Life has been challenging over the past couple of years and it has also been amazing. While we may not have complete control over what happens in our lives, eg, money, health, loved ones, children, job, business, relationships etc, we do have a choice how we are with things, we do have a choice how we are impacted, we do have a choice how we move forward.

imagesShifting our mindset, our language, our perspective, helps us take the control back. Staying present with what is happening in your life, leaning into the discomfort, raising awareness how it is affecting you and making a choice how you are going to be with it, is empowering.  It’s not about forgetting, moving on or hiding it under the carpet. It’s about not letting it take over, whatever the ‘it’ is and clouding everything, even the good stuff.

When you feel down, stuck, overwhelmed, bring into your life some daily practices to support you from the inside out. Here are some of my daily practices which support me which I want to share with you…

1. Gratitude practice

Before going to bed, say to yourself or even better, have a conversation with your partner, friend, child, 5 things you are grateful for, which happened that day. This is a great way to end the day and supports us in shifting our focus to the positive, acknowledging all the great stuff we do have which we can sometimes forget, and it has been proven to help us be happier and more resilient.

So many of us, me included, get into bed at the end of the day and list what we haven’t done that day, what we had wished we had done, how long our to-do list still is, how busy tomorrow is going to be. What state are you going to sleep thinking this way? Does this feel like a healthy, clear, head space? If doesn’t to me. So instead do your gratitude practice, shift your thinking and aid your sleep.

2. Intentions

When we wake, instead of letting those unhelpful thoughts enter our heads, i am so tired, i slept bad, it’s going to be a tough day, i have so much to do, how will I get it done…what energy are you creating here? Not a very expansive, creative, relaxed state. Instead, what if when you woke up, the first thing you did was set an intention for the day. An intention to support you, which makes you feel good, brings a smile to your face, gives you focus and clarity for the day. What would that look like for you? How would it support you?

3. Journaling

We have so many thoughts running around our heads all the time, so much can be happening in one day, we are not able to process it all, be object, even understand it. Journaling allows us to open our minds and let our thoughts, feelings, emotions pour out onto the page, so we can see them for what they are. It’s a great space to vent also, write down what you have wanted to say to someone but haven’t, explore how you really feel about a situation, let go of what has been nagging at you. Give yourself the opportunity to be able to see things from a different angle. Get creative and write down ideas you have, things you want to explore. Free your mind from all the clutter, doesn’t that sound wonderful!

4. Mindfulness Meditation

This practice supports your mind to be completely present, be in the moment and without judgement. It allows your mind to rest. It helps you focus on one thing at a time, like the breath, the feeling of your feet on the ground and when your mind wonders, which it will, you can gently guide yourself back to a focus point. Not having to do anything with the thoughts which come up but just notice them. This practice has proven to support us in many, many ways, such as lowering anxiety, reducing stress, ability to focus better. It helps to soothe our nervous system and bring us back to a calm state.

5.  Do something which makes you happy

This can be a tough one to do, to even allow yourself to do, specially when times are challenging and one that is so beneficial to us. Release the feel good chemicals to balance the body out and support you from the inside out. What makes you happy? Going for a walk in the park, speaking to a great friend, eating something delicious, giving someone a hug, making someone laugh, putting on some cool tunes…

I can personally vouch that this stuff actually works if you give it a chance and remember, these are daily practices. Which means yes, they need to be done daily which can be challenging in their own right in a busy world but the benefits are so great, it’s so worth giving it a go. And they do not take long to do, 2, 5, 10 minutes each. I want to emphasise, these are practices which I have found to support me which I wanted to share with you. And there are many others out there. I appreciate one way does not suit all. Share with us what supports you from the inside out.

One thing I have learnt about working from home, running your own business, is that it can get lonely. You need bags of self motivation, self discipline, belief in you and your abilities and lots of self compassion. Wow, this is not something I had bargained for, had considered or thought I would be faced with. Naive…maybe…

man on hillWho do you have to motivate you, inspire you, hold you accountable for those goals you have set yourself, brainstorm with, vent to, celebrate with?

This person is what I call a championing partner. Someone who perhaps also works from home, runs their own business, who also needs encouragement, someone you can lean into at times of uncertainty, share ideas with. Someone who knows you well and knows how brilliant you are when you can’t see it. Someone who helps you see the bigger picture. And very importantly, someone who celebrates with you!

For me such a partner helps me realise I am not alone and I don’t have to do it on my own. It also gives me the kick I need when I know we are going to meet that:

a) I have done the work I had agreed to do;

b) I am prepared so I get maximum benefit from the get together;

c) I am able to share where I am right now, any challenges I am facing and talk them through;

d) Set intentions/goals for the week ahead.

