During these challenging times that we are all going through, it is undersandable to be feeling Stressed or Anxious.
I have created a short video to help you understand any feeling you may be having and how to reduce any anxiety.
I hope helps
Look for positives, to reduce Anxiety & Stress to help your Wellbeing
We are in uncertain, challenging unchartered waters for sure, and as I see it there are certain facts that could offer some comfort:
We are all in this together, Covid19 the most micro of micro-critters has united us all!
*The only sure thing is that it will pass, and like a hurricane rips through an area and leaves devastation, we will rebuild, recover and move on. Humans are immensely resilient.
*Times like this reveal a sense of community, connecting with people in your street and many acts of kindness, and heart-warming stories.
This is a huge opportunity for reflection and to re-evaluate how we live, what’s important to us and to be valued and how we do business. For example, as human activity has ceased across the world, wildlife has flourished!
From adversity can come amazing creativity and inventiveness, with new and exciting ways to do things and of course, in the right context – humour, which we may need more than ever. You can’t underestimate the power of laughter
Some people will be having unscheduled unique time with family, young children especially will relish having family at home.
*On that note, do spare a thought for those key workers, working around the clock to keep things going and looking after those who are ill and vulnerable, and those people living alone.
Anxiety and Stress
If you are feeling anxious, stressed, worried, uncertain or frightened at the moment, or anxiety levels are worse than normal, you are definitely not alone.
It is OK to not feel OK, to feel the way you are feeling, most especially in such unprecedented times and especially as currently we have no end date to the pandemic.
What is important is how you deal with how you are feeling, to reduce stress and anxiety in the best way possible for you, and to improve your overall wellbeing and to take things day by day. *There are links at the end of the article
Stress is a normal reaction to feeling threatened and under pressure, it propels us into action, so we can get things done and find solutions.
Undue and prolonged stress, with no solutions being found, compromises our health. It is important to find ways to ‘destress’ and task or time manage in a different way.
Anxiety is a natural response to protect us from threats to our safety, and keeps us safe.
Our body reacts to get us ready to respond and Fight Fright (freeze) or Flight (run).
Which can make our heart pound in our chest and beat much faster, making our breathing quicker. We can also feel sick and sweaty too.
When we are worried that something might happen or happen again (if we have had a negative experience) or have feelings of uncertainty and feeling like we have lost control, our body will respond in the same way to the possible threat, as though it was a real threat. We can then feel anxious as our heart pounds… which leaves us feeling worried, anxious, uncertain and out of control. When this keeps happening, we are then said to be ‘suffering with anxiety’ and then the Flight or ‘run’ response can turn into ‘avoid altogether’
To reassure anyone who feels like this, you are not doing this on purpose, but the important thing now is what to do about it.
During these times of real uncertainty, here are some tips and advice for you:
*Firstly, your feelings do matter, and if you are really struggling, with self-isolating and social distancing, then do reach out to others. Acknowledge how you feel and try some of the tips to follow and use the links or numbers at the end of this article.
*Concentrate on what you CAN control, day to day, and literally ground yourself in each day, and deal with what you can do. Covid19 itself is out of your control. All we can do is put the measures in place to try the best we can to limit the effects, protect the most vulnerable and prevent a sharp peak. Most people will suffer mild symptoms.
*If your anxiety soars and you feel like you are panicking, tap several times below your collarbone, relatively hard and sing a nursery rhyme and tell yourself ‘I am OK’ Go back to the things you are in control of, even if this means cleaning out a cupboard, going for a walk around the block or turning up the music.
lots of other things you can do
*Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues, school, college or Uni friends – ringing or video calling is great, to really feel connected. Ring someone you haven’t spoken to in a while or send an uplifting card. Try and get into the fresh air, maintaining a safe distance with anyone you might meet, and no hugging, shaking hands or sharing personal items – this will change once time has passed, it is in place to protect those people in society that are the most vulnerable to being seriously ill due to Covid19, that may not be you, but we are in this together, to protect each other.
