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Adrenal Fatigue Energy Boosters Self Care and Self Love Sick & Tired of feeling Sick & Tired

Why You Should Recharge Your Battery On The Go

Why You Should Recharge Your Battery On The GoThe inimitable Arianna Huffington was in New Zealand last week. Founder of The Huffington Post, and listed as the 52nd most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, to say I was excited is an understatement.

Arianna has fascinated me. Not only has is she a media and political heavyweight, what appeals to me most is that she has shouted loud about the bottom line value of wellbeing in big business. That we have a personal and corporate responsibility to take care of our wellbeing. Her bestselling book “Thrive” documents her journey from collapse from fatigue back to wellness. There are so many parallels with what I write about here, and my own book “The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness” about my journey from collapse from fatigue back to wellness I couldn’t wait to hear her speak.

She did not disappoint. She was radiant and spoke with real power.

I’m going to share my favourite analogy from her speech as it resonates so strongly with what we talk about here at Wellbeing Wednesday.

She said this:

“We are taking care of our smart phones better than we are taking care of ourselves”.

She has a point.

Why You Should Recharge Your Battery On The GoYou know how it is, when you notice the battery on your phone is running down, oh my god, I’ve only got 12% battery left! It’s actually an almost panicky feeling. I know I am not alone in asking a café to recharge my phone, or being at a meeting and charging it mid-meeting. ONLY TWELVE FREAKING PERCENT BATTERY LEFT?!! What will I do? Must charge that phone. Immediately!

However. The day I collapsed at work from extreme fatigue, never to return, I was down to, what 3% of my body’s battery? But I had never stopped and prioritised recharging it. I just sort of assumed my own personal battery was infinitely recharging. Like I am sort of one woman Duracell Bunny.

Stupid, right?

We check and look at our phone battery life all the time. We get it charged if it’s running low. That’s important goddamit! Can’t be without our phone.

How often do we check in and look at the level of our own body’s battery? Nowhere near as often.

I think we have our priorities a little bit messed up.

Arianna is right.

“We are taking care of our smart phones better than we are taking care of ourselves”.

So, stop. Right now. RIGHT NOW! What does your own personal battery readout say? Are you at 80% or 45% or 12% of vitality, energy and wellbeing?

Scan your body and find out.

If it needs charging, then, do what you would do with your phone. Charge it up. We need a high charge so power through life and attend to what is important to us.

Here’s a great new habit to commit to. Check in with your own personal battery level each time you check your phone charge. If it’s running low give it a quick boost with a walk round the block. A chat with a friend. Five minutes quiet time. Going to bed early. Ditching the coffee for a peppermint tea. Little recharging pit stops that keep your battery topped up.

Take care of yourself better than your smartphone.

There is only one of you. You are far less easy to replace.

Louise Thompson

Categories
Emotional Honesty Live Happy Inspiration Self Care and Self Love

Not Getting What You Want in Life? Here’s Why.

Here’s an interesting thing. We are often not getting what we want. We may not be getting the money we feel we deserve. Or the amount of love and affection we want. Or the recognition we want. Or the help and support we need.

Not getting what we want is kinda part of the human condition.

What can we do about it?

Mostly what we do about it is have a nice big fat moan, right?!

“My boss just doesn’t appreciate me like he should” “My husband should support me more around the house” “My mother is never loving towards me” “My friend is never really interested in what I am doing, she never asks”.

Venting feels good.

It also keeps us focused on what we are NOT getting. The LACK or absence of the thing that we want.

Which doesn’t make much of a difference. If any. The situation will generally just perpetuate. We remain unloved. Disrespected. Undervalued. Unsupported. Whatever.

Here’s the thing. We can’t change other people’s to give us what we want. We are not in direct control of that.

But, what we ARE in control of is ourselves. And what makes a powerful difference in these situations is to turn the question around. Instead of looking at what we are not getting, look at what we ARE in control of – and that is what we are GIVING.

Now I know when you feel hard done by the last thing you want to do is give MORE. I totally get that. And that’s not exactly what I mean. Dig a little deeper.

“If you are not happy with what you are getting –
have a good think about what you are giving”

 

When I asked Janelle, who was feeling very pissed off with her husband for not supporting her fledgling business, when was the last time she had demonstrated her support for his work she drew a blank. She couldn’t even remember the last time she had even asked him about his work she was so wrapped up in her new project! She was expecting him to do something for her she wasn’t prepared to do in return. She was in fact getting exactly what she was giving. Nothing.

