Did you know that it takes 30 days to form a new habit, or break an old one? If you’ve been wanting to make a change in your life – large or small – why not embrace the idea of a 30-day-challenge to see if you can make a positive impact?
If you need a bit of help or a large dose of inspiration, we recommend watching the short Ted Talk above, given by Matt Cutts 5 years ago.
Committing to a 30-day challenge can make a huge difference in your life in so many ways. By setting aside just a small amount of time every day for a month to devote to whatever challenge you’ve set yourself, you can gain more self confidence, feel empowered, more adventurous or simply happier with yourself.
Rather than trying to overhaul all your bad habits at once or make a drastic change to your routine which will be hard to sustain, you’ll be making tiny, almost imperceptible but progressive changes one day at a time, building upon your successes day by day.
Here are just some ideas of the sorts of 30-day-challenges you might like to consider.
Tackle an unhealthy habit
Whether you bite your nails, eat too much chocolate or don’t get enough sleep, use the 30-day-challenge to help you get on top of your unhealthy habit. Take it one day at a time and promise yourself a meaningful reward at the end of the month for having stuck to the challenge. If you need to, tell yourself that it’s only for 30 days – you can always go back to your old habits if you really want to. At the end of the period, check in with yourself and see what you want to do.
Spend more time outdoors
Are you spending the majority of your days inside, either at work or at home, and possibly spending too much time in front of a computer screen? Fresh air and exercise can do wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing. Why not challenge yourself to get outside at least once every day? Whether you simply sit outside and fill your lungs with fresh air, go for a walk around the block or resolve to walk to work instead of taking the car, even small amounts of outside time will help you feel calmer and more centred.
Take a digital detox
From smartphones and tablets to social media, TV and computers, it’s easy to become used to the digital world. Make a conscious effort to reconnect with the real world by restricting your access to digital technology for 30 days. Try to use your smartphone for phone calls only, don’t watch TV and keep the computer switched off outside of work. You’ll be surprised at home much time is suddenly available for real life activities, hobbies, meeting friends and generally being more present in the moment.
Carry out acts of kindness
Making other people feel good is a sure fire way to put a smile on your face too. Spend 30 days doing a good deed every day, completing a random act of kindness or giving someone a compliment. If you’re not sure how to do this, take inspiration from the Pay It Forward Foundation or the Random Act of Kindness Foundation, both of which are dedicated to spreading kindness throughout the world to change people’s perceptions and experience and make the world a happier place.
Take more exercise
We should all take more exercise but often life (and lack of motivation) gets in the way. Setting yourself a specific, measurable goal for only 30 days may be the perfect way to break through the mental barrier and get moving. Whether you commit to 30 Days of Yoga, take the 30-day abs challenge, or simply add 30 minutes of exercise into your daily schedule, you will feel more energised and positive at the end of the month.
Declutter for 30 days
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of ‘stuff’ you’ve accumulated but feel unable to gain control, a 30-day-challenge may be just the thing you need. Resolve to get rid of one item every day – either sell it, give it away or throw it away. Start the process of freeing up space in your home and marvel at the difference a little bit of decluttering can make after only a month. You may feel so liberated that you decide to keep going!
Keep a gratitude journal
If you feel that your life is in a rut and nothing great ever happens, it’s a good idea to count your blessings. A genius way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal. The idea is to think of at least one good thing that happened to you every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny thing (‘a nice sunny day’) or a big deal (‘got a pay rise’) – what’s important is to refocus your mind to see and appreciate all the good things that do invariably happen. Write it down in a journal and review all your positive experiences after 30 days.
Whatever you feel may need attention in your life, KlearMinds have a team of expert counsellors that have helped many people overcome a wide range of concerns, empowering them with the skills to maintain happier and more fulfilled lives. For a confidential chat or to book an appointment, please contact us.