*Help or connect with someone in your neighbourhood that could be isolated, go about this safely and wisely and never put yourself at risk – there are some good groups already to be a part of. *Do authenticate any group.*
*Join supportive practical uplifting groups through social media or set up your own ‘virtual’ meet-up over coffee, or just to chat.
*It is best to stick to the facts we have right now. Only update these facts from absolute reliable sources. So, avoid the scaremongering on social media, with people’s opinions that can be skewed and limit your time on various platforms, unless supportive. Try to limit the news to once or twice a day and screen time overall.
What about work?
*For business or finance matters Gov.uk, local authorities and councils will have details, as will great organisations like FSB, Chamber of commerce and other local business networking connections and your bank. Do remember, things are changing daily, but will come clearer. This is very new for all of us. Things will become clearer.
*Have a routine – I can’t recommend this highly enough, most especially for those people not used to working from home or being at home with no work or school to go to presently. Stick to schedule of when you get up, have breakfast, exercise, do work, connect with people in whatever way you can, and go to bed. This schedule doesn’t have to be strict, so allow some flexibility and time to relax.
*For those of you who are homeworking, and worried about your businesses and jobs. Do keep an eye on what is available for you, as mentioned above. Think of ways you can stay in touch with your clients / audience. Can you write a blog, do a video to give tips to others or create things for people to participate in online in real time? This is where as businesses we may have to think of different ways to operate and diversify part of how or what we deliver. You may now have the time to learn a new skill.
look after your health
*Get plenty of sleep – Sleep is essential to your overall wellbeing. Have a night-time, wind-down routine. Limit screen time, have a warm bath, adding lavender can help, as can having a warm milky drink, limit alcohol and caffeine. Try to keep your bedroom cool and well ventilated to promote a good sleep. If you struggle to sleep or wake up – don’t look at the time if possible, take slow breaths and start counting down from 300 slowly and keep bringing your mind back to the numbers – you will soon drop off again.
*Stay nourished and hydrated drink plenty of water, it keeps your mind clear and helps clear toxins from your body. During these times we are all more aware of food availability, which is not a bad thing, eat a varied diet and food that fills you up properly, so you avoid the need to snack, and if you do snack try to choose the healthier options you have available to you, as this maintains a good sugar level, enhancing mood and promoting a healthy immune system, which helps us to fight illness.
Exercise in whatever way you can; take a walk in the fresh air – nature is very grounding; it continues regardless and gives us a good sense of things moving forward still and helps balance our mental health. Get in your garden if you have one, do laps, exercise outside, or do some gardening, plant some seeds – something to look forward to, why not grow your own veg? Even if you only have a window ledge you can grow something. Why not dust off the interactive games’ consoles! Do yoga or pilates, or dance and move to music. Look out for the many people offering great workout videos on-line, start locally first – to help you keep connected with people in your local area.
*Practice mindfulness and relaxation – great for reducing stress and anxiety. Controlling your breath is very calming and helps reduce anxiety – take in a deep slow breath for the count of 4, hold for 3, breath out for the count of 4, do two more times – this brings you back to the now. Look out for all the people in your area offering on-line sessions to follow. Like the exercise above, most people are doing this for free and there are also special workouts for children too. Give yourself distraction free time to relax. There are great Apps too.
*Take Time Out recognise when you, or the people you are with need quiet time, and ‘time out’ – you don’t need to schedule your every moment, or entertain children constantly, and it is more than ok during these times of isolation to have guilt free time to watch films, binge on a series, read a book, take a nap…and just have some quiet.
*Music is a powerful uplifting mood changer and helps us to be creative and gets us moving. Get those tunes on, children love to dance and sing. How about pulling out archived music! Many DJ’s around the country are doing live ‘club’ sessions for people to join in on during these times of social distancing.
What else can you do?
*Do puzzles, a jigsaw, pull out the lego, play games, knit, sew, paint, decorate, de-clutter, try a new recipe, bake, feed the birds or learn something new. Watch comedy and do try to have some laughter and fun.
*Finish that task you’ve been meaning to do! We all have something that has been put to one side, for when we have the time!
