It’s a new year and with that comes the desire to transform ourselves with lofty goals and resolutions. But as anyone who has previously set New Year’s resolutions will know, sticking to these big plans can be tough. You might be so overwhelmed that you don’t even start, or you might meet a hurdle after a few days or weeks which throws you off your stride, so you give up completely.
Luckily, making positive changes that will impact your mental health and physical wellbeing doesn’t need to be complicated. It’s simply a matter of taking small steps that build over the course of the year. These are a few examples of easy resolutions you can make for a happier and healthier future.
Take a digital detox
Social media is addictive, and it can take up a big chunk of the day if you’re not conscious of your usage. Not only does this waste time during the day, but it can also lead to you becoming anxious, angry or frustrated if you’re following accounts that trigger these emotions in you. An easy fix that boosts your mental health considerably is to carry out a detox and unfollow or mute accounts and channels that make you feel uncomfortable.
Focus on your relationships
Investing in the relationships in your life is always time well spent, whether that’s prioritising friendships, spending more quality time with your kids or taking time out of your busy schedule to reconnect with your partner. And it doesn’t need to be complicated – use your commute to call a friend for a catch-up, for example, or have a ‘no phones’ rule at the dinner table so you and your family can talk and have a meaningful conversation. It can reduce stress and helps you to improve communication with those around you.
Improve your sleep routine
Sleep is essential to so many aspects of our lives, from our ability to focus throughout the day to our anxiety and stress levels. Establishing a healthy sleep routine is something that’s relatively simple to do but the impact on your physical and mental health will be huge. One way to make it easier to drift off at night is to move your smartphone to a different room – the lights and notifications on your phone can keep you distracted and make it harder to fall asleep. Wind down an hour or so before you head to bed by reading a book, keeping a journal or listening to calming music to help your mind slow down and prepare for sleep.
Practice CBT techniques
Mental health has been more of a focus for so many people in recent years, and combatting negative thoughts is one way to aid your mental health journey. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT, techniques can be effective in tackling negative thoughts and anxious thinking. You can practise these techniques using CBT apps or by working with a CBT therapist who can help you identify the triggers for your negative thoughts and techniques to help you break the pattern. CBT can help you to redirect your thought processes to a place of gratitude and positivity, focusing on the present rather than the past, which can put you in a more positive, healthier mental state.
Small steps can lead to big changes
New Year’s resolutions can often be overwhelming – we feel as though we need to completely overhaul multiple areas of our lives at once, and that can be difficult to keep up with. But making small changes that will help you work towards a healthier mindset and a more positive lifestyle feel a lot more manageable and easier to stay on top of. These changes are great to adopt at any time of year, not just on the 1st of January.
At KlearMinds, we offer a range of services which can empower you with effective tools to make positive changes for your mental health; from life coaching and career guidance to CBT and counselling. Get in touch with our friendly team today to find out more.
The average person spends 26 years of their life sleeping. Surprisingly we also spend 7 years trying to get to sleep, so that’s 33 years spent in bed. So, sleep is pretty special as it boosts our mental and physical well-being, including immunity, weight regulation and even fertility.
Why can’t I sleep?
There are many reasons for not sleeping, which may include distress, physical discomfort, or illness. Our sleep needs may also vary, for example, a baby starts life needing 16 hours or so of sleep, and the time we need for sleep decreases as we get older. An older adult may only need 4-6 hours a night. We might struggle to get off to sleep, perhaps waking up frequently during the night, or wake early in the morning and not be able to get back to sleep. These all result in our feeling that we haven’t slept well or had enough sleep. We may feel tired, tense, and start worrying about not sleeping.
What Can Help me Sleep?
Experts agree that certain techniques can make an important contribution to getting a good night’s sleep. So, incorporating some of these into your “good habits” can be steps in the right direction for getting a better night’s sleep.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time each day (weekends included)
- Avoid lying in
- Establish a bedtime routine – this could be by some relaxation, such as reading a book, or having a bath.
- Make sure your bed and bedding are comfortable.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol in the evening.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal late at night
- Get regular exercise, there is plenty of evidence that regular exercise improves restful sleep.
- Avoid exercise in the evening
- Turn off devices – ban TV and computers from your bedroom.
- Keep your bedroom cool and dark – the ideal bedroom temperature is 18 degrees Celsius.
If you tend to wake up in the night and struggle to get to sleep, after 15-20 minutes, get up and go into another room. Avoid doing anything too involved, like preparing for tomorrow’s meetings, and resist the temptation to turn on your computer/TV. Instead, try reading or listening to the radio. Try going back to bed, 20-30 minutes later and see if you have more luck getting to sleep. Avoid exercise before going to bed and keep the temperature in your bedroom comfortable, and dark enough to facilitate sleep.
