Festive Pick Me Up

Festivities

Festive Pick Me Up strategies and techniques to stay sane! – We all need several strategies during the festive season to keep us away from melt-down.  Yes, we have over-committed; said yes to far too many things; decided we can be all things to all people and much more.

We all get stressed and often don’t consider what we might do about it – here are a few ideas that may enable you to change some of those behaviours that could support you over the holiday period.

Top Techniques – Add to your Tool-Kit

  • Take time out to escape from your worries for a while – a change of scene and tasks work wonders
  • Recognise that sometimes you can’t change things so just let it go. Don’t hold onto negative. ‘’
  • Be generous in your approach to others – what you give out you get back and smiles or a kind word/deed don’t hurt and can win you brownie points and exude positivity.
  • There is no such thing as perfectionism – I have banged on about this for years – stop setting yourself up to fail – Be realistic – your best is good enough
  • Stop listening to that critical inner voice – focus on all your brilliant good points and don’t say you don’t have any we all have loads. List them and smile at such a long list!
  • Be discerning; identify those issues/tasks you need to deal with first the rest may not need attention later – you can’t do everything at once and will probably make a rights cock-up!
  • Take ME TIME it’s not selfish if called ‘SELF-CARE use your time effectively doing something for you even if it’s just reading a chapter in a book – it is possible with good time-management and planning.
  • Assertiveness gives you ‘thinking time’ so do not respond until you have made a decision – it’s ok to say, ‘give me 5 minutes to check, and I will get back to you.’
  • Learn how to relax and breathe effectively; become in control of your body and discover how you can let go of tension and worry. With practice, it only takes a few minutes and then becomes part of your daily routine
  • Stay in the moment – focus on what you are doing and finish it! (try to stop multi-tasking)
  • 3-minute rule – if it can be achieved in that time DO IT! Or give it to the Family to do!
  • Learn to Manage your Time Effectively by delegating

One great technique I have shared which is also useful during the Festive Period can be found here Click

Time Out

Finally:  A top bit of practice that can be undertaken anywhere/anytime and it will enable you to come back into balance, becoming more grounded and in the moment.

Quick, on-the-spot relaxation:

  1. Sit up and back in your chair so that you feel firmly rooted, legs slightly apart, feet flat on the floor.
  2. Drop your shoulders while you take a deep breath, letting it out slowly. Close your eyes if it helps. Keep focused on your breathing and breathe in slowly to the count of three – pause to the count of three – breathe out to the count of three – pause to the count of three. Repeat in an even, comfortable rhythm.  It can help to imagine yourself relaxing more each time you breathe in and the tensions flowing away with every out breath.
  3. Now slowly tense, hold, and release the main muscle groups, working up through your body. Start with toes and feet; tense as much as possible, hold and release. Move on to calf muscles, thighs, bottom, stomach and upper body, in the same way, paying particular attention to the upper back and shoulders, where we hold a lot of tension.  Then work on your arms and hands.  Finally, if you can (some places are just too public), screw up the muscles of your face and neck and release.
  4. Return to focusing on slow breathing and check back through your body for any remaining tension.
  5. Finally, check your seating position, drop your shoulders again, and place your hands comfortably on your upper legs and concentrate on the sensation of warmth as it flows out through your hands.

Learning to relax in this way can be invaluable, and it is well worth the 5 minutes to put everything on hold and completely clear the scrambled thoughts/mad monkeys from your brain!

So take regular stock take of your energy levels; mad monkeys and demands from others and practice a bit of self-care!

Until next time

Warmth

Donnah

Laughter’s the word – You can feel its energy

Laughter the word of choice for today

When did you last have a great laugh…you know that belly-wrenching – tear producing body shaking – breathless few minutes that made you ache with happiness? Can’t remember well maybe it’s time to revisit your laughter genes…..here is a little challenge for you.

It’s laughter time.

Many know my philosophy about smiling & laughter.…..they go together like Fish & Chips; Morecambe & Wise; The Sun & The Moon; Compassion & Gratitude; Gin & Tonic. Well, don’t you all agree that a bit of laughter is great for the soul and everything else? So let’s have a go.

