Category Archives: Counselling

When ‘just breathe’ doesn’t cut it!

‘Just Breathe…’

an inhale and an exhale, take this moment to feel that breath and connect with the present moment that is…

Emotional fatique

 

You know those days or moments when ‘just breathe’ doesn’t do anything, it actually doesn’t cut it, you feel somewhat worse, more irritable and the situation feels at a complete loss.  Your whole sense of being detaches from where you really want to be, logically you know you are to ride it and notice the process, but something else is saying..run, hide, escape, give up!

Guess what, you are not alone. Those moments are real, and it could be a number of reasons why, you know yourself better than anyone but if you don’t recognise what it is how do you make it better?

It could be learning a lesson, adapting to change, resistance to something or it could be that a tank is empty and it needs to be filled….Have you acknowledged those times when you’re empty, you have given to everyone else around you, and left nothing for yourself.  That irritability, the lesson, resistance, tiredness wanting to run and hide is your mind and body saying ‘Hey, you are empty, you need to stop, reset and refuel’

Lately, I was there, I wrote a facebook post about it, admitting and recognising that I was tired, emotionally – not physically.  My head was full but unclear. I wanted to do things but then would stare at the screen unable to think about what to write.  My to do list was whirling around in my head and I knew that a lot of it wasn’t going to happen, that didn’t sit well with me.  I had been cruising nicely and ticking things off, life was content, pleasant and also challenging to maintain the smooth running of family! So over time by filling everyone else up I had neglected myself.

I needed to listen to my sudden sense of emotional tiredness, and stop, reset, refuelAwareness was the key for me, I listened to my mind and body and quickly decided to make appropriate shifts that enabled me to start filling my own emotional tank.  Yes, one of my initial tools was ‘just breathe’, but at that stage it didn’t cut it, it didn’t feel good, there was discomfort in telling myself to ‘just breathe’.  At this point, I should mention, I am a mindfulness facilitator – so the breath is pretty important in what I teach others, and to be in a place where what I pass on to others wasn’t working for me, it got me thinking about what those words can do or mean in any given moment.

So, what did I do to ease the emotional fatigue and get out of the run, hide, escape, give up mode. I stopped and took that breath, noticed the discomfort of it and realised that I needed to listen to my body. There were 6 things that I did to build on the stop, reset, refuel…..

1. Positive regard – a ‘yay me’, high 5, pat on the back.  Awareness, whether it be pleasant or unpleasant is a great thing, so praise yourself for that.

2. Protect the emotion – knowing that the tank is empty or nearly empty, you need to protect what’s left in a loving way. Look at your day and keep it as ’emotionally’ free as possible. Try not to get into deep and meaningfuls, or make that phone call that could exert the energy you don’t have.

3. Try something new or different that promotes self-care. Something that helps with the reset and offers sense of inner calm.  It could be music, reading, colouring, sitting and looking out, cooking – anything that doesn’t exert too much emotional energy and takes you away from the ‘tired’ feeling.

4. Sense of achievement – You still want to feel as though you have achieved something in a day, no matter how mundane that could be (for me it was loads of washing, I know how to do it, it got me moving and I didn’t use my ’emotional energy’, I still achieved and got something done that was also helping the family).

5. Home sanctuary – a massage, day spa treatment may not be possible (it wasn’t for me) so create your own sanctuary at home for a period of time.  Soothing, relaxing music in the background or no background sounds at all, let the natural sounds be what you tune in and out of.

6. Connect – this can be the one that makes the difference. Say yes to a friend who is suggesting a catch up. You don’t have to talk about your emotional drain. (I was fortunate that a before school pick up coffee was planned).

I am not going to make it sound as though by doing those things my emotional tank was filled, it wasn’t, and there were kids coming home from school, who were going to need my attention and therefore me emotionally. I had topped up my tank and being aware of that, was gentle on myself and how I interacted with my children when they got home.

