Category Archives: Exercise

Self Care Advent Calendar Day 5

Hi there, I can’t believe how quickly this is going. Day 5 already.

So, we’re up, clean and dressed, well fed, we’ve been out and we have a plan for the rest of the month – what can possibly come next???

How about we take a little care of our environment?

The area we are in most tends to be our home. It often makes me smile to see how someones’s home can be a reflection of their mind. Clean ordered environments are helpful to create a clean, ordered mind. Now, clean and ordered may not be a desirable state for you…maybe you need high energy or a creative chaos…It’s your mind you get to choose, but if you are trying to create an environment that promotes a sense of peace and calm, a good tidy can do wonders.

That’s right a tidy and a clean. I’ve hehypard the ancient art of Feng Shui described as ‘spiritual tidy up’ but that’s not really what I’m talking about. I just mean, put some stuff away, create some space and get cleaning.

By putting ‘stuff’ away in our physical world we can encourage our subconscious to put away things that you are fed up of thinking about – you know those annoyingly niggly thoughts that aren’t very helpful to you, like worrying if you sounded silly in that conversation, or wondering what someone meant when they said you ‘looked good’.

When we create space in our physical world we can use it to remember to make space in our mental world. How often do you sit watching TV whilst typing on your computer? Or listen to music whilst scrolling through your social media? We are no longer satisfied with doing one thing at once, let alone doing nothing, yet giving your mind space to do nothing is very valuable to it. If you practice mindfulness, meditation, tai chi or yoga you are creating wonderful spaces in your mental landscape and that has been shown to have amazing health benefits. From improving immune systems to combating depression, creating space is an important part of self care.

By cleaning our physical world we get a number of benefits. Firstly it’s a bit of exercise, and that is great for your mind and body. Using muscles, getting the blood flowing, increasing the oxygen getting to your brain. All good things. Secondly you are reducing allergens, bacteria and toxins in your environment, helping your body to stay healthier. Thirdly you will create a sweeter smelling, more enjoyable environment to be in. You can enjoy this yourself, but it also means that if you have guests, you will feel more confident, be more relaxed and enjoy yourself more. Brilliant!

If your home is always immaculate (well done you – what’s the secret?) then put your feet up for 5 minutes and enjoy it. Make that mental space and enjoy your home.


For most of us cleaning up is a bit of a chore but for some with mental health issues it can become a nightmare. If you struggle with O.C.D. or Hoarding you can get the help you need to feel comfortable in your own home again. Give a hypnotherapist a call and see what could be possible.

 

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Self Care Advent Calendar day 3

Here we are on day 3 clean, dressed and full of healthy food – so what now?

Get out.

It’s as simple and complicated as that – Get out.

My best advice is to go and be in nature with friends, but that’s not always possible, so let’s start small and build up.

I don’t care what the weather is like, or how you are feeling, getting outside is good for you (unless you’re severely immuno-compromised and should be in a bubble). There is something in out bodies that responds to being outside. Natural light helps our brains to operate properly, sunlight on out skin creates essential vitamins and feeling a breeze stimulates our mind. These things are good for us. Admittedly, it’s less pleasant if it’s cold, grey and rainy – but even then it’s still good for us. Billy Connolly once famously said ‘there is no bad weather, just the wrong clothes’, so go put on some ‘right clothes’ and get out there.

Maybe out there means nothing more than stepping outside your front door. If that’s all you can manage, that’s fine, but still go and stick your head out of the door. Maybe it means getting into the garden and tidying a few things up – pull up the odd dead plant or weed, encourage and nurture the ones you like, feed the birds or squirrels…whatever you fancy.

Maybe getting out can be more of a journey – a walk to the shop or the park. A little exercise can do wonders for your body and mind. Firstly you get the physical benefits, but then you get the mental ones too – the feeling of having achieved something.

Maybe it could be an adventure – now we’re really cooking! Is there somewhere within walking distance from your house that you’ve never been to? Who knows where this could lead. Maybe you find a new church or social club that you could be involved with, maybe you see a notice looking for volunteers, maybe a poster for a gig you want to see.

Then what if we venture out a little further…could we go somewhere we’ve never been and explore it by walking around it? Could we invite friends or family and turn it into a trip? Could there be food and drink? What about music or games? Maybe there are tents, yurts, tee pee’s or caravans… What have we started here???

Self care is about feeling and being the best version of yourself. If it helps you to be alone, to recharge by being in your own space, go out on your own. If you yearn to be around others, ask them to join you. If there is no-one in your life to join you, but you would like there to be, make that a priority whilst you are out and about. Look for opportunities to get involved in groups by volunteering or joining social events. Look for walking or running groups and take the plunge to join in. 20 seconds on bravery could change your life.

