Wednesday, 26 August 2015
The school holidays are almost over, and if you are like me, you’ll have a mountain of holiday washing and grey, rain clouds to thwart any attempt to get it done.
My three children are ready to see their friends, and get back to the scheduled lifestyle we know and trust. As much as I love the school holidays; the getting up late and pleasing ourselves, after six weeks I begin to crave normal.
There is something strangely reassuring about a six-thirty alarm call, the scrum for the bathroom, and chatting with my kids over breakfast. I chase them all out of the door at eight and turn my mind to the jobs I have to do before three o’clock, and the evening routine.
There is one thing I’ve noticed more this summer, and that is the inability to find any quiet space. I hadn’t realised just how much I craved it. I was lucky enough to go to Italy this year where we trekked around Lake Garda. We rushed from ancient building to medieval castle, and then ‘relaxed’ with a crazy hour or two in the pool, followed by a beautiful meal in a bustling Italian piazza. It was a fabulous week, but it wasn’t quiet.
I then drove my kids to Somerset for ten days, where we chilled out and managed to dodge quite a few thunderstorms. Again, there was that ever-present dull roar in my ears. Seagulls squawked overhead, the youngsters on-site squealed and enjoyed themselves, and the drunks staggered home in the early hours of the morning singing Tom Jones songs at the top of their lungs. Not at all quiet.
They are all wonderful sounds, of families having fun, and the music of the seaside. But I did wonder where the quiet space had gone. Had it always been this loud and I hadn’t noticed, or maybe the quiet space had never really existed? Whatever it was, I became quite twitchy and anxious.
It was then that I realised I hadn’t meditated for most of the summer. As the saying goes; time flies when you’re having fun, and having fun meant I had misplaced an important personal development tool. One that gave me the quiet space I craved so much.
When you need a quick fix to calm your anxiety or stop your chattering mind, meditation is the simplest gift you can give to yourself. I use the Headspace app on my iPhone; this app gives you short, daily meditations. You can upload the app and get the first ten for free. I would recommend subscribing, but you are under no obligation. Each meditation is just ten minutes long and is a perfect way to start your day.
There are still a few crazy days left of the school holiday, but I know that when I need it, I can take ten minutes and find my quiet space to recharge my batteries.
How do you find your quiet space?
Looking for an easy to use guide to get you started? Meditation for Beginners, is available from Amazon as eBook or paperback
Friday, 14 August 2015
When I was a child, I longed for the endless summer that held the promise of water fights, sleeping under the stars, and picnics on the lawn. I don’t remember there being as much rain as we get nowadays, or maybe I’ve repressed that memory over the years.
I’m happy to say that my three children also enjoy the outdoorsy summer activities, and don’t spend six weeks attached to the various electrical gizmos that we have dotted around the house.
The school holidays always felt like an epic adventure, waiting to happen. Maybe that’s the writer in me, or maybe the innocence of a child’s mind. Whatever it was, I’ve tried for many years to recreate it, without any luck.
It appears that with the arrival of a mortgage, bills, job and children of my own, any childlike glee over the summer holidays packed its bags and went away. Until now.
Friday, 24 July 2015
Way back in the depths of winter I decided to cheer myself up by pre-booking a summer holiday. It gave me something to look forward to when the weather was grey, and my mood was even darker.
As I chomped my way through the mince pies and turkey leftovers, I believed that the extra weight I was carrying would be a distant memory by the time my holiday arrived. Fast forward seven months and my stomach still wobbles when I walk, my boobs get in the way when I bend over to tie my shoelaces and don’t get me started on bat wings!
There is a personal development tool that I should have used to motivate myself toward that bikini fit body. A technique that can show you what your hopes and wishes will look like, and guide you to make the right choices to manifest them. That technique is Vision Boarding.
I’ve written about vision boards before as they are one of my favourite personal development tools. I love the simplicity and the creativity.
Tuesday, 14 July 2015
I am honoured to introduce my guest blogger, Gloria McBreen, who is a freelance article writer, blogger and teacher. You can find Gloria on her website or via Twitter @GloriaMcB
10 days in The Valley of Chamonix with my family. A spacious two bedroom apartment overlooking an array of snow capped peaks and a child friendly balcony with a breathtaking view of the magnificent Mont Blanc – poetically described by Percy Shelley as ‘The Mountain that Holds the Spirit of Nature’. Wow!
For my family, hiking in the
Alps is the most
desirable holiday. We’re not keen on spending our quality time lying on a
baking hot crowded beach. The hiking boots and a picnic in a backpack is what give
us pleasure. Our time for complete relaxation, absorb a mega boost of vitamin D
and an opportunity to rejuvenate the soul.
Tuesday, 7 July 2015
After having my daughter, thirteen years ago, I haemorrhaged and had to have a blood transfusion. It was during this time I discovered I was in the A+ blood group. Over the years that followed, I began to understand how much my blood type impacted on my life.
According to the research of Dr. Peter J.D’Adamo, for his book Eat Right For Your Type, the ability to reverse stress and its negative effects lies in our blood type. For me, this means that I react to the first ‘alarm’ stage of stress. My adrenals become super-charged, producing anxiety, irritability and hyperactivity. My immune system gets weaker, and my nervous system becomes more sensitive. I then become unable to fight infections. As a Type A I have a more tightly wired system – in blunt, I bottle up all my anxiety!
Sunday, 21 June 2015
When it comes to self-help, there are a plethora of treatments to choose. Acupuncture, reflexology, reiki, massage, crystals, meditation, art therapy, homeopathic remedies - the list is endless.
Some of these therapies will cost you money, and others can be done with little or no cash. Meditating, for example, is free, and one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Another activity that will cost you nothing but boost your wellbeing is laughter.
I am fortunate to be a half-full personality type and together with my positive attitude I also have a tendency to see the funny side of life. Think about Peter Kaye for a moment, he uses everyday activities and stresses to build up his act, with hilarious results. Sarah Millican uses her own weight issues to reduce her audience into fits of giggles. Learning to laugh at yourself can help you to view life with less negativity and emotion.
Wednesday, 17 June 2015
A hobby, good book, or even a jigsaw can all soothe the soul when we are searching for a little calm in the swell of our day.
Crafting has, for a long time, been one of the go-to interests for creating the balance we crave. Just look at the rise in popularity of the adult colouring books on the market. I subscribe to Art Therapy, a weekly magazine packed with images waiting to be coloured in and displayed around the home. As an avid meditator, this activity is perfect for me. I can lose myself in the attention to detail and any disorder in my mind is replaced with a quietness that I can’t find anywhere else.
It’s not just colouring-in that can give you this release. Take a look at the Stitch Links website, the home of therapeutic knitting since 2005. They advocate the ‘use it or lose it’ strategy. A belief that our brain, as well as our muscles, needs to learn something new to stay active. When we learn a new skill we increase connections within our brain and this in turn can help strengthen our brain against such diseases as Alzheimer’s, depression or chronic pain.