All posts tagged: wellbeingblog

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. …

Meditation Apps: To Calm or to Headspace?

I mourn the days when I had a brick phone that could be dropped down six flights of stairs and be completely fine. I miss having my black block that rang when I was called and beeped when I had a text. I miss snake, I miss the simplicity of it. It’s taken me quite a long time to get over the fact that the world isn’t going to go back to these friendly non-invasive blocks. It’s taken me a little while to realise that I am probably being nostalgic about my old phone and my old relationship with technology. The truth is, I’m not going back… So the question is how do I make my smart phone something that allows me to feel free and to benefit from it; without the pitfalls of the social media hamster wheel and the illusion that I am free to be contacted any time of the day or night. For me, finding meditation apps has been a huge tick in the smart phone’s favour. I’m a big fan …

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 …

Values Work: Creating Your Own Cornerstones

Spending time reflecting will look different for all of us. I find looking at art in books or from galleries I’ve visited calms my mind and allows space to reflect. This beauty is from the York Gallery Collection. After a week of reflection I’ve come to the conclusion that the change that needs to happen within me has to be anchored in me. If I want to seed change outwardly and be part of a movement of change it must first start at home. This is where working with our core values comes in. Living in accordance with our values can help us find a way to living authentically and feeling justified in our decisions by surrounding ourselves by what matters most to us. Values can act as anchors that we can draw strength from when we are in need of stabilising. One of the ways that we can unearth our values is by finding key words that speak to you and then create your own definition for your values. So grab a note book …

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 …

Living in the Here and Now: When did it get so complicated?

Whenever I hear about mindfulness a small part of me draws away feeling slightly cynical, and honestly, a little fatigued with it’s perfect ‘zen’ image. When I think about mindfulness I think of google executives in flip flops, or yoga gurus with flat stomachs and unflappable self-discipline. People who are ‘mindful’ don’t demolish an entire pack of Jaffa Cakes while writing blog posts… Why is that? I’m not sure why or when mindfulness got to be so complicated; so unattainable. Yet, for many of us the idea of creating a mindfulness practice seems a far off, distant state of being. In my work this has been something I’ve really had to grapple with. There is compelling evidence and research about mindfulness and how it can improve our mental and physical health. For example; A 2011 systematic review of more than 20 randomised controlled trials successfully demonstrated improvements in overall mental health, as well as its benefits for reducing risk of relapse from depression. Similarly, substantial evidence within these trails points towards mindfulness as having a …

Same storm, not the same boat…and Wonderland Wisdom

Lately the world feels as if its tipped us all into an alternate reality. I’ve heard a lot of people using the phrase: ‘we are all in the same boat’ and honestly, I couldn’t disagree more emphatically. We are within the same global storm, but we are not in the same boat. Some of our boats are huge battleships that will feel only the rocking of this storm as gentle nudges. Some of us are in a dingy clinging on for dear life having already lost the life jackets long before the waves started building. Wherever you are on this spectrum I hope that a safe harbour will be in your future soon. I hope you can find ways to show yourself love and compassion. It will look different for everyone…because we are not in the same boat. Recently, I’ve not been able to get a quote from Alice in Wonderland out of my head. It keeps popping up in my mind. Alice says: “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a …

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 …