Small Steps – Huge Pay off – Ditch the Stress

Here’s one to ponder:  Small Steps can lead to a great life-work balance – True or False well, let’s explore:

Question – who are the three most important people in your life?  And your responses: Family/Partner/Parents/Friends are the most common

What would you say if I suggested the first should be – SELF?  And that’s not about being selfish it’s about Self-Care.  Once you understand Self-Care, the magic can begin. Review how often you put yourself first, if not why?

Next: Do you have a Life/Work Balance?  Life balance and personal happiness do not necessarily depend on earning more money and being successful at work or in business.

Other things can have a much bigger impact on our well-being such as Self-Care – Self-Care is not being selfish, it’s about looking after YOU then you can look after your life/family/business more successfully.

If you are out of balance, then the other parts of your life will be. Obviously, these change as you develop/age/once you know the real you and we all need to consider what our life/work balance means and what it depends on, however, this is often forgotten when reflecting and planning in life and business.

What makes your life well balanced and happy and how do you ensure you include these strategies/small steps in your life?

  • Try to find a Life Work Balance of 50/50
  • Learn to Tame the Mad Monkeys – those thoughts that stay in your head all day every day! Learning excellent breathing techniques works as does Mindfulness – Check out the APP  Store for a great FREE selection of breathing and meditation practices  Stop Breathe Think 
  • Identify time just for you each day – even if it’s just a walk, sit down and switch off, meet with a friend, have a great soak in the tub, you choose – something just for you.  It could even be a whole day off!

Self-Care Strategies/Small Steps which work:

  • A massive key is how to relax properly and understand the difference between Passive/Focused/Complete and which can lead to a meditative state. These come with practice – just 3 minutes to start with on a regular basis.
  • Assertiveness and learning to say NO! (not rejecting the other person but just saying NO to the request) is life changing and aids self-confidence
  • Time management/Allocate times to all tasks – did you guess right?
  • Listen to gut instinct/knowingness it is a great guide
  • Build in Time for Self – you do it for TV, i pads, computers, phones others, why not self?
  • No multi tasking – too many mistakes get made
  • Empower others (in other words delegate! lol)
  • Stay in the moment – Mindfulness is key
  • Manage your energy – take breaks, don’t let another slurp your energy either (click here)

 Top tips/Small Steps:

  • Freeze-unfreeze – check for tension then let it dissolve
  • Add some focused breathing into your day – 3/5 minutes every so often – releasing tension
  • 3-minute rule – if it can be done in 3 minutes or less just do it – you get tons of half-finished tiny jobs completed
  • Self-care checklist – list what you need to do for you and get on and ‘do it’

It begins to feel like magic as it starts to come together – but small steps peeps one at a time and stop for a bit of reflection……

Until next time – look after Yourself

Warmth

Donnah

To be or Not to be – Mindful Decision Making

Shakespeare said, “To be or not to be, that is the question.”  I often think about that quote when I have to make a choice/decision I call it Mindful Decision Making – Yes (to be?) or No (not to be?).

The Bard - To be or Not to be

The Bard – To be or not to be.

That is the key to decision-making – it all boils down to choice –  “will you – won’t you?”

What are the deciding factors?

Now, do you use Mindful Thinking Time (MTT) or just say the first thing that comes into your head? I hear you reply, ‘Usually the first thing that comes into my head Diva’ – ‘WHY’ I yell at you? You are a grown up!

  • Conditioning is one reason
  • Fear is another
  • Your needs don’t matter
  • Anything for a quiet life
  • You could add to the list

FEAR!

Fear tends to be the big one…’if I say no what will be the repercussions’? It’s often to do with;

  • wanting to be liked
  • pleasing people
  • be seen as a good person
  • meeting all family needs
  • anything to stop arguments.

Saying YES – moving forward to saying No!

I don’t know about you, but I used to find saying  ‘NO’ to people so difficult when they asked me to do something for them because I loved to please others.  The upshot would be that I over-committed myself and got so stressed trying to spin lots of plates, juggling many balls. Eventually, I had a breakdown.

Interestingly it is always your needs that get left behind. Then you feel animosity towards whoever you had said YES to and angry at yourself for not being strong and declining the request. Does this feel familiar?

Firstly, it’s not their fault if you can’t be assertive and most people don’t mind readers.  Secondly, you permit them to continue to keep asking because you have never said NO!

Remember this old phrase; copy it out and stick it on the fridge;

‘WHEN I SAY NO

I AM REFUSING

THE  REQUEST

NOT  REJECTING

THE  PERSON’

There may be no particular time of the year that you find yourself being pulled in all directions (maybe festivities) it can be any day.

So, what to do about it?  Consider why you say YES…do you feel under pressure to do so? Is it often against your better judgment too.  If this is so, then there can be a few reasons why.

  1. You aren’t clear about your priorities.
  2. You may feel the other person will dislike you if you say no and will become upset.
  3. The other person is a friend, and you always please your friends.
  4. Because you have always done it
  5. It is expected of you – (remember you have been permitting for years)

check out more from tiny buddha;

 Reality Check!

