This week I spoke with Aine Toner, editor of Woman’s Way. Aine has been editor of Woman’s Way for seven and a half years and there are another six people on her team. Aine has a very busy job, ensuring that the weekly issue of Woman’s Way is on shop shelves around the country every Tuesday. I’m really grateful to Aine for taking the time to chat to me about how she manages stress in such a busy job.
One of the things that came across immensely while taking to Aine was the sheer passion for what she does. She loves the daily task of getting the work done to meet the 5pm deadline every Thursday. Seventy percent of the content for Woman’s Way is new every week, while the other 30% is structured and is guaranteed to be there, for example, horoscopes. She’s passionate about publishing a quality magazine every week. She loves hearing feedback from women that they look forward to their hour to read Woman’s Way when the kid’s are in bed.
To manage time, and to meet the weekly deadline, Aine is super organised. She has a to-do list every day and enjoys ticking items off the list as they’re done. One of the strengths that has helped Aine in her role is her experience. She doesn’t get stressed out like she used to. Another strength is that she cares about the work she does, and the people she’s working with.
The most inspirational book that Aine has read is The Gratitude Diaries [by Janice Kaplan]. Reading is a way for Aine to manage stress. She reads three books a week and also does a little bit of writing, for herself. She also manages stress with walks, and with an hour of Tai Chi every week. The same passion that Aine used to talk about her work came through when she was talking about Tai Chi. This is her hour to switch off, forget about work and be completely present.
Finally, the main stress management strategy that Aine uses is talk to people. It came up in different ways during the interview. When you are having a bad day, just let people know. It’s ok, it happens, and usually it just lasts a day. If something is going on, don’t be afraid to talk to peope.
Over the last couple of weeks, I've read many articles about how successful people start the day. They all have common threads, including an early start, exercise and meditation, and a good breakfast. While many get up at 4:30am to start their day, I have decided to start with getting up at 6am. This is my second week of implementing this and it's interesting to notice the resistence to it this week.
Last week, I was full of enthusiasm on Monday and Tuesday, getting up, practicing 30 minutes of yoga, plus meditation, plus journaling. Then just meditation on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I had my days planned, I knew what I was doing from minute to minute and I got a lot done. I was exhausted on Saturday and actually fell asleep on the couch for a couple of hours, something I rarely do.
This week, the enthusiasm has waned a lot. I admit, it's only Tuesday. However, I'm tired. It's harder to get up at 6am when the alarm goes and it's takes me 30 minutes of lying awake to pull myself up out of bed. I manage 5 minutes of yoga and a 13 minute flowdream (by Summer McStravick, www.flowdreaming.com). I'm set to sit at my desk at 8am to write my first blog of the day, and start working.
This week is challenging. I also know that by sticking with my new daily routine, that by next week, I will feel great getting up in the morning. The yoga routine will stretch to 10 minutes. My energy levels will increase. As a holistic therapist, I'm very aware of a process called a healing crisis. A healing crisis is basically feeling like crap after getting a treatment, having a yoga session, or simply refocusing how I manage time to become more effective.
Sticking with this new practice takes patience and perserverence. It takes grit. Why am I sticking with it? Because I know that my life will change for the better, and the things I'm focusing on will start to grow. All because I'm managing my time, and my energy, so that my life will go the direction it will go.
Grit is the stubborn refusal to quit - Jonah Lehrer
Have you got grit?
On Friday evening, I had an interesting chat with a wonderful flower essence practitioner. She was looking for the confidence to take the steps to bring her flower essences to a market. Creating flower essences requires the practitioner to be in a very open and intuitive energy. She was looking for the right energy to find the path to bring the essences to a market. I asked her why couldn't she use her beautiful open and intuitive energy to bring her essences to market.
I came out with a wonderful line when I was talking to her...confidence comes from hindsight. Confidence usually comes after we've done something we thought we couldn't do. When we're about to do something new, courage is the thing we need, rather than confidence. Courage enables us to trust ourselves, trust our intuition and take and steps we're guided to take so we can achieve our wonderful dreams.
How many times have you done something you never thought you could do? When you look at it now, you wonder how you could ever have believed that? It could be something like passing an exam, learning to drive a car, learning yoga, learning how to do a new job, or learning how to be in any kind of relationship. Gaining confidence in something involves learning something new. To take those first steps in learning something new, we need to have courage.
You have fantastic wonderful skills that the world needs! Have courage, shine your light, and in time, confidence will come.