*Practice GRATITUDE – 3 good things a day – especially when you feel worried or uncertain, you may not feel like doing this, however this really grounds you in the now, and helps you to look around at what you do have, who you appreciate, maybe the new connections you’ve made, the birds singing, the quiet. Remember good things will also come out of this crisis, and gratitude helps you through tough times, and loss, as you reflect on happy memories, or things that have made you smile and laugh today. You can do this with children too – maybe get them to write down things on strips of paper and put them in a jar, to read at a later date.
*write down negative or angry thoughts that whizz around your head, then delight in ripping them up or shredding them – this is a powerful exercise to get thoughts out of your head without hurting anyone.
I really hope this has been of help to you.
Above all – do get the support you need if you feel particularly anxious, stay connected with friends and family – or reach out to organisations that can help.
SAMARITANS free phone – 116 123
SHOUT – there is lots of information here, plus a texting service https://www.giveusashout.org/
Support with Anxiety due to the corona virus https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/coronanxiety-support-resources/
Help with talking to children about corona virus https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/blog/how-to-talk-to-children-about-covid-19/
MIND – 5 ways to wellbeing https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/five-ways-to-wellbeing/
CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably – specially to support Men and run by Men https://www.thecalmzone.net/
I highly recommend Cruse to help with bereavment at anytime, but especially because things have changed in being there for loved ones when they pass and also due to retrictions when it comes to funerals https://www.cruse.org.uk/
Ever asked yourself ‘why do I procrastinate?’
Is procrastinationg stopping you doing the things you really want to do, or really should be doing? Do you feel like your dreams are slipping away from you? Would you like to find solutions as to why you may be procrastinating? Here is some inforamtion, you can request my EBook if you would like to know more.
Stop your procrastination crushing your dreams
It is a normal process that most people go through – a form of contemplation, to decide whether to do something or not. This stage can sometimes become prolonged, due to fear, or being unsure and not feeling very confident, so that procrastination takes over leading to a job or task not getting done.
When procrastination becomes a real problem, is when this process happens often, leading to chronic procrastination. This can quite markedly affect our Self-esteem, and lead to us losing confidence and not allowing ourselves great experiences or opportunities. Like a new job, going for a promotion, dating, or joining in on things we enjoy. Or not ever showcasing what we can do and let the world see how talented we are.
There are many reasons from; Low Self =-Esteem, ‘Perfectionism’ Overwhelm, lack of effective planning, not having the right skills, being too distracted or bored even.
As many reasons as there are for procrastinating is matched by solutions. So, you can answer the question ‘why do I procrastinate?’ Once you inderstand your reason for procrastinating a little better, and have some solutions to work with, you can get going…
Learning how to plan effectively, using tools to help you.
How to break tasks or projects down into achieveble steps.
Prioritising tasks – to help you be more organised and avoid overwhelm.
Developing your confidence, recognising your skills and knowing when to ask for help.
Learning how to say NO.
Delaying gratification – this is about rewarding yourself after a task has been completed.
I have developed an EBook to explain more. There is so much to help you understand and to be able to fix your procrastinating and live a fulfilled and happier life, which puts you back in the game!
Please email me if you would like the free EBook with a lot of very useful information in it at: email@example.com or use the ‘Request an Appointment’ button and ask for the EBook
Why not LIKE my Facebook page 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/AndreaBarkerConfidenceCoach/
When you lack Confidence, it can seem like you may never develop it, or regain it.
We can all lack confidence in some areas, and feel fine in others. Like; being ok in a close friend or family group, to feeling panicky at the thought of standing up and talking about ourselves in front of others!
There are times in everyone’s life, where life events can seem to sap your confidence. Being out of work for sometime due to illness or redundancy. Maybe having children, moving to a new area, or country, and starting work for the first time.
There are times when low confidence can seep into everyday and starts to prevent you living life fully. Meaning you may miss out on opportunities, because you don’t feel confident enough to put yourself forward.
If you suffer with a lack of confidence, one thing to know is you are not alone. It is more common than you may think, even though some people seem very confident, that doesn’t mean they are!
