#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

How to live in the moment- little ways to find happiness every day

This weekend someone reminded me of this simple fact

”There are no ordinary moments”.

There are no two moments in life that are alike.

I will never sit here again and hear the birds singing outside my window as I write this.

You will never again be where you are, at this moment you are in right now reading this.

It’s a mind-boggling concept and reminds me how lucky we are to be alive, right here and right now. And although we all inherently know this how often do we live in awareness of the moment we are in.

And I don’t mean just nodding your head and acknowledging the moment you are in. I mean how often are we truly present in our lives. How often do we conscious experience something that we can, later on, recall in HD detail? Living in the moment means being cognizant of what is happening around us and what we are experiencing. Experiencing fully with all of our senses. Living in the moment does not mean that an individual should not consider their goals or make plans. For me living in the moment is taking the opportunity to be in myself, my surroundings and to be consciously part of life. Simply being.

Living in the moment is truly a gift.  It reduces stress, stops worry, increases both happiness and appreciation for life and amazingly in my experience at least, it slows down time. It is easy to get caught up in how we think our lives should be. The never-ending to-do list takes over our consciousness and we slog through from one task to the other. Always thinking ahead. How many of you woke up today and thought how wonderful it is to wake to another day? More likely you woke up thinking ugh its Monday and then half asleep and in a negative mindset you began your day.

Our overthinking mind has a lot to do with not living in the moment. When we are not aware of it we can dwell on the past or the future. However, when we stop and be present where we are, we get out of our thoughts, out of our heads. It allows you to be truly thankful for where you are in life and gives you peace and contentment. And who amongst doesn’t want a peaceful and content life?

I challenge you to make this week, this day, the next hour of your life a time where you choose to be present to live in the moment and enjoy the magic of being. And if you don’t know how here are some of my favorite ways of choosing to be in the moment.

3 deep breaths

Just stopping and taking 3 deep breaths will bring you out of your mind and into your body. Close your eyes, breathe deeply and then open your eyes again. Take in the world around you, the people, the smells, the sounds and appreciate.

Stop judging yourself

We all do this and it is one of the most destructive habits on the planet. I should do this, that. Why didn’t I? The negative catchphrases of negative self-judgment are endless. Now, look at nature. Do you think a cat wonders if it should or shouldn’t do something? What about a tree? Does a tree worry about when it should grow the nest leaf, release its seeds or when it’s sap should rise? No. Nature just it. You just are. When we judge ourselves it is because we are not living up to our expectations (or other peoples). This is one of the biggest tricks that pulls you out of a moment and into your brain. When you feel the negative judge, the ‘you shoulds’ appear I recommend using a trick of Louise Hays. Thank it for its feedback and let it go.

Use your waiting time

Waiting time is the worst right? No, I disagree! All those moments that you feel get wasted. Standing in queues, waiting for a bus, in traffic. These are prime opportunities for you to be in the moment. To observe the world around you. To see the small moments that will never be again. If I am waiting outside one of my favorite things to do is to look up. Just look up and see the sky, feel the air on my face. Looking up at the sky is a great way just to connect with yourself and the world around you. And is much more energizing than scrolling through your Facebook feed.

Slow down

I know it sounds easy to say. But in reality, many of us find it hard to do. I don’t mean you need to completely slow down (it would be so healthy however not always entirely realistic). What I am talking about is slow down certain moments. Take a breath before you speak. Slow down your mouth so your thoughts can catch up. Slow down how you eat, savor the taste sensations. Slow down how you wash in the shower.  Focus on building little rituals in your daily habits that bring you into being present. Just by slowing down and truly experiencing these little moments in the day you will boost both your personal energy and enjoyment of life.

Randomly spread kindness

Being kind brings us ample opportunity to appreciate life. Random acts of kindness are just that — random. They are spontaneous, in the moment, and a great addition to your daily life. They not only support you to be in the moment but also improve the moment for someone else.

Practice gratitude

Take a moment to be grateful. Mentally or physically list a few things you are grateful for every day. And remember to practice gratitude. When you feel it say it. If someone opens the door for you, thank them. By hearing ourselves say thank you we recognize more how much we have to be grateful for every day.

Look for things that make you smile

I used to say that if I saw something beautiful in a day then that day was a perfect day.  It is possible to see something beautiful every day when we look for it. The sunlight hitting a tree, a person’s laugh, a painting, a building, a sleeping cat, people in love, a story in the newspaper. Look for things each day that make you smile and enjoy the contentment the smile brings to you and to others.

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There are many other ways to live in the moment. Mindfulness, meditation, dance, running, creativity the list is endless. One of the best is to get into nature and take a walk. Find ways that fit into your lifestyle and believe me you will reap the benefits. Living in the moment is essential to be happy. The more you practice the happier you will become.  

