Feeling grateful for the good things in life refocuses our thoughts and energy which makes us feel happier. However bad the day gets there is always something to be thankful for. Often these are everyday things we take for granted, like our home, our family & friends, our job, food on the table but how would we feel if we didn’t have them? This is the same life, viewed differently. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive for things we want, just repackage them as goals while still appreciating what we have.
This past year has shown us how quickly life can change, how everyday things we took for granted can disappear. Lockdown has reinforced for me how much I love my job, how supportive of each other my friends have been and what a difference a quick message can make to someone’s day.
Making small changes to how we view our lives can reap huge benefits. What are you grateful for today?
Take this further by practising gratitude everyday, think or write down 3 things for which you are grateful. Then spread the gratitude, tell people how thankful you are to have them in your life. Try it and let me know if you feel happier for bringing gratitude into your everyday life.
‘Almost everything benefits from being unplugged for a few minutes, including you’ Anne Lamott
16th Jan 2021
At the start of the new year I made a conscious decision to switch off more & reset with the help of some mindfulness techniques. Now, once my Zoom meeting has ended, I switch off & move. I check social media, emails, messages & news once or twice a day (mostly!) rather than it being a constant thing through the day. I’ve regained time, time that I’ve used to meditate more often, get back on the yoga mat, read those books, plan & think a little more. I am better for switching off & feel a bit more like me again.
If this resonates with you, maybe review your media consumption & online time & make a conscious decision to switch off for a short time each day. If you need some motivation or mindfulness techniques to help, take a look at the self help guides on the website by click here.
A Good Time for Pause & Reflection
My boys are going back to school & uni soon so the busy, carefree summer gives way to a quieter, more routine autumn. Lazy evenings in the garden change to more productive evenings reading, studying & exploring new ideas and goals for my business and personal life.
I have found this is a much easier, more natural time for me to reflect on past events and plan ahead as the days are still warm and bright so I am more likely to stick to my plans rather than making New Year resolutions in the depth of winter when the lure of a sofa & blanket are all too inviting.
Currently I am focussed on my fitness, or lack of it! As life and work got busier, I found it harder to fit it my old routine of morning walks & evening yoga, then my Pilates class stopped for the summer. In recent weeks I got back on the yoga mat & despite the initial creaking of joints, I felt so much better for it. This morning I went for a walk along the seafront, there was a chill breeze which really woke me up, the walk gave me time to think so I felt invigorated & motivated when I got home, reminding me why exercise is so good for our mind as well as our body (I need to bottle that feeling for when my motivation slips). I have challenged myself to keep this up. Pilates class starts again this week so that focus each week will help to maintain my motivation to keep up with my own practice too.
Is this a good time for you to pause, reflect & make changes?
If motivation is holding you back take a look at the Increasing Motivation guide on my Useful Information/download page by click here.
Stop & look up
Lymphatic System - keep it moving
However, the lymphatic system doesn’t have its own pump so relies on the contraction of muscles from movement, deep breathing, blood pressure and temperature to push the lymph fluid around the system through the lymph nodes and recirculate it back into the bloodstream.
Tiredness, infection, stress, lack of exercise and/or dehydration can cause the lymphatic system to become sluggish or blocked. This may lead to tissue swelling and the accumulation of toxins would prevent cells from functioning effectively leading to issues with metabolism and infections.
To help the lymphatic system operate at its full potential we need to keep moving. Regular exercise and keeping hydrated is something we can all fit into our daily routine, alternating our coffee/tea with a glass of water, taking the stairs instead of using a lift or escalator. Massage and dry brushing also help to keep this vital system working & keeping us well. Bouncing on a rebounder or mini trampoline is apparently very effective at getting your lymph fluid moving too.
So do your whole body a favour & keep moving.
The Effects of Stress
We live in a fast-paced, competitive world where a tip in the balance caused by overwork, concerns over finances, relationship issues, increased responsibilities, bereavement or just trying to keep up with it all, can create chronic stress. HSE statistics show that during 2015/16, 45% of all work day lost to ill health were down to work related stress. Even happy events like an impending house move, new baby or wedding can increase our stress levels.
So, what can you do?
Identify & tackle the cause of your stress
It may sound obvious but a happy event that is causing stress may be overlooked.
If you feel overloaded, consider delegating tasks? Talk to someone.
Step away from your desk if work is an issue. Use your lunchbreak to take a walk outside, the break will make you more productive in tackling the workload on your return.
Make a list of tasks then prioritise them.
Take time out
Take time for yourself to relax with a good book, take a trip out or try a new hobby.
Meditation has been shown to reduce stress so download a mindfulness/meditation app to your phone (there are several free ones) & listen to it.
Studies indicate that exercise improves your mental health so get outside for a walk or a run, take a yoga class or go for a swim, find an activity you enjoy.
Its all about Balance
We are all unique so try a few things to find what works for you. The key is relaxation to help restore your body’s natural balance to enable you to cope with stressful situations. Balancing work and home commitments with time to do the things you enjoy is vital.
Seek help from your GP if self-help doesn’t relieve the situation.
Its sentiment resonated with me & reflects how I feel about Reiki. I believe Reiki is within all of us, is accessible to everyone and more importantly is hugely beneficial to us all.
So if you're curious about Reiki take a look at the article by clicking on the link below.
I always ask my clients this question.
Lots of us don't drink anywhere near the amount recommended by the European Food Safety Authority, which is at least 1.6 litres for women & 2 litres for men a day.
Water helps the body to flush out toxins, aid digestion, in fact, the body needs water to function properly.
Studies show that dehydration impairs our concentration, adversely affects our mood, our energy levels and causes headaches.
So if you're feeling sluggish, check how much water you've drunk or just drink a glass of water.
Much has been published about using meditation to calm our minds, make us more productive & happier but when are you going to fit it in? The last thing you need is something else to beat yourself up about not doing!
I thought the same & when I did try to meditate I found I couldn't settle or concentrate. I thought I had to clear my mind & I just couldn't.
So instead of trying to empty my mind, I started to accept the thoughts flying around in my head but not dwell on them. I started by spending 10 minutes with my eyes closed, just being aware of my thoughts. Once I relaxed about the process, I found it easier to fit in a 10-minute session. In the winter I found it easier during the evening, in the summer I found morning mediation worked for me. On really busy days, I meditate in the shower. If I miss the odd day I use a guided meditation or mindfulness app on my phone to guide me back into the practice; I find this also helps when I struggle to switch off.
The benefits of meditation for me is that I'm much calmer, I don't react as negatively as I used to, I can't remember when I last got really angry (at least when I wrote this). I find that I let the trivial stuff go & focus on the important things. I feel happier & more in control of my feelings - I don’t try to control situations because I feel able to cope with the unexpected.
So don't dismiss meditation, just find your way of doing it. A way that suits you & your lifestyle. The time spent really will be worth it.
My tips for meditation beginners
- Give yourself 10 minutes
- Find a quiet space where you won't be disturbed
- Sit comfortably with a straight back
- Allow your shoulders to drop & close your eyes
- Take 3 deep, slow breaths then let your breath return to normal
- When a thought comes into your head, acknowledge it & let it go (it can wait for 10 minutes)
- At the end, open your eyes, stretch & carry on
Give yourself 10 minutes meditation time every day for a week & see the difference it makes
My Journey with Holistic Therapies
I love complementary therapies & have experienced the benefits they offer. I continue to practice mindfulness, meditation & Reiki daily in line with my Reiki training, I have found this immensely beneficial to my wellbeing.
I am passionate about my work & keep up-to-date with research projects, new ideas and continue to train in complementary therapies.