Three small things that you can do, that start to increase your confidence:
- write down a list of all you have achieved from being young. Learning to ride a bike, or swim, playing a sport, dancing, for example. Or learning an instrument; getting badges from youth groups; learning to cook – even something very simple; to sew / woodwork and make something. Any certificates you have, learning to drive, to type, to read and to write! The first time you did a journey by yourself; overcoming illness or tragedy; getting your first job or work experience, helping others, friendships, being there for family and friends… the list goes on.
- Get a little notebook, and every day for 21 days – write down 3 things each day that either made you laugh or smile and feel happy, even if only for a moment. Then after 21 days read them all back and then carry on if you want to. This is great to do with children near bedtime; just ask them what made them laugh today and see what they say!
- Watch a film, programme or comedian that makes you laugh out loud! Laughter is contagious and it helps us reduce stress and live in the moment, and the feeling lasts.
Try and see how you feel.
The next steps would then be to very gently step out of your comfort zone, and try a small thing like complimenting someone else, and making them smile.
Arrange a day out to visit something very different, a train journey to the city or beach; an exhibition; or animal sanctuary; a theme park. Even though your heart may beat a little faster, tell yourself ‘just do it’. **Go with supportive people, or on your own. This is about gentle steps, not anything that makes you feel terrified. Do your planning on times of journey’s there and back, opening times, distance to venues etc… and have some fun.
I hope this helps in some way
Self-Confidence is trusting in yourself, your abilities and knowing your potential. Self-Esteem is about liking and loving who you are so you can be the best version of YOU ✨
Sometimes I used to worry all the time what people thought about me, and getting things wrong, making mistakes and being a failure.
I strived constantly to do my best to fit in and be someone I wasn’t, to try and be liked and accepted. Often I was a ‘people pleaser’ trying hard to always do my best for others, being flexible, adaptable, not saying NO and taking on too much, and was constantly feeling like I was letting people down, as I was struggling to cope with all I’d given myself to do. I felt quite unhappy a lot of the time.
I always felt I should be ‘strong’ and rarely asked for help.
Things got worse after I suffered a head injury and my Confidence was on the floor, and I liked myself less.
After a long slow recovery, and working on my own Self-Confience and Self-Esteem and finding myself again, I know the amazing benefits, which is why I do what I do, and why I know that if you’re ready to make some changes, I can help you.
Taking a first small step on working on feeling happier about being YOU, leads to another step and another ✨
You deserve to be happy and feeling confident to be your best – when you do, You and everybody around you benefits 😊✨
Mental Health has been a subject well promoted in recent years to create awareness, and for good reason.
After all we all have Mental Health, which impacts every aspect of who we are, the decisions we make and how we cope day to day with the people in our life and circumstances around us and includes our Self- Esteem levels; how we feel and think about ourselves and how Confident we are in our abilities and skills.
Maintaining a healthy Mental Health is essential and priceless, it is different for each one of us. It could be things like; being in nature, doing regular exercise, appreciating music, getting immersed in the arts, and spending time with treasured family, friends and pets – I call it ‘Soul Food’
There are times, for many reasons, when Mental Health could be compromised. No one person is beyond a Mental Health concern, issue, disorder or illness. 1 in 4 people at any one time – from all walks of life. It will always be unique to the sufferer, how it affects them and the people around them. Examples are; Stress, Anxiety, Depression, or Phobias, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Neurosis, Addiction, and various other psychological / psychiatric disorders. So, understanding Mental Health is only a good thing, of course, to understand ourselves better, to help people help themselves and to support each other if we can – should our Mental Health falter.
Talking about how we feel if experiencing a Mental Health concern or having someone around who is, like a loved one or work colleague, is important, to start the process of getting valuable help and support, and getting on the road to recovery or learning how to manage the issue and realising we are not on our own.
Making that first step towards seeking help when you are struggling with your own Mental Health or that of someone around you, can take a lot of confidence and courage, but you will be glad you did – there is real strength in it, in no way is it a weakness.
