Category Archives: Sleep

Am I addicted?

Have you ever wondered if you are an addict? Chances are that you probably have some form of addiction or another. If you smoke, drink daily, can’t start the morning without a coffee or end dinner without dessert then you may have an addiction.

An addiction is defined as not having control over doing, taking or using something to the point where it could be harmful to you.

So let’s think about that for a moment. We know smoking is harmful to us so it’s easy to see that as an addiction, but other things are sometimes more difficult to see that way. Did you know that you should go at least 3 days a week without drinking any alcohol in order for your liver to recover? So drinking alcohol every day is damaging, even if it’s only a small glass of wine with dinner. If the idea of giving up booze for three days a week is uncomfortable – you have an addiction.

How about sugar? We know that too much sugar in our diet causes obesity and increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Still fancy a doughnut? Then you, my friend, are addicted!

Is there such a thing as a healthy addiction? Looking back at the definition, no there isn’t, but it’s not quite that simple.

Some people go to the gym every day. Exercising is good for us right? Yes, of course it is, but exercising every day is not. Your body needs time to recover and heal from exercise too. If you can’t have a rest day, you have an addiction. If you are exercising against doctors orders, you have an addiction. if you are exercising when you are unwell, you have an addiction. If you are exercising on an injury ….you guessed it.

How about a healthy diet. If you read my blog regularly you will now that I am always banging on about eating healthily. Veggies are good for you, nutrient rich food is important, eat you fibre blah blah blah. But if you are out with friends and can’t order off the menu because there’s nothing on it you can eat (and you don’t have specific allergies related to the foods) then you may have a type of addiction. It’s known as orthorexia, and it’s where people restrict their food choices in an unhealthy way.

Addiction is everywhere. I would suggest a few things.

First – Recognise your own addictions. If you don’t know you have them it’s very difficult to do something about them. Look at your day in a critical way and ask yourself is there any part of it that you would be unhappy if you couldn’t do. Then ask yourself – is that a healthy habit?

Second – ask those you love, and who love you, for their input. You may be surprised that they come up with things you may never have thought of. Things like excessive personal hygiene, excessive cleaning, watching too much porn and gaming often come up from other people.

Third – Try to change your routine to cut out your addiction.

Finally – Remember PEOPLE QUIT STUFF THEY ARE ADDICTED TO ALL THE TIME. Let that sink in for a moment. Just because you are addicted now, does not mean that you have to stay addicted. Yes it will feel uncomfortable. Yes it will be tricky and Yes, you CAN do it.

If people can quit heroin, you can quit smoking. If people can quit crack cocaine, you can quit sugar. I know you like it – they probably liked their heroin too.


Some people can kick their addictions on their own, and I would always suggest that as a first try. If however you struggle, that does not mean you have no other choices. Get support and help to quit your addiction from professionals who have the skills to help 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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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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Everyone said

Here’s my weekly poem – I hope you enjoy it

It Couldn’t Be Done

BY EDGAR ALBERT GUEST

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
      But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!
Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
      At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
      And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

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Word of the Month – Persistence

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Persistence

Lets be honest – this is where most of us fall down.

We start off with good intentions, full of enthusiasm for what we are about to do, the mountains we’ll climb, the heights we will reach, the success we’ll achieve.

Then we start to get a bit bored.

It starts to seem like a bit too much work.

We forget what we wanted to achieve in the first place and start to think about what we want to do right at this particular moment.

Maybe a few obstacles have got in our way.

Maybe someone has said something that has demotivated us.

Maybe those mountains seem a bit too high right now.

You haven’t failed until you’ve stopped trying.

Persistence is King

It’s said that experts in a field have failed at it more times than most people have even tried.

Persistence

Mastering a skill – really mastering it – takes about 10,000 hours of practice.

Persistence

So, think back to the start of this year – what did you want to achieve?

Are you still on track?

If not, maybe it’s time to remember why you wanted to do it in the first place.

Pick yourself up, forgive yourself for not being as amazing as you had hoped you would be and get back on it.

