we looked at how the situation was affecting us emotionally. We investigated which of our previous dramas were being activated. For example, in our situation for Mr. T, his honor was being called into question. The reason this provoked him was due to an incident from his childhood, so he was reacting to that.  So what drama, insecurity is this provoking in you?

And most importantly is it real? Does the person you are arguing with really think you are an idiot, or is it your insecurities that tell you that you are stupid and this person is triggering that in some way?

Which of your values is being tested?

Now it is important to look at your moral standpoint and see which of your core beliefs are being (for want of a better word) attacked? What is the line being crossed? Can you see from the argument where your values and the other person’s values are opposed? What could be the acceptable compromise for you?

What is this person reflecting to you?

In life, other people are our emotional mirrors. We send out a reflection and people unconsciously respond to the at the reflection and send out their own. This is most clearly obvious with someone we dislike. When we dislike something about someone else it is actually because they are reflecting a picture of something we dislike in ourselves. You cannot ever do something about someone else behavior however you can change your own. If you don’t like what this other person is reflecting then change it in you. Also by using this technique, you can see what you are triggering in the other person. Think about what would you need and how you would like to be treated in this situation and handle them accordingly.

Look at the communication style

How have they and you been communicating? Defensively or openly? Are they, or you, throwing insults? Or have they or you been attacking? Is it possible you or they have miscommunicated? Have you been clear enough? If a person is constantly attacking you in an argument, that is their stuff. You can’t do much about it however you can not respond. Feeding anger will just start another spiral. Decide how you want to communicate with them. Look again at what you want to reflect.

Choose how to move forward

Now before you rejoin the conversation decide how you want to move forward. What is the outcome you want and where is there room for compromise? Do you have anything you feel you should apologise for? Plan your conversation. Often argument resolution is best in a written format, that way you can double check what you have written and remove potential triggers. Moving forward means acknowledging the damage, showing the other person you have heard their opinion and focusing on the solution. As much as possible removing the emotion from your response. If you can’t write your response then I would recommend noting down a few bullet points to help keep you focused.

Don’t feed the fire

Now while you have been doing this reflection it could be that the person you are arguing with has worked themselves up into a frenzy and is ready for round 2. It is your responsibility to not feed the fire. An argument can only continue if two people want the conflict. You want a solution so stick to that. Make your suggestion for a solution in a respect and calm way. If the other person responds by attacking step out of the dialogue. Keep an eye on what you are reflecting out to the other person. Are you showing them how you would like to be treated? Above all maintain your dignity. To feel peaceful about the conflict you need to come away knowing that you have acted in the best way possible and feel proud of yourself.

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Arguments are never an easy part of life. By using these techniques you are taking responsibility for your actions and for finding the solutions. It can take a while to learn (I am by no means a master..yet). However once mastered you will find that conflict and arguments become minimal in your life and above all you can feel proud of yourself knowing that you have done your best to make amends and move forward. And that my friends is half the battle

Have a great week <3

 

Arguing isn't communicationIt's justnoise.jpg

#lifelessons101 Bringing balancing to your life with the Spring Equinox

It’s finally spring! Even though you might not be feeling it where you are in the world, however with the Spring Equinox we are now officially shifting into the warmer part of the year. (So hang on there it is coming).  Equinox is one of the most powerful points in the solar journey of the year. A time where day and night become equal. A point of light and dark balanced. The moment just before the world bursts into life and the winter becomes a distant memory. Just take a moment when you are outside to look at the trees, the buds are opening, in the air even through the ice and the wind you can smell spring is here.

Equinox comes at the end of the tumultuous weeks at the end of winter. For me, the three days surrounding the Spring equinox is always a turbulent journey. As the day and night grow closer to balance point which is equinox I experience both the Ying and the Yang of my life. And then comes equinox that moment of calm after the storm. It brings a renewal of energy the proverbial spring in my step which just makes everything just a little bit easier.  When you work with nature spiritually or physically this journey is very clear. If you don’t make the passing of the seasons in your life just think back over the last 2 weeks. Can you see it? Often people find when looking back before the equinox (21st March) that they were struggling, challenged or simply just a worn out. And then after the equinox, they experience a surge of energy or a feeling of light relief. The challenges are still there but are not so bleak.