So put the screen away, grab a comfy pair of shoes and Get Out!


Social anxiety and agoraphobia can lead people to become stuck in their own homes. This is a tragic shame for anyone suffering from it and it’s unnecessary. There are ways you can be free to enjoy your life again. As a hypnotherapist I love helping people to get their life back, so don’t just suffer, make a change to make your life the best it can be.

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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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Leap Year 2016 – Your Bonus Day

Hello shiny happy people.

Today is a bonus day – What are you going to do with it?

If you had to work today and you’re on a salary- that kind of sucks for you, because you’re working for free today. If however you are paid hourly, you’re earning BONUS money today – what will you spend it on?

You could spend it on food and rent and normal stuff, but where’s the fun in that? That’s not BONUS time.

Why not treat yourself to something you wouldn’t normally do

-buy some organic food

-book a therapy session

-get a facial

-try an art lesson

or then again, maybe you could use your bonus to give someone else a bonus

-donate to charity

-give to a homeless person

-help out your local animal shelter

-give to a food bank

Then again, maybe you’re not working at all – so you have bonus time!

Wow, what a treat!

What have you been putting off that you could get done on your bonus day?

Or then again maybe you’ve been getting bogged down with stuff and you could use your bonus day to give yourself a break?

Or maybe there’s something that you think you’d never do – maybe today is an opportunity to be daring?

Who Knows? Not me!

The one thing I do know though, is that time is precious. Don’t waste it, don’t expect it and act as though today could be your last day – one day you’ll be right and it would be such a shame to look back at time you could have enjoyed but didn’t quite find the time.

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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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January Blues? 5 ways to feel better NOW

We’re coming to the end of January and for some, it can feel like a difficult time of the year. Christmas is over (though the credit card bills may not be) and the new years resolutions are an uphill battle. If things are getting on top of you, here are some quick things you can do to make yourself feel better now.

  1. Get outdoors.

Yes I know, the weather may not be what you’d like, but that’s probably the best reason to get out there. We can all suffer from a lack of vitamin D if we’re not getting enough sun, so it’s especially important in the winter months to get out whenever you can. Also getting some exercise in the great outdoors has other health benefits. A brisk stroll or gentle jog will get the heart rate up, burn calories and help you fend off a multitude of problems like dementia and type 2 diabetes, so pull out your woolly hat and get out there!

2. Eat clean.

The benefits of eating clean healthy food is enormous and very well documented. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s a good idea for your body, but what you may not be aware of, is that it’s a good idea for your mind too. By taking the time to eat well and look after yourself, you will give yourself a psychological boost. Not only will you feel proud of yourself for making positive changes, but you will also, subconsciously, feel more valued and appreciated by yourself. This in turn leads to feelings of more self worth and importance. The long term affects of eating clean will leave you looking healthier and more vital, so you will also start to get that recognition from others which in turn boosts your confidence.

3. Be mindful.

Practice being in the moment. Whether your going for a walk, sitting cross-legged burning incense or peeling the potatoes, you can spend a couple of minutes every day being mindful. I heard a great phrase – Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t make them tea. Being mindful is just that. Be in the moment, allow whatever thoughts come into your mind, and release them. Don’t focus on them, just notice them and let them go. You don’t have to do anything about a thought that pops in your head.

4.Be grateful.

One of the things that happy people tend to have in common is that they’re grateful for what they have. It may be riches, friends and beauty, or it may be being alive, having another opportunity to try again and a roof over their heads. However much you have, you will always find others who have more – and you will find others that have less. You can either be filled with envy or grateful. It doesn’t change your situation, but it does change how you feel – remember, you are in charge of that.

5.Stop feeling guilty

Guilt is a horrible emotion. It makes you feel bad and it makes those around you feel bad. Whatever you are feeling guilty about, STOP IT! Change your behaviour, change your feelings, change your life – it’s in your control. Guilt not only makes us feel bad, but it makes us behave in ways that we wouldn’t normally consider. In my humble opinion it is at the root of lots of cases of depression, low self esteem and even suicide. If you are feeling guilty about something that happened in the past, do what you can to make amends for it. If you can do nothing more about it, let it go and move on. I know that sounds difficult to do, but if you’re struggling to achieve it on your own, get help. There are plenty of people who are ready and willing to help you do this, either within your own social circle or professionally, so don’t suffer in silence.

Do these 5 things and finish January feeling fabulous – and if all else fails, start planning your summer hols 🙂

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Being Selfish

Let me start off by saying – I love what I do.