The lesson for me was ‘just breathe’ didn’t cut it at first, but by recognising that made me aware that I was being told to stop (which meant breathe), reset (take action and start refilling the tank), re-fuel (know what works to refuel the tank).  Going through the 6 steps enabled me to get back to a point where my to do list was no longer whirling around in my head, it was a list that was doable, achievable and I didn’t want to run, hide, escape or give up.

I wanted to just be, and as a preventative measure since that day… I am playing more soothing music and checking in on my ’emotional tank’ more regularly to make sure it doesn’t get to empty again.

Look after yourself and remember that as humans, we all have times of tired – be aware and stop, reset and refuel.

Yours mindfully

Eryka

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An unexpectant beginning…

Tranquil If you allow yourself to be open minded you may begin to hear the teaching and learn from it….

I ensure that my clients know about self -care and are able to refuel themselves with the elements that make them feel good, refreshed, confident to be able to continue on with their day/week/month/year.  Self-care can incorporate something you do daily, weekly, monthly, but it needs to offer you what you need.  Most of us can feel when we need that top up, and it is rarely filled by others.  Self-care is just that ‘self’  anything you receive from others is a bonus and a nice addition to your own refuelling.

I had recognised that my self-care needs were needing a top up. My exercise which is my main contributor to self-care was not fulfilling all that was required.  My body was giving me feedback on being physically tired, drained and focus was being lost.  When a yoga retreat was mentioned to me by a friend, I asked a question of cost and when I heard how reasonable it was I immediately said yes.  This was the added self-care component I was requiring.

Yoga        Time out from my surroundings, from my ‘norm’, forced to really cocoon myself into me and be open minded to what yoga could offer.  I have dabbled in yoga over the years, but have always been drawn to gym and pilates for the cardio burst of fitness and strengthening. I can now say that I was recharged, refuelled and have a new appreciation for yoga.  I was physically challenged and more so mentally.  There were moments during the 1.5hr yoga sessions (which there were 3 of over the retreat) that my mind was questioning ‘how long is there to go?’ ‘When will this finish?”. I heard myself, acknowledged the slight resistance to the yoga and responded with ‘I have nowhere else to be at this time’, and with a breath and refocus on the yoga pose the resistance to the session ending, ceased.  I was able to be content with where I was and how I was feeling.  The resistance was also to do with the physical challenge, it hurt at times and when I feel pain I tend to give up.  As I went with the intent of being open minded I worked through the physical pain and used the power of the breath to get through (it also helped listening to the soothing voice of Elisa our teacher).

With little to no expectations of the weekend, except that it was time away, I was able to really be at all times. My mindfulness practice heightened as I was able to take moment by moment in and slow all senses, allowing that recharge to happen.  So for me I had an unexpectant beginning, I wasn’t searching for anything yet I found.  I wasn’t seeking clarity yet I received it.  I was able to stay open minded to the weekend with no judgement, no expectations, and received teachings that I can now move on with in way of learning.

I do have my reality check on, and I know that life isn’t all yoga retreats, as I came home and unpacked my bags and started the chores of washing.  Yet I had a smile on my face, knowing that I listened to myself that month or so ago and heard that the self-care element needed something more than my usual gym/pilates.  I offered it the yoga retreat to which I have been taught, I have learnt and have therefore grown.  I missed my family in that time, but I also know they have a better me, and that is because I refuelled, recharged and took charge of my self-care.

DolphinsIf you can take time to listen to yourself, that little voice that can sometimes be ignored and recognise when you need to introduce something more or different, please do so.  It may be going to a yoga class, a walk, reading a book, sitting with a magazine, a night away….whatever it is that you can offer yourself go now and write it down or book it in.  Your body and mind will thank you for it, but most of all you will thank yourself for it.  Self-care isn’t about waiting on someone else to do something for you…it’s you doing something for you.

May you be well and happy.

Elisa Payne is from Om-Buddhi Yoga and offers weekly classes, workshops and retreats throughout the year.

Eryka is a counsellor and mindfulness facilitator working with individuals and couples.

 

 

Mindful Moments

MindfulMoments

Daily reminders of being mindful

 

Last year an idea came to me about sharing Mindful Moments.  Moments where we are fully aware of the present, being in the now – truly living it.  It has taken some time for it to come to fruition, in that I have sat on it for almost a year.  Without questioning too much as to why start it now, I am a believer that things happen for a reason, last year it wasn’t the right time.  Now, is the perfect time for me, as the daily mindful moments is also a therapeutic tool for me.  I am putting to practice what I counsel and facilitate.

As a counsellor, I offer strategies, tasks, ‘homework’ to my clients and I am aware of how difficult it can be to introduce a new thing, change a habit, or try something different to create new.  It takes discipline and effort.  Mindfulness in theory is easy, as it is about being present, living in the moment each moment, having awareness, observing without judgement.  Yet, when put into practice that effort and discipline is vital, and we realise that focussing on one thing without the mind wandering is abit more difficult than first thought.

One of my aims (besides setting myself the activity for self care) is to help others further understand and integrate mindfulness into their day. To notice by reading my mindful moments, it doesn’t have to be a 20minute meditation, it really can start with being aware of your self, physically, emotionally, socially. Mindfulness allows us to become more intune with our bodies, therefore having more control of how we feel and how we want to feel.

Each day, I will post my Mindful Moment on the Looking Forward Mindfully Facebook page and encourage you to share yours as well.  I hope you embrace your moments and start to notice them as they are happening.  Before you realise you will be utilising mindfulness a lot more than one moment.  Last week I observed and noticed that within myself there were some unpleasantness (in thoughts, feelings, mind states) , I listened to it without judgement and took charge of how I wanted to be feeling.  As I write this and have posted Day 3 Mindful moment, I am observing and noticing far more pleasant…..Why?  I put effort and discipline into being mindful.

Take care

Eryka

Sometimes being negative is a positive thing…

positivethinking

Today I read an article by comedian Kitty Flanagan in The Sunday Age (Metro pg 36).  The third paragraph reads ‘There is so much focus these days on being positive. I am not against being positive, but I’m not against being negative, either. Sometimes being negative is a positive thing’.

As a mindfulness facilitator and counsellor I see many clients who aren’t ‘happy’, find it difficult to see the positive in their life, worry about what may happen and focus on the negative.  For them it is real, it is their world that they currently can’t see any differently.  What I help them to see is the negativity, unhappiness or worry has got them thinking about change, that is a positive.

Is being positive all the time a realistic way to be?  It is certainly a helpful way to be, but how realistic is it to be positive all the time.  The reality is we feel both positive and negative at times, and respond accordingly.  Over the last 12 months I have observed and become more aware of the saturation of ‘positivity’ posts on Facebook and wonder whether the expectation is greater to always be positive. A negative connotation with anything then is shunned and must be overridden with positivity immediately.  I can also understand the power of negativity and that it can stop us in our tracks, but I’m not convinced that ignoring it by saturated positivity is the answer.

As mentioned, having a positive outlook is a helpful and pleasant way to be and feel, but we can’t ignore the negativity when it’s there, we can acknowledge it as unhelpful or unpleasant, but acknowledge it all the same.  One of the many things I have learned by studying Mindfulness is ‘it is what it is’. Merely observing and noticing what is happening in our feelings, thoughts and mindset – not attaching to them so it can be what it is.  We tend to push away and resist the negative and want to savour and keep the positive.  Change is inevitable, every moment is different, there is always change, nothing says the same – so to be positive all the time, isn’t realistic.

When reading the third paragraph –  ‘there is so much focus these days on being positive’, I smiled to myself in agreement and now wonder how many others read that and thought the same.  It highlighted the wonderment of mindfulness for me and how beneficial it is to practice and be in the moment and that positivity plays a role not the only role.

 

Yours in good health and positivity with a little sprinkle of reality

Eryka

Counsellor and facilitator

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