Remember to take care of yourself in the run-up to Christmas this year. Many of us find it a busy and stressful time of the year. We can spend so long writing lists, ploughing through crowded shopping malls and thinking of what everyone else wants for Christmas, that we spend little time nurturing ourselves and ensuring that our own needs are met. Follow these tips for a sure way to simplify things:
1. Start and plan early. It's still not too late in the day to get organised. Make a list of all the things you need to do before Christmas, and make sure you don't leave too much to the week before. Make a list of all the things you need to do, allocate them to certain days, and don't give yourself too much to do in one day or it will seem too daunting. Decide what is most important and do those things first. Perhaps there are things that aren't necessary? Could you get away with sending a few e-cards instead of writing out cards to everyone? And remember to delegate as much as possible to even out the workload!
2. Learn to say no. It's the time of year when we can get invited to many different parties. Ask yourself if you want to go to them before you accept. This counts for the work party as well (they are not usually compulsory!) We may feel we have to attend a Christmas work do, but do you really want to go? Maybe you're one of the lucky ones with great colleagues, but I can remember some pretty awful work do's in the office I used to work in, having to watch my line manager do the pogo, and trying to make small talk with people I wouldn't choose to spend a night out with. If you don't want to go, make your excuses and spend the evening doing what you want to do.
3. Drop the comparanoia. Don't compare yourself and your Christmas with the Christmas that is represented in social media and on adverts. Adverts are fake, and people tend to share the best bits of their life on social media and hide any ugly bits. Christmas is just one day of the year after all, and we can ask a lot of it. You don't have to make a perfect home-made gingerbread house like Kirstie Allsopp, or have the perfect table decoration, expertly wrapped presents with ribbons and handmade labels for it to be a great day.
4. Have Christmas your way. Christmas is full of traditions but try and see them as guidance rather than being a slave to them. My attitude to traditions is: if you like it, keep it. If you don't, then make your own. If you don't like Turkey, then eat something else. One year my family had fajitas for Christmas! It was delicious and gave my mum a break from slaving over a turkey roast dinner. One of our Christmas traditions was going to the pantomime, but I can't force my teenagers any more (or my husband for that matter - I'd still love to go!) We now choose a film to watch at the cinema instead, followed by a meal out.
5. Be choosy about who you enjoy Christmas with. Do you feel obliged to invite boring Uncle Bert and awful Auntie Maud every Christmas evening? Perhaps they feel obliged to accept! If you find it stressful being with certain people over Christmas, either invite them round for a short visit at a suitable time before or after, or just don't bother at all. What's the worst that could happen? They may not send your Christmas card next year!?
6. Chill out. In between social arrangements and shopping make sure you put your feet up and have cosy nights in, sitting in front of the TV or reading a book. Light a fire or some candles, get your pyjamas/onesie on and snuggle in comfort. Ignore the phone and social media to make sure it is truly relaxing.
7. Remember fresh air. The cold, damp dark weather can make us feel like staying indoors, so make the most of it when it is sunny and get out for a brisk walk. It's a great way to combat the sitting around eating and drinking and a great way to destress and calm yourself. Take in the autumn leaves, the winter sun and breathe in the fresh air.
8. Don't forget yourself. Ask yourself what you would like to get out of this Christmas. Why not treat yourself in the run-up to Christmas, to a new outfit, or by booking a massage, manicure or haircut? Perhaps you'd prefer just to spend time reading a magazine or taking a day off work just to lounge and watch box sets. Just do it and don't feel guilty.
9. Take a bit of time out each day to enjoy being, rather than doing. Although connecting with others is great for our health, spending 10 minutes a day to pamper yourself or just be on your own simply enjoying being rather than doing is also vitally important. Just 10 minutes can make a difference. Do a quick breathing meditation (see my App/MP3 downloads on my website) or another mindfulness meditation, or simply just sip a cup of tea mindfully, taking in all the aromas, flavours and textures as you put everything else out of your mind.
