Mindfulness

Now this has been knocking around for ages and comes and goes out of fashion. I guess the term mindfulness and the fact that so many people have talked about it, has made it slightly confusing and complex. I’m here to tell you it really isn’t. Again, this is a super simple but hugely important practice to get into.

For me, mindfulness is basically being fully and completely present in the moment. It has taken a lot of practice on my part and I know I’m not fully there yet. However, I do find this helps me take time out, sort of like a little holiday, a rest for my mind in everyday life.

You can be doing anything at all and the example I like to use is driving (sorry for those of you who don’t drive!), although this can be applied to anything at all. When we drive, how much is in our consciousness? Have you ever driven somewhere and thought, “How did I get here?”. That feeling of not remembering is because you are doing things unconsciously; you are so skilled at it, you don’t even have to think about it! Does that make sense?

Being fully and completely present means you are conscious about EVERYTHING.
As I am typing this, I can use all my senses to be present;
my eyes taking in the screen,
my ears hearing the whirring of my computer fan, the birds singing outside, my breathing
my fingers touching the keys, the movement of my fingers, the chair hugging my body, the desk under my arms
my nose smelling the jasmine incense, the rain outside, my perfume
and delving deeper, my heart feeling expansive, feeling at peace

I’m not thinking about what has happened before or what will happen after this moment. I am simply and fully in this moment.

Being present will help keep you calm, will relax you, will give you a little breather in your busy life.
It will help you become more aware of what is around you and your connection with your surroundings.
It will help you notice more of what you have, of how you are.
In this moment, you are fully conscious, you are awake to all you have and all you are.
It helps put things into perspective and gives clarity and focus.

You can choose how long you want to be mindful, sometimes 5 minutes is enough to give a nice little recharge if you need it.

Self Compasssion

From a young age we are taught to think of others and to be kind. Has anyone ever taught you to do this for yourself? I bet you that you are the kind of person who puts everyone else’s needs above yours, that you are so kind and caring everyone comes to you for help. I bet you encourage those around you and build them up when they are down.

In the same breath though, I bet you don’t do any of these things for yourself, do you? I bet you are pretty hard on yourself and you are always telling yourself off, right? Your self talk is very negative and you put yourself in your place;

“I should know better!!!”
“I am so pathetic”
“I’m such a looser”
“[add what you say to yourself]”

Why on earth do we do this to ourselves? Why do we think everyone else is more worthy, more able, more capable, better, wiser, MORE.

Well, this stops today!!!! From when you read this email, you will change things because my dear friend, you are worthy, capable, better, wiser and ENOUGH.

Trust me, I know 😀

So where does self compassion come in?

The easiest way I describe it for it to really work is to imagine your best friend or child or person you love and give so much to is going through what you are.

What would you say to them?
How would you help them?
How would you be with them?
Talk to them?

Act towards yourself as you would towards them.
Talk to yourself as lovingly and caringly as you would talk to them.
Be with yourself as you would be with them.
Use positive and encouraging words to yourself as you would them.

Does that make sense?

It really is that simple.

By doing this, you will start to learn to accept yourself and if you don’t, in time you will start to like yourself.
You will build your self worth and grow in self esteem and confidence.
You will not feel lonely because your best friend is right there within you.
You will always feel loved.
You will be comforted.
You will always feel like you belong.

Now that sounds like a step towards happiness, don’t you think?

Love Your Body

downloadFirst few paragraphs of my 7 steps to Start Loving Your Body, free for you!

“I personally feel a lot of our body issues are projections of things going on in our minds. Because maybe we cannot understand or accept them, we project them onto our physical being to gain some control.

There is no magic cure on how to love your body but what I am offering you here, with these 7 steps, is the chance to change your mindset, to see things in a different light and to explore yourself and hear what the real YOU wants.

I know it’s not easy when life gets in the way or you find that you haven’t got the time, or sometimes you simply haven’t got the emotional energy to do any more.

But what is the alternative?

To continue to feel rotten when you can’t find anything to wear? Not looking people in the eye when you walk past them worrying that they’ll notice that one thing you are really worried about? Or maybe you don’t even go out anymore because the effort to cover up all those things that are wrong with you is just too much? Or you simply cry yourself to sleep every night because you just hate your body? Maybe you feel you don’t actually deserve to love your body or you don’t feel you deserve to love yourself?

This is your life and if you need permission to allow yourself to do this, then I give it to you. There comes a time when enough is enough, to stop the emotional roller coaster you are on and take a break. So make some regular time for yourself and tackle these 7 steps to finding your body confidence.

You have been given one life and you are in control of it. You and only you can decide which direction to take, even if that means a whole new path in life. You know what? You are worth it and you deserve it 😀

It is scary trying to do new things, but I promise you these exercises are not scary and are so simple to follow. You just have to allow yourself the time and space to go through the process, hear your inner voice and be honest with your answers. You will be able to learn so much about yourself, things you have forgotten and things you haven’t realised yet.

