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

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.

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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.

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Slow Down – You Move to FAST…..

Slow down…well, you either hear the call, or you don’t.  But at a gut level you know it’s there.

Do you remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare?  The Hare belts forward rushing and racing around trying to get all things done and burns out – the Tortoise just calmly moves along and eventually completes all the tasks, no mistakes and still feels chilled.  Which are you?

Which are YOU?

Which are YOU?

Daily Slow Down Tasks

You know what they all are, however, we all need reminders.  Don’t try to do them all at once, (as if you would lol!) that would be silly.

Mindful slowing down is quite simple, but not easy. It’s important to get started and begin making progress.

It’s a little like a baby starting to walk. There seems to be no real progress until one day you stand up, and suddenly you’re up and walking.

Just practice developing the tasks you remember most until they become a habit and then move on to new things….simples.  It takes everyone different lengths of time so remember it’s not a competition.

When I first work with new students I ask them to slow down the simple daily tasks they undertake, through habit and by applying Mindfulness thus being in the moment; they get results.

 Slowing Down and Mindfulness

These exercises will help you to notice the speed at which you are moving.  When you are tense, this is often faster and more spasmodic than necessary.  This exercise helps you turn down your metabolic rate.  For a few minutes, consciously and mindfully do everything the slightest fraction slower.

Choose a simple activity you do every day.  It could be;

  • getting dressed
  • having a shower
  • leaving the house and getting into the car
  • having breakfast or a tea break
  • watering your plants
  • taking the dog for a walk
WASHING UP!

WASHING UP!

Allow an extra minute or two, so you don’t have to hurry.  Do every movement just the slightest bit slower.

Carl Honoré in his TED Talk discusses the need to slow down and the resistance to it through conditioning and habit Click to watch an inspiring discussion.

Therefore, using Mindfulness as a tool to develop slowing down, consider these actions as you undertake them:

  • Notice the pace at which you walk, turn, sit, and lift things.  In other words, be natural without rushing in all everyday activities.
  • Walking. Most of us walk quite a bit each day, but we rarely think about walking. We also don’t pay much attention to what’s going on around us. Our thoughts are primarily on wherever it is we’re walking to.
  • While walking, notice what’s going on around you. Feel the pressure on your feet. Feel the temperature of the air on your skin. Smell the air; yes smell the air – describe it.
  • Eating. We’re rarely aware that we’re even eating, and taste well forget that, for many it doesn’t even hit the sides….
Notice your Food!

Notice your Food!

Try a little experiment.

Take an orange and eat it one piece at a time. Bite into it slowly and take the time to savour each bite. Take a full 30 seconds for each segment. There’s a 50-50 chance you won’t even be able to finish the entire orange. It’s richer than you think.

Lots of Vitamin C......

Lots of  fab Vitamins C……

Avoid eating in front of the television or while listening to music so that you can focus on your food and the people with you.  When you’re talking, talk. When you’re eating, eat.

Take it Slowly when….

Waiting in line. Maybe you find waiting in line to be especially frustrating. Notice the feelings and thoughts that arise while you’re waiting. But avoid getting emotionally involved. Simply be a casual observer. Breathe in and let go, you have just been given a few minutes to chill – take it!

Observing your Body – Take note when your movements are hurried and jerky why? and again when they are smooth and easy.  Do you breathe easily or hold your breath? You may need to review your breathing techniques. We rarely notice our bodies unless we’re in pain or ill. BIG mistake. Our bodies are one of the primary ways we experience the world.

Avoiding multitasking. Just do one task at a time. You’ll get more done, and it’s much easier to be mindful.  Remember the Tortoise and the Hare?  Once you have become more competent with the simple tasks and let go of the guilt about not multi-tasking you are ready to move onto the next stages.

‘Doing the Doing’

Become aware. This means,  be aware of everything in your environment, as well as everything you’re doing and thinking. Keep your focus on the present moment, not looking back at the past or concerning yourself with the future.

Become deliberate. Focus on what you’re doing and perform the next logical step. Keep going until the task is complete. Be focused on the task rather than getting the job over and done with.

Notice your feelings. If you think about it, emotions are nothing more than feelings that we’ve learned to label. When your body feels a certain way, you call it “jealousy,” “happiness,” “fear,” “shame,” and so on. Our brains don’t have the ability actually to feel anything. That’s why patients are frequently awake for many neurosurgery procedures. It ’s our emotions and physical self that ‘feels.’

Regularly take a moment to notice what each part of your body is feeling. Think relaxed or tense? Then make a choice about what you will do – Rush or Relax!

Learn how to regain control. (Top Tip)

If you find yourself unable to be mindful, there’s a great trick to bring your thoughts back to the present.

  1. List ten things that you see. It’s preferable for you to list the items aloud. Describe each one in some detail.
  2. List all the things you hear. Close your eyes and listen.
  3. Describe the smell in the air.
  4. Describe what you’re feeling physically. It might be, “My neck is hurting. I can feel the pressure of my feet on the ground. My belt feels tight. The air is a little cold on my skin. My body feels tired.”
  5. Take a minute to notice your breathing. Count your breaths as you feel the air moving in and out of your body.

When you complete this exercise, your mind should be back in the present.

We are all aware of how rushing around leads to mistakes; Psychologically it does us no good what so ever;  Our Physiology suffers too; our Stress levels increase….therefore maybe today is the day you start to believe Slow is the Way to Go!

Just Chill and Slow Down

Just Chill and Slow Down

Consider one of the daily tasks you do and decide to slow it down….just one, get into the habit of taking a little longer and begin to see the changes.

You may need to adjust you time management tools/schedule of daily tasks, but you can pop over and see the ‘The Time Doctor’  for that challenge….

Let me know what task you decide on and how you get on….

Until next time

Diva x

Let go of Stress & Tension for a Few Moments

Focused Breathing to aid Relaxation for Everyone

Five Minute Practice – Twice daily is good – In a quiet space

The following simple exercise is recommended as an effective method for achieving a relaxed state

Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and practice the following exercise twice for several minutes each day: Continue reading