Living Archives

6 Simple Ways to Beat the Winter Blues


Are you dreading the clocks going back and the days getting even shorter? Are you wishing away time and already longing for spring to return? Are you dreading the long commute in the dark? Do you feel like you want to start hibernating rather than gearing up for the Christmas season?

Last week I gave a workshop on Beating the Winter Blues and it was interesting to hear how these feelings are already setting in.

I love the autumn season. It’s a beautiful time of the year, with the changing colours, and the crisp, colder days with blue skies. But I also love being outdoors so the shorter days, for me, mean that I’m loosing valuable time outside. So, I’m already starting to feel a sense of dread now that the evenings are drawing in

So, what are the Winter Blues? They are closely linked to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and how the changing seasons affect us. So it doesn’t happen only in Winter; it can happen at any time of year. Perhaps we just feel it more as winter approaches, when we have less exposure to daylight and this in turn can affect our hormone levels.

And what are the symptoms of the Winter Blues? They can appear in the form of low mood and feeling down, lethargy, irritability, sleep problems, losing interest in things, feeling unsociable and also over eating.

These symptoms can appear at any time, but when they are severe or prolonged, then it’s time to take action!

Better yet, take action today, so that you can keep these symptoms completely at bay.

Here are 6 tips that you can easily implement:

  1.  Slow Down – this is the time of year to start slowing down, even though it can feel like things are speeding up. So take some breaks. When we slow down, and stop multitasking (which we can’t really do), we gain focus and clarity. This way we actually get more done, and we’re more productive.
  2. Get outside – get as much daylight as you can. Stand outside for 5 minutes before you head into work, get out for a walk at lunchtime, and try and get out again before you leave work and it’s dark. It will give you a little break so you can slow down too.
  3. Breathing – taking a few slightly deeper, fuller breaths several times a day (or more often!) will help in lots of ways. We all breathe, but most of us do it badly! Breathing more fully has so many amazing benefits. It gives us a boost of energy, relaxes and calms us and allows us to become more focused so we can get on with the tasks at hand with a bit more clarity.
  4. Plan something fun – have something to look forward to. Perhaps a holiday, or a weekend away. If you can’t manage that, plan a day out in the countryside or catch up with friends that make you laugh. Is there a hobby that you want to start up again, or something new your want to try? Do something new and exciting.
  5. Eat healthy – eat more leafy greens like kale, spinach or chard. They contain important folates which help with depression, insomnia and fatigue. Also introduce whole grains such as oats, brown rice and buckwheat, which contain B vitamins and are good for fighting stress. Lastly, try and reduce your sugar intake. 
  6. Gratitude & Staying Positive – reminding yourself what’s good in your life can quickly shift your mood. Write 3 things down every day that you are grateful for. It can be the big things in life- a roof over your head, your family, or your job. But don’t forget the smaller things too – a kind word from a colleague, a smile from a stranger, getting out in nature, spending time with those you love.

You don’t have to do them all. What’s important is to make a start with one thing. See how it feels and if it’s easy to do, you’ll do more of it without thinking.

Remember:  Start small and build from there. 

P.S.  Are you already feeling the winter blues? By doing something different you will start to find a solution that works for you. Give it a go, what have you got to lose?

P.P.S Reply by email – I’d love to hear how you are getting on, or let me know if you’re struggling and need a little inspiration to make a start!



The Power of Conversation

Do you hate having difficult conversations? Do you find yourself lost for words when you are trying to express how you feel? Do you struggle to speak up and say what you’re truly thinking? Or do you get frustrated when conversations don’t go your way?

In our modern world, I believe we’re loosing the art of communication. We’ve forgotten how to have an honest and empowering conversation face to face. Although technology has its benefits, we have started to hide behind mediums like FaceBook or text messaging in order to communicate.

I never forget the time (in the days I worked in an office) when I got an email from a colleague to ask me if I wanted to have a meeting in 10 minutes. Nothing wrong with that, except she was sitting less than 3 feet away from me! I couldn’t quite believe it!

Not engaging with people has its consequences: We don’t feel seen or heard and we can become lost in our own world where we can feel disengaged and disconnected.

We also begin to fear speaking up and being able to have difficult, but necessary, conversations. We avoid confrontation at all costs and then relationships break down; at home, at work, and with friends.

What if it could be different? And, instead we can learn to speak up, tell others what we are thinking and feeling, and everyone can feel good about it!

