Why volunteer?

Hello and welcome to my latest blog post about volunteering.

IMG_4293

I have written this post for the reader who may have been interested in volunteering for a while and not known where to start. Or for someone who may be curious as to how volunteering could benefit them and the local community.

There are several areas in the community that offer volunteer opportunities. According to the Open University, there are several areas of work where you could volunteer and include:

  • Administration, IT, management and finance

Many organisations depend on volunteers to help them with a wide range of “office” type work – from photocopying and envelope “stuffing” right through to helping with more specialist areas such as School Governors and Organisation Trustees:

  • School governors

School governors form the largest volunteer workforce in the UK with around 350,000 governor places. Governors play a crucial role in the teams that run schools, helping to ensure that all pupils develop as individuals and receive a good quality education. Governors have responsibility for the strategic management of the school, working closely with the headteacher and staff. As a governor you will attend regular governing body meetings, visit the school to meet staff, see the children at work, participate in the life of the school and attend special events.

  • Trustees

Trustees, (also known as management committee members, or Board members) play an essential part in the running of voluntary organisations. They are responsible for ensuring that a voluntary organisation has a clear strategy, that it remains true to its original vision, and that it complies with all necessary rules and legal obligations.

  • Advice, information giving, counselling, listening and befriending

Many organisations also rely on volunteers to provide a wide range of support to individuals who are in difficulty or don’t know where to turn. They often provide training to enable their volunteers to undertake this sort of work and the knowledge and skills gained can often be used by the volunteers in other parts of their lives.

Organisations under this category could include the Citizens Advice Bureau, The Samaritans and various counselling, support agencies. Such as Mind, or Cruse Bereavement Care.

  • Event organising, fundraising, marketing, campaigning, public speaking

Many organisations rely on volunteers to support their work by undertaking a range of activities to promote their organisation and its work, to the wider community. Some but not all give training to help volunteers develop these skills but many welcome volunteer contributions to support the work of those who already have them.

  • Fundraising

All charitable organisations seek fundraising volunteers to help raise income levels and fund their work. One benefit of fundraising is that you can work for charities in which you have a strong belief. It may be as simple as rattling a collection bucket one weekend, or you could get involved in working in shops, developing new ideas, educational visits to schools and running events.

 

Other areas of volunteering could include working in conservation and wildlife projects and working in classrooms and schools to support the learning of children, for example by reading to children. I’m sure there are many more volunteer opportunities that I have missed out!

 

Benefits of volunteering:

According to Timebank there are a number of benefits to volunteering, including some of the following:

  • Giving your CV a boost

Whether you are looking to study a particular course, such as medicine. Or looking for a means of getting back into work, or changing career paths, volunteering in a relevant area to your dream job, or course, could give your application the boost it needs to get you noticed by recruiters.

  • Get back into work

Volunteering could be a valuable means of filling any gaps in your employment and getting a reference that could help you when applying for paid positions.

You could also try different areas of work as a volunteer in order to get a taster of the work and see if it is an area that you would be happy working in long-term.

This could be particularly helpful if you are currently looking for work, or wanting to change direction in your career.

  • Improve your confidence

Volunteering could help you improve your confidence, as you may get the opportunity to try something that you have never done before. You get to meet new like-minded people, who are likely to be as passionate about the same cause as you are.

You are likely to have the opportunity to develop new skills, which can also help to improve your confidence.

  • Improve your health

Now this is an interesting one. Whilst volunteering to help others, you could be improving your own physical and mental health.

The following research highlights some of the benefits of volunteering: https://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/07_0506_hbr.pdf

 

My own experiences of volunteering:

I have volunteered in some capacity since around the age of 17 years. At various stages in my life and for various reasons.

Following on from my Facebook Live video on my Facebook page BreathworksMK: Mindfulness Meditation and Counselling, I would like to share a couple examples of volunteer work that I have done in recent years and how they have benefitted me.

