self-care

January Blues? 5 Ways to Return to Normality with Vigour

January blues getting to you too? Reality looms large and the thought of the school run tomorrow morning has me shuddering. And I think I’m finally understanding the allure of tea… it’s 4pm, 3 degrees, dark already and a third cup of coffee would not be my friend. So these are the little rituals to which I’m turning to get the happies flowing. I hope they give you some light relief too.

5 Ways to Return to Normality with Vigour…

1. Plan one thing you really look forward to and enjoy the anticipation of it. This can be as simple as looking forward to a solo walk on the weekend or something more grand like a planned holiday (Australia, you are on my radar!). Feel how just the thought of this buoys your spirits. I am really looking forward to settling in with Dave and the kids and watching his new TV show, ‘Let it Shine‘, on Saturday night! Read more »

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Self-Care Tips to Maximise Christmas Cheer

Fun festive cheer or stressful mania… which will your December be full of?! We know there’s a tipping point! While Christmas can be a joy-filled time of year it is not without its own unique stresses – family pressures, expectations, calendars jam-packed with social engagements, sweet treats and temptations at every turn… Here are a few ideas that will keeping your wellbeing tiptop at this time of year.

Top tips for keeping your wellbeing in check this Christmas…

  1. Keep an eye on your energetic bank balance. Just as a car needs petrol to go, we need energy to function well, to be the kind of people we aspire to be and to enjoy life. Get to know your energetic bank balance and take action when you’re feeling depleted. Check in with your energy levels and give yourself permission to act accordingly – burning the candle at both ends might have you feeling reactive and grumpy rather than festive. It can be as simple as making time for a 10 minute meditation to give you enough steam to enjoy your big night out or taking a restorative bath to ease away the post party residue. Be honest with yourself and keep nourishment on the radar. It is not selfish, it is absolutely necessary.
  1. Keep moving. Quite often the festive season wreaks havoc with our usual patterns of movement… long meals, time on the sofa and very full tummies. By all means enjoy the socialising and family time and it would be a crime not to enjoy the delights of seasonal rituals, but keep moving. Maybe its 5 mins of yoga (take a peek at my YouTube channel for some free and quick yoga sequences), or popping on your favourite tunes and having a boogie at home or it can be as simple as taking a walk around the block. Keep moving to boost your mood and resilience to stress.
  1. If you are going to indulge… savour it. This is my all-time favourite festive tip. If you are going to eat that pudding, nibble on that shortbread, crack open that bubbly, dig into that roast…. ENJOY IT! Savour every last little bit of enjoyment. Don’t fritter it away with guilt. Don’t waste it by thinking you shouldn’t be doing it. Don’t miss out on the joy by failing to give it your full attention. You might find that life’s joys savoured in this way means you stop a little sooner and have less compensatory work required of you later. Life is meant to be enjoyed, so savour it!

Beaming you love,

Suz xx

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Coping with the Curveballs of Life – how to Stress Less

“I’m stressed!” The modern catch cry! We all know that feeling of time pressure, mental overwhelm, sleeplessness, tight jaw, adrenals in overdrive… The thing is, stress isn’t going to go away. The day where there is an absence of stress is the day we are pushing up daisies. In fact, even positive and much longed for events can also tax our minds and bodies… Getting married, scoring that promotion, falling pregnant and then hells bells, adjusting to the demands of them being on the outside! We have to get a handle on stress because its effects are cumulative, too much stress is plain dangerous for our health and it puts the kibosh on happiness.

So what’s the solution? Daily nourishment, valves that release that mounting pressure, and simple mood boosters. These things must be at our fingertips touch when we need it the most and most of all, quick! I call it my ‘self-care toolkit’ and it helps me manage my stress. Even better, it helps me be the kind of mother, partner, friend and practitioner that I aspire to be. Win win! There’s nothing selfish about that.