  1. It starts off with a smile, come on….
  2. Just feel it creeping up your face as you breathe in
  3. Feel how it softens as you breathe out.
Laughter and Smiles

Laughter and Smiles

Keep the smile going in and out it will fool the brain and as the right chemicals begin to be released in your body ( the endorphins).  You will begin to start to laugh; you will remember those long belly laughs that had you in tears of mirth; memories will surface and bring back those visions/moments of what started you laughing

Finding it a bit hard, this will help

I have several of these moments especially with my son and my daughter-in-law, just a look, and one word will start us off.  The one word for me is ‘Dickhead’.  Laughter will offer significant benefits to all six layers of your being to.

Laughter can trigger the release of endorphins these are the natural feel-good chemicals in the body. They promote an overall sense of well-being along with:

  1. Improving your breathing
  2. Helps you to remain positive
  3. Perfect for stress release
  4. Helps you to build relationships with like-minded people
  5. Let’s go of all that tension
  6. Lightens the heart
  7. Helps you to keep things in perspective

Laugh More

Come on get laughing a bit more – just start now, slowly, by being mindful.  You may just need to be more observant and begin to notice far more acutely the world around you –  this is where your laughter can come from.

Now you can  just start off with a slight giggle – I know it gets a bit embarrassing to start laughing –  just try to let the ego go and let the real you out for a few moments.  Who cares if you think you look bizarre no one! Will it matter if they do?  Not in the whole scheme of things.

Naturally, I use laughter in my classes at times, although it erupts from certain people when I try to get the group to hum. It’s an interesting exercise as the outcomes can be different in each group.  My students are all British there is this reserve they have at showing emotions.  However, in a long-standing group where they feel safe, students just go for it.  I’ve had comments from them about being so lively that they can’t sleep for a few hours after; they have lots of energy; how their energy had lifted and lightened.  It is a great exercise for your toolbox peeps.

Need a bit of a prompt? Well what about joining a Laughter Club

Yes peeps if the Yoga Gurus use it to promote well-being…so come on ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ you have heard it often…now give it a go just try it can work.

Laughing is Universal

Laughing is Universal....

Laughing is Universal….

Of course  it wouldn’t a Diva Blog without me digressing…..

7 Facts you can’t dispute…..

  1. You cannot put soap in your eyes
  2. You cannot count your hair
  3. You cannot breathe through your nose with your tongue out
  4. You did number 3
  5. When you did number 3 you realised it’s possible, but only if you look like a dog
  6. You’re smiling right now because I fooled you (sorry!) Will it lead to a laugh?
  7. Share this so you can have your revenge on others

Until next time

Diva x

 

Mindful Monday – Gently emerge into the New Week

Mindful Gentleness works wonders…..

Oh, how the weekend appears to flash by and then we return to Monday. Mindfulness goes out of your brain, for many of you the school holidays have started and the pressure is on to entertain the children regardless of age.

This is the time you are continually spinning plates with all you need to do. Therefore NOW schedule some techniques or exercises you can do just for you – ones you can slip into quickly that will give you an energy boost.

How Many do You Spin at a Time?

How Many do You Spin at a Time?

My gift to you today is three you can take and use – just enjoy.  Once you practice them, they embed and become part of your repertoire of routines you regularly use.

A quick tension release especially when you are sitting for a long time at a desk/on a plane/in conferences/with the in-laws/ boring lunches or at any time you notice you are tense.

To relieve tension in the body have a quick go at this, it’s wonderful just to stay in the moment with it:

 Mindful Foot flexing.

One of the most disregarded parts of the body – how often do you acknowledge them?  They get abused something rotten – give them a pamper once in a while – and talk nicely to your toes, without whom you would topple over!

Say HELLO to your Feet and Toes!

Say HELLO to your Feet and Toes!

Sit down with your legs outstretched.

  • As you breathe in slowly, tense the muscles of your feet as tightly as you can;
  • Hold the tension as you pause your breath;
  • As you breathe out, slowly let the tension go
  • Feel the relaxation spread up your legs
  • Mindfully notice how this feeling moves throughout your whole body.

