Self-care is a hot topic and the Spa is a booming industry but I want to explain why self-care is more than a Spa Day. Don’t get me wrong, I love a Spa and once spent a week at Champneys!
But the point I want to make in this blog is that twofold. Firstly, self-care is different things to everyone and secondly, small regular self-care is more beneficial for your mental health and more practical to incorporate into your busy life than a Spa Day..
What my friends said self-care is
I asked my Facebook friends of ways they self-care and here is what they said.
– Recognising the negative voice in your head isn’t you. And disowning it so you can be the real you ❤️
Self-care can be preventing stress
I once read that one of the biggest causes of stress is things that are broken or don’t work around the home. I agree! I’ve had a wobbly kitchen door for a long time and kept screwing it back in but it was never properly fixed and became irritating. Anyway it eventually fell off! So then I had a door-less cupboard which looked a bit strange. I had it fixed and for a couple of days kept admiring it. Who would have thought that a door could bring happiness?
And here are some practical ideas of self-care from me:
- Back up your computer. It can be a real trauma to lose your photos or work
- Store your photos in Dropbox or similar. Protect your treasure memories
- Online shopping – need I say more!
- Organise your wardrobe. Only have things that fir in your wardrobe so you don’t spend ages finding something to wear and feel bad about things that don’t fit right now
- Sort out your finances.
- Dal with letters ASAP
- Keep a calendar/diary
- Unsubscribe from emails that don’t add value to your life
- Subscribe to something that adds value to your life. That’s my FREE 21 Day Wellbeing Challenge
- Batch cook. Freeze some, eat some. Cost effective too.
- Declutter your house, create space
- Declutter your car, enjoy driving
- Declutter your loft, never panic about finding the Halloween stuff again
- Declutter your garage, yes you have 4 bicycle locks already
- Declutter your Facebook friends
- Declutter your Instagram
- Get your books on kindle
- Keep water and snacks in your car so you can always maintain your energy levels
And the best thing about self-care?
Self-care, like rest, is time for you. You enjoy your time and your life. To feed your joy. So it’s important to know how to do that! My theory is that people with a passion in life are very lucky.
I recently went to my favourite bird of prey centre and the passion the handlers have for their birds is amazing. They look them with love and one keeper said to his bird ‘come to daddy’! How wonderful to have an interest you never tire of and you love to bits. Not quite self-care but you get my drift?
When we understand what gives us joy, what makes up feel rested and happy. We can do it as often as we like 🙂
The list of things that gives us joy and makes us happy could be endless and they could be small things. Easy to do. Cheap or free. You’ve just got to experiment and find them. Children as very good at this. They are usually open minded and experimental. They try different clubs and hobbies to see what they enjoy and what they like the most. Children usually go where the fun (for them) is!
Take a little time for self-care today
What are you going to do to nurture and nourish yourself today? I would love to hear about it in the comments or share this blog with someone you care about so they can self-care before their next Spa Day.
So as a Hypnotherapist working with people’s mental health on a regular basis, I had a real choice of things to write about before I settled on this World Mental Health Day 2017 – Help for teenagers title.
I’m not going to bombard you with stats about Mental Health in this post because you will know if your teenager (or you) needs help and support and that is the purpose of this post.
The reason I chose to blog about teenagers for World Mental Health Day
I love teenagers, I was one once lol. And I remember not liking it much and losing my way. I had wonderful parents but I didn’t go to them for help or talk to them about how I felt. It wasn’t their fault and it wasn’t my fault. It just was that way.
In my Corporate life I mentored teenagers to get into the workplace and now I help teenagers to deal with life 🙂
The biggest rise I have seen in my client base over the past year have been teenage girls. I could say it’s because of the rise of social media; Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest (not sure the teenagers use that as much?) because there is a lot of research that suggests that social media is damaging for self-esteem. But fighting social media or helping a teenage girl become more comfortable in her own skin? I know which is the easier option.
So let’s look at how I help teenage girls really get more of a sense of themselves and have more confidence and resilience, so they can deal with life better and be happier.
Issues that teenagers are facing:
- Body image
- Feeling sad
- Hiding from the world
- Being bullied
- Pressure of school
- Academic performance
- Lack of confidence
- Relationships with others
But most of all:
The relationship that they have with themselves
Now I’ve been helping adults on their relationships with themselves for a long time. At the route of most depression is not liking yourself. People live miserable lives for a very long time for 2 main reasons (in my opinion):
- They don’t understand themselves enough to know what their strengths are and to remember why they are amazing as their unique selves
- They have lived a life full of events and sometimes traumas and believe the stories in their head.