Equinox energy is a great revitaliser.  If at no other point in the year this(and autumn equinox) is the time where you can access a point of balance in your life. A moment of zen in harmony with the planet you are living on. It’s the time to bring yourself out of hibernation and give yourself a boost of spring energy.

Cleansing

Over the winter we tend to batten down the hatches, hibernating indoors. Now I don’t know how it is in your home but in our’s the winter journey builds up a lot of clutter.  No matter how much I intend to keep on top of it by Spring Equinox everything needs a good shaking up and clearing out. Spring Cleaning is a worldwide tradition and for me is a very practical hands-on way of cleansing my own energy. As we tidy up around us we tidy up on our insides too.

However, cleansing doesn’t just have to be about cleaning and clearing out the home, or the office, or in my case every handbag I have used over the winter. I tend to feel physically gunky after winter and in need of freshening up. Spring cleaning can also be a cleansing of the body. A sauna, a detox, a facemask, a sweat lodge, or a white sage smudging are powerful ways of cleansing the body both physically and spiritually. Choose what works for you. Even simply opening the windows can bring a freshness back into your life and help you to awaken with the spring.

Balancing

So after clearing away the winter, it’s time to rebalance. Like with cleansing there are many ways you can do this. I love to balance my chakras at Equinox. If you would like to try you can try this chakra visualization to get you started.

Another great way to rebalance is to take the time to check in with your life balance and see where you are out of kilter. An easy tool to use is a wheel of life. This gives a really quick visual guide to where you are right now in your life, what is going well, what is not and if you are balanced. If you want a more in-depth look then Re:root offers a life quality assessment coaching session where you gain both insight and guidance to rebalance your life.

Ultimately if you want to balance yourself then one of the best things you can do is give yourself a break. Luckily the Easter holidays are just around the corner and the majority of us will be getting some time out. Now I know we all tend to cram Easter weekend full of activities however you need to get in touch and wind down too. So for your own sake make some time for a timeout. Wind down and step off the merry go round for one day. Nothing will make you feel refreshed like a day without responsibility and pressure.

Moving forwards

Spring equinox brings balance however it also brings with it a call to action. Energetically it is a time to become active and inspired. After you have had your moments of zen it’s time to move forward with the spring. Take the time at Spring Equinox to choose 3 personal goals that you are going to set into action after the break. Get inspired to take your balance forward make the three goals reflect different aspects of your life. For example, pass my exam, go on holiday with my girlfriend and boost my self-confidence. It’s a great idea to have one of your goals focusing on you as a person (not you as a mum or you as a boss). Put your goals where you can see them and do a little something each day on one of your goals.

Get outside. Nothing gives us a boost like sunlight. Whenever you can get in contact with sunlight. The more rays you catch the happier you will feel and your energy levels will rise. Another great way is to simply open the windows and allow new air into your space when you feel in need of the spring boost. A fresh oxygen supply clears the brain and boosts the spirit.

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Taking the time to connect with the equinox energy by balancing yourself and stepping into the spring consciously will be the best revitalizing gift you will give yourself this year. And the great thing is unlike a spa holiday you don’t have to pay through the nose to do it! I hope this inspires you to go out and find a zen moment for yourself this weekend and awaken in the new light of the spring

Have a happy weekend <3

Sometimes you just need to step outside, get some air

Creating boundaries quickly

This morning I had a melt down. (Yes this does happen to life coaches too). It wasn’t a big one and considering how busy this last week has been, it was unsurprising. The primary cause was simple too many people needing too much from me. I know you can relate. There are some points in life where everyone seems to need help. It’s over loading. You of course want to help people, you are a nice person. However it’s possible that you can say yes a few to many times or even catch yourself helping before you have even agreed to it or even been asked. And when you are doing that for too many people you forget yourself and your own needs and priorities and that is when a melt down is on the horizon

In this week alone I have over 20 people I know who have requested my assistance outside of my work role, and something has got to give. It’s time for me to return to one my 2018 personal goals making and maintaining healthy boundaries quick!

So if you like me are feeling overstretched by all the people around you here is my guide to recentering and creating healthy boundries when you need them quickly.