From these get togethers, be it in person or on the phone, afterwards I feel energised, motivated, inspired. Someone is fighting my corner and understands. I am not the only one with certain issues. I am good at what I do. A great energy gets created which supports me to keep going.

Who is your championing partner? What do you get from it? What do you create together?

And if you don’t have one of these wonderful people, what are you waiting for!!

When you champion someone, you stand up for them when they doubt or question their abilities. When you are in the valley, and your friend/colleague is on the next hill, waving a flag and saying to you,

“Come on. You can make it.”

Monday morning, the start to the week and the kids sleep in after waking up over the weekend at 6.30 am. They are my alarm clock and I realize I can’t always rely to use them for this function!! So the morning started off a little bit intense, having less time to have a nice, relaxed breakfast, rushing the kids to get dressed, ensuring the packed lunch is done, leaving kitchen in a semi decent state, dropping off the kids at school and nursery respectively and on time. And then back home, to start my working day.

massageAlthough this monday morning I chose to see Liz, a remedial massage lady. Isn’t this how all our weeks should start once the kids are dropped off? Initially it felt a bit self indulgent, as it’s time when I should be working on my business. Although if my body is not functioning effectively, that will have an impact on other aspects of me, my business etc, so I decided to focus on me and my needs.

It was my first session with Liz and we needed to go through my medical history, past injuries etc. I don’t know about you, but my first response to these questions, unless something huge has happened to me, is ‘I am fine, no problems really’, and once we start talking, I realize how many ‘issues’ I have had with my ankles, knees, back, neck etc etc. So what I needed was a serious all over MOT and in reality as is in life, working on everything all at once, is not very effective. It is a matter of prioritising what needs to be looked at first, work on that and then move down the list, and only moving to the next issue after the previous issue is resolved or at least I’ve been given exercises to practice for my tight hamstrings.

I realise this is so true for many of us in our lives. We need to prioritise what’s next. We are juggling so many balls, be it work, family, relationships, housey stuff, a new project etc etc. And unless we start to prioritise and choose what we focus on and when, the opposite of getting things done can start to happen and overwhelm, anxiety can start to set it. Loss of focus and before you know weeks go by and not much gets done.

What is it you choose to prioritise over the next week? What does that look like? What do you need, if anything, to put in place to make that happen. From putting time slots in your diary for when and for how long you are doing an activity, to perhaps cancelling a meeting which doesn’t need to happen this week, asking for help, delegating a task etc.

When we choose what we are going to prioritise, we are in the driving seat and from that place, things start to happen. Ideas get created, our bodies start to function better, our relationships flourish, our work flows, we feel joy.

I have been off for a while healing my spirit. After a good two years of challenges, good and bad, and as humans, we tend to focus on the bad, my mind, body and spirit went into overwhelm. I find it curious, as it’s one of my passions in supporting others when overwhelm kicks in, and I was the one in overwhelm needing support. Doing menial tasks was tough, let alone working on my business, raising a family, and connecting with loved ones. So I gave myself permission to slow down, even on some days stop, and be brutally honest with myself and tell the truth what was it that I needed in specific moments. AND most importantly to not feel guilty about it. This is where I was and that was ok.

You know the feeling when great things are happening in your life, but there is no joy there. You think you ‘should’ feel joy and try to make it up but it falls flat on it’s face. This is the land I was in when I received a letter telling me I had passed my coaching oral exam and I was a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, CPCC. This was huge. I had embarked on this journey two years ago and had worked all of last year really hard on getting my certification and finally, all the hard work had paid off. I was recognised. And yet, joy did not initially come.

Slowly, by allowing myself to be in such a place, I began to want to shift and on some days, I could feel a glimmer of hope and energy behind that hope.

I am still on my healing journey, unpacking my suitcase, awakening, observing and savouring. Part of this journey, is doing things which fulfil me and give me value like my bikram yoga, walks in the park with my music, journaling, meditating, coaching my wonderful clients, being vulnerable with loved ones and having the odd glass of wine :)

And also celebrating my CPCC which I did with a massive boom with my wonderful husband, Cuan Mulligan. As he would say, ‘the wheels came off that night’ and we regressed, in a good way, 10 years. It was delicious to let go and be completely indulgent. And I know there is more celebrations to come….so watch out!!

Even in the midst of despair and asking myself, will I ever climb out of this well, taking action, even when sometimes you might want to get back into bed, is a great thing. Taking action in talking to someone, whoever that may be, getting it out into the open is a great thing. Taking action and doing what you love, whether that’s through music, writing, movement, being in nature, all of these, is a great thing.

Connecting mind, body and spirit once again is giving me the fuel I need to move forward.

