Christmas Spa Packages and Self Care Benefits

Do you ever come across Christmas Spa Package ads like this?

Get away from it all with one of our blissful spa treat packages for two. Choose from a wide range of venues across the UK including Bannatyne’s and Marriott Spa, all offering a haven away from life’s stresses. From rejuvenating facials, immaculate manicures or soothing massages we can offer the treatment for you and your guest. As well as both enjoying a relaxing treatment leaving you each feeling as good as new, you’ll also have access to steam rooms, saunas and swimming pools at many of the locations. The gift of relaxation is ideal for any occasion!”

And think to yourself ooh this sounds delightful and is just the tonic I need right now to recharge my batteries just before Christmas on these cold dark winter evenings? Then ten minutes later think I’ve got a “to do list” the size of Loch Lomond so I’ll book this bargain Spa package later…

Then, before you know it, this amazing opportunity has totally disappeared from your memory or has suddenly been demoted to the bottom of your to do list because you simply feel too overwhelmed or too busy to take time out to book it. Me too !!

As a Health and Well Being Practitioner I often encourage clients to pay attention to their self care and am often emphasizing the benefits of a good work and play balance.

So dare I say it, when I was presented with a very generous spa treatment gift voucher by my friend earlier this year and I didn’t actually use until a month before it’s expiry date I felt slightly hypocritical as you can imagine….

Having said that, I do ensure that I book in regular monthly massage and coach appointments for myself and take regular holidays so it could have been worst, I may have missed this truly enjoyable and self indulgent experience altogether.

Set in the heart of the Mendips, just a ten minute drive from my cottage, Charlton House part of the Bannatyne’s Health Clubs chain has achieved an enviable reputation as one of the leading country house hotels in the South West of England. So if you’re looking for a luxurious spa break Charlton House makes an unforgettable stay and here’s my photos to prove it !! Yes, that’s me in the colbalt blue coat again !!

 

What is self care exactly?

 

There are many definitions of healthy self care. As I like to keep life simple, I break it down into four distinct categories:

Relaxation

 

By this I mean incorporating at least one hobby and activity into your daily routine such as: mindfulness, yoga, pilates, tai chi, qigong, art and crafts, reading a novel, playing a musical instrument, surfing and gardening. What’s key here is allowing yourself to enjoy the journey rather than the arriving, in other words, undertaking the activities at a slow pace it’s not a competition.

Exercise

Include at least one of the following activities at least four times a week into your daily routine:
• Cycling
• walking
• running
• ruby
• football
• cricket
• golf
• swimming
• rowing
• dancing
• basketball
• netball
• tennis

Diet

 

In terms of mood, I believe we are what we eat!!

I am not referring to a miserable life of fasting, food deprivation and diets.

What I mean by this is the introduction of a healthy daily diet consisting of mostly fruit, vegetables, seeds, fish and less fast food, red meat and carbohydrates.

For example, over the past few years, I have gradually reduced my daily bread, rice, pasta and sugar level intakes and only eat fast food and take aways about twice a year if at all nowadays.

As a result, I have noticed how less tired and sluggish I feel and how I feel increasingly more energetic and motivated.

My new motto is moderation not deprivation.

Adopting healthy sleep patterns

 

I go to bed most evenings before 11pm with the aim of sleeping for at least 7 hours.

Research indicates that engagement in emails and social media activities such as a facebook and twitter can overstimulate the mind resulting in difficulty sleeping.

So as part of my daily bed time routine, I ensure that I cease sending emails or engaging in any type of face book, twitter or other types of social media activities for at least two hours before going up to bed.

Do you include relaxation, exercise and diet into your daily routine?

 

If the answer is no then your work life balance or levels of self care are probably not as robust as they could be and you are not alone in this very common dilemma.

Most of us put work above family, friends and hobbies or have struggled with time stress at some point in our lives.

We are not taught about the significance of self care and work life balance at school, so how can we be expected to know how to create our ideal dream lives?

I believe self care and the art of work life balancing should be a mandatory item on the school curriculum.

How do you put self care strategies into practice to create a healthy work life balance?

