Sometimes we say “yes” to someone when we really want to say “no”….. We put our own needs behind the needs of others, whether that’s our children, partner, friends, colleagues, and sometimes even strangers. Putting ourselves first leads to feelings of guilt. But why…??? Of course, we all have to do things that sometimes we don’t really want to. But this is more about ALWAYS seeing the needs of others as more important than our own.
Self care and self compassion are a couple of ways that can help tackle guilt head-on! A need to be perfect, to please others, and a sense of obligation all mean we dismiss self care and self compassion. Bringing these elements back into your own life is essential, because you are important too. Kindness, compassion, loyalty and patience are qualities that make us a great friend, partner and parent. These great qualities can be self directed too! I believe it’s essential. How we do this isn’t always easy…. therapy or counselling can help.
This article starts to address this and how we might go about showing ourselves the same love and attention we show those around us. There’s no better way for people in our lives to learn and experience us fully than by watching how we care for ourselves.
Take a look at ‘The Compassionate Mind’ by Paul Gilbert…. it’s a great read and you’ll learn loads! Get in touch if you’d like to know more. It’s never too late to start caring for yourself in the same way you care for people around you….. and not feel guilty!
The hustle and bustle of everyday life can be exciting but it can also take its toll. Knowing how to look after yourself in times of stress is a great idea.
Consider, Act, Release control, Ease
This article outlines a guide to help you when you’re under stress and feeling anxious, and the best time to look is now! Then you will have your self-care plan ready for when stress hits. Yes, it’s a bit of trial and error at times… so having a few options is useful. I find having a journal with everything in one place can make a big difference. And the biggest, most powerful thing (in my mind anyway!) is self-compassion. Self care is as important as caring for those around you, but it isn’t always obvious or easy to do. When I start to feel anxious it’s usually because I’ve stopped caring for myself, and that also means not allowing others to care for me either.
As well as this article, take a look at these two books:
The Compassionate Mind by Paul Gilbert
The Self Care Revolution by Suzy Reading
Get in contact if you want to learn more and are finding stress and anxiety taking over in your life. We can work together to help you understand your anxiety better and find ways to reduce the impact, allowing you to live the life you want.
Emotions can be challenging
Accepting and properly experiencing emotions is not always easy. There are ways that can help everyone work with difficult emotions. I believe acceptance is key. I’ve experienced how denying any emotion can impact your mental health – both within my practice and through my own personal experiences. Acceptance helps you work through the unpleasant experience and that helps us increase our tolerance of difficult emotions, as well as understand how we can best support ourselves while we do that.
Take a look at this article that focuses on mindfulness…. a great way to start accepting all our emotions.
You’re never too old to play…. In fact it’s essential!
As children we play…. and play. In fact we learn so much through play. So why would we want to give that up as we get older? I agree that play can offer us a great deal as adults, but it’s not so easy to actually do.
Never say goodbye to play
When I first read this article it got me thinking about the types of things I did that I thought could be described as ‘play’. There wasn’t many!! But then as I thought about it some more, this article is talking about more than going and having a game of footie, or playing eye-spy with the kids while driving to school. It’s a mindset…. a passion for learning rather than a need for approval. It can be part of everything we do and part of every relationship we have. Creativity, spontaneity, mindfulness, authenticity and honesty are words that come to my mind.
Dr. Stuart Brown has a great TED talk that is really worth a listen. He describes how plenty of play in childhood makes for happy, smart adults…. and keeping it up can make us smarter at any age. Click here to have a listen.
“Vulnerability is a bit like Marmite….. you either love it or hate it!!” That’s how vulnerability was once described to me. I can understand the sentiment, but I believe you can learn to love and embrace the wonders that vulnerability can give you. I also believe it can take a huge amount of strength and courage to be vulnerable. But it’s worth it!
This article is a lovely overview of what being vulnerable can achieve, and what this might mean for each and everyone of us. It will look and feel different, but it can provide us with everything we need to flourish.
One of the children I worked with called vulnerability their “super hero”…. because it “gave them super powers”. They described it as being “a bit like being a Jedi”. He was obviously a Star Wars fan!
Take a look at this article and see for yourself!
Therapy…. Is it for me?
It takes courage to decide that therapy could help. And even more to actually enter that therapy room. But the rewards can be life changing…. literally! Courage and vulnerability are big words, and they’ll feel and look different for each of us. Working with a therapist can help us do all of this, and you’re never alone. There are many different therapeutic approaches and that in itself can be overwhelming. I believe and have personally experienced different ways of working, but undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of being courageous and vulnerable is the relational qualities created in a safe environment with your therapist. This includes clear boundaries, empathy, understanding, openness, and for me humour can play a really important role. However, it’s important to understand that this can take time, patience and an openness that you may never have experienced before.
Someone important in my life once told me that it isn’t unusual to find an anxious person in any therapy room, and that can sometimes be the client! As I said above, it’s not a journey you take on your own.
Take a look at the link below and read a little more about the therapeutic process and potential benefits.
The brain is complex, but that doesn’t have to mean complicated!
When we are stressed our brains primary function is to make sure we are safe…. This includes the well known ‘flight or fight’ responses. There is an area of our brain that helps us avoid harm and find safety. If we are unable to do this then we can experience fear. There is another area of our brain that is responsible for feelings and memory formation, and this area helps us feel satisfaction. A third area functions to regulate attention, feelings, imagination, language and empathy; and this allows us to find connection with the outside world and those around us.
When we are stressed or have experienced trauma it can be difficult to focus our attention on everyday tasks and therefore work efficiently, as well as connect to those people close to us. In these situations we have an immediate need to feel safe, and that means the brain areas that focus on satisfaction and connection are ‘switched off’ so that the area of the brain responsible for avoiding harm can work to keep ourselves safe. By doing this we can become hyper-vigilant and perceive that there are many threats all around us; when in fact this may not be true. By using our senses to connect to the ‘here-and-now’ we are able to re-engage the parts of the brain that help us think, connect and experience satisfaction. This helps us to become more self-aware and gain insight into the threats being from our past or potential fears in relation to our future.
Take a look at the link below…. it is a great diagram to help explain how our brains work.
Free children’s emotional wellbeing courses in Wilmslow
This free course is an opportunity to learn more about emotional wellbeing and how we can support the children in our lives. It’s being delivered by Champs Public Health Collaborative – which is a network of public health teams in the North West – ‘Youth Connect 5’ will deliver the courses to parents and carers.
…. A bit more about self care
As a bit of an add on to my last blog…. follow this link (Self Care at Work) from Counselling Directory that talks through the importance of looking after yourself at work. We all know work can be stressful. And stress from work can often leak into other areas of our lives. Recognising it isn’t always easy, but when you do there are things that can help.
Self care isn’t always easy in my experience.
But going back to the basics is sometimes exactly what we need. This article is a great place to start and has some useful and do-able things to help us help ourselves when we need it most. For me, spending less time on social media and connecting with those people close to me really helps…. even though it’s not always easy! Relaxation through meditation and mindfulness supports me too. It allows me to be more open to re-engaging in the things that are important to me.
I wouldn’t describe myself as a creative person, but I’ve given it a go….. I’m going to try and be more creative, and be more creative outdoors. Doing this collage helped me become more grounded in the important things ‘here and now’. I would even go as far as to say – I enjoyed it!