Other Sources of Help
If sleep continues to be difficult, you may need to speak to your GP. Your doctor can offer valuable help and input, plus refer you to a specialist if that’s what’s needed. Many clients choose to talk about their sleep problems with their therapist. CBT has good success in helping clients understand and improve their sleep hygiene. Other approaches will also help you to understand and improve this common problem.
Do you strive to do better, yet often fall short? Do you want to improve, yet frequently feel a failure? Do you pay close attention to detail and want to get things right, but often feel that you’re not good enough?
If this sounds familiar, perhaps you’re struggling with perfectionism? Perfectionists are never happy with what they achieve. After all, they can always do better and will often experience feelings of failure. In part, this is because the goals set are often unrealistic and many times, impossible to reach. Some characteristics of perfectionists are: –
- Viewing mistakes as failures
- Holding high, unrealistic goals
- Spending excessive amounts of time planning or redoing work in an attempt to make it perfect
- Being risk adverse unless “success” is guaranteed
- Feedback or criticism is feared
- Can find it difficult to adapt if plans do not go the way they anticipated.
Could It Be a Good Thing?
Of course, perfectionism can be seen as a strength, enabling some to produce high quality work. This work is done with a laser like focus and attention to detail. These can be valuable attributes. Yet when the consequences of imperfection are small, or we need to deliver something that is “good enough”, then perfectionist tendencies can be unhelpful and even harmful.
So for many, having high standards and striving for excellence is a good thing. In fact, these characteristics are encouraged in elite sports people, so they can train long and hard to reach excellence. But perfectionism for some involves setting impossible standards and judging that anything short of this standard is terrible. Holding such high standards makes it easy to believe that minor imperfections are catastrophic. Can you imagine going through life believing that you should never make a mistake?
Doing it Differently
Therefore, why not consider the standards you use, and how you judge yourself. Would it help to relax these standards and ease the stress and anxiety of trying so hard to be perfect? Or does even the thought of relaxing your standards elicit fear and anxiety?
What Can Help?
Recognise Perfectionism – there is nothing wrong with having high standards, but if these standards are too high, they can get in the way of your work or career, relationships, and life.
Realistic Thinking – replace self-critical or perfectionistic thoughts with more realistic statements. For example, “nobody is perfect”, “all I can do is my best”, “making a mistake is not catastrophic, its human”.
Looking at the Big Picture – perfectionists tend to get bogged down in details and worry a great deal about the small or little things.
Setting Realistic Standards – although I would like to be employee of the year, is that reasonable in my first year?
If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that life doesn’t always go according to plan. The unprecedented levels of change we have been experiencing on a global scale over the last few months have been an emotional rollercoaster on a personal level too.
Lockdown in particular has had the effect of making many of us review and reassess our priorities. Against the backdrop of anxiety experienced due to the pandemic ‘out there’, we have had to slow down at home which has given us more time to reflect on life choices past, present and future.
Life Coaching can be useful in helping you address many areas of your life. With professional guidance to clear away blockages that stop you from realising your full potential, you can move forward towards as happier, more fulfilled life. At KlearMinds, our highly trained and experienced life coaches can help you gain clarity, build confidence, overcome blocks to success, achieve your goals and improve your quality of life. Why not visit our contact page and send us an enquiry?
During this year’s lockdowns, many people have reported personal insights that have shaped the way they want their future to unfold that is different from before. Keep an open mind and take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves for personal growth.
1 – Embracing change
Whether you like it or not, the world as we know it is changing. Behaviours are shifting, thought patterns are taking new turns and our daily routines are getting an overhaul. While change is always unsettling, there are opportunities in the ‘new normal’ that are worth exploring. Ask yourself:
- What would you like more/less of in your life?
- What makes you happy and what should you let go of?
- Whose company lifts you up; who stresses you out?
- Which activities bring you pleasure; which are energy drains?
- What have you been ignoring over the last few years and need to focus on now?
- What will you do to implement changes for each of the above?
2 – The new world of work
The way we work has experienced a huge shift in recent months. Whether you are working from home, are on furlough, have been made redundant or seen your business profits plummet, it’s been an uncomfortable change that has compromised many people’s financial security. Ask yourself how your work life could look in the future:
- How would you be able to achieve a better work/life balance?
- Would flexible working practices improve your life and mental wellbeing?
- Is it time to redesign your career and how you work?
- Could you use the opportunity to explore launching your own business?
- What practical steps can you take to get closer to your ideal job/career?
