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Face to Face Now Available!

Face to Face Now Available!

I am pleased to announce that I can now see clients face to face again! Things will be a little different for awhile though. I have completed a Covid-19 awareness course and have created a policy and done a risk assessment.

Face to face PPE
Sample PPE

I will be wearing appropriate PPE and doing my best to ensure your safety. Hand sanitiser will be required before you enter the treatment room. I will provide a face mask for you to wear if you wish. I will be thoroughly cleaning the treatment room in between clients.

Cancellations

I have changed my terms and conditions so that you won’t be charged for late cancellations if you or someone you live with (or have been in contact with) develop Covid-19 symptoms.

If I feel ill or have symptoms of COVlD-19, I will self-isolate immediately and not come in to work. I will reschedule your appointment and refund you if you have already paid.

I will be asking for payment in advance via BACS/PayPal or via card on the day, to avoid handling cash as much as possible.

Availability

At present, appointments are only available in Exeter at the Massage and Wellbeing Centre. I am waiting for further details on availability in Okehampton at the Ockment Centre.

Full details will be available when you book an appointment. If you have any questions or are not sure about something, please drop me an email. I understand that you might have concerns and I am happy to email or talk to you to help put you at ease.

I am still offering online sessions, but my discounted rates for Distance Reiki and EFT/Mindfulness sessions will come to an end at the end of July. So book now if you want to take advantage of this special offer before it is too late!

I can’t wait to see you again!

Louise

Easy Now – Navigating Out of Lockdown

I am finding it quite difficult to cope with the changing rules of lockdown. How about you? For a start Wales are behind which means I still can’t see my family back home.

It is all very strange. In some places the social distancing still seems to be ok and others people are clearly way too close to each other. This weekend the pubs can open and who knows what will happen once everyone has had a few drinks!

We think things seem back to normal and yet we still have to stay 2m apart and we have to wash our hands or sanitise them more often. We can now have a social bubble and stay overnight in someone else’s home. It is all very confusing and I am sure that a lot of people will still be staying home and staying safe.

Lockdown Compassion

Firstly I would recommend taking some time to sit quietly and acknowledge how you feel. You could write down your thoughts and feelings. Then spend some time exploring them further. You could practice some self compassion and be mindful of the sensations in your body and the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. Then you could do some tapping on anything that feels uncomfortable or upsetting.

Lockdown compassion

I am very disappointed that as a Therapist we still can’t see clients. I am so looking forward to being able to do a face to face session again. Zoom has been brilliant for me personally keeping in touch with family and friends and also being able to see clients and teach my Mindfulness classes. But it is harder work and quite exhausting after awhile!

On that note, please sign and share this petition to Boris Johnson asking for Complementary Therapists to be allowed back to work. Thanks.

Petition – Let Complementary Health Workers Back to Work

On a more positive note, I am very pleased the hairdressers are re-opening and am so looking forward to my hair cut!

Stay safe and well.

Louise

Kindness – Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

Kindness

The theme for this year is kindness. With the current Corona virus pandemic we need kindness more than ever. For many of us our mental health may be the worst it has ever been. Others may be struggling for the first time. Then there are the people who are thriving.

Self Kindness

Firstly, are you being kind to yourself? If not, why not? Try talking to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend. I think you will be less critical, more tolerant and kind. Please don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling. Acknowledge that this is a very challenging situation none of us have experienced before and that we are all just doing our best.

I feel that I am lucky because I am an introvert and need lots of time by myself to recover my energy. I had a conversation with my friend at the weekend and she is an extrovert and she really needs company to recharge and energise herself. She is finding lockdown harder because she really needs to be with people.

Be Kind

Please try not to judge yourself or others. We don’t know what other people are going through or having to deal with.

Check in with friends, family and colleagues. A text message, phone call or video call can all help someone feel less isolated and lonely. They may need more contact than they usually do. They may want to talk more than they usually do. Ask them how they really are. Check if they need anything or if you can do anything for them. Be open, curious and kind.

It is also good to check in with neighbours and even strangers. Maybe that person you see on your walk would appreciate a chat rather than the usual quick “hello”. I have been regularly checking in with my neighbours and sharing cakes with them. We received a couple of scones and cream on VE day from one lovely neighbour and it made my day!

“Kind hearts are the gardens, Kind thoughts are the roots, Kind words are the flowers, Kind deeds are the fruits, Take care of your garden And keep out the weeds, Fill it with sunshine, Kind words, and Kind deeds.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

How Can You Be Kinder?

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • How can you be more kind to yourself?
  • What kind things can you do for yourself?
  • How can you talk to yourself more kindly?

