Working as a holistic health practitioner means I am privileged to be a part of someone's life journey - that could be a road to better health, much needed relaxation or an understanding ear and support.
I am very vocal about my own life and don't hide the highs and lows I have experienced, in fact I use these experiences to help me be a better practitioner. I left a physically and emotionally abusive marriage with three children under the age of 5, to say I had hit rock bottom would be an understatement, but I did it, I dragged myself kicking and screaming back into reality.
As I recovered and tried to find myself I learnt how to laugh and smile again, I learnt from others how to interact, trust and love again. It's quite incredible how much we do learn from those people that surround us on a daily basis.
As my September challenge is to learn something new I thought it would be fun if I opened up this week's post to include all the things I've learnt on my journey.
So here are my top 15 tips for survival - Shelley Style!
1. Laugh. Children laugh around 300 times a day! Children's laughter is one of the most amazing sounds in the world. How many times do you think the average 40 year old laughs? It's 4! Take a leaf out of the kids book and have a giggle.
2. Drink More Water. My clients know that at some stage in their appointment I will tell them to drink more water - it's a standing joke now. The main excuse is that they forget, which is fair as I used to do exactly the same. I now leave a glass by my kettle so every time I make a cuppa the glass is there to remind me to drink a glass or two while the kettle boils. Visual reminders are great.
3. Be Optimistic. I have always been a glass is half full kind of person and I believe this has got me through some horrific moments. Optimists also tend to be luckier in life as having a positive outlook attracts positive things your way.
4. De-Clutter - Regularly. I know that when my energy is low the cupboard under the stairs needs clearing out! It's classic Feng Shui, having a good clear out makes room for new opportunities and experiences (and people) to enter your life. Start small, if you haven't worn a particular outfit for over a year - donate it to charity.
5. Let Your Kids Argue. Sibling rivalry is an important part of growing up (as my brother will confirm!) I always went steaming in when my three children started shouting at each other, I would break it up and separate them and huff about the house for half an hour, but after reading an article in Psychologies Magazine about siblings and how they interact, I stopped getting involved. The first time I didn't get involved I hid in the kitchen and just listened. The arguing started, the shouting and the slamming of doors but I still stayed out of it. I was stunned when just five minutes later they were all happy again and playing their game together. I've stayed out of it ever since and my house is much calmer for it.
6. Meditate. When people visit my house they tend to stay for ages, not because my conversation is especially titillating or that I bake the most amazing cream puffs (I don't!) it's because my home is a sanctuary of calm and peace. I run meditation classes from home, I have crystals in every nook and cranny and I meditate myself whenever I get five minutes - I think all this calm has seeped into the walls. Calm mind - calm body - calm environment.
7. Emergency Chocolate. ALWAYS have emergency chocolate in the house!
8. Accept Help. People genuinely want to help, if you found out your best friend was struggling with something, you wouldn't think twice before offering to help them out. So why do we struggle to admit when we may need a guiding hand or a shoulder. Help is out there, all you have to do is ask.
9. Believe in Yourself. Success and failure exist in your mind. It's YOUR choice whether you succeed or fail. YOU are awesome and capable of greatness, believe that anything is possible, dream big, make plans and do something to make them a reality. One of my favourite quotes is "Act as if it were impossible to fail" by James K Van Fleet.
10. Think Before You Speak. Having been on the receiving end of verbal and emotional abuse I am well aware of the consequences and power in words. What you say to another person can inspire or destroy them - choose what you say very carefully.
11. Family Time. Children grow up fast! Enjoying their company as they grow and teaching them morals, manners and the values of family life is an important role for every parent, having fun and being silly is also just as important. When I worked in sales I had a photograph on my desk of me and my children - this visual reminder made me pack up my stuff and leave on time every day.
12. Look After Your Body. Think about what you eat and drink. You only get the one body so look after it as well as you would your brand new car - lovingly wash it, fill the tank with fuel, maintain the engine with regular mot's and servicing. As a reflexologist I see people's state of health mapped out on the soles of their feet. It's amazing how many people suffer with digestive issues and are dehydrated. Eat fresh food, fruit and vegetables, drink plenty of water, exercise and moisturise!
You can't look after your family if you are broken yourself.
13. Read More - Clean Less. This one is fairly self explanatory and the one tip I follow daily!
14. Be Selfish. It took me years to get this right. My children always came first as did my ex husband, I was so-and-so's mum, so-and-so's wife - I didn't exist. When I found myself alone with three very young children I became totally centred on their wellbeing, their schooling, their happiness and forgot that I was a person too, someone who needed just as much care and attention. So now I look after my own needs along with the children instead of just for the children. They value this more, there is more give and take in our relationships and it's taught them to go for what they want too and not be submissive.
15. I could keep going, I have hundreds of ideas, affirmations and nonsense tucked away in my brain but as I'm the one who is supposed to be learning something new this month, I'm opening Top Tip #15 over to you...
What has got you through a tough time?
It can be a top tip, an association that you are a member of, an idea you just want to share.
Get in touch, I'd love to hear them...