If nothing else do one thing for yourself today. That is right now. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths and open them again. Listen to the world around you, see the world around you and remember how lucky you are to be here. Here and now and in this unique moment.

Have a beautiful week <3

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#lifelesson101-Quick ways to boost your energy throughout the day

Some weeks fly by. Some weeks go so slowly you feel as though you are dragging your feet through a quagmire of treacle.  You know the feeling. For me, this has been a treacle week. It’s now early on Friday morning, I can hardly keep my eyes open and even though I have cut my days to do list down to the bare minimum I have no idea how I will make it through.

It’s at times like this it is tempting to reach for the coffee and the energy drinks to get you through. But as we all know the short fix boost has consequences. Caffeine and energy boosters give you an energy spike that ends in an almighty crash.  Bad for your body and your mind. Added to which will leave you feeling rubbish over the weekend and ruining your much-needed downtime.

So what do you do when after a long week you can almost see the Friday 5 o’clock finish line and you just need to boost your energy to get you through this one last day without messing yourself up?  Well, the great news is there are lots of small quick ways to boost your energy. Most of them are free. All of them are healthy. And best of easy to do.

If you need to find some extra energy from nowhere to get you through to the weekend try some of my favorite hacks to give yourself the boost you need!

Minimise you task load

When you are low on energy time management becomes even more important. Minimise your workload for the day and just deal with the priorities. I know it would be great to leave work with everything done. However, if you are trying to do it all on a tank that is running on fumes nothing you do will be done well. You may even find you have to redo the work again at a later period. A few tasks done well is better than lots of things done badly.

Boost your focus

The brain fog after a treacle week means it can be seriously challenging to concentrate for longer periods of time. In this state you need to give your brain all the help, it can get to focus. If I have to write a report or an article I put on an hours concentration music. If I am in a meeting I will doodle, or get up. Another great hack is to lower the temperature in the room you are in.

Use your acupoints

In the middle of your hands and feet are acupoints you can activate natural energy from. Try one of these and feel your brain awaken.

Sit down in a position as if there is a string atop your head pulling upward. Then use your thumb to gently rub the bottom (center) of each foot.  Make sure you do both feet. A couple of minutes each side really helps wake up the brain.

Put your right thumb into the center of your left palm (it is in the right place if your thumb is aligned between your ring and little fingers). BRing your left thumb and your left ring finger to touch. Apply a little pressure on your right thumb and just hold it for a few moments.

Watch this video to see how it’s done https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhGNFLfmCKw

 

Stimulate the brain

I have been using this trick for years. (Although honestly, I don’t exactly remember the science behind it.) Put your hands together in a prayer position and rub your hands up and down quickly until you can feel a warmth between your two hands. If you want you can raise your arms up and down as you do this. If memory serves correctly this is supposed to stimulate both sides of the brain by stimulating nerves. I find even 30 seconds of this gives my brain a boost.

Get outside

If your brain fog is becoming overwhelming change your location and ideally get outside for some breaths of fresh air. Take a walk on your lunch break, have a five-minute break outside the warehouse and take deep breaths. If you can’t get outside then open a window and stick your head out for a few moments. Deep breathes of non stale indoor air revitalizes the body quickly.

Cold water

A great trick I use often in the summer but also when I need to wake up is to run the cold water tap over my wrists. It lowers the body temperature and stimulates the brain to wake up at the same time.

Eat energy boosting food

Some foods are great to give a quick energy boost. Try and steer clear of the sugary foods and instead give yourself a healthy fruit sugar boost with an orange. Personally, I find my body responds best to bananas. And nothing works better as an energy booster than a ginger shot. Fruit is great when you have low energy as often your appetite is not very large. Fill up on fruit and avoid the heavy foods which your body has to work hard to break down.

Gift yourself some dopamine

Dopamine, body’s natural happy hormone, is one of the best energy boosters. Laughing and movement create dopamine. Pop on some funny videos on youtube and get giggling. The best way, of course, is exercise. However, if you don’t have time for a work out then put on some happy music and have a quick singalong. Or simply take five minutes to do some yoga stretching. There are some great videos out there with yoga poses for work.

Give yourself something to look forward to

When you have gone through a treacle week, having something to look forward to makes it all seem worthwhile. Plan a little treat and make sure you get it. Receiving your reward will also give you a little dopamine boost a great way to go home after a tough week.

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These are just a few hacks I use to boost my energy and I find they all work for me. Of course, these are all quick fix methods. Nothing is going to make you feel better and recharged again than a good sleep and a relaxing weekend. If you rely purely on these methods you will eventually burn out. So use these techniques when you really need them. And as soon as you can possibly do it give yourself a longer period to get revitalized and recharged again.

Have a great weekend <3

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How to take care of yourself and your relationship when your partner suffers from Stress

Stress, mental health issues and depression are part of modern life. And there is a lot of help out there for people who have to live with these conditions. But what about the other people who live with them, whose lives are affected everyday by the stress of having a partner with a diagnosis, stress and depression. If you are in,or have ever been in a relationship with someone who suffers from a diagnosis you will know how hard this can be. There is not only the pressure of supporting your partner emotional, often all the nuts and bolts of life, normally shared between two people are weighing on your shoulders. In affect you become the primary adult in the relationship. The strain of being in a relationship with a partner affected by stress or another mental health issue is enormous. You are under constant pressure, rarely get time to recharge your own energy and burnout looms regularly on the horizon. Added to which your relationship suffers as un intentionally your partner’s condition takes your energy and wears you down.

Yet despite all of this pressure, the mental, and sometimes physical draining lifestyle,you stay in this relationship. You of course love your other half. You hate to see them suffer and want nothing more than to make it all better for them. It’s natural. However in order to be there for them, you need to be there for you. Very often the non diagnosed partner is the axis upon which your life spins. The rock and foundation. So if you are this person you need  more than most of us to take care of yourself.

In my life I have had one partner who, despite being the sweetest most wonderful person on the planet had three mental health diagnoses which often gave him stress and depression. I knew this when entering the relationship and I was willing to support him. And I did. I took on the household, our calendars. I organised, supported, cared for, helped and guided. In essence my partner entered into a unhealthy co-dependant relationship. Eventually (and inevitably) I hit burn out. My patience became non existent. My energy was lower than it had ever been.  This manifested in resentment , frustration and our relationship began to deteriorate. At first I hit the blame cycle and blamed his diagnoses, his stress in general him. However luckily I took a step back an realised it wasn’t his fault it was mine. I had lost me in his problems. Forgotten to take care of me, to prioritise myself, my needs and my own health. He hadn’t entered into a co dependant relationship alone. I had encouraged him, created it. It was a wake up call and a half. And led me to learn a manual of self care that saved the relationship.

If you have a partner who has mental health issues and you feel as though you are drowning in responsibility then here are the steps I took to recharge myself and our relationship.  

Don’t blame

It is easy to point the finger of blame when we feel hurt, let down or rejected by our partner. However it’s not your partner’s fault he hasn’t got the energy to go to your friends wedding with you. It’s not your fault that you haven’t been having sex lately. It is a by product of your partner’s condition. Most people who are suffering with mental illness would give anything to be normal and love and care for their partners, 100%. Unfortunately they can’t. Living with mental illness takes a lot of energy. On the good days your partner will be able to be caring and loving. On a bad day they won’t. It’s not personal. They still love you they just don’t have the energy to show it. Blaming them or yourself just starts a negative spiral which is hard to get out of and will waste your own personal energy reserves.

Structure and share

Daily life can seem overwhelming when living with a mental health problem. One of the ways to make both of your lives easier is to get into a routine. Make a week plan each week and follow it. Try and make life as easy as possible for you both. Go shopping once a week. Wash your clothes on the same day. Walk the dog at the same time. Even having a fixed date night time once a week will help as your partner will know they have to save energy for you.

Don’t expect your partner to be able to do and give the same energy as you can (this is just going to lead to disappointment).At the same time your partner will want to help and be giving in the relationship too. Share the chores and responsibility areas based on what your partner can do. This is also a great way for you both to see and appreciate what it is you both do for you as a couple.

Get support

You both need it. If you are your partners only form of support you are going to burn out fast. Your partner needs someone else there for them. At the same time so do you. Typically in life when we have issues it is our partner that we turn. However if our partner has a mental health issue they might not be able to cope with hearing about your problems let alone support them. Explain to friends and family the situation at home and contact them when you need to talk or get help. If you know you have extra pressure at work one week ask people to help you look after the kids or the house. It’s ok to ask and receive help. You do not have to be superman/woman 24/7. It may also be wise to get some professional help for yourself as support for when the going gets rough or simply just to keep an eye out on potential burn out.

Get breaks

When your partner gets flu you become the caretaker. Mental illness is just the same. You need to take breaks. To do things for yourself. Go to a spa, to the gym, to a cafe or even have a weekend away from home. Wherever you can relax and however you relax make it important to do it. I found that one night off a week at home was something I really needed so I made sure my partner visited family once a week. It got him out and gave me my much needed downtime.

Take Care of the basics

Take care of yourself on a basic level. Sleep well, eat well, keep up your personal hygiene. Remember to dress up once in a while. Sometimes, in the harder periods it can be difficult to eat so graze (healthily) instead. You need to take care of the machine in order to be the strong rock you and your family need.

Remember you are not responsible for your partner’s happiness

Even though you want to do as much as you can to help your spouse, you need to remember that neither their condition (nor their recovery) depends on you. You cannot fix your partner. What you can do is encourage them in positive directions and coping mechanisms. Whatever they need, you can encourage them in that direction.

Remind yourself why you love your partner

Sometimes the condition can take over and you feel as though the person you love is gone forever. They are still there. Sometimes you just have to work harder to see it. Make a list of all the the things you love about your partner. Just giving yourself a moment to step back and really see the person you love will give you a boost of energy.

Remind your partner that you love them

It can be hard for your partner to see and recognise everything you do for them. A mental health issue can make you blind to what is really there. At the same time your partner may hate themselves for being the way they are. Remember to tell them that you love them on a daily basis, it helps.

Communicate Clearly

Communication is important in any relationship but even more so in a relationship with diagnosis. Don’t assume anything ask. Ask your partner what they need, what they mean. Communicate what you need from them. Don’t be ambiguous be direct and concrete in your communication.

Live your life

When your partner is struggling it may feel unfair to enjoy your life outside your relationship. But it is important for you. You need to laugh, to do the things you love and spend time with the people you care about. Your entire life cannot an should not be ran in accordance with another persons needs. Remember also to make time with your partner aimed at what they can cope with. Live your life with them and away from them

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It is not easy to be with a person who has a short or long term mental illness. However when you take care of yourself, encourage them to get the help they need and your relationship will become stronger. You are both on the same team. By taking care of you, you will create the mental and emotional resources that will take care of your relationship and builds a secure base you can both count on.

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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

#lifelessons101 Stop and smell the flowers

After all the hustle and bustle of the start of the year here we are at the Easter weekend. It’s been an amazing 3 months here at Re:Root with the launch of the Re:Root Coaching Solutions, prepping for the new radio show, as running up and down country teaching and coaching. I have loved it. And I am also exhausted and in need of a break. Although thanks to one very important life habit I have I am not as exhausted as I could have been. It’s what Mr. T calls stopping and smelling the flowers.

The idea is simple and easy to do and won’t cost you a penny. Stopping and smelling the flowers is about just taking a moment to stop and notice things in life. Children do this instinctively. For them, the world is a place of wonder and marvel. Yet as adults we lose that fascination with the world we live in. We become blasée. Seen it all before, done it all before and we are far too busy. We even teach this to our children rushing them along to playschool, playdate not giving them the time to marvel. It’s such a shame. And such a waste. Because by taking a moment to look up and appreciate the world around us can give us such an energy boost. A moment of recharge in an otherwise busy life.

I love to look for the little things that make life beautiful. The light dancing on the water of the fjord, a bird of prey hovering above a field and the fresh shoots and plants emerging right now in the spring. Every year the same and every year different. When you begin to look for it the world is full of beautiful moments. Here is a list of my favorite ways to look for the special moments in life. The bits that make every day a gift and boost my spirits no matter what. Why not take a moment this Easter to look for the special moments around you in life and take a moment to enjoy the gift you have of your life

Take the train

When we travel by trains we get to see the world a new. Train tracks travel the country differently to the motorways. They provide us with a different viewpoint on life (And often a sneaky peak into peoples back gardens!)

Look up at the clouds

Do you remember looking for pictures in the clouds as a child? I loved this game. As an adult, we forget to exercise the muscle of imagination. Practice next time you are waiting for the bus and see what you can see passing by above you in the wind.

People watching

I love this. People are the most interesting form of entertainment. If you have the time order a drink in a cafe, sit outside or by the window and watch the world go by. If you don’t have time for a long break then enjoy people watching at work, on the bus, in the supermarket.

Smile at babies and say hi to dogs

Babies have the most beautiful smiles. Playing peek a boo with a baby in the supermarket queue can’t help bring a smile to your face. Equally greeting dogs or cats (depending on your preference) gives a comfort and joy.

Look for nature’s beauty

Fill your life with nature’s beauty. Have lunch in the park instead of a restaurant. Walk to work through the park. Get outside the world is full of beautiful things we just have to find them. Take a moment to sit on a bench and look at the trees, the birds, it really is amazing to see how much life there is around us that we hardly ever see.

Pick flowers

The world is a different place as a child as we spend more time with our nose closer to the ground. As an adult, this is rather hard. However, picking flowers will bring us back there again. Of course, make sure you are allowed to pick them and if nothing else make a daisy chain. Get in contact physically with nature just by lying on the grass and you will find that life feels amazing again. (Personally, I love to climb trees but do make sure it’s in a place where you are allowed!)

Watch a sunset

I love sunsets and sunrises. Although these days I tend to see more sets than rises. Find out when sunset is, find a good viewing point. Pour yourself a glass of something nice and sit and enjoy.

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There are a million and one ways to stop and smell the flowers. These are just a few I love but I hope  you take the time to find your own and fill your life with the energy-boosting moments that make life even more wonderful

Happy Weekend <3

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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

 

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#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

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#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