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CORONAVIRUS: BEATING SELF-ISOLATION

The coronavirus has well and truly taken hold and is affecting us all with more and more people in self-isolation and social distancing. We don’t know how long the crisis will last and the situation is very uncertain.

As the virus spreads, the importance of self-isolating for our physical health is pretty obvious but it’s important to remember that looking after our mental health should be high up on the list too.

FEELING OUT OF CONTROL

Human beings tend to worry about things we cannot control and feeling out of control is not a nice feeling. So, establishing ways of how we can remain in control of our lives can be amazing for our mental health and lift our mood.

The announcement that schools were to close to the majority of children, added another layer of worry for parents and families concerned with how they are going to cope with having children home for an unknown length of time.

Cafe’s, pubs and restaurants are also now closed which means that we will no longer have the ability to group together and be sociable – so we have to find another way.

And now we know that all non-essential movement outside of the home is banned and we have to make do with just one walk/run/exercise a day. Life for everyone has just got harder.

We hear daily that the NHS is inundated and the doctors and nurses working throughout the crisis are struggling to cope.

This period of self-isolation is likely to be incredibly stressful if you let it, so find ways to make it as stress-free and painless as possible.

But remember…..

THIS CRISIS WILL END

It’s so important to realise that this crisis will end at some point and things will get back to, what we recognise as normal. During this completely unprecedented time we have to make some difficult and challenging decisions to reduce contact with family, friends and loved one, and being a social bunch, most human beings find it a very unnatural thing to do.

At first, having a few days at home by yourself may seem a really attractive proposition, like having a long weekend, but when reality strikes and you realise you can’t go out to meet your friends, you can’t speak to people face-to-face and all of your freedoms outside of the house are taken away from you, it may become a different story and your mental health may suffer.

ISOLATION AND MENTAL HEALTH

Being in isolation can make your mental health take a tumble in quite a short time, so it’s important that during your time of social-isolation you make sure that you do as much as you can to reduce the impact on your mental health.

THREE GRANDMOTHERS FROM SALFORD

You may have seen the story on the news about the 3 grandmothers who don’t want to self-isolate alone so they plan to self-isolating together.  They admit to being anxious about becoming ill with the virus so they have decided to take positive action and support each other through the isolation period. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-51951583/coronavirus-three-grandmothers-self-isolating-together

HOW CAN YOU HELP YOURSELF?

There are many, many ways to help yourselves through this crisis.  Maybe be like the Italians and start signing with your neighbours or helping others with shopping and chores. It’s hopeful that our communities will come together and create an amazingly positive vibe during what is a stressful and anxious time for most of us.

Below are just 5 tips to help you get through your period of self-isolation:

PLAN FOR YOUR DAY

  • Keep your routine – as far as you can keep to your same routine. Get up at the same time, shower and plan to have all meals at the same time as you do now, so you punctuate your day with normal and routine things.
  • Set time aside during your day – for the things you enjoy. Gardening, cooking, reading a book, listening to music, watching a movie, listening to the radio, playing a game, doing some exercise or crafting. Whatever activity you choose will take your mind off being isolated.
  • News bulletins – if watching the news increases your stress and anxiety, limit the time you spend watching it. Plan to catch up with news bulletins a few times a day maybe in the morning, lunchtime and again in the evening. Also, turn off the news bulletin notifications on your mobile phone and smartwatch if receiving them increases your stress and anxiety levels.

USE OUTSIDE SPACE

  • Spend time outside – remember, at the moment self-isolating doesn’t mean you can’t go outside. As long as you make sure you adhere to the guidelines of keeping an appropriate distance between you and others, there is still the opportunity to be outside, maybe a walk in the park or along the beach. Or how about spending time in your garden, if you have one, on a balcony or even by an open window can really lift your mood.

POSITIVE SPIN

  • Isolation is not a punishment – it’s for your and other’s safety so like the ladies from Salford, try to put a positive spin on being isolated at home rather than thinking it’s a punishment.
  • Declutter – spend some time each day getting through those jobs that you never have time to do. Clear out drawers and cupboards or declutter your wardrobe.
  • Be kind to yourself – you have been given some time to catch up with yourself so, do whatever you fancy doing, do it, with no guilt.

DE-STRESS

  • Exercise – take some time each day to exercise, this will be good for your mental health, lift your mood and help you maintain or increase your general fitness. Maybe look online for a suitable exercise routine or for something a little gentler, try yoga or mindfulness instead.