Today I had a wonderful chat about stress management and self-care with Silvia Heinrich, owner of the Luminos Institue in Gorey, Co. Waterford. Silvia runs a sustainable health care clinic and offeres therapies and training. The therapies Silvia offeres include clinical hypnosis, bio-energy, kinesiology and Hidden Mind.
It's very clear when chatting to Silvia that she LOVES the work she does! When I asked her what she loves about her wor, Silvia loves being able to make a difference to other people. By making a difference to others, she also makes a difference to herself. She loves the clarity and understanding that comes from practicing her therapies. Silvia came out with a lovely metaphor...you can't be a good gardener without continuing to garden. Working with the therapies on an on-going basis, help Silvia to grow personally, as well as helping others. Silvia also lovees the freedom and liberty that the therapies give her.
One of the challenges Silvia has is time management, and is always looking for ways to improve it. To manage stress and pressure, Silvia enjoys gardening, gets regular therapies herself, does a self-hypnosis every nights, stays in touch with close friends, enjoys crafting, visits her ponies twice a day, and also, interestingly participates in historical re-enactments!
Silvia likes engaged stillness to help herself manage stress, it's seldom a case of complete inactivity. This engaged stillness includes self-hynosis, Tai-Chi, Qi-gong or seimply gardening or petting her ponies. She says it's seldom a case of complete inactivity. When it comes to choosing a favourite stress management strategy, Silvia chooses what suits her on the day. She goes with the flow.
When I asked Silvia what keeps her going through tough times, her reply was she is stubborn but flexible. She bides her time until she can change things around.
Silvia's top tip for our readers for minding their mental health is...do not isolate yourself.
Check out Silvia's Luminos Insitute Facebook page and Website:
Silvia's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Silvia-Henrich-Luminos-Institute-1707976139427940/timeline
Silvia's Website: http://luminos.ie/
Worthiness. It's such an interesting word. Ten letters that bring up such deep emotion. It's easier to attract the dreams and goals you have when you feel worthy. Unworthiness is like a repellant to dreams and goals. Feelings of unworthiness came up for me this morning when I was thinking about yoga.
This month, I started training as a Kundalini yoga teacher. However, the last 4 weeks have also been the quietest in my business all year and I'm not sure how I'll be able to continue paying for the yoga course. What's interesting is that today I learned I have a belief that being unable to pay makes me unworthy of practicing yoga, even at home, for free!!
My first thought when I realised that block was "That's ridiculous". But unhelpful thought processes are rarely logical. So I started thinking about feeling unworthy. Where did those feelings come from? Why do I hold onto them? What else am I stopping myself from doing because I believe I'm unworthy?
When I'm unclear on what a word means, I head straight to a dictionary. So worthiness is defined as 1. having adequate or great merit, character, or value: a worthy successor. 2. of commendable excellence or merit; deserving.
Unworthiness, on the other hand, is defined as: 1. not worthy; lacking worth or excellence. 2. beneath the dignity (usually followed by of): behavior unworthy of a king. 3. of a kind not worthy (often followed by of). 4. not of adequate merit or character. 5. not commendable or creditable. 6. not deserving.
How interesting, we have more words to describe unworthiness that worthiness!! No wonder it's so much easier to relate to unworthiness!!
In Aromatic Kinesiology, by Robbi Zeck, the essential oil Pine helps people shift feelings of inadequacy to worthiness. So today, I'll be using pine in an oil burner, allowing the wonderful scent to help let go of inadequacy and increase my feelings of worthiness.
Remember, you are so worthy...you have wonderful skills that the world needs you to use! Sometimes, the first skill is honesty...being honest with yourself that you are worthy!!
"Flow is a name for a powerful energy that not only permeates all things but is all things; it refers to the deeper essence of everything around us." - Summer McStravick
In 2015, I was drawn to the work of Summer McStravick, a woman who creates Flowdreams. Flowdreams are like meditation, in the sense that you get into a relaxed frame of body and mind. However, unlike meditation, it involves actively engaging the nervous system, to really increase your positive feelings of what you want to attract.
For example, while my business goes through the process of a change of direction, funds are getting a little tight!! So last night, and this morning, I listened to the Flowdream, "More Money Monthly". This Flowdream moves me up the Emotional Scale from fear and worry to hope and a belief that I can do this. It helps me get into my Flow. That place where I work with my intuition to take the steps that I need to take, so I gain financial security doing helping others by doing what I love.