What I mean by a story is when things have happened in your life and they give you a particular belief. Let’s take a relationship breakup. You might think that you are not loveable and that is a story that starts to become true for you. When you meet a potential partner or love interest, you (in your head) are living and believing your own story that you are not loveable. This may leak into your body language and the way you communicate and affect this potential relationship. So that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; the relationship is not a success and that backs up your belief that you are not loveable.
The life of a teenager
A teenager has a childhood behind them but during their teenage years they are exploring and discovering life and themselves. So any little chink in their armour, comments, arguments, negative comments or implications (we all know that so much can be implied by just a look) all sink into them. We all pick up tiny subtle movements from each other because we are similar to animals in that way and communicate continuously through body language.
All the while, teenagers are receiving chinks in their armour. Reminds me of one of those soft crabs that needs time for its shell to harden so the birds can’t hurt it. They are finding their way and every chink in their armour hurts them and stops them being as tough as they need to be to face this world of ours. And we all know how tough life can be. Not always, but it has its moments.
All you want for your kid is for them to be able to handle it, be happy and for them to succeed at the things that are important to them. That’s all you want isn’t it.
And so when your kid comes to you (or maybe doesn’t) and tells you that they are not happy and life isn’t going well or maybe even that they hate themselves, that is really heart breaking 🙁
Help available for teenagers
Most teenagers that I see in my Hypnortherapy practice in West Sussex and Worldwide on Skype, have never been taught about positive thinking. Or techniques on how to protect and nurture their mental health. Many (and their parents) won’t like the term mental health, so I am very cautious of the language that I use with teenagers.
Some schools are becoming more aware of the need to educate their students on how to look after mental health and physical health. Things that today’s society are feeling the ill effects of. But schools have ciricculums to stick to and targets to meet, so the time and resources allocated to these matters are limited.
As parents we are often not proficient in the art of managing mental health ourselves. So many adults have stress, anxiety and depression themselves. They are just trying to scrape through life and doing the best they can for their children.
Many families have a working mum and dad and then there are single parent families and there are just so many demands on people’s time and energy. But more so, people just don’t have the skills and techniques to bring these teenagers through it and show them how things can be different.
And often the last person a teenager wants to hear from is their parents or teacher! So there is this huge gap to fill.
How I help teenagers
What I do with teenagers is to focus on the positives. Build them up strong. A teenager has plenty of time to understand their areas of development and flaws. The last thing they need to be brought tot their attention is to focus on their flaws. They need to be rebuilt and taught resilience.
So we focus on the positive and we do lots of positive work. We focus on how to change their state. State is the way we choose to feel at any given time. There is a great big range of emotion from sad to elated and everything inbetween and believe me, teenagers can feel those full range of emotions on what seems like an hourly basis.
The first thing that I teach teenagers are easy techniques so they can discretley manager their own state. From the first session they go out the door knowing that they have tools for life. and these tools are cool! Only 250 practitioners Worldwide are using these skills (separate blog post another day) and they are amazing. Teenagers love them.
I give them skills and tools for life to help them manage how they feel and get out of sticky emotional situations and shift those blue days where everything feels terrible.
I give them a maintenance plan to take with them, so they don’t have to worry about remembering things and it doesn’t feel like homework!
The next sessions I do work are what I call ‘work of the self’. Looking inside at what’s good about them and what’s important to them. And why they need to protect that to make them strong against the storms.
I use Hypnosis too which is perfectly safe on children age 5+. Hypnosis on a teenager is practically the same as an adult but you use language that appeals to a teenager. I use that to introduce a huge feeling of calm into their lives because they are usually so tense and anxious and worried and stressed with all that’s going on. They can just escape all that and float away to relax and find that calm place inside themselves. They can reconnect to that calm place whenever they need to with a recording that I give them.
Another skill for life. How to unwind your mind and take yourself away from the things that are bothering you and come back feeling relaxed and refreshed and ready to roll.
And what about mum and dad?
Supporting teenagers can be testing, tiring and thankless! So if you need help unwinding, keeping your cool or getting creative on strategies to cope. Make your appointment 🙂
Many people don’t realise how fermented food helps your health but there is an ‘underground’ society of people that do and this movement is getting stronger 🙂
I’ve been into probiotics for some time and have always wanted to learn how to make my own fermented foods like kefir, sourdough bread, sauerkraut and the fermeted drink, Kombucha. And recently I went on a workshop in Shoreham, West Sussex to do that so I will share that with you in this post.
