Ditch the Guilt #SelfLove #Happiness

Ditch the GuiltWe are half way through the school summer holidays and I have had plenty of time to sit and ponder on what I hope to achieve for the remainder of the year. September, for me, is more of a ‘New Year’ than January 1st and I’m sure I’ll be sharing a blog post about this soon enough. The summer holidays are the ideal time to think about life, dreams, and hopes for the future, ourselves, and our family. I’ve been incredibly lucky to experience a few life changing moments over the past month and one of the topics that popped up for me was self-love.

So, I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss a topic that might impact our personal development, and hold up our well-laid plans of loving ourselves unconditionally.

That issue is GUILT. Not in an ‘oh my god, I slept with my husband’s brother!’ kind of way, although if you did do that, then you might want to skip off and sort that issue out!

The guilt I’m talking about today includes all the mistakes or mundane nonsense we beat ourselves up about. It could be that we weren’t there when someone needed us, or you’ve shouted at the kids over something trivial. For me, I feel guilty about my overwhelming ironing pile (I know, it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it!). In truth it makes me feel like I’m neglecting my family, failing as a mother and adds to my ever present ‘I’m not good enough’ limiting belief, I mean, seriously, who beats themselves up because of the ironing?

Surprisingly, it’s increasingly common for us to feel guilty about a host of mundane chores that don’t get done, or not being available 24-7 for our friends and family. However, in today’s society, we, as women, tend to be running a full-time job, a home, and dealing with family and friends, as well as coping with a host of other tasks. No wonder we feel so guilty if we can’t manage it all.

The only thing this guilt does is crush our self-esteem and, in turn, we begin to loathe the fact that we can’t ‘do it all’. We fall out of love with ourselves because we’re not operating at one-hundred-per-cent. It drains our energy, and we end up being moody which, of course, we feel guilty about.

As a single mum, I sometimes snap at my kids when really it’s because I’m worried about something else and I don’t have another adult to talk to. I feel guilty about snapping, and if I don’t apologise, then it escalates in my mind. By recognising what I’ve done, and saying I’m sorry, I neutralise the guilt. Why, because it’s normal guilt; the usual kind that doesn’t do that much harm if dealt with appropriately.

On the flip side, there is a form of guilt that is far from normal; it’s the unhealthy guilt that eats away at us. The voice in your head that always ridicules you, and wants you to believe that you are a waste of time. It’s this guilt that we need to stop feeding. Knowing the difference between normal guilt where we can resolve the issue and put it right, and the unhealthy toxic guilt will help you to deal with it.

Don’t allow your inner critic to fuel the negativity of unhealthy guilt. Believe that you are doing everything you can in the best way you know how. I find that writing in my journal every night helps me to differentiate between the two forms of guilt. Not going to the gym isn’t the kind of guilt that will derail my personal development, but telling myself that I’m a fat, useless, lazy creature who is unlovable because I didn’t bother going to the gym is a warning sign that I’ve let the unhealthy guilt take over my thoughts.

It can be one of the hardest things to do, learning to recognise what you are doing and disregarding it. But, learning how to deal with guilt can clear the path for greater respect for yourself. Turning these thoughts around will silence the inner monologue of negativity, and you can concentrate your efforts on filling your head with positive affirmations, and self-belief.

‘I am enough.’

‘I’m doing okay.’

‘Everything I do is done with the best intentions.’

‘What I do is done to the best of my abilities.’

Grab yourself a journal if you haven’t already got one, and begin recording your thoughts and actions. Start noticing what you’re telling yourself. Observe your thoughts and start challenging your negativity and before long you’ll be living a life full of self-love.

What do you feel guilty about? How do you cope with these feelings?

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Laughter is the Best MedicineWhen it comes to self-help, there are a plethora of treatments to choose from.  There’s Acupuncture, reflexology, Reiki, massage, crystals, meditation, art therapy, homeopathic remedies – the list is endless.