10. Practice daily gratitude. As the Rolling Stones put it "you can't always get what you want… But you just might find you get what you need". Stop reminding yourself of all the things you don't have and remember things you do which often get taken for granted. Count 10 things, one on each finger to be grateful for. Don't forget to think of all the little things: the roof over your head, the bed you're lying in, the food in the cupboards, the fact that you live in a (mostly) peaceful country and be thankful for the people you have in your life.
Have a great Christmas
I expect every single person has had the experience sometime of a rough night's sleep. According to findings from Aviva's Well-Being Report, a third (31%) of us say they have insomnia and almost half (48%) agree they don’t get the right amount of sleep.
The last few months I have seen a particularly high number of clients with sleep problems. Some people have problems falling asleep and for others the problem is staying asleep. You don't need me to tell you how important good sleep is for both mind and body.
I've experienced insomnia myself and know how desperate you can feel to get a good night sleep. Often anxiety and depression can affect your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep and your sleep quality, and so sometimes treating these issues is required. I specialise in treating insomnia and found hypnotherapy very beneficial in improving sleep quality, even in those who are long-term sufferers. I remember a client of mine saying she had always been a bad sleeper and expected that she would never sleep well, though after a few sessions her sleep gradually improved and she was soon sleeping between 7 and 8 hours each night.
I have found a combination of hypnotherapy, behavioural changes and sleep training to be extremely effective in treating sleep issues. Read on to find out some simple tips to improve your sleep:
Many women around my age (still hanging in there in my 40s, just!) Start experiencing hormonal changes that seem consistent with the peri-menopause. The average age of a woman going through the menopause (i.e. cessation of periods) is 52, yet most women will start experiencing changes in their hormone levels - the perimenopause in their mid-forties.
I will discuss here how to work out if your symptoms are the perimenopause, and how to deal with the symptoms.
When you're going through the peri-menopause, symptoms can come and go, and your hormone levels can go up and down, so blood tests can show normal levels of your oestrogen, progesterone and FSH. Therefore, GPs really need to go on symptoms rather than blood level results to diagnose the peri-menopause.
A doctor of mine likened the peri-menopause to having an old banger. When you have an old banger, it might work one day, and then the next day you might have trouble starting it, or it might break down on the way home, yet it might start again later. In the same way, hormone levels can be all right for a while and then suddenly go awry, causing symptoms.
We all have negative thoughts at some time. Often we can be our worst critic, and we would never dare to say those things to somebody else.
When suffering anxiety, negative thoughts (as well as feelings) can overwhelm us. However, the thoughts themselves aren't in fact the issue, after all thoughts are just words, they are not the truth.
However, we tend to see them as real, true, and therein lies the problem. The more frequent the negative thoughts, the more we believe them. Often, our reaction to these thoughts is to try and ignore them or to try and push them away; and the more we notice that they are there, the more worked up we get.
Negative thoughts can make us feel stressed, anxious, depressed and hopeless. However, they can be overcome.
The other day I watching Easy Ways to Live Well on BBC1 and was interested to hear about how hydrotherapy (i.e. cold showers) helps to treat depression, stress and anxiety. This was news to me, so I had to look into it further. It's apparently an old-time natural cure, that actually does work. What's more, it has many, many benefits.
Read on to find out how it works, what the benefits are and a simple way to enjoy this cheap therapy!
Have you ever wondered why you get given a small plate when you go to an all you can eat buffet? They’re trying to force you to eat less, and it works. Research by Cornell University has found that people tend to over serve themselves when using larger dinnerware and under serve themselves when using smaller ones. However, it’s not just size that matters, increasing the colour contrast between your dinnerware and both the food and background (the tablecloth, place mats or other) will further increase the tendency to under serve yourself with a small plate.
It seems that our brains perceive the food as being bigger when it is presented on a small plate, and when there is greater contrast between the food and the plate.
Picking yourself up after the festive season can be hard for many of us. If you've had the pleasure of enjoying partying with friends, drinking and eating to excess, the thought of going back to work can be quite depressing. Let's face it, Christmas itself can be stressful: first you have the stress of all of the Christmas shopping before Christmas, and then you have the cooking, and having to put up with relatives that you would rather not see. Some people can feel very isolated at Christmas if they don't have family or friends to celebrate it with. Plus, the weather can be a gloomy, cold and wet, the days are still short and the summer seems so far away.