Did you know your gut is referred to as your second brain? Your gut is very important to your overall wellbeing. There is ever growing evidence to the effect it has on your mental and physical health. Improving your gut health will give you better immunity, more efficient digestion and less stress. Because your digestion is better you will have more energy – yay.
In your gut there are trillions of bacteria that help you process food, produce nutrients, and fight disease. You might remember seeing adverts on TV about ‘healthy bacteria’ and this is what I am talking about here.
A great book on the subject is Gut by
There are three things you need to do to look after your gut bacteria
- Make sure you have enough good bacteria
- Make sure that they survive
- Don’t deplete them
1 – You put healthy bacteria in by eating probiotic foods that contain them.
2 – You preserve them by eating probiotic foods that support them.
3 – You protect them by being aware of what depletes them and that is stress, antibiotics, steroid medications and stomach bugs.
So what can you do to improve your gut health?
You can take a probiotic supplement or eat probiotic food like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, coconut kefir, yoghurt, kefir and apple cider vinegar.
You can eat prebiotic whole foods. Certain foods feed and support the growth of good bacteria. Raw onions, garlic, dandelion greens, artichokes and bananas are some of the best.
Keep hydrated. Your gut needs water to keep bacteria and waste moving through your digestive system, which will help prevent constipation and bloating. Dehydration affects your bacteria balance.
Eat less sugar as it feeds bad bacteria and you are more interested in the good ones.
Reduce your stress levels. Stress makes your brain go into fight or flight mode, causing your digestion and blood flow in the gut to slow down and digestion is not as effective.
Making fermented foods which help your gut bacteria
Making fermented foods is an interesting experience and when the scoby comes out that’s exciting! I learnt at a workshop with my local Homoeopath, Therese Eriksen
During the workshop we made:
Sauerkraut – a kind of pickled vegetable. We made red cabbage and another of carrot and ginger. You can have a little bit on the side of practically any meal to add some lovely flavour. It keeps well too.
Sourdough bread – a bread make without yeast which some people find easier to digest. Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe the world is your bread basket as you can add herbs, cheese, sundried tomatoes. YUM
Milk Kefir – A ‘live’ drink that you make from grains (main blog picture). You can drink it straight if you are hard core or make smoothies with it or flavour it.
Kambucha – Is the tea teetotallers champagne! It’s made with a scoby which I have put a picture of below. It’s a weird disc thing that you put in tea to make the Kambucha but then it takes on a life of its own and grows!
In Copenhagen Kambucha is readily available, they know it helps them get Hyggey 🙂
Let the fermenting commence!
So now my kitchen is full of kilner jars doing their different things. I’m so excited about having fermented foods in my life that I’ve made myself.
One of my guiding principles of life is to cradle my health (mental and physical) like a newborn baby. Not in an obssessive way, but it’s very high up my values list. I want enough energy to fulfil my dreams and enjoy my family. But I am conscious this takes effort and thought. Effort in the sense of eating right and making time for exercise. And thought recognising when thinks are out of balance and addressing it.
In life, the effort has to be worth the reward. I am going to try to maintain my fermented food supplies as the reward is better health and more energy. That has to be worth it!
If you want to learn how to make fermented foods with the Therese you can book through her website or Facebook page.
I loved reading this book and so am doing a book review for Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
Even the title ‘Rest’ helped me relax
Talk about Hypnotic suggestion. Every time I picked up the book, I knew I was reading ‘rest’ and I felt ‘rested’ as a result!
Alex opens the book by explaining how we see rest as the absence of work and not something in its own right. I think this is the case for many people. How about you?
He goes on to say that if you put so much of yourself into you work then when you cease to work, you cease to exist. This is a strong statement! We have all heard stories of people retiring and passing away shortly afterwards and this being put down to them ‘missing work’ and being without purpose’. But without the evidence, this statement lacks truth for me.
He does say that work can be as emotionally fulfilling as being in love. Can you relate to that?
However the book is focused on the principle that many extraordinary leaders, scientists, philosophers and creatives valued the importance of rest and worked better as a result of the way they practiced rest.
The right rest restores the mysterious part of the mind and we underestimate how much good as serious rest can do us. I call this ‘mysterious’ part of the mind the subconscious 🙂
He gives us confidence to allow ourselves to rest by explaining that we need to allow ourselves to rest and remove the guilt for doing it. ‘You have to take rest and protect it from a world that is intent on taking it’.