 

Following extensive self care and boundary setting training on my Psychotherapy Master’s Degree and from attendance at several personal development courses, the knowledge I acquired , outlining how to create a timetable that reflects my ideal, dream week, has made a significantly, positive difference to my life and health and well being.

For example:
• I mostly now do things that I want to as well as have to
• My energy levels have increased, as I no longer experience high levels of time stress, caused by previously booking up my diary months ahead, as a result of over committing myself, saying yes to most social and work-related events and spending too much time on face book and twitter
• My moods are mostly positive because I no longer eat fast food, I also find it helpful to limit myself to watching only 1.5 hours of television most evenings
• Nowadays, I rarely feel tired, resentful and guilty except of course when I leave spa package bookings to the last minute !!!

Here’s an extract from my recent daily timetable:

 

8.30am – 9am Mindfulness Practice
9am – 1pm – Work
1pm – 2.15pm – Running then lunch
2.15pm – 6.15pm – Work
6.15pm – 6.30pm – Mindfulness Practice
6.30pm – 10pm – Family, Friends and Leisure time
10pm – 11.30pm – Read a novel.

What are the benefits of self care and creating your ideal, dream life?

 

You will begin to:
• feel less irritated, stressed, resentful, exhausted, guilty and overwhelmed
• experience more joy and happiness because more time will be spent doing the things you really want to rather than a life just full of to do lists and things that you have to do
• sleep better and as result increase your energy levels
• experience more peace of mind, a sense of clarity and feel more focused

Heath and well being are your most important assets and investments, without these, you may experience exhaustion, illness, burn out and struggle to be as productive and as successful as you could be at work. Put simply: Health = Wealth.

How to achieve a positive mindset to help you achieve your goals and ambitions for 2018

Blog Scacity Mindset jan 2018

Why is it no matter how much time most people are given, they often finish jobs or tasks at the last minute and are left feeling completely stressed out?
• Why is it that very high wage earners end up broke?
• Why do organisations get stuck firefighting?
• Why do the lonely find it hard to make friends or to find a partner?
• Why do most New Year Resolutions fail by February?

These questions seem unconnected, yet drawing on a raft of research in psychology and behavioural economics, Harvard economist Mullainathan and Princeton psychologist Shafir illustrate that they are all examples of a mind-set produced by scarcity. Put simply, you and most people, often force the brain to focus on alleviating pressing shortages and thus reducing the mental bandwidth available to address other needs such as:

• planning ahead
• exert self-control
• problem solving

The result these academics argue, is a life fixated on agonising trade-offs, crises, and preoccupations that impose persistent negative thinking and self defeating actions.

How can you re programme your scarcity mindset and develop a healthier growth mindset instead so that you can get the most out of your counselling or mindfulness sessions at work or in your personal life?

 

According to Psychology today, “making resolutions or new habits work is essentially changing behaviors and in order to do that, you have to change your thinking and “rewire” your brain. Brain scientists such as Antonio Damasio and Joseph LeDoux and psychotherapist Stephen Hayes have discovered, through the use of MRIs, that habitual behavior is created by thinking patterns that create neural pathways and memories, which become the default basis for your behavior when you’re faced with a choice or decision. Trying to change that default thinking by “not trying to do it,” in effect just strengthens it. Change requires creating new neural pathways from new thinking.”

Here’s some more Neuroscience research relating to scarcity mindsets which can have a huge impact on your counselling, mindfulness and coaching sessions:

 

• We recall negative feedback more than we remember praise.
• Unpleasant events tend to be more memorable than pleasant ones.
• The brain is programmed to be vigilant and wary.
• The brain reacts more strongly to negative stimuli than to positive stimuli.

Studies indicate that there’s a greater flow in electrical activity in the brain when we visualise a negative image such as a dead cat than when we witness something positive like a glass of prosecco or yummy lemon cheesecake.

How can Neuroscience and a knowledge of the brain help you to develop a growth mindset and the best return on investment on your counselling coaching and mindfulness sessions?

 

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Neuroscience is the study of how the nervous system develops, its structure, and what it does. Neuroscientists focus primarily on the brain and its impact on behaviour and cognitive functions.

Neuroscience is an increasingly wide ranging subject. Perhaps because the brain is one of the most complex structures in the known universe:

 

• intricate enough to coordinate the fingers of a classical violinist
• or logical enough to introduce the laws and theories of gravity.

Now let’s take a brief glimpse at the brain:

The right hemisphere is generally associated with creativity, communicating emotion, analysis of nonverbal information and the control of the left side of the body, temporal and spatial relationships.

Whereas, the left hemisphere is usually identified with logic abilities, casual relationships, sequential thinking, controlling the right side of the body and producing/understanding language and complexities.

The limbic system sometimes referred to as the “emotional brain” is usually considered as composed of the following:

cingulate gyrus, hypothalamus, hippocampus, thalamus and amygdala.

It is the site of: emotional states and behaviour; the bridge between the conscious and subconscious brain and short term memory/ information storage, especially short term recognition of facts, objects, people etc.

The amygdala, the brain’s alarm system is located in the limbic system. Its key function is to call you to attention, and in an emergency, to mobilise or shut-down your body and mind so that you’ll survive.

Sadly though, this alarm rings automatically and unnecessarily often incorrectly informing you that you are experiencing a flight or fight situation when the actual reality is that you are not and the alarm is just being over cautious.

When our amygdala misinterprets a bodily sensation such as sinking stomach to be a message of despair and pessimism, it has exactly the wrong result, reducing rather than enhancing our attention and alertness.

That’s why anxiety, frustration, anger and other chronic stress reactions can occasionally, or for some people frequently, escalate into huge problems.

 

Put simply, we’re not using our amygdala as effectively as it was intended.

Mindfulness strategies can help to reprogramme your brain’s natural tendency to focus on scarcity rather than on the positives of a situation:

 

When you experience a negative thought, feeling or physical sensation, breathe, pause, step back then ask yourself the following question:

“what do I know?”

“I know that if I allow my negative thoughts to take over it is not healthy for me and leaves me feeling anxious, I also know that though I can’t stop my thoughts, feelings or physical sensations, I can change what happens next, such as, consciously deciding to stop myself from catastrophising or getting too attached to my thoughts.”

“I know that thoughts aren’t facts”

Following your attempts at implementing the above strategy, record on a piece of paper the process of what happens when you try this technique and the automatic negative thoughts that stop you from supporting yourself.

Now, let’s take a real life example of a person wanting to create their dream life:

 

Instead of focusing on scarcity and deprivation by talking yourself out of it by getting into a negative thinking style of what ifs, buts, shoulds etc, ie scarcity, approach your dream life by placing yourself in a growth mindset:

Here’s how:

 

(1) firstly, create your own life script by writing down a series of positive affirmations on a piece of paper or on your tablet such as:

“I’m really happy and grateful for all the following things that I’m just about to say:

I’m really happy and grateful to be a wildly successful writer and public speaker, and wife with an endless regular weekly supply of income that greatly exceeds my outgoings.

What’s also wonderful is that my work is mostly daytime and online so I can do it anywhere in the world.

I have over 5,000 twitter and instagram followers and I’m thrilled that my fiction book is a best seller.

I have great health and I’m really enjoying a good work life balance with lots of time to relax and exercise to play piano and make jewellery and other creative activities.

My life is full of fun and joy and I have an abundance of male and female friends that bring out the best in me in Wiltshire and in other parts of the UK .

And I’m open to receiving this and more thank you.”

Repeat this at least once each morning and then just before you go to sleep for at least a six week period.

 

(tip: ensure all statements are in the present tense as if they are happening right now and avoid using words such as not, never, no longer etc)

(2) then, cut out some images/photos from either a magazine or the internet relating to your life script and arrange them on a piece of paper or on a cork memo board/whiteboard. Alternatively, create a collage by using pinterest or instagram.

What is key here is to look at the relevant image/photo whilst you are reading each affirmation out loud (ideally smiling and with heaps of enthusiasm and belief!)

 

(3) Be mindful. Become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state as each external event happens, moment by moment, rather than living in the past or future

(4) Last but not least, reflect on this statement: you never fail if you never give up

In other words, it’s about moderation not deprivation and adopting a small steps approach such as and be patient…

Sounds simple and perhaps mumbo jumbo doesn’t it? However, I have used this technique with several clients and friends to help them tackle issues such as:

• overcoming procrastination
• overcoming addictions
• overcoming shyness and social phobia
• overcoming anxiety and exhaustion
• overcoming loneliness

 

The results have often been astounding. Having said that though, most of these clients have undertaken a few counselling or coaching sessions with me, Karen Deeming, before adopting the above exercise in order to achieve their goals.

What’s the primary principle behind this techique? The subconscious mind operates 95% of your life and only 5% of what you are thinking or perceiving is your conscious mind.

 

The subconscious mind works most effectively with pictures and imagery so you want to take advantage of that, ie the photos. Once you train your subconscious mind to focus on the things that you want then your performance starts to follow because your performance is always aligned with your subconscious mind.

Also as children we picked up messages from parents, peers, teachers and society, not always positive, that literally form the 95% that we are not conscious of and this 95% is really running the show often resulting in fears and doubts that cause us to procrastinate or to feel stuck and demotivated.

For example:
• don’t dream like this
• you can never have this kind of house
• don’t set yourself up for failure
• you can never run your own business it’s too risky

We then blame our doubts and fears on the external world and we play the victim but the reality is it is our own selfs we are our own saboteurs.

The creating your dream life exercise is an ideal tool to reprogramme your subconscious and of course your unhealthy, scarcity mindset.

 

Does any of this sound familiar? What can you do about it?

Be honest with yourself and acknowledge that you’ve probably fallen victim to the scarcity trap and mind set. Naturally, the reason will be different for each person and remember you’re not alone in this very common dilemma…

Take control of your negative internal chatter box alias “inner critic”.

Over to you:

 

If after reading this blog, you are still struggling to overcome your scarcity mindset and are feeling overwhelmed with distractions and negative thoughts don’t panic or give up just yet.

Coaching, counselling or a  mindfulness course can help you.

 

So, if you need a bit of extra support and encouragement and a few on line or face to face counselling or mindfulness sessions why not contact me to arrange an appointment for a short free introductory chat on 07950 751352 or by emailing me at karen@karendeeming.com

I’ll end with a few growth mindset insights that have helped me, Karen Deeming, along the way:

 

• whatever is going on in your mind is what you are attracting
• happy feelings will attract more happy circumstances
• visualize and rehearse your own future
• shift your awareness

Counselling and coaching is about personal growth and development and encouraging people to discover their potential for living as well as for people with anxiety, depression, stress, bereavement, low self esteem, and relationship difficulties.

 

How to make New Year’s Resolutions work

you_revolution17 jan2015

  • Why is it no matter how much time most people are given, they often finish jobs or tasks at the last minute and are left feeling completely stressed out?
  • Why is it that very high wage earners end up broke?
  • Why do organisations get stuck firefighting?
  • Why do the lonely find it hard to make friends or to find a partner?
    Why do most New Year Resolutions fail by February?

These questions seem unconnected, yet drawing on a raft of research in psychology and behavioral economics, Harvard economist Mullainathan and Princeton psychologist Shafir illustrate that they are all examples of a mind-set produced by scarcity. Put simply, you and most people, often force the brain to focus on alleviating pressing shortages and thus reducing the mental bandwidth available to address other needs such as:

  • planning ahead
  • exert self-control
  • problem solving

The result these academics argue, is a life fixated on agonising trade-offs, crises, and preoccupations that impose persistent negative thinking and self defeating actions.

Back to New Year Resolutions:

So what’s your resolution this year?

  • to lose weight?
  • to exercise more?
  • to stop smoking, gambling or drinking?
  • to develop better money management strategies?
  • to relax more and stop spending so much time at work?

the list can often be endless……….

According to Psychology today, “making resolutions work is essentially changing behaviors and in order to do that, you have to change your thinking and “rewire” your brain. Brain scientists such as Antonio Damasio and Joseph LeDoux and psychotherapist Stephen Hayes have discovered, through the use of MRIs, that habitual behavior is created by thinking patterns that create neural pathways and memories, which become the default basis for your behavior when you’re faced with a choice or decision. Trying to change that default thinking by “not trying to do it,” in effect just strengthens it. Change requires creating new neural pathways from new thinking.”

If we take the example of a weight loss resolution:

Instead of focusing on deprivation and starving yourself, ie scarcity, begin your resolution by developing a positive mindset of abundance.

Here’s how:

(1) firstly, adopt a positive affirmation statement in the present tense such as “I’m happy and grateful that I have lost 5lbs this week” repeat this at least 40 times each morning and then just before you go to sleep for at least a two week period

(2) then, find a photo of yourself when you were slim or a photo of someone else in a magazine who is slim and look at this following each affirmation

(3) Be mindful. Become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state as each external event happens, moment by moment, rather than living in the past or future

(4) Last but not least, reflect on this statement: you never fail if you never give up

In other words, it’s about moderation not deprivation and adopting a small steps approach such as:

setting a specific realistic goal such as aiming to loose 5lbs by the end of January not something vague like to loose weight.

Sounds simple and perhaps mumbo jumbo doesn’t it? However, I have used this technique with several clients and friends to help them tackle issues such as:

  • overcoming procrastination
  • overcoming addictions
  • overcoming shyness and social phobia
  • overcoming anxiety and exhaustion
  • overcoming loneliness

The results have often been astounding. Having said that though, most of these clients have undertaken a few counselling or coaching sessions with me, Karen Deeming, before adopting the above exercise in order to achieve their goals.

What’s the primary principle behind this techique?

The subconscious mind operates 95% of your life and only 5% of what you are thinking or perceiving is your conscious mind. The subconscious mind works most effectively with pictures and imagery so you want to take advantage of that, ie the photos. Once you train your subconscious mind to focus on the things that you want then your performance starts to follow because your performance is always aligned with your subconscious mind.

Also as children we picked up messages from parents, peers, teachers and society, not always positive, that literally form the 95% that we are not conscious of and this 95% is really running the show often resulting in fears and doubts that cause us to procrastinate or to feel stuck and demotivated.

For example:

  • don’t dream like this
  • you can never have this kind of house
  • don’t set yourself up for failure
  • you can never run your own business it’s too risky

We then blame our doubts and fears on the external world and we play the victim but the reality is it is our own selfs we are our own saboteurs.

The weight loss exercise is an ideal tool to reprogramme your subconscious and of course your unhealthy, scarcity mindset.

Does any of this sound familiar? What can you do about it?

Be honest with yourself and acknowledge that you’ve probably fallen victim to the scarcity trap and mind set. Naturally, the reason will be different for each person and remember you’re not alone in this very common dilemma…

Take control of your negative internal chatter box alias “inner critic”.

Over to you:

If after reading this blog you are still struggling to overcome your scarcity mindset and are feeling overwhelmed with distractions and negative thoughts don’t panic or give up just yet.

On line coaching, counselling or a personal development or mindfulness course can help you.

I’ll end with a few insights that have helped me, Karen Deeming, along the way:

  • whatever is going on in your mind is what you are attracting
  • happy feelings will attract more happy circumstances
  • visualize and rehearse your own future
  • shift your awareness
  • counselling and coaching is about personal growth and development and encouraging people to discover their potential for living as well as for people with anxiety, depression, stress, bereavement, low self esteem, and relationship difficulties.

 

 

 

Halloween and Shadows friends or foes?

halloween photoToday it’s Halloween so I thought it rather fitting to briefly talk about human beings and their shadows.

I also wanted an excuse to show you a photo of the amazing pumpkin face that my partner Liam made earlier today!!!

“ Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.” Carl G Jung

According to Carl Jung, the shadow alias “the other side” is an archetype, meaning that it exists in all of us. The shadow contains everything denied and despised, everything considered sinful and everything we find awkward or unnerving. Furthermore, it accounts for the cruelties which people have inflicted on each other since the beginning of time. In religious terms, the shadow is symbolised by Satan and in fiction, fairytales and mythology the shadow is seen in many guises such as Faust who made a pact with the devil Orpheus seeking Eurydice in the underworld and Dr Jeckyll who transformed into the evil Mr Hyde. Essentially, the shadow is perceived as the dark side of the individual but one should not disregard the undeveloped positive parts it contains. Jung believed the shadow to be inferior and primitive in nature. Therefore since it is instinctive, it is likely to have a disturbing influence on our personalities unless it is confronted.

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