3 – Healthy habits and routines
Daily routines establish a sense of control and security over how life unfolds. Many studies attest to the fact that people who stick to set daily routines experience significantly lower levels of stress and anxiety. Committing to a simple 30-minute morning routine will impact your mindset and how you experience the day ahead. Here are some simple ideas of what you could include:
- Getting up at the same time each day
- Hot lemon water or herbal tea to aid hydration and digestion
- 5 minutes of silent meditation or breathing exercises
- A short stretching or yoga practice
- Journaling to clear your mind and aid creativity
4 – Hobbies and creativity
With extra time at home, and less opportunity for socialising, now is a great time to rediscover old hobbies or explore new creative ways of expression. According to neuroscientists, creative hobbies increase brain activity and harness the power of neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to change itself. This, in turn, will help you think more creatively about other areas of your life too, allowing you to design a future you can feel good about.
Do you have a favourite pastime or hobby you could rediscover? Is there a new activity you’ve always wanted to try? From cooking and baking to painting or playing an instrument, crafting or gardening and much more besides, these activities provide joy and release from negative thought patterns.
5 – Your money or your life?
With a less financially secure future on the horizon, many people are rethinking their priorities regarding expenditure, shifting away from material purchases and towards investment in the self, in new experiences and ideas. Ask yourself:
- Would your money be better spent on a high street purchase or investing in learning a new skill?
- Would you be happier paying a decorator or doing the work yourself, with money left over to spend on a new business venture?
At KlearMinds, we provide a safe space in which you are gently encouraged to explore new directions, challenging previously held perceptions with support and feedback to help you move towards a more positive and authentic future.
If lockdown has given you the impetus to make real changes in your life, then take the next step and get in touch.
At KlearMinds, our team of highly experienced life coaches are professionally trained, sensitive and approachable, and work in total confidence. We are able to help with a wide range of issues to help you grow and make positive changes in your life, both personally and professionally.
While everyone’s situation is different, we all experience ‘roadblocks’ to success from time to time. Here, we’ve put together seven common obstacles to change – whether you’re seeking a better work-life balance or growing a business, seeking a new relationship or career.
1 – Lack of self-reflection
If you are unhappy and frustrated with your life, busy with the everyday demands at work and at home, you need to find time to stop and find out what would bring more meaning to your life. Set aside some time for reflection and discovery, and tune in to your innermost needs, hopes and dreams. What are your values and priorities? What do you really want to do? There are many life coaching exercises that can help you identify what is really important in your life.
2 – Fear of the unknown
All the exploration and self-discovery exercises in the world won’t help you change if you don’t put them into action. If you are afraid of change – and many people are – perhaps this needs exploring further. Have there been other occasions or periods in your life when you transitioned into something new? What resources and strategies were most helpful to you then? Reframing uncertainty as a new experiencing is part of growing, and can help to take you to the next stage in your journey.
3 – Lack of confidence
Are you overly critical with yourself or pessimistic about making a change? Do you have an inner voice that keeps telling you not to bother? Having a positive sense of self and belief in your own abilities is necessary in order to succeed. What are you really good at, what makes you unique? Remember a time when you accomplished a goal and what made you achieve success. Life coaching can be very effective in helping you break through an obstacle.
4 – Self-esteem issues
Do you feel insecure about the way you look, about your age, what you can bring to the table and how you are perceived by others? While everyone has some insecurities, they shouldn’t stop you from doing what you really want to do. Instead of being overly critical of your personality or appearance, focus on your strengths and on what you have to offer. Work with a good counsellor to help you gain more confidence.
5 – No support network
No (wo)man is an island, said John Donne. Feeling connected to other people is always better than trying to work things out on your own. Professional contacts are necessary to keep up to date with industry trends, information and job opportunities. Personal friends and like-minded peers, mentors and coaches also make up your support network. How can you assemble your support network to help build a sense of resilience?
6 – Fear of failure
Are you afraid to get out of your comfort zone and take risks? Is your need for certainty stopping you from growing? Perhaps past negative experiences or setbacks have made you more risk averse? It is important to have a healthy tolerance of ups and downs, of challenges and mistakes, so if you have any limiting beliefs and self-defeating thoughts that prevent you from making the changes you need to make, a life coach can help you to shift your thinking.
7 – Outside pressures and expectations
There is no right or wrong way to live or work, but many people feel they have to conform to society’s expectations, their family’s beliefs or someone else’s idea of what they should or shouldn’t be doing. What are your values? Rather than being in danger of living someone else’s life, choose your path based on your own compass. Cultivate a mindful attitude to increase your self-awareness and recognise the blocks to living your ideal life. Be open to new possibilities and a brighter future.
While some people seem to be born lucky with an innate sense of purpose, for most of us this is simply not the case. But whether you’re 27 or 72, it is possible to shape your own path in life, and living it authentically and full of happiness.