What helped me take action in writing this blog was a wonderful person who is becoming a wonderful friend, Barbara. Thank you.

It’s the last day of 2012, give yourself time to reminisce. What happened for you this year? As you do this, what emotions come up for you? What energy are you creating right now? How can you celebrate all your successes, achievements, learnings, loves and losses?

My 2012 looks like this….finding out I was going to be an auntie, starting a coaching certification program, leaving my job and going at it solo in my coaching business, my eldest son starting school, making more time for my children, re-energising my marriage, contacting old friends, building great new friendships, dancing, getting back into bikram yoga, dealing with cancer and death in the family, seeing my youngest son have an operation to repair a broken hand, one of my cats getting diabetes etc….

I must say 2012 has been action packed. Some things I could have certainly done without, while others have been life long longings and desires. All my experiences and emotions have had a message for me. Learning to be mindful and listen out for it. Taking time to fully embrace what was happening around me. Acknowledging my needs and how they can work alongside my family’s needs. Showing my vulnerability and accepting help.  Being with uncertainty, rejection, fear and loss and not let it consume me. Being grateful for all the wonderful things that happen every day and holding onto these.  I could go on…

What has 2012 brought you?

I invite you to write out your list from 2012 and be with it for a while. Let it soak in. Be with whatever emotion, thought, desire comes up. Do you need to let go of anything from 2012 that you have been carrying with you to fully step into 2013? What new intentions will you set for yourself?

Have a wonderful day and a wonderful evening and see you in 2013!

Due to very sad news in our family last week, the run up to xmas, preparations, getting ready for the holidays went out the window. Clients got canceled, xmas shopping was stopped, the kids were delegated to my parents, new business leads were put on hold. After a few days, I returned home, to the kids and to work. Glad I was back although in a haze.

I first gave myself some breathing space and created an environment in which I could be in. For me that meant sprucing up the front room, making the tree look pretty, tidying up, so I could relax with my boys and clear my head. I’m a tidy freak and need things in their place to function effectively! What’s your freaky side?

My next step was to focus on what the week ahead was going to look like. What needed to be done v what could wait v what could be delegated v what could be thrown out the window into the abyss.

So instead of getting stressed, my focus was to replan, reorganise all the while being gentle with myself.

It sounds simple and yes it can be. Setting daily intentions and daily actions. And stopping before you hit the wall. Knowing when you’ve done enough for the day, so you can stop and recharge for tomorrow.

It’s now nearing the end of the week and I am looking forward to spending some family time while knowing the business side of things are in hand. They will get done in the new year!

What needs to be done today so you can down tools for a few days? What permission do you need to give yourself to enjoy next week? What intentions do you wish to set?

Wishing you all a happy time over the festive season.

We tend to be pretty hard on ourselves. Our inner critic making us feel bad for not always looking after ourselves, not exercising enough, not eating well, drinking too much, second guessing our decisions, having very high expectations of ourselves and our outcomes, how we are with the children, how we are in our relationships… I could go on.

While we know deep down we work hard, we try hard, we have good intentions, we are good people, we still tend to beat ourselves over the head a lot of the time.

Why do we do this? Would you treat your best friend like this if she wanted a day off to laze on the sofa, if she shouted at the children every so often, if she didn’t cook ubber healthy meals all the time, if she missed the gym for a while. Would you?? I am guessing you wouldn’t…and if we wouldn’t even consider treating our best friends like that, why is it ok to treat ourselves like that??

A word that comes up for me is ‘judging’. We judge ourselves for not being super woman, getting everything done and staying calm and cool throughout, being a brilliant wife/mother and it can be soul destroying.

What would it be like to treat yourself like you would treat your best friend, even just for a day. With compassion, love, empathy. Instead of your inner critic showing up, who would show up instead? What words would they say to you?

What about celebrating what you have done, what you have achieved, what you are proud of. Make your list of all these wonderful things and when your inner critic shows up, show them your brilliant list and tell them to go away!

 

Very recently I felt like I had flatlined. Nothing interested me, I struggled to get excited, it all seemed like a chore. All I wanted to do when I dropped off the kids was sit on the sofa and do nothing. It was very tempting. Come in from the cold, take off my coat and just sit on the comfy brown leather sofa. Who would know?

I wondered whether was this all there was to life?? Was this the choice I had made, had I been mad??

I felt like I was in a dry barren desert. Dust all around me. When I looked out, I could see an oasis in the far, far distance, and it would be such a struggle to get there. I didn’t have the strength to do it. I could imagine the path and it was heavy and messy.

After some soul searching, someone very clever asked me why didn’t I take another path to my oasis.  A path that was easier, that I get to create how it looked like and what this new path would give me.