Spend some time answering these questions and then do them!

Kindness

Resources

You can read a lot more on the topic by going to the Mental Health Foundation website. I also wrote this blog on the Corona virus.

Louise

How Journals Can Help Your Mental Health

I find that writing in a journal helps me a lot. Allowing myself to just write without judgement gets it out of my head. I can then tap on any issues that come up during the process. I love bright, colourful and arty journals.

I am loving Abby Wynne’s One Day at a Time journal. It has themes to explore each month and affirmations to keep me positive. As well as questions to help you reflect on how you feel.

Journal
Writing Journal

Inspirational Journal

I also have an inspirational journal. This is a bit like a vision board. I stick images, photos, quotes and anything else that I like the look of in it. It is really great when I am feeling a bit low or lacking motivation. I flick through it and immediately feel a bit better. Sometimes I open it randomly and it always falls open on a page that has a message I need to hear.

Journal
Inspirational Journal

I update it on a regular basis (usually once a month). I spend some time going through my magazines (e.g. Psychologies, Planet Mindful) and rip out anything that catches my eye. Then I lay out the clippings on the table and decide how I will match them together. I like to have themes to my pages, e.g. nature, inspiration, motivation, confidence etc.

I then cut them to size and stick them in my journal. When I have finished I like to review my new pages. I will then flick through it and find something that really resonates with me in the moment. This could be a new page or an older one. I like to keep this journal out on show all the time so that I remember to pick it up and use it when I need to.

Quite often we have these tools and we forget about them. That is why a vision board or journal like this is handy to keep in view.

Self Care

What is also helpful is writing a list of self care activities that you can do when you need to. That way you don’t need to think about it too much. Your brain is not very good at thinking when you are in need of some self care! Again you could have a separate journal or use your writing or inspiration journal. Make your list colourful and pretty so that you feel uplifted by it when you see it.

If you would like some self care ideas you can read this blog post.

Happy journaling!

Louise

Coping with Corona Virus Isolation

Being in a global Corona virus pandemic is a very strange experience! None of us have lived through a global pandemic like the one we find ourselves in. It’s ok to not feel ok. It’s ok if you’re feeling extra stressed and anxious. You might also be experiencing anger, frustration, fear, sadness and a whole gamut of other emotions.

As best you can, allow yourself to feel your emotions as they come up. I find that Mindfulness and EFT really help me in this respect. I can fully feel the emotions, let them be heard and then let them go again.

The more you resist, the more they persist! So do whatever you can to let them flow.

Corona Virus Self Care

Self care is essential at any time if you ask me. No more so than during the current Corona virus pandemic! Do what works for you. Here’s what is working for me:

  • Walking in nature every day (I am lucky to live near woods)
  • Movement/exercise several times a week – weights, yoga & Qi Gong
  • Mindfulness meditation and daily tapping
  • Regular Reiki self treatments
  • Eating well and enjoying occasional sweet treats (thanks to my step daughter for delicious brownies)
  • Reading and watching films/TV series
  • Writing in my journal / creativity
Corona virus daily walk
Daily walking nature fix

Be Kind

It is easy to judge other people whilst we are in this weird situation. People act strangely when they are anxious and scared. Not everyone will be in their right mind and they may be acting different from normal. Do try to be kind to everyone. We are all in this together and some of us cope better than others to changes that have been forced upon us.

Corona virus kindness

If you can help people in your local community then do that. Helping someone else can help us too. It could be something simple like checking in with your neighbour to see if they need anything when you go to the supermarket.

Free Resources

I have a few free meditations available for you to listen to and some EFT (tapping) videos. Check them out on YouTube:

Free meditations and Tapping videos

Take care and stay safe at home.
Louise

How to do a Mindful Stretch

We all move every day hundreds if not thousands of time. How many of those movements are you aware of your body and the sensations as they happen? Very few I would guess. Well that can change if you deliberately learn how to do a mindful stretch.

Mindful stretch

To begin your mindful stretch, come into a standing position and notice your breath. Just feel your breath coming in and going out. You could place your hand on your belly and feel how it rises and falls with the breath.

Now slowly move your weight side to side and back and forth until you feel like you are evenly balanced. Drop your shoulders away from your ears and release your jaw. Notice how your body feels. Really listen to your body as you breathe.

Move Mindfully

If it feels ok, you could close your eyes at this point. If that doesn’t feel good, just lower your gaze slightly. Now on an out breath, slowly start to move your arms out to the sides until they are shoulder height. Ensure your shoulders are relaxed and not crunching towards your ears!