FIND WAYS TO KEEP IN CONTACT

  • Technology – one of the great things about these days is, despite being isolated in our homes, we are still able to speak to friends, family, and loved ones through platforms such as Skype, FaceTime, texting, and phone calls.
  • WhatsApp – why not set up a WhatsApp group so that you can chat regularly and keep up-to-date with what’s going on with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbours.
  • Book Club – there is no need to miss out on your fix of book clue, just switch to an online platform and carry on discussing your books.
  • A virtual afternoon tea – being isolated means you can’t have tea with your parents every Sunday afternoon or catch up with friends on a Friday night. But why not keep up those events by doing them virtually, via the technology available to you.
  • Social media – like or loathe social media, it can be a lifeline during this time to keep in contact with people across the world. Please remember though to keep yourself safe online and follow all the recommendations and advice about keeping safe on social media.

Until this crisis has passed, it’s so important to take care of yourselves and others.

Remember to keep washing your hands, keep your distance but above all keep safe.

If coronavirus is making you feel anxious and fearful, talking to someone about your fears might just help.  For details of how I can help you click here Home 

Or contact me now by clicking Contact

Coronavirus – update

At the time of writing I am feeling fit and healthy. However, I am all too aware that this could change at any time.

It’s my aim is to make my counselling room a safe and secure place for you to explore your thoughts and feelings, as well as a place that you can feel physically safe.

Coronavirus is challenging all of us at this time and I want you to feel safe to come to counselling.

Advice about managing the virus is changing very fast and to ensure we don’t put ourselves or others in danger it’s important we follow the NHS Guidelines https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Your safety is important to me and coming to counselling should not add to your anxiety. Whilst this epidemic continues and to ensure that I and all my clients keep as safe as possible, please note the following:

Feeling unwell

  • If I begin to feel unwell or become contagious I will contact all clients immediately to manage future sessions (please see online/phone counselling below).
  • If you begin to feel unwell please do not come to your appointment – please phone, text or email to cancel your session as soon as you begin to feel unwell.

Online or phone counselling

  • To ensure continuity and support throughout this challenging time, I am offering all clients the option to change to online or phone counselling. Please don’t hesitate to ask me for details if this is something you would be interested in doing.

Hygiene

  • I will continue to wash my hands very frequently, particularly before and after seeing each client.
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel will be provided for clients use.
  • Used tissues will be disposed of after each session.
  • Hard surfaces in my counselling room will be wiped with an antibacterial cloth between sessions.
  • Fresh water will continue to be provided in clean glasses but please feel free to bring your own drink if you prefer.

Your physical and emotional health are important to me – keep safe everyone.

HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

Coronavirus is everywhere on the news, social media and newspapers. Constantly hearing how many people have contracted or died during the epidemic can make us all feel highly anxious and fearful as we become more concerned for ourselves, family and friends.

I work with people experiencing anxiety and help them to find ways to manage their anxiety, particulalry during these challenging times.

If coronavirus is making you feel anxious and fearful, talking to someone about your fears might just help.  For details of how I can help you click here Home 

Or contact me now by clicking Contact

 

No guilt – look after yourself first!!

 

‘Before you help other passengers, put your own oxygen mask on first’

 

Oxygen mask

How many times have you heard that instruction during the in-flight safety demonstration when you’ve been flying off on a well-deserved holiday?

Does it make sense to you? Isn’t putting yourself first selfish?

Are you someone who says ‘I should be helping others first’?

Well, if you are, here’s something to think about.

SINK OR SWIM

You jump into the sea trying to save a struggling swimmer, you’re not the best swimmer, you’re not very fit and your energy and strength starts to wane after a few minutes. The voice in your head says, I should help, it’s selfish not to.

surfer rescue training
Photo by Guy Kawasaki on Pexels.com

So, what happens then? There are now 2 struggling swimmers in the sea and other people, fitter and more able to help will have to risk their lives to save you too.

KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS

It makes sense that if you dive in to help someone with anything, big or small, to make sure you are fit enough to cope with whatever they are going through.

After all, helping others is a nice thing to do isn’t it, but helping others can take a lot out of you and if it takes more energy out of you than you already have, you will end up needing help too.

HAVE YOU GOT THE RESILIENCE TO HELP OTHERS?

It’s all about self-awareness and self-care and knowing the difference between ‘should‘ and ‘could’.

Are you thinking I ‘should’ help, or I ‘could’ help?

If you are thinking I ‘should’ help,you may be feeling under pressure or feel it’s your duty to help. Don’t forget you have choices.

Be aware of how you’re feeling, how much energy, time and resilience do you have.

