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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Rugby Players Note; Not just for Ladies

Rugby Players – Not just for the Ladies!

Rugby Players need sensitive hands. Day 4 of the 7-day challenge to ‘Self-Care’.

Hands that can ‘FEEL’ the ball and position it ready to throw in the right direction are crucial to Ruby Players. Therefore this technique/exercise can be for the guys not just for the ladies.

Rugby Players need Sensitive Hands!

Rugby Players need Sensitive Hands!

In fact, I used it once with a bunch of Rugby Players I was working with they loved their soft hands at the end…mind you the guys did say they would drop the ball if the did it before a match so they might get the opposition to practice this technique….

Reduces Work Stress

Several years ago I was commissioned to write a training programme around the subject of Reducing Work Stress.  The following exercise was one I used; the outcome was everyone who attended bought hand cream into work and had it visible on their desk. – guys included.

They would exchange hand creams for others to try.  They had an internal policy. If anyone was using hand massage,  they were left alone for a few minutes as it was a sign they need five minutes out. No one abused the practice. How cool was that?!

Your Self- Care Hand Massage

Before you begin massaging your hands, fingers, and cuticles, take off any  jewellery.  Now, first apply the cream to the back of your hands as this is where it is often the driest, think about the skin that the sun hits the most.

Continue reading

Visualisation: The ancient art of Mind Compassion

Visualisation and Mind Compassion

Visualisation plays a large part in the state of Wellbeing.  You will be aware that at the beginning of August I set a little 7-day Self-Care challenge for those who wish to take it. Today is Day 3.

This mindful challenge will take no more than 10 minutes.  It will reach that part of your brain that often needs respite…Your MIND. I’m sure if you look you will find the time and add a new technique to your Toolbox.

The Mind is in there somewhere

The Mind is in there
somewhere

Why use Visualisation you may ask?

I’m sure your will remember as a kid you would daydream and imagine, at a physical level the superpowers you had when playing games like film hero’s/heroines.  Maybe just lying in the sun and let your thoughts dwindle and your imagination come to the fore, you find 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, make a sort of tent with it and sit under it in the rain. It became a rain forest and could just listen to the sounds the water made as it hit the tent. I knew I was safe, warm and could then daydream…..an often forgotten skill.

Continue reading

Self-Care vs Social Media – should it be a contest?

Self-Care vs Social Media

Should it be a contest?

Over the next 7 days, I will set a little Self-Care challenge each day for those who want to take it. I know that many will say they don’t have time; well if this is the case get over and see The Time Doctor…

Those of you who read my Blogs know that even though you get a few Musings of a Vintage Diva you also get my take on Mindfulness and Self-Care. After 40 years of ‘People-Work’ I have a bit of insight into what makes them tick or explode having been both sides of the coin myself. However there is only one constant and that YOU.

Mindfulness as a Tool

If you haven’t tried Mindfulness properly then let me remind you what Jon Kabat-Zinn said,  “Mindfulness is not a special state you achieve through a trick or a technique. It is a way of being.” so when you drink a cup of tea, just drink a cup of tea.

So why is Mindfulness so necessary in the 21st century? In truth I believe it helps bring balance and wellness back into lives. It aids combating tiredness and helps to increase energy levels; many students find it can also help with reducing challenges like;

  • Insomnia
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Low self-confidence
  • High stress levels

Several of my tribe use most of the techniques we practice find that tension in their body reduces considerably. Headaches are reduced and that they believe it aids coping with day to day lives in this busy world. Significantly it helps them to focus on the present rather than rushing furiously into the future or getting caught up in the past.   They keep all these excercises and techniques in their Tookbox/Bag.

Customise your Tool Box

Customise your Tool Box – Bag

Undertaking practice on a regular basis can enable individuals to take further control over their lives and ultimately find time to have more FUN.  In fact just 5/10 minutes essential relaxation included into your daily life will help you greatly and 5/10 minutes a day is far better that 1 hour a week. The daily habit begins to embed into the brain and becomes part of your routine  –  Relaxation is the first key to emotional well-being and helps reduce stress and other ailments once you can learn to relax effectively then Focused Relaxation, Mindfulness & Meditation will be the next stages.