When Polly was seething about her ex-husband continually disrespecting their longstanding childcare arrangements, I asked when she had last demonstrated respect for herself and restated her boundaries clearly, calmly and firmly, detailing the consequences of crossing those boundaries – she hadn’t. She was asking him to give her more respect for her boundaries than she was demonstrating to herself. She wanted him to respect what she wasn’t even prepared respect herself enough to voice.

Caron was fuming that her husband made a comment about how she looked in a particular outfit. When she looked at what she was actually giving in terms of respect to looking after body and being appreciative of her own body she was hard pressed to answer with any positives at all. She was asking him to love something she was repeatedly being saying and thinking was unworthy of love. She wanted him to give her something that was the exact opposite of what she was giving out.

Here’s the thing. We get back what we give. If we disrespect our own boundaries we should be less surprised that others disrespect them too. If we do not love and appreciate our body we make it harder for others to do so. If we are always looking at how much money we DON’T have and give out that message of “not enough” then we are going to GET a feeling AND a reality of not enough money.

This awareness is a GOOD thing. Because all of this is in our own hands! We have the power to change up the dynamic, and when we change what we give out we will get something different in return. To paraphrase the great Rolling Stones…You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes (and look at what you are giving not just at what you are not getting) you might just find, you get what you need.

 

Categories
Emotional Honesty Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Self Care and Self Love

What To Do When You Are Feeling Stuck Or Trapped

What to do when you are feeling stuck or trappedSometimes we feel really, really stuck in a situation. Stuck in a relationship. Stuck in a job. Stuck financially. Whichever way we look we seem trapped and that’s highly stress inducing.

In times of stress we hear of the “Fight or Flight” response. Everyone has heard of that. But there is actually a third “F”. The human body and psyche actually has 3 responses to stress…Fight. Flight. And…wait for it…..Freeze. When faced with stress where we feel too scared to fight and stand up for ourselves (“Do not speak to me in that manner, it is not okay for me”) or life is too complicated, obligated or constrained for flight (“I hate this job and I am out of here”) we default to the third F. We freeze. We stay stuck in the sucky job, relationship, finances, health, living situation. Believing that we are stuck is really unhelpful because it creates inertia. The force of NON-movement. Stuckness.

Feeling stuck sucks. Really sucks. It sucks our energy. Our mojo. Our motivation. And our ability to get ourselves out of the situation. It feels miserable and soul destroying. Also, we kid ourselves that we are just delaying making a decision. Just taking our time. Whilst we wait for it to magically, please God, all work itself out and for us to get miraculously unstuck!

Here’s the thing: not making a decision IS MAKING A DECISION. It’s making a decision to stay stuck and wait for The Universe or Some One Else to magically unstick you.

You can do much better than that honeychild! To get unstuck you can use the following used and approved unsticking questions:

1. Do I have a problem or a fact? I have written about this before and it’s a really important thing to get clear on. If you are wrestling with what is actually a fact (Granny has died. Little Johnny did not get into the grammar school. Your business partner is moving to Germany) but are thinking it’s a problem you can solve then you are going to be stressed for a very long time indeed. All you can do with a fact is ACCEPT it, and then look at the best way for you to move forward based on that fact.

If you have a problem (The incentive structure is not paying out properly. Your sister won’t babysit anymore. The car has broken down), then by definition if it’s a problem it also has a solution. You just need to figure it out what that solution is. If it has a solution you are not stuck.

2. What possible options or choices do you have? This is an interesting one as there very well may not be obvious or “good” choice as otherwise you would have taken it already. The likelihood is you are faced with several shitty choices. Sometimes that is just life. It doesn’t mean you are stuck. It just means you have some tough decision making ahead.

Probably you have the choice between Hard And Scary Choice A and Slightly Less Shit Choice B and Remain In Sucky Stuckness Choice C. They may be shitty hard choices, that will be difficult to say and action, but they are still choices. I find it really helps to list them out on paper. Get it down in black and white, it really helps you to move through the stuckness.

3. What other perspectives are there on this issue? Can someone else see a solution? Ask a good friend and confidant or a coach like me and get an objective opinion. Be open to an objective opinion and approach it with an open mind: someone else may be able to see something you are missing.

4. Powerful Destuckifying Questions: when we are mired in the mud of stuckness it’s also a really illuminating time to ask ourselves:

  • What hard thing am I actually avoiding doing?
  • What hard truth am I actually avoiding knowing?