By identifying how you feel, knowing what your energy levels are and by understanding your own resilience you can then make an informed choice whether its right for you to help on that occasion. Whether you have what it takes to help someone else or whether it’s time to ask for help yourself.

I get it, it can often be really hard not to respond when our family, friends and colleagues need help. You may feel you don’t have much of a choice at all but by making some small adjustments there are things you can do to help yourself.

  • If you’re a carer looking after a loved one, make sure at least some of your needs are met first so you are able to meet their needs as best you can. Ring fence some time, even if it’s just a few moments that are yours to do with what you want.
  • If you are a parent struggling to make sure that your kids are happy and healthy, by making sure your batteries are as fully charged as possible will make it easier for you to cope with day to day living. Discover what gives you energy, sleep, a decent meal, quiet time, time with friends, telephone conversation with a mate, time on social media, walking the dog – it doesn’t matter what you do but find something that gives to you rather than takes away.
  • If you have a friend in need, try just being there and listening without offering solutions. Don’t assume they want your help or you know what they need, wait until asked and then just listen. It’s sometimes enough just to know you’re being heard.

Are you helping someone go through a tough time? Remember, you are going to be more helpful to them if you are feeling resilient, strong and capable.

Practising self-care can help you build up your own strength and resilience, so you don’t end up feeling depleted and unable to help yourself or others.

WHAT IS SELF CARE?

There’s a lot being said about self-care at the moment but it’s not necessarily a warm bath with scented candles or a holiday in the Bahamas. Self-care is the normal things in life that gives to us rather than taking away.

  • Sleep – by having a regular sleep pattern you will feel more awake and rested.
  • Exercise – by increasing your exercise your energy will increase.
  • Healthy diet – by introducing a healthy diet your body will be stronger.
  • Hobby – taking up a hobby will help your mental health and reduce stress
  • Relaxation – making time for relaxation will help reduce stress and build resilience
  • Supportive relationships – developing supportive relationships will give you a place to seek help should you need it.
  • Yoga, Pilates or meditation – taking up any of these will help reduce stress, increase energy levels and quieten your mind.
  • Talking – having a trusted, non-judgemental person to talk to is liberating and can reduce anxiety and depression and help you with the worries and issues that affect you.

Putting yourself first is not selfish, it’s essential

NO GUILTNo GUILT

Helping others when your energy levels are low will drain you even more.

No’ is such a small word but can be so powerful. Coming to the aid of others when you don’t have the necessary energy will only deplete your own energy reserves more. Being able to say no at these times will give you more time and space in your life, more energy when you really need it, respect for yourself and confidence in knowing that you are looking after yourself the best way you can.

Putting yourself first and making sure you’re emotionally and physically well will give you the strength to help others.

Looking after yourself and putting yourself first is not selfish, it’s absolutely essential!!

HOW CAN I HELP YOU?

I work with people who love to help others but who also find it difficult to say no when they don’t have the energy to help. I help them to find ways to say no, without guilt so they can choose when and who to help.

If you would like to learn when and how to say no without guilt find out more by clicking Home

Or contact me now by clicking Contact

 

 

Happy New Year 2020 – a year for choices and change!!

Well, here we are are in 2020, not just at the start of a new year but a new decade too.

Fireworks

You have survived Christmas, the decorations are down and put away for another year, you’re back to work, the kids are back to school and ‘New Year, New You’ is being banded about constantly.

But I ask you this:

Do you want a new you or do you want to make the best of the you that you already are?

I am not a fortune teller and I can’t predict the future but there’s one thing I can guarantee – you next year, and decade for that matter, will be chock full of good and bad times, happy and sad times.  We will all experience a full range of emotions over the next 12 months, and there will be times that you will feel so positive that you believe nothing bad could ever happen and yet other times it will feel like it’s one bad thing after another with no sign of an ending.

There will be days that will drag and seem to last forever and some days that go past in a blink of an eye. There will be births and deaths, illness and cure, marriage and divorce, losses and wins, sunshine and rain.

I can also guarantee that a large chunk of what will happen will be out of your immediate control.

As I’m writing, the fires in Australia are wiping out vast areas of the countryside where people are dying and houses are being destroyed. It’s hard to know exactly how the people affected at this awful time feel being surrounded by such destruction and devastation.

Closer to home in the UK, we are a nation divided and wondering what’s best for the country. We have to put our faith in others to do their best to sort it, whether we like it or not.

You can’t escape from real life and the up’s and down’s of what it throws at you. From relationships to jobs, money to health, concerns about the future to concerns about the past, real life is out there.

