In my happiness project this month’s theme is gratitude. I have been consciously aware of the things I have to be grateful for, making sure that I let the people in my life that I am thankful for them. And yes, I do feel blessed by all the wonderful and beautiful things in my life.
Yet although I feel great, I have found that these actions have only been level one of the layers of gratitude. In my experience, feeling so good about my life brings me such joy that I can’t help but want to spread that feeling around. And where better place to start than inspire gratitude in others by than by little acts of random kindness? That has been this week’s mission and in doing this I made a discovery
I have discovered how random acts of kindness enriches not only someone else but also enriches your life and gives us more to be grateful for.
For example one morning this week, I was standing in line at a kiosk tired and demotivated. However, the woman in front of me was obviously having just as a bad day as me. She tried two cards and both were declined. She scrabbled in her bag looking for change, only to find none. Eventually she asked the sales assistant to serve me whilst she made a call. As I was being served I could hear her phoning her student loan to ask why her money hadn’t been paid in. All so she could have a coffee and a sandwich. Now from experience I know how this can ruin your day. So I told the sales assistant to add her things to my bill and paid for them. I have always wanted to so this and it seemed like as good a time as any. Bless her the stressed out lady looked so grateful (and a little bit shocked). She thanked me and I left. It felt great. I knew that that little act of kindness will have turned her day around.
Could I afford it? Well not really. Money has been tight here of late. But the emotional effects were so enriching. It made me think of times in my life where I too had not had the money to pay for food. And people helped me out. It reminded me of how grateful I was for their kindness. And how grateful I was to be in a position to so it for someone else now. I spent the morning glowing with gratitude, both for my past and my present. For the cost of a coffee and a sandwich I felt energised, blessed, lucky, grateful and so very abundant. In short I felt happy.
Why is it random acts of kindness makes us feel so good?
Well there is a lot of research out there. Studies have proved that random acts of kindness make us
Feel grateful by giving us a heightened sense of our own good fortune
Feel empathy and compassion creating a sense of interconnectedness with other people
Feel less stressed and happier by the dopamine, serotonin, and endogenous opioids released by kind behavior.
Compassion and kindness also reduce stress, boost our immune systems, and help reduce negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, and depression. Being kind to someone else moves us out focusing on us and our problems and empowers us by helping someone elses.
Random acts of kindness are good for us mentally and physically
Research has also proved that by witnessing little acts of kindness it can release the same feel good chemicals and experience in the observer. One act of kindness can release an enormous chain of positive events. Imagine that the slightly grumpy sales assistant felt happier after seeing me help someone out and consequently was nicer to the sleeping morning commuters, they felt better going into work after that, brought a nicer vibe to the office, giving them a good day and happiness to their home in the evening. She might have been inspired herself to do a random act of kindness herself. It’s impossible to say if that happened. However it is possible that my little action did make a lot of other people feel better on a grey day. I’d like to think so.
Random acts of kindness cost us nothing and bring an amazing benefit to our lives as well it gives us and other people something to be grateful for.
It basically deepens our gratitude and enriches our lives for free. Now who doesn’t want that! You’d almost be cutting off your nose to spite your face if you didn’t try it.
There are so many ways that you can be kind, such as:
Letting someone cut in front of you in a traffic jam.
Stopping to talk with an elderly neighbor, even though you are in a rush.
Lending a helping hand to a co-worker who’s behind on their project, even though this means that you will have to stay late at work
Sending something funny on fb to a friend having a bad day
And I am sure you can think of thousands more. Random acts of kindness can truly transform not only your day but your life. And it can take less than two minutes to do.
If you could do one random act of kindness today, what would that be?
Getting a diagnosis is an emotional roller coaster ride. Whether for a mental or physical health issue, you could be standing amidst shock, disbelief, epiphany, clarity, confusion or even a huge dollop of why the heck did this happen to me! This is a roller coaster I have ridden 4 times in my life. And I can still remember how each and every time I have stood there, with my new label wondering how the heck I was going to cope and what this label was going to mean in my life.
My diagnosis roller coaster started at school with dyslexia. Then about 20 years later I was in hospital the day before my 30th birthday on an insulin drip fighting for my life against ketoacidosis being told that I had diabetes type 1. Obviously this was a life changing diagnosis. It changed everything. My diet. My sleep patterns. It affected my hobbies, my social life and even my sex life. It was traumatic and scary. I still have challenges dealing with it today. But that was only the beginning of my roller coaster ride.
A few years later after a bad head injury, a bad break up and losing my job i hit probably the lowest point in my life. Everything became too much and I couldn’t go on. So I tried not to. Luckily I had a wonderful person in my life who stopped me and got me the help I needed. Eventually after doctors meeting and psychiatrist meetings I found out what was going on. Bi-Polar (type 2). I think this was one of the hardest moments in my life. Being told that my brain simply worked differently and that the only way to cope with it was to be on meds for the rest of my life. I remember thinking not more meds. I knew nothing about Bi-polar. But it scared me. Mostly because of the stigma attached to it. Of all of my diagnoses this was the hardest one to accept.
But I did and life carried on. The meds worked. I am stable and to be honest all these diagnosis have made me more self-aware, take care of myself better and my life has actually never be so good as it is now.
But apparently I like collecting labels because a few years ago I got one more.
My psychiatrist told me that as we have many people in my family with autism she wanted to test me. Sure I thought. I was surprised to get the results. I have Aspergers. I am surprised I didn’t realise myself honestly. I have a long history and relationship with Autism. Not only have I grown up with a sibling with autism, I have also worked in schools supporting and teaching children and adults with many different diagnosis including autism and ADHD. Despite all my knowledge I had never made the connection that I could be on the spectrum too. Now in contrast to the last diagnosis this was the easiest to accept. It made sense. In fact it explained so much. And in many ways has made my life so much easier.