The answers are highly likely to explain why you have unconsciously opted for “Freeze”. They will also show you the route to freedom. Your gut instinct and inner knowing will have wisdom for you here so be open to hearing it however hard it may be.

At the end of the day the truth is this: you are not stuck. Sometimes life is just tricky, but you are not stuck. Keep moving forward honey child.

Louise Thompson

Categories
Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Self Care and Self Love

7 Inspirational Quotes To Help You Through Tough Times

large_2ea0b4f47225c04dba62330221b6c76aSometimes life hits us up with a shit sandwich. Through no fault of our own we can get smacked upside the head and left reeling. I find quotes a helpful tool at a time life this, having one strong message to hang onto as I am scrambling helps me get my feet planted a little firmer, faster. It lifts me up to start dealing with what I can control and use to move forward. Here are some of my Go To quotes for various common shit-stormy situations.

Top tip before we get into them: make the quote that resonates the most highly with you your screen saver on your PC/laptop. It’s a great way to keep it top of mind and to repeatedly retrain your brain back to the positive and to what you can control. Just head into the “settings” menu and you will be able to find a way to save it as your desktop or screensaver.

Here we go:

For When Someone Is Trying To Screw You Over

“Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you are going to remember about me” – Al Capone

For When Life Is Not Turning Out As You Expected

“She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future” – Proverbs 31.25

For When Your Heart Is Broken

“Never love anybody who treats you like you are ordinary” – Oscar Wilde

For When You Hit Rock Bottom

“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I built my life” – J.K. Rowling

For When You Feel Stuck And Nothing Is Working

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new” – Socrates

For When You Are Scared Of What Might Happen

“Fear and Faith both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose” – Bob Proctor

For When You Need To Find Inner Strength and Push On Through

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim” – Nora Ephron

 

Which ones stand out for you? I’d love to hear your favourite quotes…list them in the comments section below!

Louise Thompson

Categories
Live Happy Inspiration Self Care and Self Love

The #1 Fear That Blocks You From Living Your Life’s Purpose

The #1 Fear That Blocks You From Living Your Life’s PurposeSo many different scenarios of living life of purpose, but always the same underlying reason. Do any of these ring a bell with you?

  • The middle manager who really wants to be a nutritionist but is scared it won’t work out and they can’t make money.
  • The gorgeous girl who has been unlucky in love and is reluctant to get into online dating, or, who does it but then cancels the dates at the last minute.
  • The busy mum who wants to get fit but can’t get a consistent exercise programme going.
  • The new lawyer who graduated with hard won degree but it absolutely loathing dragging themselves in to the law office each day, but slapping on a brave game face.
  • The Dad who loves his family but hates his job, yet can’t leave because he is the breadwinner.
  • The girl who wants to travel and do her OE but has no one to go with so doesn’t book it and never goes.
  • The girl who does the part time training in massage and wants to make a living out of it, but is too scared to make the leap.
  • The spouse who is desperately unhappy but can’t have the conversation to either improve or leave the marriage.

It’s so easy for us to “get by”, day after day. Not truly connected with what makes us happy and fulfilling our life’s purpose. And then the next day, and the next day after that. And before we know it years have gone by in the “it’s okay” zone, but the amount of time we feel truly connected, alive and at peace is next to nothing.

Why?

The number one reason I see people holding themselves back is a fear that on some level they won’t be “good enough”.

  • Not good enough to make a new business in the wellbeing field make enough money and be successful enough to support a good lifestyle.
  • Not good enough to trust that there is a loving and respectful partner out there who will make her soul sing. Not good enough to be loved completely and be loved in return. That that is something for other people.
  • Not good enough to put herself and the needs of her body first sometimes, that that will mean she is a not good enough mum, that she is selfish.
  • Not good enough to pack in the shiny yet unfulfilling career path and do something that the family might not approve of. Not good enough to stand up to the inevitable familial pressure.
  • Not good enough to make the break and create a career change that is bold yet pragmatic. Not good enough to make the leap.
  • Not good enough to make friends along the trail. What if people don’t like me? What if I never meet anyone?
  • Not good enough to do the non traditional thing. That’s for other people, the brave ones who are good enough. More talented. More special.
  • Not good enough to make a stand and stick to it. Not good enough to live my own and make an independent life. I’ll never make it work.

Not good enough is a universal fear. It’s also a universal lie. And believing it keeps us playing small in the world. It dashes countless hopes and dreams. It’s an all pervasive, silent assassin of living our life’s purpose.