CHOICES, CHOICES AND MORE CHOICES

ChoicesBut, and here’s where it’s so great being a human – you always have choices.

‘No I don’t’ I hear you cry!! OK, you may not have much choice if your bus doesn’t turn up or you have a flat tyre and you’re late for work – it’s annoying and isn’t a good start to your day but things like this can affect your mood and set the level for the whole day if not week.

So, by choosing to change the way you feel about yourself and your self worth, you then have a choice how you deal with, and feel about situations that are out of your control.

CHOOSE CHANGE AND FEEL BETTER

Remember, if you change nothing, nothing will change and the same things will continue to happen.Change nothing

Deliberately choosing to make good and positive changes in your life will make you and your life feel better. It’s a matter of identifying what changes you’d like to make and having the strength, confidence and belief in yourself to make the necessary changes for you.

Sound simple? Maybe you’ve tried many times to make that new start, each new year beginning a diet to lose the pesky 10lbs that’s holding you back from getting the job/partner/relationship of your dreams, which has not really worked.

Sound hard? It’s absolutely possible to learn ways to change the things that are not working for you right now. You can develop new strategies to help you feel more confident, positive and energetic, even without losing a single pound of weight!!

MAKE YOUR FIRST CHOICE

You can sit back and let life happen to you, sit on the side lines and stay in a place where you feel out of sync with little sign of growth, development or progress.

Or, you can use this time to take stock of your life. See what’s working for you and see what’s not.  Not trying to be someone you’re not, but utilising the best bits of you so you feel more in control, more positive about your future and able to deal with any hiccups that happen along the way.

By making some subtle changes it’s possible that you can kick start an optimistic future where a more confident you begins to take control.

What have you got to lose? Nothing at all!!

So, tell me:

What do you want to keep and what do you want to say goodbye to in 2020?

Leave a comment in the comments box below.

I work with people helping them make the necessary changes and focus on themselves,  life, work and relationship issues.  If you would like to have some help to get focussed on what you can achieve in 2020 and see how I can help you now please click this link –  Home

Or to contact me now – click here Contact

The best Advent calendar ever!!

#Advent 1 December

Who’s been a lucky lady today? That’ll be me then. Today my lovely best friend has gifted me a wonderful advent calendar full of surprise goodies bought especially for me. The advent box itself is a recycled M&S beauty advent box from last year and all through the year she has bought surprises to fill each box in readiness for me to open on the run up to Christmas this year.  What a thoughtful thing to do – I just love it!!

Day 1.

I’m assured that none of the gifts were expensive and the lovely thing is that my friend enjoyed buying the goodies just as much as I’m going to enjoy receiving them – win win!!!

So, today December 1st – I opened the first box which revealed a handy tube of

hand cream that has a beautiful Christmas fragrance. This will be handy (forgive the pun) as the weather gets chillier.

Very excited now, I can’t wait to open up the rest of the boxes.

Who says Christmas is only for kids!!

#Advent 2nd December

Day2I was excited to see what was in box 2 of my wonderful advent calendar. My friend knows me well….3 chocolate balls in a Rudolph tin. That’s morning coffee sorted then!!

The message on the box is ‘Treat Yourself’ and, at what can be such a busy time for everyone , we can forge to treat and look after ourselves properly. We are told time and time again that self care is important so how about treating yourself the way you treat the people the people you love most. You deserve it.

Today I will be treating myself by stopping work mid-morning for a delicious cup of coffee and my 3 chocolate balls.


How will you treat yourself today? 

 

#Advent 3 December

Day 3
Here’s day 3’s advent surprise. I love seeing a well manicured nail but I’m not a one for painting my finger nails normally. It brings out the ‘not good enough’ thoughts in me, thinking my nails aren’t long enough, not in good enough condition and also ‘I don’t have time to wait for varnish to dry’. So this gift will encourage me to sit for a while, be mindful, take some time for me and take a small step outside of my comfort zone.

What do you avoid doing because of ‘not good enough’ thoughts?

 

 

#Advent 4 December

Day 4
A little late in opening day 4 of my advent calendar today – work getting in the way!! But here it is, a little tiny pot of Body Shop Adriatic Peony Body Wash, just enough for a luxurious relaxing bath, which I am assured will help me feel soothed and achieve pure peace. The Adriatic Peony are apparently often depicted as a symbol of peace, and let’s be honest, everyone could do with a little peace in their life from time to time. So my little pot of body wash will be ready and waiting for when I feel the need to be calm and peaceful.