These days I just say I have a label that fills each box. I am thankful for the support I get and the understanding of those I live and work with. Infact as a life coach my diagnosis are a strength rather than a weakness. Aspergers does wonders for time management and practical action solutions. Where as having both mental and physical health issues really makes me understand the importance of work/life balance. Of course there is the stigma that comes along with it, however that does help me prioritise the people I want in my life, taught me to set boundaries and has encouraged me to work on my self confidence.
Now I know I am truly lucky to live in a country where the public services have an amazing health system compared to many other countries in the world. I got and get a lot of support to understand and live with my diagnosis. Today I feel so blessed to work with many adults who have diagnosis or labels around the world. Supporting them to accept, live and work with their diagnoses. Understanding their labels and empowering them to get the best out of their lives whilst taking the best possible care of themselves.
However, today as I came away from my recent check up at the doctors I thought about the rest of you who live in one of these countries where I understand the experience can be to be diagnosed and then in essence dropped afterwards. Basically congratulations you have a new label now off you go with no help!
It must be so hard and so scary for you. So I would like to help.
In my personal and professional experience there are a few things you can do when you first get your label to start getting on the road to recovery or stability depending on how your diagnosis works. And no matter what you have been diagnosed with all of these actions will help.
Step 1: Get informed
I cannot stress enough how important it is to understand your diagnosis. Ask your doctors. Ask the internet. Ask the charity organisations. Find a book on amazon. Remember with any diagnosis the conditions and advice varies depending on your own biology. However the more informed you are the more you will begin to understand yourself. I always maintain if you understand something you can do something about it. This is your body and your life so don’t wait for someone to tell you how it is going to work. You can start finding that out straight away.
Step 2: Get a support circle
Support is the next thing. When you first get diagnoses you might not feel ready to shout it out on social media or tell all your colleagues. However, you do need support. Choose a few trusted people who you can rely on and talk with them about your diagnosis. When I got diabetes I found it really helpful to have someone sit and take notes for me. There was so much information to take in without those notes I could never have remembered it all. To this day Mr T comes with me to the diabetes nurse. He often remembers the questions I forget to ask. When I began the process of meds for Bi-polar a good friend came with me. And when I got the Aspergers diagnosis I asked for help from a colleague that worked with special needs to help me figure out how I could do my job without having meltdowns. My family I told although they didn’t really understand. Some people won’t. But don’t think that is true for everyone. It is ok to ask for help and the people that love you will want to help.
At the same time have a look at what help there is in the public sector. I would really recommend contacting the charity organisations they have the best knowledge of public support, educations or support groups etc.
Step 3: Routine and breaks
No matter what diagnosis (or for that matter non diagnosis) for a healthy life balance you need to have structure in your life to help you be the best person you can be. I found understanding what gave me energy and what doesn’t a good way of planning my week, delegating or just accepting and letting go I can’t do it all on the bad days. Creating healthy boundaries for breaks and recharge days is a another good tip. I refuse to do anything organisational, work or chores after dinner most weeks of my life. It gives me that mental health time I need and seriously makes me effective in my time management. I also find that having a plan on how to cope on the bad days makes it easier too. (I will write more about this in another article to share my tips and tricks.)
Step 4: Talk with people in the same boat
No matter what diagnosis you got there is 99% chance that someone else in the world has the same one. And the great thing with the internet is that we can connect with them. One of most empowering experiences I had was through a diabetes forum during the first 6 months of my diagnosis. There may be local groups who meet up and these can be great sources of inspiration and laughter. Which honestly is one of the best ways of coping with your diagnosis. And there are also groups and online forums for the people in your life who are supporting you with your diagnosis. There is a lot of inspiration out there on what you can do to make your life easier. Not all will work for you but somethings will.
How you choose to follow these steps is up to you. Although I would recommend not doing it all at once. Choose one that you feel comfortable with and try that first. And I am very aware there are many more phases of coping with a diagnosis. Accepting is a long process this is just my recommendation of where to start.
The most important piece of advice I can give to any of you who has recently received a new diagnosis and is sitting with a new label in hand is to work with your diagnosis at your own pace.
I have seen first hand the awful things that can happen when people live in denial of their diagnosis. In my experience learning about it, being honest asking for help and working with diagnosis makes it manageable. And most importantly makes your life better.
If you have had a diagnosis how did you cope with it. Please share your tips and stories below and help people who are going through what we have been through
Right now my battery is close to running on empty. I haven’t spent one weekend at home in 3 weeks due to work and there has been little to no down time. In some ways it might seem ironic that this has been at the start of my self-love month. Such intense working conditions hardly follow the traditional take care of yourself and practice self love advice. Far from it in fact!
However, sometimes that’s life. It can’t all be long bubble baths and weekends in the woods. No matter how much our soul yearns for it.
Yet at times like this we all need TLC and a loving boost. So how in a week where having the time to brush my teeth and make sure I have trousers on before I leave the house has been nearly impossible have I found time to keep my much needed self-love commitment?
My personal recipe to self-love in an insanely busy schedule focuses on the principle a little goes a long way.
It is comprised of 4 baby steps:
Doing one nice thing a day for you
Delegating and saying no
Let me explain…
To alleviate frustration you have to first accept that during this busy period you are not going to have a lot of ‘me time’. That cabin in the woods will, temporarily have to wait. If you get frustrated about not having the time you need for yourself you are creating a whole lot of stress for yourself that you really don’t need right now. Accept that maybe right now you can’t get to the gym as often as you like and enjoy it when you can. Accept that right now you might not be able to make all the healthy meals from scratch we all know we need, grab a pre- made salad and give yourself the love that way.
Remember this does not mean life is always going to be that way. Plan that trip to the cabin in the woods for after your busy period and accept life as it is right now. Accepting you cannot do it all right now is a huge act of self love. Give yourself that gift.