When you look around at people who are living their life’s mission, what do you see? You see that they do feel good enough to give it a go. To back themselves. To trust that when they are honouring the messages of their soul that things will work out. That they have the courage, resilience and passion to over come any obstacle.

People that are living their life’s purpose don’t wait to feel good enough to make it happen. They know that that feeling comes from the action of leaping towards their passion.

Because – here’s the thing.

You are ALREADY good enough.

Good Enough is an impossible standard to define. When you think about it, what does it even MEAN? Define for me someone who is good enough? Hard right? We are all imperfectly imperfect. No-one, and everyone, is already good enough.

If we wait to feel good enough on some level before summoning the courage to live the life we know we are meant to live, we will be waiting a very long time. We have to take action before we feel good enough, in the knowledge that the truth is we are already more than good enough to handle whatever comes up.

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is proceeding with your soul’s calling DESPITE the fear.

You are ALREADY good enough. You can do this.

Louise Thompson

Categories
Self Care and Self Love Sick & Tired of feeling Sick & Tired

7 Unusual Tips to Get Energised When You Are Totally Exhausted

7 unusual tips to get energisedPushing through when you have little in the tank can be a fact of our busy lives. So much to do, so little time! How can you get a little extra juice to get yourself engaged when you are in that 3pm low energy slump? 5 quick tips (not the usual “drink some water blah blah blah!) to give you an instant boost right here:

  1. Have a left brain/right brain break. If you are grinding through it’s often because you are stuck in left brain mode where the focus is all on task and time. Time and task. Task and Time. Stop, just for 15 minutes and do something that energises your right brain. Your right brain is fueled by creativity, play and connection. Go chat to a colleague for 15 minutes. Watch a few funny you tube clips. Doodle.
  2. Move your body. It seems counterintuitive when you are tired to move, but it’s actually weirdly energising. Get outside for 15 minutes. Walk round the block. Do squats whilst you wait for the kettle to boil. Stretch whilst you wait for the baby to settle. Take the stairs to see the marketing department not the lift. Get your blood circulating a bit faster, the extra oxygen will energise you.
  3. It may sound obvious….but GIVE YOUR PRECIOUS SELF A REST! If that’s not possible in right now diarise it in for as soon as you can. Feeling perpetually knackered is a sign from your body that you need a bit of downtime, not that you need another double shot latte. Diarise in some rest and relaxation: that’’s not selfish, that is listening to your body. We are Human Beings, not Human Doings…we are not built to be “on” all the time. Give yourself permission to rest WITHOUT GUILT.
  4. Move your mood with music. This is my go to energiser. When I am tired and have given my all with back to back clients the fastest and easiest way to energise is to play a couple of feel good tunes (Daft Punk “Get Lucky” always does it for me) and feel the energy switch-up that’s almost instantaneous. Extra points if you do a quick bit of dancing and throw some shapes. Gold star for what I fondly call “car dancing”.
  5. Call an energy bunny. We all have people in our lives that suck our energy and some that boost our energy and mood. Check out this post on energy vampires and energy angels. Put an emergency call into an energizing friend, ban yourself from saying “I’m so tired” and have a 5 minute upbeat energizing call. Get yourself back on their wavelength and feed off their energy for a short term boost.
  6. Look at how far you have come, not how far you have to go. The To Do list can be our nemesis which is extremely draining. When we focus on all that is left undone it is a big time energy sucker. Flip your focus and itemize all that you HAVE completed today/this week. Instead of looking at the mountain left to climb, take a moment to savour the view, look back at how far you have actually come.
  7. Understand the difference between Wired Tired and Inspired Tired. We are actually built to experience tiredness and it’s not always bad. Read about and understand the difference between good tired and bad tired, that will shift your perspective in an energizing instant.

 

Feeling a bit tired now and again is all part of living a full, fun life. Feeling perpetually knackered is not. That’s miserable and life becomes a horrible grind. If you are feeling that you are experiencing regular tiredness you may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue – you can find out if that’s the case by taking the quick online quiz here – and if so help is at hand! I cover everything you need to know to recover from Adrenal Fatigue and be buzzing with energy in my book “The Busy Woman’s Guide to High Energy Happiness”: simple tips that make a huge difference. You can get your hands on a signed copy right here.

Louise Thompson

 

Categories
Self Care and Self Love

Nine Self Care Essentials to Keep You Feeling Good in Mind, Body and Spirit

Essential Self Care Tips Here are 9 tools and tricks that I use daily/weekly/ to keep me feeling good in mind, body and spirit. When I put this list together what amazed me was how simple and low cost these things are but that I only used to do one (one!) of them a few years ago. Back then I was working like a dog in corporate and got to a point of being seriously ill with Adrenal Fatigue. Go figure. I am willing to bet if I had prioritized this sort of simple stuff that I would never have got sick. Of course that speaks volumes about the difference in my state of mind!