When I'm working from my Flow, fear dissapates. I become more confident, and I start doing things I never would have dreamed of, for example, contacting people to interview for my blog. Two months ago, I would have been too terrified to do that. My thought process would have been, "Who am I do interview people?". Since working with my Flow, I trust the steps I'm being guided to take and it pays off. In the last two days I contacted twenty-two people asking them for an interview to see how they manage stress. Eight of them have said they would love to do it!
Such a positive result tells me I'm on the right path, I'm in my Flow, and it is just the most amazing feeling in the world!
Have you ever sat down, in silence for a minute, and listened to yourself? Does that seem like a really strange question? I don't mean listening to the mental chatter of the coulda, shoulda, woulda lists and worries that go around our heads. I am talking about a deeper listening. A listening to the messages from your body. What are your aches and pains really telling you? What is your gut instinct really telling you? Is your body shouting really loudly at you with a message but you're not listening?
Louise Hay says: "The body is always talking to you. What do you do when you get a message from your body, such as a little ache or pain? Usually, you run to the medicine cabinet or the drugstore and take a pill. In effect you say to the body, “Shut up! I don’t want to hear you. Don’t talk to me!” That is not loving the body. When you get the first ache or pain or the slightest thing seems to go wrong, sit down, close your eyes, and very quietly ask yourself, “What is it I need to know?” Listen a few minutes for the answer. It may be as simple as “Get some sleep.” Or it may be stronger."*
Take a couple of minutes today to listen to your body. Ask it for messages. Work with your body and it will help you achieve anyything you want.
It's hard to believe it's a decade since I did a Certificate in Counselling Skills. Back then, I was sure I wanted to eventually train as a counsellor. While that dream has since faded, that course has stood me in good stead ever since.
Tomorrow, I'm going to do a short little training slot with a group of business people on how to listen, so people that people talk. It'll only be 5 minutes long, but the exercise I learned in 2006 is that powerful, I don't need any longer.
The exercise involves being listened to attentively and genuinely for 30 seconds, and then being listened to inattentively. Experiencing both situations is a powerful lesson, and shows the importance of listening.
Genuine listening, listening to understand the other person, is one of the greatest tools of communication. Listening is about understanding the other person, and making sure you understand them. Genuine listening requires awareness and focus. Awareness is that you catch yourself thinking of how to respond or if you're wondering what to have for dinner. Focus is bringing that awareness to the other person and what they're telling you.
In business relationships, whether it's with other business owners, suppliers or customers, genuine listening is invaluable. It's not just about gathering and understanding information. Genuine listening is an act of respect and service to the other person. It's also an act of respect and service to yourself. By genuinely listening, you give yourself a chance to improve your relationships with other people, and to learn something new about people, or to deepen your existing understanding of them.
So here are tips for on how to be a good listener:
1. Eyes are on the speaker.
2. Brain is focusing on what the other person is thinking.
3. Ears listen carefully.
4. Mouth is quiet.
5. Hands are still.
6. Feet are still.
Every good conversation starts with good listening!
Too many times, clients feel guilty when they come for an Indian Head Massage and Reiki session. Usually when they arrive at my door, they've been suffering from something for a long time. Often it's insomnia, sometimes is painful shoulders, sometimes it's anxiety...it all links back to an imbalance of stress and relaxation.
Imagine a little fan heater that's overworked and left on for a few hours. Eventually it begins to sound funny and there can even be a bit of a burning smell. So what do you do? You switch it off and let it recover. It's the same with computer problems...what's the first things an IT person asks when it comes to computer problems...did you switch it off and back on again?
Relaxation is not a luxury. Relaxation is a human beings way of switching yourself on and off. There are effective and not so effective ways to do it. How you relax and switch off is never as important as actually doing it. Our body is a factory. It's constantly renewing itself. It's constantly dealing with physical, mental and emotional challenges. So why do we feel we can push ourselves to the limit, all day, every day. Why do we get shocked when we get sick and realise we're not invincible?
Here are three questions to consider:
Do you find it easy to switch off?
How can you improve your ability to switch off, relax and recover?
Would learning to switch off better improve your relationships, home life, and work life?
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Holistic therapies do not replace the need for medical attention. Holistic therapists do not diagnose medical problems or manipulate bones. Always tell me if you have a medical problem, even a minor one. There are certain situations in which caution should be taken when receiving massage and bodywork.