  • Inpatient Unit Assistant

26001359_824476527731968_1749131892760847280_n

Now I know that working in a Hospice may not at first seem appealing, as they are often associated with death and dying. However in my experience a Hospice is a very positive place in which to be and in which to work.

I was first drawn into Hospice work after a family member with terminal cancer spent some time in a Hospice. I got to see first-hand how beautiful a Hospice setting is, how kind and compassionate the staff are and how peaceful a place like this can be when you are at the end-stage of a terminal illness.

I wanted to give something back and help to support the vital work that a Hospice does for both patients and their families.

Working on an In-Patient Unit such as the one at St Francis can involve many job tasks, a main part of the role being delivering food and drinks to patients and their family members, keeping the kitchen areas clean and tidy and restocking coffee and tea supplies!

One of my aspirations is to volunteer for the counselling service at a Hospice such as this one. I hope that my work on the Inpatient Unit if the first step towards achieving this.

 

  • Cruse Bereavement Care

Another volunteer position that I’ve had a really positive experience with is volunteering for Cruse Bereavement Care as a Bereavement Support Volunteer.

After completing the Awareness in Bereavement training with Cruse, I have worked with around 15 clients to date, all of whom have experienced bereavement, or a loss of some kind. Clients are offered up to six one hour sessions in the branch of Cruse where I work, as an opportunity to talk about the bereavement, or losses that they have experienced with a trained volunteer.

I find this work extremely rewarding and have received tremendous support in my work from my Supervisor and Manager at Cruse. The change in clients that you can witness in a relatively short period of time always amazes me and is a real privilege to be a part of 🙂

 

Some sources of further information:

 

2017_Do_It

On this website you can type in where you live in the search function and it brings up a number of local volunteer vacancies.

 

download (9)

Here is a bit more information about the Hospice of St Francis:

The Hospice of St Francis provides free care and support when it matters most to over 2,000 people every year.

We do everything possible to help people living with a progressive, or life-limiting condition to live their life well and on their own terms, especially when times are tough. We also support families, carers and children affected by the illness of a loved one.

We have five volunteers to every paid member of staff and incredible supporters who help us raise over £5 million each year. We simply couldn’t provide our life-enriching, free care, without their dedication and commitment.

Here is a current list of volunteer vacancies at St Francis Hospice: http://www.stfrancis.org.uk/support-us/volunteer/volunteer-opportunities

 

logo-4

TimeBank is a national volunteering charity, started in 2000.

They recruit and train volunteers to deliver mentoring projects to tackle complex social problems. They also work with businesses to engage their staff in volunteering.

TimeBank believe that great volunteering can transform the lives of both volunteers and beneficiaries by building stronger, happier and more inclusive communities.

 

 

I hope that this blog has been useful if you have been considering volunteering. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

Until next time,

 

Warm wishes,

Mary 🙂

Chronic Pain resources

 

Good evening to my lovely page followers!

I hope that you are as well as you can be and having a great weekend.

I have been taking the much needed opportunity to rest and reconnect with my family, here is me and my husband on a walk around a local lake.

30712014_10156347089714637_940491248277968090_n

I just wanted to check in with you all and offer you some resources that I have found this week during my preparations for my chronic pain presentation.

Firstly is a fantastic 5 minute video available on You Tube explaining about chronic pain and what to do about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_3phB93rvI

I highly recommend a watch if you have a spare 5 minutes.

Chronic pain is daily pain of 3 months or more in duration and this video explains how the brain still continues to produce pain even after tissue healing has occurred. It looks at a holistic way of treating pain.

  • Medication.
  • Surgical treatments.
  • Looking at thoughts and emotions. Reducing stress and unwinding the nervous system.
  • Diet.
  • Lifestyle factors. 
  • Exercise.
  • Looking at your story, what was happening in your life at the time when the chronic pain first occurred. Making links between the past and the present. 

 

If you haven’t checked out the NHS Choices website recently, there is a whole section on pain and self-management of pain: https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Pain/Pages/Painhome.aspx

nhs choices

 

I love Ted talks, there are a vast amount of TED talks available on You Tube on mindfulness, on the experiences of chronic pain.

Here is a really interesting talk on

A Different Approach To Pain Management: Mindfulness Meditation

by Fadel Zeidan.

 

Another useful mindfulness resource that I have come across is the Headspace app, available at https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app. There is a 10-day beginners course available for free and if you enjoy the meditations you could then choose to subscribe. There are a number of simple animations on the app which describes mindfulness really clearly which I really liked.

headspace

Here is an example of one of the animations, enjoy:

 

If you have any resources that you want to share please get in touch, would be great to hear from you.

 

Warm wishes,

 

Mary

Happy snow day

Hello to my blog followers where ever you are in the country right now!

Now I’m not normally one for a snow day as I like to get out and about and get all of my appointments done (I’ve had three cancelled today). However, this day has turned out to be an unexpected joy. My children are off of school too and we plan to spend some quality time together and my husband is not working either. Sometimes when life is so busy we do not get to spend that much time enjoying life together – as we are all apart doing different things.

So definitely planning to slow the pace down today and enjoy whatever arises.

Hopefully the snow is not as deep for you as in this picture! 

I don’t know how you feel about the snow – but as I sat and watched it yesterday outside the window – it was actually quite meditative as the snow flakes danced up and down in the wind.

Winter weather Jan 21st 2018

Snow

I’m wondering what activities you would do when faced with an unexpected day, or days at home, freed from the usual routines of work, school, or college?

If it’s safe to do so, a short walk in the crisp snow could be a nice mindful walking meditation. If you do a practice like this be sure to wrap up warm! The cold can play havoc on chronic pain and pain levels.

749326

I managed a short walk around my local lake yesterday and the views were stunning 🙂

IMG_3531 (002)

If you can’t get outside, this calendar for mindful March has some really useful ideas for meditation practices that you could incorporate into each day:

mindful_march

Finally, my ultimate favourite, as many who know me will vouch for. Wrapping up warm in a duvet on the sofa and putting on your favourite TV show, or DVD. Pure bliss!

 

Enjoy your snow day!

Until next time,

Warm wishes,

Mary 

How to Meditate day at Milton Keynes Meditation Association

It was with a sense of excitement and trepidation that I set out to the How to Meditate day held by the Milton Keynes Meditation Association.

The day was held at Simpson Village Hall and put on by the lovely members of the Buddhist group of Milton Keynes. I had a really friendly and wonderful welcome and it almost felt like a coming home for me, as I used to attend the Tuesday night sessions held by the group. However, and often as life goes, my schedule and commitments became such that I could no longer go.

There was a mixture of experienced meditators and new meditators in the group. The two main meditations as taught by the group were explored and practised in detail. They were the Mindfulness of Breathing Meditation and the Metta Bhavana.

The mindfulness of breathing meditation is most similar to the breathing anchor meditation as taught on the eight week Breathworks course and I would describe the Metta Bhavana meditation as being most similar to the Open Heart meditation, or the Connection meditation.

If you would like to listen to these particular meditations, please visit: https://soundcloud.com/hachetteaudiouk/sets/mindfulness-meditation/s-chcYB

Mindfulness of Breathing

The mindfulness of breathing meditation was taught in four stages and it was explained that this meditation is taught as a means of increasing self-awareness, knowing exactly what is going on for us at this moment in time and in this process developing wisdom.

Here is a breakdown of the stages:

1st Stage: Breathing naturally, count after each out breath 1, then after the next out-breath 2, the next out-breath 3 and so on, up to 10.

Then when you reach 10, start the process of counting again from 1, up to 10.

When your attention wanders away from the breath, as mine did several times today, you gently guide your awareness back to the breath and start counting again from 1.

 

2nd Stage: Instead of counting on the out-breath, during this stage you count on each in-breath. As with stage one you count the in-breaths from 1, to 10.

When you attention wanders away from the breath, as mine did, you gently guide your awareness back to the breath and start counting again from one. The noticing that your mind has wandered from the intended focus of your meditation, in this case the counting of your breath, is in itself an act of mindfulness and it absolutely a sign that you are doing it right!2012-12-14-825880_thumbnail

 

3rd stage: In this stage you drop the counting and attend to the sensations of breathing.

For me this would most vivid in my tummy and at the nostrils. At this stage I also felt more physically relaxed in my body and mentally calmer.

 

4th stage: In this stage you shift your attention to the point where the air enters and leaves the body.

For me this was noticing the cool air entering my nostrils on the in-breath.

 

nose-close-today-tease-160211_631286ac703e21e87c2fc7200c6b5511

Metta Bhavana

Metta is an attitude of well-wishing, loving kindness and friendliness.

Metta Bhavana was described as a balancing meditation to the mindfulness of breathing, in the mindfulness of breathing we are working on ourselves and in the Metta Bhavana we are working on developing an attitude of loving kindness, first towards ourselves and then spreading these feelings out towards other people in our world. Like the mindfulness of breathing, the Metta Bhavana meditation is practised in stages.

1st stage: Self.

Contact and develop an attitude of loving-kindness in relation to yourself.

2nd stage: Friend.

Extend this attitude of loving-kindness towards someone you like, or appreciate.

3rd stage: Neutral person.

Now extend your well-wishing and loving kindness towards a ‘neutral’ person, preferably someone who you have contact with, but for who you have no particular feelings of like, or dislike.

For me this is the Cashier who often serves me in Sainsburys.

4th stage: Person you are currently having difficulties with.

Include in your loving-kindness a person who you dislike, or currently have difficulty with. Preferably not someone who you loathe as this may overwhelm your metta.

5th stage: Everyone.

In this final stage of the meditation we were encouraged to imagine ourselves, our friend, the neutral person and the person we are having difficulty with, all together. Then spreading metta equally between all four people.

Then gradually extending the well-wishing to include all beings, those in the same street, those in the same town and all those in England and beyond.

 

 

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this day if you are looking for an introduction to mindfulness meditation and a friendly group in which to practice.

Until next time,

Metta,

Mary

Hello again!

Hi everyone,

Feels like ages since my last blog post! I have been busy these last couple of weeks, in recovery from my latest operation and in the middle of exam season in college.

I am back now and full of some great ideas to share with you all. If there is anything regarding mindfulness meditation, or person centred counselling that you would like to find out more about please send me a message and let’s get a conversation going. My email is: mary@techos-ltd.co.uk and my Facebook page is at the bottom of my blog site.

This week I’ve noticed that the theme of self-care is coming up again and again, both for my clients and myself. Self-care is something that I am committed to developing in my own life as a counsellor and mindfulness practitioner and I am also committed to sharing this knowledge and experience with my clients.

A great question for self care is where on earth do I start?

burn-outWhen as a busy person in this hectic modern day world where we are often forced to multi-task, work through our lunch break, work longer and longer hours in order to earn enough money to pay the bills, and in my case and many of my friends case, raising a family whilst working and studying – the demands and the to-do lists can be endless. You may find yourself and your needs at the bottom of the pile. Finding the time to practice self-care can seem impossible

In my experience going through life in this frantic way can be both physically and mentally exhausting. Leading to physical illness, increased pain and symptoms if you have a chronic illness already, burnout and even mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. All of this can negatively impact on your working life and relationships.

A really good place to start when first thinking about self care can be looking at the self-care wheel:

Self-Care-Wheel-English (1)

As you can see the self-care wheel is broken down into a number of segments, professional, physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and personal. What I try to do, and this may or may not work for you, is to focus on a particular segment of the wheel at a time. You could try this maybe over a week, or even a month, whatever you find works best for you, as self-care practices are a very individual thing.  Then, take time to reflect on your progress in this area before looking at the next segment on the wheel.

It really can help you to reconnect with yourself and the joys that are all around us in life, however small these may be!

Physical and emotional self care have been really high on my agenda over the past couple of weeks. Here are some of the self-care practices that I have been indulging in:

  • Having enough sleep
    This has been vital to my recovery from my operation. The following pillow that I found in Costco today is likely to be very helpful with this! It is a full body pillow, which when I am in pain is likely to help bring me comfort and hopefully alleviate some pain.

20180127_215617

 

  • Having regular massages

c700x420

I have really spoilt myself and had two massages this week! One, a massage to help alleviate tension in my neck and shoulders after my jaw operation and one, as a treat for getting through my course exam this week.

Usually, I aim for a massage once a month. To aid with physical and mental relaxation and to get some all important “me” time. I highly recommend it. I would suggest finding some-one that you feel comfortable with, as trusting someone to massage your body, especially if it is a body that hurts, can be a massive challenge.

 

  • Finding a hobby

A new hobby can provide a much needed outlet from a busy schedule. For me I have just taken up ice-skating lessons with my daughter. Torvill and Dean were my childhood idols and ice-skating used to be an activity that I really enjoyed as a child. Reconnecting with this hobby and hopefully passing this onto my daughter has been really exciting and is something that I hope to continue.

The beauty of a hobby is that it could be absolutely anything! Anything that excites you. It could be learning a new skill, playing a sport, going to the gym, or to a yoga class, volunteering for a charity, making time to read your favourite book, or magazine, the list is endless…

My favourite magazine is Psychologies:

161118

 

What might you like to do during 2018? Please share if you’d like, it would be great to hear from you and to share some ideas so that we can inspire each other! 🙂

 

  • Food and diet

This final area is a work in progress for me, but I believe a healthy diet is essential to keep your energy levels up and to contribute to optimum mental and physical health. I know that with chronic pain, or other long-term health conditions, nausea can be a real barrier to eating healthily. Eating little and often throughout the day I’ve found is a good way to manage this, as well as taking pain relief medication on a regular schedule.

I have been exploring recently the idea of food supplements and which ones may be beneficial for chronic pain and exhaustion.

I am going to do a separate blog post on this, but two supplements that I’ve found to be really helpful are Vitamin B complex and Turmeric.

I’ve heard from a lot of different sources that Turmeric can be a really useful supplement in helping to treat inflammation.IMG_3385

That’s all for today.

Hope you have a good week,

Warm wishes,

Mary xx

How do you manage your chronic health condition at work?

Good afternoon,

I hope you have all had a good week, I know for many this will have been the first week back to work after the Christmas and New Year break.

It’s been a busy week for me, with a return to client work and starting a new job! This was me on my first day:

 

I am really interested in this blog post to discuss how it is managing a chronic health condition, whether that be chronic pain, or other health condition such as MS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, stress, depression…and either managing the requirements of your current job, or getting back into work if your condition has meant that you haven’t been able to sustain a job, or find work.

My own personal experience covers all of the above! 

In the past having to leave what I thought was my chosen and destined career path within the NHS, due to developing chronic pain and other personal circumstances at that time.

Then having a number of physically demanding jobs that would contribute to the boom and bust cycle that I discussed in an earlier blog, meaning that I spent a lot of time in the bust part of the cycle. In pain and unhappy.

Then struggling to find a job that suits my ultimate career aspirations whilst not escalating my pain levels.

It can be a long journey to finding your ultimate job, or choice of career that suits the best management of your health condition and gives you the job satisfaction and personal fulfillment that ultimately we all want.

In my experience not working can lead to social isolation, loss of self-esteem and confidence, leading to a worsening of the health-condition anyway. So finding the right job can be life changing – boosting self-confidence through interacting with co-workers and customers, having a sense of purpose and something to focus on in life other than the pain (or other distressing symptoms that you may have).

Ultimately the right job can boost the self-management of your health condition, as there is a real link between mental health and physical health.

What job might you want?

This is a really challenging one, especially if like a lot of people you may have found yourself following a career path that ultimately pays the bills, but isn’t 100% what you want to do, leaving you feeling stuck and unsatisfied.

How could you find a job that you want, or a new career path?:

Vision boards:

 

 

Here are a couple of really useful article as a starting point to what vision boards are about and how to make one:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabeth-rider/the-scientific-reason-why_b_6392274.htmlu

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Vision-Board

 

Similar to the self-care wheel that I discussed in my last blog. You could create a vision board to work on one particular area of your life, in this case your career aspirations. Or you could create a number of vision boards to cover lots of different areas of your life that you would like to develop.

Then dream big! Write words associated with your dream job, find pictures, quotes, objects that are associated with thoughts and feelings to do with this dream job. Put the vision board up on the wall and keep looking at it and working on it.

Then when you are happy with the vision board, you might then want to talk through the ideas that have come up with a trusted friend, or relative. A life coach, or counsellor could be useful here too, to gain clarity and see what steps you could take in the future to start to build experience and work towards the dream you have identified.

I will use counselling as an example.

If you decided you might want to become a counsellor in the future but wasn’t 100% sure that this was the right path for you, or you didn’t have any experience of a job role like this. You might start by investing in a short course that you could do that would give you a flavour of what was involved in counselling. I know many colleges offer a counselling introduction course that is typically around 10 weeks long and could be offered as a day time, or evening course. By doing this course you wouldn’t have to invest too much time, or money, but you would get a good idea of what was involved and good experience that could assist you in your next steps (further study, or getting a care-related job role).

Free online courses that you could explore are available at:

1. Open Learn: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/

Open Learn Logo
Free modules on various subjects from the Open University.

2. Future Learn: https://www.futurelearn.com/

download
Free modules on a range of subjects from various Universities.

Along with a short education course you may decide to explore volunteer work that could give you a flavour of what it is like to work as a helper in a helping capacity.

Two related volunteer roles that I had at the start of my counselling journey was as an Assistant in the Inpatient Unit of a local Hospice, delivering teas, coffees and meals to patients and their visitors and I also worked as a Welcomer/ Receptionist at a local counselling agency, welcoming clients to their appointments, answering the phone and taking cash and card payments for appointments. Both related to counselling and both roles requiring a commitment of a couple of hours per week.

 

How to manage chronic pain at work?

In my experience there are a number of strategies that can be useful to managing chronic pain, so that you can perform effectively whilst at work.

I will share a few of the best ones that have worked for me. I would welcome any suggestions of things that have worked for you in the comments. Let’s get a discussion going and see if we can help each other.

  1. Self care

    Self care here can include making sure that you take your medication on a regular basis. Ensure that you adequate food and fluid intake throughout the day. Try to get adequate sleep every night, or if you have broken sleep that can often occur with chronic pain, maybe include a nap in the day. All of these simple self care activities can help you to ensure that you can maintain your energy levels and your concentration throughout the day.

 

  • Regular appointment with a counsellor
    In my experience a regular appointment with a therapist can be revolutionary in chronic pain management. Enabling you to ‘get things off your chest’ and to reduce stress levels. Put simply, stress can lead to increased physical tension in the body and this tension can increase pain levels.

 

  • Physical exercise, stretch breaks.
    I know that physical exercise can be extremely difficult if you have chronic pain, or any other chronic illness. But in my experience regular physical exercise and keeping the body moving can be very beneficial to pain management. This could be something as simple as going for a short walk in your lunch break, or getting up at regular intervals from your desk (maybe once an hour) to stretch and walk around for a couple of minutes to minimise stiffness and pain from prolonged sitting.For me yoga is extremely helpful to maintaining strength and flexibility. I would recommend that it’s helpful to discuss your physical conditions with the teacher before the class, so that they can offer you modifications to the moves in the class if required. Hopefully it will help you to feel more comfortable in taking breaks during the class as well, if your teacher is aware that you may need to do this.

 

  • Meditation/ pacing.

 

download (5)

This one goes without saying. I am a huge advocate for a regular meditation practice (even 10 minutes per day) and pacing of daily activities, so that you can sustain your activities without getting into bust mode and having a pain flare, that means you can’t do anything!

I hope these ideas have been a useful starting point to your reflections. Any questions please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me.

 

Warm wishes,

Mary

 

Self-Care

Self-Care

What is self-care and why is it important?

 

I am really interested to find out today what you know about self-care and why this might be important for you and your well-being?

As a trainee Counsellor we are taught that self-care is essential for us in the counselling profession. It is written into the ethical framework of good counselling practice, as published by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP for short!).

Basically as a Counsellor it is essential to balance both work with clients and home life, in order to maintain the optimum health and well-being of the Counsellor. So that as a Counsellor we can be fully present with and of most help to our clients during sessions. As the picture above says, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”.

I would say that this way of working is essential to everyone, balancing your own needs, both physical and mental, with the obligations of your own working life, or other roles that you may have in life, such as parenthood. So that you can maintain yourself in optimum health and well-being and avoid ‘burn out’, due to prolonged stress and exhaustion.

As a person with chronic pain, or other long-term health condition, if you can look after yourself through self-care, in my experience this will help to turn down the volume of your pain (or other symptoms). By turning down the volume of your pain through self-care activities, the pain becomes more of a background noise, rather than the pain taking the driving seat and taking over control of your body and your life.

I did a presentation on self-care at college and a really helpful resource that I came across when preparing my presentation was the self-care wheel.

I have included two different versions of the self-care wheel, as follows:

Wellness-Wheel-2015.Clear_

 

Self-Care-Wheel-English

The self-care wheels split up different areas of your life that you might want to look at and offers suggestions on ways that you can cultivate more of the different areas in your life, in order to find more of a balance.

So, if you wish to you could look at one area of the wheel over a period of time, maybe a month (or more) and have a go at some of the activities mentioned. For example, if you were looking to work on the spiritual side of yourself you could potentially go outside into nature, take a yoga class, meditate, or volunteer for a local charity, or cause that is close to your heart. Have fun with it and see what happens…

If you wanted to work on your psychological health, you might decide to find a counsellor, or mentor to work with. You could read a self-help book, journal about what is on your mind, or take up drawing, or painting. All very helpful ways to work with exploring your emotions.

Here are some ways that I have been working with self-care over the last couple of days:

1. Mindful colouring and drawing.

I find both of these activities really helpful to relax and unwind.

With mindful colouring you can pick up adult colouring books virtually anywhere and they are not too expensive. You can use coloured pencils, or felt pens, again these don’t have to be too expensive either. Then if you have a spare 10-20 minutes per day it is an easy way to care for yourself.

2. Meditation

As I mentioned on a previous post, I have the Mindfulness for Health audio book on my phone and tend to listen to the meditations from the Mindfulness for Health course from my phone, either in bed, or when I am out and about. The meditations are only 10 minutes long, so I find they quite easily fit into my day.

If you are after different, or slightly longer versions of the meditations from Breathworks they are also freely available on Sound cloud, or You Tube.

Another source of meditations that I highly recommend if you have a Smart phone, is the Calm app:

It costs something like £3 for the year and they have a number of different meditation programs to follow, for things like sleep, managing stress, managing anxiety, 7 days of happiness, 7 days of gratitude, 7 days of self-esteem, loving kindness etc… Also if you have trouble sleeping they also have a section of sleep stories. I have found these to be really helpful at times when I have trouble sleeping.

 

Have fun with looking at self-care and what this might look like and feel like for you in your life.

Best wishes,

Mary 🙂