How often do you put yourself first?

I have had the pleasure of being on BBC Radio Kent, Pat Marsh’s show, over several weeks now. We have been talking about many things to help your Mental Health and Well-Being.

Today we talked about being kind & and looking after yourself.

Putting yourself first at times matters – it is essential for your well-being to top up your own cup, so you have something to give.

It reduces your stress levels and helps you feel happier, which is better for you and the people around you.

Some people find it hard to put themselves first, worrying that it is a selfish thing to do; which can result on taking on too much, feeling overwhelmed, tired and stressed.

So, how can you look after yourself?

There are several things you can do as listed below, to look after your Mind Body and Soul

100%?
  • Start by taking the pressure off yourself to be ‘perfect’ or things to be done ‘perfectly’ and to be 100% all of the time. A great question to ask yourself; “Is it fair to expect 100% – 100% of the time?”
  • A rule I like to live by is 80 / 20. 80% of the time do what you know you should – 20% of the time do what you like doing. This creates a great balance and avoids you trying to cut things out altogether which can be a hard thing to do – just adding to pressure or stress.
The 80 / 20 rule
  • Eat a wide variety of wholesome foods that nourish and sustain your body and mind. Good nutrition helps to keep your body healthy and more able to fight off disease. When you feel healthly you can do more things well, which helps you feel happier.
  • Keep Hydrated Keeping yourself hydrated helps you think more clearly, and your body functions so much better when well hydrated.
  • Exercise is good for your Mind Body and Soul – it keeps you flexible and fit, reduces stress, gives you headspace and much needed ‘time out’ and reduces the risk of disease. When are body and mind are healthy we feel so good from the inside out and life flows better.

Other important things are;

  • Get plenty of sleep. The benefits of a good sleep can not be underestimated – our mind filters and files our day, our body repairs and children grow. I’m an advocate of the power nap – a great way to top up on sleep.
  • Play and have FUN do what you love doing, have fun and laughs – it is so good for your mental well-being. Doing things you enjoy is so important. When was the last time you factored some FUN into your life as a priority?
laughter – Food of the Soul
  • Looking after your spiritual health is an important part of over health and well-being – whether it is meditation, religion and prayer, the outcome can be an inner sense of peace.
Confidence
  • Developing Confidence in yourself learning to say YES to what you want to do, and NO to what you don’t want to do, or maybe don’t have the time to do.
  • Many people find that little word NO a difficult word to say – so, try buying your self some time to decide what you want to do by saying something like, “Let me see if I have the time to do what you ask, to make sure I can do the best job for you”
  • Learn something new learning a new skill not only expands your mind and feeds your interest, giving you a wonderful sense of achievement. As a result of doing something new – it can open up opportunities for new experiences, or friendships.
  • BE YOURSELF – You are the only you there is. Embrace who you are. Get to know yourself and appreciate your achievements and skills. This will help you feel so much happier and confident.
Be yourself

There is so much more I could add!

TAKE CARE OF YOU – YOU MATTER

Andrea

Focusing on positives helps your Well Being

As lockdown was announced on 23rd March 2020, to restrict the spread of Coronavirus; could we ever have anticipated how much day to day living and the fabric of our lives would change?

That terms like ‘Stay Home’ ‘Lockdown’ ‘Social distancing’ and ‘Pandemic’ would be commonplace in our conversations.

It has been an anxious, and challenging time, with heart aching tragedy for too many. Businesses, schools, whole communities and cities shut and eerily quiet. So many of us missing family and friends and having a hug, being able to meet up for a meal, or celebrate a birthday, a new arrival or to grieve.

However, people have also come together and embraced the sacrifice for the greater good, and for that we should be immensely proud.

“Though we have had and still have much uncertainty and are all in the same storm, as with anything, we will have our own unique experience and how we weather it will be different for us all.”

Our Mental health and Well-being is incredibly important, and more so than ever at the moment.

Thankfully, people are more willing to talk about how they are feeling. People are having genuine conversations – which I really hope stays with us, as people find that speaking out and opening up is so much better, and a far more courageous step to take, than locking down emotionally, especially when people and organisations are so willing and able to help.

If you are feeling anxious, take things day by day, concentrate on what you personally can control and do seek help and support.

Thinking of the positive things you have liked and enjoyed during this time helps you feel happier and uplifted. Try writing them down to keep.

*Spending quality, guilt free time with your family. One young person said to me; how much they had enjoyed reconnecting with their otherwise busy parents! and how good it had been to relax and play games together.

*Having time to appreciate your home, garden and local area – including getting to know your neighbours.

*Maybe, you have read some books for the first time in a long time.

*If you are working from home, it could be how much you have appreciated not having to commute. Some people working from home have found they have been more productive and more connected with colleagues, which could bring about more flexible working in the future?

*You could be a student that has enjoyed home schooling, or a parent that has survived it better than you thought you would, with a new appreciation for teachers?!

*Is it that you can hear the birds singing on your new love for a daily walk?

*Are you one of the many people rediscovering the love of baking or cooking?

*Have you enjoyed the giving and receiving of wonderful acts of kindness and how thoughtful and caring people have been?

*Possibly you learnt how to do video calling and found getting many people together on a call has been easier than you thought, and quite a revelation?

Some people have been worried that they haven’t achieved enough! Do take the pressure off and be kind to yourself, especially as this has been completely new for us all.

Try writing a list or write a journal / story about your experience and credit yourself for the things you have achieved like:

‘I survived home schooling’ or that you actually relaxed and read some books; connected with your family; did more exercise; completed a puzzle, de-cluttered and tidied up; helped others in your family; did acts of kindness for keyworkers and the NHS; like putting art in your window to cheer people up, making masks, donating or fund raising in what way you could. Maybe you took the step to talk about how you feel, or learnt how to use video calling for work, or went on a virtual date…

As we prepare to move forward and Lockdown restrictions to relax further, think of the things you would like to preserve and keep doing.