Doing one nice thing a day for you
The key here is keep it simple. This week I have made a daily commitment to moisturising properly after my shower. It is a little loving thing which takes me maybe 3 minutes and makes me feel great! Self- care is one of the first things we tend to neglect when we are busy so making the extra effort to do something nice for our bodies with minimal time and effort is a real treat during these times. But it could equally be your favorite frappuccino before work or hearing your favorite playlist on your way home.
This small action will go a long way to boost your energy. Whether you feel like it or not, making the commitment means you’ll remind yourself on a daily basis to treat yourself with loving kindness.
That’s pure self love right there!
Delegating and saying no
Lightening your workload and setting healthy boundaries when you are hella busy is an act of self-love. You do not have to do it all and be the superhero all the time. Sometimes it’s good to let someone else have a hero moment too.
Last weekend I found myself overwhelmed in my social circle as everyone I hadn’t seen all winter wanted to confide in me or get some advice. Normally not an issue, just not right now. After talking with a few I was so exhausted so I checked in and set a boundary. I politely told everyone ‘Hey guys, no offence but what I need right now is a short people break”. People respected it and knew it wasn’t personal. In setting my boundary in this way I not only showed people I trust them enough to be vulnerable and that I love myself too. A total win-win!
If you saw a friend or colleague overloaded you would want to help (if you could) so don’t be afraid to love yourself enough to ask for help.
There is no argument that we all need sleep. Even more so when we are working in hyper drive mode. Prioritising sleep, at a busy and stressful time is simply good self love in practice. Yes there many other things you might want to do. But if you don’t sleep you can’t do anything! Prioritise your shut eye now and you will not collapse during the first rest break you get. Quite simply love yourself enough to allow yourself to rest.
Self -love practice doesn’t have to be complicated. Especially when you are run off your feet a little truly does go a long way. So instead of dropping self love and kindness during your busiest times, simplify. Follow my recipe and you will find it boosts your energy without loosing you time or complicating matters.
What little act of self love can you commit to today? Let me know in the comments below
We often hear in the news today that people are more isolated and that community spirit is something of the past. People often blame overpopulation, the rise of crime and the classic – social media.
However, while all of these obviously important, I have another suggestion. It is my belief that we have simply stopped reaching out for help. That may seem strange. The idea of the breakdown of community because we don’t ask for help is not a traditional idea. However community has been supporting each other, helping each other since the dawn of time.
We know from research that our long gone ancestors lived as tribes. And why? Because with one pair of hands we simply could not do everything we needed to survive. We needed both hunter and gatherers. As we developed farming we needed a community to bring the harvest in. Imagine trying to build a house alone, it would be near on impossible. Not to mention work would go a lot slower if you had to keep stopping to make your own cups of tea!
So why is it today are we has such as issue reaching out for help?
Garret Keizer, author of “Help: The Original Human Dilemma” (HarperCollins, 2004) said
“There is a tendency to act as if it’s a deficiency,”. The most common factor why people don’t like to ask for help today is that we are either worried about people judging them or because we feel incompetent if we can’t do it alone. Another reason is that we often move away from our established communities and we stop making new friends. Are the old classic is that we are too proud.
The challenge is that seeing asking for help as somehow making us less or being seen as less, is a destructive pathway. At work it can lead to us not getting that promotion because we don’t get any better at what we do. At home it can lead to building us feelings of resentment and frustration which can in turn lead to the breakdown of a relationship. At school we might fail exams because we didn’t want to explain that we didn’t understand. And in extreme cases it can lead to drastic consequences of self harm when we don’t reach out in times of extreme psychological demise. Just think back for a moment. There will be a negative situation in your past that could have been easily solved just by asking for help.
I am lucky in that I am not a person who has difficulty in asking for help. Having moved countless times in my adult life, having lived on the streets a few times and now living in a completely different country leaving my communities behind and building a new one has become one of the most important tools I have in my arsenal for helping me get the best out of life.
Nancy Astor once said “I have always relied of the kindness of strangers” and I adopted it as my mantra at an early age. I have been so lucky to have met so many amazing people who have helped me in one way or another throughout my life. And I am forever grateful. As I write I am awaiting a wonderful team of 18 amazing people who are coming to help us this weekend dig out our vegetable garden and help us manage the huge garden we have that we simply cannot manage on our own. (We in turn are feeding and watering them and giving them the opportunity to learn to plant dye.) However, I wouldn’t have their help if I hadn’t searched for the people and simply asked.
The most important thing I have learnt about asking is not only that if you don’t ask, you don’t get (another of my Mum’s pearls of wisdom) but that if you as you also have to give. Many of my clients who struggle with asking for help forget that people do actually like to help people. It is one of the bonuses of giving help. People like to feel needed. They also like to feel appreciated. The thank you note, the return favor or the little surprise gift goes a long way to building the bonds of community and friendship. If give as well as asking, it makes the ask easier and the results so much more powerful.
However, I do realised that many of you do not find this as easy as I do. And although you haven’t asked for my help I would like to do just that and give you a few tips to help you get started:
Identify what help you need. And then look at your network and find out who is best suited for the job. If you have to keep off your feet would it be best to ask your scatty best friend or your neatfreak sister to help you clean the house. Does the person you are asking have the life experience and the skills for the job?
Have a think about how you could help them. Don’t offer it as a trade when you ask for their help but keeping it there in the back of your mind and look for an opportunity to give back when you can.
Don’t forget to rely less on the obvious people. When seeking a doctor, for example, do not just ask your friends, but go to a nearby gym and ask who the athletes see. Personally whenever I move to a new place I always visit the tourist information. They always seem to be able to help if others can’t when finding the info I need.
When asking be straightforward and honest. Ask in specific terms.
Bypass phone calls or e-mail messages if at all possible and make your request in person.