Do this 5/10 times….it’s great for circulation if you have been sitting for a while.

Quiet Space

      Tranquillity

Tranquillity

  1. Choose a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
  2. Before you start, do a few gentle stretching exercises to relieve muscular tension.
  3. Make yourself comfortable, either sitting or lying down, remember you need a straight spine
  4. Start to breathe slowly and deeply, in a calm and effortless way. Notice the breath in and out and the pauses between each
  5. Gently slowly tense, each part of your body on the in breath and then relax on the out breath, starting with your feet and working your way up to your face and head.
  1. As you focus on each area, think of warmth, heaviness, and relaxation.
  2. Push any distracting thoughts to the back of your mind; imagine them floating away.
  3. Don’t try to relax; simply let go of the tension in your muscles and allow them to become relaxed.
  4. Let your racing thoughts go. Some people find it helpful to visualise a calm, beautiful place such as a beach; garden; meadow; hilltop.
  5. Stay like this for about 5/10 minutes, then take some deep breaths and open your eyes, but stay sitting or lying for a few moments before you get up.

Remember, your thoughts will come in and out, let them go but make a note of what distracts your practice when you have finished as often you will need to address them – keep your records

Mindful Visualisation and Music

Why Visualisation you may ask…well you may remember as a kid you would daydream.  You would imagine, at a physical level when playing games like film hero’s/heroines; have superpowers; or just lie in the sun and let your thoughts dwindles and your imagination come to the fore.

Remember that space where you could escape from the day to day stuff that crowded in on you. I used to drape a tarpaulin over the washing line and make a sort of tent with is and sit under it in the rain….I was in a rain forest and could just listen to the sounds the water main as it hit the tent…I knew I was safe and warm.

For you,  just take 5 minutes and absorb the scene and music……..HERE!

See, you can do it….lovely was it? I have more to come.

Now that’s all for today – just a bit of good old Diva Spirituality for all my hardworking entrepreneurs out there….just Chill for a bit.

Until next time

Diva x

 

 

Sitting in Mindful Meditation

Often peeps think that meditation is sitting cross legged for hours trying to clear the mind. Well let me disabuse you of that, if you cleared your mind completely you would be dead! Thoughts, (I call them mad monkeys) come bouncing in all the time, the trick is to let them go or block them; so lets get back to how to achieve a bit of Meditation.

chilled out dogWhen mindfully meditating you can sit on a straight-backed chair, on a sofa, cross-legged on a cushion or in a kneeling pose sitting on your calves with the top side of your feet flat against the floor…whatever position is right for you, there are no hard and fast rules…You choose. Just ensure you keep your back/spine straight to allow your energy to flow.

Sit in your chosen position. Gently sway your body from side to side until your spine feels centered. Lengthen your spine into its natural state by imagining you have a cord attached to the crown of your head and that it is being pulled gently from above.

Next really relax your stomach muscles so that your belly becomes soft and rounded and the small of your back gently curves forward. Scan your body from top to bottom slowly, breathe slowly in through the nose and out through the mouth and release any tension or tightness. Feel the air as it travels down through the nose, throat, down into the lungs and then the belly, feel the belly rise.

Check that your head is level; your shoulders are relaxed and your ears are parallel with your shoulders.
Either close your eyes or focus them on a space about 3 to 4ft in front of you, lowering your eyelids slightly at a 45-degree angle. Relax your hands in your lap or on your knees

A tip to ensure you don’t clench your jaw and create tension in your neck is to loosely close your mouth and rest your tongue against the roof of your mouth or let the tip of your tongue rest gently against your upper front teeth.

Stay in this position while focusing on slow belly breathing for a few minutes. Build your practice from a couple of minutes to 15 minutes twice a day. Try to undertake practice in different places, I love to sit outside and just ‘be’.

I have been known to stand in my local High Street and meditate whilst waiting for a loved one who was shopping – mind you one of the sales assistants from shop who knew me came out to ask if I was OK…she soon smiled and backed away when I mentioned I was just meditating…they know me well in my town!