Brain Spam/Mad Monkeys

One of the biggest distractions of learning to relax is the millions of thoughts that come hurtling through the brain.  Buddhists describe the mind as: ‘the mad monkey’ and that relaxation and meditation is a way of training that monkey.

Tame the little buggers!

Tame the little buggers!

Because when we are at the beginning of undertaking our relaxation practice, we are leaping from one thought to another just like the monkey jumping from tree to tree with no purpose, planning, we are illogical, erratic and irrational.   However, if you use the monkey as an analogy for your attention then you can begin to train your attention gently to focus on breathing, subtle feelings, symbols or images and thus cut down the times you leap from tree to tree until you become proficient in just focusing on relaxation

Lets start with DAY 1 – Practial Relaxation

 PUT THE LAPTOP DOWN!

PUT THE LAPTOP DOWN! Let Go of Social Media for 10 Minutes

Have a Practice  this one I have used for years; similar can also be found at; 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. back straight, this keeps you energy flowing
  2. While you take a deep breath, letting it out slowly and drop your shoulders. Close your eyes if it helps. Focus on your breathing. Breathe in slowly to a count of three or four – hold for a count of three – breathe for a count of three or four – pause for a count of three. Repeat at your own 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. Next, 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 legs and thighs, stomach and torso, in the same way.  Paying particular attention to your back and shoulders, this is where we hold a lot of tension.  Then work on your fingers hands and arms..  If you are brave enough, screw up the muscles of your face and neck and slowly release.
  4. Return to focusing on your natural breathing and check your body for any remaining tension just like a slow bar-code machine.
  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.

The Payoff

Everyone is aware that research shows that most people use Social Media for a minimum of 45 minutes a day, TV much longer, are you worth just 10 minutes. Should it be a contest or should you put yourself first? #JustSayin

Check out Tiny Buddha for more Self-Care ideas

Learning to use relaxation as a Self-Care tool in this way can be invaluable if you get anxious in public places and need to sit somewhere to compose yourself . Use it at work when you feel overwhelmed, it is well worth the 5 minutes to put your pen down or leave the computer and completely erase the scrambled thoughts from your brain! (some of my tribe go off to the loo to relax for a few minutes to get away from the distractions.). Can Social Media do this for you?

Give Mindful Relaxation a go, with practice you will embed it and use it as a tool from your toolbox/bag.

Day 2 tomorrow….Watch out for it…..

Diva x

 

 

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

 

Banish “BRAIN FOG” : Gain WELLNESS

“Brain Fog” vs.” Wellness”

“Brain-Fog” appeared on my radar 12 months ago.  I was aware something had triggered my condition and had put it down to the Post-Concussion Syndrome I had acquired after my accident last June where I had 17 staples in my head…..but it was going on too long. So what next…..?  The Full Version

I ploughed through my lengthy repertoire of what could be causing it…..was it my SAD which attacks me every year but I have strategies for that….was it my diet…..ok that can always do with a check over…….was it I was under-challenged and needed a new undertaking….?

Nothing was making sense….so time-out? I took a break. I returned as tired and washed-out. All I wanted/needed was to sleep, would drop off any time but not at bedtime! Stare at the distance and do nada! My short term memory was none existent.  I would be in the middle of a conversation and totally forget what we/I was talking about…..I would lose my train of thought and go off into Diva world.

  Diva 'Brain Fog' World

Diva ‘Brain Fog’ World

This needed sorting – the medical model of care could not find the cause…it’s Easy to point the finger at getting older – NO! I knew it wasn’t that, Brain Fog was real.

My Symptoms included:

  1. Muscular pain
  2. Joint pain
  3. Poor short-term memory and concentration, and difficulty organising thoughts and finding the right words (“brain fog”) WOW my words….!
  4. Bloating/constipation/diarrhoea (yes….you really wanted to know that!)
  5. Sleeping problems, such as insomnia and feeling that sleep isn’t    refreshing
  6. Sensitivity or intolerance to light, loud noise, alcohol and certain foods
  7. Psychological difficulties, such as bouts of depression/irritability

So, what do you do when you need to reflect on ‘self’……run! No, you recognise you need a bit of support/help and ask for it.  But what sort of help or support? It is different for everyone…..but you know deep down.