If you’re at the midpoint of your life and your first career is leaving your bored, empty or worn out, it may be time to find a new path. But how? And to do what? Are you itching to make a mark on the world by starting your own business or write a novel? Do you feel the need to give back to society, or simply slow down and do something more ‘meaningful’ with your life? Perhaps you’re just not sure?
Not only are these big questions to deal with, the implications of what you decide to do (or not do) will affect the rest of your life. That’s why it is important to resist the urge to find a quick solution and take your time to really do your homework.
Whether you call it soul searching or navel gazing, you need to be clear about who you are and what you want out of life. What makes you happy? What excites you and fills you with passion?
There are lots of tools you can use, tests you can take and questionnaires you can fill in to help you get closer to the answer. Some are free, some are self-assessment, some can be found online – but the most valuable ones will be guided by an experienced counsellor or coach to help you assess your skills, interests, values and personality traits so that you can make sense of the results.
Mine your own back story for clues
If you’re struggling to define the road map to your future, start by going back to your past. There’s no need to write your autobiography (though it’s an interesting exercise if you’re that way inclined) but do try to identify and write down critical events, significant achievements and influential relationships that have shaped your life.
As a result of this task, you may be surprised to find obvious answers to questions such as ‘What do I want more or less of in my life?’ or ‘What gives me most energy and pride in my job?’ or ‘What do I need to be happy?’
Don’t shy away from professional help
Misplaced pride or shyness have no place in your plans for a major life and career transition – you should use all the help you can find. Expert career coaches and counsellors are experienced in dealing with exactly your type of situation and can help you identify skills, set goals and draw up action plans, while providing emotional support throughout the process.
Financial planners are useful allies to help you crunch numbers and see whether your chosen new career or activity is affordable, how to optimise your funds and secure your retirement.
Put your toe in the water first
Research has shown that midlife adults have more success with experientially based rather than analytically based transitions. Often, it’s a case of trying out new ideas and seeing what works for you.
Take a business course and work in a small company to see if you’ve got what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Volunteer for an animal charity, work in a care home or become a teaching assistant to see if you’re cut out for a caring profession. Get qualifications on a part-time basis in your chosen field, be it stockbroking or publishing, gardening or yoga.
Dipping your toe in the water in this way allows you to gain hands-on experience, while minimising the risk, before you commit fully.
Contrary to popular belief, counselling doesn’t have to take place face to face. If you are seeking professional help for a mental health issue but find it inconvenient to come in for your sessions, online counselling may be the perfect solution for you.
According to recent research, online psychotherapy meetings can be just as effective as face-to-face consultations. And with modern digital communications technology such as Skype and FaceTime widely available, there’s no reason why you can’t access high quality counselling for a wide range of issues including anxiety and depression, relationship problems, career concerns and much more.
With the help of online coaching and counselling you can
Have sessions in the convenience of your own home, office or hotel at a time to suit you
Save on childcare and/or travel arrangements, time and expense
Access counselling even if you’re housebound, have a disability or limited mobility
An online psychologist can be particularly helpful in the following situations:
Your daily schedule may simply be too busy to take time out for a visit to see a counsellor. Rather than wasting precious time to get from A to B, why not save time and arrange a Skype session straight to your office desk?
If you live in a remote location, high quality counselling may not be available locally. The availability of online support will substantially broaden your reach of highly qualified and experienced counsellors who can help you tackle your concerns.
Are you a frequent traveller, spending much time abroad or away from home? Why not book a Skype session to avoid overly long gaps in between personal consultations to keep your progress on track?
Do you live abroad and would like to see a counsellor? Whether you are uncomfortable with the local language or can’t find a good English speaking counsellor where you are, online sessions will provide the required access to a high quality coaching and counselling service back home.
How does it work?
At KlearMinds, we offer counselling and psychotherapy via Skype or FaceTime with our highly experienced psychotherapist and psychologist Jo Frost. With over 14 years’ professional experience, she excels in helping people understand what is going wrong in their life, supporting them to find effective strategies to successfully address a wide range of issues such as panic disorders, bullying, low self esteem, bereavement, anger management, eating disorders etc.
