Self-Care – why it’s so important

I read an interesting article this morning and I thought I would pick out the interesting bits to share with you. The original article was aimed at therapists who work with clients who have experienced significant trauma. It was extolling the virtues of self-care for the therapists. I can see how the explanation could be relevant for so many people, so this is my take. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

We know that self-care is talked about a lot, we are encouraged to look after ourselves, take time out, and have some ‘me time’. It feels indulgent, maybe even a waste of money, however, what follows may change your mind.

In order for me to function at a high level for my family and work, I need a support package, a support framework in order to operate at those high standards, this translates as my ‘me time’.

It is no accident that many of the self care experiences we enjoy most, are things that link us to childhood experiences of nurturing – such as hugs, massage and being read to (and in my case chatting to a trusted person).

So we have to take action, we can’t ‘think’ ourselves into better self care, it’s about taking action. These actions support the healthy function of the lower parts of the brain. A lot of self care does not involve words it is something we ‘experience’ and these experiences are usually body based and help us to feel safe and well and support our brains and body experience regulation. (control, management)

If our brain and body feel regulated, we feel calm and vice versa. Being able to stay calm through the use of regular self-care enables us to think more clearly and deal with all that life throws at us and in my case deal with the people I encounter in my business and life.

A one off experience is not going to cut it, in order to build strong habits of self care and therefore a stronger brain (with strong neural connections) we need repetition (this is the same for all activities). A one off class or treatment is lovely, however, it won’t make a significant difference to our wellbeing, we need lots of practice!

Someone else may recommend a course of action, a type of therapy, a class. You are unique and have unique needs for your self care blend or package. My ‘package’ consists of a monthly massage, a monthly reiki session, twice a week fitness class, regular meet ups with like minded business owners, regular bubble baths, regular craft workshops, yoga sessions and hugging my children. Yours may well be zumba, reading, shopping and meditation!

I feel a seasonal snowflake analogy coming up! Like snowflakes we are unique, vary in size but are all beautiful. So do yourself the best favour ever, you owe your body, brain and ability to feel calm to your self-care.

Self-care enables me to do the job I love and take care of the family I love. It doesn’t bear thinking about where we would be without it.

Take care
Juliet x

Are you a prospective or current adoptive parent, foster carer or friends & family?
Join us for a fabulous Self-Care Evening just outside York with treatments, workshops and gorgeous products on 16 May 2018
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Let Love be Your Energy

As the year is winding down, it has put me in reflective mood.

I caught the end of Radio 2’s ‘Pause for Thought’ this morning, I missed most of it, however, the contributor was summing up and said the words, “Let Love be Your Energy” and it struck me, this is what moves me forward. I have found untold strength and energy from the love of my adopted children, battled negativity from every turn – with the thought – I don’t care what you think of me – when it comes to my business, I just want people to take care of themselves, and for my family, I just want you to understand and consider how you treat people.

It feels like my business is always evolving, I change what I offer and sometimes who I work with. However, the common thread through everything I do is ‘support’. Working one to one with counselling clients, offering business support to therapeutic business owners, providing therapy mini-sessions through the Choice Indulgence Evening and running DIY Pamper Evenings and Parties. I feel like I will always be someone who is motivated and enthused by change and project work (perhaps why running events appeals to me). I will, however, always offer support.

Sometimes I forget about my extensive experience and wonder why I am good at what I do and why I like change. I think a little resume of my career explains this a little!

– Working in pubs and cafes as a student
– University Research
– Factory work
– Debt recovery
– Recruitment
– Customer Services Management
– Teaching ICT, Business Studies and Sociology in 3 different secondary schools plus mentoring new teachers
– Counsellor
– Events management

As well as my voluntary work as a Girl Guides Leader, working as a counsellor for the blind and partially sighted, working on a rape crisis help line, and mentoring ‘looked after’ children.

I’ve done a lot and I have moved around. Being self-employed has been the thing I have stuck at for the longest, mainly because I am in charge of my own destiny. I don’t have to answer to anyone (except the tax man) and if I don’t like what I do, I can change it!

So, let love be your energy, and it be the thing that motivates you.

Juliet x

Tickets: Choice Indulgence Evening, 7 February, 7:00pm – 9:30pm, The KP , Pocklington
Choice Indulgence Evening, 14 March, 7:00pm – 9:30pm, Middlethorpe Hall & Spa, York

Use Every Tool You Have

I had a small ‘win’ this week, I am wary of blowing my own trumpet, but I see it as a useful situation to learn from and hopefully it helps others.

Some of you that already know me or have followed my blog, Facebook pages etc will know as well as being a counsellor and events organiser that I campaign from a personal stand on attachment and trauma. I firmly believe that if large institutions and organisations had an understanding of attachment and trauma, many, many people’s lives would be a lot easier.

My particular campaign has been a personal one, insisting that schools have understanding and training in these areas and in particular my own children’s schools.