Really pay attention to the sensations in your arms, shoulders and torso as you raise your arms up. On the next exhalation, continue to slowly move your arms up above your head. Drop your shoulders again and take another breath. On the next out breath, stretch one hand even further up and then relax it. Repeat with the other hand. Check in with your arms, shoulders, torso, legs and feet again. See what you can notice now. How does your body feel now?

With the next exhalation, slowly start to move your arms back to shoulder height. Check in again with your body and the sensations. See if anything feels different now. On the next out breath, slowly move your arms back down to your sides. What can you notice now? Check how your breath and body feel now.

You can repeat this process several times and notice how you feel at the end of the movement. Try doing different types of mindful stretches or mindful movements and notice how that feels. Be curious and focus on the body sensations not how far you stretched.

Move During Your Day

You can do this mindful stretch or movement several times during the day. Try doing it first thing in the morning, when you get out of bed. It is great to do this if you sit at a desk all day. Not only do you get a chance to move your body, you also drop out of the busyness of your head for a few minutes. Repeat the movement before you go to bed and you will begin to drop out of doing mode and into being mode. This can help you sleep better if your mind is less busy.

Want to know more about the benefits of mindfulness meditation? Pop over here.

Keep being mindful!

Louise

Meditation Tips

Here are my top tips to get the most out of your mindfulness meditation experiences:

Let Go of Expectation

With mindfulness meditation we want to let go of any expectation. If we start with an expectation that we will feel relaxed and our mind is very busy during our practice, we will be disappointed! So we want to let go of any expected feeling, sensation or outcome.

In life, we so often become attached to certain experiences and feelings. If we feel happy or good, we don’t want it to end. It is a natural human tendency. During our meditation we constantly need to let go. We let go of our thoughts and emotions if we are focusing on the breath. We let go of pleasant feelings that occur during our meditation and likewise our unpleasant ones too. We just accept what is here, moment by moment. Letting go is part of staying present in the present moment.

Acceptance

Acknowledging/accepting things just as they are. We need to accept things as they are in this present moment. We often won’t like the experience (e.g. pain or a feeling of anger) but if we accept it is here it loses its power over us and can transform naturally without us striving to change it. It is the paradox that if we strive to change the experience we aren’t accepting it, but if we accept it, our experience can change.

Mindfulness meditation

Beginners Mind

It is helpful to adopt a beginners mind. Being child-like in our attitude so that we bring a sense of curiosity and fun to our experiences. Children don’t pre judge or have vast past experiences that they refer to. We need to let go of our beliefs and our expectations from our past experiences. Letting go of thinking we know what will happen and just being curious to the experience. As if each meditation is the first one we’ve ever done.

Non-striving

This is embracing being mode. We are so caught up in doing mode in our daily lives, that we need to emphasise the non-striving attitude of being during meditation practice. We aren’t trying to get anywhere, we have no goal, we’re just being. Noticing what is happening in this present moment. Being aware of our experience as it happens, as it is here anyway.

Kindness

Finally, and very importantly, we need to be kind to ourselves. Interwoven through all of the above and in our practice, should be an attitude of kindness. Of loving warmth, friendliness, compassion and forgiveness towards ourselves. If we can let go of self-criticism (I’m doing it wrong) and be kind and patient with ourselves we will embody mindfulness much more.

“Just watch this moment, without trying to change it at all. What is happening? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you hear?” – Jon Kabat-Zinn

I hope you find these tips useful. Remember to keep practising. Let your experience be your experience.

Louise

Ground Yourself in Nature

I love Autumn – it is a great time to be in nature. There are so many colours to see. You can see the leaves changing colour day by day. It’s a really easy time to be mindful.

Autumn nature
Autumn delight

Simply fully open your senses as you walk.

  • Notice the colours and textures.
  • Feel the cooler temperatures on your face.
  • Listen to the sound of the wind blowing through the trees.
  • Listen to the crunch of the fallen leaves.
  • Smell the earthy smell after the rain.

It’s a really good time to ground yourself too. Maybe you have a favourite tree. Go and stand next to it and connect with it’s energy. Or sit against it and close your eyes and just be for a while.

“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” – Elizabeth Lawrence

If it’s not too cold, try walking barefoot on the grass or at the beach. Wrap up warm and sit outside for a while, tuning in to what you can see, hear and smell. To connect with our sense of taste why not cook some warming soup or a hearty stew.

You could collect some fallen leaves and bring them home to remind you to connect to mother nature. Make an Autumnal display and put it somewhere prominent in your home. This is especially good if you live in the city.