Now I prioritise self-care. I don’t perceive it as selfish. I think it’s my responsibility to take good care of myself so that I am strong and well enough to go out and do my work in the world. Many people, women especially (and mums especially!) equate self–care with being self-ish. Know this. It’s not! You can’t take care of anyone if you are not taking care of yourself.

Agreeing with myself that self-care is a priority and my responsibility to make happen means that I can follow through on all the below WITHOUT GUILT. That’s crucial. Guilt kills self care, and self care ain’t selfish.

I hope these inspire you and would love to hear your recommendations on what you do to take care of your wellbeing. Please share in the comments session at the end. I have listed all my sources and recommendation of practitioners, gadgets etc that I recommend in case you want to integrate some of these into your self care schedule.

MIND

1.   A Diary system that support self care

I have a google calendar that syncs with my i-phone so I can diarise in self care appointments. I make them and I keep them. If I don’t schedule it, it doesn’t happen. Something “more important” will come up. Scheduling helps me avoid falling into this trap as it makes the choice very clear. Either I can do this thing that has just come up or I can do the self care I decided was an overall priority for me.

2.     Consciously creating “white space”

This is structured time when I am not taking in other people’s energy or information. Coaching and teaching are really energy intensive and I find that committing to a minimum of 15 minutes of “white space” to myself each day that I am not talking, reading, online, tv or whatever but just quiet time makes a huge difference to my mental wellbeing. It can be easy meditation, or walking, or even a long hot bath, but the key is creating an energy neutral environment to recharge for 15 minutes a day. It’s a good one to try and see how it works for you.

3.     Coaching

I self coach ALL THE TIME and a have a coach who I work with to make sure I am keeping on track and not staying stuck in negative energy or in stuck situations in my personal or business life. She’s awesome, and it keeps my mind clear and my soul settled.

BODY

1.     Eat Gluten Free

When I first found out I was gluten intolerant over a decade ago it was a massive pain in the arse. No-one had heard or it and I felt like a freak. Now it’s SO easy to eat gluten free and it keeps my body working properly. There is a huge gluten free range at I E Produce on Barry’s Point Road, but to be honest even the local Countdown does a good selection these days. There is even bread that tastes like bread which believe me is a major progression in gluten free technology. Hell, you can even get really good GF pizza from Hell Pizza and  Burger Fuel also offer a GF bun.

Our bodies are not built to metabolise the enormous volume of processed wheat that we eat these days. Even people that are not gluten intolerant can find a huge benefit to reducing the amount of gluten in their diet. It will do wonders for your energy and it’s nowhere near as hard as you think!

2.     Regular massage and physio maintenance

I kind of resisted this form of self care as I thought, huh, that’s a lot of money. It was sporadic at best and I would wait until I was really stiff or in pain to book an appointment. Once I turned the big four-oh last year I revisited this and decided that actually it was an investment in myself I wanted to make and so I have regular scheduled “body work”. A monthy massage with the very awesome Trish at Wellbeing Massage for Women (SO good, 90 minutes of bliss) and a monthly maintenance appointment with my awesome physio Rachael at Flexaclinic who keeps my back, knees and so on all working as they should as we head of any problems early.

3.     Move my body

Self care is moving my body daily. I commit to doing what the US Life Coach Brooke Castillo calls a “minimum baseline” of 15 minutes per day of SOMETHING. It can be a yoga class ( I have these diarized, Mon, Thur and Sat) it can be circuit class ( Tue and Wed) it can be a swim or a walk or some personal yoga practice. Most of the time I do more than the 15 minutes of course, but each day no matter how busy I am I make sure I find 15 minutes for my minimum baseline.  Having sat on my backside behind a desk for two decades I am now committed to moving my body regularly as part of my self-care priority. You know you can do 15 minutes, even it its walking out of the office at lunchtime to the sushi shop that’s round the block and back. Once you commit to this minimum baseline you will be amazed at how you can build in a commitment to move each day quite easily. Note it’s a commitment to “move my body” not “exercise”. One sounds a bit scary and off putting the other does not.