Some of these therapies will cost you money, and others can be done with little or no cash.  Meditating, for example, is free, and one of the best gifts you can give yourself.  Another activity that will cost you nothing but boost your wellbeing is laughter.

I am fortunate to have a glass is half-full personality type and together with my positive attitude I also have a tendency to see the funny side of life.  Think about Peter Kaye for a moment, he uses everyday activities and stresses to build up his act, with hilarious results.  Sarah Millican uses her own weight issues to reduce her audience into fits of giggles.  Learning to lasarah-millicanugh at yourself can help you to view life with less negativity.

With wedding season in full swing, the summer months are an ideal time to catch up with friends and family that you may not see regularly.  I attended my friend’s wedding recently and spent the majority of the day with tears in my eyes.  Not because it was an emotional event, or because I was wallowing in, ‘I’m going to be single forever’ – far from it!  I spent the day laughing.  Reminiscing the good ole days, telling stories and making fun of ourselves as our ridiculous heels began to produce blisters, and our spanks became unbearable.

If someone gets the giggles, I inevitably start laughing too, it’s infectious – a bit like yawning.

There is, of course, plenty of scientific facts associated with the beneficial properties of laughter:

  • It increases the activity of your white blood cells and T-cells, which fight infection.
  • It stimulates endorphins, which make you feel good and help control pain.
  • It also stimulates catecholamine, which helps to keep you alert and stimulate your memory.
  • Laughing cleanses your lungs.
  • It exercises muscles in your face, abdomen, shoulders and neck, as well as your heart.
  • Laughing activates the right brain (we use our left brain for logic).

Not only does laughter help our body, it is hugely valuable for our wellbeing and emotions.  When I sit around the dinner table with my children, we chat about their day at school and college.  If one of them has had a tough day I help them to feel better by telling a bad joke, or turning the situation into a funny story – they can’t stay in a bad mood once they start laughing.

There are so many ways to introduce laughter into your life, try one of these:

  • Watch a funny movie – two of my favourite feel-good films, guaranteed to make me laugh, are The Millers and The Sweetest Thing.
  • Arrange a Girl’s Night – it doesn’t have to be a boozy do; a catch up over coffee can be just as effective.  In fact, just half an hour spent with friends can help.

Did You Know – Women Laugh More Than Men!

  • Play Pictionary – or choose another game, time spent with family playing a fun board game is guaranteed to bring about the laughter.
  • Story Time – re-telling funny stories triggers an inbuilt need to laugh over and over.  My mum can reduce my kids to tears by re-telling a joke.  It’s not a particularly funny joke, but when my mum tells it she can’t stop herself from giggling – this in turn starts my kids off.  ‘How do you stop a dog going up Blackpool Tower?  Take it to Scarborough!’

untitled (2)There are so many ways to bring the fun into your life.  Try this exercise when you are out and about.  Listen to conversations that are going on around you, notice people’s quirks.  Join in with spontaneous social interaction. It is a fact that over 70% of laughter is triggered naturally between people.

How do you find the laughter in your life?  Feel free to share a joke or two with us.

 

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

5 Things I’m Grateful For #FridayFive #Gratitude

5 Things I'm Grateful for This WeekI spotted this link on Lauren’s beautiful blog, Milly’s Guide and thought it was a fabulous idea. I write in my gratitude journal most nights but to do a weekly review certainly helps put your week into perspective.

Lauren encourages everyone to join in so I thought I’d give it a go.