To make contact, simply email KlearMinds or phone and request a Skype session. Jo will be in touch by email to arrange a mutually convenient time and to exchange contact details. And if you’re worried about the security of a Skype call, rest assured that Skype uses encrypted data transmission protocols that are the safest forms of internet security currently available.
Welcome to 2018! Whether or not you’re the type of person who makes New Year’s Resolutions, the beginning of the year is always a good opportunity to take stock of what’s gone well (or not so well) in the past year. Many people use the time between Christmas and New Year as a period of reflection, and to formulate a plan of action for the months ahead.
Fresh energy in January is a great idea to spur you on to make improvements in your life that can really benefit your mental health. But while it’s tempting to get carried away on a wave of ‘new year, new you’ initiatives, don’t forget that most New Year’s Resolutions will have failed by February. If you do decide to make an action plan for 2018, you need to give yourself the best chance of success.
Focus on doing something new rather than giving something up, to keep motivated. Choose small positive changes that will benefit your confidence and keep the momentum going. Here are 5 practical tips that can make a positive difference to your mental health in 2018.
1 – Start a gratitude diary
Make it a habit to write down 3 positive things that have happened to you each day. These don’t have to be major events, they can be small things such as ‘I went for a walk in the park’ or ‘I met up with a friend for lunch’.
Training to look at the good things that happen every day help to cultivate a positive mind set, which in turn will benefit your overall mental wellbeing.
2 – Practice meditation
Learning to meditate is a fantastic way to give your mind some much needed downtime. It’s not difficult to learn, and nor does it need to take up much time. If possible, try to fit 2 sessions into your day, even if it’s only 5 minutes each.
If you’re not sure how to get started, you may find it helpful to use an app to teach you the basics and guide you through your meditation. There are plenty of free ones available including Calm, Inscape, Headspace, Buddhify, Simple Habit and The Mindfulness App, making meditation accessible to everyone.
3 – Take up a hobby
The new year is a great time to start a new hobby or revisit an old one. If you’ve always wanted to play the piano, learn Spanish or take up hill walking, now is the perfect time to do it. Not only will learning a new skill be a confidence booster in itself, it will give you something to look forward to during the week and a chance to meet other like minded people.
Just remember to focus on enjoying the experience, rather than letting it become yet another pressure to achieve. While practice does indeed make perfect, it may be the journey rather than the destination that gives you the greatest pleasure.
4 – Treasure ‘me time’
If you work long hours, juggle work and family commitments and generally lead a busy lifestyle, it’s important to take time out just for yourself. That way, you can recharge your batteries ready for the next day, able to perform to your best ability. Being tired, stressed and permanently exhausted is no good for your mental health, your relationships, career or overall wellbeing.
‘Me time’ doesn’t have to mean an expensive holiday; it could be something as simple as soak in the bath and an early night, getting lost in a good book or a trip to a favourite art exhibition. The important thing is that you get to relax.
5 – Get professional support if necessary
If it feels as if everything is getting on top of your and you’re struggling to cope, you might benefit from professional support. Asking for help doesn’t come naturally to most of us but it can be an important first step to help you get better.
The KlearMinds team consists of experienced counsellors that are highly trained in a range of therapeutic approaches including counselling, psychotherapy, life coaching and cognitive behavioural therapy. We provide advice for a wide range of issues and can help you achieve fast, effective and lasting change.
If you wish to make contact, why not email us in confidence today?
The Christmas season is upon us and the team at KlearMinds would like to extend their very best wishes to all our clients past and present.
We all need a little help sometimes. With the right approach, positive change can happen fast. Our experienced therapists can help you understand the challenges you are facing and show you the steps you can take to make things better.
Our therapists have qualified from some of the UK’s foremost training institutions, with many years’ experience in working in the NHS, private practices and charity organisations. They are registered with recognised government bodies in the field: CPC, UKCP, BACP and BPS.