SOUL

1.Eating free range

This is really important to me. I was vegetarian for a number of years as per the traditional yogic diet but I found it very hard in terms of balancing my blood sugar and energy levels. A more workable solution for me is ethically sourced meat. It so readily available these days that there really is no excuse for contributing to pigs being reared in cages or other equally horrendous practices. If you haven’t been up to the Birkenhead Butcher on Mokoia Road for a while, go check it out, its changed hands and Grant the new butcher has the most amazing range of quality free range meats. I feel good about supporting a great local business and farmers who are doing the right thing morally and ethically.

2. Move Like Jagger

Do you have an i-phone? If so get the app “Shazam”. It’s free and it is AWESOME. Basically it somehow magically listens to the radio and tells you what song you are listening to and then there is a button to buy it from i-tunes. Tunes you haven’t heard for years you can just get at your fingers tips just like that. I just love it. I like to sing badly but loudly in the car and Shazam means that I always have new (or old, old new, you know what I mean) playlists. Music raises my spirit and lifts my soul almost instantly. I can get in the car in a grump and then put on Moves Like Jagger and I am on top of the world. The amount of pleasure it brings me in self-care is easily worth the twenty buck or so I spend on i-tunes in a month.

3. Date Nights

Nothing makes my soul sign like time with my husband. It’s absolutely essential for my wellbeing. No teaching on a Wednesday night so it’s date night. We take it in turns to organize it and whether its dinner or the comedy club or fish and chips on the beach with a bottle of wine it’s the highlight of my week.

Okay, that’s my nine favourite ways I take care of my mind, body and soul. Nothing on this list is a big financial commitment or takes long to implement but they all keep me feeling great. It’s my list and I am sure yours will look very different. The key is what I talked about at the beginning: the commitment to guilt free self care.

I would love to hear what you prioritise for your self-care. Share your favourites in the comments section below!

Louise Thompson

Categories
Self Care and Self Love Simplicity and Time Management

The Yogic Naughty Step … 3 steps to making time for you

The Yogic Naughty Step ... 3 steps to making time for youWhen I first got bitten by the yoga bug over a decade ago in London I had a very busy career at the Financial Times which I loved, but which (I can see now) I gave too much of my time and energy which left my life very out of balance. Something needed doing late or at the weekend? I’ll do it! No Problem. I’m your girl! I was super-committed, successful and ambitious. I also had the balance of my life waaaay out of whack and my personal life was crumbling.

When I found that first yoga class (a Beginners course very like the one I teach today) I felt such an overwhelming and unexpected sense of relief and peace. It scared me actually: I didn’t know that that feeling was it was so long since I had felt it.

I knew it was something I had to pursue. Pretty soon I was there 3 times a week, even when I moved across London I loved the teacher Simona so much I would schlep all the way from Shepherds Bush to Clapham and back for her classes and not mind one bit. It really was a revelation for me.

It was a revelation for my working hours too. I developed my own ‘naughty step’ technique for getting out of work on time no matter what. I realised that when you are running a newspaper everything is always urgent, there is always something that needs to be done. I also knew that there was now something I wanted more: to practice yoga, to learn more, to feel that feeling. So on Mondays and Thursdays I started leaving the office at 4.55pm which was unheard of for me. The stuff kept landing on my desk, people rocking round expecting me to handle things at that time just as I had for the previous 6 or 7 years. But, I still left. I chose the thing I wanted more, to get the feeling that I got at the end of class and to improve my new yoga practice.

Yes for those first four or five weeks I had some heated discussions, and yes I let some people down, and yes some other people grew their skills through some inspired delegation. But, the paper came out, the world continued to turn. And then, do you know what, the last minute requests stopped, on Monday and Thursday the Head of Production might rock over and say “now I know Thursday is your yoga night but can you look at this tomorrow morning?” or my staff would step up and say “ I’ll clear that last page boss, you get on to class”. And off I would go. And I never missed a class from then on despite having a senior job in a highly deadline oriented business. My career continued to go from strength to strength too. Probably because I was more relaxed and had more balance.

If my former workaholic self can do it: you can do it. You can be there and make that time for yourself each week. It’s a case of training the people you work with much the same way you would train a toddler what is and is not okay behavior a la Supernanny. The key is in being clear what you want, consistently voicing it and following through regardless of the reaction you get. In short it’s the Yogic Naughty Step.

1. Voice.  What is it you WANT? Be clear with yourself so you don’t get distracted in the moment by passing momentary tasks. eg. I want to feel flexible and relaxed by Easter. I want to give myself that hour and a quarter to myself each week in class. I want long term health and wellbeing. Diarise it. Commit to yourself.