When you have finished slowly begin to bring yourself back into the space you are in open your eyes and become fully aware of your body; stretch carefully and gently before slowly standing and moving on with the rest of your day.

Set yourself a few minutes every day, don’t beat yourself up if you forget and let me know how you get on.

Until next time keep breathing.
Warmth
Donnah

Who ‘Slurps’ away your ENERGY?

So, what is energy and when was the last time you felt your energy was Slurped away/depleted? Well, for me it can be when I have not fully focused on what I am doing (being mindful) and then others come along and slurp it away…not that they do it intentionally, its often at a subconscious but they know they like being near me/my energy and I become knackered!!!!
We all know that evidence from Einstein and now the mass of quantum physics/mechanics which is around that energy is within us and outside of us affecting our everyday lives – we are one mass of energy.
So who slurps away your energy? Once you know that, you are on your way to considering how to protect yourself. – Take a few minutes to think about whom in your circle you let deplete you, who has been with you and when they leave you feel knackered…..yes its often those closest to us too but it is also YOU as you give it away! So how often to you audit your relationships? We will audit our businesses, our material possessions, money, and even our food (we get rid of it once it is past its ‘sell-by’ date). However when it comes to relationships do we hang on to some just because they have been there for ever and we are ‘used’ to them
Believe me you have many relationships:
• Partners
• Best friends
• Colleagues
• Associates
• Neighbours – etc. You can add more

Once you have an idea who it is then you work out the strategies that will be best to protect you; for example assertiveness can work, positive confrontation, positive ‘self-talk’, deflection, good old protection; I used to visualise a bell jar coming over me to the tune of ‘Thunderbirds’ thus by setting my intention I was protected and my energy remained with me. Only YOU can do something about it.

  • What ‘Protection’ do you use each day to ensure you keep your energy?
  • How many of you have stood next to someone and shivered, feeling like you didn’t want to get close? That’s your energy and theirs not blending well and a warning to be careful.
  • What about the ‘gut feeling’ you get from time to time, that’s your energy reminding you to be aware – do you take note?
  • Have you asked yourself WHY you give it away?

We let go/give away our energy on different levels too; Physical – by remaining static and a couch potato our physical levels become very sluggish, the same with eating junk/processed foods, so energy is again depleted and we feel too tired to do anything – you know those times at about 3pm when you feel shattered and need ‘sweet’ things…..yes energy has dipped through ill thought out choices at lunch time. Emotionally we deplete energy by focusing on situations we have no control over and give away energy because we ‘want people to like us’. Mentally we worry about the past or about the future and what others think of us again wasting energy; Spiritually we sometimes lose our anchor.
Self-care is central to everything we do, becoming aware of our energy and how it ‘feels’ at all levels is key to us living and working at our optimum levels.

Remember we all feel our energy from time to time; remember how when you rub your hands together how you feel the warmth? When someone strokes and soothes you how their energy relaxes you? It’s there for us to experience all the time – just try it,
We are teeming with energy and if you pay attention to it you will never look back only forward to a beautiful balanced future. So take regular stock take of your energy levels and do the AUDIT!!!!
Until next time
Warmth

Five minute mindfulness breathing

All my students are getting into Mindfulness Breathing; this simple exercise which is recommended as an effective method for achieving a mindful and relaxed state especially after a busy day is cheaper than a bottle of wine!

Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and practice the following exercise twice for several minutes each day:
1. Find a comfortable posture lying on your back or sitting
2. If you’re sitting, keep the spine straight and let your shoulders drop –relax your body checking for any tensions- try to let it go.
3. Close your eyes if it feels comfortable (less distraction)
4. Focus your attention on your tummy, feeling it rise or expand gently as you breathe in and fall as you breathe out.
5. Concentrate on your breathing, ‘being with’ each breath count 1 when you breathe in, and 2 when you breathe out – up to 10 then start again. If you forget go back to Breathe in for 1 and out for 2 keep this going for 5 minutes.
6. Every time you notice your mind has wandered off the breath, notice what it was that took you away and then gently bring your attention back to your breathing and the feeling of the breath coming in and out – don’t beat yourself up its normal for the mind to wander. (we are so used to being on ‘autopilot’ )
7. If your mind wanders away from the breath, then your job is simply to bring it back to the breath every time, no matter what it has become preoccupied with
8. Practice this exercise for 5 minutes at a convenient time twice every day, whether you feel like it or not, for one week – and see how it feels to incorporate mindful relaxation practice into your life –and the benefits are amazing  more info
9. Be aware of how it feels to spend time each day just being with your breath, being ‘in the moment’ without having to do anything
10. Write down the things that distract you from your breathing practice and share them with someone.
Remember that you won’t get it right all of the time and that’s great as no one is perfect. With practice you will develop – Olympic Champions/top footballers had to practice for many years before achieving their medals.