Persistence

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The Blogging Habit

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Most of the people reading this will be bloggers.

There are many reasons for people to blog. Some want to shout into empty space, some want to unload to a place where no one knows who they are, some just want to share their stories, but most of us want followers.

So why do we want followers?

For some people it may be affirmation that what they are saying is interesting. For others it may be a boost to their egos. Others are using their blog to promote or sell something. Some may be trying to launch a writing career. What ever your personal reason to blog, if you want followers then you have to get into the habit of blogging regularly.

I know. I started this blog about 18 months ago and I had this silly idea that if I blogged once a month or so, somehow, people would magically find me and my stuff and would all want to know what was coming next. Some did, and for that I am genuinely grateful, but numbers were low. In retrospect, that wasn’t really very surprising. Firstly, there just wasn’t enough material there for people to get what they needed from my blog. Secondly, how were they supposed to know it was there?

In August last year I set myself a little blogging challenge. I decided that I was going to blog every day for 90 days. I didn’t have a goal for how may new followers or likes I wanted. I just knew I wanted to start a new blogging habit of writing EVERY DAY.

To start with it was relatively easy. I was full of enthusiasm and ideas that came pouring out. About 3 weeks in it started to get a little harder. I struggled to think what I would write about, I was worried about repeating myself, I started to make excuses for why I shouldn’t complete my 90 days.

Then I made a plan.

I wrote down a little blogging plan. I thought about topics that I could add to each week. I thought about big ideas that could run and run. I thought about fun things that I liked writing about. All of a sudden I had mapped out the next couple of months topics and I was back to feeling excited about it.

I’m not saying I always stuck to the plan. Sometimes a new and exciting idea would come along or maybe something would happen in the news that inspired me, but I always had something to write about.

Before I knew it my 90 days were up, and do you know what I did to celebrate this milestone? I blogged about it!

Blogging had become my new habit and I enjoyed it.

This works for blogging, but it also works for any other thing you might be wanting to change in your life. What we do is generally a matter of habit. So whether you are trying to make new habits or change old ones, make a plan, make it achievable and get on with it. Before you now it, it will just be something you do.

Then you get to reap the rewards.

If your habits change your body you’ll see it, If they change your mind, you’ll feel it, and if they change your wealth you’ll notice it.

What habits do you want to make or break that will leave you feeling better for 2015?

Here are some ideas.

Diet – eat 7 portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day

Exercise – 30 minutes a day

Meditation – meditate daily

Blogging – blog daily

Business – build your online profile

Relationships – speak to at least one friend a day

Partner – compliment your partner at least once a day

Mindfulness – practice being in the moment daily

Hobby – spend some time each week doing something you enjoy

Experiences – try something new every week

Learning – learn a new skill

Little changes make large differences – where do you want to be in 2016? What are you doing to get there?

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Make it happen

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January 1, 2015 · 5:20 pm

It’s all about balance

balance sue

Christmas is not known as a season of balance. It tends to be about excess, decadence and over indulgence.

Personally I think that’s OK.

Being balanced all the time can get a bit bland – and maybe a bit of unbalance is sometimes required in a balanced life in order to balance things even more….

But here’s the thing about excess – you have to stop it before it starts to become normal.

I hope you’ve eaten, drunk and been Merry, but it’s time to thinks about redressing the balance.

I have a few friends who are going to be dryathletes in January – They’ve taken the pledge to steer clear of alcohol for a month. This is a great way of supporting your body and mind returning to a more healthy routine. Whether you have a problem with it or not, alcohol is a poison. You really do yourself a favour by keeping clear of it.

I don’t drink much as it is so going dry for January is fairly non eventful for me. I’m going to try to redress the balance of eating too much meat and sugar over Christmas. January is going to be about fruits and vegetables. Soups, stews and salads for me! I have to say I’m rather looking forward to it.

Have a think about what you may have been overindulging in and what you can do in January to help find your balance.

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It’ll be OK – I promise

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