2. Choice. Wait for the inevitable last minute thing that’s just so important that it has to be done RIGHT NOW to come up. Assess it calmly…be aware of the choice that you are making. Choose to be able to stand a moments discomfort as you say ‘That will have to wait until the morning, I have an appointment now’. No need to explain or apologise.

Choose a moments discomfort so you can have what you really WANT. If it’s really that important someone else will step up and do it. Really.

3. Follow Through. Go do your thing: guilt free! Do your yoga class, go for that run, have the weekly ball game with the kids. Whatever your thing is that you want.

Next week when it inevitably happens again repeat the same thing “That will have to wait until the morning, I have an appointment now”. Consistency is key.

Rinse and repeat. Before you know it you will have reclaimed that time, and the last minute requests will stop.

It’s a funny thing but once you consistently respect your time other people will too.

Louise Thompson

 

Categories
Positive Thought Strategy Reduce Stress Self Care and Self Love

Magic Words for Grown-Ups

Want to transform your work or home life with just four little words? Well, it’s easy…just Say What You Mean. Be aware of what you need, what works for you and what doesn’t and actually voice it. Say. What. You. Mean. So simple yet so many of us struggle with it and hope someone will read our mind.

It’s a key concept to master. Had I thought it through at the time it would have saved me from wasting an hour and a half of my life that will never return watching the movie ‘The Book Of Eli’ (have you seen it? Don’t. It’s truly terrible. Why Denzel, why?) and chosen something I really wanted to see. Why didn’t I do that? Because I had forgotten this simple principle that makes life a whole lot easier and more fun.

It sounds almost too simplistic to be true but so many people have issues with this concept. I know: I’ve been there myself, and I help clients with it every day. It’s very easy to get trapped in a weird kind of socially acceptable Double Think where our own needs are always at the end of the To Do list after everyone else has had their desires taken care of. If we are constantly at the end of our own To Do list we feel resentful and tired. We can also get expert in passively aggressively expressing that resentment which isn’t good for anyone.

Moving ourselves up our own To Do list can be breaking the habit of a lifetime. The main reasons I see clients avoiding doing this is because of the following misconceptions:

  1. My needs are less important than my children/spouse/boss/cat
  2. He/She should be able to know what I need/would make me happy
  3. If I say what I mean there will be conflict and it will be horrible

What this boils down to is:

  1. Completely illogically thinking that other people’s needs are more important than our own. How can that be? It makes no sense. Our needs are equally as important as any another human being.
  2. Expecting our spouse, friends and colleagues to be mind readers: which of course they are not. A sure fire recipe for disappointment.
  3. Assuming that there will be conflict if we voice our needs. Actually in reality generally other people welcome the clarity and direction.

If you could do with a little more in your life that really pleases you try working through 4 easy steps:

Say: this is key…you need to actually voice it. Yes, that’s out loud. Take responsibility for your needs and voice what’s on your mind. You don’t need to be aggressive, just calmly state what’s important to you. Stop expecting everyone else to be a mind reader.

What: be specific. How can anyone really help or support you if they don’t understand exactly what it is that will make you happy? Instead of something vague ‘ I’d like it if I could choose a movie I liked for once’ be specific ‘I’d like to choose the movie on Saturday night this week’.

You: this is often the biggest stumbling block. After so many years of putting the needs of your spouse, children or workplace before your own it can be hard to actually tune into the fact that a) you have a need/preference yourself and b) it matters. Remember: your needs are equally as important as anyone else’s.

Mean: you don’t need to be mean but you do need to mean it! Let go of the false assumption that Saying What You Mean will always lead to conflict. You will be surprised how little it does. As you get more of what you want in your life you will find that you resent less of the things that don’t go your way or that you compromise on.

So, start small…speak up with the accounts department and say when you would like the report and that you think that’s a reasonable request; choose the restaurant that you really want to go to; take turns to pick the movie; say no to the party you just really don’t want to attend. I challenge my clients to Say What They Mean once a day as they start to break the habit of constantly deferring their own needs. It’s a fascinating process…the first few times they SWYM with utter trepidation waiting for the sky to fall. Then, the sky doesn’t fall, but spooky, they actually start getting What They Asked For most of the time! They find people like to please them for a change, and before you know it they are accelerating way past the once a day challenge without prompting. Why? Because life becomes easier, more fun, less resentful, when we own what we need to make us happy. They have more energy. Their spouses are happier because they can stop the guessing game of ‘what will keep her happy’. Life becomes a whole lot easier all round.