Give it a go and reconnect with YOU.

Until next time

Warmth

Donnah

Tips for Connecting your Mind & Body

How often do you get to the end of the day and you have a headache; tension everywhere; you have forgotten to eat; not had enough fluid; even left emptying your bladder until you are desperate (ugh!)…..?  OK so the connection with your mind & body just has just not been happening – why?  Yes I am going to bang on about Mindfulness but come on don’t you owe it to that wonderful machine that carts you round all day to STOP and smell the roses?

When was the last time you really did listen to your body’s inner messages? We all have them (and that includes our intuition but that’s another blog.)  Respecting when your body has needs is a priority so think on peeps; give it a few thoughts throughout the day; connect with your mind ‘MINDFULLY’ – what is it asking for: food/loo/ water/ sleep/relaxation/laughter/social activities?

Check out the current stressors in your life that prevent the connection between your Mind & Body – can they be reduced? check out my quiz

Feedback from my students includes areas to consider:

  • Time for you: Relaxation: Do something good for you, Schedule “worry time”, and Schedule time out just for yourself to use as you please.
  • Relationships do you checkout you have and maintain supportive relationships, do you manage your relationships or just coast along?
  • What about improving your relationship with yourself when was the last time you checked out your negative ‘self-talk’?
  • What about your commitments? Are you wasting energy or investing your energy?
  • Invest time in Mindfulness/Relaxation and just be ‘in the moment’ for a few minutes at a time throughout the day.
  • Get on with all those activities you have a passion for and ditch the rest!!!!!
  • Empower others by delegating tasks and that means to your FAMILY; get them to take on responsibilities; yes it might take time and effort but oh boy it produces well grounded young people.

Be mindful of the negative External stressors in your life – physical conditions such as heat or cold, stressful psychological environments such as working conditions, abusive relationships, e.g., bullying and then the negative Internal stressors – physical ailments such as infection or inflammation, or psychological problems such as worrying about something.   They all affect your Mind/Body connection in one way or another, don’t you owe it to yourself to listen and come back to yourself?

If you are interested in knowing more I am running 2 free talks on International Women’s Day at Wellbeing @ The Wishing Well Bromsgrove 11.00 -11.30am & 11.45-12:15pm on ‘Stress & Success – the Mind/Body Connection’ – there are limited places so book with the centre on  01527 570 838.

Until next time

Warmth

Donnah

A Solstice Visualisation

Winter Solstice – Rebirth of Light.

Take your awareness to your body starting with your head and slowly work downwards to your toes releasing any tension you may find by breathing into each part, gently stretching out your muscles and then breathing out and releasing.

Once you have arrived at your toes & the soles of your feet and you are feeling more relaxed, take three deep breathes in and out and relax down further into the chair/floor.

You are beginning to feel warm, safe, and relaxed.  Just let your breath come and go at its own natural rhythm and any thoughts that may wander into your head just let them trickle out again, pay them no attention, let them go with each out breath.  Stay focused on the breath.

I would like you to imagine you are going for a walk on the shortest day of the year: its the day of the Winter Solstice.  The hours of daylight are few, the sun rises late, and sets early, the mid-day hours of light are precious and pass all too quickly.  You are wrapped up warmly as you step outside into the pale yellow sunshine and blue sky.  You begin to make your way to your favourite spot near a lake.

