Category Archives: addiction

Self Care Advent Calendar Day 16

If you read my post yesterday, you’ll know that I wrote this yesterday in an attempt to get ahead of the game – I hope you enjoy it. What did you get ahead of, and how do you feel about it today knowing that you have one less thing to do?

One of the reasons I wanted to get this done yesterday is that today is my Partner’s Birthday. He is away at work in the morning, but will be home by afternoon and I want to make sure that the house is nice and clean, his favourite food and drinks are bought and prepared and that I can spend all my time celebrating with him.

Which brings me on to today’s topic – time.

The most valuable commodity you have is your time. We all have a limited amount of it – 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year and who knows how may years in our life. We sell our time to our clients or our employers. We give our time to our friends and family. Some of us have more than we know what to do with, some of us could do with bonus hours in the day and days in the week. Time is precious.

I often have people tell me that they don’t have time to do things. Exercise , meditation, cooking for themselves, mindfulness etc. My response tends to be that we all have the same amount of time in a day, we just have to decide how we are going to use it. When you say you don’t have time, what you mean is I prioritise other things over this.

Have you ever had a conversation with a child who wants you to do something with them, and you’ve said that you don’t have time. Try reframing that sentence into a priority statement. Instead of saying I don’t have time, you say it as I am prioritising something else over doing this with you. Now if the thing you are prioritising is important, that’s ok. Some things have to take priority – earning money to pay bills, buying food to eat, cooking meals to keep them healthy. If the thing you are prioritising is less important or maybe even selfish, then this sentence can highlight that and help you to see things in a more honest way. For example if you tell someone that you are prioritising getting drunk over helping them with something important to them, then you are going to struggle to justify that.

So, spend your time wisely today – and every day. It’s one of the few things you can never get back.


One of the ways you can tell if you, or someone you know, has an addiction is the way they prioritise their time. If fulfilling the addiction takes priority over everything else, like being with others, taking care of themselves or their children, or working, then it’s time to get some serious help. Hypnotherapy and other talking therapies are one of the best ways to help you break free of addictive patterns. See if you can get the need today.

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 13

I hope that you enjoyed doing nothing yesterday (and if you didn’t, why not?) Take a little time out to do nothing today as well, and tomorrow, and the day after etc etc.

One thing I would like you to think about doing today is having a sort out.

Clean out a drawer, a cupboard, a wardrobe or the garage (if you’re feeling particularly adventurous you could even attack the attic)

Even the most organised types have a drawer or box where all the junk goes and most of us need to sort things out on a fairly regular basis to make sure that we don’t get lost in an avalanche of things falling out of a certain cupboard in the house.

There are many ways of decluttering and organising, you only have to have a quick search on pinterest to find lots of hints and tips for sorting your stuff out. One method that I particularly like is the Marie Kondo method. Basically what you do is form a pile of the items you want to declutter – clothes for instance – then pick each one up in turn and ask yourself it brings you joy? If it does keep it, if it doesn’t get rid of it.

As a massive fan of the Gilmore Girls I was super excited to watch the new season – a year in the life. Lorelai’s Mum goes through a big life change (no spoilers here) and tackles the Marie Knodo method of decluttering, and it’s brilliant to watch. A woman who has everything that money can buy, but finds little joy in so much of it. Yet the things she does find joy in are the things to pay attention to.

A while ago I read something that struck a chord with me – trying to make yourself happy by buying more stuff is like trying to deal with your hunger by strapping sandwiches to yourself. Having stuff does not make you happy. Sometimes not having stuff can make you unhappy – but that’s a bit different, and shouldn’t be confused. so, look at the things around you a decide if they bring you joy.

When we have a good declutter a couple of things tend to happen. Firstly we feel pretty good about ourselves. It’s good to feel organised and on top of things. Secondly, if we recycle or donate the things we are getting rid of we can feel good about that too. Thirdly a lot of people find that having less stuff give them a clearer head and a more relaxed frame of mind. All of these things are good self care.

What’s stopping you? A clear out before Christmas will help you to feel better, and depending on what you donate  you may end up making someone else’s Christmas a lot better.


For most of us decluttering is something we just need to do every now and then to keep things straight, but for some it’s a real problem. If you are, or know someone who is, a hoarder, then you know how serious this can be. Hoarding is a psychological problem that can be helped but is very difficult to deal with on your own. Get help from people who know how to support you.

 

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 11

How are you doing? Are you where you want to be? What would be different if you had started doing things differently a year ago?

Would you be thinner? Richer? Calmer? Fitter? Healthier? In a different job? In a relationship? Out of a relationship? In your own home? Running your own business? Selling your own book?

The thing is it’s not too late to do this….where could you be this time next year?

Do you have a dream? Well stop dreaming and make a plan.

That’s your task for today. Make a plan for something you want to happen in your life.

Start with a goal, then think of the three main things that need to happen to get you to your goal.

Then break down the three things you need to get done in the same way. Repeat until you have a good idea of the steps you need to take to get you to your goal. The more you break it down, the more detailed your plan will be.

Once you’ve written down the plan, assign some dates to when you will get things done by. Mark it on a calendar for next year so you know what you want to be doing. Hold yourself accountable for hitting your deadlines. You may not always make them, and that’s OK, but know what you’re aiming for.

Think about who you can involve to help you? Can they be part of keeping you on track?

What might get in your way? If you can think of anything that could derail your plan, you can probably think of a way of getting around it too. Good planning involves thinking about obstacles and how to bypass them. It also involves contingency plans for those things that you didn’t see coming.

I know making the first steps can be the hardest part when you are working towards a long term goal, but put a little faith in yourself and be brave.

Who knows where you’ll be or what you’ll be doing this time next year.

 

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 9

Welcome my lovely troupe. We are currently ho ho ho ing our way through December and spending each day making sure we survive (and maybe even thrive) during the festive season.

A few of the previous posts have focused on creativity. Making things, making habits, making plans etc. So today, I want to flip that on it’s head and think about destroying something.

How can destroying something be a an act of self care? By destroying something that is negative.

We all have bad habits. Go on, admit it – you do too.

They might be habits that have a bad effect on our health, like smoking, drinking or eating junk food.

They might be habits that have a bad effect on our mental health, like worrying, putting ourselves down or listening to that negative voice.

They might be habits that have a bad effect on our relationships, like gossiping, ignoring phone calls or taking people for granted.

You get the idea.

Generally I prefer to work on creating positive habits, but breaking negative ones can be just as important. It’s difficult to lift yourself up if you are constantly being dragged back down by your behaviour.

You may think that it’s too difficult to change your bad habits – particularly if that habit is addictive – but it is possible to do it.

One of the ways I help people to change negative habits is to help them frame it positively in their mind. Let’s take smoking for example. It is more difficult to quit smoking than it is to be smoke free. Quitting has lots of negative connotations. Losers quit. I’m no quitter. What will I be missing out on? Freedom has lots of positive connotations. Free, costs nothing, escaping, choices. Just a simple word change can make the whole process so much easier.

Another way to make things easier is to think about what you will gain rather than what you will lose. Taking smoking as an example again. What will you gain by being smoke free? Peace of mind that you’re not actively causing health problems? A load of money? Fresher breath? Not having to worry about where you will be able to smoke? Not needing to think if you have enough cigarettes to see you through. What will you lose? Nothing? An addiction? Cravings (non smokers never crave a cigarette)?

As you may be able to tell from the fact that I’ve used smoking as the example, I think this is the number one habit people should be working on being free from, but you should work on what is important to you.

Make the changes you want to in your life – Imagine how fantastic you will feel a year from now when you look back at today – the day you made your life better.


Many people struggle with breaking habits on their own. If you’ve tried and failed, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it just means that you could do with a little help. The good news is Hypnotherapy is a great tool to help you to be free from those unwanted behaviours. If you want to ‘quit smoking‘ but struggle on your own, get the help you need.