Why do you say YES and then regret it; there will be a reason – sort it out! Move forward it’s your life – it’s SELF-CARE!

Remember your priorities should come first when you say yes then you are often saying no to something else.

Only say yes to those things you want to do. You don’t have to give a reason why you say ‘NO,’  however, you need to practice saying it as some people (often family) make it hard for us. Top tip: try your practice out on friends

One strategy I get all my tribe to use is to say, ‘give me a few minutes and I will check my diary and get back to you.’   You can even say that you will ‘sleep on it.’  That way you give yourself a bit of mindful thinking time (MTT).

You then decide if it is a yes or a no.

YES - NO Decision Time

YES – NO
Decision Time

If it’s a NO, acknowledge the other persons request and what they are asking is important (to them), however, that you have ‘other commitments /priorities’ or ‘you don’t have enough time’ or ‘don’t have the skills.’

You can help the other person solve their problem by making a suggestion of someone else they can ask.  Keep in your head that ‘this is not my problem.’

Remember Some Top Tips:

  • When you say ‘NO,’ you are refusing a request not rejecting the person.  State your position clearly and in a positive way.
  • Don’t hang around after coz the other person may think you could be changing your mind.
  • Consider your tone of voice – keep it neutral
  • Watch your body language, is it saying the same as your words?
  • Develop Self-respect for your own needs as it is core to your Self-Care
  • You always have choices about everything you do no matter how hard it may seem.

Your Challenge – Your Life

To get to a stage, I could say ‘NO’  without fear I had to practice; so my challenge to you is to find a friend and have a practice.

Take a situation like an invitation to an event you don’t want to attend and just have a go, listen to the feedback from your friend and Practice, Practice, Practice.  It will take time, but you will feel the benefits.

Yes, there may be a few casualties along the way. However, they may be the ‘Toxic Energies’  or ‘Energy Vampires’ you needed to ditch anyway!

Its Your Do you want it?

It’s Your choice – Do you want it?

The Payoff

Begin to feel how much more relaxed and empowered you are once you have started to say ‘NO’ – less stressed and have more time for the important things in your life. Just think;

  • MORE TIME;
  • LESS STRESS;
  • LIFE BALANCE

and that’s just three payoffs.

Let me know how your challenge goes.

Until next time

Diva X

A Mindful Smile – Can reach all parts of the body

A Mindful Smile can reach all parts of the body!

I know I bang on about Mindfulness and I know you all tell me you don’t have time….even when you are doing it unconsciously (bet I could find you time if I followed you for a day too!). But a Mindful Smile is natural medicine.

Let’s take Mindfulness to a Micro Level which is doable and as we all know it’s about the ‘DOING.’  So my challenge to you is to have a go at one of the tasks/practice I have given my students…….The Mindful Smile

The Payoff will be….

Less stress at the end of the day, those 4 pm headaches will lessen, you won’t go home and kick the cat or the partner and you will have a more peaceful evening!

Make a commitment to yourself

Decide to take 2 minutes time out and sit quietly where you won’t be disturbed.  Feet flat on the floor and back straight.

The Practice

Take a couple of deep breathes in and out relaxing the body; especially the shoulders, jaw and solar plexus!  Just drop into that lovely quiet space you can feel when you daydream

As you breathe in begin to mindfully smile to yourself. Feel that radiant energy flow into your face because you are releasing those smiley endorphins into the brain.  It’s a big cheesy grin that appears and your eyes crinkle.

Cheesy Grin

  • As you breathe out;
  • Release your mindful smile, relaxing the whole of your face and notice how your body also releases tension.
  • And now breathe in smiling again feeling it reach your eyes
  • And out, relaxing the face….don’t forget to release the jaw as that gets so tense during the day resulting in migraines/headaches.
  • Notice how the lungs and belly expand.
  • Let go of thoughts by just focusing on the breath, the smile and the energy beginning to change throughout your body

Keep this going for 2 minutes and check out how happy and balanced you feel at the end along with more energy.

Moving On

Do this a few times throughout the day and it’s amazing how your energy changes.

Continue with the rest of your day.

Want to ramp it up a bit then check out How Bubbles can boost your energy and wellbeing click here

Guess what…this is a phenomenal exercise to do with the kids they love it…start them early.

Until Next time

Warmth

Donnah 

Unconscious Mindfulness – in other words you’re doing it anyway!

Unconscious Mindfulness

Unconscious Mindfulness, is that you? Yep more than likely; just like 98% of the rest of the population (OK I made that figure up, but it’s lots of people!).  You are doing it, but you don’t know that you are!

So you talk about being Mindful?

Well, don’t you? There are so many times I smile when I hear peeps say they would love to learn to be more mindful or come to class to meditate, but they just don’t have time/space/know how to do it.  Why do I smile?  because they are probably more mindful and meditate far more than they realise but it’s all done at an unconscious level trucking along inside the brain.

Mindful Brain

 

Let’s look at it – this word Mindfulness

Has there really been a significant resurgence of ‘Mindfulness’ over the last few years? Well not really it’s been around since the 1970’s when Jon Kabat-Zinn presented key attitudes and practices to students to de-stress and just be in the moment.