By choosing KlearMinds, you don’t just benefit from our team’s award winning leadership. Each of our therapists is trained in a range of counselling, life coaching and psychotherapy approaches. That way, we can tailor our approach to suit your learning style and give you the best opportunity for positive results.
“I had tried counselling before and thought it wasn’t for me. I now realise that finding the right counsellor makes all the difference. As a result I feel in control, grounded and confident in all parts of my life and most importantly, I feel capable of moving forward.”
“Outstanding at providing me with what I needed, not as a “quick fix” but by giving me the tools to use whenever I may need them in the future.”
“Straight away Maggie was warm, kind and understanding… I didn’t want to be in therapy for a long time, I just wanted to get better, get on with my life… I cannot recommend Maggie highly enough to you. Whilst life still presents me with challenges I can cope with them as I feel so much stronger now – I owe her much.”
“My relationship with my partner is now fantastic, as are my relationships with my family… I am so much happier now than I have been in many, many, years.”
What does Christmas mean to you? A huge Turkey Dinner followed by the Queen’s Speech? Lots of presents and an empty wallet? Partying through the season? While Christmas is a wonderful time of year, sometimes the real meaning can get lost in the frenzy of it all.
You don’t have to be religious to appreciate Christmas. Whether or not you celebrate Advent or go to Midnight Mass, it’s good for mind and soul to remind ourselves of the non-commercial aspects of the season and use the Christmas holiday as an annual break to recharge the batteries.
Practise kindness and generosity, charity and compassion and learn that giving from the heart can be the ultimate Christmas present to both the giver and receiver. Here are 7 ways to have a more meaningful Christmas.
1 – Give homemade gifts
Rather than spending big on presents just because it’s Christmas, why not get creative instead? Bake Christmas cookies, make your own Yule Log or cranberry sauce. How about a home made calendar with photos taken through the year? If you’re into needlework, handicrafts, creative writing, painting or music, use your talents to create personal gifts that have real meaning.
2 – Make time for the family
Christmas is a time for family, so make it a real priority to spend time together. Rather than putting the kids in front of the computer and the grandparents in front of the TV, go unplugged and do stuff together. Whether you play charades or board games, go for country walks or read stories to each other, the important thing is to appreciate everyone’s company and share the love.
3 – Talk about the meaning of Christmas
Why not have an open conversation with your family about what Christmas means to them? This will give every family member the opportunity to shape the festivities and create traditions that everyone will love. It might be going to Midnight Mass as a family, a favourite film you always watch together, the ritual of wrapping presents or making home made mince pies, the annual Pantomime outing – whatever makes you gel as a family.
4 – Have a ‘no presents’ policy
If your family is in agreement, why not use the money you would have spent on presents and make a donation to a good cause instead? You could go shopping for a local foodbank, give the money to a children’s charity or a homeless shelter to help those less fortunate than you. How about asking the children to choose one toy each that they would like to donate to a child who wouldn’t otherwise get any presents?
5 – Get out into the community
Christmas is a time for sharing, so why not share your time with friends and neighbours? Make your community a priority this Christmas and help out where you can. From going carol singing to inviting everyone back for Christmas drinks, from delivering home made cookies to your neighbours to distributing hot soup to the homeless, there are many ways you can connect with the local community.
6 – Share your good fortune
Look around your home – aren’t you blessed that you have so many things? Many people have less than you, for whatever reason, and simply cannot afford to celebrate Christmas. How about creating a stocking full of treats and gifts, or put together a food hamper, and place it on the doorstep of someone you know would really appreciate it? Or give your time freely to a community organisation to help with Christmas celebrations? Whether you help cook Christmas Dinner at your local church hall or look after abandoned pets, there’s always a way you can help.
7 – Setting good intentions
Rather than treating kindness and compassion as a seasonal activity, why not make plans to carry on through the next 12 months. Set out your intentions to do one good deed every day, and be grateful for one good thing that happens to you every day of the year. Studies have shown that consistent positive interactions and practising gratitude can increase happiness and decrease levels of depression.