What do you do to help you find peace in your life?

#Advent 5 December

Day 5As I was opening box number 5 I already began to get a sense of what was inside. The heady fragrance of rose filled the air, even without opening the bottle!! The fragrance of rose took me instantly back to a hot summers day walking through a fabulous English rose garden. What a fabulous gift to be transported to a hot, sunny summers day as we head to the shortest day of the year!! I’m feeling very blessed.
#feelinggrateful #feelingblessed #advent

 

#Advent 6 December

Day 6

Well, opening today’s box just made me smile. I certainly won’t be eating this particular delight but I know someone who will.
Anyone who knows me well knows that my dog is a very important part of my life. Hooch the dog is a joy, he makes me laugh, he helps me keep fit, he loves a cuddle but he’s also independent, stubborn and often tests my patience. Since adopting him 10 months ago, getting to know him and understanding his anxieties has been a challenge at times but also a privilege. I’ve learned so much about non verbal communication since he’s been part of my family. Seeing him grow in confidence, learn new things and become a major part of my family is very special. So to be able to share my advent calendar
with my gorgeous, hairy Hooch is an absolute pleasure. I know the treat won’t last long!!! 😊

“The dog lives for the day, the hour, even the moment” Robert Falcon Scott

#advent #itsadogslife

 

#Advent 7 December

Day 7Rhubarb and Ginger Gin, how Christmassy is my advent surprise today. I will enjoy sipping a long and tasty G&T whilst relaxing watching tv tonight.
I’m not a massive fan of being a slave to modern fads and adding unnecessary things to food when its perfectly gorgeous in its traditional form – ‘mustard mash’, what’s that about when good old traditional mashed potatoes are delicious and the best comfort food ever!!!🙂
So, when flavoured gins became popular I had a choice, stick to a traditional G&T or step out of my comfort zone and try some of the new offerings. Well, I did try and surprise, surprise I discovered I loved the new fresh flavoured gins, a lot. So the moral of this is, don’t be closed to change or trying something new, you might just prefer it!!! I’m still unsure about mustard mash though!!🤣

 

#Advent 8 December

Day 8Seeing what was in box 8 of my advent calendar immediately catapulted me back to childhood. Those wonderful family days out on long car journeys to the seaside or maybe on a visit to family. Butterscotch sweets were always part of that time partly as a treat but also because I suffered with car sickness and it was one of the strategies my mum had to prevent me feeling unwell. She convinced me that by sucking a butterscotch I’d be ok, and I have to say that they did seem to have magic powers to stop me feeling sick and they tasted great too!! I will definitely enjoy these as I drive around.

Is there a sweet that takes you back to childhood?
#advent #childood #memories

#Advent 9 December

Day 9Today’s box contained a travel size Sanctury Body Lotion, another lovely perfumed, luxurious product. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, self care is not selfish it’s an absolute necessity. Taking care of your mind, body and spirit can make a whole lot of difference to your wellbeing. It’s a perfect way of being mindful, just by taking a few moments out of your busy day to spend time moisturising your skin, which by the way is regarded as the biggest organ of your body. It can set you up for the day after a morning shower, boost your wellbeing throughout the day or send you off to a sounder and more restful sleep at the end of the day.
As you moisturise, be aware of the texture of the lotion as it melts into your skin, take a deep breath in and breathe in the wonderful fragrance and before you cover your freshly moisturised skin, notice how smooth your skin has beco
me.
I’m definitely going to enjoy today’s advent gift.

What other ways can you practise being mindful throughout your day?

#mindful #wellbeing

 

#Advent 10 December

Day 10I do like to use hand cream and I use a lot of it. So receiving another handy tube in box 10 of my advent calendar just tells me that my friend knows me well. It absolutely compliments yesterday’s body lotion, but more than that, this gift makes me feel ‘known’. Do you know that feeling?
Having someone where no explanation is required, no reasons need be given, feeling accepted whatever mood you’re in, feeling understood and knowing you can talk about anything. It’s a lovely feeling and I am grateful for it.
Gifts don’t need to cost a lot – ‘I saw this and thought of you’ means so much more.

 

#Advent 11 December

Day 11You can’t quite see from the photo but today’s advent gift is hand sanitizer, but not ordinary hand sanitizer, its glittery!!! How lovely is that. We all need a bit of glitter and sparkle in our lives especially at this time of year when it’s so dark and the days are so short. It’s lovely to see the bright twinkly lights illuminating the houses, which makes me smile on my travels on the lead up to Christmas. But, I will pop this gift into my work bag so I’ll have some glitter and sparkle well into the New Year.