Discovering your inner passion may not happen automatically, but if you give your inner voice a chance to be heard, you’d be surprised at what it might be telling you. Unfortunately, many of us are so used to shutting down our gut instincts with negative thinking that our inner confidence may never get a chance to develop fully.
Whether you keep telling yourself that it’s too difficult to become a teacher, too late to learn an instrument, too scary to start your own business, too silly to want to move to another country, or use any number of self-sabotaging statements to talk yourself out of what you would really love to do in life, it’s time to do something about it.
1. Discover your passion
At KlearMinds, we offer Life Coaching sessions to help you identify and clarify your goals, then devise strategies to help you realise your life’s ambitions. We recommend this exercise to start unlocking your potential and get your mind thinking along the right lines.
Start by making a list of your personal values, i.e. the ideals you believe in and that engender a sense of happiness and peacefulness when you live by them. Examples are creativity, integrity, honesty, adventure etc. Use them as touchstones for keeping you aligned with your own truth.
Next, write down a list of all the things you love to do. Explore and daydream, creating a scrapbook with words and images of everything that sparks joy for you. Notice the areas you find most exciting and that you want to explore further. These are the areas to focus on.
2. Take small steps forwards
Once you are clear about where you want to go, begin to experiment with your newly identified passion by engaging with the areas that interest you most. Perhaps read books by people who have done what you would love to do, and check out blogs or websites for ideas and strategies to take you there.
As you take more baby steps towards your chosen area, you will slowly start to build experience. Be careful not to run before you can walk so as not to trigger your usual ‘yes but’ self-sabotaging behaviour that can put a spanner in the works. Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
3. Practise positivity and persistence
Research has shown that positive thinking and visualisations can have a powerful effect on personal success. The more you can encourage yourself along your chosen path, the better. Practice visualisation techniques at the beginning and end of every day to picture yourself having achieved the outcome you want, then get your feelings aligned with your vision, so you feel happy and satisfied in your new role.
One of the habits of successful people is that they simply don’t give up in the pursuit of their dreams. When things get difficult and success is at its most elusive, their refusal to throw in the towel means they can weather the storm, their determination to succeed seeing them through. Use the power of positive thinking, give yourself a pat on the back for what you have already achieved, and don’t doubt that a positive outcome is just around the corner. Practice and persistence will pay off.
4. Reframe problems as opportunities
Your path to personal success may not run smooth. In fact, it’s a given that you will encounter problems and failures along the way, and you should be expecting them. But rather than feeling down in the dumps about anything that goes wrong, doubting your confidence and abilities, take each challenge as a positive opportunity for learning.
Did you know that Thomas Edison experienced 10,000 failures before he discovered how to create the light bulb? He put it this way: “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That’s the way to look at it.
5. Surround yourself with positive support
Sad but true, there are always going to be people who will undermine you. Sowing the seeds of doubt can be doubly powerful when it comes from people who are close to you – at home or at work – and especially if they mean well. You must protect yourself against negative voices who will tell you what can’t be achieved, why you’re not the right person for the job, or why your dreams are doomed to failure.
If successful people took notice of such negativity, would we have electricity, computers, and most of the brilliant inventions of our world? Do yourself a huge favour and surround yourself with those who give you praise and support. Seek out like-minded people who will be able to encourage and support you in your endeavour, and keep the doubters away.
6. Practise gratitude
Another important habit that successful people have is that they practise gratitude in thankful appreciation for what they have. It’s a way to acknowledge goodness in life, and you should be doing it too.
Make it part of your daily routine to note down the good things that have happened to you every day. Give thanks for your health, your eyesight, the beautiful weather, a person who helped you, a lovely experience… keep it simple and write it down. By focusing on noticing positivity in your life, you will attract more, and boost your own happiness.
Sometimes, despite your best endeavours, it is possible to get stuck and the changes you would love to achieve remain out of reach. This is when an experienced Life Coach, Career Coach or counsellor can be useful to help you regain momentum and move forward. Armed with new tools and strategies, you will be able to remove blocks to success and move confidently towards your goals.
Get in touch today to find out more, or book an appointment.
We all want to be happy in life, but at times happiness can feel out of reach. Self-understanding can provide us with a highly effective guidance system for personal happiness.
Identifying your personal values is an exercise which can powerfully increase your self-understanding. This tool can be used to guide you towards a life that is more fully attuned to your innate talents and desires, thereby enhancing your capacity to experience greater happiness. (more…)
Your personal values are the beliefs you hold important in life. Understanding your personal values and letting them guide the decisions you make about your life can help you create a life that you love.
Think of your personal values as a compass that points you to your “true north”. It can be difficult to find your way without a compass, and understanding your values can reveal one of your greatest guides in life – you. (more…)