I set off at the beginning of year 7, noticing that things weren’t going as well as they might. It was instinctive for me to start talking to the school, the SENCo, the form tutor, subject teachers and the head of year, try and create understanding, get them to think differently about behaviour and punishment, get them to realise what they were doing was counter-productive, punitive and possibly unkind. Those I spoke to did, on the whole, listen, accommodated my requests for meetings, took the books I offered to lend them. I did ruffle feathers and cause upset, I was asked to stop doing things. The staff were wary of me, but I figured I wasn’t going to change anyone’s thinking by charm alone!

So I used every tool I had at my disposal (I didn’t know that at the time) I used every aspect of my personality, got advice and help, laughed, cried, shouted, blogged, stayed calm, got mad, but most of all I kept on going, every time I was put off or knocked back I took stock, sat back and re-fueled my engine. It felt like a fight, a fight for understanding, a fight for my children and others like them. I wasn’t going to let them down, or let us down.

I got to the end of the year and I still felt misunderstood, not entirely listened to, felt like nothing had changed and had to use the final tool I had available and it felt risky and possibly ill-advised, was this really time to play my ace? (I did take advice from a number of professionals). I threatened to remove my child from the school (and meant it), this could have back-fired, we could have fallen flat on our faces.

The opposite happened, a few chinks of light appeared, some understanding appeared, some care and love appeared, some from unexpected quarters.

I was asked if I wanted to go in to the school on the training day and speak to a room full of teaching assistants about attachment and trauma. I was extremely pleased to do so and extremely thankful to the member of staff who invited me in (I gather it is pretty unusual for this to happen).

However, the fight is not over, but hopefully progress is being made.

My tip to you, if you are going through something similar is to be tenacious, have a goal in mind, get help and advice from wherever you can and most all do what you do with love and understanding.

I am an experienced counsellor. I work with parents on issues related to attachment, loss and anxiety. I also work generally with anxiety using a combined therapeutic approach with all adults. Please contact me for chat.

Have a great week.

Juliet x

An Insight into Physical Pain

A bit of a turnabout

Yes, I’ve had a different perspective.

Quite often I blog about the impact of emotional pain on the body. However, I’ve had some personal insight, just a glimmer, a small realisation of what it might be like in the reverse situation – the impact of physical pain on mental health and the emotions. An insight of what it might be like to be elderly or have long term physical illness.And it is just that, an insight, I tore a calf muscle while doing fitness training, a sudden injury which floored me (literally).

I know it will get better, I know I can rest, have physio and massages to help me.

For a while I had to use crutches, had to hop or walk on tip toes, couldn’t drive, run or stretch. I felt pain, I felt helpless, I couldn’t look after myself or my family as I usually do. They couldn’t get used to it and nor could I.

I was stuck inside, couldn’t really go anywhere and it dawned on me that these feelings were common in those who were/are physically ill in the longer term, only much more so. In that short time, I began to feel very low, misunderstood and not supported and tried to explain to people that even though I looked ok (except for a limp) I didn’t feel ok.

I run my own business, I had to cancel events and work as I couldn’t get to them. However, I had to get going quite quickly otherwise my business would falter and I was riddled with guilt that I was letting others down.

So why have I written about this, just to say ‘I get it’, even though it was comparatively brief, I got a sharp reminder of what others feel who are incapacitated for whatever reason. I have worked as a counsellor with the elderly and those with disabilities, I felt empathy and supported them in a variety of ways, now I have some real insight.

For all those people who are suffering long term injury or illness, I really admire you getting through every day and still trying so hard to work or help others in a wide variety of ways.

You are all in my thoughts
Juliet x

Have we all got a book in us?

I started writing a book…..

Many of us think we have a book in us, I certainly do. However, to write a book requires a tremendous amount of time, dedication, thought and most importantly emotional energy.

I didn’t get past half a chapter or so, however, I am proud of what I did write and I certainly found it cathartic and thought provoking.

I thought it might make an interesting series of short blogs. The emphasis is upon looking after ourselves. We have to ensure we are “fit enough” to manage our work and family life. Driving ourselves to burnout helps absolutely nobody.

Here is an introduction I wrote around 12 months ago:

“There’s an event. a catalyst in your life, some bad news, a diagnosis, something from the past re-appears. It floors you – how do you cope? Where do you turn? Who do you turn to?

For me it was a piece of overwhelming news the type that sends you on a seemingly never ending downward spiral. Anger, dismay and deep, debilitating sadness. Something that feels unrecoverable from. My view of the world changed.

No one will understand, no one wants to hear such news.

But here I am happy, running a business and very proud of my family, five years on from that terrifying news.

What did I do to support myself and my family? I subconsciously created my support package and you can too…..”

Just from this short introduction you can start to see why I feel the work I do and in particular the Indulgence Evenings are so important to me. I offer you choices on how to support yourself through whatever you are going through. They evening is about indulgence, however, for me the therapies and treatments are about support and at times survival.

I have and do use all these therapies and more at times. Many of the therapists and practitioners I have worked with, I found them supportive, helpful and I enjoyed working with them.

Come along and meet them (and me if you haven’t already, I am doing a mini-workshop on Emotional Intelligence on the evening).

GET YOUR TICKET
Pssst, as I always do, I have 5 extra special half price tickets for you lovely people, this offer ends on Sunday night at 11:30pm.

I look forward to welcoming you.

 Juliet x