Celebrating the Autumn Equinox

The Autumn Equinox this year happened on Sunday 23rd September at 2.54am (BST). This is of course in the Northern hemisphere. In the Southern hemisphere it was the Spring (or vernal) equinox. So it means that it’s officially Autumn now. Autumn is a time of transition, where the leaves change colour and fall. The days become equal with the night and the temperature starts to drop. It is a good time of year to see if you need to make any changes in your life too.

Autumn Retreat

Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year and I was due to attend a Woodland Mindfulness retreat, but thanks to the storm it got cancelled. I was very disappointed as I had been looking forward to it for ages. However, I glad I wasn’t in a tent when the rain and wind were lashing against my windows over the weekend! I did some tapping to help myself deal with the disappointment and decided I didn’t just want it to be an ‘ordinary’ weekend, so I had a home retreat instead.

Autumn colours
Autumn colours

I went for a long walk on the Friday and was mindful of the gorgeous Autumn colours. I listened to the wind, the birds and insects as they went about their business. As I walked, I also tuned in to the felt senses of my body. Feeling my feet hitting the ground, the muscles of my legs moving and the beating of my heart. I brought mindful awareness to my thoughts and emotions as they arose. When I got home I spent time writing in my journal and doing some mindful colouring in. I did several meditations throughout the day and pampered myself a bit.

Yoga Nidra Day

On the Saturday I went to a Yoga day celebrating the Autumn equinox. We did some gentle yoga and a couple of yoga nidra sessions. Yoga nidra means sleep – a very relaxing type of meditation. We laid on our mats, with blankets under our heads, bolsters under our knees and wrapped ourselves in several warm blankets. Once we were warm and snuggly our lovely teacher Fiona led us on a journey through our body and into a deep state of relaxation. We dined on delicious vegan food and in the afternoon we braved the wind and rain and foraged for leaves, berries and plants to make a beautiful Mandala. I loved doing that and the finished Mandala looked gorgeous.

Autumn Equinox Mandala
Autumn Equinox Mandala

Autumn Self-care

The day was very nurturing and insightful – just what I needed. It reminded me of the importance of self-care. This is a topic very dear to my heart and one I talk about a lot to my clients.

We cannot keep on keeping on without taking care of ourselves. Nature is starting to slow down, so I encourage you to take some time out and look after you this Autumn. Spend some time thinking about what changes you need to make in your life:

  • Do you need to slow down too?
  • Do you need to take care of yourself more?
  • Do you need to let go of something?

I would be happy to help you on your self-care journey. Do get in touch if you would like some help.

Louise

Happy New Year 2018

Happy new year. Wishing you a year that is filled with joy, peace and love.

Happy New Year
Happy New Year 2018

I hope that you have had a great Christmas. To start the new year off the right way, I recommend holding off on certain new year resolutions. We are mid winter and that is not a great time to start making changes to our diet or exercise regimes.

The days are still dark and short, it’s cold and wet and nature is hibernating. So tune in to nature and rest your body as much as it needs. Include lots of self care after the indulgence of Christmas. It’s easy to over-do it over Christmas so cut back on the over-indulgence and you’ll start to feel better.

Spring is a much easier time for us to start more exercise or change our diet. The earth starts to wake up with new life and our energy levels rise. So don’t go against the flow of nature and instead work with her.

So practice self care and look after yourself instead of beating yourself for not making lots of resolutions!

Take care
Louise

Merry Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas

My last post of this year is to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Thank you very much for reading my blog this year. If you would like me to address a topic please send me an email. I would love to hear from you.

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

Remember to look after yourself this Christmas! Self care is so important and we can’t keep giving to others without charging our own batteries. So please take some time out just for you. Even 5 minutes of tapping can help us when tensions run high if the family dynamics are challenging 🙂

Merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

Best wishes,
Lou

 

Just Say No – Self Care Tips

We all struggle to say no sometimes. We can feel obliged to attend parties, meetings or visit our family. Maintaining healthy boundaries is essential for our health and well-being. Yet, so many of struggle with it. Self care certainly isn’t easy when we are busy!

We may also suffer from “FOMO” or Fear Of Missing Out. I can definitely relate to that one when I was younger. I hated having to go to bed at a certain time and can remember sneaking out of bed during parties to try to see what was happening from the top of the stairs! At work FOMO can be especially tricky. We fear if we say no to overtime or extra work that we won’t be valued or that we’ll miss out on opportunities like promotion.

I talk a lot about self care with my clients because it is very important. Especially when they come to me with severe stress or anxiety and are burnt out. We aren’t taught how to look after ourselves, so it is something you have to experiment with. As the saying goes, you can’t fill from an empty cup!