It’s now become a bit of a buzzword and has made its way into the mainstream of everyday living over the last few years with lots of publicity. It’s not new, and it’s not rocket science; however, the marketing and media tribes would like you to believe it’s the best thing since burnt toast and worth paying mega bucks for…well no shit! They love making money.

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Winner takes it all – 30-day Blogging Done.

Winner – that’s me.

I’m a Winner! I put myself out for a challenge in July and today I completed it.  What an achievement. A significant bit of Self-Actualisation

       Self-Actualisation              I'm a Winner

Self-Actualisation
I’m a Winner

How do I feel?

As a self-confessed poor completer-finisher (team roles) it’s a miracle! Yes, they happen all the time we just don’t see or feel them.

Even as a winner I can procrastinate with the best of you, however, I have found that if it is something I am passionate about it eventually gets done – in Diva Time.

I can say that there were days when I was exhausted as I am battling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and brain fog  takes over – to get a glimpse of that world is like here’s my take on it. Blog link

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Bubbles –They are not just for Kids you know!

Bubbles, who doesn’t love them?

Bubbles you see them and smile. You drink them they fizz, and they tickle. Did you know you can use them for Balance and Relaxation?

Bubbles make you Smile

Bubbles make you Smile

At the end of the summer term, I donate a small gift to  each of my students for having the persistence and commitment to remain with me for another year.

I never know what that gift will be until it jumps out at me; this year it was BUBBLES…. Why on earth would I give a bunch of middle-aged adults kids bubbles?  For three extremely good reasons.

By blowing bubbles from time to time, they would be;

  • Getting Breathing Practice – a Key to Balance and Stability
  • Connecting with the child within (playing!)
  • Visualising themselves being surrounded by a bubble of light

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Dreams-Rainbows-Lemon Drops-Wonderful World-Music

Dreams we all have them.

Dreams – Do we take the time to visualise or hear them all?

  • Dreams inform our goals, our vision for our future.
  • Rainbows remind me of childhood and pots of gold
  • Lemon Drops are my Nan; she always bought me sweets on a Thursday
  • Finally, Wonderful World, I feel privileged to be part of the World around me and all those I have contact with I love your all and of course I have a real fondness of listening to Louis Armstrong singing about it.

Words are so powerful; take term Your Dreams; it conjures up different recollections and visions for everyone; what does it bring to mind for you?

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars, to change the world”. Harriet Tubman

Previously I have mentioned Words as a Powerful Motivator at several levels; however, Music just hits the very core of everyone and produces emotions.

Music is the strongest form of Magic.

Music is the strongest form of Magic.

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Strength and Stability in your Life/World

Strength and Stability.

Strength/Stability – Powerful words that you can use as an affirmation or as a supportive and mindful reminder that you can do anything you set your mind to it.

These are two of my favourite words and ones I find most empowering.  I have students who use them every day to centre and balance themselves.  Others use the words when they have to go into meetings or give presentations. In class, we use them just as a straightforward affirmation or sometimes incorporate a visualisation with them.

Both words can lead you to Grounding yourself for the task ahead – for more on grounding follow

Getting started

For the affirmation,

On the in breath hear the word STRENGTH in your mind as you fill the belly and pause, on the out breath hear the word STABILITY as you release slowly and just keep this going for a couple of minutes ‘feel’ the words as you say them.  This will raise your confidence and energy – you can do whatever it is you need to do.

You might need to visualise the two words several times before embarking on what you are going to do.

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Life-Work Balance Your 5 minute Quick Quiz

Life/Work

Life and Work,“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”  http://quoteaddicts.com

I believe we have to put Life first because it is all we have. If we go some way to having a balanced life, then the rest will follow. In truth, not many people reflect on themselves and their needs just everyone else’s.

I ask the question “does balance figure in your life and work?” If not, why not? You need as much ‘Playtime’ as you have ‘Worktime’ Even though you might enjoy your job, you still need time away from it; similar to your personal life you need your ‘work’ to give you an anchor.

Which way does your Balance Tip?

Without a little balance, stressors can begin to creep in, and life moves out of kilter. So, is there anything you might need to change? If so maybe it’s time to ‘Do the Doing’ (check this out)

The Quick Quiz

Just indicate with a yes next to any of these that apply to you and we will see.

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Splish, Splash are you taking a Bath

Splish, Splash are you taking a Bath

Ok, so this blog is more about Soaking Away Stressors rather than Splish Splashing…. It’s a Whole Person Compassion Technique but you can chuck water about should you wish to.

Stress Release - Soothe the Body Mind Spirit

Stress Release – Soothe the Body Mind Spirit

It is a successful technique I share with my tribe, and it’s your challenge for day 5 of a 7-day challenge.

How often do you get to a point where you need to give yourself a bit extra? Not just at Physical level but Public/Mental/Emotional/Spiritual levels too?  Without a doubt, you will also need to cleanse your energy after a busy day undertaking all you have to do and all the people and situations you come into contact with.

You will need to set some ground rules with your nearest and dearest so that you can have a bit of space and time just to indulge in this stress reduction Self-Care routine.

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