And you know what I created as my new path….a Las Vegas strip! Crazy I know and a place I’ve never been but I imagined myself walking through it with its bright shiny lights, big billboards, people were happy and indulged in whatever they wanted, no judgements made, a place bursting with fun.

Creating this path and walking through it, helped me see what was missing from my life. What I need to function, to refuel, to be well. And that was fun, movement and connection with others! Doing stuff that made me feel good, that centered me, that made me whole again. And give myself full permission to do it. Making it a priority over the mundane everyday stuff going on.

We can forget to look after No. 1 and what No.1 needs. It’s so simple and yet can have such a major impact when we loose sight of it or make it non important.

If your feeling stuck, in a rut, a bit rubbish, go and create your path.

What does your path look like? Any surprises come up for you? From creating your path and walking through it, what do you need to introduce into your life right now?

Are your days filled with doing what you don’t want instead of what you do want? Take a few reflective moments to consider where you need to set yourself boundaries.

Boundaries for me are about self-respect, looking after yourself, connection and communication with others. They are rules we get to create for our own wellbeing and to let those around us know how we function better (internally and externally) and what is important to us. What do boundaries mean to you?

Do you always say yes when asked to work late, do you want to please a client and say yes when they want an evening appointment with you and you end up missing your pilates session or you then miss putting your children to bed?  Do you put your own needs to the bottom of the list and then burn out?

Action

Identify and get clear on what is important. eg, have breakfast with my wife in the mornings, not check my emails when I get home from work so I spend quality time with my kids, go running in my lunch hour to stay fit and feel good.

How can you set boundaries in your life to achieve what you want to do? What needs to be created to be able to go to your pilates class, put your children to bed, work when you are most efficient??

Here are some suggestions for you to try out:

1. Assign a time in the week to do something which is important to you. Date night, taking your kids to rugby classes, going swimming. Let everyone around you know what you are doing and that it is non negotiable.

2. Set limits on things that may interfere with the things that matter to you.

3. Drop the guilt if you can’t help everyone out who asks you. Be authentic in your reasons why you are saying no.

4. Be emotionally open about your feelings with yourself and with others. ‘I feel………….’. What does this give you when you are being honest and direct?

Setting boundaries further broadens our awareness of ourselves and helps us get back in the driving seat. What are you willing to do, accept, say yes to, say no to?

I am looking for people to interview who are overwhelmed by how much ‘stuff’ they have going on in life. These people are constantly chasing their tales, running around like headless chickens, burning out. Do you know anyone like this? If so, I would love to talk to them for research purposes and as a thank you I am giving away, a ‘tips on structuring your day’ sheet and 30 minutes with me to put action plans into place. e-mail me

Since coming home from my mad partying weekend in Barcelona a couple of weekends ago, procrastination has set in. I feel like a teenager rebelling. I have not been working through my tasks, not assigning dates and times to them, ignoring my ‘duties’….all the stuff that sets me up for the day, the week, the strategies that support me to get things done and feel good about them and me.

I am in the space of ‘I have to” and ‘force myself to’ which is not helping me at all and somewhere in my brain, my awareness is waking up and flashing red at the mounting tasks. I guess I am rebelling against myself and wanting to not always be so structured, such a good girl and ‘on it!’.  And give myself permission to ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ every so often. Do you know what I mean?? Sometimes it’s refreshing to react and not always respond, awaken another part of us, be with the adrenaline and let that fuel us.

And while I love that rebellious side and sometimes we need to let it out, I also recognise it’s not very business savvy and will probably bring even bigger challenges which I really don’t want to deal with. So what instead is a healthy balance?

Perhaps using language such as ‘force myself’ and ‘have to’ is not very conducive to getting back on track and getting things done. What do you think? What language do you use when you’re in this space? What other language would be more benefiting and supportive? How about having an end goal, a reason, a treat for why you are structuring your day. What if it wasn’t all about structure, what would that look like for you? How about part of the time is structured and part is free flow…

I structure my day so I create free time to do the stuff I love

I structure my Wednesdays and Thursdays so I can do whatever I like on Tuesdays and Fridays

I structure my day so I can finish work early on Thursdays and have a coffee with a friend

This simple realisation has given me freedom and permission to create structure without the need to have it take over. It’s not all one way, there are many variations and it’s about finding what works for us as individuals.

I am looking for people to interview who are overwhelmed by how much ‘stuff’ they have going on in life. These people are constantly chasing their tales, running around like headless chickens, burning out. Do you know anyone like this? If so, I would love to talk to them for research purposes and as a thank you I am giving away, a ‘tips on structuring your day’ sheet and 30 minutes with me to put action plans into place. e-mail me

Photo credit: kaneda99 / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND