The art of the self-soothe – remembering to relax & wind down this week:
As Christmas approaches, are you reflecting on the year that has passed? Or even the decade? It’s been quite a turbulent few years in which the world has developed at an incredible pace, especially in technology. We are more connected than ever before, with a multitude of social platforms to choose from. Yet for many of us this can also present overwhelming challenges.
At this time of year, emotions can run high as we rush to complete projects at work, attend various school or social events, plan the ‘perfect’ Christmas celebrations, and present that ‘competent and confident’ persona at all times.
So, amidst the noise, how can you process your place in the world and begin to think about what lies ahead? How do you measure success or satisfaction at work or in relationships? What plans for your future excite you and drive you forward?
Many of us don’t have the luxury of a fjord nearby but there is growing evidence of the benefit of being amongst trees. They’re believed to have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing, and even give off an immune-boosting chemical. Getting outdoors, going for a walk and a having a change of scenery can be a great way to give yourself a mental break and refresh. I often incorporate this into my coaching sessions, as I find it’s a great way to help people relax and shift into a different mindset, often prompting exciting, creative or ambitious ideas that we then work on turning into reality.With a nod to the winter landscape, in the UK we often take inspiration from our Nordic cousins. The Norwegians have a slightly ironic phrase, ‘føling i fjæra’ – which (I’m assured) roughly translates as ‘feeling emotional while staring out to sea (or a fjord)’. Sometimes just being with your emotions can help to reflect on how we’re feeling, what we’ve achieved or what hasn’t gone quite the way we hoped it would. Without that time and space we run the risk of going through the motions, like a hamster on a wheel. But with all the pressures of modern life, this can lead to stress and burnout.
As the decade draws to a close, you may wish to think about new beginnings, or consolidating something you’ve been working on already. How can you build on your achievements as you head into 2020? Maybe you’re thinking of changing direction or facing a new challenge. Whether you’re staring out to sea, walking in the woods or having a cosy moment at home, now is a good time to slow down, step back, reflect on the past and think about the new year.
To find out how Life Matters Coaching can help you find the right balance in your work, your personal life and your business, get in touch – I’d love to hear from you.
This week I happily took part in a ‘press photo call’ celebrating the installation of a community based defibrillator on Mapperley Plains.
Originally the idea of Alan Dawson of the community group ‘Mapperley People’ – the purchase & installation of this potentially life-saving machine was a group effort via individual donations. I wanted to be a part of this initiative as it seemed ‘the right thing to do’, so Life Matters Coaching Ltd donated to boost the coffers.
I didn’t have to think twice about donating: it seemed natural, a great use of technology, and a worthwhile cause for the wider community. In life there are often these ‘no-brainer’ decisions or actions we take, each particular to ourselves, our values and our view on our world. It just seems ‘to fit’.
When we take these actions, be it volunteering at a church group or local Brownies group, or picking up litter on an organised litter drive, or collecting donations for the local Food Bank, we are supporting and playing a part in the society around us – it feels good.
This feel good factor comes from us supporting others and influencing the world around us, even in tiny every-day ways and it’s important, not just to our local community but it benefits our own mental health and satisfaction with our life.
Volunteering or supporting local groups gives us meaning and a connection to our world, which in turn increases our happiness and satisfaction with how we are living out our lives.
If you are looking for ways to increase your own happiness do something to support someone else – it’s a win-win!
1:1 coaching can help you live a more meaningful life and facilitate your own unique ‘happiness recipe’ – get in touch for an friendly chat today
As winter approaches, the dark nights find many of us doing our best to hibernate. Whilst we may have to settle for a few extra hours under the duvet, we naturally seek solace indoors at this time of year. Yet without realising, many of us will probably be enjoying some aspects of life-coaching.
Whether it’s settling down with a good book or spending time with friends and family, we have a tendency to find comfort at home during the colder months. Candles and fires are lit and we begin to embrace the simple pleasures in life. As the year draws to a close, we often reminisce with loved ones, friends or colleagues. That’s because talking over events of the past year helps to put it into perspective. We might feel grateful for what we have, or some of us may be adjusting to unexpected challenges.
These long, relaxed conversations can really help us to consider where we are and where we’d like to be. Chatting over a meal or drink is almost like an informal coaching session. Talking through ideas and aspirations can motivate us to make changes and plan for the year ahead.
Experts in enduring long winters, the Danes even have a word for the most enjoyable aspects of the season – Hygge.
Being ‘hyggeligt’ doesn’t involve buying things – quite the opposite, in fact. It’s more of a feeling – the kind we might experience over a meal with family, or a drink with friends. Or even just alone, curled up watching your favourite movie. There’s an almost meditative element to hygge. Most of all it’s about being present in the moment and savouring the experience.
Our Scandinavian friends also gave us the word ‘Yule’, which is still in use today. Many of our favourite festive traditions come from the midwinter festivals of hundreds of years ago. The Christmas tree, wreaths on the door and of course the Yule log.
In the northern hemisphere, winter solstice historically celebrated new beginnings, as the sun of the previous year ebbed away. Nowadays we celebrate the new year in much the same way. We reflect on the year that has passed and imagine what the new year might bring. It seems like the perfect time to nurture ourselves and our relationships. The slower pace of life gives us time to contemplate where we are and, as our ancestors did, think about new beginnings.
Of course, there is also Christmas to think about. With so much pressure to have a magical time, it can often make it difficult to find a peaceful moment to gather your thoughts. If this sounds familiar, why not treat yourself to some one-to-one coaching? We provide the space for you to think, breathe, reflect and think about where you want to be in the year ahead.
A helping hand
As Christmas approaches, we often think about loved ones we may have lost or those less fortunate than ourselves. International Volunteer Day is held in December. It’s a celebration of the hard work and kindness of people who give their time to help others. For the thousands of volunteers in the UK, winter can be an especially busy period.
Many members of our community need extra help and support at this time of year, yet this is often provided by volunteers. Whether it’s doing a shift at the local library to help keep it open or providing companionship to those who are lonely, volunteers are all around us. Their time and effort help to make the world a better place to live in.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to give something back and connect with people. At LifeMatters, we can help you explore your passions and think about how you can use them to support those around you. Whether that’s at work, at home or in your local community. Get in touch to find out how we can help you make positive changes in your life.
Finally, however you’re planning to spend the winter months, we’d like to wish you and your loved ones a peaceful and hyggeligt winter. We look forward to seeing you in 2018.
In addition to being a Bon Jovi lyric for ‘Livin On A Prayer’ – we are indeed ‘half-way there’ in terms of the calendar year right now. This milestone in the year has reminded me of those conversations about resolutions we seem to have at the New Year. Personal resolutions such as: getting fitter; joining a gym; spending more quality time with our family and so on. Lots of us also make work-based goals: secure a promotion; find a new job in a new company; build better work relationships; make an impact at work etc.
Yet despite our best efforts, research shows that just 8% of us fully achieve our New Year’s resolution with 25% of people who make goals giving up within the first week! http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/
With that in mind, and to support myself in achieving one of my goals this year, I joined an online community and made a public commitment which was tracked via an app. Crucially, I was ‘rewarded’ with feedback and ‘thumbs up’ icons and I felt my achievements were celebrated. I lasted a full 6 weeks doing it this way – definitely longer than I would have done normally and it encouraged me to add new elements into my exercise routine, which, continue to this day.
If you made a resolution or a commitment to a goal earlier this year – how is it going? Have you achieved what you set out to do? Have you changed behavior and habits you previously struggled with?
Even if you haven’t yet fully reached your aim, it’s still worth thinking about how far you have come and celebrating the small changes that often add up and create a more positive life. Perhaps, that original goal is no longer relevant – that’s fine, things change. But what new goal is now more relevant and excites you…? Have you drifted and now want to ensure you realise at least one new goal this year…?
To help you achieve a goal in 2015, you could try this simple exercise:
- Write down the goal you want to achieve & set a timeframe
- Think about the behaviours and actions you now need to initiate:
- What could you STOP doing – ie: what are you currently doing that makes it hard for that goal to be realised..?
- What behaviours or attitudes could you MINIMISE/REDUCE to help support your goal
- What new actions could you START doing
- What’s going well that you should CONTINUE that supports your goal
- Think about your environment including your support network that will help you achieve your aim and any ‘tools’ you might need
Remember, identify a goal that you are motivated and committed to achieve. Be bold and be public in your commitment. Write it down or use a vision board. Track your progress – one small step at a time. Find an advocate to support you & don’t forget to celebrate when you achieve it!
A good coach can be the ideal advocate when tackling big life-changing goals. A coach is a cheerleader supporting you and offers important constructive feedback to keep you on track, and when you have achieved – they can help you review and celebrate your efforts!
March Blog – Your Personal Census
On this day (March 10th) in 1801, Britain undertook it’s first ever national census. This event has taken place in Britain every ten years since – with the exception of 1941 due to WW11. By the time of the next one in 2021, I’ll be looking forward to celebrating my half-century, one child may be about to leave home for University or travels and my coaching practice will officially be 10years old! There’s got to be at least one thing in that list to celebrate..?!
The OED definition of ‘census’ is: An official count or survey, especially of a population: & the word originates from Latin ‘censere ‘ to assess.
In daily life we are constantly assessing: which route to take to work; is there time for a second coffee; whether to accept an invitation to an event; even what’s in the fridge for lunch! Things are the transactional assessments we have to go through to navigate our way through daily routines at work and at home. There is also the need to assess issues that may affect us longer-term: a job-offer; school choices for our children; save for something or use credit; give up smoking or not.
Then there are assessments on a deeper level, which require us, like a census, to take stock, identify common themes, celebrate diversity, and celebrate our achievements to date. In the rush to ‘do’ in our daily lives, it’s easy to forget that some assessment or re-assessment of our status quo, is healthy and needed on a regular basis, certainly more frequently than once every 10 years!
Here are some questions that you could ask yourself in your personal census:
- Am I living the life I dreamed of 10years ago…? If not, which bits could I change to work better for me (and/or those around me)
- What am I most proud of at this moment in time?
- Which 5 values do I hold dear and symbolise the way I live my life?
- What’s the 1 thing I couldn’t live without?
- Do I surround myself with people who lift me up; inspire & energise me?
To fully benefit from this personal census, you may need to take action to change something or share your thoughts with your nearest and dearest. It may be that for now, simply acknowledging this personal assessment is enough.
If you would like guidance on undertaking your own personal census, or support in making some desired changes, you could try coaching.
Personal coaching is a great way of identifying areas for change and working with an independent support resource to make it happen. Get in touch today – firstname.lastname@example.org www.lifematterscoaching.co.uk