10 ways to stress less:

  1. Breathe – it is literally impossible to feel stressed at the same time as breathing well. We still may be aware of uncomfortable sensations, thoughts and feelings but we don’t feel stressed about them while breathing well. How do we breathe well? Simply stop, be still, and feel your breathing. Relax into the sensations of the inhalation filling you up, a tiny pause at the end of the breath in, the surrender of the exhalation and the pause at the end of your breath out. Become your breath for as long as it takes to feel more grounded.
  2. ‘Put and ring around it’ – identify what it is that’s stressing you and put a ring around it. It’s not everything, it is just this one defined thing. And if there are multiple stressors that does genuinely make you feel like it’s everything, put a ring around this time. It won’t be like this forever. This ‘chunking down’ tool helps you get a better handle on life’s challenges.
  3. Are you ‘hangry’? Quite often when we’re feeling headless, it’s because we haven’t fed ourselves appropriately. Have some life-giving snacks at your fingertips because we’re not just feeding our body, we’re also nourishing our mood and mental clarity. Make sure you are well hydrated too.
  4. Move – this is not just about exercise, this is plain movement. If you’re feeling stuck, low or scattered, move your body. It is a natural antidepressant and research shows it boosts creativity so you will be more resourceful in your approach to problem solving. Nothing fancy or elaborate is needed, just a quick walk around the block can do the trick.
  5. Reach out – take some time to think about who is on your ‘team’. Who are the people you turn to when you need a kind ear, a sounding board, a cheerleader, someone to yoga with, coffee mate, movie buddy, for your body MOT (my physio and hairdresser are definitely on my team). Write down the names of these people and know that there are different times when they each come to the fore. When you’re feeling wobbly, take a peek at your list and reach out to the appropriate person. Social connection feeds the soul so make sure you are investing in these relationships.
  6. Scent – don’t underestimate the power of scent. It is so quick and effortless. Spritz your favourite fragrance or light a scented candle and stand tall. Take a few deep breaths and relish that moment. For added potency you can pair scent with affirmations too – use a phrase that channels how you want to feel.
  7. “I have all the time I need”…. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Even if you don’t believe it! This mantra will help you relax and feel a greater sense of spaciousness in your day. It might even help you refine your priorities.
  8. Mood boosting music – identify your happy tracks and press play when you need a boost. A dose of classical can be medicinal if soothing is what you need.
  9. Nature’s beauty – drink it in and let it blow away the cobwebs. Nature is another potent antidepressant and helps us connect with what matters most in life. If you can’t get out in it, seek it out from where you are. Maybe it’s the moving cloudscape during your commute or a vase of cut flowers on your desk at work. Be open to the therapeutic power of Nature and self-care becomes so simple and accessible.
  10. What’s your WHY – so often stress leaves us feeling a bit discombobulated. Remind yourself of the purpose behind your actions and this galvanises us when the tough gets going.

So, self-care needn’t be elaborate, take much time, energy or expense. Turn to these strategies when you’re feeling under the pump and feel the tension dissipate. Better still, engage in them regularly and you’ll have stress rolling off your shoulders before it raises your blood pressure.

These are just a selection of self-care activities. Book in for your complimentary 15 min phone call about how we can create your own bespoke self-care toolkit. It’s time to reclaim your vitality!

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7 Secrets of Self-Care

1. Repeat after me: self-care isn’t selfish

2. Give yourself permission to take time out for you

3. Make an appointment with yourself and don’t quibble about it. It’s important. Don’t just wait for a good moment – they rarely come and bitterness about it at 9pm on Sunday isn’t good for anyone.

4. Plan your time and fill it with something that nurtures head, heart and body. Need ideas? Get in touch, I have plenty to share.

5. ENJOY with reckless abandon! Enjoy the anticipation of it too and see how it helps you manage even before you’ve had your ‘me time’.

6. Observe the upward spiral you’ve set in motion: your vitality and happiness makes you more resourceful in response to the inevitable stresses of life. Self-care helps you to be a more compassionate, effective human being. Win win.

7. Now get on it!

Still find it hard to claw back time for you?  I can help. We’ll brainstorm your own self-care toolkit. Think of me as the angel sitting on your shoulder, making sure it happens. Get in touch: suzy@suzyreading.co.uk.

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Motherhood observation #7: permission to fill your cup, guilt free!

Motherhood observation #7: Self-care is not indulgent, it is not a luxury, it is essential. Mothers are only human and you need time out to replenish. Use that down time wisely, with the express intention of filling your cup. The weekend is there for you to unwind too so give yourself permission!

This is what I need every so often: time where there is spaciousness from the demands, requests and needs of others, some simple peace and quiet, time to be an autonomous, independent adult responding to my own needs, desires and dreams. It’s a work in progress but I am getting better at communicating these needs, creating opportunities to enjoy them and really relishing them, guilt free.

If you could do with a sounding board to explore any of the issues we’ve raised this week, or if you need some help establishing a good self-care routine, please get in touch with me. We are all in it together!

Lots of love, Suz xx

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