Will you get what you want every time? Absolutely Not. (Not unless you are Paris Hilton). But sure as hell will get it a lot more that you do when you don’t Say What You Mean. Start embracing these four simple little words and the balance of life will start to shift in your favour immediately.

Louise Thompson | Life Coach, Writer, Speaker

Categories
Live Happy Inspiration Reduce Stress Self Care and Self Love Sick & Tired of feeling Sick & Tired Simplicity and Time Management

Wasted Time or Play Time?

There is a common complaint that I notice with many of my coaching clients, especially those who are tired (or suffering from Adrenal Fatigue / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) or working through Life/Work Balance issues. They have a real thing about any kind of down time being ‘wasted time’. It’s a concept that comes up again and again. And I think it’s a new and growing phenomenon that’s leading to a whole heap of stress. I must confess to being susceptible to this Cult Of Productivity myself: I notice it when I am stuck in traffic, or when the computer isn’t working as perfectly as I would like it to, or ordering something is taking longer than I thought it would. This stressful thought keeps rearing its ugly head: ‘this is such a waste of time’, usually accompanied by its good friend ‘this should be quicker/easier/more efficient’.

These thoughts lead directly to a place of stress. Bad for the head, bad for the body.

It’s occurred to me that I didn’t use to feel this way. When I was younger I didn’t put this pressure on myself for every thing to have an outcome. Just enjoying or doing something for its own sake was enough. At school and university my friends and I elevated wasting time to an art form in its own right! And those are the bits I look back on with the most fondness. The endless games of cards and pissing about (car surfing anyone?!) And yet I, and so many of my clients, seem to now feel so uncomfortable with even the most limited moments of unproductivity.  What is that about?

As the world has become increasingly immediate and increasingly measureable I think it’s encouraged us to lead our lives in the same way. An expectation that all time and every effort invested should show some sort of meaningful outcome. But, should it?

I think the stress that the concept of ‘wasted time’ generates is due to a perception that time is inherently limited. That leads to a perception that all time needs to count with an outcome. Which generates stress. Is the point of time well spent to get things accomplished, or is it to have fun and experience the maximum amount of joy? As adults in this increasingly technologically enabled, measurable and immediate world I think we have lost the ability to play. Or to see play as an important part of what makes life fun and ourselves happy.

Look at how children play. When children play its as a means to an end in itself, because they see time as unlimited and therefore no outcome is required. So how can it possibly be wasted if it’s unlimited?

I think there is a lot we can learn from that attitude. This is what I have learned around the concept of ‘wasted time’:

  1. Just because it produces some sort of outcome doesn’t mean that it’s important.
  2. Just because its quantifiable doesn’t mean I should do it
  3. If the only joy in the doing is the crossing off on the list when it’s done then I should consider not doing it or getting someone else to do it for me
  4. Some of the best most fun and memorable time in my life had no definable outcome.
  5.  Unproductive time is a fact of life. We are not built to be ON all the time.
  6. Unproductive time is thinking and daydreaming and processing time. That is productive in itself.
  7. Play and fun are important.
  8. Resting and chilling ARE an activity in their own right. The outcome is being chilled. That’s something the body requires for health. It’s really important time.
  9. Enjoyment is just as valid a goal as achievement.
  10. I need to play more.

So I am challenging myself to reconnect with play for the sake of itself: I have joined a mosaic class one morning a week. I am really enjoying it; there is something very satisfying about fitting all the tiny chards of ceramic together for no reason at all other than the simple pleasure of doing it. It’s a bit fiddly and a bit messy. I like that, and the quiet companionship of the other women in the class. Sometimes I feel guilty about all the work I ‘should’ be doing and that it’s ‘wasted time’ then I remember, I’m a life coach, I teach people about life/work balance…this is me Living It to Give It and I relax and focus on the little fiddly tiles again and the couple of hours simply flies by! It’s been good for the mind and the soul.

If you find yourself running mental loops about wasting time it’s my bet that you could do with reintroducing a bit of play to your life too. Try using the time stuck at the grocery checkout and in traffic to daydream about your next holiday or the best one you ever had. It won’t wake the queue go faster but it will make it a more pleasant and positive experience. Think back to something you loved to do as a child to play (baking, playing footie, making things, etc) and try and introduce a related aspect of PLAY into your week with no aspect of outcome attached. Play for it’s own sake, and see that if we are in the moment and enjoying ourselves then no time is ever really wasted.

Louise Thompson | Life Coach, Writer, Speaker

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