Relax into a comfortable walking pace that keeps your body warm and supple.  Feel the ground beneath your feet, it’s solid and supports you well; take notice of those things around you, your breath which comes out as soft white mist, the frozen ground which breaks into tiny crystals as you walk over it, and see the sunlight burst across the ice into bright rainbow colours.  Smell the frost as you breathe in and out; hear the sounds of the open space around you, the birds, the ice cracking, and animals in the distance.  You can also smell the pine from the nearby trees which is just wafting along on the winter breeze. 

You reach the lake and sit on the bench which looks out onto a breathtakingly beautiful scene; the sun over the hills in the distance, the sky blue, and the lake so still, its like glass with the world around reflected in it. 

As you sit there feeling warm and relaxed, your thoughts move inward as you close your eyes and move into a dreamlike state; you begin to find yourself becoming surrounded by the most glorious colours of the rainbow; you feel so relaxed, warm; safe and content as you breathe these colours in and out as they fill your whole body inside and out.  You feel warm and vibrant; this state reminds you of the vitality of life; stay here a little while and experience this energy.

Spend a little time here………………………

Slowly begin to bring your awareness back to the bench on which you are sitting and the lake in front of you, you begin to stretch and once ready make your way back along the path and back into this room.

Be aware of the sensations in the room, your breathing, the warmth, those around you, take a couple of deep breaths in and out and when ready slowly open your eyes and bring the room into focus.

My love and festive wishes for you and yours over the holiday period Until next time

Donnah Morgan

2013

Relaxation Therapy – BLISS

Relaxation Therapy  Why?  It is crucial to our well-being that we acknowledge tension in our body and mind.  Over time we accumulate many experiences which stay with us affecting emotional, physical, psychological, social and spiritual well-being.  A few of these experiences affect our equilibrium or balance in many facets of our lives causing possible illnesses as we continue to live with the ongoing tension caused.  This tension needs to be released if we are to move forward and we need to discover ways in which we can let go and become liberated.  Our subconscious stores all of these memories which then become the blue-print for how we present ourselves to the world and the habits and behaviours we exhibit, some conscious others unconscious.

Learning how to relax the body and the mind is a wonderful way to re-educate your whole being and identify a range of ways to let go of old patterns which hold you back and thus discover new ways to respond to the world you live in. 

Relaxation Therapy is a method of empowerment which can become a way of life offering you a freedom you have rarely experienced as you let go of the conditioning you have become accustomed to.  We all encounter  and respond to the ‘stressful’ times in our lives which can lead to a range of conditions that debilitate us, therefore learning to ‘let go’ of negative behaviour patterns and replacing them with new and positive ones can only empower the individual who can ‘experience the euphoria of being liberated’ (Morgan, D. 2008)

Relaxation Therapy gives you the opportunity to discover the ‘real you’ and identify what you want from life. It enables you to consider and prioritize the changes you need to make and although it can be hard work.  The release of all that stored tension and stress sets you free.

Both 30 minute and 60 minute treatments are in a ZERO Gravity chair and I use a range of techniques to help you to learn to relax and you have a short action plan to take with you.

All sessions are on an individual basis and will differ from one person to another.  Most people need an agreed number of sessions with a review at appropriate times.  For some, ‘Life/Work Balance Mentoring’ ™ may be a more appropriate pathway (see www.abfablife.co.uk ) further information can be sought by contacting Donnah at ‘abfablife’

Mindfulness Smile’s = Magic…….

I know I bang on about Mindfulness and I know you all tell me you don’t have time….(bet I could find you time if I followed you for a day!)  So lets take Mindfulness to a Micro Level which is doable and as we all know its about the ‘DOING’  So my challenge to you is to have a go at the latest practice I have given my students…….

Decide to take 2 minutes time out and sit quietly where you won’t be disturbed

Take a couple of deep breathes in and out relaxing the body; especially the shoulders and jaw!

As you breathe in smile to yourself and feel that happy energy begin because you are releasing those smiley endorphins into the brain.

As you breathe out release the smile, relaxing the face

And now breathe in smiling again feeling it reach your eyes

And out, relaxing the face….

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

Continue with the rest of your day.

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

Until Next time

Warmth

Donnah