This is a safe, secure space where no one will judge you and you can finally be the YOU that you want to be.

Doesn’t that sound good? Are you ready for the first step?

Take my hand and let us begin…

First step, download your 7 steps to Start Loving Your Body copy and let me know how you get on!

Your 5 a Day for Good Mental Health

Watching TV where there is a policeman dealing with a lady in mental health crisis. He kept saying, “We are not trained in mental health”
“I don’t know how to deal with mental health”.

Small thing, but we ALL have mental health, just as we have physical health!! And just like physical health, we can have good and bad mental health.

We know a lot about physical health; what to eat, how to look after ourselves and we do things everyday to keep our physical health good like brushing our teeth.

We don’t do this for our mental health though, do we? We don’t do something every day to keep our mental health good…until now!

I want to change this and I want us to start looking after our mental health. The way I see it, if we had a lump; we’d be straight at the doctors. We wouldn’t wait until it was stage 4 cancer, would we?

So why do we do this with our mental health? We wait until we are at crisis point before we seek help. This does not have to happen and we can start by simply getting into good daily practices.

I have put together a checklist, Your 5 a Day checklist for Good Mental Health. Please do download it and let me know how you get on x

Why dependency is not a bad thing

There is so much information out there about how it’s bad to rely on anything to get by in life. Alcohol, drugs, sugar, fat…it’s all bad for us and our health.

But when you go out in society, junk food is advertised everywhere, there is sugar in most foods you buy, there is a culture where drinking is acceptable and encouraged and drugs, doctors prescribe every chance they get and we’ve become a species of pill poppers.

Is it all bad – Really?

Talking to some people who have recovered from addiction, the main theme seems to be that being dependent on something actually helped them deal with the traumas experienced in life. The addiction helped them to live a ‘normal’ life. Normal being that no one could tell they had experienced trauma.

I think we all have a dependency on something to help us get by in life and who are we to say to someone if it’s good or bad? We all have different experiences and deal with them in our own ways. Beating ourselves up and judging an addiction does not help.

Offering unconditional positive regard, not judging and actually caring can help us realise there is a dependency in the first place. We can then look at why that dependency is needed; what is it helping us to cope with? Then and only then can someone start moving on from the dependency, replacing it with more fulfilling and satisfying things.

From my experiences working with clients, dependency is like a crutch needed to walk after a broken leg. We can’t just take the crutch away and expect someone to walk. The leg needs to be pinned first, put in a cast, heal, gain strength and THEN the crutch can be taken away.

So the next time you see someone who is relying on something to get them through their day, I hope you will also begin to see the unseen within them and be more understanding and compassionate.

Basic Health Info

1S4C3846Good health makes an active and enjoyable life possible as well as achieving what you want in life.

The World Health Authority defines health as:

“ a state of complete physical, mental, emotional and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”

Physical health is the one we all know about; Good physical health can be achieved from exercise and eating well and the signs can be healthy skin, sleeping well, able to exercise, maintaining a healthy weight

Mental health is now becoming more into our awareness. Good mental health is a state of positive psychological well being where individuals are able to use their cognitive capabilities, function in society and cope with everyday life demands.

Signs of good mental health are optimism, self esteem, life purpose, belonging, feeling in control and feeling supported. Sometimes aspects of our lives can have effects on our thoughts and feelings, leading us to experience difficulties and problems which can affect your mental wellbeing such as bereavement, money worries, relationship problems and stress.

Note:  Mental illness:  refers to a diagnosable condition that significantly interferes with an individual’s cognitive, emotional or social abilities e.g. depression, anxiety, schizophrenia.

Emotional health is the ability to express all emotions appropriately, and to maintain a balance of positive and negative emotions. Signs of good emotional health are being able to keep things in perspective, connecting with others, self confidence,  aware of and can manage emotions, being content, able to make good choices…etc

Having good emotional health doesn’t mean you’ll never feel bad. It means being able to recover from the downs and find your emotional balance. Life can be challenging and we may get upset .  We have our ups and downs…but by being resilient we can find ways to cope with, and overcome those challenges is good for our  emotional well being.

Getting to know yourself and how you feel will help you notice the warning signs when you’re not well, such as feeling out of energy, tired, tearful, restless and agitated, anxious, not wanting to talk or be with people, not wanting to do things you usually enjoy, eating, drinking or sleeping more or less than usual.

Absolute warning signs that show you need to get some support are things like; using substances to help you cope with feelings, finding it hard to cope in your day to day life, not liking or taking care of yourself, feeling like you don’t matter – any of these warning signs, it is time to seek support.

You can get support in many different ways; talking to someone you trust can help like a counsellor, support worker, doctor, friend, family or Samaritans.