What have you learnt?

It is important for us to focus on what we have learnt from this crisis, as it is from any crisis. To decide what we would like to take from the experience, especially as it is possible we will never have a time, or time like this again.

Winston Churchill is quoted as saying ‘never let a good crisis go to waste’. Arguably there is nothing ‘good’ about a crisis, however, there are always exceptional creative ideas born from adversity, amazing resilience, bravery and kindness shown by others and from ourselves too, which can surprise us.

This creates an opportunity for us to mine great learning and wisdom, to ensure that what we all have, and are going through, in some way is worth it.

love and light

Andrea

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 😊✨

Andrea

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

Andrea

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

Andrea

 

I am so pleased to announce a three week course to help you to develop your Confidence.
 
Do you wish you had more Confidence talking to others?
Have your Confidence levels dropped due to illness or redundancy, or having children and you seem to have lost who you are?
 
Would you like more confidence in your job or business, within your relationships or to feel confident developing new ones? Would you like to present yourself well and feel happier on the inside, because you are confident being YOU?
 
I create a welcoming, safe environment and with small group numbers – or the option to join via Zoom (video link)
You will gain so much from starting this journey, and will go away with lots that you can put into practice – that works for You.
 
Suitable for teenagers from 14 and up *must be accompanied if under 18.
 
*limited availability*
*please message me or email me for more details and payment confidencecoach@andreabarker.co.uk – or use the Eventbrite link

 

 

 

There are many areas of our Health and Well-being that we can focus on; exercising to gain strength; working on a good posture; eating a well balanced diet, for health generally and to maintain a healthy weight.

If we have a physical problem causing pain, or embarrassment, we will seek help. At Holcombe Health Clinic, where I hire a room, there is such a wonderful variety of expertise available.

All of the above also have an affect on your Mental Well-being- we know how amazing exercise is for making you feel better in yourself, or how much better you feel when irradiating physical pain, or seeing and feeling the benefits eating more healthily.

I work on the area of Mental Well-being, your Mental Health, in many different ways, helping you to understand how your mind works, how to manage Stress and Anxiety and develop and grow your Confidence and Self-esteem.

Our Mental Well-being is so important to how we function on a day to day basis, how productive we are, and it affects whether we try new things, reach our potential, go for a new job / promotion, how we perform in exams and it affects our relationships – whether with family, friends, work colleagues, and our personal relationships, and most importantly the relationship we have with ourselves.

 

Stress and Anxiety

Many of us will have had times we have felt stressed, and will understand how it affects our ability to make decisions, increasing the risk of making mistakes, it affects our sleep and causes muscle tension and headaches etc… generally stress is temporary, and when the cause of the stress is resolved- we take a sigh of relief. If stress is prolonged it can cause many other health concerns, so learning to manage stress is important.

Anxiety is something different, but stress can cause anxiety and vice-versa.

Anxiety is generally fear of what may happen in the future – anxiety and fear causes our body to release adrenaline so we are ready to Fight Fright (freeze) Flight (run – or avoid altogether) This is a natural process and is especially useful to us when we are under genuine threat, by keeping us safe or to help us survive. When someone is a ‘sufferer of Anxiety’- then you are in an almost permanent state of Fight Fright Flight to a threat that is mostly not real, our imagination is a powerful thing, however, this usually happens for very good reason. This prolonged state can understandably cause exhaustion and like stress, affect sleep too.

The good news is, that once you understand Stress and Anxiety you can manage it and feel human and normal, for you, again.

Mindfulness is a great way to start- as bringing yourself into the present moment and being present with yourself has a calming effect- just focusing on your breath or taking 3 slow meaningful breaths can help. Just taking time out in nature – even 10 minutes is very beneficial, there are studies around how amazing being outside is for us and our mental well-being, especially being around trees or in lovely open expanses. Another great tool is music, as it has a powerful affect on our mood, and can change our mood in an instant, so having calming or uplifting upbeat music can really help you feel better. Animals also can have a very calming effect, get you out, or make you laugh. Laughter is also incredibly at shifting mood.

Confidence and Self-Esteem

Stress and Anxiety can also have an impact on your Confidence levels. Many things can dent your confidence, and we are all the same in that respect, and may feel more confident in one situation and not another.  Confidence therefore can fluctuate depending on circumstances and experiences. Confidence is an ‘intangible’ thing – a feeling, and different for us all, and is also linked to our skills and knowledge and how confident we feel in our ability to deliver what is needed, or to speak out and / or help ourselves or help others.

Where there are deeper confidence issues and low self-esteem (how you feel about yourself) can greatly impact many life decisions, maybe not going for what you want and ‘putting up’ with situations and people. Essentially, it is about your self-worth and feeling confident enough to stick up for You, or to go to an exercise class, or address weight issues, or to go on a date and crucially to say No to what you don’t want.

I find that for many people I see, it has taken enormous courage to take the first step. Once you do, it is important to go at the pace that suits you. Most people fear change, because it is a ‘threat’ to us, an unknown! So small sustainable steps are best.

One thing that can help- is to write down your achievements – start with little things like when you learnt to read and write, maybe you learnt to ride a bike, swim 100 meters… and then keep going! You’ll be amazed.

Also Gratitude is so powerful and positive, think of all the things you are grateful for, small things and big things; like having running water, a lovely close friend, a park nearby, for pets, or things and people who make you smile – this is a great exercise to do daily – get a note book and write down 3 things that made you smile – and do it at the end of every day, this switches your mind to think of the positives – even if the day wasn’t the best day.

I really hope that this helps

Please do contact me if you would like to know more about what I do.

Andrea