How can you add a little glitter to your life today?

#Advent 12 December

Day 12There was a Christmas ‘must have’ in today’s box – a Lindt Milk Chocolate Bear – a small but essential past of Christmas confectionery in my view. Isn’t it funny how there are some foods that just mean Christmas. As a child, the wonderful smell of sweet Satsumas just meant Christmas had arrived. Sweet sticky dates that came in a long box with a special fork to pick them up with so your fingers didn’t get too sticky, were just like fruit from paradise. Chestnuts roasting, literally on an open fire, hot, tasty and gorgeous. But, it was the perennial box of Meltis Newberry Friuts and the Orange and Lemon Jelly Slices that I don’t get. So sweet and sugary but not really tasting of anything much but for some reason they had a constant presence in my childhood, and some adult Christmases too. Give me a Lindt Chocolate Bear anytime.

What tasty treats remind you of childhood Christmases?

#Advent 13 December

DAy 13So this is a new thing for me. I’m not a vodka drinker but I love coconut so I’m intrigued to taste what Coconut Vodka’s like. Coconut reminds me of the coconut shy at the village fete when I was a child and my dad winning a real, fresh coconut and trying all sorts to crack it open. When eventually it was cracked open to reveal the flesh inside I thought it tasted of soap….very disappointed. I guess it’s one of those foods that tastes better as we get older.

What do you eat now that you hated as a child?

 

#Advent 14 December

Day 14I love a Yankee Candle so the Sugared Blossom fragrant candle in today’s box is an awesome advent gift. I always burn a non scented candle in my therapy room to help create a relaxed and calm environment. But when life gets really busy, there is no better way to relax than by lighting a beautifully scented candle. Watching the flame flicker in the low subdued light helps switch off from the days stresses and reduce any anxieties that arise from the day. The fragrance can help calm your mind, slow your thoughts and lift your spirits, which is so beneficial for increasing wellbeing and is the perfect antidote to a stressful, modern life.
My favourite fragrance is Midnight Jasmine which transports me to a warm midsummer evening where I can relax and my spirits are lifted. At this time of year a cinnamon scented candle can create an amazing Christmas ambiance adding to the magical festive spirit.

What is your favourite scented candle fragrance and why?

#Advent 15 December

Day 15Self care is a term bandied about these days and a vision of a nice warm bath surrounded by scented candles often comes to mind, and of course that certainly can be a version of self care. Once you get over the fact that self care isn’t at all selfish but that it’s absolutely necessary, you can then start look at what kind of self care YOU need. Do you need to make time for physical self, your emotional self, your work self or maybe your wellbeing requires a bit of attention. You are unique so your self care needs are unique to you too. For me often it’s making sure I have time to myself, time to recharge and re-balance. I love spending time with friends and family but I need to have time to myself too. So it’s building time in my busy day for ‘me time’ – an early morning dog walk, setting time aside to spend time with my partner, having an hour listening to my book, catching up with a box set or making time for a session of reflexology. All these things will increase my wellbeing, reduce my personal stress and, let’s face it, make life so much more enjoyable.
This advent gift will give me a gentle nudge to spend just a few moments over Christmas concentrating on me. Taking a short while to feed my skin and nurture my soul with no guilt and no thoughts of selfishness but with a stronger feeling of ‘I’m worth it’.

What is your favourite way of practicing self care?

#Advent 16 December

Day 16It’s often said that it’s the little things in life that make it special. The weather forecast was not great for my dog walk with my friend yesterday, the wind blew, rain clouds gathered and a heavy downpour threatened. But then, quite suddenly the clouds parted, the sky brightened and there was the most beautiful rainbow looking down on us.

Now, I don’t know about you but seeing a rainbow never ceases to amaze me.
Rainbows are one of those natural phenomenon, they are there for everyone to see and their beautiful spectrum of colours and stunning natural beauty just fills me with peace and hope that the world will continue to turn.
In the whole scheme of things, it may have been a very small moment in the history of the world but on that day, in that moment, because of that rainbow I felt peaceful and the world felt right.
In these days of political and environmental upset across the world it is such a joy to find an oasis of peace in such a simple thing as a rainbow.

My advent gift today is another mini Body Shop pot, Pink Grapefruit Body Yogurt, which I must say I’ve never heard of. So I Googled it and it’s a body moisturiser that’s best applied whilst still damp, so perfect after getting caught in a shower of rain…..maybe whilst looking at the rainbow!!