I’m a Hypnotherapist and every time I help a client to get past some issue or another it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

I love it so much when I get emails from them telling me how they are getting on now that their stumbling block is gone.

But just like with everything else in life – sometimes I need a break from it.

That’s what I’m doing this week.

Instead of concentrating on clients, I’m focussing on me.

I’m getting my diet back to where it should be.

I’m exercising every day.

I’m working on what I want from life and how to get it.

I’m being genuinely selfish – and I think it’s a good thing.

We all know people who are tired martyrs. They go through life doing everything for everyone else and very little for themselves. I quite often get to see these people when they have had enough – when they’ve burned themselves out. They come to me as anxious, nervous people who feel that everyone is taking advantage of them and that no-one appreciates them. Their stress levels are frequently through the roof and their self esteem can be very low. They often externalize their self esteem, so that they only feel good if other people are telling them how wonderful they are. The problem is that after a while you stop appreciating people who are ALWAYS doing things for you and you come to expect it from them. In fact you can go so far as to be upset with them if they stop for some reason, even if that reason is sickness or exhaustion.

The first thing I try to establish with these clients is a sense of self worth – not what others appreciate – but what they do. Once you have a genuine sense of self worth, you can start to be nicer to yourself and as a consequence, are sometimes nicer to those around you. This can be easier said than done, but hypnosis is a wonderful tool.

The next thing that comes from being nicer to yourself is making space in your life to take care of yourself. At its essence this is being selfish – and yes – I still think that’s a good thing. Thinking of yourself is important. Taking care of yourself is important. Being selfish is important.

As with almost everything in life, it’s about balance.

People who spend too much time just thinking of themselves can be even more self-destructive than those who never do.

So how much Selfish is good?

Honestly – that depends on you. It depends on those around you. It depends on what you are trying to achieve.

My challenge to you today is to ask yourself 3 questions….

‘Am I being selfish enough?’

‘Am I being too selfish?’

and finally ‘What am I going to do about it?’

Wishing you all balance and harmony, go and have a great day 🙂

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How are you going through life?

I heard someone talking on the TV this morning. They had been married to a man who was an outspoken atheist and was killed by religious extremists – she herself had been severely attacked at the same time. The interviewer asked her how she coped now. She relayed something her husband said to her – ‘when I’m travelling along in my little sail boat and the waters seem to big or to dark, I look up and I find you, ready to pull me along’. I just stay who I am, solid, and keep going.

As a hypnotherapist I’m very interested in peoples metaphors. It has been said that our metaphors are actually a direct line to our subconscious. The words we choose, the way that we express ourselves, often has little to do with a deliberate thought – we just say what we feel. When that expression comes in the way of a metaphor it can be very revealing.

So I ask the question – How are you going through life?

Are you the centre of your own universe?

Are you travelling through an environment? If so what is that environment like? Is it scary or friendly? Is it free or constrained?

Are you on the ground or on water or in the air?

Are you in charge of your journey?

Have you got things or people with you?

If you are stuck – how can you become free?

If you are let loose – how can you take a step in the right direction?

What is around you?

How does this relate to other things?

Is there anything else that you notice about your metaphor?

What does it mean to you?

It doesn’t just work with your journey through life. You can use this metaphor process for anything. Maybe you want to think about the blog you are writing, the relationship you are in, your work life or business…what ever you want to think about.

It’s worth thinking about this for yourself, but it’s even better to talk about these things with someone else to see what their perspective may be on it…maybe a friend, maybe a therapist….that’s up to you.

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The process of learning – going from I can’t to I can

So, I’m trying to learn a new skill.

Have you ever seen the film Labyrinth with David Bowie?

Did you see the bit where the crystal balls are moved around as though they were made of air and free from gravity?

Well that’s what I’m trying to learn to do.

It’s really hard.

But then almost everything is when you can’t do it – it only becomes easy, or relatively easy, when you can do it.

So that’s what I’m trying to do – go from I can’t to I can.

Now, I know that this process may take months.

I may lose my desire to achieve it before I ever master it.

I may decide that’s it’s just too difficult for me (I don’t have the best hand eye coordination).

I may get bored or super frustrated with my inability.

But then again – maybe I won’t.

Right now I can’t do it – I can barely balance the ball on the back of my hand.

Soon I will get better at that. Then I can move onto the next step.

Lots of little steps to get good at…then one day I will be able to do it.

I’ll have gone from I can’t to I can.

Next time you tell yourself you can’t do something ask yourself some questions…

…What to I need to do in order to be able to do it?

What steps must I learn along the way?

Is there some resource I could use to help me?

What support could I have?

If you get these things right there is almost nothing that you can’t do …. eventually.

Here’s a taster of what I’m working towards…

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