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 1

Yay – It’s December! Day 1 of the advent calendar. I’ve seen many different advent calendars being sold this year. Some have nothing but pictures in, others have chocolates or toys and some more grown up ones have perfume, make-up or alcohol. All of these sound fun, but I wanted to create something which might be more useful – and FREE!

As my little Christmas gift to you I’m creating a self care advent calendar. Each day I will write a post suggesting ways that you can look after yourself. If you think that sounds a little selfish – self care – then you don’t completely understand the concept. Self care is important for those around you as well as for yourself. ‘You can’t pour from an empty vessel’ so you need to make sure you’re in good shape to help those who need you. Also, anyone who loves you will be happier knowing you are happier, so it’s good for everyone.

So what constitutes self care? It’s a broad range of activities. Sometimes self care is eating healthily, sometimes it’s having a slice of cake. Sometimes self care is a walk in the fresh air, sometimes it’s snuggling up on the sofa with a good book. Sometimes self care is being around people, sometimes it’s being alone.

Today lets start with the basics. Get up, get clean and get dressed. If you’re in a good place, that’s easy. If you’re not, it can be more difficult.

Today is the first – the start of a new month. Maybe it could be the start of something new for you? A new routine, a new way of doing your hair, a new outfit combo, whatever works for you.

If you’re in a good place – change things up. If you’re in not such a good place, get up, get clean and get dressed. If you have nowhere to go, no-one to see and nothing planned it’s all too easy to not worry about the basics. What’s the point of getting up? What’s the point of showering? What’s the point of getting dressed? The point is, it will make you feel better. Maybe a lot better, maybe just a little. Still better. Self care can be a a path travelled in baby steps. Small Challenges. Things you CAN achieve.

A strange part of out psychology is that when we achieve something – big or small – it helps us to go on to achieve other things. People often say if you want something doing, give it to someone who’s busy. Although on the surface that makes no sense (surely you would give it to the person with less to do, so that they have time to do it) but the reality is, people who get stuff done, get stuff done!

So today, be someone who gets stuff done. It’s a great way to start the month, who know’s what you’ll be able to achieve by the end of it….


If you struggle with getting started with things, you are not alone. But don’t think that you can’t change it – you can. If you struggle to do that on your own, there are plenty of people out there ready and willing to help. Look for a good therapist and get the help you need.

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Just for today….

Sometimes making changes in our life can feel overwhelming – it’s just too much. Too hard to make permanent changes, even if we know that changing will make us happier, healthier and feel better. So why not try it just for a day?

It’s a technique that people who are in recovery from an addiction know pretty well – one day at a time. It might seem incomprehensible to an alcoholic that they will never drink again. An idea of a lifetime of sobriety is just too overwhelming to consider,but a day, or an hour or even a minute may be doable. After one minute, maybe I could do one more. After one hour, the next may seem more possible. After a day, I can try another day. Success can often lead to more success, so sometimes it’s better to make small goals.

It’s a great strategy for an addict.

So ask yourself what you are addicted to. Are you hooked on self defeating attitudes? Can you go through a day without beating yourself up about something?

Not all of the suggestions below will apply to you – maybe none of them will, but maybe, just maybe you’ll find something below that you could try – Just for today.

Just for today do something you want to do, but normally don’t let yourself.

Eat the forbidden food, watch the trashy TV, say the thing you’ve been wanting to say.

Just for today do something that you know you should do, but can never get started with.

Go for a run, clean out your wardrobe, sort through your photo’s

Just for today give yourself permission to feel how you don’t normally feel.

Have a day where you stop worrying, decide that you like how you look or stop putting others first.

Just for today allow yourself to be totally in the moment.

Turn everything off. Sit quietly and notice your thoughts.

Just for today drink nothing but water.

No caffeine, no sugar, no additives, no alcohol.

Just for today be honest with yourself.

