The expectation of Christmas is one of perfectly orchestrated joy, goodwill, hearty food and glorious gifts. We try so hard to achieve perfection that it really interferes with achieving it at all. Christmas TV ads are tugging at our heartstrings (and our purses); magazines are filled with tips on how to make the best of the festivities, Christmas songs are playing on the radio; shops are filled with gifts to delight our loved ones; and the supermarket shelves are filled with produce to grace our tables and expand our waistlines. It seems that all that’s missing is the snow. The pressure to spend and please are enormous. Yes, Christmas can be stressful.
It can feel overwhelming, and for some, a lonely time. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time to turn the pressure off and The Real Spirit of Christmas on, especially for those who are going through a hard time. Here are my tips:
Co-dependence can be described as the need for a person to be a certain way in order for you to be OK. If you are more concerned with others’ needs than your own, is this selflessness or is it co-dependence? If you find yourself regularly ‘rescuing’ others, not only is this an indicator for co-dependence but it also means you are denying them the gift of growth. Any painful experience is an invitation to learn and grow from it. We can’t if we are being rescued. So, painful as it may be to hear, before you know it, you could become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution, even if it doesn’t feel that way. So, here are three steps to help you overcome it: Continue reading
I was reading an article about The Crown star Claire Foy for whom the stress of filming, motherhood, and the breakdown of her marriage left her with exhaustion and infection, necessitating six weeks off work.
If you are someone who pushes yourself through stressors, or find that too many things are happening at once, the stress can come out in physical symptoms such as fatigue, migraines, IBS, or a lowered immune system, amongst other things.
The problem is that when self-care is so far down your list of priorities, you put yourself at risk of burnout (in Claire’s case) or breakdown. It’s just too big a burden for the body to carry.
As Claire said “You can keep yourself going for a long time, and that’s what I have pretty much been doing since I gave birth. My body has paid the price.” Continue reading
Are you the kind of person who allows life to unfold? Or the kind who likes to plan your route?
There are pros and cons to both. With the former (allowing life to unfold), you can enjoy the scenery, and any surprises on the way. Some of the surprises will be good ones, others less so. But you may end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. And you may also find that you experience more problems that you had expected. More an unravelling than an unfolding. Continue reading
Anger management is often considered suitable only for those who have a habit of exploding. Not so. It helps everyone with their anger, including those who don’t recognise or acknowledge this emotion in themselves or express it to others. Anger is one of those emotions that is misunderstood and, for many, it is considered as inappropriate or even bad.
However, it is both natural and healthy to feel anger. It is just when it not expressed appropriately, or not expressed at all that it can cause problems.
When a client says to me that they never get angry, it is a concern as it is often a sign of suppression, usually subconscious. The person often has physical symptoms that don’t clear up by usual means. Symptoms such as insomnia, migraines, aches and pains, eczema, etc.
Like all of our emotions, anger has a purpose: to signal that something needs your Continue reading
I was listening to the radio last week when I heard the presenter (Chris Evans) say “What’s the point in having a mind if you can’t change it?”
Of course, my ears pricked up at that and it got me thinking: if you have a point of view, is it a good thing or a bad thing to stick to it?
After much mulling, I decided that it was both good and bad, and here is how:
Not being easily swayed to someone else’s view can be an indication of a strong sense of self, being a person of principle, not easily swayed. If you are simply a mirror for someone else’s opinions, then what do you stand for? Who are you?
It can be a sign that you are rigid in your thinking, not open to new information which, given due consideration, can change your perspective on a situation in a way which empowers. It can be a sign that you are simply seeking validation for currently held views – something called confirmation bias. We are all prone to it, unconsciously, and it can keep us trapped.
Since thoughts create feelings and feelings create behaviours and behaviours create results, if you always think what you always thought, you could be stuck in a situation which no longer serves. Thoughts and beliefs are just opinions, they are not fact, and they can limit you if you are not aware. Widening your perspective, being open to new ideas, can create more opportunities. It can also ease conflict, enabling a win-win to be achieved. It can be a platform for growth and for a stronger, more honest relationship with yourself and others.
Getting the balance right
So, how do you know if you are being sufficiently flexible-rigid? If you never change your mind about anything, you are probably a rigid thinker. If you are always changing your mind, it means you’re unlikely to have a strong sense of self. You need a balance of holding certain views and beliefs, and considering others before adopting them as valid for you. It requires an openness, a willingness to see another perspective and the ability to take a balanced view.
It is useful to develop the ability to look for evidence for and against an idea before adopting it as ‘truth’. It’s a real gift to be able to take in new information and see it objectively before deciding whether to allow it to affect your original stance.
Is your umbrella open?
It was Walter Gropius who said that your mind is like an umbrella, it functions best when open. And I couldn’t agree more.
If this resonates with you at all and you would like some support to help you develop your perspective, do feel free to call for an informal chat on 0345 130 0854.
It’s fair to say that there aren’t many people who like to feel discomfort. Given the choice, we will opt for feelings of ease and comfort every time. And why not?
However, never allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable can be a sign that you are becoming “comfort-zone restricted”. Comfort is the path of least resistance but it is also the path of least growth.
If there’s a breakthrough you are seeking in your life, it’s important to cultivate the ability to tolerate the discomfort associated with change. Think about those daisies which pop up through the cracks in the concrete – there was determination to push through, even if it didn’t feel good at the time. But the rewards are there. You get to flourish and grow. As you were meant to do. Continue reading
How many times are you told to listen to your gut? It is supposed to be the seat of your instinct: that biological tendency to react in a particular way. It’s subliminal, meaning that it doesn’t come from conscious thought, but a sense of ‘knowing’.
Often we ignore it at our peril. But also, at times, we pay too much attention to it at our peril. Why? Because it may not be what it seems: You have a part of your psyche which protects you from harm. Sometimes it can be so protective that it in itself causes harm because it makes decisions based on fear rather than from a sense of your highest good.
If you have ever not gone for that dream job because ‘where you are isn’t so bad’; or you haven’t had the important conversation with someone because ‘the time isn’t right’; or you didn’t ask someone for a date in case you got a ‘no’, you will know what I’m talking about. It is the part of you that is ruled by fear of success, failure, rejection and more. This isn’t your true instinct but your fear. And it can be pretty good at convincing you otherwise – giving you a lot of excuses why you think this way. But it blocks your ability to grow, to widen your comfort zone, to become the best version of yourself and to live a full life.
Getting in touch with your gut
So, what can you do about it? Here are four techniques to help you: Continue reading
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very common condition. It can be both painful and embarrassing. For one of my clients, it significantly impacted her career because she was unable to do her job because of the travel required. You can imagine the difference it can make to people’s social life too.
Symptoms include: Continue reading
We often have two choices: to fall the level of our excuses, or to rise to the level of our potential. I heard that phrase somewhere and it really struck a chord.
But, boy can that sofa be tempting. And the ironing seem alluring. And haven’t you done enough to deserve catching up on your favourite box-set?
But excuses lead to a much less comfortable place: the place of regret. Continue reading