Whats in your self care tool kit ?

There are times in all our lives when we are under stress and everything starts to feel overwhelming. This is often when we are in a permanent state of ‘fight or flight’ and it is during these times that you need to have a good self care tool kit.

During times of extreme stress, good self care and making time to take care of yourself in little ways every day, becomes increasingly important.

Here is my self care tool kit i.e. the things I do when things start to feel overwhelming.

Do something physical-exercise is a great way to use up the hormones released by the fight or flight response

  • For me getting out in the fresh air and taking my dogs for a walk is a great stress reliever.
  • Gardening
  • Take a Pilates or exercise class
  • Go for a run
  • Go swimming
  • Housework can be surprisingly effective if done to some uptempo music

Spend time on hobbies

  • Spend time doing the things you love to do and that make you smile even if its just for 15 minutes a day. Those 15 minutes add up !

Do something relaxing

  • Hot bath by candlelight with calming music is a favourite of mine
  • Watch a chick flick
  • Cook or bake-this can be surprisingly relaxing if it is not pressured.
  • meal out
  • Take a Yoga or mindfulness session

Do something you have been putting off that you will feel better after you have done it

  • Tidy or re-organise your wardrobe
  • Clean out a cupboard or drawer
  • Declutter-very therapeutic

Meet up with friends

  • organise to meet for coffee or lunch or just a walk & talk
  • organise a girls only shopping trip
  • Join a book group

Plan something to look forward to

  • Maybe a weekend away
  • a meal out
  • have friends over for dinner
  • a holiday
  • a trip to the beach
  • a day trip somewhere new

Book some pamper treats just for you

  • a manicure or pedicure
  • a facial
  • a massage (very relaxing )
  • hairdresser

Learn something new

  • Attend a course
  • try a new hobby
  • Listen to an audiobook-I love audiobooks and find them very relaxing and reinvigorating.

Take care of your health

  • Book any healthcare or dental appointments you have been putting off

Support

  • talk to someone close either a family member or friend about whats stressing you
  • consider an online support group
  • join a support group
  • Join your local church

Your self care tool kit may be very different to mine. Its what works for you. Write a list and look at it when things start to feel overwhelming, and remember to practice some self care every day.

In our busy over scheduled days it can be all too easy to forget to look after our own needs both physical and spiritual. Make it an appointment in your diary to do something nice for yourself each day. That way it is more likely to happen.

 

How Life Upgrade has Helped Me

I was fortunate enough to attend Tracy Holloway’s Life Upgrade Foundation course for the second time last month.  Caught up with old friends and met some new ones.  Although I have done the course before and use Life Upgrade tools everyday, I still came away gaining a great deal.  During the course a few of us were discussing how difficult we find it to describe what Life Upgrade is all about.  I can say, however, some of the ways it has helped me:

I am a much happier and healthier person since discovering (and consistently using) Life Upgrade.  My stress levels are greatly reduced and if I ever do feel stressed I have the tools to deal with it effectively and efficiently.  I have found myself in situations which would have previously caused a great deal of stress and now feel calm and able to cope.  I am back in touch with my intuition and have the trust to follow it.  I am able to live in the present moment more and more, which is a wonderful place to be!  I rarely feel my mind racing with distracting thoughts; if I do I can use Life Upgrade to get back to the present again.  My life is now going in the direction I want it to and what’s more I know that things are only going to get better the more I use the Life Upgrade tools.

It is a joy to be sharing this with other people, as I know from personal experience how well it works.  I am constantly amazed at how the body and mind (when in harmony) can work wonders for health and well-being.  I am privileged to be working in this field and to be able to maintain a feeling of wonder at how amazing we really are!

If you would like to try out the Life Upgrade system I can give you a session, which is a demonstration of some of the tools.

After a session with me you will have some tools to use for yourself.   Using these tools consistently in your day-to-day life will allow you to see some of the potential of Life Upgrade.

To get the full benefit it is essential that you attend a course with Tracy Holloway.  I cannot recommend Tracy’s course highly enough for anyone who is looking to move forward in their lives.  www.tracyholloway.com

Spring News From Amy Marner

Birth Preparation

Relaxation For Pregnancy and Childbirth

Life Upgrade for Pregnancy and Childbirth

Maternity Leave

Feels funny calling this a Spring newsletter with this fantastic warm weather we are having!  I hope you have all had a chance to enjoy the sunshine.

Birth Preparation

I have now begun to support women in preparing for their birthing experience.  As some of you already know I am keen to support women to have a positive birthing experience and now, as well as providing positive birthing stories, I am also offering Tracy Holloway’s ‘Relaxation for Pregnancy and Childbirth’ Hypnosis CDs and Life Upgrade sessions for those women who wish to address their fears during pregnancy and childbirth.

Relaxation For Pregnancy and Childbirth

“By taking time to relax deeply, women can tap into their innate wisdom, trust their birthing body, remain calm and feel confident – throughout pregnancy and birth.” Tracy Holloway.  For more details about the benefits of these Hypnosis CDs please visit my website.

Life Upgrade for Pregnancy and Childbirth

Life Upgrade is a great for women who have fears about pregnancy and/or childbirth.  It is an effective system for addressing fears and allowing women to live in the moment happily without letting their worries take over.

Life Upgrade is helpful for any fears, which pregnancy and childbirth can bring up however I have experience working with women who fear miscarriage, have fears surrounding the birth, and fears that may arise for those who are pregnant due to IVF treatment.

It’s also a great system for use during labour to remain focused and in the moment clearing any fears that may come up.  What’s more the tools are extremely helpful for the parenting to come!

My Website has more details:

Maternity Leave

As I am currently 8 Months pregnant I am planning to take some time out from clients as soon as my baby is born.  I will be back in October 2011.  If you know someone who you feel needs some support before I am back feel free to get in touch as I do have a couple of excellent practitioners I can refer them to.

In the meantime the Hypnosis and Meditation CDs will still be available from my website.

 

A Positive Change For Fertility Solutions Programme

My Fertility Solutions sessions no longer contain Theta Healing I now use Life Upgrade with all my Fertility clients.  If you have read some of my other blogs you may well be wondering why I have made this change.

What Life Upgrade has done for me.

I have adapted the way I work because of my own experiences and what I have found to be helpful for myself.  I have found Life Upgrade transformational in supporting my own well being and reproductive health.  I have successfully used Life Upgrade in my day-to-day life to lower my stress levels.  Not only has Life Upgrade helped me reduce stress it has also improved my physical health.  I have Endometriosis and up until recently have experienced debilitating pain for 1-3 days each month.  I have found that through using Life Upgrade tools I can manage my pain.  I am now able to be active on those days when formerly I would have been unable to move.  I have seen such a dramatic shift in the pain I experience I firmly believe it is possible for me to experience a period without pain if I continue to use Life Upgrade tools.

So What is Life Upgrade?

Rather than an alternative therapy, Life Upgrade is a system which allows you to become more present in your day-to-day life.  It gives you simple tools that support the release of negative thoughts running through your conscious and subconscious mind which have such an impact on the way you feel.  Letting go of those thoughts and feelings allows you to move forward and live your life, whatever else is going on.  In doing this you are also supporting your well-being as a whole, physically and emotionally, as when we are in the present moment our body and mind is free from the distractions that create ill health and unhappiness.  The beauty of it is it is truly empowering; you are the one in control, you can deal with those thoughts and emotions as they come up rather than having to wait for your next session with a practitioner.

What does this mean for Fertility Solutions?

The framework for the Fertility Solutions is still the same.  There is a Free Initial Consultation so I can assess your needs followed by six sessions specifically designed for you as an individual.  Through each session I will guide you through Life Upgrade tools to support your health and well-being.  From the first planned session you will be able to take home the basic tools and use them in your own time.  Using the Life Upgrade tools consistently will transform your Fertility Journey so you can continue to live your life and find enjoyment, what is more living in the moment increases your chances of conception.  The programme still involves hypnosis CDs to support your Fertility Journey.

Who is Fertility Solutions Suitable For?

Fertility Solutions is suitable for anyone who is on their fertility journey and would like to support themselves to cope better from day-to-day.  It is suitable for those who are experiencing ‘unexplained infertility’ and those with physical symptoms which are effecting their fertility (e.g. Polycystic Ovaries, Endometriosis, Fibroids and other complaints).  It is suitable for those who simply wish to improve their reproductive health and those who have decided to end their fertility journey and wish to live a fulfilling life without children.

Going in Circles With Infertility and Stress – Part Two

Take a Time-Out to Control Your Stress 

Liken the accumulation of stress from infertility to a traffic accident in which the first car stops suddenly. No one has been injured and the damage from the two-car accident is contained, but neither of the parties has put out flares signalling danger.  As a result, each successive car behind them piles up, multiplying the level of damage.  Similarly, small signs of stress like nail-biting or cranky behaviour, may seem harmless, but you don’t have to be falling apart to internalize damage.  If your ultimate goal is to become pregnant, your initial, short term goal must be to lower your level of stress, clearing a space for the work to begin.  Then, keep it clear throughout your attempt to conceive.  

If you are aware of areas of your life in which stress shows up, the next step is to acknowledge the stressor and change your response to it. When you feel your personal signs of stress creeping up, you can deal with them on the spot by practicing this short visualization technique I call a time-out. 

Time-Out – I call this visualization a time-out because all it takes is excusing yourself for a few minutes. When you become practiced at it, it feels like you have had a mini-holiday. It is useful in a few ways.  

  • Replacement – By focusing on an image in your “mind’s eye,” you block out the image corresponding to your stressor.
  • Relief – Placing yourself within the positive image/scenario you have chosen, and imagining its sights, sounds, smells and tastes, helps to break the emotional connection you felt in response to the stressor.
  • Rapid – It’s a quick fix, free of cost and no prescription needed.
  • Restorative – It is very empowering. Mastering the visualization allows you to re-gain control of your stress and restore calm.    

Take Two – A 2-minute visualization exercise can be slipped into your daily life without attracting attention.  Whether you are working, busy with your family, at a party or involved in a project, it is easy to slip away for two minutes at a time.   Any Time, Anywhere – Privacy and safety are the two required elements, in order to allow you to break the connection with your current environment. Be creative; you can find privacy in the busiest places: empty offices, walk-in closets, the loo or even sitting in the car on your own driveway. In order to reach that quiet space inside, it may take four or five minutes at first, but with some practice, you will be able to reduce the time it takes to regain control to about two minutes. Please use caution and do not practice it while driving.  Pull the car over to the side of the road if necessary.  Define Your Image – Close your eyes. Isolate a specific image, real or fantasy, which evokes a 100% positive feeling. If an image of your last beach vacation, however lovely, brings up the nagging feeling that you didn’t look great in your bikini, it isn’t the right image for this exercise. Your image can be a frozen moment in time, such as the kiss at your wedding ceremony, or a conjured image of a beautiful place you will go in the future. Let your mind play on this image, vivid detail and colour, sharpening the detail. Imagine that you can smell the air, hear the sounds and even taste something that is evocative of the memory or fantasy of your choice. This image should make you smile. The emotions evoked by your image might be peace, happiness, confidence, contentment, hope or a mixture of other positive feelings.   Write Your Story – Silently, describe the scene to yourself as if narrating a script. For example: “I am dressed in white, on the silvery-grey, wooden deck of my house. I am looking down at miles of virtually empty beach. The ocean is deep blue and turquoise; the sky melts into the horizon. The late afternoon sun is making millions of white, jewelled ribbons dance on the water.  I see a few people walking or sitting and enjoying the peaceful day.”  Now you know mine; it’s your turn. Make it as real in your mind as you can. Are your feet bare? What is the surface under your feet? Is your skin cool, warm or hot? What do you hear, smell and taste?  Are you alone, or with others?  

A Good Place

To Begin Every Day – Use your Time-Out to start each day until it becomes habit and you can fit the exercise into two minutes. This works well for clearing any non-specific stress; you know, the feeling that you want to crawl back under the duvet rather than face the day.  A good place for this is in your morning shower, because it’s private, you feel the pleasant sensation of the water and it blocks out most noise.  

Step by step:

  • Relax – Close your eyes and breathe fully and slowly several times. Concentrate on your breathing for as long as it takes to empty your mind enough to begin the visualization. Invite your positive image into your mind, filling out “the frame” with the context that envelops that beautiful image.
  • Drop yourself in to your visualization. If you are a fan of Star Trek, you can imagine “beaming down to the planet.” I prefer to use a different technique:  It feels as if an artist suddenly changed a 2-dimensional picture into a 3-dimensional environment that you can enter.  Imagine that image slip like a liquid over your head and down your body until you see yourself clothed and positioned as you were during the first Time-Out.
  • Become One with your image – Focus on and isolate each part of your body and “feel” them connect with the physicality of air, earth or water in the place you imagine yourself to be. Direct your mind to travel up your body, recognizing the sensations you feel, from toes to shoulders, and then out to each hand, up your neck and to your head.
  • Emotionally connect to your image – allow yourself to recognize the feelings conjured by your visualization. This is like “getting into character” for your own dramatic performance. Are you: euphorically in love? Flush with success?  Comforted by an embrace? Peaceful and still? Dazzled by beauty? Exhilarated by speed?
  • Lock it all in – Bring your arms up and wrap them around yourself. First you were part of a positive image; now draw that positivity into you and lock it in with a hug. I find that the physical embrace centres and comforts me. Try it, especially if you have been feeling tired, lonely, fearful or shaky. If you are not in a private enough space, you may feel it is enough to just clasp your two hands together in a firm grip.
  • Acknowledge that you will have challenges during the day and that you are strong enough to embrace them without fear of over-reacting. Then, shake your arms out and slowly open your eyes.
  • Repeat your visualization however often you feel the need. 

If ever you can’t relax enough to bring up your Time-Out image, use props and your other senses to give you a prompt:

  • When you open your eyes, write down what you saw in your mind’s eye, in a very descriptive way. This is one place that the gratitude journal really comes in handy. Knowing that you are doing something positive for yourself is very empowering. The physicality of writing and seeing your description on paper will further anchor the image and your positive response to it, and you will have it to look back at if need be. 
  • Practice your visualization while holding a talisman in your hand.  Then whenever you feel stress rising, hold and rub it between your fingers. I use a tiny silver ball with the faint, twinkling sound of chimes, to trigger both visual and auditory memories of my happy place.

I would be very interested to hear from you about your use of the Time-Out exercise; what your image is and how well it works as a stress reliever. 

My blog is http://yourgreatlife.typepad.comMy website is http://yourgreatlife.co.uk Contact information:  020 8954 2897 or lisa@yourgreatlife.co.uk

What are you going to do to have fun ?

It is a gorgeous sunny morning again here today-it has been a great September so far .

As it is Friday, I am thinking about what we are going to do for the weekend to have some fun & relaxation. We all need some fun in our lives whatever else is going on.

Trying to conceive can be great fun (unprotected sex for starters) but when things do not happen quickly or there are problems, it can turn something that was fun into a cause of stress.

At times of stress it is particularly important to find ways of putting fun back into our lives & also making time to relax.

How you do this varies from person to person. The first thing is to recognise that you need this.

Fun & laughter releases endorphins that make us feel positive and that life is worth living. Without fun in our lives things can become very montonous.

First thing is to make time for fun-avoid overscheduling yourself with things that are not fun.

Make having some fun a priority-even if its just 5 minutes a day.

Plan today what you are going to do as a couple to have some fun this coming weekend.

Here are some suggestions for September weekend fun:

  • A long lie in Saturday morning reading magazines in bed
  • Breakfast in bed
  • A long walk in the sun together
  • A bike ride
  • Blackberry picking & making jam
  • Lunch out together
  • Gardening together-maybe plant some bulbs
  • Cook together
  • A long hot bubble bath (maybe together)
  • Watch a good film or some tv- the X factor is great fun
  • Just for fun sex

These are just a few ideas, yours may be very different-whatever is fun for you

 Have a great weekend.

Keeping hope alive

I read this great quote today and it really struck a cord with me that I wanted to share with you

”Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there semed to be no hope at all.”
— Dale Carnegie

If you have any great quotes that inspire you or have kept you going through tough times, please post them in the blog comments

Pregnancy after Miscarriage – Anxiety, Expectations and Hope

So, you’re pregnant again after a miscarriage.  You may have let nature take its course, or gone through another cycle of assisted conception.  Either way, you have achieved your goal, and it was supposed to feel like a triumph, worthy of celebration.  But, now that you are there, how do you really feel about it?

 Start at the beginning – Women, who are trying to become pregnant after having experienced one or more miscarriages, often express desperation to become pregnant again and then experience a huge range of emotions about this next pregnancy, including everything from hopeful but mildly worried, to terrified. Because I often work with women who are still feeling the emotional, and even the physical, effects of their loss, we tend to focus on making sense of facts and recognizing feelings: shock, grief, guilt, blame, loss of hope and confidence. I like to go back and work through her expectations around that previous pregnancy. Then, it is easier to understand the reason for, and the depth of, her feelings about her miscarriage and gain some degree of closure. 

 Shattered dreams, plans and self-esteem – For example, especially if it was a woman’s first pregnancy, the pictures in her mind of how that pregnancy would unfold will have shattered.  She may have spent considerable time, even in the short period of a first trimester pregnancy, falling in love with her baby.  If it was an unexpected pregnancy, she may have had to come around to the idea and begun making mental adjustments to the unfamiliar territory of motherhood. Perhaps she focused on romantic daydreams of herself and her partner experiencing a new, intimate connection with each other over her swelling, pregnant belly.  So, on top of her grief over the baby she will never know, she could also be missing the specialness of that imagined, future time in her relationship.  He may or may not be aware of that aspect of her emotional response to the miscarriage. She may also have expected the pregnancy and her child’s birth to transform her in some way: to give her more significance: mother, mother of his baby, mother of someone’s grandchild, part of the “club” of friends who are mothers, or on the same level as her sisters who have children. Not only could miscarriage mean she had failed in her own eyes, she could perceive that she is a failure in the eyes of others, even when it isn’t true.

Walking on Eggshells – What happens to this couple when they are fortunate to conceive again? In my experience, no matter how often a woman reads or hears that many couples go on to have a healthy, full-term baby after experiencing miscarriage, there is a lot of walking on eggshells in a subsequent pregnancy.  If she excitedly discussed her previous pregnancy with family, friends and colleagues, she may not even tell anyone she is pregnant again. To some extent, it is impossible to suspend fear entirely because we have the negative memories of having placed our trust in God, medicine or both and it resulting in enormous pain.  In the new pregnancy, that trust is somewhat reduced in all except those who have absolute, blind faith that a Higher Power will deliver what is meant to be. The need to exert control over something that is largely out of our control is all so understandable, and at the same time, such a shame because it means that she will experience less unreserved joy.

Achieving a Deeper Level of Understanding – In trying to support a woman through this next pregnancy, I believe that the best route is to go back to the basics: her identity, her values, what she wants out of life, her level of satisfaction with all aspects of herself and her lifestyle, sorting out her wants from her needs, and measuring her competing interests. To each of these areas, I would ask her to reflect upon how any of them was changed by her experience of miscarriage and finally, to anticipate how they will be changed by having the child she now carries.  The progression of the coaching process will reveal, layer by layer, how deeply she believes in herself, where her strength lies and how she will use it, no matter what lies ahead.  Those are the qualities that will make her a good mother and provide them both with a great life. 

Self-Coaching – If you want to do this for yourself, I suggest that you buy a journal with lined paper and set it up for a self-coaching process by putting each of the categories (previous pregnancy, miscarriage, subsequent pregnancy) above at the top of separate pages, with several pages in between each, headed by the sub-categories (ex. Who am I? My values, my aspirations, what I need to be happy, my satisfaction level at the particular time, my strengths, my frustrations, my expectations, how any of this has changed, etc…) Then, write on them at your own pace; whenever a flash of insight occurs, or in purposeful sessions. Don’t worry about your language or whether you are “making sense.” This is just for you. It is not about gaining an explanation for your miscarriage; it is about understanding yourself and what you want, accepting that there are no guarantees in life and opening the door to what is to come.

Supporting Her – This way of going back to the beginning, before the trauma of the loss, can, work for those closest to her as well; encouraging her to talk about her first pregnancy, this one and what makes her to want to become a mother. It is important to pay attention to her signals of being willing, ready and able to talk.  However, you can communicate a state of openness, verbally or through body language.  Looking directly into her eyes will show emotional availability and not expressing any criticism about how she is acting will go a long way toward building trust. Please, don’t ever try to stifle her by saying “Forget about it. Surely it won’t happen again.” You can’t give her any guarantees and may provoke resentment, anger or being misunderstood. She is not looking for you to solve her problems; she may just need you to listen and give sincere comfort.Instead of shutting off those dreams and memories that existed in her with the previous pregnancy, I would encourage them to flow. They are the reason that she is risking her body, heart and mind again.  By remembering and talking about her positive reasons for conceiving and carrying the first baby, she can reach a level of acceptance and underlying strength to move forward into the new pregnancy with renewed courage.  She deserves to embrace and enjoy carrying this child who is, at no other time, more a part of her than right now.

Lisa Marsh is a fertility coach, supporting those who are trying to conceive, experiencing loss, secondary infertility, assisted conception, alternative parenting and loss of fertility through illness, medical treatment and menopause. You can find out more about Lisa’s work by visiting her blog: http://yourgreatlife.typepad.com or contact her directly at lisa@yourgreatlife.co.uk .