Stop making excuses, stop lying to yourself, ask yourself the difficult question.

Just for today forgive yourself.

It’s OK not to be OK. You’re human, not perfect.

Just for today don’t complain.

Think about what you’re grateful for, think about those worse off than you, think about how lucky you are.

Just for today, help.

Help your family, help your friends, help a stranger.

Just for today be kind.

Be kind to yourself, be kind to those you like, be kind to those you don’t like.

Just for today, forgive.

Let go of the anger, let go of the hate, let go of the pain.

Just for today I’ll try something new

New tastes, new activities, new strategies.

There are many things that we could all change in our lives. Sometimes they are easy, sometimes they are hard. Why not try them on for a day – you never know, you might like it. If you do, maybe try it for another day,and another, until it’s just what you do now.

If you find it hard to change things in your life, there are ways that you can make it easier. My favourite is hypnotherapy, but others are available. Try change on your own, but if at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up, get some help.

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The Story of YOU

Our self image is nothing but a story that we tell ourselves. Whether you feel happy or sad, fat or thin, clever or stupid, active or lazy, driven or laid back – it’s all just a story.

Is your Story what you want it to be?

If not, how do you change it?

First try making a list of things that you would like to be.

Maybe your list is something like this, or maybe it’s completely different – what the list is doesn’t matter – it’s YOUR story, so it needs to be YOUR list.

Kind

Reliable

Consistent

Slimmer

Happy

Fitter

Now that you’ve created your list try to prioritise it. Put the most important things to you at the top and the least important at the bottom.

 

Let’s take the first thing on your list.

The first thing I’d like you to think about is why this is important to you. Let’s take being slimmer as an example. Why do you want to be slimmer?

The answers could be any or all of the following, or maybe something else entirely, but here are a few examples.

Being healthier

Looking better

Feeling better

Feeling more confident

Socialising more

Enjoying having my picture taken more

Being able to shop in different stores

Going to different places

 

OK, so now we have a list of things we believe we will gain. How would it be if instead of working on ‘being slimmer’ we worked on being healthier or feeling more confident. Maybe by choosing to be healthier (choosing better foods and doing a little more exercise) we naturally lose weight…Maybe by working on our confidence we actually end up socialising more and doing more…again helping us to avoid sitting at home snacking and allowing us to be more involved and active. Suddenly we may be losing weight by working on what we wanted to GAIN.

But our stories are more than that. Our self image is produced by millions if not billions of different things and reality only plays a small part of it. Take for example somebody with body dismorphia. Body dismorphia is when a person has a distorted image of their body. It could be somebody who sees a fat person in the mirror, but who is actually very thin, as with anorexia or it could be somebody who sees a skinny body despite the fact they have bulging muscles and work out 8 hours a day in a gym. Their story is not created by reality. It’s created by their thoughts, by what they tell themselves over and over again.

In most cases this is triggered my things others have said to them. It may have been a case of serious bullying where they were effectively tortured by those around them into believing something false. Equally it could have been an off the cuff comment that someone once said to them that has stuck with them and they have used as a basis for their distorted belief. That person could be as close as a parent or sibling, or just a random idiot who shouted at them in the street.

So, how do you change the story?

Well the easy answer is you make a new one. Your brain is a wonderful, amazing thing, but it is also flawed. One of it’s many flaws is that it isn’t very good at differentiating between things that have actually happened and things that you make up. For example, when you watch a scary film, you KNOW that the people are just actors and the story is fiction, but it doesn’t stop your body sending adrenaline shooting into your system, making your heart beat faster and your breathing become more rapid. It’s fooled by this made up story,

The good news is you can make up whatever story you want.

So if someone once told you you were stupid and would never be able to do maths and you have had a problem with it ever since, change your story. Imagine being back in that situation and think about someone telling you that you were brilliant and that if you worked at it you would be able to get it in no time. If someone once told you you had no self control and you have been using that as a model for why you can’t refuse a piece of cake, imagine somebody telling you how disciplined and controlled you are and how proud of yourself you should be for taking control of your life.