Don’t feel bad if they can’t help. It’s not personal (99% of the time) the other person just can’t help you right now. Maybe they will know someone who can.
Say thank you when the agreement is struck, when the need has been met and when you next see the person who helped you.
Look for opportunities to help other people, not just the ones who have helped you. Paying it forward is a great way to spread the love around. I was lucky enough at one point in my life to have a friend who emptied her cupboards of all food she didn’t need when she found out I didn’t have enough money for food. 10 years later I was able to help somebody else in a similar situation. What goes around comes around.
Helping each other out is a great way to build community. Communal success is a team building and bonding experience. When we all roll up our sleeves and pitch in the accomplishments are shared. So weather its a study group, a project with a deadline that seems overwhelming, a mental health issue that is overwhelming or simply building a garden; when you reach out for help you are also allowing people the opportunity to share in your success. You are not just asking you are also giving!
As some of you may have noticed, over the last month or so things have not been hunky dory in our world. In fact far from it. Since September I have been fighting for a project to work out that really meant the make or break of my career goals that I have been working on for 4 years. On top of which we have a family member who is dying and my beloved Mr T is going through something which has raised his anxiety levels to an all time high. Life has become a constant pressure pot where someone has been raising the heat just a little every day.
In short, it’s been hard…… Damn hard.
And for me the breaking of my career dreams has the point where everything simply boiled over and the walls came tumbling down.
After many tears and raging at the universe, Mr T and anyone else that has been willing to listen for the last 6 months. I have reached the enough is enough point. And today I have surrendered.
Even though many people believe what has been happening to me is unfair and wrong. I am actually giving up. I have fought long and hard, but nothing is budging. So I surrendered the fight.
And it feels great!
The funny thing is when we hear the phrase “give up” or surrender we often tend to think of it as a negative thing. “You can do it”, “Just keep believing in yourself”, “If you want it fight for it” is often the response to such a statement. And I would agree. At the beginning. But after 6 months of banging my head against the brick wall of bureaucracy. It is time for me to read the room differently. And when I took that perspective I could suddenly see that this blooming, frustrating brick wall of BS is actually a message from the universe that this thing you are fighting for is not actually right for me.
This stepping back perspective. This surrendering in the fight. Actually gave me complete clarity to realign with my original dreams. It has got me back on my path. And it reminded me that truly the only thing that really matters to me is enjoying my journey and loving my life.
Surrendering has actually given me the freedom to enjoy my life!
Now it has taken a huge leap of faith to do this. Faith that by stepping back the universe will provide. It basically means I have to trust that being put back onto financial survival mode is going to be a positive thing in my life. And that is not easy when my survival instincts are in panic mode.
However, if I am going to get any kind of win from this fight. That’s what I have to do. I have to put my faith in the universe first. Then find a logical way to deal with the mundane of less income. And take the opportunity it provides of more time.
Surrendering to accepting what I can’t change,
Stepping back and looking for the opportunity,
Rerooting in myself and my true path in life,
Has given me not only the best night’s sleep in months,
But also the drive and motivation to follow my dreams in a different way!
Now I am not saying you should not fight for you dreams. You damn well should. But if you find the universe keeps blocking you. That things are not working out to plan. Or you are ending up in the same old destructive cycle. This is the point where taking a step back. Letting go of the frustration. Trusting the universe. Re-assessing what it is you truly need and want and then looking for the opportunity to follow your dream differently, is the way forward.
You have to choose your battles carefully. And every good general knows that sometimes retreating, regrouping and reorganising is the way to win.
What is not working if you life right now? What it the universe trying to tell you? And how can you find the opportunity in this situation to find a new way of doing something ? What is going to give you the freedom to enjoy your life?
If there is one thing certain about life it’s that there are ups and downs for all of us. And sometimes they come all at once which can result in a complete and utter total emotional meltdown. To be honest, I don’t think I have met a person who hasn’t experienced a complete meltdown. That moment where you are looking at everything you have to cope with and you simply can’t deal with it anymore. And something tips you over the edge
It could be a problem at work, at home, a dream that seems impossible to reach, or that day where everything goes wrong, when you are under an extreme amount of pressure the smallest thing can tip the balance and you find yourself in tears unable to see the way through and incapable of the most basic things on your to do list.
I recently had a major meltdown. Overly exhausted, nothing was working out. Instead of the planned vacation I was looking forward to a family member suddenly was close to death which meant some seriously hard recurring visits to the hospital on top of which I was under immense pressure at work, I was getting behind on the simplest of tasks. My home was a mess. I was a mess. The exhaust fell off the car. And one evening when I hadn’t noticed the dinner I made was put on the table still half frozen it felt like the whole world came crashing down around me and I exploded in a flood of tears. I cried for about 2 hours solidly and by the end I felt like I had done 30 rounds with Mike Tyson and as a emotionally capable as a soggy paper towel. I honestly haven’t had such a big meltdown in the longest time. It hit me like a ton of bricks.
You might be shocked that I can still have these experiences. That somehow being a Life Coach means I’m immune to such experiences. It doesn’t. My overwhelm has lessened considerably over many years, but being human means that from time to time things inevitably pile up. For me being a coach doesn’t mean avoiding such instances altogether, but learning how to move through them with less suffering.
So once done with the cathartic tears, there I sat in the middle of the same situation. And the only person who could get me out of it was me. I needed to recover, to climb back out of the large hole and get it together again. And that’s where my coaching background is my saviour. I feel pretty lucky to have the tools needed for a quick recovery, and the understanding that while pain isn’t optional- suffering really is.
Recovering from a total emotional meltdown can seem like the most impossible of tasks. However, with a little conscious thought and gentle self care it is possible to get back on the horse again after a meltdown.