Here are the five things that I am grateful for this week (Fri 21st – Fri 28th July):

  1. The school summer holidays have arrived. My middle son left secondary school this year which just leaves my youngest who will start her final year in September. This means school holidays aren’t going to be around for much longer as my teens grow up, get jobs, and carve out a spot in their own corner of the universe. I’ve always loved the school summer holidays; no alarms, lazy days, a house full of friends and laughter, paddling pool parties (yeah, we do occasionally get sunshine in summer!). I’m grateful for the holidays and spending time with my kids.
  2. Catching up with friends. Since getting back from my trip to America, I’ve tried to catch up with as many pals as possible in between attacking the to-do list and sorting through the gazillion emails that mounted up during my break. Being able to find time to meet a friend for a coffee is something I’m very grateful for.
  3. My blog stats were booming! Anyone who reads my author blog will know how excited I was about my recent trip. When I returned to the UK, it seemed like a good idea to blog about all the activities we’d done and places we’d seen. When I published the post Magical Mystery Tour: Part I over on my author blog I got a ‘ping’ from WordPress to say my stats were booming! Yay, I’m so grateful to everyone who popped over to read, like, share, and comment.
  4. Writing goals. My latest YA fiction novel, Oath Breaker, was released at the start of June and I’ve had some incredible feedback from readers. I’m currently working on the sequel and am grateful to find the words flowing, the plot twisting, and the positive vibes keeping me afloat.
  5. A little bit of self-care. After a couple of long-haul flights, my neck and shoulders were in a bit of a state, so I’m grateful to Jaki from Mind Spa for the wonderful lava shell massage she gave me to unwind my knots and leave me floating on air.

That’s it! The five things I’m grateful for this week. I’d love you to join in, so please add your own list in the comments.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

6 Tips for a Perfect Summer Holiday

6 Tips for a Perfect Summer holidayThere’s a Billy Crystal film called City Slickers that was a firm favourite of mine back in the 90s. The basic plot was about three friends who take an annual trip together without their wives. Each year the trips get wackier. In City Slickers they travel to the Southwest to drive cattle on a supervised vacation. The legendary Jack Palance plays the tough cowboy, Curly Washburn and Billy Crystal plays Mitch, the man on the edge of a midlife crisis.

It’s a fun film to watch, but it also has a few valuable lessons mixed in amongst the humour. One of my favourite parts is when Curly explains ‘vacation’ to Mitch. ‘Y’all spend fifty weeks a year getting knots in your rope and then expect to come up here and unwind them in two weeks.’ This pretty much sums up the basic work/life balance of the twentieth century. We work long hours sometimes risking our family time and leisure activities and then expect to fully relax when herded onto bus, plane, and coach on an all-inclusive trip to Spain!

After many years working in holistic health, I’m fairly lucky that I’ve learned how to master the work/life balance reasonably well. Although, social media time can become incredibly overwhelming sometimes! My holidays tend to be a time for reconnecting with my three children who have a better social life than me and enjoying relaxing meals with my parents. I also love to visit historical sites, swim in the sea, and shop at quirky markets.

I’m slightly alarmed that this all sounds like a dating profile, so I’ll swiftly move on! Holidays are the ideal time to explore new and exciting places. I try to pick a new destination each year so that over time my children and I travel to as many places in the world as we can. Yes, I have my favourites (Barcelona!) but discovering new locations is half the fun of a holiday.

Being able to relax fully is something we all long to do when we step off a plane in a sunny climate, but quite often we end up doing too much, getting ill, or over indulging so that our well planned and eagerly anticipated holiday ends up as another stressor.

So, how can we embrace the holiday season and totally switch off? I’ve just returned from ten days in America where I was rushing here, there, and everywhere on site seeing tours, however, I was also able to commit fully to my time away and reap the benefits. Here’s what I did:

  1. Switch off your phone – I used my phone to take photos (hundreds of photos!) and face time my children a few times, but other than that I switched it to silent and kept it in my bag. Due to the time difference I was in bed when the UK was awake, so before I went to bed each night, I would do one Facebook update of the activities we’d done that day and add a few photos. One Facebook post a day to keep my family and friends in the loop. No twitter, no blog posts, no Instagram, no emails – no stress!
  2. Eat right – It’s tempting to over indulge on holiday, but if you aim to fill up on the incredible fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and lean meats that are readily available then it will help maintain your weight. I thoroughly enjoyed the occasional milk shake and Krispy Kreme (well, I was in America!) but I also filled up on bowls of fruit and yogurt and tasty evening meals that weren’t deep fried.
  3. Water, water, everywhere – Drinking plenty of fluids when in a hot climate is important, and I don’t mean mojitos! Staying hydrated helps your skin, reduces headaches, and keeps you cool.
  4. Leave the sunbed behind – For loads of people, lying on a sunbed for a week is their idea of a relaxing holiday. There’s nothing wrong with this at all and I certainly engaged in a few hours of pool time while away, however, getting up and going for a walk, or site seeing can be just as relaxing as well as stimulating for the mind and soul. I visited some incredible museums, galleries, and forests in America and soaked up the magic of the new surroundings.
  5. Stock up on Vitamin C – It’s happened to us all. We arrive at the beach all excited for a week in the sun and the next day are struck down with a cold. Ensure you have all the necessary lotions and potions with you to help combat any bugs, bites, or indulgences.
  6. Meditation works – It can be hard to switch off from home life when away and as your holiday draws to a close you might find thoughts of work creeping in. Try a spot of meditation to bring your mind back to the present moment. If you’re in the swimming pool rest against the side, close your eyes and listen to the lap of the water against the pool edge. If there are kids laughing and splashing try tuning into these sounds as this is a typical holiday vibe. At dinner there are often candles on the table, gaze into the flame and concentrate on the shape and colours.

USA 2017 434The most important part of a holiday is to enjoy it. Throw yourself into a new culture, exotic places, and meeting lovely people. Sample foods that are unusual, and visit independent shops to help local communities. Do the tourist attractions but also look out for other, less obvious places to visit as there are gems dotted all over.

I’m sharing my American trip highlights over on my author blog, so please feel free to pop over and read about the incredible activities I enjoyed and the places I visited.

Happy summer x

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

Trek to the Top Challenge #Fitness

Trek to the TopAll of my friends appear to be taking part in a fitness regime these days.  The hugely popular 30 Day Abs Challenge, created by mum of eight, Robyn Mendenhall Gardner, has changed my sedentary pals into crunchers, plankers and leg lifters.  If I knew how to crunch I may have joined them.

Not to be outdone by my toned up, trimmed down friends, I decided that action was needed to be taken if I wanted to get that summer body I craved.

I may have hung up my running shoes after completing my half marathon back in 2012, but there is nothing stopping me from dusting them off and putting them to good use once more.  Running is out of the question as my knees creak louder than my floorboards these days, so I wanted to keep it simple-ish! Read more

How Planning and Organisational Skills are a Vital Tool in our Lives

How to Plan and Stay OrganisedWhen working with my female clients, I always made sure to maintain direct eye contact. I found it interesting how varied eye contact could be from client to client, but by keeping my own gaze level and my posture upright, it often calmed my ladies enough to get them to open up about any physical or emotional issues they wanted to work on during our therapy sessions.

I’ve attended numerous workshops and training sessions over the years where I’ve had to correct myself when I realised I had crossed my arms and/or legs. Notably, it was often when the topic was a difficult one to cope with. Folding in on myself was something I started to do long before I left my abusive marriage. Over time, I’ve learned how to open up my body language and slow my speech, although this is still a work in progress. By being responsive to the lessons all around me, I maintain my interest in the people I meet and the subjects I learn and teach.

One lesson that I found to be the most valuable was exploring my personal space. Blank pages don’t scare me, neither do empty rooms, or lulls in conversation. I’ve found the answers to so many questions within these quiet periods. That wasn’t always the case, though, and it’s only through identifying my fears that I’ve been able to reflect on my feelings about this. I challenged myself regularly at the start of my period of recovery and set goals accordingly. One of the challenges I faced that has since become a favourite pastime, was going to the cinema on my own.