 

New Mum Guide

2

Hello New Mum!

Firstly, congratulations on your new baby! Being a mum of two, I remember how amazed I was at being part of such a wonderful miracle and being blessed with a baby (then another).

There were other emotions too, a huge mix of emotions which I did find overwhelming. With my son, I experienced one of the worst depressive phases in my life which meant his formative years were a blank in my mind, missing out on precious memories like his first steps.

Everyone expects a new mum to be happy, and there is an element of that, of course, but what if we experience other emotions?

Fear – what if we are not good mothers?
Anxiety – what if I can’t look after my new baby?
Frustration – can’t people see I’m trying to cope with a new baby? or I don’t know what to do!?!

As well as being a mum, I am also a qualified counsellor and I have had the opportunity to work specifically with New Mums with postnatal depression (and other mental health issues) across Wychavon District in the UK.

After a year, my role ended and now I have set up on my own, I want to continue this valuable work and as a first step, this guide was born.

I noticed a few patterns emerging from all the New Mums I worked with and saw what simple practices they did that helped them cope better and actually start enjoying this time of transition and their new baby.

The way I work is to try and simplify things and work on your inner core or inner self, helping you find your own answers.  I have broken things down into 5 steps and I would recommend you work through each step as they build on each other.

I really hope this guide will help you be more confident in yourself, not only as a mother but as a person too.

Are you ready? Let’s jump in 😀

Sign up to get your New Mum guide

New Mum Wellbeing Support Package

5Are you going to be a new mum or have recently become a mum?
Do you know someone who has just entered parenthood?

Becoming a mother is one of the biggest changes to your identity you might experience in your life time and with big changes comes complex and conflicting emotions.

I have wanted this baby for years and I am so grateful to have her but why am I so unhappy?
I feel lost and don’t know who I am anymore
I feel so lonely being at home after working full time even though I have baby, I miss my colleagues
I have everything I’ve ever wanted but I feel as low as a dog’s belly
I am scared I will not bond with baby
I feel judged that I am not a good mother

Do any of these resonate with you? Have you got your own words to add to the list?
I have worked with many, many new parents helping them through the transition into parenthood, accepting and owning their new identity and new way of life. I work in a person centred way which means you are the expert in your life and I am just here to support you to find the answers that are within you but currently out of reach.
I am a qualified counsellor, part of a professional body (BACP) and am fully insured but most importantly, I am a mum of two.

I had very bad postnatal depression which meant that I struggled terribly through the baby days and used photography to help me heal from this difficult time. Today I am offering you the support I wished I had received when my kids were little. Let me help you enjoy this precious time and help you learn to be your authentic self.

New Mum Support package is £200 for 6 sessions, either in person or online.

Email Jessy@paston.biz for more information.

*discounts available, please contact for more details*

Understanding growth

“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed.

It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before.

Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant. But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening.

Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”


— Alice Walker, Living By The Word

Words from Cassi Clerget

“You are enough. You are lovely and gorgeous and wonderful. You are beautiful.

You will never be perfect, but you will always be worthy.

And there is freedom in that.

Because if you don’t have to be perfect, then you only have to be yourself. And that, my dear, is a beautiful thing.

There is no other like you. You are absolutely one of a kind. The world is brighter and better because you are in it.

So never, ever look at yourself and believe you are anything less than the amazing creation you are.

Accept who you are and revel in it. Look in the mirror and know, without a doubt, that you are so worth loving.”

~ Cassi Clerget

Reality of the media

I know many of you hate the Dove ads but this video is one of my favorites.

It shows how images are altered for the advertising industry, so remember, question the images you see around you; are they REAL representations of people or have the people been ‘improved’ for a ‘standard’ of beauty.
PS. You are amazing just as you are – NO photoshop needed here!!! <3
Would love to hear your emotional reactions to this video, please post comments below or send me a message x
http://www.dove.com/uk/stories/campaigns/evolution.html

Honour the seasons your soul is in

The theme of seasons is really resonating with lots of people at the moment.
Nature is such a fantastic teacher and we see how trees get ready to sleep in the autumn ready for winter, bloom in the spring and are at their full glory in summer.
So why as humans do we fight the seasons we go through?
We have periods of winding down, sleep, bloom and reach our full glory.
If we acknowledge the season we are in, we can prepare and protect ourselves from it
For example in the winter we wear extra clothing to keep us warm, so if we are going through a hard time, we might need extra compassion and support.
Does that make sense?
Honour the season your soul is in <3

4-seasons-1-tree

YOU are good enough

We are made up of our experiences and we look to others to reflect how and who we are.
Saying that though, what if those around us are clouded by their judgement and perceptions of others?
What they say can not be seen as a reflection of us, surely?
We would not let someone take the wheel of the car when we are driving so why do we seek others’ approval to determine our worth and our identity?
You are good enough just as you are <3to live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.