The first step to recovery is to know what not to do if you actually want to feel better:
Binge watch Netflix
Stay up all night reliving the horror
Eat junk food
Pretend you are ok – So Ignore, avoid, numb, deny your feelings
Try to get back up to full speed immediately
I know these because I have done them all in the past. And from experience I can tell you that all of these things will make you feel worse, keeping you in the black pit and ultimately delay your recovery.
Here is what does work to feel human and whole again after a meltdown:
Step 1: Get a 48 hour break
Meltdowns are a flashing neon sign that you are under an enormous amount of stress beyond your bodies capability. When you meltdown you need someone to help relieve you of your instant pressure. If you had a fever you wouldn’t be able to do everything a meltdown is an emotional fever. So its ok to ask your partner to take on the primary child care for 48 hours. You need a break to recover so do whatever you can to lighten your load. 48 hours of rest and self care will help you get back up again so delegate your major responsibilities and tasks that make you feel as though you want to cry and allow yourself this time you need to recharge.
Step 2: Self Care
In the initial stage of recovery you will be feeling vulnerable and that is totally ok. You cannot expect to cry it out and then hop up and say I am all good now. Initially you need a large dose of self care. Cancel your appointments. Take some time out to do what feels good for you. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to sleep, sleep. For me doing things I liked to do as a child really helps. Like playing tetris on the game boy. Hiding under a duvet on the sofa reading a book. Or even colouring books help me. My other go is yoga. (I highly recommend the Yoga with Adriene Head and Heart Reset video after a melt down). You might feel better from having a bath, going for a run. Find what feels good for you.
Step 3: Start with the basics
As humans are basic needs are food, water, sleep. After that being clean is a great help to feeling better. Take baby steps. Have some food. Drink some water. Get some rest. Then get dressed, brush your teeth. If, as is often the case during a melt down period your home is a mess and your fridge is empty ask a friend over to help you do the basic things like the washing, cleaning or food shopping. Getting support will help you feel that you are not alone and that is so important for recovery from a meltdown.
Step 4: Prioritise after your needs
So the long to do list is probably one of the main factors you had the meltdown in the first place. To recover you need to prioritise after you own needs if you don’t want to relapse. There is no point working to someone else’s tempo right now. Whereever possible cut out all social arrangements. Being around to many people won’t help you right now. (Avoiding social media helps at this stage too). Identify the things that are really important for your mental health to do. For me it included getting the house tidier, writing an article and focusing on my priority clients were what was most important at that time, so that is what I focused on. If I couldn’t delegate another task then it would have to wait. Simple as that.
Step 5: Get some vitamin D
As soon as you can and no later than 48 hours get outside and go for a walk. If you live in a busy area then shut out the noise with some music or an audiobook. A sunny boost Vitamin D helps no matter what time of the year it is. Shinrin-yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming and restorative benefits to be achieved. So find a place in nature or even a park where you can take a gentle walk and feel rejuvenated.
Step 6: Take each day one step at a time
As you feel stronger don’t take on too, much too soon. Recovery from a meltdown takes time. Follow you needs. Just take one step at a time.
Step 7: Give yourself moments of peace
And as you get stronger remember to give yourself moments of peace. Meditate, read a book, have a 20 minute rest lying in bed listening to music, exercise, be creative, give yourself a foot massage and get to bed before 10pm. One of the reasons the meltdown occurs is because in the situation you have been in you haven’t been taking care of yourself. An emotional meltdown is a VERY loud universal message that you need to take care of yourself. It is important to hear and heed that message.
If you find that after the 48 break your are still weeping and under the duvet this is the point where you are probably in need of professional help. There are many wonderful practices out there from counselors, therapist, doctors, alternative medicine that are ready to support you. It is OK to get help when you need it.
What are your go to’s for quick meltdown recovery? What helps you move from from breakdown to breakthrough? Let me know in the comments below
Breakups are the worst. Not much more to say about that. The healing process after can be really tough if you have spent so long being us that you can’t remember how to be me.
After a break up you can feel a bit lost at first. Over the years, your thoughts and lifestyle patterns have been in unionism with another individual and once that habit breaks, it’s almost feels like you have lost a bit of yourself in the process
We’ve all been there. Finding your identity again after a breakup can be a real challenge. Yet remembering who you are and discovering who you are now, knowing who you are and what you want out of life is one of the most important steps to healing and growing. And is one of the gifts of learning you get from a break-up.
Now I have had my share of failed relationships. Yet through the many trials and tribulations and I have found a fail safe formula to get back on track and find myself again. Knowing who you are and where you want to be relatively quickly. Sounds unbelievable right? Well it works. It’s worked for me. And it works for every client I have ever had in a breakup situation.
The process has 3 steps. Do them at your own tempo. Moving forward is a process not an on and off switch you can flip. So just take each step when it feels right.
So if you have come out of a relationship and can’t remember who you are anymore and want to move forward please just try this method and I hope from the bottom of my heart it helps xxx
Step 1: Find your dreams
I discovered this during my divorce. It was a relatively short lived marriage and stopped so abruptly I was still full of the dreams, goals and hopes I had for our future. I couldn’t actually remember what I had wanted before. And I had no idea what I wanted at them time. So I made a list. (If you are regular here you know that I LOVE lists!) This was a special list. PArt bucket list and part goals. I wrote down everything I could thing of I wanted to do, had dreamed of doing, wanted to learn or try. The list included learning to skateboard, getting an education, baking my own bread and travelling alone to a foreign country. Once written I looked at what I could put into action straight away. I grabbed a skateboard and in my suit I skated to the office every day. I went travelling around South Africa. I booked surfing and motorcycle lessons. Now to be fair I was overly trying but it helped. Everytime I felt despondent I looked at my dream list and worked out how to make something happen. Within 3 months I was enjoying life again and felt more empowered than I had done in so many years. In Fact I am still working out of that original list today. Just 20 minutes in one of my hardest of life moments became a total game changer.