I decided to do what I usually do and take a few mindful minutes to meditate on the challenge. I had been meditating on it but was getting nothing. So one time I just asked “who/what do I need”…..simple. I just left it to the universe to chuck the answer/s at me.

Coming back from one meditation after a lovely visualisation but no eureka moment I was p****d off.  Went for a stomp (Diva Style).  Yes, the alter ego gets in the way lol!  During the stomp, a name came to me. An old colleague who gave up teaching many years ago to become a Homeopath……stomping stopped. Got an answer; thank you Universe.

Later that day I was pulling a book off my shelves and spotted one I had forgotten……’Brain-Fog Fix’ by Mike Dow.  Universe strikes 2.  Ok! Getting it now…..I have to ‘Do the Doing’ don’t we all?   Dipping into Mike Dows’ book, what I was reading made sense, however, I needed to get to the core.  So contacted my Homeopath…..and arranged a visit – it paid off! The first visit yes very low energy and several intolerances……worked on those; had to be focused.  The second visit still very low energy, intolerances shifted but energy levels a concern. Third, visit energy up by 20% better than it was.

Planning the way forward

After further discussion and testing, it appeared that I was being challenged by a moderate level of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)/ME which causes persistent fatigue (exhaustion).  It affects everyday life and doesn’t go away with sleep or rest. I had a list of symptoms to consider as well as the fatigue.  Several were a match with mine:

My Plan:

  • Small, simple things like sitting out in the sunshine (wrapped up at the moment) coz vitamin D is crucial to wellbeing…..when suns out.
  • Watch carbohydrate intake – need some but not overload
  • Eliminate any junk/processed foods (not a big deal for me!)
  • Meditation – (Research show that there is a connection between mood disorders like anxiety/trauma/depression and other emotional problems and that regular Meditation can help alleviate symptoms
  • Massage – I have booked a monthly Indian Head Massage with Colleen Budge – this can help stimulate the Vagus Nerve (Every organ in your body is connected to the vagus nerve, so there’s little wonder that stimulating your vagus nerve helps relieve fatigue, anxiety, brain fog and more. The vagus nerve is important to your sense of intuition, or your ‘gut sense’ which can help you to pay attention to tiny but important details that help you make good decisions.)
  • Gentle exercise – for me it’s walking
  • Water – to drink more
  • Mindful Breathing techniques – Helps to slow things down and help reduce anxiety/panic/anger/irritability/impatience
  • Pacing – involves balancing periods of activity with periods of rest, not overdoing it or pushing yourself beyond your limits. If you do more than you are ready to, this could slow down your progress in the long term.
  • Laughter & Happiness – can release the right chemicals in your body that help produce a sense of well-being.

The Future and YOU!

Although I recognise this will need to be ongoing and that the CFS will not disappear I do have much better days than I did.   I continue to see my Homeopath every eight weeks at present and would say that PACING is the most important for me as doing too much sets me right back.

Therefore, how about you? Is it time to reflect on your wellness? Do you need to make a few changes?  In my experience, just like me, many of my clients/students deny the truth to themselves about Self-Care. Why?

Seven ‘R’s’ of Wellness

     Wellness Brain

Wellness Brain

Therefore a quick and simple checklist to consider; embed into your life?

  • Relaxation – Do something good for you/Schedule worry time/Schedule time out/undertake real relaxation
  • Responsibility – Remember you are in control/Establish your priorities first/Say No more frequently
  • Reflection – Know your stress triggers/Be aware of your stress symptoms/Check your balance in life
  • Relationships – Maintain supportive relationships/manage your relationships/improve your relationship with yourself/remove those relationships that are toxic
  • Roles – Be aware of taking on roles you no longer need to/Become a positive role model for other by walking your talk
  • Refueling – Monitor your diet/ditch processed foods/eat mindfully/drink lots of water
  • Recreation – Laugh more/Smile more/Have fun/Enjoy Life

I am sure most of you reading this are doing many of the points here but if, not have a go, you have nothing to lose.

Until next time

Diva x