#Advent 17 December

DAy 17My advent box today was filled with a miniature bottle of Havana Club Especial, and for anyone not knowing what that is, including me, it is rum. Now, rum always takes me back to my lovey old Granddad, long past now, who loved a drop of rum, just to keep out the cold of course. But as a non rum drinker I was intrigued about the best way to drink it. When I started my research I saw that the slogan for it is ‘Double Ageing Makes it Especial’ a clever play on words but it made me think.

In this, my birthday week, age is on my mind probably more than normal. However, age for me is just a number, probably a little clichéd but to me it’s true. I have noticed that as I have got older I have become more energetic, more positive and more confident. I have learnt to say how I feel, to try new things, to be grateful for the wonderful people in my life and to slow down and appreciate even the tiniest of things. And when impostor syndrome turns up, negative thoughts take control and I begin to feel wobbly about something, I am able to call on family, friends and colleagues to help me through.

As Oscar Wilde said ‘ I am not young enough to know everything’ so it’s good to know I have people on my side to hold me when I need it.
It’s never too late to enjoy new things and make new memories. So, I’m off to buy some coke and lime and grab some ice cubes from the freezer to enjoy this little ‘Especial’ delight known as as a Cuba Libre cocktail…cheers, cin ci, salute, santé, good health to you all….and sending lots of warm thoughts to my lovely my Granddad too, may he continue to rest in peace.

#Advent 18 December

Day 18FRIENDSHIP – when the world lets you down it’s good to know that your friends are there to pick you up. A true friend doesn’t lead or follow but walks along side you, whatever is going on for you.

There is no doubt my friend who created this advent calendar knows me very well, we’ve known each other for many years and receiving this gift of a beautiful white stone heart with the words’ Best Friends Forever’ means so much to me.

Best friends see the real you, they see each other at their best and worst, during the good times when they share the joy you’re feeling and the bad times when they offer support, truth and love, and maybe with a cup of tea, a listening ear, saying nothing. No judgement just truth and love. Good friends laugh together, cry together and keep each other company during lonely times.

You may not live in each other’s pockets but will be there alongside you in a heartbeat if needed. It’s comforting to know your friends are there. Having good friends in your life makes your world a far better and beautiful place.

I am so grateful for all my friends, they support me and help and allow me be the person I am today and this precious advent gift will be a constant reminder of how grateful I am to have the best friend in the world in my life.

#Advent 19 December

Day 19The last couple of days have been very busy and I didn’t get chance to open box 19 until today. My gift to myself this year was to plan a longer break over Christmas and really have the time to relax so I can enjoy my time with family and friends. So here I begin, actually taking some of my own advice and taking easy, having a few hours to myself, in the company of Hooch the Dog of course, before the fun and festivities start. The silence is fabulous, I love it and I can feel my shoulders relaxing already. All I can hear is the ticking clock and Hooch gently snoring away. To help me relax even more, I’m enjoying yet more delicious chocolate balls, this time in a lovely Father Christmas tin – I can guarantee it won’t be the last chocolate I consume over the next couple of weeks!!

Silence, do you love it or hate it?

 

#Advent 20 December

Day 20It’s my birthday today and I’m relaxing at home, no work today or for the next couple of weeks. I really love my job but I am also human and need some time to chill, balance and recharge before the New Year – self care is so important – I may have said that once or twice before!!
Having a birthday so close to Christmas can mean it can often gets gobbled up by, in my case, pre-Christmas planning. But over the years I have begun to accept the birthday present wrapped in Christmas paper, the merged Birthday/Christmas present and realising that trying to book a table for dinner that isn’t ‘Christmas Dinner’ is nigh on impossible. Nowadays I really do appreciate the effort the special people in my life make to ensure I have a good day and the lovely birthday cards received via Royal Mail and the fab messages from so many different people thanks to FB. It’s a timely reminder not to underestimate how much a simple ‘happy birthday’ message can mean if someone is feeling lonely or isolated.
Today, box 20 contained a very special gift which I know was bought with much thought and kindness and I love it.
Today I feel appreciated and loved and that is a lovely feeling.
Here’s to all the December and January birthday people out there!!

#Advent 21 December

Day 21It’s that time year where routine seems to go out of the window. Mealtimes in my house go a bit awry with lots of snacks and nibbles being the order of the day. Even Hooch the Dog has to put up with his first walk of the day being a bit later, although it’s been so rainy lately that he’s the last one to want to go outside and happy to cross his legs!! I quite like having routine interrupted for a short while and enjoy having chocolate for breakfast, watching a film in the middle of the day or sampling new (for me) tasty delights like the contents of box 21, quite a new way for me to drink coffee!! I know that soon enough my need for routine will kick back in. But that can wait until the New Year, until then I’m enjoying the lack of routine!!!