So grab some paper and a pen and start to write your dream list. Include both stupid things, practical things and things you think might be unachievable. The sky’s the limit. Once written fulfill one of them. Make it happen.
Step 2 – Find your passion
So a little while after you have started to live out some of your dreams. You might find yourself wanting something more substantial. It’s at this point I recommend finding your passion in life. If you already know it you can choose to either skip this stage or use it to check in that you are on the right path. The 7 strange questions created by Mark Manson is the most effective method I have found to identify what it is that really sparks your passion. Originally created to to find your life purpose these questions are a no bs way of cutting straight to what is important, in an easy and accessible format.
The 7 strange questions – The questions were invented by Mark Manson however they are slightly adapted.
1. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR OF SHIT SANDWICH AND DOES IT COME WITH AN OLIVE?
Think about the worst possible life style you could have that you could tolerate and find some happiness in. So not the worst lifestyle you have, but what is your bottom line?
2. WHAT IS TRUE ABOUT YOU TODAY THAT WOULD MAKE YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD SELF CRY?
We all have a tendency to lose touch with what we loved as a child. Something about the social pressures of adolescence and professional pressures of young adulthood squeezes the passion out of us. We’re taught that the only reason to do something is if we’re somehow rewarded for it. However our 8 year old self didn’t think like that. The did things for the sheer joy of it. What brought you joy then that you don’t do now?
3. WHAT MAKES YOU FORGET TO EAT AND POOP?
Maybe for you, it’s computer games. Maybe it’s organizing things efficiently, or getting lost in a fantasy world, creativity, sport or teaching somebody something, or solving technical problems. Whatever it is, don’t just look at the activities that keep you up all night, but look at the cognitive principles behind those activities that enthrall you. Because they can easily be applied elsewhere.
4. HOW CAN YOU BETTER EMBARRASS YOURSELF?
Before you are able to be good at something and do something important, you must first suck at something and have no clue what you’re doing. That’s pretty obvious. And in order to suck at something and have no clue what you’re doing, you must embarrass yourself in some shape or form, often repeatedly. And most people try to avoid embarrassing themselves, namely because it sucks.
Right now, there’s something you want to do, something you think about doing, something you fantasize about doing, yet you don’t do it.You have your reasons, no doubt.if your reasons are, “My parents would hate it,” or “My friends would make fun of me,” or “If I failed, I’d look like an idiot,” then chances are, you’re actually avoiding something you truly care about because caring about that thing is what scares the shit out of you, not what mom thinks or what Timmy next door says.
5. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD?
Find a problem you care about and start solving it. Obviously, you’re not going to fix the world’s problems by yourself. But you can contribute and make a difference. And that feeling of making a difference is ultimately what’s most important for your own happiness and fulfillment.
6. GUN TO YOUR HEAD, IF YOU HAD TO LEAVE THE HOUSE ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, WHERE WOULD YOU GO AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Discovering what you’re passionate about in life and what matters to you is a full-contact sport, a trial-and-error process. None of us know exactly how we feel about an activity until we actually do the activity.
So ask yourself, if someone put a gun to your head and forced you to leave your house every day for everything except for sleep, how would you choose to occupy yourself? And no, you can’t just go sit in a coffee shop and browse Facebook. You probably already do that. Let’s pretend there are no useless websites, no video games, no TV. You have to be outside of the house all day every day until it’s time to go to bed — where would you go and what would you do?
7. IF YOU KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO DIE ONE YEAR FROM TODAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO AND HOW WOULD YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED?
Most of us don’t like thinking about death. It freaks us out. But thinking about our own death surprisingly has a lot of practical advantages. One of those advantages is that it forces us to zero in on what’s actually important in our lives and what’s just frivolous and distracting.
So what would you do if you knew exactly when the end was nigh? What is your legacy going to be? What are the stories people are going to tell when you’re gone? What is your obituary going to say? Is there anything to say at all? If not, what would you like it to say?
Now before moving on to the next step, have a look at your answers and see if you can find reoccuring themes. What words crop up again and again? And once you have looked once, look again.
Step 3: Start to build the life you imagine for you
So now you know your passions and your dreams, it’s time to start thinking about the life you want for you. Grab the biggest piece of paper you can find and create a vision of your ideal life.
Throw out all reality and allow your fantasy to run riot. This is you creating your universal recipe for how you would like your life to be. Every time you think no that’s not possible ask yourself do you want it? If the answer is yes, then it goes on the brain storm.
There are four sections to this brainstorm and I would recommend imaging your life 10 – 15 years from now.
Lifestyle – This includes where you live, what in, do you own it, countryside, city, what style of accomodation, what decorations. What is your life style like? Your hobbies, do you eat out every week? Do you travel 3 times a year? Do you own a summer house? Do you have a pet? Do you have a car, a motor bike, a boat? And how much money do you have in the bank? Also do you want alot of social or is me time very important to you?
Career – Describe your job, the hours you work, your responsibilities, your working environment, your ideal colleagues and of course your ideal pay.
Achievements – This is basically a bucket list for the next ten years. Achievements do not need to be just finished university, got married with two kids, it can be something like being an extra on a marvel movie, volunteering in Nepal, riding a bike across the great wall of China or doing a parachute jump. Remember no limits and that fun is a hugely important part of this journey called life
People – This section is about the people and relationships you want in your life. And I don’t mean just names. This is about the quality of your relationships. And this can also be the relationship you have with yourself.
Do this brainstorm on paper, the bigger the better. Follow the order and do each section one at a time.
Then take a step back. This is the life you want. And this is the life you are going to create for yourself. How does it feel to look at it? Are the themes from the 7 questions involved in your plan? If not how can you include them. These are your passions and if you suppress them you won’t feel happy or fulfilled in life.