Ok then. We will 🙂
Rest is important for creativity
If you work at 110% all the time, how much will you give when extra is required? Or will you lack the energy to give it more? By balancing your energy levels you will have the fuel in the tank that you need to put the pedal to the metal!
But it’s more than that. When you rest, you access a different part of your brain even though you are resting, your brain is almost as active as when you are working hard on a problem. When you become active again, that ‘different’ part of your brain turns off again.
So what does that ‘different’ part of your brain do? It:
- Consolidates memories
- Makes sense of the past
- Searches for solutions to problems that your occupying your thoughts in your waking hours
I would call this part of the brain the subconscious mind. Alex explains how walks, art and music can wake ideas that are ‘slumbering’ there. Because when he talks about ‘rest’. He doesn’t mean lying down doing nothing, although that’s a pretty good way to rest!
He talks about rest being things that
- Relax you
- Detach you from work
- Let you spend your time in ways you enjoy
Take a break
No this isn’t a kit-kat advert. In his book, Alex mentions many tests to prove how breaks improve performance at work. He says ‘part of your mind is writing the next sentence, and the next paragraph, considering and discarding a thousand plot twists without you ever being aware of them’. For me this totally sums up the awesomeness that is our subconscious mind. It works away doing all kind of amazing things for us which we are never even aware of!
Alex talks about the importance of learning to monitor your attention and energy as this is a life skill that will serve you well.
Cats have the right idea about naps
Churchill took naps. Kennedy and Einstein too. But why? In case you didn’t know, a 20 minute nap can restore depleted energy and a nap of more than an hour takes you into REM state sleep and will help you remember more.
What you need to know if the ‘work’ is more important to you than that the ‘rest’
Cambridge mathematician John Littlewood said even for people whose mind naturally gravitate towards work, having clear boundaries between periods of work and rest allows them to get more from each. ‘It is too easy when tired to fritter a whole day but never getting properly down to it. You get nothing done and get no rest or relaxation’. Is that ringing any bells for you?
Walk the talk
I didn’t expect walking to be in a book about rest but it totally makes sense. Danish Philosopher Soven Kierkegaard said ‘I have walked my way into my best thoughts’. Have you ever had that experience?
Some companies have walking meetings now which are said to be good for solving problems, discussing, bouncing ideas and eliminating distractions. Steve Jobs did it. There is evidence that your mind becomes calmer when walking through parks and green spaces. In tests 81% of students did better in tests when walking.
Plus walking in autumn is absolutely glorious, So let’s get out there!
Let your subconscious mind do its work, so that you can do yours
I’ve long had a view that the Corporate work place is outdated. Many organisations are proud of themselves for offering flexible working. But the whole concept of work needs to be rethought out if we want to continue to evolve as a forward thinking society. By understanding how our minds work at their best and how to exploit our energy to be our very best selves, productivity and mental health will be much healthier.
No wonder so many corporate workers are so stressed. The way that they are working is not allowing them to rest or flourish. ‘Workers with little control feel more stress because controlling your time is liberating and restorative’.
But businesses are missing a trick because employees that ‘rest’ well are:
- Better employees
- Better at dealing with challenges
- Better colleagues
- More able to focus intensively on work tasks
And let’s not forget the 2 million entrepreneurs that are beavering away and want to succeed and so don’t take rest seriously for fear of missing an opportunity. Many entrepreneurs that I know are so passionate about their business they love working!
How good at resting are you?
As someone who has suffered from fatigue in the past, I rate energy very high in my list of priorities and try to manage it wisely. I really enjoyed this book as it had the right balance of brain talk, stats and common sense for my liking.
I would love to hear your thoughts or tips on how you achieve good rest in the comments if you have time. Do you rest or are you pushing yourself too hard?
Sending you restful vibes.
In this post I am going to explain the secret of why you feel emotions that you don’t understand. And I want you to share this information with as many people as possible because it really could save a lot of heartache.
We all have two minds…
Did you know that your mind has two parts? The conscious and the subconscious. The conscious mind could be called the more rational. It makes decisions based on logic and chooses our behaviour. Most of the time in day to day life we operate in a conscious state. The conscious part of our brain is the smaller less powerful part (although still very powerful!). The conscious part lets us work, study, operate on a daily basis.