Recenter

If you don’t recenter within yourself you can’t make any decisions that are right for you. Take some away from everyone. Even if that means hiding in the bathroom at home or work with some headphones on. Take deep breaths. Try a meditation. A mindfulness body scan. Going to your happy place, physically or mentally. Take a walk or go to the gym. Step away from the social media. Simply reconnect with your body for a minimum of 5-10 mins,  however that works for you.

Choose your interactions with people

There will somethings you cannot get out of. We all have responsibilities to other people we can not drop or are time specific right now. These are your priorities right now. Explain to anyone who does not fit into these two categories that you are simply not in a place able to help them at the moment. You don’t need to make a big long excuse. Just explain that your cup is too full right now and that it is not personal.

Find out how much you can give

You can only help someone to a certain point. What is that point? Truthfully. Decide what you can give and what your cannot. This is your boundary within your priorities. I have so much going on this week that I simply cannot do the house cleaning or spend a huge amount of time helping with a friend wedding crisis. I have stripped these things down to the minimum. A few hours dedicated to my friend and simplified the cleaning.

Ask for support

If you have two conflicting priorities that take up equal time and energy then you need help. So if you have a colleague who is struggling with preparing a presentation that affects your department and work life  which means you have to stay late. And at the same time you have a child who needs you to support them at the next game in the same week. You need to call in some help. Can your partner or Mum feed your child and take them to the game so you can meet up later? Is there someone else in your department that can help you two so the work gets done quicker? Networks are there to help us so use them

Decide on the consequences ahead

So what do we do if anyone pushes our boundaries (because they will)? Decide what the consequences are before. I have a friend right now who has a project I really want to support however due to her inconsistent behaviour it is taking alot of my time and energy. Now I have set a boundary for how much and when I can help. If that gets broken I have decided on the consequences should she break our agreement. It has made me already feel more peaceful and focused.

Don’t apologise for setting boundaries

You don’t need to apologise for setting boundaries. Boundaries mean you are respecting yourself and the people around you. You don’t need to explain why or feel bad about not being there. You cannot give help when you don’t have the energy to take care of yourself.  The people that really like and respect you will understand.

Say what you mean and mean it

Once you have set a boundary, communicate it clearly and follow through with it. You can have the most healthy set of boundaries on the planet but if you do not communicate them clearly, you are going to create some really confusing relationships. So walk your talk. And don’t change your boundaries because someone pressures you or gets offended. That is their stuff. My Mum had a really hard time respecting my boundary of not calling me during working hours when I work from home. However with respectful kind consistency she eventually got it. A sign on my home office door allows Mr T to know when to disturb me and when not to.

Stop getting drawn in

We are our worst enemies for getting drawn into other people’s situations at the cost of our own energy levels. Often someone who wants your help will reach out in a way that is not directly asking for it and we start to create opinions and jon the conversation. Before we know it we are helping. If you find a conversation with another person about a situation you have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with is affecting you emotionally, the chances are that you have gotten drawn in. Withdraw. Respectfully. Sometimes you can do this without clearly marking the boundary. Just by not responding. Sometimes you have to be more clear.

Find your energy bombs

Some friends and family are energy bombs. They just cheer up the world. The same with some activities. Some things just make us happy. When you feel that you are in need of creating boundaries you are also in need of energy. Dedicate a little time to giving yourself the boost of energy you need.

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These techniques are something you have to practise and are the quick fix to creating boundaries. Some of these principals do also work in creating more permanent boundaries however I can highly recommend doing some google fu when you have the time and energy and reassess the boundaries you create or need to create in your life. Setting boundaries is a powerful way to practise both self love and respect. And we all need a little bit more of that!

Have a great week <3

Boundaries are part of self care.jpg

#lifelssons101 – How to persevere despite it all?

Another brilliant mind left the world this week as many mourn the death of Professor Stephen Hawkins. And I assume that your social media like mine has been exploding with memories of his incredible achievements, quotes and above all his lifelong battle and astounding success with his illness and subsequent disabilities. It’s inspiring. To see perseverance in the face of such hopelessness, reminds us that we can achieve no matter who we are and what we face.

And of course Proffessor Hawkins is not the only person to have persevered despite it all. There are hundreds, if not thousands of stories in the world where people have overcome amazing difficulties, challenges and situations and persevere to create something wonderful.