When you have finished this is the time to start making goals and a plan to create this life for yourself. If you like you could create a vision board or use some of the goal setting techniques here.
By the time you reach stage 3 you will find that you are starting to feel like you again. There are of course many other parts of healing that need to happen after a break up. Finding yourself is but one of those. However when you know who you are and what you want, it is a heck of a lot easier to move forward and gives you something to keep aiming for when the saddness or memories make that day tough.
Let me know how you get on with the steps and how they helped you in the comments below.
Wherever you are in the world I wish you a beautiful weekend <3
Yesterday my work life just went FUBAR (And for those you not in the know that means Fucked up beyond all recognition.) Needless to say it was a bad day. It has been a long time since I cried solidly for an hour. However despite how I was feeling I still had a job to do. Which meant clients that were in need of support, empowerment and inspiration. And yet there I was struggling to keep it together. (Remember your life coach is human too and sometime shit just happens). I needed to turn my energy around and get to a place of, if not happy, peaceful.
And that’s when I remembered something my BFF/ accountant / crafting compadre/ mini mom taught me. A line from one of her favorite films Me before you. And it is simply,
“Tell me something good”
I can’t remember the whole plot. As to this day I have never seen it. (I promise I will mini mom). But for me ‘tell me something good’ up to this point had always been a way of celebrating in circle our achievements. It had always brought a smile to my face and a glow to my heart. Only there I was. In that moment not able to find anything good in my sadness and frustration. So I reached out.
Using the power of Facebook I made a post. Not asking for sympathy. Asking for stories. This is what I wrote.
“Having a bad work day today and need some cheering up until I can get to through to the happy place later on tonight. So I am asking you all to “Tell me something good”
I want to hear all your good news and stories.
It always helps me when I am down to know that the people are love are having an awesome time of it “
The response was amazing.
Instead of the usual lovely hearts or hugs people send when you are having bad time. I got over 80 stories and pictures of people sharing with me the good in their lives. There was everything from spending the day with your daughter in the snow, to getting a new job, to loved ones coming home. People sharing lovely moments from their day and the things they were looking forward to. It was beautiful. Every time I checked back in someone else had posted something that made me smile. I saw conversations starting as people began to enjoy the moments everyone had shared. A from that reach out the sadness, the frustration began to transform. The good moments from everyone’s lives transformed both my dark moment and spread a good vibe into their days too.
It was so powerful. By the end of the day I was able to add my own something good story from that day. The frown had been turned upside down and my tears to laughter.
Now I have always been an advocate of the healing and teaching power of stories. But yesterday was the strongest experience I have had of this. The transformation was so subtle and yet so powerful.
The only magic I can compare it with is how you feel when you see a small baby smile or a toddlers face light up with joy at snowdrops and puddles. It was incredibly inspiring.
And it made me want to share this moment with all of you. This is me telling you something good. Now it’s your turn. Transform your day, your mood by asking someone to tell you something good. On social media, or around the dinner table, or even a complete stranger. Let’s take the power of tell me something good around the world this weekend and see how many smiles we can inspire.
So before you go and begin this quest , please just take a moment here to tell me something good. Not because I am down or because you are. Just because sharing a good story is a beautiful thing to do.
If you follow my blog regularly you will know I have a source of inspiration from my vulcan-esque muse,my stoic partner and love of my life Mr T. He has this innate ability to take some of the biggest topics of debate and simmer them down with logic to an infallible, indisputable sentence. And this morning over breakfast he came with a humdinger, that just blew my mind.
We were, in the most unromantic setting, discussing my snoring. Apparently Mr T had spent half the night waking up due to my snoring and rolling me over to stop it. Now in most households this would probably spark WW3. However, knowing how Mr T already has sleep challenges I was simply truly grateful for his patience. “Bless you darling” I said “ Why is it you love me? I mean, I’m not easy” (Thinking it must be so hard to always be so patient. Mr T simply gazed out of the window saying
“Well I never thought true love would be easy. I guess that’s why so many people don’t have it.”
And of course as always he is right. Now as I said before this blew my mind. And as I pondered his statement I found a source of clarity. My whole life I had been searching for true love. Yearning for the idyllic romantic passion of films and books. And yet it wasn’t until I dropped that ideal that I really did find what I was looking for. (Albeit wrapped in a Cowboy hat, geeky gamer, extremely talented craftsmen with a passion for Vikings, Deadpool and D and D).
I thought about that phrase ‘True love isn’t meant to be easy’. And realized that this media fantasy was so deeply embedded that instantly my mind conjured up images of dramatic events pulling star crossed lovers apart a la Romeo and Juliet. However the truth and reality of real true love is a million miles away from this romantic drama. True love is patient. It is caring and understanding. It is patiently picking up the underpants from the floor beside the washing basket for the 6th time that week and not nagging your partner about it. It is the hand that reaches out and touches your leg as they drive in the car, just because. It is making tea with honey and ginger when they are filled with snot and finding them just as beautiful as when they are all dressed up for a night on the town. Or going to see yet another Marvel or Harry potter film because they love it so much and want to share it with you.
True love not being easy doesn’t always have to be about the big sacrifices. In reality it is the beauty in the smaller sacrifices, compromises and little acts of love that are not easy but make a lasting loving relationship so beautiful and rewarding. The stories tell us of big romantic gestures. And while yes there is definitely a place for those. It is not these moments that nurture true love. I have had those epic romantic relationships (as I am sure we all have) and they were complete and utter disasters. Monumental disappointments, in a few cases life threateningly dangerous and definitely traumatic. And what I have learnt is that the moment you stop looking for that romantic ideal, you become to find romance in the seemingly mundane acts of kindness your lover performs it’s then that you are able to find good honest down to earth romance and true love.