There are many incredible people out there doing their best to cope with and help others, and there is also much support from great organisations, health professionals and therapists, helping us to understand ourselves and others, and what we, or they could be going through. It can sometimes be difficult finding the right support and help initially to suit you – don’t give up though, it is out there, and you can build a good support network for yourself, your family and in the workplace.
Sadly, I’ve seen a few posts recently dissing people around not supporting or understanding Mental Health concerns in others. To my mind we need to all be a bit more supportive of each other and I feel there are a few factors to consider before judging others, which prompted this article.
For most people it isn’t that they don’t care about people who may be having a tough time with their Mental Health, it’s more than likely that they don’t understand, as understanding Mental Health issues is not always easy, and people don’t always know what the right thing is to do and can fear saying or doing the wrong thing.
Some Mental Health issues are actually very complex, don’t make sense and don’t seem ‘logical’ and are difficult to understand. They are also completely unique to the person with the issue / concern or disorder, though there can be certain commonalities.
Sometimes the person affected can cease to ‘see’ the people around them and the impact their current state has on others, which can be hard to deal with and difficult for the people around them to make sense of. It can be upsetting to be around distressing behaviour that you don’t understand and not knowing what to do to help. Many people will try in the best way they know how – without always getting positive results from the person they want to help (for many reasons) and can be left feeling frustrated, hurt, upset, bewildered, and stressed themselves.
There can also be occasions when a person experiencing an issue will hide it, or deny there is a problem, especially from those closest to them, which of course means it is difficult to support them. This could be to protect others, or maybe through fear of losing their job, the possible risk of stigma, being misunderstood or bullied (thankfully things are starting to change for the better on that score).
Some people do fear and are wary Mental Health issues; maybe they have ‘been there’ themselves or had experience of a family member or close friend in their past and it’s too painful to revisit, and they just can’t cope with someone else’s challenging upsetting behaviour at that time.
We can have the most wonderful events, things to strive for and work towards which needs our energy and attention, or our own genuine concerns and stresses to deal with, like having a physical illness, our own Mental Health issues or times when we’re facing something challenging, getting used to a change and dealing with something new, or are feeling hurt, dealing with a tragedy or loss, that is the focus at that time, or just being incredible busy with work and family life.
Life happens and can take over for all of us!
Sometimes people want or need to get on with their own lives, for their own reasons, we can all identify with that. It’s not selfish to and it’s not because they don’t care, but everyone needs times when they put themselves first, to be at their best, to be ok for their own well-being and also to be ok enough to cope with issues and challenges facing them or a person close to them, or to just get on with their jobs and family life. Maybe they are deciding to take the time to enjoy life, the people around them, celebrate achievements and how far they have come -challenges they may have overcome themselves – which is important.
Most people are kind and supportive and doing their very best, however no one is ‘perfect’ and everyone is capable of getting things wrong, making judgments, and hurting people – without the intention to, or maybe just don’t know what to do, so do nothing.
We all have times where we have felt we can’t cope ourselves, let alone with another person too and don’t want to – it isn’t wrong, just human.
A good thing to remember is; regardless of what is going on for you or others ‘You are doing the best you can in every moment, with what you know at the time, and so is everybody else – until you find a better way’
Most Mental Health issues can be overcome or learnt to be managed in a better way. There is definitely hope.
Life’s wonderful experiences and challenges teach us every step of the way – if we choose to and are ready to learn from them and being or feeling ready to face some challenges is key.
Every one of us walks our own path, at our own pace, with its highs and the lows.
Try your best to be kind to yourself and everyone around you
If you’ve read this far – thank You and I’d love to have your thoughts
How many of us have not ever had Confidence or anxiety issues?
You would be surprised!
Most people at some time in their lives – why?
Because – we are all human:
We are people, with a heart, with feelings and emotions, people with many positive and negative experiences that have moulded how we feel about ourselves and how we deal with the world around us, and the people in it.
We all have those times when we feel on top of the world and times when we really are at rock bottom, but mostly we’re in-between.
We can all have a low opinion of ourselves sometimes and beat up on ourselves! Be our own worst critic – putting ourselves down. Spending time worrying about what others think.