From Joan of Arc, to JK Rowling, JIm Carey, Chris Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, BIll Gates, Oprah, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Einstein, Edison, Walt Disney, my Great Grandma. The list is endless. But what is it that all of these people have incommon? What is it that makes their stories the hardship to success stories that we love? In min opinion it is their stubborn, bull headed, determination perseverance.

The power of perseverance is a gift for humanity and one we can all tap into. It is not some magic thing that the above mentioned have that  we don’t. Perseverance is something they have learned to turn on and the great thing is we can do it too. Why? Because perseverance is actually a basic part of human biology.  Which means we can tap in to the physical and mental processes that help us overcome adversity in whatever form it enters our lives.

Physically according to Neuroscience dopamine, the a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers (our internal happy drug)  is the fuel that keeps people motivated to persevere. And the great news is that you have the power to increase your  personal production of dopamine by changing attitude and behaviour!

Mentally perseverance is about the power of pushing yourself when you have nothing left to give. The Finish have a word for this. Sisu. Roughly translated “Sisu is the concept of taking action in the face of significant adversity or challenge. It is not so much about achievement as it is about facing your challenges with valor and determination.” Sisu is your mental strength, your tenacity that allows you to bear your responsibilities whatever they are. It is the ability to sustain your action and fight against extreme odds.

If you are feeling overloaded here are some great ways to help you persevere and overcome in the face of adversity.

Deal with the practicals

Whenever I have hit adversity in my life my first point of call is to deal with the practical side of things. No matter what is happening in your life the sun will still come up tomorrow and you will need to eat, have an income, brush your teeth. These things may seem like huge milestones. I have always found that when I have been hit hard the first thing I need to do is make a short term survival plan and focus on that. Step by step. Being able to wash up, cook food and even have a shower when the world is crumbling around is a small success.  Successes create dopamine and give us a feeling of control no matter what.

Look for the meaning

If you can understand something you can do something about it or accept it. By looking for the teaching in any situation we get clarity and a ha moments. By getting clear in a bad situation you pull yourself out of your “panic” reaction to the adversity and that helps you take control of the stress and ultimately calm yourself. If you can’t find a meaning yet you have to trust that there is one and eventually it will become clear.  

Failure is an event not an identity

Many people allow their failure, their trauma or their situation to become their identity. It is not. To help increase your sense of perseverance and help you engage, to keep moving forward. Did Hawkins allow his illness to become his identity. No. He then himself into his work and allowed that to become his identity. So recognise that this adversity is simply an event in your life, it is not who you are.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Persevering means sometimes you need to get a form of tunnel vision. Zoom in on the prize. It might be something as simple, it might be something huge. Whatever it is you have to achieve go for it. With determination it is possible to achieve anything. Whenever you feel unsure ir doubt your ability to overcome or succeed go and look at the stories of others that have managed. Let their stories inspire you. Persevering means overcoming our personal limiting fears. Remember that bravery is not the absence of fear it is have a fear and doing it anyway despite of your fear.

Keep your dopamine up

Through exercise, laughter, music, achieving tasks these things give you dopamine. If you are having a hard time persevering then make sure you have a focus on creating increased levels of dopamine. Your body is your engine and you can’t persevere if you don’t take care of it. So if you are feeling overwhelmed get back to basics, sleep, eating right. Get your body moving and you will find that it gets easier and easier to persevere. Make time to do things that are good for and things that you enjoy and it will lighten your load.

Find your Sisu

 Sisu extends beyond perseverance. It is the final push in the face of adversity which means we carry on even when the odds are against us.  Finding your Sisu means you have to dig deep. Look through your personal history and identify the times where you have used your Sisu. What is it that made you carry on and get that job, get over that break up? Whatever it was you faced and pushed through how did you do it? What was your motivation. We have all used our Sisu before. Tap into that determination use it to spur you onwards.

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Persevering is one of the toughest things we have to do as humans. However as with Professor Hawkins life shows it is possible to make a powerful life no matter what the circumstances. As Julie Andrews says” Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” So keep going allow your sisu to lead you, your dopamine to motivate you and above all remember to look for the beautiful moments that make the journey from adversity to overcoming one of the most worthwhile experiences of you entire life.

Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet