All posts tagged: wellbeing

Hands and Hearts: An Activist and a Counsellor in Conversation

Jo has been a friend of mine for a few years now, so when she set up her new blog Climate.Emergence: http://www.climateemergence.co.uk I was so excited to find out more. Her blog is such a wonderful resource and so inspiring. Jo approached me and asked if I’d be interested in doing a joint blog post together. Of course I jumped at the opportunity to ask her some questions! We really hope you enjoy this collaborative blog post. Jo asks Rachael: 1.      What inspired you to become a counsellor? As part of my MA in 18th Century Literature, I took part in a year-long work placement. These were pretty randomly allocated and I got Sheffield Arts and Wellbeing Network (SAWN) which is an organisation that links people within the city who are promoting wellbeing within Sheffield. My role was to interview their members and to create blog post content for their website. I had a wonderful time meeting a huge variety of people from priests to hospital interior designers, artists and potters, poets and counsellors. One …

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,And sorry I could not travel bothAnd be one traveler, long I stoodAnd looked down one as far as I couldTo where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair,And having perhaps the better claim,Because it was grassy and wanted wear;Though as for that the passing thereHad worn them really about the same, And both that morning equally layIn leaves no step had trodden black.Oh, I kept the first for another day!Yet knowing how way leads on to way,I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sighSomewhere ages and ages hence:Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference. – The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost (1916) I love poetry. I think poetry has always had a healing quality for me. There is a beauty in taking something complicated; namely our human experience, then distilling an essence of that experience into a few short stanzas. …

Favourite Five Calming Reads

Books have always been a constant source of comfort and inspiration in my life. I think books are the reason I even found myself becoming a therapist. I’ve always loved narrative, I’ve always valued that glimpse into another person’s world view. Books have often been one of the most helpful companions to me in times of worry or distress. A cup of tea and a few minutes in a book can make a huge difference sometimes. The books I’ve listed below are just that; five of my favourite books to dip into if I’m needing a little grounding or a reminder to slow down. I’ve read A LOT of well being books in the last five years; these titles have stood the test of time and still bring me a lot of comfort and inspiration. ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down’ by Haemin Sunim Haemin is a Zen Buddhist Teacher and Monk from South Korea. I picked this book up from the National Trust on a drizzly walk on holiday as …

Some Thoughts on Setting Boundaries

“The only people who get upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who were benefiting from you having none” On Instagram several times a day! When I think of the word ‘boundary’ I have to say the connotations that come up for me are universally wary and cautious. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way about boundaries. For many people setting boundaries can feel deeply uncomfortable. I actually on some level disagree with the quote above. Change is difficult, it’s difficult for us as individuals to gain the self-awareness to change and then to action this outwardly. Often when change does occur it can lead to those closest to us feeling unsure, skeptical or even angry. It’s not a black and white situation of ‘us and them’, it’s nuanced and complex. I think this is why a lot of people avoid setting boundaries in the first place. This is especially true for those of us who are recovering people-pleasers or sensitive souls. It can mean exerting a lot of emotional …

Getting Started with Self-Care

‘Learning self-care is like building your own lifeboat, plank by plank. Once you’ve got your boat, you’ll still be rocked by the waves of life, but you’ll have a feeling of safety, and a stability that means you can pick other people up on your way.’ Quote from ‘Self -care for the Real World’ by Nadia Narain & Katia Narain Phillips One of the most common things that comes up in conversations I have about self-care is the idea of selfishness. That spending a portion of our most precious resource: our time, to nurture ourselves somehow means that we are neglecting other’s and our responsibilities to them. The second most common theme that seems to come up is time (and a supreme lack of it) to spend on self-care. I used to feel this way too. I used to feel self-indulgent and guilty if I sat in the garden reading or daydreaming. In busier seasons of my life I perpetually ‘prioritised’ other’s needs before my own and rarely had time for myself by the end …

Finding Calm Before Bed

I have never been a ‘good’ sleeper, I’m definitely a night owl. Roald Dahl put it beautifully in The BFG: “The witching hour, somebody had once whispered to her, was a special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world all to themselves.” The BFG by Roald Dahl I used to love that feeling; of having the world all to myself. I would regularly sit up til two in the morning reading. I would tip toe downstairs to the kitchen and watch the foxes from the backdoor ferry their young across the garden by the scruff of their necks. I adored the stillness of the night. The soft murmur of the wind on the roof, the dart of a bat in the corner of my eye. For some reason it energised me, my imagination would zip into life. Wired, wide awake. Alive, when everyone else was away. This is still very …

Soulful Sentences: Why I keep coming back to the humble journal.

When I was a kid I was very dedicated to my journal. I would religiously write my thoughts, ideas and grievances into its glitter edged pages with my special fluffy pen. I have always been curious about my brain, my mind; what it is that makes me tick. I sometimes find my thoughts to be like unwelcome strangers that need to be put on trial or shown the back door. Sometimes my mind is a very loud place to inhabit and I know I’m not the only one to feel this way. In my early twenties I wrote poetry in my journal. I found something deeply soothing about taking big emotions and condensing them onto a single page within the confines of a structure. These thoughts and feelings no longer felt so intimidating when they sat within their poetic cages sandwiched between sheets of paper. I had control over them, and somehow their power lost some of its grip on me. To me journaling holds a secret nature. My journal has always had a hidden …