Adult colouring books have been around for a few years now – have you tried them yet? It might be silly to think that something as simple as a colouring book could be beneficial to our health, but research does support this idea. In fact, the benefits for the adult brain from the simple act of colouring has been known for over 100 years, with many psychiatrists throughout history recommending the practice to their patients.
Relieves stress and worry
Colouring is said to have stress reducing benefits. It calms the part of the brain related to the stress/fear response and stimulates the part of the brain that is responsibility for logic and creativity. In 2005, a study documented reduced anxiety in participants after only a short time of colouring in geometric patterns. Colouring for at least 5 minutes before bedtime is said to help you sleep better, while colouring therapy is used experimentally to treat anxiety and stress related disorders.
Boosts concentration and creativity
Adult colouring books are becoming increasingly popular among creative professionals and executives in high stress jobs. The reason is that there’s evidence to suggest that even short colouring sessions can boost focus and concentration, spurring creativity. Some companies are so convinced of the benefits that they make time for group colouring sessions to improve the focus and creativity of employees working on a major project.
Has a calming, meditative effect on the mind
The psychological benefits of meditation and prayer are well known, but many people struggle to ‘switch off’ and calm the mind. Colouring is a hands-on activity that can be used to overcome this issue. It allows you to be active – to ‘do’ something – but without needing your full concentration. Studies have shown that colouring and similar activities have a meditative effect on the brain.
Improves relaxed and social interaction
Recently, colouring time has started to become a social activity, with many clubs and local community groups putting on ‘colouring’ meetings. Take your colouring book along and meet others who also enjoy colouring. Spend time focusing on this relaxing activity while having a natter and making new friends. As a social exercise, it’s a fun activity that you can even share with your kids!
As the days get shorter and the weather turns colder, winter can affect our mood in many ways. But if The Winter Blues leaves you feeling miserable, irritable and tired every year, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is a form of depression that can affect your mood, appetite, sleep and energy levels. It can play havoc with all aspects of your life – from your relationships and your social life to you sense of self-worth. You may feel that you’re a totally different person during the winter and find it tough to function normally. Then, come spring, it’s like a dark cloud has lifted and you can feel yourself again.
Treatment for SAD typically involves light therapy, using a light box that delivers up to 10x the intensity of normal daylight that is missing during wintertime. Daily exposure will trick the brain into producing less melatonin (the hormone that makes you feel sleepy and less energetic). Phototherapy is an effective treatment but it doesn’t work for everyone. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can also be highly beneficial for suffers of seasonal depression.
Whichever treatment plan you favour, it’s important to combine it with self-help techniques that will help you manage your symptoms. By adopting healthy daily habits and scheduling time for fun and relaxation into your day, seasonal affective disorder can be controlled in the short and longer term.
Top 5 Self Help Tips for SAD
1 – Get as much exposure to natural light as you can by spending time outdoors in the winter sunshine, and keep curtains and blinds wide open during sunny days. 2 – Take regular exercise (preferably outdoors!) – 30-60 minutes a day are recommended. It will help you boost all those feelgood brain chemicals, improve your sleep and self-esteem. 3 – Be social and reach out to friends and family, meet new people or take up a hobby. Being around other people will take you out of your shell and provide inspiration to make positive changes. 4 – Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to keep your energy up. Stay away from sugary foods and simple carbs, choosing whole grains instead to minimise mood swings. 5 – Beat stress and counteract negative feelings through daily relaxation techniques including yoga and meditation, and make time for fun activities that make you feel good.
If you feel that you would benefit from speaking to a trained counsellor or psychotherapist to discuss any of the issues mentioned above, please contact the KlearMinds team on 0333 772 0256 or email your enquiry to email@example.com. We are delighted to have helped many people overcome a wide range of concerns, empowering them with the skills to maintain happier and more fulfilled lives.
Regardless of how much energy you dedicate to your job or to other people, you need to ensure that you don’t neglect yourself. Looking after Number One is often easier said than done, but it’s important to find the right balance to ensure your wellbeing.
We all lead busy lives with never enough hours in the day to get everything done. Stress and anxiety disorders are common complaints in our 24/7 Western society. Admitting that your needs and wants are just as important as any item on your to-to list is the first step to a sustainable way of managing your life. You can’t be a superhero all the time; you’re human, after all.
1 – Are you neglecting your basic needs?
Skipping breakfast once in a while because you’re running late is fine, but making a habit of it is not healthy. Nor is getting only 5 hours sleep a night, or working 14 hours a day on a regular basis. Over time, these and similarly unhealthy habits mean that you’re depriving your body and mind of vital nutrients and rest.
If you’re not eating or sleeping properly, you’re literally running on empty, sacrificing your own health for your career. Without the energy to perform at your best, you won’t excel at work. In fact, your productivity is bound to suffer.
2 – Do you feel as if you’re stuck on autopilot?
Do you work to live or live to work? If your life is a case of ‘eat, sleep, work, repeat’, you may be stuck in a vicious circle that just allows you to go through the motions every day – with nothing left in the tank for anything other than the basic necessities.
What about your other needs? We all have emotional desires and social needs, and a drive for self-fulfilment. Crucially, we also need to get out there and experience all that life has to offer, rather than letting it pass us by.
3 – Are you always doing something for others?
While putting other people’s needs first can be a wonderful character trait, there are those who will take advantage of your good nature. If you’re a giving person, you will find it hard to say ‘no’ to others – but it’s essential for your own wellbeing to learn to define your boundaries.
You can’t give from an empty cup, as the saying goes. In order to stay strong, you need to protect yourself. Recognise when others are asking too much of you, and decline firmly but politely, putting your own needs first.
4 – Have you lost touch with friends or family?
When was the last time you met up with friends or family? If you’re spending too much time with co-workers who mean nothing to you on a personal level, your personal relationships with the people you love most will suffer as a result.
Make time for the people who matter to you. After all, which are you going to remember in 5 years’ time: the months you spent working late, or the times when you watched the kids perform in the school play?
5 – When was the last time you had fun?
When was the last time you left all your worries behind and just had fun? Perhaps you’re associating ‘fun’ with being a child, and feel guilty when you’re not working? Having a healthy work/life balance means that there should be regular time for enjoyment and relaxation in your life.
Make sure you ringfence some time for yourself and spend it on whatever makes you happy. Go for a walk in the country, eat an ice cream, take up a sport or a hobby, book a holiday.
6 – Can you remember who you are?
If you don’t take an active interest in yourself, then what are you left with? A humdrum existence that revolves around work and chores? Where is the person who once had hopes and dreams, who laughed and loved without the weight of the world on their shoulders?
Take some time out for yourself and find out what it is you need to do to get your life back on track. Life Coaching can be incredibly helpful to build confidence, overcome blocks to success and improve your quality of life. Call KlearMinds today on 0333 772 0256 or contact us here.
...I had tried counselling before and thought it wasn't for me. I now realise that finding the right counsellor makes all the difference. As a result I feel in control, grounded and confident in all parts of my life and most importantly, I feel capable of moving forward...
Overcoming Anxiety & Depression
Outstanding at providing me with what I needed, not as a "quick fix" but by giving me the tools to use whenever I may need them in the future...
Help with Bereavement & Depression
...Straight away Maggie was warm, kind and understanding... I didn’t want to be in therapy for a long time, I just wanted to get better, get on with my life... I cannot recommend Maggie highly enough to you. Whilst life still presents me with challenges I can cope with them as I feel so much stronger now – I owe her much.
Career & Relationship Therapy
My relationship with my partner is now fantastic, as are my relationships with my family... I am so much happier now than I have been in many, many, years....