Then practice.

The story you have told yourself has probably been told thousands of times and it may take lots of retelling to change YOUR STORY, but I promise you, you can do it.

I believe anyone can be the author of their own story, but if you need help there are professionals ready and waiting to help you. Whether they are Counsellors, Hypnotherapists or any other form of therapist, they can help you to tell your story the way you want it to be.

 

 

 

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How to write an effective To Do list (and a Not to do list)

I bet you have a ‘to do list’ – maybe it’s written down, maybe it’s just in your head, but I bet you have a list of things that you want to do.

It could be a list for the day

It could be a list for the week

It could be a list of things to do before you’re 50

It could be a bucket list

We all do it, and it’s not a bad thing. It helps us to be focussed on what we want to achieve and how we will do it. Which is great – up to a point. That point is when the ‘to do list’ becomes a burden. It becomes another thing that’s stressing us out.

So what can we do about it?

Well one of the first things you can do is to prioritise it.

Split your list down into sections.

Start with 3 things that HAVE to be done today.

This achieves a couple of things. Firstly it does that focussing thing again. You will be much more likely to achieve a small list of things that are important, than a great big list of things that you can postpone. Secondly, you will feel better when you start to tick things off that list. That in itself can give you motivation to keep at it. Now I know some of you will be saying that your ‘Have to be done lists’ are much longer than 3 items long, and I’m sure that’s true, but if you really had to put just 3 things down what would they be?

Secondly go with 3 things that you would like to do today.

These are not desperately important things, but things that you would like to get done. If you make it to these things – fantastic, Well done you – you probably deserve a treat of some sort – has someone put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea? By achieving anything on this list you are doing well. You may even be ticking off things that would be on tomorrows must do list – that’s great! You are such a winner!

Thirdly have a Not to do list.

This list is just as important. Maybe the things on it are time wasters – hobby jobs that you do even though you don’t have to. Maybe they are completely unproductive like playing Candy Crush or watching rubbish daytime TV. What ever they are, they are not helping you to tick off the important things on your list. Get rid of them until your to do list is done.

Finally have a Done list.

Don’t forget what you’ve achieved. Celebrate the fact that you have completed tasks that were important to you. If you don’t do this you can sometimes feel that you’ve worked all day for absolutely nothing. If that is how you feel, why would you want to do it all over again the next day? By recognising what you have achieved and the impact that has on your goals you can feel rightly proud of yourself.

So you’ve done it – you have your list. What are you waiting for? Get on with it already!

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Do your best

Have you ever done your best?

Have you ever tried as hard as you possibly can?

Have you done all of the preparation work that you possibly could?

Have you trained as hard as you could have?

Have you reread and rewritten your work enough?

Have you been focussed enough?

Have you tried every possible way to get it done?

Have you sought professional help or expertise?

Have you eliminated distractions?

Have you avoided all temptation?

Have you given it everything you’ve got?

Chances are that the answer is a big fat NO.

That’s OK.

(almost everyone else will say no to that too)

Stop beating yourself up. Accept that your not perfect and be a little nicer to yourself

There are, of course, exceptions – maybe you’re one of them – and if you are – Well Done.

I’m very impressed and all that but seriously – get a life!

Smile, relax, have fun, eat a cake, daydream, watch silly TV, make up stories in your head – it’s all really cool stuff 🙂

So maybe do your best, but then again, maybe don’t.

Try to be happy…

…but don’t try too hard!

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Plot Twist!

One of the few constants in life is change – ironic right?

Change can be fantastic.

Change can be devastating.

Change can be invigorating.

Change can be unnerving.

One of the few things you know it will be, is different.

So, when life throws you a curve ball – and make no mistake – at some point it will,

just yell

‘PLOT TWIST’

and move on.

Trying to hang on to the past will not help you.

Do what you can to embrace the new because before you know it your new ‘new’ will be the status quo that you are worries about changing.

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