Autumn display nature
Autumn display

“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.” – William Cullen Bryant

I hope you enjoy grounding yourself and being mindful this Autumn.

Louise

Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body

I was recently talking to a couple of people who mentioned that they were having trouble sleeping. After discovering that they were both suffering from overthinking or ruminating I shared some thoughts with what could help them.

Mindfulness can help us sleep better. Mindfulness is about being present in the present moment. We pay attention without judgment, to things as they are. We learn our thoughts are just thoughts not facts. With practice we can quieten our minds, which can help us sleep better.

Here are two easy to learn meditation techniques that can help when you can’t sleep:

  1. Breath Meditation
  2. Body Scan

Breath Meditation

The breath meditation is one of the simplest meditations there is. That doesn’t mean to say that it is always easy though. After making sure you are comfortable, place one or both hands on your belly. Tune in to the breath and feel your hands rise on the inhalation and fall on the exhalation. That’s it! Repeat.

Your mind will wander as that is what minds do!

Every time you notice your mind has wandered, very gently bring it back to your breath and feel the next inhalation or exhalation.

After a while you can remove your hands from your belly and try to keep your focus on the breath. Keep gently bringing your mind back to the breath every time you notice it has wandered off to thinking, worrying, planning etc.

Belly breathing meditation
Belly breathing

Body Scan

With the body scan we use the sensations of the body to keep us in the present moment. Make sure you are comfortable and lying on your back with your hands and feet resting out to the sides of the body.

Start by focusing on the breath. Feel the breath come in and feel the breath go out of the body. See if you can feel your belly rising and falling with each breath.

Body scan
Body scan

Now start at your left foot and see if you can notice any sensations in your left toes. Keep your attention on your left toes and see what you can notice there. If there is numbness or no sensation that is fine too. When you are ready, take a deeper breath in and out and move on to the sole of your left foot. Put your full attention there now. Allow yourself to feel any and all sensations in the sole of your left foot.

When you are ready to move on, move your awareness to the top of your left foot and see what sensations you can feel in this part of your body. Carry on in this way with the heel, ankle, calf, shin etc of the left leg. Repeat with the right foot and leg.

When you notice your mind has wandered, note where it went and gently bring it back to your breath and the body part you are focusing on.

Continue in the same way with the pelvis, back, torso, chest, hands and arms, shoulders, neck, head and face. Bringing your attention to each part in turn and just noticing what sensations are present.

Remember, the aim isn’t to feel any particular sensations (e.g. relaxation), so don’t try to force anything. It is to just be present in the body moment to moment, region by region. We are just paying attention to whatever sensations are present as we focus on each region in turn.

These techniques can be very effective, but are best practiced without any expectations. Just do the practice regularly and see what happens.

If you would like some help please get in touch.
Louise

Reiki Awareness Week 2019

It’s Reiki Awareness Week 15th – 21st June…

If you have never experienced Reiki before then I would love to introduce you to this amazing healing technique.

I first discovered Reiki over 15 years ago when I visited a spa for some pampering. Expecting to only receive a facial or massage I was surprised to be offered this funny sounding technique!

Receiving Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key) was wonderful and I enjoyed it so much that I later decided to train and become a practitioner myself.

Relaxing Reiki

Reiki is shared with the client fully clothed, usually laid on a massage couch in a quiet environment. Most people find it very relaxing and it can help reduce your stress levels and aid the body’s healing ability.

If you would like to find out more then do get in touch and I will be pleased to share this wonderful healing technique with you.

I look forward to sharing Reiki with you.
Louise

Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month. We all suffer from stress from time to time. Learning your stress triggers and responses is really helpful.

Stressed

Here’s some useful questions that can help you manage your stress:

Q. How do you know you are getting stressed?

Q. Where do you feel stress in your body?

Q. What happens when your stress levels get high?

Q. Do you know how to reduce your stress?

Having self care activities written down and ready to go is really helpful. When we are stressed we don’t think clearly. So writing down things that work to reduce your stress really helps when you need it the most.

Things that might help:

  • Meditation (even 5 minutes can make a difference)
  • Exercise e.g. walking in nature
  • Breathing techniques
  • Reiki
  • Having a relaxing bath
  • EFT (Tapping)
Mindfulness Meditation Stressed

It is best to counter stress before it gets too bad. So learn to recognise the signs that you are getting stressed and take some positive actions to reduce it. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for you. So find out what works best for you and do that!

If you’d like some help reducing your stress, I’d love to help. I have helped clients for almost 20 years and have lots of experience and different tools to draw on.

Louise


Put a Spring in Your Step

Spring is here and the days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and the nights are shorter. What’s not to like? Here’s my top tips for getting a spring back in your step!

Get Outside

Reconnect with Mother Nature and spend some time outdoors. You might not have been outdoors much during winter due to the cold and the rain, so it’s a great time to start spending more time outdoors. With the longer days it’s easier to do as well as we have more daylight. So take a walk during your lunch break or as soon as you get home. It’s a great way to clear your head, improve your mood and burn some calories too!

  • Walk at lunchtime
  • Get off the bus or train a stop early
  • Do some gardening (great to tidy it up after the winter)
  • Meditate outside (wrap a blanket around you if it’s still a bit chilly)
  • Watch the spring lambs in the fields
Spring
Spring lambs

Spleen Thump

This only takes about 15 seconds to complete. Benefits:

  • Increases your energy levels
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Balances your blood chemistry
  • Helps you metabolize food

To find the spleen neurolymphatic points: In line with your nipples, straight beneath your breasts and down over the next rib.

Tap firmly with several fingers for about 15 seconds. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this every day to keep your energy flowing.

Spring Clean

Finally, it’s a great time to have a good spring clean! There’s nothing like clearing out old clutter and unused things from your house. Increase your feel-good factor by creating some bags for charity e.g. old winter clothes you haven’t worn, books you’ve finished reading.

Once you’ve sorted out your clutter, then you can give your house a good spring clean. Open the windows and let lots of lovely fresh air in. Bring some spring flowers in to brighten up the place – other flowers apart from daffodils are available (apparently!) 🙂

Daffodils
Daffodils on my table

I hope you feel full of the joys of spring after these tips.

Louise

Happy New Year 2019

Wishing you a very happy, healthy 2019.

Happy new year 2019
Happy New Year

Forget about the resolutions as most of us end up ditching them by mid January anyway! They can also induce feelings of inadequacy and guilt.

Instead, take some time to review your 2018 and plan for this year. Here are some suggestions for you:

Review 2018

  • What was the best thing about 2018?
  • What are you most proud of achieving in 2018?
  • What was your most important lesson of 2018?

Plan 2019

  • What do you want to achieve the most in 2019?
  • What is your focus word for 2019?
  • What hobbies/activities do you want to do this year?
  • What self-care things will you do to look after yourself this year?

Set Your Goals

Using the answers from above, set your goals for the year. Then break them down into goals for the months and weeks ahead. Remember to regularly review your goals and break them down further if you’re not achieving them, or make them bigger if you are exceeding them 🙂

I hope that you have a great 2019. Do let me know if you’d like some help.

Louise

Merry Christmas 2018

Christmas 2018
Wishing you joy and peace this Christmas

Christmas 2018 is almost upon us. Remember to take some time for yourself. It can get a bit crazy with shopping, wrapping, cooking and travelling to do.

Nobody pushes our buttons like our family. So take a deep breath whenever tension rises. A quick meditation or some tapping can really help us calm down.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas. I look forward to sharing with you in 2019.

Best wishes,
Louise

3 Minute Breathing Space

Many of us know the benefits of mindfulness but we have such busy lives that it feels like we never have enough time. If that sounds familiar then this meditation is for you. Most people can manage to find the time to practice this one. It’s called the Breathing Space meditation and it can be as short as just 3 minutes!

3 Minute Breathing Space

Breathing space
Breathing Space

Firstly, make a conscious change to your posture. Sit upright with your back straight but not stiff. Close your eyes if that feels ok.

Step 1

Ask yourself what’s going on in your mind and body right now?

  • What thoughts are present?
  • What feelings are here?
  • Become aware of any sensations in the body.

Don’t try to change anything. Just be aware of what is already here. Try not to judge anything, just bring your kind attention to whatever is here, right now.

Step 2

  • Now, become aware of your breathing. Narrow your attention to just the sensations of your breathing.
  • See if you can feel your breath moving in your abdomen.
  • Try and notice the full inhalation and the full exhalation.

If your mind wanders (as it naturally will), just gently bring it back to your breath. Coming in and going out.

Step 3

  • Finally, expand the focus of awareness now to take in your whole body. As if your whole body was breathing.
  • Become aware of your posture, any sensations on surface of your skin and deeper in your body.
  • Holding in awareness all the sensations in your body and breath just as they are.

Coming home to your body, coming home to this moment.

As best you can, bring this expanded awareness to the rest of your day.

Here’s my recorded version if you’d like to try it:

FFE 3 Minute Breathing Space Meditation

This meditation is great to practice in times of stress or just to check in with yourself, several times a day.

Best wishes,
Louise