Most of us end up with extra weight to get rid of over Christmas, which can make you feel disgruntled about your fat gain. Even if you have a regular exercise routine, getting back into it can be difficult, especially with the extra weight you are carrying, which can slow you down. Add to this the fact that we can often make New Year's resolutions such as abstaining from things that we love, like alcohol, and promises to go to the gym every morning. But when the cold reality sets in and we find it difficult, we can often give up and then feel a failure.
Do you need help deciding on a good therapist or hypnotherapist? You are right to be choosy. To find the best hypnotherapist for you, here are some things you might like to think about:
1. Check for relevant qualifications and experience
Firstly you want somebody that is qualified to do the job, right?! A Hypnotherapist should at the very least have a diploma in hypnotherapy. Even better is an HPD (Hypnotherapy Practitioner Diploma), as it is awarded by an external body and therefore ensures the hypnotherapist has attended a quality course with a high standard of content. A DipH or DipHyp is assessed and awarded by the training school that the therapist learnt with, and the quality of training varies widely. ...
Do you dread having to do presentations? Does it give you sleepless nights, make your heart race and give you sweaty palms? Is it holding you back in your career progression? Or perhaps you are one of those people that don’t feel too bad about it until they are stood there in front of everybody and then forget what they were going to say and can’t get the words out? Perhaps it even affects you in meetings, especially when talking to your seniors.
I, like many, have been there myself. I had awful memories of presenting at school and was very good at blushing, yet my job as a University researcher involved presenting my findings. The thought of presenting to a load of clinicians and professors had me begging my manager to get someone else to do it. As a 25-year-old research associate, I felt totally inferior and feared blushing and not being able to answer their questions. Thankfully I overcame it and I'm now able to give mindfulness and well-being talks to groups. However, for many they need a helping hand in overcoming this crippling fear.
A fear of presenting is a very common experience and I have successfully treated this many a time. It will often be activated by early experiences of embarrassment or humiliation in a social environment. We may not necessarily recall these kinds of early memories, but because everything is stored away in the subconscious, it nonetheless impacts on us, maybe leading us to feel a strong aversion to presenting and public speaking in case we say something silly or humiliating again.
I work by assisting you to experience a relaxed hypnotic trance, and then putting any negative previous experiences into the past, so they can’t have a negative impact. We then work on creating positive new associations and new positive suggestions about your ability to handle these situations and imagine experiencing future similar situations in a confident, calm and focused manner. Clients then commonly feel comfortable and confident with public speaking and it can often have a wider impact across other social or work situations.
People often find that in just a couple of sessions they start to see a difference in how they feel and deal with these occasions. Obviously, results differ from person-to-person and some people require more sessions than others.
Hypnotherapy for presentations not only aids in business matters; it can also help with wedding speeches, PTA gatherings, and even making complaints!
For more information contact me today on 07816397170 for a free, confidential chat
We all want to be happy and have good health, do we not? Pause a moment and think carefully about what you do to ensure your own well-being? Perhaps you like to meet up with friends, go for walks, meditate, listen to music, enjoy a hobby or a sport? Perhaps you do something creative?
Creativity has for a long time been accepted as a very beneficial pastime and even used as a form of therapy. Recent research (Journal of Positive Psychology: Tamlin, Conner, DeYoung & Paul, 2016) indicates that engaging in a creative activity once a day can lead to a more positive state of mind. Researchers assessed over 600 people in terms of their emotional well-being and how much time they spent on creativity over 13 days. They found that there was an “upward spiral for well-being and creativity” in those who engaged in being creative. Basically, creative activities created a boost in positive emotions the next day. Further, the study found that creativity may in fact impact both happiness in social relationships and positivity in the workplace..
Maria Hancock,, Hypnotherapist, Psychotherapist, Mindfulness Teacher, NLP Practitioner, MSc Health Psychology