The dominant part of the mind is the subconscious. We access the subconscious naturally when we ‘daydream’ or drift off to sleep. The subconscious is powerful when we dream. It tries to make sense of all the information it has absorbed or is processing.
The subconscious is like a blank canvas when we are born. We take in around 2 million pieces of information a day, which is far too much for the conscious mind to process. So the subconscious stores in using sight, smell, taste, sound and feelings. It codes our life experiences in this way which is why both good and bad experiences can have smells or noises attached to them. All this goes on automatically so we don’t really have much control about our built in ‘coding’.
So the phrase ‘in two minds’ is literally that. When we are making a decision we might use the conscious mind to think about it logically, but the subconscious mind will be the more feeling part. Kind of like head and heart centred thinking.
How you can harness the power of your subconscious mind….
Your subconscious is there to protect you and always acts in the way it thinks is best for you. This can become a problem if its ‘coding’ is not helpful. For example, it has learnt that when you are scared or worried you should have a panic attack, or when you are sad you should eat for comfort. People get confused about why they are behaving in a way that is not helpful or they can’t control. This is because the subconscious is the more powerful force and is leading behaviour and emotion.
You can use will power to try and beat an issue, but will power comes from the conscious mind so may only be temporary. Long lasting change needs to be made in the subconscious.
To access the subconscious mind and make changes you need to relax the conscious mind. You can do this with Hypnotherapy (trance hypnosis) or NLP (waking hypnosis). Once the conscious mind is relaxed, the subconscious is present and changes can be made. Sort of like recoding (in a safe and pleasant way).
You will experience wonderful relaxing feelings and connect to the subconscious part of your mind. The part that seems to be on a whole different level and you experience different thoughts that sometimes you can’t even put into words.
The reason you have emotions that you don’t understand
Because your subconscious is accessed by bypassing your conscious mind, when you rationally try and understand why you feel how you feel, the true reason may not be apparent because it is buried in the subconscious.
This is often the case for people who have experienced trauma that bury that stuff so deep inside, they never really think about it.
Sometime the case with grief too.
Because no one really likes pain do they. (Well maybe those lot on Ninja Warrior but not the rest of us!). So the good old subconscious (remember always aiming to look after you) buries that deep down inside. But as the saying goes, the truth will always out and oops there it is….
How the problem presents itself….
Now I have a fair few years as a therapist under my belt but I never assume because the subconscious is super clever and even my client may not understand the processing that takes place.
But what I can tell you is that behind most issues that we face there is an emotion and emotions are held where? In the subconscious!
Here are some the things that I see clients for where there are obvious and less obvious emotional connections:
Depression – often linked to emotions in the past that can be cleared up
Weight loss – often linked to emotions about self esteem
Anxiety – often linked to an emotion that is buried deep
Smoking – surprisingly often linked to the emotion that drives the habit rather than the nicotine addiction
Confidence – often linked to an emotion that is buried deep
Sleep – often linked to an emotions
Stress – often linked to the emotions of overwhelm and being out of control
So what can you do to feel better?
Many people get advice from their doctor first and some end up on medication or anti depressants. some seek counselling or Pychotherapy.
It isn’t as simple as saying to the subconscious ‘change this’. The subconscious is like a child. It needs to believe what is being said, it needs to feel its the right thing to do. It needs to buy into it and the conscious mind has to also want the change (that is usually the case where someone has got to the point they seek help unless there is a secondary gain).
A good Hypnotherapist or NLP Master Practitioner will work with you to make the changes to the emotions that drive the behaviours that made you seek help.
I call it ‘soothing and smoothing’. Sooth the pain and smooth the trigger and issue, Job done. Feel better 🙂
I am even able to work content free by working directly with the subconscious without talking about the issue specifically. I don’t need to know the issue/trauma necessarily but the subconscious does.
Children operate in the subconscious a lot! They have wonderful imagination and intuition. They respond to stories which appeal to the subconscious and significant changes can be made to their lives, meaning happier childhoods and lasting change through to adulthood.
The subconscious is also like a sponge for storing positivity as well as negativity. So accessing your subconscious and pumping it full of lovely positivity is really cool. This is what successful people do regularly! Just ask Tony Robbins 🙂
Get in touch so I can help you or your child.
I use Hypnotherapy, NLP, Reiki and life coaching to help children over 5 and adults overcome problems and issues. I work face to face in Lancing, Worthing, Shoreham and Brighton and worldwide on Skype. I love talking to people and would happy to have a chat with you about how I could help you or your child.