Facing the world as a single mother (i.e.: alone) was frightening. It took a great deal of inner work to understand how I’d allowed my situation to control my actions. I was solely responsible for three small lives, but equally, I was responsible for creating my own happiness. I knew how important it was to change my thinking and set goals that were specific to my situation, manageable for a single working mother, achievable, realistic and timely.

I used journaling as a way to record my progress, and assess my achievements. This personal development tool is my main go-to method to this day. It allows me the space I need to evaluate my life. I am also able to reflect on my emotions when dealing with specific experiences.

My three children are all in their teenage years, which comes with its own set of rules! My middle son has a strong personality which can, at times, create conflict. I’m learning to set aside my personal issues so that I can focus on helping him become the unique individual I know he will be. Exam stress and hormones aside, he is a challenge for me, but a challenge I accept as he can teach me so much. He is an extrovert, whereas my eldest son and my daughter are introverts and my parenting skills are constantly put to work as I support their diversities. The quote ‘It is these characteristics and experiences that make a person unique.’ resonated strongly with me as my son is often reprimanded at school for being different (strong, verbal, and sometimes argumentative).

For my own part, I recognise how my behaviour could impact on their beliefs, and I’m also mindful of the various stages I have worked through on my journey; child, victim, anger, and denial.

By understanding these stages, I hope to continue supporting my children in the future. It is my wish that they take responsibility for their actions and maintain positive self-esteem as they become adults.

Raising self-esteem, however, is an ongoing work in progress for me. I have always been able to motivate my family, friends, and my clients, but when I need to turn that around to address my own needs, I often struggle. I’ve learned to stop berating myself and accept that I am doing the best I can. Setting goals, listening to my thoughts, and recognising any negative body language helps me manage my time, emotions, and goals.

Being organised and planning specific areas of my life is a valuable tool. I pre-plan meals and shopping lists to create a stress-free environment at home, as well as organising a household chore list, so the children are engaged in helping with the upkeep of their living space. We work well as a team.

As a writer, it’s imperative that I plan my writing time and stick fastidiously to the schedule if I hope to continue to produce two books a year. My livelihood depends on this, which acts as a positive motivator.

When I became ill a few years ago, I suffered from a severe lack of motivation. However, I gave myself permission to take a step back and think about my goals and action steps. Giving myself this space helped immensely and I could focus on the young adult fiction side of my business, losing myself in fantasy, until I felt ready to return to my non-fiction roots. Having another option kept my writing goals moving forward but gave me the breathing space I needed to work through the physical and mental issues I was facing at the time.

It would have been far too easy to abandon my writing altogether and disappear down the rabbit hole of despair. However, my goals were flexible, and I could tweak them accordingly to meet my new needs. Monitoring my writing sessions proved that I was still producing the necessary work.

Planning at that time enabled me to ‘get my mojo back’ without losing hope, or opting for unhealthy behaviours, and I have been able to maintain these positive changes and evaluate future projects and goals accordingly.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

Embracing Personal Development to Lead a Happier Life

‘When the student is ready the teacher appears.’ Buddha.

Embracing PDThat quotation became a guiding light through dark times for me. Instead of shaping my life as a victim of emotional and physical domestic abuse, I was guided down the pathway of a survivor by numerous mentors. It wasn’t on overnight revelation by any means. Before I tuned into the right vibrations, I lost my way, abusing my body and mind with alcohol and a poor diet. I developed hyperhidrosis and eczema brought on by the stress of divorce and coping as a single mum to three children under the age of six. I lost my job and my home, as well as an entire family unit in the way of mother and father-in-law, sister, brother, nieces, and nephew. I felt very alone.

When my Reiki Master Teacher appeared in my life following a series of events and meetings that I later learned to be synchronicity at work. I realised that ‘I’ the student, was ready. By studying the principles of Reiki, I was able to utilise these lessons and adopt the techniques for self-work. Understanding, finally, that it’s impossible to help others if you are broken. Working on my issues, became a priority and from a more grounded base, I was able to support my children and embrace a solid, happy, and healthy family life. Read more