How about you – are you someone who loves or dislikes routine?

#Advent 22 December

Day 22It’s the shortest day of the year today so from now on the days will get longer and the nights shorter. It’s comforting to know that spring will be here before we know it bringing colourful spring flowers and longer warmer days. Box 22 today contained another of those lovely Body Shop mini pots full of Atlantic Seaweed Cream which, if the blurb is to believed, will rejuvenate and revitalise me – maybe a little glimpse bit of spring on the shortest day of the year.

#Advent 23 December

Day 23There feels such a pressure nowadays to be perfect. To be the perfect size, to have the perfect family, children, lifestyle, relationship, job, car, hair, personality etc, etc etc. At this time of year, we are bombarded with adverts telling us what the perfect Christmas should be like and we constantly see those ‘always happy’ posts on social media showing us other people’s perfect lives.
The pressure to buy perfect gifts, cook perfect meals, decorate the perfect tree, have the most perfectly behaved children is immense. Heads up…..if you don’t achieve the perfection you aim for it can feel like failure and failure never, ever feels good. Christmas should not feel like a burden, so maybe aim for ‘good enough’ instead. I promise you that Christmas dinner will not be ruined if you overcook the sprouts or forget to make the bread sauce….both of which I have done!!!
Box 23 contained a mini breath freshener – what does this have to do with being perfect and the pressures at Christmas? It just reminded me of the quote below – so please, with just 2 sleeps to go before Christmas day, remember, there’s every chance you will have more fun if there is less pressure to be perfect. See the funny side if things don’t go exactly to plan, ask for help if you need it, don’t add any more pressure to your already busy life and really, really enjoy not being perfect this Christmas

#Advent 24 December

Day 24Only one day to go, or ‘sleeps’ if you prefer, to the big day, when we discover if we’ve been naughty or nice.  I feel as if I must have been very nice this year to receive such a great advent calendar!! Today’s box revealed a little pot of Nivea Lip Butter.  Now, Nivea brings back all sorts of memories for me.  As a child I always bought my mum a pot of Nivea Cold Cream because it was her favourite.  My mum washed her face with soap and water and never wore make up but she did love to slather on handfuls of Nivea cream to soften and calm her rosey, weather beaten cheeks.  So my Christmas gift (paid for by my dad of course) was always very much appreciated. My guess she is she would be spinning in her grave if she knew how much money is spent on creams, potions and face packs these days. The one luxury she did always use was a lip salve.  I thought it was so glamorous, seeing her apply the lip salve to her own lips and then bending down and dabbing it on my lips too, oh the pleasure – I thought I was right grown up!! This pot will be placed in my work bag and each time I use it I will be reminded of my lovely mum and my lovely friend who bought it for me.

#Advent 25 December

Day 25It’s Christmas, shouted in a Noddy Holder way of course!!!! I don’t have the early starts nowadays that parents of small people have. The parents who are woken at the crack of dawn by overly excited children who probably haven’t sleep much just in case they missed ‘Him’ turn up with his sack full of pressies. My Christmas starts much more leisurely with a lovely dog walk, at a reasonably sensible time, and this Christmas the weather was kind, which makes all the difference. So, what could be a better final gift than one that keeps Hooch the Dog quiet and occupied for at least 3 mins after we have exchanged presents and he has destroyed the wrapping paper, such fun! He will enjoy this tasty treat as I have enjoyed opening all the boxes of my advent calendar and writing these mini blogs.  Now it’s time for me to start fill the boxes again so that I can re-gift it back to my friend next Christmas.  I will enjoy looking for the silly things, the ‘oh, she’ll like that’ things and the meaningful things to fit each box.  So the Xmas bellsgift continues………Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to you all

YOUR ADVENT 2019

What is the perfect gift you would like to receive in your advent calendar and why? Please leave a comment below.

 

I am posting these mini blogs daily on my professional Facebook Page – Marian Stapley Counselling – and will regularly add the posts here, so keep logging on here to discover what is in the rest of my 2019 Advent Calendar .

Xmas Tree

I work with people helping them to be less anxious, more positive and increase their self work so they lead full and satisfying lives.  If you would like to have some help to lessen your anxiety and increase your self worth you can contact me now by clicking  Home

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