Here’s how you can change the quality of conversations:

  1. Avoid technology – Instead of sending a message, pick up the phone and call someone. Arrange a Skype call or catch up for dinner or a coffee so you can enjoy each other’s company!
  2. Truth and Honesty – Start talking from the heart. Speak truthfully and honestly about what’s going on for you. When we are hurt or feel wronged it’s easy to blame someone else for how we feel. Take responsibility for how you are feeling. Others will listen to you rather than feeling they are being blamed.
  3. Listen – We can sometimes be focused on what we want to contribute rather than really listening to what the other person is saying. Next time you are chatting to someone focus on what they are saying so you can respond and the other person feels heard.
  4. Outcome – How would you like the conversation to go? How do you want to feel afterwards? How do you want the other person to feel? Focus on this outcome and your conversation will start to flow in that direction.

All of these points shape the outcome of a conversation. As we get better at having these authentic conversations, we start to see our relationships change for the better. What’s not to like about that?!

 Remember:  Start small. Start having a conversation in a different way. Is there someone that you struggle to communicate more? Your boss, your partner? Your kids? How can you start to have a different conversation with them; one that is more empowering, more honest and one that is focused on moving forward?

 P.S I’d love to hear from you…..



Easy ways to add a little fun to the mix!

Are you caught up in the routine of everyday life? Getting up at the same time, taking the same route to work? Maybe the job you do is repetitive? Or how about having the same old conversations with the same people? 

Do your weekends consist of the same tasks too…. Shopping, dropping the kids off to various parties, a takeaway, a bottle of wine and some early nights to recharge yourself for the following week? 

Does some of this sound familiar? Are you bored, lacking energy, and fed up with doing the same things week in week out??

I know that sometimes I get to the weekend and I’m exhausted from the routine of my week and trying hard to get through my never ending to-do lists! There’s a part of me that wants to put my feet up for the weekend, catch up on sleep and get myself ready for the following week. But I know, what really gets me motivated for the week ahead is being outside, getting exercise, spending time with those that make me laugh and doing something exciting!

Perhaps we are getting a little older with more responsibilities, but we don’t have to give up having fun!

So to avoid getting bored of our day-to-day routines, perhaps we need to remind ourselves how to have fun a little more often! I have started asking myself what am I excited about in the week ahead, and this really helps. 

Ask yourself: 

What things did I used to do that excited me?
What did I do used to do for fun? Or what new things would I like to try?

How about:

– Singing lessons
– A date night with your partner
– An activity break
– Rock climbing
– An art class
– Learn a new skill
– Find a local netball or football team 

Adding some fun will change your perspective, it will give you more energy and you will feel more alive. The routine still exists but you’ll see it with fresh eyes!

Remember: start small, and build from there. 

What would you love to do that will bring back a sense of fun? What haven’t you done in years that you used to love?  
I’d love to hear your plans, so please leave me a comment below.



Small Steps Can Lead to Big Changes

Is your life in flow at the moment, or do you feel like something needs to change? Is something standing in your way and stopping you from moving forward?

I have often got to a stage where I begin to feel stuck. I just don’t know which direction to turn, and things are not quite flowing anymore. There are other times when things seem to be going smoothly and everything is moving in the right direction. But there are other times when things feel a bit bumpy and it’s a bit of a rough ride! It feels less than comfortable. I feel frustrated and don’t know quite how to change the situation I’m in.

When life flows, that’s when we feel the most alive, connected and motivated. 

Do you feel like life has stood still a little and you’re not sure what direction to take next? Do you feel you need to shake things up a little in order to get life moving again? But you have no idea where to start?

It doesn’t always have to be difficult. Taking a small step towards doing something differently can significantly change things. Perhaps we realise that the things we’ve been doing repetitively until now are not doing us any good. Or the person that brings us down is no longer someone we want to spend so much time with.  Or the job we do day in, day out, gives us no joy what so ever.

Well the good news is that we don’t have to move to a different country, ditch our friends, or walk away from the job that gives us stability! Though we can do all of these things, we can also take smaller steps towards creating a more positive change in our lives, leaving us feeling more content, connected and heading in a different direction.

I’m sure you are asking what these things are! Well, here are a few tips but they are by no means exhaustive. We are all unique, and what works well for one person will not work very well for another. So the trick here is to try a couple and see what works, or what elements of it work for us.

Here are a few things to try out each day this week.
Pick one and see which one feels good.
– Change your morning route to work
– Do a different form of exercise
– Book a day off work
– Change the position of something at home, a coffee table or an ornament
– Wear something you haven’t worn in ages
– Cook something you’ve never cooked before
– Spend time with someone who you know will make you feel good
– Watch an uplifting or inspiring programme
– Change something about your weekend routine, perhaps try something new
– Go to a different cafe to buy your coffee or lunch
– Do something that challenges you just a little
– Learn something new today

What else might you change about your daily routine?

Over time we create our own unique set of tools that help us when life throws a curve ball. With practice we get better at catching them and putting them down gently rather than allowing them to knock us off our feet.

I know I’ve got better at noticing when I’m feeling a bit stuck. I have a few great tools which I know work really well for me, and each time I can create that change just a little bit quicker!

Remember: start small, and build from there.
Perhaps change one different thing each day this week. The list above are just some ideas.  Has something else just popped into your head that you could change? Do that!


How to start saying ‘no’ to others

Are you someone who struggles to say no to others?  You’re certainly not alone! There was a time when I used to quickly say yes to pretty much everyone and everything! Even if it was something I didn’t want to do. I somehow felt by saying no I would be letting someone down, or worse, I’d miss out on something!

When we say yes to something that we really don’t want to do, we may be acting because we fear something. Fear that someone will judge us, react badly towards us, or may no longer like us. There may be a number of different reasons why we may not be willing to say no.

So consider these points:

Firstly, what happens to us when we say yes out of the fear of something happening?  We may become resentful, angry, stressed, overwhelmed, or exhausted from always stretching ourselves too thinly and not putting ourselves first for a change.

Secondly, how might saying yes affect the other person? Are we empowering them to do it for themselves, and do we trust that they can do it alone? It may be that we are denying them the learning from trying something new. Or perhaps we are just not the right person to help them in the first place.

I believe it is possible to SAY NO to someone with kindness, knowing you are doing it in your own best interests and also in the interests of the person you are saying no to!

Start with this one simple question to yourself before saying yes or no to something:

“Do I really want to do this?” 
If the answer is NO then ask yourself:
“How will saying yes truly help the other person?”

When I ask myself this question I give myself the permission, and the strength, to say no. As a result I’m happier, more fulfilled and still saying yes to loads of things.  But I’m only saying yes to the things I love doing!!

As we start to help others from a place of willingness, commitment and joy, we can instead be assured that we are doing so in the best interests of everyone involved. I can be sure I’m happy and so are the people I’m saying yes to 🙂

Remember: start small, and build from there.
If saying no doesn’t feel comfortable yet, start to recognise how many things you are saying yes to! Saying no will follow soon……

Feel More Motivated to Start Your Day!

Do you struggle to get up in the morning and get motivated to start your day? Are you dreading the day ahead and would you rather wake up feeling more energised and raring to go?

I never used to like getting up in the mornings and I liked them even less over the winter months. Now that the days are getting a bit longer and the mornings are brighter it certainly helps me get motivated in the morning.

This winter I found that I didn’t dread getting up quite as much as I used to, even with the dark mornings.

I found that these 3 things I am going to share with you have really helped me to feel more positive and also to feel more motivated about my day. I practice these 3 things before I even get out of bed.

This is how I feel more ready to start my day:

1. Express Appreciation. I wake up each morning and express appreciation for something in my life… no matter how bleak the day ahead seems there’s always something to be grateful for. Perhaps it’s waking up in a warm bed, or your health, your partner or your work.

2. Feel Excited. You have no idea how the day will unfold. Repeat to yourself 3 times that you are excited about the day ahead. Something unexpected might happen that might make you smile. Be prepared to be surprised during your day.

3. Think Positive. Have one positive thought about something you will be doing today. Perhaps you’ll be speaking to or seeing someone later that you know will lift your mood.

Remember: Have some fun with …… Try out variations of things so that they feel easy for you. Make it your own!


Fashion Fix Fundraiser raises nearly £500

The Fashion Fix fundraising event in Kensal Rise on Friday 9th March was a great success. Nearly £500 was raised on the night and the money will go towards a much needed maker-over of the community hall of St Marks Church, Kensal Rise.

I really enjoyed the evening and it was great to be part of this local community event. There was a great atmosphere throughout the night with stalls offering  makeovers and manicures, as well as a clothes swap and a bar.

Treatments were being giving inside the church which provided a beautiful, serene, candle lit atmosphere. I was giving 15 minute Reiki taster sessions throughout the evening and was delighted to see so many wanting a taster. Sorry to anyone that I didn’t manage to get to see for a session.

Thank you to everyone that contributed to raising so much money and making the evening such a great success.  I look forward in taking part next time.

If you attended the event I’m offering £10 off a full session if booked before the 30th April 2012. Don’t worry if you no longer have your voucher, just drop me an email or give me a call and I’ll happily book your session.

See you soon!

Happiness is what it’s all about!

Happiness is what it’s all about!

Do you want to actively participate in your life and be HAPPY?

Rapidly, more focus is being made on what makes us happy rather than on everything that makes us unhappy and the things we need to fix. In looking at the negative we can only see what we don’t want or have. What about the positive stuff we do want or have?

What do you love to do? What are you passionate about? Are you doing these things? If not, isn’t it time to start?

See what Action for Happiness are doing and how you can get involved to spread the word!

Have a look at their website