Self care – empty cup

As an introvert I know I need quiet, alone time after being with people – even people I love! So I plan for that.

How Tapping Can Help

Tapping can help us maintain our boundaries and learn to say “no” more often (without feeling guilty!).

I recommend tapping on whatever the trigger is and the associated feelings e.g. guilt.

For example:

  • Even though I feel I should do X, I choose to look after my needs
  • Even though I feel obliged to attend every X meeting, maybe I can miss it now and then
  • Even though I always put everyone else first, maybe I can learn to take care of my needs too
  • Even though I feel it’s my duty to visit my Gran every week, what if it’s ok to miss it when I’m really busy

Then tap on the feelings that come up because you are choosing to do something different for a change, e.g.

  • Even though I feel guilty for having some me time, I know I need to look after me
  • Even though I feel guilty and ashamed for not visiting my Gran this week, I need some self care
  • Even though I feel so bad about not looking after X’s dog, I need to rest and recover my energy

It’s no good trying to enjoy a lovely soak in the bath with candles and soft music if your mind is churning with guilt! Tap on all the feelings associated with saying no or putting your needs first for a change.

Self Care List

I recommend to my clients that they come up with a list of self care things so that they can easily pick one when they really need it. I also recommend daily and weekly self care things so that they maintain their health and well being.

E.g.

  • Long soak in the bath
  • Reading a book
  • Watching your favourite TV show/film
  • Going for a massage or treatment
  • Eating a delicious meal
  • Yoga session
  • Doing something creative e.g. painting or crafting

Put your list somewhere you will see it on a daily basis and enjoy some self care.

Self care
Self care – soak in the bath

Let me know if you’d like some help with saying no or your self care 🙂

Louise

How To Fit Mindful Moments Into A Busy Day

We all know that mindfulness is great for reducing stress and anxiety, improving our focus, memory and reducing our blood pressure. But it can be so hard sometimes to fit it in. Well you don’t have to practice for a long time every day. Even a few minutes can make a difference. Read on to find out how to fit mindful moments into your busy day 🙂 …

Mindful moments
Mindful moments

Mindfulness is about being present in the present moment with awareness of what is happening.

“Mindfulness is the awareness that emerges through paying attention:
      on purpose,
        in the present moment,
          and nonjudgmentally,
            to things as they are.”  – Jon Kabat-Zinn

As well as formal meditation practice there are many different ways you can be more mindful. We’re often in automatic pilot where we’re performing tasks and doing things without being aware of it. This is great for certain things like brushing our teeth or getting dressed but not so useful when we want to be present, e.g. when we realise we haven’t really been paying attention in a meeting and we’re expected to give our opinion (oops!).

Mindful Moments

Here are some ways to fit some mindful moments into your busy day:

  • When you wake up take some slow deep breaths. Feel your whole body on the bed and really connect with it. This is a great way to start your day.
  • Whenever you make a drink do some mindful stretches. Raise your arms slowly above your head and feel the effect of the stretch on your arms, shoulders, back and neck. Rotate your shoulders or stretch your legs – whatever feels good to your body.
  • Pause whenever the phone rings. Drop your shoulders, adjust your posture and then answer.
Phone
Pause before answering
  • Before emailing, take a couple of deep breaths. Let go of any tension. Ask yourself if you really need to do this now or can it wait until later?
  • When you get home from work, spend a few minutes doing a short mindful meditation. It can be as simple as just watching your breath for a few minutes. Noticing the inhalation and your belly inflating, noticing your exhalation and your belly deflating. Just focus on your breath and let everything else go.
  • Mindfully prepare your meal. Notice the colours, shapes, textures and smells of your food. Notice how your body feels as you prepare and cook your meal.
  • Mindfully do the dishes or stack the dishwasher. Notice the feel of the water, the bubbles and texture of the cloth. Or if you’re stacking the dishwasher, be mindful about where you’re placing the dishes, glasses etc.

Practice

There are lots of ways you can slip in these mindful moments to your day. I suggest that you try just one or two a day and practice them for a few days or a week and see how you get on. Then try a different couple and practice those. Mix and match the ones you find most useful and the ones you find most challenging.

I hope that you’ve found these suggestions useful. Let me know your favourite ways of being more mindful.

Here’s a short mindful meditation I created last year. It is only 6 minutes long and takes you on a mindful forest walk. I hope you enjoy 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH3zudbobIg

Mindful Forest Walk
Mindful Forest Walk

 

Louise