We can also have times where we feel out of control, or very much out of our comfort zone, lacking in confidence in our abilities, which can stop us moving forward. Or we spend time taking on board another’s opinion of us, that does nothing to inspire or encourage.
Have you ever felt fearful about taking on something new, or meeting new people, so that you end up avoiding it? Not gone for a new job, a promotion, on a date, or a holiday, because you don’t feel confident enough and worry it may all go wrong? Ever felt like you have dissolved when circumstances are challenging? Taken on too much for other people – forgetting yourself? Felt guilty for putting yourself first, so then haven’t gone for what you really want? Felt like you can’t say NO! or stayed in toxic relationships – trying so hard to gain the love and approval you feel you need, that will never happen, not feeling good enough or worthy of better? Then you could have a low Self-esteem – how you feel about yourself.
If you lack a positive Self-esteem, have a low Self-worth; so do not value, like or love yourself very much, then mostly you can trudge on, not feeling unhappy all of the time, but not feeling truly fulfilled or like you are being your best self and living the life you want or waiting for and expecting everything to come crashing down. Maybe feeling lost, like you don’t fit in anywhere and not really knowing who you are. Not sticking up for yourself or your values, then constantly dealing with the result of poor decisions or negative thinking.
There is a myriad of reasons as to why you can feel this way, but you can untangle it all and learn to Love, Like and Respect yourself and regain control over who you are and who you want to be. Finding the confidence and courage to take off all masks, rather than wearing the many masks you think you need to wear to suit others, revealing your true self and being authentic to who you are, which brings so much joy and enrichment into your life.
Some people completely disregard any sort of self-development and help with working on how you feel about yourself, however once you do take that step, the results are incredible.
When you feel empowered to Love, Believe, Respect and Trust in yourself and let go of negative thoughts and feelings; you start to build resilience (*bounce back) and look forward to challenges that help you to expand your comfort zone. You learn to see circumstances and people differently and shrug off what others think, because an opinion is only an opinion, formed from wherever that other person is at, and the only opinion you decide counts about You, is the one You have.
You start to take purposeful steps forward and enjoy life more, and look to what is positive, and take any ‘negatives’ ‘failures’ ‘mistakes’ and challenges, as amazing learning opportunities for understanding and growth, which means any fears you may have had – vanish – and you learn to literally *bounce back from anything.
You learn to celebrate yourself and all of your achievements. Believe in You and give yourself the approval you deserve and turn to see life through a different bigger brighter more positive window, regardless of any negative circumstances or people around you.
Importantly – you feel – really feel – Happy.
It all sounds cliched to say ‘learn to Love and Like yourself’ but when you do – something magical happens…
Really truly it does, because no-one can or will hurt you, or put you down, because your Love and Respect for yourself is an impenetrable glorious armour, and you shine so bright from the inside out that those negative people around you start to fear your light and don’t even come near, and your life fills up with those people who celebrate and champion you, as you do them.
Self-development involves many little steps and courage in taking responsibility for yourself; it can sometimes be pretty challenging to hold up the mirror!
It requires a lot of letting go of negative habitual thought processes and letting go of past negatives – once you’ve taken the lesson from the experience! It may involve others not appreciating the new positive self-loving You, but there will be those people who applaud it, and before you know it – you’re taking Leaps.
There are many ways to do this on your own, but it is an even more amazing experience with the support and encouragement of others.
SELF-LOVE, BELIEF, RESPECT and TRUST is priceless and immeasurable in how much your whole life, and the people you hold close to your heart, is positively and beautifully enhanced.
You matter – we all do.
we have covered such a lot today, including Self-Limiting beliefs and how to re-frame them.
why we fear change – and even though we start a change, why we may not continue and then strategies to help you move forward with the changes you want to make, and how to sustain the change
Also – about how to look after YOU, being your own best friend, giving yourself a break, and ME time, and scheduling it in to your diary as essential!
and how to have the confidence to say NO and the positive impact that can have for you
You can learn to be more confident in yourself and your abilities, to help you in all areas of your life.
have a look at my YouTube video clip – Andrea