The point I am trying to make is that when you begin to notice and appreciate the things your special person does to show you they care that are not easy, the more space you give to allow true love to blossom. Now I get that I am truly blessed to have found such an amazing person to share my life with. However I can’t help wondering to myself if I hadn’t learnt to look beyond the romantic ideal and appreciate the reality, if this relationship would truly be as powerful or as long lasting as it is? Honestly I don’t think it would. Maybe the secret to finding true love is not so much about finding Mr, or Miss, Right. But rather it is about shifting your perspective to the understanding that true love is not going to be easy. However when you appreciate the effort that is made. Honoring it. You begin to see the real beauty and power, the reality of true love. Maybe if more of us could do that. To value the small moments, deeds, sacrifices and compromises. The world could be filled with more people living their happily ever after. Now wouldn’t that be a lovely thing to see.
Take a moment this weekend to truly appreciate all the not easy things your partner does to show you their love. Be grateful for them. And then do something not easy to show them you love them too.
The last five years of my life have been an amazing journey.
I not sure if started at the moment I sat in my apartment after 6 months of homelessness and told myself that I was going to break the repeating destructive cycle that kept leading me through violent relationship to homelessness. Or if it was the point where when faced with the opportunity to start a new potentially toxic relationship, I decided I was worth more than that and said thanks, but no thanks. Or it could have been the decidedly un romantic life clarity moment I had when doing the washing up, where I suddenly knew exactly what is as I wanted to do with my life. It was probably a combination of the above. However these moments lead me to this point in my life now. A moment where I am creating my dream job, living in the home I have always wanted and have a relationship I never before believed could truly exist. There is no doubt about it. I have created an amazing foundation. My life is good.
Sometimes it feels as though I am at that point in the story where the writer says “and they lived happily ever after” and the book closes. You know that point where you wonder well what happened next? Well for me the ‘next’ has been the new challenge. Oh don’t get me wrong I am loving the journey of my life and I am grateful every day for the experiences and opportunities it gives me. It’s just that it can be easy to get comfortable here. In a way to stagnant. Have you ever experienced that? You have this intense period of life changing growth. Then you get to the first level of living your dreams and although delighted, you find it hard to level up.
Some would say this is due to the fact that you no longer have the motivation of getting out of whatever cycle you were in before and that’s why it’s harder to level up. And in my experience that has been true. Adversity can inspire great change. Contentment is simply just a harder place to motivate yourself from. If you look around on the interwebs you will see there is lots and lots of articles about how to start changing your life. There are not so many on how to keep going and evolving once you are living the life of your dreams. Some might ask, do you need to level up once you get there. Yes! Personally I have a belief that the point of existence is to learn, grow and most importantly evolve. If I am not doing these things then for me there is little point. It is one of my keys to life happiness.
So how do you level up once you are living your happily ever after? How do you get motivated from a place of contentment opposed to starting from adversity. My life lesson this week has been just this, and it’s been a surprising journey. I have found that the answer to leveling up in ever after land lies in 4 very simple things:
Redefine your personal view of success
Make a plan
Find a fear and face it
Eat your frogs
Redefine your personal view of success:
When you started your journey to happily ever after you probably had an idea of what success looked like to you. However, as we move through life our view of success changes. If you want to jump higher you need to raise the bar. So take 30 mins, with a cup of tea. (I am British. Tea is an important muse in my life.) And brainstorm what does success look like to you now. Dig deep and find the dreams that you haven’t realized. You know the ones that scare the heck out of you. Look at what you are grateful for and appreciate in your life now.
By the end of your brainstorm you should end up with a clear view of where you need to get to and what you need to appreciate in order to level up and jump over the next bar. Redefine our success gives you the opportunity to design the next stage of your life.
Make a plan
Anyone that knows me ( or reads this blog regularly) will tell you I love making plans. Plans minimize decision stress. They translate a dream into actions. And they bring clarity. So look at your brainstorm and translate it into actions. How will you reach this next level? What do you have to do and what will you get out of doing it? One friend I know uses a primary school lesson plan concept to this process where she not only creates the actions she also creates a success criteria so she know she is on route to success.
Find a fear and face it
Some of these, if not all of the things you want to achieve will be scary. It is the next level of realizing your dreams. The deeper dreams closer to your heart. And much more frightening. When you are living in your happily ever after you are in a much better place to reach the highest part of your potential. Claiming your potential. Making that a reality and owning it is hella’ scary. For me, this centers around my book I finished writing it 2 years ago and now I want to turn it into an actual published book. The idea of making this a reality challenges every hidden layer of self doubt, fear of rejection and highly strung nerves I have in my body. Yet it is this fear which is creating a similar energy or driving force to the one I had in my place of adversity. It is only by facing it and working on it can I grow and level up again. So find your fear. Acknowledge it. And face it. Remember my favorite phrase, Bravery is not having fear. It is having a fear and doing it anyway.
Eat your frogs
My favorite time management tool ever. Mark Twain once said “ If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Basically if you have a hard job to do get it done quick and the day will only get better. Bite the bullet. Face those fears and get it done. Every day I eat my frog I get a sense of accomplishment and pride. Mr T and I have got into the habit of giving each other high fives whenever we tell each other about our daily frog eating. And as simple as a high five is, it makes me celebrate my achievements and keeps the journey of leveling up fun.
The whole point of leveling up to enjoy and enrich your life’s journey. Happily ever after is an amazing place to reach and you should enjoy it. However it’s not the end of your story. After happily ever after there is another adventure, and another, and another. Looking for new adventures and creating new dreams, new values and learning new lessons is the key to realizing your fullest potential. Being the person you were born to be.
Keep leveling up and enjoying that journey and you cannot help but be the biggest, brightest most beautiful shining version of you. Lighting the way in your own life and inspiring the lives of the people you meet to create their own happily ever after. Now what could be more fulfilling that that.